Sunday, December 12, 2010

Semester's End

Twas the night before semester break and all through the library, not a creature was stirring, not even a grad student;
The books were piled in the book drops with care,
In hopes that the professors the papers would soon grade with care.
The undergrads were all snug in their beds, with visions of A's dancing in their heads.
And my staff in their exhaustion, and I in my fatigue were ready to settle in for a long winter's nap.

When out on the campus green there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore through the security gate and threw up the door locks.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature book truck and eight tiny shelvers!
With a little old classification system, so lively and quick, that I knew in a moment, it must be LC!
More rapid than eagles, the shelvers they shelved!
"Now, D, E, F (history) and HG (social work)!
To the top shelf and bottom, to fit all the books in!"

Down the staff elevator they came, with book trucks near to empty
and found book drops overflowing with books, like water in the sea.
Their hopes to be done soon were tarnished and moot,
but the continued on shelving by hand and by foot.

And soon they found all the books put away, and they journeyed off at the end of the day.
And as I locked up for the break, I could be heard to say:
"Happy Semester Break to all, and to all a good night!"

**With thanks and apologies to Clement Clark Moore

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Putting life on hold

I realized today that, in a lot of ways, I put my life on hold when Einstein is out of town.

The realization came as I was trying to make some financial decisions (nothing major, just trying to decide what to do with extra gas and grocery money that we save when he is gone). I was looking at our finances, playing around with different scenarios, and I thought, well, I will just leave it until he gets home. Thankfully, he is never gone for more than a few months at a time, so I have the luxury of putting off decisions...but in this particular case, it is dumb to wait until he gets home. And since his communication is pretty limited, I don't want to waste his time with the decision. And then I, I am putting off a lot of things, while he's gone...

Besides cleaning the house and shaving my legs. there are a few things that I really shouldn't be dragging my feet on, mostly professional decisions that have meaning for our life together. None of them are things that would drastically change our life, they are just things I would like to talk over with him. There is also a laundry list of silly things that I could totally take care of and he wouldn't even notice:

-Finding wall decor for our bedroom
-picking a color to paint the guest room
-buying more memory for my computer
-putting away our summer clothes
-reorganizing the kitchen drawers
-buying a new comforter for our bed

These are not earth shattering decisions. They aren't even things that we would discuss much. I just miss his input and help.

But that isn't enough of an excuse. He's gone too often for me to put life on hold when he's not here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The other side of the fence

Okay, it is time to come clean.

I'm that girl. The one who volunteers for everything. Who never met a raffle ticket or bake sale that she wouldn't volunteer for. The one who made meals whenever she was called, put her name on the list to organize, volunteered to organize and decorate for events...and felt superior to everyone else because of it.

Or I should say, I used to be that girl.

New base + new squadron + new job = I've become the girl** I used to disdain- the one who says "Look, I'm busy! And what has the squadron done for me?" I used to hate that attitude of entitlement; I had a hard time with people who just showed up to social things, and never put their name down to volunteer. If you wanted something from the squadron, you should give back to it!

But seriously, I can't. I just can't. I've got obligations at work and in our parish and voluteering in the squadron is something that I want to do, but I just can't. And I hate that I used to judge people like me... and I'll be honest, I'm still sort of judging myself. I find myself hesitating to take advantage of squadron resources (or to show up to any events at all) because I haven't volunteered for a single thing, and I'm probably not going to any time soon.

** I would use the gender neutral term here, except I've never met a male spouse who was involved in the squadron spouses groups....lots of great male spouses who were supportive, awesome gentleman who go out of their way to help their friends, yes...but the people decorating for the kids Christmas Party are always women.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Love is here

Love is the things we do when we're not thinking of it.

Love is rocking back and forth, holding a friend who is at the end of their rope.

Love is answering the phone when you don't want to.

Love is sending a funny thought to a friend who can't take any more negativity.

Love is being there when someone else needs you.

Love is not caring if you look like a fool, as long as they feel better.

Do the impossible thing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Phone holster

I've always thought that phone holsters were stupid.

After missing 2 calls (some of the last calls I'm expecting for a long while) I'm seriously considering pricing out a nice phone holster. Or two. The only problem is that my phone doesn't really work inside of the library, so it seems a little pointless.

Also, why is it that he always calls when I'm 1) away from my desk and/or 2) not in a position where I can take some time to talk to him? I spend hours at work typing policy, working on spreadsheets and other mundane administrative minutiae, but he always calls when I'm right in the middle of some sort of crisis.

I guess he just has a gift. :-D

Friday, July 9, 2010

Workplace politics

There are politics at any workplace. I get that. I've even experienced it before, in other jobs.

But this is the first time that I've found myself at the center of the maelstrom. And I don't like it. I can't even send out a simple email without causing some kind of ridiculous bruhaha. And because I am (as always) the newest, most junior person around, I have to toe the line and mind my elders and blah blah blah.

What is funny is that I actually LIKE everyone I work with. I don't dislike a single person. I know that other people have SEVERE grudges against other people- but it doesn't bother me. I get along with everyone on a personal level. But there is a LOT of backlash to things I start/suggest.

Also, the thing that sucks about libraries vs. the Air Force? The Air Force has a clear command structure. You know if someone is your peer or not. You know who you can vent to, who you have to be respectful of, etc. Even though Einstein is sometimes in a weird place with relating to people (I think it happens to everyone from time to time) for the most part he knows where he stands.

I never know where I stand with people.

But I do love my job. :-D

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How much do you share at work?

A friend recently shared with me that her coworkers had been horrified to find out (through a conversation with another spouse who happened to run into her while out at lunch with said coworkers) that her husband was deployed.

She hadn't said a word. Around here, where deployments are short but grindingly frequent, people rarely do. It's certainly not something I would share with my coworkers, much as I like them. Living in another community, with a long commute to work, makes it a little easier for me to separate the two "parts" of my life, so I don't worry too much about my coworkers "finding out" by my friend's dilemma made me think...

Were her coworkers justified in their hurt? Should she have confided in them? Would my coworkers be upset in a similar circumstance? Should I at least be telling my boss, or someone at work? For safety reasons, if nothing else?

It also made me think about what I call military voyeurism, for lack of a better term. I don't want sympathy, special treatment or sighs. In this community, there is plenty of support from other spouses, etc- my friend didn't need support, and definitely didn't want to deal with sighing, clucking or questions she can't answer, so she didn't say anything to her coworkers. Now she has two coworkers who are angry at her (I have been trying to figure out their logic, but not having a middle school mentality is hurting me on this one!).

I'm not planning to change my own plans and methods, but the situation did make me think.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My job has combined with Einstein's unpredictable schedule to make our time together even more scarce than usual. So when he unexpectedly got a one day pass to take leave (leave is very scarce on the ground around these parts!), we wanted to take advantage.

I aggressively cleared my calendar for our midweek day off. There was a training going on I needed to attend? Sorry, I'm out that day. My boss needed a meeting with me? Sorry, I was taking a vacation day- it was on the calendar! Oh, wait, we need someone to take care of prep for an orientation group! Someone else will have to take care of it.

We were going to have a day all to ourselves. In the middle of the week. No errands, no chores, no mandatory fun to attend, no parties with other people, no nothing. Just the two of us.

And then, the inevitable call: "Honey, I'm really, really sorry...there was a blah blah blah blah blah and it looks like the only way to fix it is for me to work on that day." I was sad, and angry, and frustrated and all of the other things you would expect- but I felt bad for him, since he was clearly miserable about. I asked (without any real hope) if there was any way around it, explaining that I had spent the past week or so putting things off, packing other days with back to back meetings, and generally pushing things aside to make room for our little one day vacation. But, I said, I understood. I tried in vain to find another day on my calendar that would work, but since I had worked so hard to clear that day, I was booked solid for the next 2 weeks.

And then, lo and behold, wonder of wonders: the scheduler made it work. We are got our day together, thanks to the ingenuity of the scheduler, Einstein's persistence and the genuine human kindness of all involved.

So I want to express my appreciation to all involved. I'm especially grateful for people who, instead of going with the suck it up mentality that I see so often, really make an effort to make things as bearable as possible. In a squadron where people are gone as much or more than they are home, the people (and their actions) make all the difference!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book 4: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher and Wrap up post

I received the first three books in the Harry Dresden series from a friend for Christmas.

It's taken me until June to finish them, which should tell you something about how much reading I've been doing, lately.

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher was definitely my favorite of the Harry Dresden novels thus far. I'm excited to pick up number four.

What do I like about the series?

I love Harry. He's funny, he's nowhere near perfect, he's a gentleman. I also love Bob, his talking skull/spirit personal assistant. The books are realistic fantasy, which is my favorite type. The supernatural is part of the real world, in these books, and that makes it easier for me to enjoy the storyline. I love characters, and Harry is a character and a half. Literally, by the end of this book, but I'll let you read it to find out.

Also, I rarely let myself be drawn into a non-finite series; I've been burned before (Tom Clancy. David Weber.). I don't like it when books start stretching out, getting too involved- if you have to put a character list and a synopsis in the front, I'm not interested. I like the Harry Dresden novels because they stand alone, but build on each other, as well.

As I'm writing this, I have mere minutes left in the 48 Hour Book Challenge. I should mention that although I haven't finished it, yet, I did read 10 of the 13 books of Saint Augustine's Confessions which I've been meaning to start since February.

My totals are as follows:

Reading: 20.5 hours
Blogging: 1.5 hours
Social media: 2 hours
Books Read: 4.75

Wow! My secret goal was 24 hours, and even with a huge break for Mass and brunch today, I still met my goal when everything is all totaled up! I still wish that I had managed to read for 24 hours, but there is always next year!

Participating also reminded me that I do need to take the time to be an introvert every once in awhile- to say no to going out so that I can stay home and read.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book 3: Truesight by David Stahler Jr

Despite my earlier assertion that my goal was to whittle down my to-be-read list, I decided that the books I had were too slow moving and I needed some YA fiction to read. Mostly, I was jealous after reading some of the tweets and posts by other participants, and wanted some YA goodness of my own.

Unfortunately, my local library has a really weak YA section, and none of the books on my TBR list were in (which is why they are still on my TBR list, I guess). I did find Will Grayson Will Grayson which wasn't on my list, but only because I'd forgotten to put it there. I'm saving it for later, though, and started reading again with Truesight by David Stahler Jr.

I picked it off the shelf based solely on its cover, and the fact that I had enjoyed Stahler's Doppleganger. At the beginning, this book felt a little too much like The Giver; a thirteen year old awaiting his life assignment in a supposedly utopian dystopia. Jacob is an interesting character in his own right, though, and despite the alliterative name, I didn't have a hard time distinguishing him from Jonas. Jacob is much less naive, and in Delaney, he has someone his own age to reinforce that fault lines in his community that he has already sensed.

There are overtones of cult-ishness to the civilization, and the Truesight doctrine is deliciously creepy.

That said, I wish I had known it was part of a trilogy before picking it up. I was frustrated with how slowly the story moved, feeling that there was no way for the story to resolve in the number of pages that I had left. And, of course, it didn't resolve itself, because there are two more books to read. I'm not sure if I'll seek them out- they weren't on the shelf at the library, and honestly, although I want to know what happened to Delaney, and I enjoyed Jacob, the world didn't pull me in enough for me to put in an ILL request.

Reading: 9.25 hours
Blogging: 1.25 hours
Tweeting/reading: 1 hour

Book 2: Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving

I picked up my copy of Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving while visiting Granada, and started reading it while I was actually at the Alhambra. I put it down again when I returned home, and it feels good to finish it- and it made for a nice little reminder of my own travels, as well.

I'd previously only read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and I have to say that I enjoyed Tales of the Alhambra much more. Irving's tall tales are artfully woven with the point of view of an American traveler in Spain, and I can say easily that some of those observations still ring true nearly 200 years later. I also enjoyed the footnotes, which were in Spanish and highly amusing.

My hours count stands as follows:

Reading: 6.25 hours
Blogging: 1 hour
Tweeting/blog reading: .5 hours

I read The Confessions by Saint Augustine for awhile last night, but reading that is slow going, which is what made me reach for short stories this morning. Our local public library is open right now (the only time their hours and my hours at home coincide all week!) so I am thinking of heading over there to browse a bit. I have a lot of things to read here at the house, but they are all sort of slow reads, and I think I need some quick wins to stay inspired.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Book 1: An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor

After just over one hour of reading, I've finished my first book of the 48-hour book challenge:

An Altar in the World: A geography of faith by Barbara Brown Taylor

I'm sure I saw it recommended somewhere, but I don't remember where. I put books in a TBR list, and I don't always put down where they are rec'd from. I'm glad I jotted this one down, though.

Taylor, a former Episcopalian priest, gives the book a subtitle that might be slightly misleading to the average reader. By calling it a "geography of faith" she sets an expectation of a sampling of world religions, but as she unapolagetically explains in the first few chapters, while she has definitely gathered practices from other faiths, and knows enough about them to identify commonalities and departure points, this book is essentially based in Christian though and practice.

While it wasn't what I expected, her space-rather-than-map-centered-geography was an excellent read. Each of the twelve chapters focused on a particular practice or idea that would help people base their spiritual lives not in some ephemeral otherworld, but in the concrete, hands-on actions and interactions of daily life.

I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm already thinking of which friends I want to pass it along to.

48 Hour Book Challenge

Although I've been outside of the Kidlitosphere for about 6 months since I've crossed over to the dark side and become an academic librarian, I've wanted to participate in Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book challenge for a couple of years now, but since we were PCSing during last year's and I was up to my neck in work the year before, I haven't been able to...but this year it is ON!

So! My TBR pile is mostly regular fiction and non-fiction; I no longer receive ARC's of kids or YA books- I don't really get ARC's at all, anymore, which is one of the things that really sucks about being an academic librarian. I don't have a goal in mind for either hours or books; I just want to shrink my to be read list a little bit. I've been doing a lot lately, and my introvert side needs some nurturing, and it seems like this will be a great weekend to sit around and read.

I'm nearly done with An Altar in the World: A geography of faith by Barbara Brown Taylor, so I am going to curl up in my favorite chair and get cracking.

I will be tweeting throughout the 48 hrs at

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thoughts on the military and the idea of work/life balance

I found a new blog yesterday, and have been eagerly reading some of her very thoughtful posts. While many have been bookmarked for later reference, and nearly all have made me think, one in particular has prompted me to think about how the military interacts with mine and my husband's true vocation, marriage.

Her post discusses a strange but true fact of career planning in mainstream America, that:

"The notion of consider the kind of daily life you would like to lead is absent from professional career planning as any of us experienced it. Not in college, not in high school, not back in grade school when we were drawing pictures of What We Will Be When We Grow Up. Sure, there's advice to consider the kind of work you want to do. But the notion of choosing a career path that is well-matched to the kind of life you want to lead outside work is completely foreign."

This has been an issue of some contention for Einstein and I from the very start. I, after all, longed for us to have careers that made family life the center of our lives, as it was for both our families growing up. Einstein, while aware that the military was in many ways incompatible with that vision, felt truly called to his profession, and both of us made what we felt was a mature, well-informed decision that he should stay in the military, that we should marry, and that he should plan on a full 20 year military career*. We had long discussions about the military, about moving around the country, about the moral doctrines of just war and the effects that the lifestyle would have on any sort of academic or library career that I would want to have. We discussed the effects on our future children of frequent moves, being far from family, etc. We have had a series of similar discussions at two other points since then: when he decided to be a pilot, rather than an engineer and when we had to submit his "dream sheet" of aircraft choices.

What we did not discuss, at all, was what our daily life would look like. Mostly, that was because we had no clue. Daily life in the military (at least in my experience) fluctuates so much dependent upon job, base, leadership, and a billion other factors as to be indescribable. Einstein's Air Force uncles and their wives did their best to prepare us, but neither of us had the slightest idea of what we were getting into.

I am not talking about deployments. Einstein entered the Air Force post-9/11. We both understood that deployments were a foregone conclusion. I am talking about the when-he-is-home time. I had no idea that his schedule would be so varied, so unpredictable, so dependent on weather and mechanical breakdowns and the often seemingly insane whims of leadership. No one told me about long hours spent at work studying material in the vault. Everyone focuses on moving and deployment, but no one that talked to me (and I talked to a LOT of people) thought to discuss the long, unpredictable hours, the lack of weekends and ability to take sick leave to care for a child and a million other little details that pervade daily life in the military.

As we constantly evaluate our disposition toward having children, Einstein and I have come to the uncomfortable realization that while we feel equipped to deal with the moves and being far from family, the daily grind of military life and deployments make us feel that our daily life isn't really suited to children. I am not saying that we will continue to try to avoid pregnancy; not at all! After all, our first commitment is to God and to each other, and that commitment includes the promise of children. But if we could go back in time, would we choose this life? Maybe not. At this point, though, we are committed* and so we try to find ways to make our daily life work as we want it with the circumstances we find ourselves in. And in that, I don't think we are that different from any family, military or not.

*I don't know if Einstein will stay in the full 20. With his commitment after pilot training (10 years) plus his time in service before pilot training, he will be near enough to his 20 by the time he can get out to make it a pretty ridiculous idea...but you never know.

NOTE: This is not meant to be a "Oh civilians have it so easy" post. I'm just trying to get some thoughts of my own out and see if I can make better sense of it by writing it out.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And then I found a new job

I haven't posted in almost two months because I got a new job.

Not only did I get a new job, but I crossed over to the dark side.

I am now working in an academic library. And I love it. I mean, really really really love it. I thought I would miss working with little kids. I thought I would miss all of the funny stories. I thought I would miss a lot of things. But I don't!

So I have been busy loving my new job. And Einstein and I have been getting used to a very new dynamic: I am working as much or more than he is. Between my commute time (around 2 hrs per day) and the fact that I have been working way more than 40 hrs a week while trying to get my head above water, things have shifted in our house. He is home by himself a lot. He is doing all of the grocery shopping (and doing a great job, I might add!).

Things are settled down a little now, though, so I just want to say that I have lots of ideas for posts, and I really am planning to write them. Soon.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Violent movies

Does anyone else have a hard time watching military movies? I can't watch military movies. Or really any violent movies. I do okay with unrealistic movies ("Stealth", anyone?) but anything that is remotely realistic, I just can't watch.

Which is unfortunate, since realistic, violent, military themed movies are some of Einstein's favorites. But I can't even be in the same room if one is on.

I also get sick of making excuses for why I don't want to watch things, whether we are over at someone's house or trying to pick a movie to go see in the theater. I just can't handle it. If I do end up watching something, I have nightmares for a week or so afterwards.

I don't really think I'm missing out on much by not watching violent movies...but my dislike of them coupled with his dislike of chick flicks really limits are movie viewing abilities.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I wish I worked here...

People always say this to me (meaning they want to work at the public library) and they always finish the sentence with "it is so quiet!".

The next time someone says that to me, I am laughing in their face.

Today, we called the cops once every hour for my entire shift. I am not kidding. The top 3 incidents (only 3- there were more, but these were the most interesting!):

1) A woman's purse was stolen. After hyperventilating, going into hysterics, yelling at the librarian who suggested she check her car to be sure she hadn't left her purse there, accusing 3 different people of taking it, and filing a police report, the woman went out to her car and found, you guessed it, her purse. (I would like to note that no one was angry with her, just glad she found her purse. We were also amused, I'm not going to lie.)

2) A man stumbles in, knocks over a display of books, He tells us "Hey ladies, how's it going, woops, that's the floor. No no I'm fine, just having a rough day!" Obviously, he was drunk. So after he stumbled to a chair and passed out, we called the cops. Who had to call an ambulance for him, he was that intoxicated. Yep.

3) Another drunk man FELL ASLEEP on the toilet in the man's restroom. I am not making this up. Since all of our male staff members were either at lunch or out sick, I and another librarian went in the bathroom, where we pounded on the stall and yelled to try to wake him up. Since that didn't work, we called the cops (this was the fifth time out of eight for the day!).

So yeah. And people wonder why we say they shouldn't let their kids run around the library alone if they are under 12? Really?