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