Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tell me, what do you want from me

I've recently discovered that there a lot more people who read this blog than I realize. I already know that I don't personally know everyone who comments, let alone reads.

But I'd like to know more about you.

Per the example of a blog of a friend of a friend, I'm declaring today De-Lurk Day!

Do you regularly read this blog? How did you find me? Do we know each other other or do you know someone I know or did you just blogsurf your way over and decide to stay awhile?

Post a comment and let me know! If you're a regular commenter, or even my sister, post here anyway and say hi so that we can all get to know each other a little better. If you'd rather not, that's okay too. Or, if you'd rather let me know without letting the whole world know, shoot me an email at

While we're at it, I'd love to know what you guys think. Is there something I should be posting more or less of? Anything you want to know about me? What about the design? Do you love/hate the colors? Would you rather my music player didn't start automatically? Do you have requests for my music player? What about a weekly music feature where I highlight my favorite song o' the week?

This blog is mostly for me, but since I have an audience, I'd like to consider you as well. Be kind, but let me know if there's something different you'd like to see or something you'd like to see more of. I'll certainly take any feedback under consideration!

And, just to make things interesting, I'll pick a random commenter who will win something (exact piece to be decided) from one of my new favorite jewelry websites -! (If you're a guy, or my grandma who can't wear jewelry, we'll work something out.) Comment by Sunday, April 5, to be considered.

Ready . . . set . . . comment!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

To kneel in the temple

There's been a lot of talk about LDS temples lately. With the recent dedication of the Draper Utah temple and the showing of certain temple ceremonies on HBO, there is lots of interweb chatter, both flattering and not.

Some beautiful words have already been written here, here, here, here, and here. The Church's YouTube channel, Mormon Messages, has some beautiful videos with better explanations that I could ever give.

So, I'm not going to address the purpose of temples, as that is covered. I will, however, address some responses I've seen from those explanations.

When my co-workers asked me about the uproar about the HBO show, I explained the Church's statement, and then likened it to other sacred religious ceremonies. I then said, "It's as if someone took what was most sacred to you and put it on national television for all to see."

The response was unanimous - "I wonder what that would be." Not knowing for them, I shrugged, and the conversation moved onto something else. Eventually I felt sad for them, not because they aren't members of my church or something, but because they didn't have something they could readily think of as being sacred.

If you look up the word "sacred", it is usually used to describe something of a religious nature, but it can also be used to describe something "worthy of respect or dedication" and can be ascribed to anything - people, objects, times, or places.

So, what can be sacred to you? Your relationships? Your home? Your wedding day? A talent you have? Whatever it is, there's bound to be something, and having something, anything, that is sacred to you is actually very important. From one of the articles I referenced above:

When nothing is sacred, everything is fair game in conflicts of ideas, attitudes, or behaviors. If something is sacred, then some ground rules of harmonious interaction are possible.

I believe that. In other words, stand for something, or you'll fall for anything.

Secondly, in some comments I read on other blogs, some people voiced concern that no one is taught, in missionary discussions or even growing up in the Church, exactly what takes place in the temple. They argued that because it might seem somewhat strange to most, people would benefit from more instruction before they go for the first time.

While I didn't know entirely what to expect during my first temple visit and it's definitely different from the things that take place in most other Church meetings, the principles there are the same - eternal progression. We're told that we will learn the gospel, and everything else we learn, "line upon line, precept upon precept". There's no way that we could learn everything about anything right way. Even learning how to walk and talk as children takes more than one try and a lot of time and effort. Mastering something, from cooking a meal to learning a new language, takes time, and lots of it.

So, what we learn and do in the temple is just another ordinance and precept necessary for our progression. We can't even begin to understand it, or anything else, before we're ready and willing. We wouldn't start running before we learn to walk, and we won't understand a new language unless we really want to. That's also why we attend Church every week and read our scriptures daily, and otherwise practice our religion constantly, so that we may continue to grow and improve. I've been a member all my life and there are still things I need to learn and perfect. Unlike other denominations, just saying "I believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ" will not secure me a place in heaven, I have to act on that belief, and attending the temple is just another part of that.

I love the temple. I love the opportunity to learn and grow and serve, but I also enjoy the respite, peace, and protection from the world and feeling closer to Heavenly Father. I don't expect everyone to understand or believe the same way, but as long as they respect my beliefs, I'll respect theirs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bowel shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse

Do you ever doubt?

I do.

Some days, without any warning, I start to doubt my ability in some aspect of my life. Because I have gobs of time to myself and plenty of time to think, I start overthinking it. Before I know, I've started doubting everything about myself.

Today is one of those days. Overthinking a conversation from a couple of days ago, I started doubting my ability to ever find a mate. Then I started doubting my ability to keep real friends or even be a real friend. Thinking about my future, I started doubting my librarian skills, and my academic skills. I feel like I know nothing about anything and, should I leave my current position, who in the world would ever hire me, marry me, or be my friend? I doubt my ability to focus, to keep a clean house, to ever get on top of to do list, to even finish the paper that's due tomorrow. Inexplicably, I have no confidence in regards to anything.

I know I'm wrong. I absolutely know that I'm just making this up, that I am, in fact, amazing and that I'm just a lot stressed and a little bit lonely.

This post isn't a cry for help. I'm not hoping to be flooded with comments saying "You're awesome!! Don't worry!" Of course, those are welcome, but what I really need to do is focus. Focus on one problem at a time. At work, I need to focus on cataloging. When I'm driving, I should focus on driving. At dance, I need to focus on perfecting the movements. Once I get home tonight, I need to focus on finishing that paper.

I shouldn't worry about whether things are going to pan out with someone if there is nothing I can do about it. I shouldn't even worry about how much of a mess my room is right now, because I don't have time to do anything about it yet. I will, but that day is not today.

When it comes to relationships, I can choose not to worry and do what I can. If that's text a friend and invite them to something, great! If they choose not to answer or accept, someone else will. If nobody does, I'll find another way to maximize my free time.

Easier said than done, of course, but I do know that when my head is really in the game at hand, I don't worry about anything else until it's time to do so.

I hope to follow Mormon's counsel, above all:

Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

What do you do when you begin to doubt?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lips like sugar

Things that are difficult when you can't feel the lower half of your face:

  • The letters f and p. Trying to pronounce them, however, brings endless amusement.
  • Applying lip balm. If it weren't for my rearview mirror, it could have been all over my chin instead.
  • Drinking from a water fountain. Actually, this is impossible without control of my lower lip.
  • Drinking in general. Mugs are easier than water fountains, so I still had my morning tea.
  • Kissing. So, I'm Scottish, not Irish, nor do I have any idea who I would be kissing anyway, but it's St. Patrick's Day! Should the occasion arise, it would be nice to be able to enjoy it.
With a pucker like this, who could resist?

Friday, March 13, 2009

This is why I'm hot

Technically, this week is Spring Break for school. Considering I only spend two hours in class a week, and I'm still working (it's Spring Break there next week, but that doesn't mean anything either), not much has changed. I'm mostly just trying to catch up.

I had every intention of spending the time I'm usually in class on Thursdays on schoolwork today.

There was no way to do that when everyone had taken clever pills today. Instead of studying, I had conversations like this one.

And this one:

6:39 PM Sisterpants: i like squares
me: I prefer triangles.
What are we talking about?
6:40 PM Sisterpants: just shapes
i'm fond of the square
me: ok
I do like them.
Sisterpants: they're fun
and you can make checkers w/ them
6:41 PM me: yes you can
Sisterpants: and i like checkers
checkers is a weird word
me: Mmm. Checkers burgers.
Sisterpants: never had one
6:42 PM me: I have no idea if I have or not.
Maybe I just want a burger.
Sisterpants: fried chicken sounds good to me
good thing i'm having dinner at kfc
6:43 PM me: nice.
I shall have chicken a la king.
Again. But before 10!
Even if it tasted kind of weird.
Sisterpants: nice

Even Theater Geek got in on the cleverness action. I was reminiscing about some events about 4 years ago and it ended with a story where I didn't know how to introduce myself to a certain group of people.

Theater Geek: My answer to that is always...
And you are? Theater Geek.
me: Well, it was after that part.
Theater Geek: And you are? Happy to be here. Where's the food?
me: lol
I'll remember that for next time.
Theater Geek: And you are? Hoping for a date with the maid of honor. (you could substitute best man)
me: I like it.
Theater Geek: And you are? Incorrigible. Believe me.

That set us off for an hour. Feel free to skip the following list. I promise I didn't include all of them!

And you are? Trying not to drool, thanks.

And you are? Smokin' hot. But you already noticed that.

And you are? The designated driver. At a MORMON wedding. Guess they ran out of jobs this time.

And you are? VERY happy to see you.

And you are? Your future girlfriend.

And you are? What's your name? The future Mrs. Bob Robertson, hopefully.

And you are? Never going to forget this moment.

And you are? Suddenly, a bit weak in the knees... Could you help me to the temple? Er . . . to chair?

And you are? Not the droid you're looking for. (This one was all me. I'm rather proud of it.)

And you are? Soooo outta your league.


And you are? Hip. If I were any more hip, I wouldn't be able to see over my own pelvis. I'm so cool you could store a side of beef in me for a week..." (or any other Zaphod Beeblebrox-ism)

And you are? Wishing I were drunk, and I don't even drink.

And you are? Let's discuss what I'm NOT, shall we?

And you are? A little nauseated now, thanks.

And you are? The same person I was last time he/she got married.

And you are? About to kick your butt if you ask any more questions.

And you are? Looking for the Lipman BarMitzvah. But this will do.

And you are? More woman than you're ever going to get.

And you are? Ready to get out of here. You comin'?

And you are? Blogging THIS reception.

And you are? Totally going to Facebook stalk you after this.

And you are? Popular. I wanna be Pop-yoo-oo-lar.

And you are? The jealous ex-girlfriend. Don't worry. I don't believe in bringing guns into church buildings. I left it in the car.

And you are? WHAT?? You don't remember me? I thought we shared quite the moment in the holding area down at county lockup. storm off crying

And you are? Darn! I was hoping you would know. Amnesia. When I woke up , the only thing I found was this wedding invitation...

And you are? An independent business owner. Have you given much thought to your future? Let's talk Amway...

And you are? Going to win every argument. Sleep on the right side of the bed. And I hate vacuuming. Is that ok?

And you are? The mail-order bride you mail-ordered.
Is our wedding next?

I have such clever friends/siblings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I am not always on time, please don't expect that from me

I am constantly running 5-15 minutes late. With the exception of things like planes and trains, which will take off without me and I WILL be early for that and you better not make me late or so help me (ask me about the time it took me 24 hours to make a trip that should have taken 5, I dare you), it seems that I am always late. Oh, and I do build time into my schedule to make whatever temple session I'm trying to make, but it always seems a closer call than I might like.

I'm never more than 30 minutes late. If am, I'm probably not coming, it's already been arranged that I will be that late (see my Thursday schedule), or I'm dead on the side of the road. Check for me, will ya? I don't like to make people wait, nor do I like waiting. For instance, the day that The Spy (who just moved out cry), this guy, and I had to wait for my other roommate for at least an hour or more was annoying to us all.

(Side note: She always complained that she hated getting rides because she had to wait for whomever she was receiving them from. I would like to point out that I waited a lot more for her that summer than she did for me. Another pet peeve: Calling me when I'm only 2-3 minutes late just really annoys me (sorry, Mom, I know I did this a lot when I was younger), because I guarantee you that I haven't forgotten or something.)

Also, if work needs me to be exactly on time, I will be. I'll even be early. The days I'm not on time, I stay a few minutes late to make up for it.

Anywho, I recognize that other people's time is as valuable as my own, that Sacrament is best when you're inside the chapel and not in the foyer, and that traffic is a tiny bit faster at 9 AM than at 9:15.

I know this. I hate that I'm late.

I blame, lovingly, my mother. She always found one last little thing to do before we ran out the door (probably because some kid was dawdling) and I got used to having 5 more minutes sometimes. And, now, I do the exact same thing.

It's also her fault, again, lovingly, that I don't get breakfast on the most extreme days of lateness. It was tradition that breakfast was always last after getting ready for the day, and I still subscribe to that theory. So, there are many Sundays, that because I slept in so long and took so long getting ready, that I don't get anything to eat before Church at 1 PM. Yes, I know how ridiculous and unhealthy that is. My mom knows that I blame her for this, and she always laughs at me.

So yeah, I want to improve. I know it takes me at least an hour to get ready for my day (at my sleepy speed), but it's so hard to want to get out of bed in the morning. And, on days that I do get up well in advance, I somehow lose 30 minutes somewhere in my time. The nasty Time Elves come and snatch that time away from me, and then they stick it somewhere in the middle of particularly slow days. It goes something like this "10:45. Okay, I, WAIT how is it 11:30 already!?!? Crap!" And then, on some quiet, turtle-paced Monday, "2:05 . . . GAH! It's only 2:10! How is it still 2 PM at all!?"

I can hit snooze for hours. Having an alarm clock across the room doesn't work for long. Setting clocks ahead just makes me do math, because I know exactly how far ahead it is.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The internet is really really great

The final article that I found of particular interest, enough to write about, was Hsin-Liang Chen’s Use of multi-modal media and tools in an online information literacy course: College students' attitudes and perceptions, which discusses “[i]ntegration of multi-modal media and tools in an online technology and information literacy class.” According to Chen, the quality of the media and tools, the amount of technical problems, and the technical savvy of the class participants all affect the satisfaction of the participants with the class. Basically, “[t]he results of this study suggest that online courses should provide a rich array of online media and communication tools to strengthen course interactions and student engagement. Additionally, this array of media and tools can expose students to the benefits and challenges of dealing with information and information technology in a networked world.”

Honestly? I could have told you that. I suppose that those conducting these studies haven’t completed (5.5 more months!) a degree entirely online, and base their entire scholarly experience on online interactivity.

Luckily, I’ve really enjoyed my classes and the instructors’ usage of online tools. Every instructor uses different tools in different combinations, and, depending on both the subject matter and the organization of everything, they all seem to work. Of the two, it’s the organization of the material that really affects my opinion of the class. Using Blackboard, instructors have a lot of free reign as to how they post class materials. Much like a library, the better the organization and the more natural the flow of information, the easier it is to find and, then, apply to my studies, the better. Also, distance education is difficult enough without being able to interact face to face with instructors and fellow students. Most classes utilize message boards to provide some semblance of natural class discussion, but even that’s difficult.

The best classes, and I’m not just saying this because the class this paper is for is one of them, have found a way to combat even that, by using presentation chat software (like Adobe Connect) to have real time class meetings. It’s provides a much more comfortable forum for instructors and students to work together and build relationships. Though one of the perks of online education is doing it on your own schedule and required class times go against that, it’s still nice to have a more personal connection with everyone. Now, what I haven’t experienced is Chen’s conclusion that “female participants reported lower levels of computer skill and indicated a tendency to procrastinate in course work.” If I procrastinate, it certainly has nothing to do with my level of computer skill.

Overall, my interest in this material actually confirms, to me, that I’m on the right career path. I still have quite a lot to learn, but I’m excited about learning it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans

Another concept I’ve been able to become more familiar with during this assignment is that of scenario planning and strategic planning. Strategic planning, according to Steve Connor, et al, in Steering a Future Through Scenarios: Into the Academic Library of the Future, “is a process to order the available resources to ensure an effective execution of plans for the coming year or period. Scenario planning challenges and questions the bases on which the logic of the existing operations are based. It is a technique which enables participants in the process to grasp new and previously unexplored options.”

The article discusses a library in Hong Kong employing the technique, upon a librarian’s retirement, to plan for their future. I can relate, as I was hired to replace two retiring “librarians”. What I did not have was much of a chance to plan before they left. Still, I have been able to execute scenario planning as I go. As I discover “the way things were” in my library, I can judge how well it worked, and whether it needs to be modified or replaced with a different method entirely. Once I know what needs to be changed, I can use strategic planning to execute that change. I hadn’t realized the difference before.

What the library in Hong Kong did that I didn’t was more heavily involve the stakeholders of the library in their planning. As I discussed earlier, I have used what I have learned from the teachers, my patrons, and I have run ideas by various mentors and my boss, but very little of the actual planning and its execution has been done by anyone but me. In the end, that’s actually okay, because I know what I’m doing will work. My boss hasn’t stopped me yet, and just about every idea I run past someone is met with approval, which reminds that I really do know what I am doing and others trust me to do it. I may not face formal reviews or a lot of meetings to get official validation for my methods, but trusting me to do my thing is good enough. I know I and what I am doing are appreciated, even if I’m only told so informally.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Getting to know you

Speaking of talking about it, what good is a library if no one knows about it? While my library serves the entire district, which has over 500 arts teachers, I only actually work with approximately a hundred of them on a regular basis (a number I am completely guesstimating). Of those, maybe half of them use the library consistently every semester.

At least once a month, I get an email from an arts teacher that starts out with something like “I had no idea this library existed! Great! Can you help me with XYZ?” I know that I send out a “Using the Fine Arts Library” email every year and I’m introduced, and usually speak, at the fall inservice meetings. Yet there are still teachers completely oblivious to my library’s existence.

What I would like to do, this fall, when I’ve completed the updating project, is to spread the word even more, especially now that I’ll be able to track circulation statistics. According to Rajesh Singh, in Does your library have an attitude problem towards ‘marketing’? Revealing inter-relationship between marketing attitudes and behavior, there are three levels of marketing – strong, medium, and weak. The prime aim of a library with a strong marketing technique is “identifying and meeting customer information needs” and “these libraries aim to build a relationship with their customers by offering tailored services and products which satisfy their information needs and problems”. As one can expect, medium and weak go down from there.

Of course, I hope to be more in line with a strong technique, and I think I’m on track. While, in the end, it will have taken me three years to fully update the system, it has given a chance to get to know the teachers I serve and their needs, and I’ll be able to use that to my advantage in my marketing and continuous updating of the library.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm gonna go to the High School of Performing Arts!

In Sharon Weiner’s article, The Contribution of the Library to the Reputation of a University, she reports a study done to explore “the relationship between a peer-assessed reputation rating for each of the 247 doctoral universities and cross-institutional performance indicators for universities and their libraries . . . The findings showed that the role of the library was important . . . in contributing to reputation.”

In my limited experience, I completely agree. I usually get a variation on one of three responses when I tell people what I do for work and where. “That’s cool.” “What a fun job!” “I didn’t know those kinds of libraries existed on a school district level.” To the last one, I usually respond, “I didn’t either.” Having such a library I think directly speaks to the quality of education for the students in this school district.

There is a high value placed on arts education here, and it shows. I don’t have any statistics readily available to back me up, but our students consistently rank among the top in the nation in academics and arts. While the teachers are often strained with too many students and not enough time with them, arts education still exists in every school.

As the 12th largest school district in the country, of course we have a library to back that up. And, with the work I’m doing, the library is improving, rapidly, and should be at the level we want it at by next school year. The library will finally be something to talk about, much like the school district, and not just because of how backwards it was.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My dog ate all my homework last night

As an avid library blog reader, I often only read the articles attached to headlines that interest me, and I usually relate whatever I’m reading to my current professional life. For example, I don’t own a Kindle, and don’t plan to, so anything that comes up on LISNews about them, I tend to ignore.

Yet, where my industry reading fails is journals.As a member of a handful of professional library organizations (VLA, IAM-L, MLA, ALA), I often receive a handful of newsletters and journals in the mail, but I rarely crack them open. So, this assignment, to read the latest edition of the Journal of Academic Librarianship and write a "bloggy, self-reflective coupla pages", was actually really interesting to me.

True to form, I only read the articles that were actually interesting to me, but that turned out to be more than I thought. Also true to form, I easily related it to what I’m doing professionally, and, as a blogger, I’m rather looking forward to expounding on my thoughts, and then actually publishing them on my blog (which will be found here over the next few days). In lieu of an official citation, all articles referenced can be found in the January 2009 volume of The Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

See I don't know everything and I know I'll never know

Librarians are amazing, no doubt. They are an invaluable source of information because they seemingly know everything about everything, especially in a subject library. If they're a science librarian, for instance, they must know everything about chemistry AND physics.


Let me let you in on a little library secret.

It's not true.

We don't know everything.

We do, however, know how to find it. We might have to ask you a lot of questions to do so, and we may lead you down the wrong path at first. But, I promise, if we're patient with each other, not only will we find what you're looking for, you'll learn how to find it on your own next time.

So, please don't be surprised if I don't know right away where to find the Chinese landscapes or the self-portraits of that one guy from Finland, or if they'll be the ones you like, rather than the ones you don't.

We'll like each other a lot more that way.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

C'mon darlin', let's go back to bed

This is what my car looked like this morning.

This is what my pants still looked like two hours later (look closely to see how wet they still are).

This is what the floor I'm melting on looks like.

This is what I look like (I'm still cold, and my nose is still crooked).

There are maybe seven or eight people in my entire building that came in today. Schools are closed. Many things are canceled. And, yet, diehard that I am, I am at work.

At least I can play my music as loud as I want. Which I do everyday anyway.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who's that girl?

I'm That Girl

That Girl who plays on her iPhone as she works out.

That Girl who spends all day Saturday afternoon and evening studying, foregoing all social invitations.

That Girl who goes grocery shopping by herself on a Saturday night, sans makeup, wearing jeans, a hoodie, and a baseball cap. (When else, I ask you, am I going to get that done?)

That Girl who blogs at 2 AM.

That Girl, who does all those things, and doesn't care who knows.