27.6.07

Left, but not forgotten

I'm not done blogging about ALA, but life has gotten in the way. At MPOW, we've had to restart inventory after getting 1/2 done - and we're moving the books from various shelves to others next week (part of changing from K-12 to K-4/5-12), and I have a bridal shower to get to in the Northeast Kingdom on Saturday.

Suffice it to say that my Little Guy was very happy to see me and hasn't shut up since I walked in last night. And really, isn't that what everyone wants? To be missed and needed?

Ok. so maybe not so much at 2:30am... and 2:45am...

26.6.07

Cool new tools

Recently I stumbled across EverNote - it's amazing. I've been using it for a week and it answers many (not all, but many) of my "where can I put this so I'll remember that link/idea/contact" issues.

Then I was told about Basecamp, and wow. I know why the Emerging Leaders are using it. I'll be using it - it's just going to make my life that much easier.

There is a Luddite-ish side to me, but really, it's all about convenience. Bloglines means that I can see all the blogs I'd like to check in on easily (although some of them post far too regularly and I'm a bit scared to see how much I'll miss when I go on The Big Trip in August - Walt Crawford suggested I just Mark All Read and move on!) My Palm means that my important dates and contacts and lists (of books wanted, movies to see, etc.) are on both my home and work computers AND in my pockets, all with the same updated information.

Now these - all easily syncable, which gives me the confidence that as long as I have a compute (and electricity), I'll have everything I need. Of course, paper backups won't hurt...

25.6.07

Getting to know me (a meme)

Saw this on Cam's blog and decided to give myself a little break from ALA and Important Stuff...

1. My username is _____ because ____.
2. My journal is titled ____ because ____.
3. My subtitle is ____ because ____.
4. My friends page is called ____ because ____.
5. My default userpic is ____ because ____.

Answer:
1. Lazygal. Why? Because, believe it or not, I'm actually a very lazy person. Being busy goes against every fiber in my nature. I'd much rather be curled up in bed, with The Boys, reading than doing anything else.

2. Killin' Time Being Lazy - has anyone seen Holiday Inn? 'Nuff said.

3. "A miscellany of thoughts, newsclips and ephemera." That's what it is. I don't pretend to blog about Great Ideas or solve important problems. It's me, working things through or ranting or just sharing that which I find interesting.

4. Friends. And I just saw (you'd think someone would have told me by now) that I've replicated all those links in "Daily Reads"! OOPS! Guess I'll have to edit this all now. Which is ok, because it's time for a little (very belated) spring cleaning.

5. Don't have a user pic. Although recently I've been told by friends (here at ALA) that I look just like my picture in the recent KQ issue.

Public admission

Walt Crawford wrote about being wrong - and publicly acknowledging it. This has been resonating with me as I sit in Meeting, as I interact with my friends/colleagues, and as I go about my professional life.

Some time ago, I wrote off Will Richardson as being a one-note pony, always blah blah blahing about blogs (and blogvangelism). When I hear bleating, I turn off. So I stopped reading his blog and moved on. This year, at the Mohonk conference, he was a presenter. It truly wasn't his fault that the presentation stunk (although I had a blast getting to know - and heckle with - Nancy White and Dave Cormier). We (Nancy, Dave, Will and I) sat at the same dinner table and I told him then that I'd begun to change my mind. I started peeking at his blog again, and I can say that he really has changed. It's more thoughtful, less pushy. More meat, if you will.

Some visionary blogs I read don't take the time to reflect how their vision might be misinterpreted, or dismissed, by us plebes. He did. Don't mistake me, he's still thinking about how this read/write/review/revisit/respond thing we call blogging can be used best, but he's better at it now.

So, publicly, I was wrong.

(someone pick Thing One's jaw up off the floor)

WTF am I doing wrong?

Online Dating

Mingle2

(þ: Done with Mirrors)

22.6.07

Imponderables

No one's safe from identity theft (aka "you can't make this stuff up) (þ : Thing One)

Meet The Boys


Bogie (aka "Big Boy") trying to decide what he wants to do next

Vulture-Snoopy, as interpreted by Mallory (aka "Little Guy")

Finally: the photos

Living Room/Library: Looking towards the deck

Dining Room/Library: Looking towards the kitchen



Living/Dining/Library: Looking at hall/kitchen
(through that window in the wall)




Living Room
(the painting was done by Daddy)

So, there you have it. Well worth the wait, right?
(oh, and to answer the question I hear ticking in your minds,
no those are not all the books,
there are more downstairs, upstairs and in my lady's chamber)

17.6.07

Little old men

You know those noises old people make when they move, or settle into a new sitting position? Well, The Boys make those noises too. They also snore (not as loud as Lulu, but still respectably loud).

I only mind the snoring when it's right in my ear (Big Boy likes to sleep on my pillow), and those noises usually let me know that they're still around, possibly under the bed. But sometimes it's a little disconcerting.

One of these days I'll podcast them.

Please don't ask

I'm using today (when I'm not at Meeting or watching the US Grand Prix) to catch up on paperwork and get organized before I head to ALA. One thing I'm very happy about is finding a good cat sitter - we've met (the sitter, The Boys and I) and it looks like this will be a good thing for those times I'm away more than a couple of days.

More than Paws has all sorts of papers to fill. On the "reach" information part, they ask for my cell phone number. This isn't unusual, but I still find it annoying. I don't give out that number to many people. Why? Because it's never on. It's part of my whole "it's ok to be unplugged" thing: I have a home phone, with answering machine, and a work phone, with voice mail. WHY do I also need to give you a cell phone number? I'll leave my hotel number, but honestly - if I'm out of town, or out of the country, an hour or two isn't going to make that much difference.

Our parents managed to raise us just fine without cell phones. Generations have lived quite happily without them. I only use mine at conferences (if I even remember to bring it) or when there's a possibility I won't meet/find someone easily. If you're not a conference buddy or I'm not meeting you somewhere odd - don't ask for my number.

16.6.07

I come not to praise Caesar

Usually I blog because I want to, not because there's some hidden "Hey YOU" message. I don't really anticipate other's reactions, or even dare to hope that a particular post will strike a nerve or resonate. It's more for me to work out those mental kinks.

Not this post. This post is for anyone in my family reading this blog. And if anyone else gets something from it, all the better.

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a cousin. This isn't the first member of my family to die, nor is it the first family funeral at which I've felt uncomfortable during the eulogizing. So, for the benefit of all, here are Lazygal's Tips to Proper Eulogy Etiquette:
  1. Do not use your time to bring up unresolved issues . If you were estranged from, had an argument/disagreement with, or generally didn't like the departed: shut up about it. Ditto if they owed you money/garden tools/a cup of sugar. That old adage "if you can't say something nice" applies.
  2. Do not use "coded language" in your eulogy. If you really mean (and everyone will know that you mean) Dearly Beloved was a nosy busybody who couldn't shut up or butt out, do not say that Dearly Beloved "was always there to help out". Do not say that Dearly Beloved was a fount of knowledge when you really mean that they were a Know-it-all.
  3. Do not - ever - bring up sex. No one needs to hear about it at this time. And certainly not in public.
  4. Do not announce that you are uncomfortable being there (see rule #1) This also applies to kohanin "defiling their bodies" by attending a funeral, prodigal sons returning, etc.
  5. Do not give people a "brief" glimpse at Dearly Departed's life that takes them on a journey that mentions year-by-year landmarks. Particularly not in freezing or overly hot weather. A few highlights are all that are needed. Really.
  6. Do give people a sense of what made Dearly Departed special. The phrase YMMV applies here: we all have different relationships with people, so cluing the rest of us in on why you loved/cared for/were besotted with DD is wonderful. But pay attention to Rules 3 and 5.
If you're not eulogizing, but are just one of the mourning crowd, these rules still apply. In fact, even more so. There's a reason you weren't asked to speak.

And mourners - Do not be physically inappropriate with any other mourner. This includes sticking your tongue down someone's throat, caressing, or anything else more appropriate to trying to pick a chick up at a frat party.

Don't try so hard

I've spent a lot of time in the past week with my extended family. There's one cousin who is clearly Ausperger's; one "quirk" is the over-reliance on puns and wordplay, which makes casual conversation difficult. Here's an example: Sunday night I ordered prime rib - I was asked why I wasn't ordering secondary or tertiary rib. My father asked why I was ordering steak (I usually don't) and when I responded that I felt a need for iron, my cousin said that he had a ton of iron - literally - in his workshop. My father finds all this charming. I don't.

Also this week I was e-mailing a librarian friend about the upcoming ALA and AASL conferences and she asked if I'd read anything by Jasper Fforde (she was reading some and loving it). I said that I had read two Tuesday Nexts and two Nursery Crimes and
To be honest, I'm not fond of the Ffordes. He tries too hard with the puns and the literary references, which is great in Book One, but a little tiring in Book Two and by Book Three you're just ready to kill him (*I* think). The Nursery Crimes were better than the Tuesday Next's, but I'm not rushing to read anything new by him.
Fforde reminds me of my cousin: striving hard to be likable and funny, but missing because it's obvious striving and not a natural ("organic") thing.

Thursday I met with the Head of our English Department and with one of our 6th Grade English teachers. We talked about reluctant readers and how to motivate them (using alternative teaching ideas, expanding the range of books we booktalk, etc.). The problem is, this isn't just a problem in 6th Grade, it's a problem in Upper School. One thing I keep hearing from students is "reading is too much work" (as if!).

Why is it work? Because - and this is my theory - in English class you're taught to Read Deeply, to Read for Meaning. What journey is the hero on? Which archetypes does the heroine espouse? What allusions are being made in this passage? et-boring-cetera. Books aren't taught to be read for fun - there's Purpose to it all. No wonder Chick Lit (and Lad Lit and manga) are taking off: people want to read for fun, not constantly on the lookout for Important Stuff. Even a work of genre fiction, like Fforde's mysteries, can be work if you're always on the alert for a new pun, a new allusion (somehow, Terry Pratchett does this much better and seamlessly).

I have to admit, if a work makes me think too hard (and I mean, if that's the author's intent, not something I derive from the reading), I don't enjoy it. I'm not looking for antiheros and symbolism, I'm looking for a book that tastes good*** - and you readers out there know whatof I speak. I don't read Robertson Davies looking for Insights and Truth, I read him because the words sound good, because it's a world I can dive deeply in to and come out refreshed and renewed.

I mentioned this to the Head of English and now we're going to work on some ways in which we can have students read, but not try so hard.

Amen.

(***caveat: this does not represent 100% of my reading!)

15.6.07

Not terribly accomplished

Look at all the "undone" from my To Do list:

MPOW
  • Prepare AY08 budget and rationale
  • Finish Book Fair stuff
  • Finalize plans for the archives
  • Reconfigure the placement of the main collection
  • Coordinate the removal/reshelving of the K-4 collection to the new LS Library (will happen July 5/6 and later)
  • Rework the Library website
  • Set up AY08 plans for a skill curriculum in grades 5, 8 and 9
  • Evaluate LS Librarian (added)
  • Create AY08 Course Packs for History and English (added)
At Home
  • Finish painting
  • Start a garden (with a little help from a friend)
  • Get bookcases, unpack and organize The Collection
  • "Donate" packing boxes to friends
  • Organize office
  • Organize closets
Writing/Editing
  • Complete Guest Editor's column for KQ
  • Edit 1st/2nd pass proofs for KQ
  • Class column for alumnae magazine
  • start work on possible book (coordinate with co-author)
Other
  • Get 25,000 mile check-up for car
  • Attend Quarterly Meeting and Retreat
  • See Broadway show with friends
  • (possibly) buy tickets for Big Summer Trip
Collapse.... Start Summer To Do List

Feeling old...

Unlike many (most) of my friends, I'm willing to admit that I'm solidly middle-aged. Assuming a lifespan of 80-100, I'm dead smack in the middle. That's ok. I don't mind (just as I don't mind that I have great-nieces). But for some reason my friends do. It's part of that Cult of Eternal Youth and it's not the healthiest place to be mentally. I'm not suggesting that we should all go into agony over how our lives are half-lived, or half-over, but let's not pretend we're still young!

Last week Thing One and I celebrated our 20th anniversary by going to dinner and then a concert. That's one way you start to feel old: when you work in a school and none of the students has heard of Marianne Faithfull. Another way? When you're one of the youngest at a concert! Ok, it was a short (1hr 15min) concert, and in a small venue, but still... I was certainly one of the few in their 40s. You can't tell me that the over 50 crowd is better at a midweek event than the under 50. I also learned that she has a huge gay/lesbian following (at least in NYC). It was a good concert, for all the lack of youth-filled audience, and it was the first time I'd seen her live. I made Thing One buy me a copy of Blazing Away, and I'm currently torturing my Summer Workers with it (lucky for them they're only students - the things they'll learn from me!)


My bloglines posts seem to be filled with age-related stuff. For example, over at Done with Mirrors, there was a thread started about people you've shared part of a lifespan with. Not the obvious, but those that died or were really famous but became obscure during your life - those that you're surprised to find out you were alive (not not necessarily aware of) at the same time they were. For me, it's C.S. Lewis. There's no way I would have been aware of him during the time we shared on earth together, and I was way too young to have noticed his death. But still... for a little while, we shared this planet. The follow-up post was about places you've been/things you've done (like flying B.O.A.C) that are somehow iconic and gone. (There was also a great post about the 40th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone, to tie this all back to Ms. Faithfull).

For a musical trip down memory lane, there's this site, listing the #1 song on this date in history. (þ: Library Garden) We won't talk about the "hit" when I was born. Sigh. Some times, it's better not to look at history.

The
biblioblogosphere is abuzz (I'd say atwitter but that's got implications now) about Michael Gorman's comments on social software and Web 2.0, mostly taking the He Doesn't Get It view (of course, Mr. Gorman doesn't help himself out any, either). But I feel old when I'm told I'm a "digital immigrant", that I don't Get It, simply because I'm choosing. That's part of growing older: making choices about what fits, what doesn't. It means practicing - if necessary - or opting not to.

And finally, the Free Range Librarian posted about Boomer Texting.

BRBGTP... TTYL, mes amis.

Links Galore

10.6.07

Imponderables

I'm heading to Boston today for a family gathering. Last time, I got directions and got a little lost trying to find the hotel. So I thought I'd try both MapQuest and GoogleMaps to see if I could get clearer directions (the ones on the hotel site are actually the best, so we'll try those).

ANYway, I'm a little perplexed. I know YMMV and all but... how does that work, exactly? What I mean is, if -- according to both GM and MQ -- I get on to the highway at the exact same point, and get off at the exact same point, does my mileage vary? According to Google, it's 52.5 miles from I90 to exit 18 and according to MapQuest it's only 49.22 miles.

I'm going with MapQuest.

Can't wait to share

Back in January I read a book that I thought was a fun read. One I wanted to share with my friends and family, not to mention students. Problem was, this was an ARC, so I had to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

By our Book Fair, this book hadn't been published, and wouldn't be for another month. All I could do is tell the students and parents that this was a definite summer purchase/read.

What book? Austenland, by Shannon Hale.

Now, I didn't remember the name Shannon Hale when I picked up the book, and didn't inspect the author copy too closely. That's a good thing because I really didn't like the other Hale book I'd read, Princess Academy (too contrived). So I went into this one with no prejudice against the author, which I know one shouldn't do but really - don't we all? I mean, if it's an author we really didn't like, then it's like eating a food we hate, and if it's an author we really do like, it's a quick, fast delicious read. Right?

Anyway, the book centers on Jane, unlucky in love and unlikely to find anyone as wonderful as Mr. Darcy (specifically, Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy). Her Great-Aunt dies, leaving her the "inheritance" of an all-expenses paid three week vacation at Pembrook Park. This theme-park for grown-up women asks that you show up with only one change of clothes because they'll provide all the rest (right down to era-appropriate undies!). After a few days drill in proper etiquette, you're released into a world populated with dandies and fops, house servants, balls, horses... you remember it from an Austen novel, it's here. Of course, our Jane finds love - or does she?

The ending was a bit much, but then, so are many of Austen's endings. Hale writes good pastiche, and if you're an Austen fan (with or without Mr. Firth's help), this is a Must Read. If you like your romance novels not quite so chick-lit or Harlequin-y, this is a Must Read. And if you're just looking for a fun read...

Oh, I checked: it's on bookshelves now. Finally.

Where I am...

I know it's been a while since I posted... in part, I've been scrambling to get to the finish line for the school year, and in part I've been just totally drained (and stressed). That big To Do list keeps getting extended and pushed back to the summer, while other tiny tasks come fill my days.

Yesterday was graduation, and I have to say I really don't like the tradition of having awards and recognitions and all that "you did best in ____" stuff. When I worked at a Quaker school, there was none of that - all the class was recognized as a class, not as individual achievers. Some people at MPOW feel that we should do more in the way of announcing to the world - and the person - how special they are and how much they've achieved. To me, this plays into that whole "everyone is special" and "everyone must win" attitude, rather than acknowledging that not everyone is, or can be. Much better to not shout about the Few, the Best, the Special and to say, "Hey, you all made it. Congratulations." It'd also make for a much shorter ceremony!

I'm also back to reading, something I haven't really done for a while. Don't know why I hit readers block, but I did. Very annoying, and disturbing (only two books in two months!). However, over the past two days I've read two books so I'm back on track. And yes, I'll be letting you in on the fun.

Now that the school year is over, I'm hoping to finally have an opportunity to get the house in shape and get those photos to the developers and then to post them. I know you can't wait to see the bookcases filled.

Finally, today I learned that one of my uncle's has prostate cancer. Needless to say, my heart is very heavy right now.