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In a few moments I will attempt to juggle the following spinning plates:

– start preparations for cooking mini pot pies (leave the butter out to soften) while I…

– start importing recent photos, while I…

– get logged into the various websites I need for a work project, while I…

– listen to my “unrated” playlist in iTunes and add ratings.

On your mark… get set… go!

Wednesday was relatively quiet.  Everything I needed to do, I could do in the Center and there were no meetings scheduled.  I started the morning with some troubleshooting on the Google Calendars we were setting up for the office.  I had already created a Google account for the office and set up the calendars under that account, then made it “shared” with my own Google account and everyone else in the office.  I filled in more of the events that we had already discussed and left many of them as “all day” with lots of question marks in the titles since we still have a lot of details to confirm.

I worked through lunch proofreading a grant proposal for more library training.  Usually, when I get something to proofread, I also pretty it up.  In this case, there were a lot of tables full of budget figures in the proposal so I added very small touches like lightly shading the header rows, giving a thicker border above the “Total” rows and things like that, making the tables a bit easier to read.

I spent the last couple hours converting more of our webpages to the content management system that the entire library is switching to.  The office I work in is just one small unit of many, many departments within the University Library, thus we get pulled into the big, overarching decisions with everyone else.

After I left the Center, I spent a couple hours working on LibGuides stuff.  I added my notes from Tuesday’s training session to my outline and searched for video tutorials that I could add to our training guides.

Thursday was full of experimentation, which is something I truly love… most of the time.  I synced Thunderbird with the office Google Calendars (via Lightning and Provider) and installed a couple extensions in order to get a customized print-out of the schedules we needed for the programs in the Fall.  It was quickly apparent that tweaking this work-around would require a little more time than I could give it right then, so I moved on to other projects.

One of our international librarians has spent the past year with us and she is leaving soon to go back to Pakistan.  I have learned *so* much from her and had such a wonderful time getting to know her.  She stopped by my desk and we had a good talk about file management practices… or the lack thereof.  We both bemoaned the messy, duplicated, frustrating nature of shared network drives.  Every place I’ve worked at for the past 10 years has had such a feature yet not a single one of them has used them well.  People still email drafts back and forth to each other, which are then saved on desktops or in personal folders of the network drive and pretty soon there are a dozen different versions of the same document.  We talked about the search limitations and clunky interface involved in trying to find the right file in the right folder.  Mused on the potential of tagging for file systems. But even information professionals don’t know what exactly to do with their information.  Alas.

In the afternoon I had a one-on-one LibGuide training session, which went really well.  We focussed on the “Books from the Catalog” box and created RSS feeds from UIUC’s New Titles page as well.  I realized I need to add a blurb to the handout about the difference between “copying” a box and “linking” a box.

Friday hit me with the revelation that the IFLA conference is only three weeks away!  We got the schedule for our GSLIS booth coverage at IFLA in Quebec — I’ll be one of the volunteers.  I’m also going as part of the Mortenson Center crew to present a poster there, which was one of the projects I worked on today.  The Center has a pretty clever approach to conference posters — they create slides in PowerPoint (like a lot of people do) BUT! they make several slides instead of one big slide.  They get these slides printed out as 11 x 17 laminated mini-posters, which lay in the bottom of a carry-on very conveniently and without the need to be rolled up.  At the conference, they arrange the mini-posters however they’ll fit with the poster board provided, sometimes they leave a couple slides off.  It’s all very flexible, easy to pack, easy to set up and take down.  So I’ve been formatting the slides for this year’s poster, adding images from our archive and getting it ready for our last proofing next week before it’s sent to the printers.

I also worked on an excel spreadsheet for our program participants; the spreadsheet will link to several mail merge documents in Word for things like name badges, contact lists, introductions for speakers and so on.  We’ve never done this before with this program.  In years past, the list of participants was simply repeated from one Word document to another, with various information added and left off and reformatted and so on.  In an effort to make our documents more centralized and efficient, we’re trying out the mail merge approach this year.  Hopefully it works smoothly.

The day ended with the beginning of another project – I started proofreading a publication that will be coming out this fall on international library leadership institutes, which sorta started here.  This publication is also the basis for our IFLA poster and – lucky me – it’s actually a very interesting read!

And now it’s Saturday.  I’m at home.  I’m going to have a couple chocolate chip cookies and work on home projects rather than work projects for a while.   🙂

The end of a semester.  The beginning of summer.  My 30th b-day five months away.  All good reasons for a good change.

This morning, straight out of the shower, my hair looked like this:


As of 4 o’clock this afternoon,  my hair looked like this:


Ahh… I feel so much better!

I’m terribly disappointed… shouldn’t there be a New England or West Coast in there somewhere?

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English
10% Dixie
10% Yankee
5% Midwestern
5% Upper Midwestern

Always look on the bright side of life..

Originally uploaded by Librarienne.

You know how one sad thing can color everything else? I’m trying not to let that happen right now. The why and wherefore are all explained at Lori’s new blog – – for many of you that title might already give you a good idea.

Having no more ink

Originally uploaded by Librarienne.
This delightful book had 17th century scribbling all over it. In at least three places I found variations of this little rambling: “John Siser is my name and with my hand and pen I wish all the same and if my pen (pow’r?) it had borne better… But for having no more ink in my pen… John Siser his book 1677.”

John then goes on to practice writing the letters “J” and “S” several times. I did a quick Google search on him and found a baptism record for one John Siser of Burrough Green, Cambridgeshire dated 3 June 1643. Even if that were the year he’d been born (though he could have been born a few years earlier) John would have been 34 years old in 1677. Which makes the whole thing even funnier to me. A 34-yr-old man writing his name over and over in an old mathematics book?

But then it gets better. This was the honest-to-God printed title of a little pamphlet I cataloged yesterday:

An approved answer to the partiall and vnlikt of Lord Digbies speech to the bill of attainder of the Earle of Strafford.
Which was first torne in pieces and afterwards disgracefully burnt by the hang-man in Smithfield, Cheapside, Westminster, upon Fryday being the 15 day of July, 1641…
written by a worthy gentleman.

from a six-page tract by Thomas Wentworth Strafford, 1593-1641

I worry about Mr. Strafford, first having his bill “torne in pieces and disgracefully burnt” and then mysteriously dying in the same year…? What in the world happened to the poor man? Or maybe he had it coming, I don’t know. I cataloged all sorts of little pamphlets yesterday just like this – all written in England during the 1600s. All of them seemed to be responses to someone else’s pamphlet. To my modern interpretation, they all seemed to be polite only in the tongue-in-cheek sense while indignantly rebuking whatever that other pamphlet writer had said. Can you imagine what these characters would have done with all the communication styles, tools, methods available today? Oh, the hilarity!

Maybe you've heard…

People all said sit down
Sit down you're rockin' the boat.
And the devil will drag you under
By the sharp lapel of your checkered coat,
Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down,
Sit down you're rockin' the boat.

— from Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser

…but have you also heard…

I used to be god-fearing
now I'm so frightened
'cause the devil will drag you under
by the sharp tailfin
of your checquered cab (?)
Now I can't sit down,
I'm going overboard
in this heathen town.

— from Heathen Town by Elvis Costello

I have one more hour at work… so much more I wanted to get done, so many more strings to tie up, but when the time runs out, well, that's it. That ever-present anxious feeling is getting stronger. It's very much like the feeling I would get when I would stay up all night to finish a paper due at 8am the next morning. Except our departure is due at 5am tomorrow morning and this is quite a bit more FINAL than a paper. This is it. The end. Finis. So long. I feel like I'm standing to make the boat rock on purpose. As though that's the only way to keep the darn thing moving – by rocking. And the steering is just up to the wind. When you're standing on a rocking boat, you sort of steer and hang on for dear life at the same time.

Over the past couple weeks, two people I know have pushed themselves to extremes, made sacrifices, worked to the bone, and just all 'round been incredible SuperPeople.  

Chris, a dear friend of ours, has given up at least two weekends plus multiple weeknights to help us get rid of and/or pack up all our crap. (Why do we have so much crap?!) He's given up hours and hours that could have been spent on working, eating, sleeping, socializing, traveling just to help us out.  He's been a godsend (or, as his name suggests, "a bringer of Christ").  

Lori, love of my life, has been going non-stop to get things sorted, wrapped up, packed up, figured out, put together, and on schedule.  We're both bruised, stiff, sore, fatigued, stressed, and yet she's still beautiful and charming.  After several days of hauling junk down three flights of stairs and climbing back up the stairs, we're trying to get our good night's rest in sleeping bags on our very hard floor.  What she deserves is a good massage, a hot bath, and a full night on a comfy plush bed.  

I have no idea how to give back to these two heroes.  One of those wish-I-had-a-lot-more-money moments.  I would lavish all sorts of thank-you presents on both of them.  But I don't have lots-of-money so what are my other options?  We're leaving in a week! 

When I brainstorm, I come up with…
   – maybe we could have a big grand dinner for Chris and Sarah, but, oh yeah, we don't have a single pot or pan in the house or any other cooking utensil for that matter
   – maybe we could get him some really nice present, but, oh yeah, that whole money issue
   – maybe I could get Lori a full treatment at the spa, but… see above
   – at the very least, I could find us something more comfortable to sleep on for this last week, like borrow an air mattress
   – I could look into finding moving help for when we get to Illinois
   – we could keep brainstorming and get Chris something fantastic for Christmas

Ideas?  Please? 

As I mentioned earlier, I've stumbled upon a wonderful criss-crossing web of academic blogs that have reminded and enlightened me about the traps one faces in higher education… namely, one's self. Our procrastination, our hesitation, our second-guessing, our indecision. The theme I see running across almost every academic blog I've read so far is the feeling of not getting enough done. Never enough time. Always more grading, research, proposals, search committees, articles, and clueless students (not to mention those nasty department politics).

And here I am, on the verge of jumping into my own deep pool of – at the very least – a master's program or – hopefully – a double master's leading to a PhD.

Am I crazy?

Reading this article at the academic coach blog has intrigued and worried me. The Intrigue: graduate students making something of a name for themselves with their blogs. The Worry: incriminating blog remarks coming back to bite you.

This article made me stop again and think about whether or not I really want to be identifying myself on this blog. My gut instinct says I would stop writing if I couldn't be writing as *me*. I've noticed the careful anonymity employed by other academic bloggers — using all sorts of creative euphamisms to describe their partners, employers, and even home towns. If I wasn't such a visual person, that might work for me. But I know I'll be using photos in my blog anyway – some of them featuring the people in my life, possibly myself (see sidebar) – and I don't actually use my name on this blog anywhere, so it's not at though a simple Google search for me, individually, would bring anyone here. Nevertheless, I wouldn't want to post anything here that would hurt people.

Ah, but what about those times when something really needs to be vented and the venting would implicate certain persons? Such as right now, someone close to me has a working situation that is downright awful and I would love to lambast the tyrant to shreds, but it could backfire on the someone close to me. So I have to keep my blogging mouth shut in order to protect the innocent.

I'd be doing that whether I was identified on this site or not. Keeping my blog mouth shut, that is. This is the internet. There's no way to be completely invisible anymore.

Anyway… it's a very interesting article about blogging and graduate students. I hope I'll grow this little bloglet into such read-worthy material.

New Blog!

Starting February 2012 I'm combining my two blogs into one:

Thank you for updating your RSS reader to the new blog!

sara.q.thompson [at]

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