This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


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All American Saturday

20160611_183154-1.jpgGood heavens, we are blessed. I worked this morning, so I missed some excitement. The middle kid had a double header, and he played fabulously. YAY for baseball! A homerun, to RBIs, a slide into home, and he was awarded the game ball. The girl had a softball game and she also played well. It was hot and everyone kept their chin up and pulled through.

When I finished work at one, I hustled over to the end of the boy’s game in time to hear the coach award him the game ball. We gathered the family for a trip out for ice cream because you HAVE to celebrate that kind of game, right?

Then home to watch these rascals soak each other with squirt guns. There was some bickering and general whining, but still a good time. Then we cooked hotdogs and brats on the grill for dinner. Now I’m watching these kids work on throwing and catching in the back yard.

FOR REAL? This is my life? I’m this lucky? This privileged? Yeah. I am. Now, what am I going to teach my children? How am I going to give them the empathy I want them to share with the world? For now, I’m enjoying watching them thrive in this privilege, but please never let them  forget that it IS privilege! Never let ME forget!

 

 


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A glimmer? Could it be? #LightAtTheEndOfTheTunnel #MLIS #KentState #LibrarySchool

Just coming up for air. This semester is going to be the hump. I was warned to take both these classes alone, but I can’t swing it. Taking them together means I might graduate at the end of the year, trying to take them separately means at least another year. So, together it is. Classes started on Monday. I’m not drowning, yet, but I’m swimming hard.

20150116_221111Digital Preservation. I thought I had some idea what that is. Not so much. But it IS fascinating. It’s almost as interesting to me as the more traditional forms of preservation and archival work. I am not going to be sorry I took this class. I am beginning to panic about my own digital stewardship of family files. There isn’t likely one among us who have done a good job with this. I thought that I had a handle on all of it. No, no I do not. The more I learn, the more I find out what I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of digital preservation projects lining up for when I finish this class.

Cataloging and Classification I. Yeah, I knew this one was going to be rough. Outside the library world, maybe folks don’t know how tough this one might be. Trust me, it’s a bear. It will likely be one of the most useful classes I take in the whole MLIS program. I’ve had almost no experience with the nitty gritty of this stuff, though. It’s pretty foreign. Wish me luck!

I’m actually pretty proud of myself for staying caught up this week. It’s just the first of ten, but I’m ON IT! I am beating my chest and feeling like I’ve GOT THIS. I’ll be panicking again tomorrow, but for tonight, I am in CHARGE!

Now, if I can arrange a practicum for this summer, I can take Intro to Archives in the fall and GRADUATE IN DECEMBER!

Good grief! Is that light I see at the end of the tunnel?


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#DearGirlieBird #BirthdayGirl #TweenYears

Dear Girlie Bird,

Sweet girl, you are turning eleven. ELEVEN! It’s not typically thought of as a milestone year, but in these years, they all feel like milestones. Maybe even more so than in the 4-9 years. I look back on each birthday and the first few are so distinct, and though I can remember each one individually when I try, they run together for a few years, but the last couple are as distinct as the first few.

fall 19When you were born I remember praying every single minute that I could be an adequate mother for you. I prayed I could just be enough. Not because “just enough” was all I wanted to be. Like most new moms, I wanted to be Super Mom. I wanted to be perfect. But from the first second, I knew I wouldn’t be perfect. No parent is perfect, and I never harbored any illusion that I would be the exception. That’s not to say that I wasn’t certain I could do better than some other moms out there, but I knew I would screw up some things. But I kept praying, “Dear Lord, please let me get this right, or at least mostly right. Let me be the best mom I’m capable of being. Let me protect her safety, her spirit, her heart, and her intellect. Let me teach her about You, about herself, about the world. Let me be a little bit of the mother she deserves.”

It was nearly a panicked feeling. I was confident I could get through those newborn days. I knew I could clean up any blow out, power through breastfeeding or be okay with switching to bottles, tolerate the sleep deprivation. I was totally confident in my ability to get through those first few days, months, even years. I remember your grandmother and my aunts praising me for being “such a good mother” in those early days and I laughed. I had no trouble remembering to keep you in a t-shirt, make sure there was always extra socks in the bag, or researching car seats. That was the easy part! Diapers are nothing, but the hard part was out there. The hard part was a decade or so away. I would go to bed and say my prayers and break into cold sweats thinking about what was ahead. Babyhood was easy, but what about when she can talk, and think, and get into real trouble? What about when she starts asking questions, making her own friends, having opinions? What about when she isn’t pacified by a kiss and a popsicle?

And here we are. You are your own person. You are an amazing, beautiful, caring, sweet, brilliant, kind, courageous, awesome person! You blow me away with who you are. I can’t believe I know you, much less get to be your mother. I still feel so inadequate for the task, but I know that loving you, praying for both of us, and following my heart will get us through the next few years. I don’t know what those years will hold, but I know I’m just as committed to getting through them as the day your were born. And just as scared. I’m going to screw some of it up. You’re going to screw up. I will always forgive you, and I hope you can forgive me.

You have made me so much prouder than I ever imagined. I am proud of how you think, who you are, and the even the people you choose to spend your time with. I pray that you will always make such wonderful choices in friends. The group you have surrounded yourself with at school is as smart and funny as you are, and they appreciate your most wonderful qualities. I trust them to be loyal and solid friends to you for a long time. I’m proud of them, too.

These next few years are going to be so full of changes and challenges. So many things will change and develop. I am thrilled to be able to witness this transformation that has already begun. You are not a little girl anymore. You’re well on your way to becoming a wonderful young woman. Every day brings a little more maturity and a little less of that little girl. It is not going to be a smooth ride all the way. There are going to be times when you feel like the world is ending. You will hate me a little, probably more than a few times. I can take it. I promise that nothing I ever do will be motivated by anything but love for you and your brothers. I promise that every decision your dad and I make through the rest of your lives will be based on what’s best for you three, for our family. It’s an easy promise for me to make because we don’t know how to do anything else. Even when we get it wrong, and we will get it wrong sometimes, you can know that we will do what we really believe is best for our children.

I guess I’ve rambled on enough for now. You’re ELEVEN! Happy Birthday, sweet Girlie Bird. I love you so much. You are the baby that made me a mommy, you made us more than a couple but a family. You are my only daughter and I can’t imagine a more amazing one. You are the fourth generation of a first born daughter, and I have no idea what that means, but it’s pretty cool, right?

I love you, baby.

Your Mommy, Bird


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Twas the day before Thanksgiving…

Yeah, this is what I come up with when I don’t want to be writing for school. Here’s a little dream I had this Thanksgiving Eve. Enjoy!

Twas the day ‘fore Thanksgiving
And all through the land,
The people were scurrying to come up with a plan.
The news was on non-stop, crying violence and pain;
In hopes that folks could find victims to blame.
The stores were all busy, and tempers flew hot;
While visions appeared of deals to be got!
And kiddies in their pjs and I in my sweats;
Had just sipped the cocoa, as good as it gets!
When down in the basement arose such a ruckus,
I sprang from the couch to see what fuss is.
Off to the staircase I flew like a goof,
The kids were sure fighting and now I had proof!
The toys and the junk in the unfinished space,
Gave the illusion of mayhem, not a thing in its place!
When what to my screen weary eyes did appear?
But a clean little corner of holiday cheer.
With a sweet little cherub, so funny and cute,
And his brother and sister, both smart and astute.
They stood up and picked up and gathered the stuff,
The dolls and the robots, the cars; all enough!
To donate, to sell, to throw away, or just pitch,
They want it cleaned out and they just don’t care which!
To the top of the bookshelf, to the back of the trunk!
Now clean it up, sweep it up, pick up the junk!
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky;
So to the job, these children now turned,
With the dusting and sorting, oh my, they had learned!
And then in a twinkling, I felt such great joy.
They’d each like to donate a favorite toy!
As I sucked in my breath and felt ready to praise
Up the staircase they hurried, these children I’d raised.
They were dressed all in fleece, from their head to their feet
And the oldest’s top and bottom would just not quite meet.
A bin full of toys they were pulling behind,
And they looked like sweet elves, but still didn’t mind.
Their eyes, how they twinkled, their giggles, how funny!
They squeals were like music, their smiles so sunny!
The sweet little creatures moved as quick as the light
And they cleaned out the basement so nicely that night!
The piles of their toys that they knew they’d not need
Were just sitting and ready to be their good deed.
They’d sorted them carefully, marking by age
The dollies, the puzzles, that Minecraft game rage.
They were jolly and sleepy and sweetly alive
And I teared up when I saw them and tried not to cry.
A rub of their eyes, and a twist of their heads,
Soon gave me to know it was near time for beds.
I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work
I loaded the toys, they’d worked hard, I can’t shirk!
And driving to Goodwill as fast as I could,
I thought how I’d never believed that they would
Realize all their blessings and give something back.
But I must remember and not give them flack!
And I heard them but whisper as they started to doze:
“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom!”
They’re good kids, I suppose!

 


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Congrats, South Carolina!

Marriage equality comes to South Carolina! Though I didn’t keep up with many of them, I knew quite a few LGBT folks in college in South Carolina. Those who stayed there can now experience all the rights and joys of marriage in their home state. I’m so glad for them, though a little sad that Ohio seems so far away from this milestone.

So, it turns out this guy who went to my college is one of the first South Carolinians to get a marriage license with his same-sex partner. They’ve been interviewed on several media outlets and gotten a good bit of coverage. Lots of folks have posted on his Facebook page sharing support, and I joined them. I truly hope they are happy, though I also wish it was no bigger deal than any other marriage of an old college acquaintance. It is a big deal, though! It’s a really big deal. Here’s these two men who have been sharing their lives for 20 years and FINALLY they get to make easy legal arrangements for each other’s financial security in the event that one of them should die. FINALLY they can share insurance plans, assume next of kin, and just call each other “husband.”

Watching one of the interviews I had to giggle, though. My college acquaintance and his partner and another couple, two women, were featured. They are so sweet and unassuming. They are clearly thrilled to have these new rights and watching them, their happiness is obvious. But they are not the activists who were the first to marry in the Northeast or on the West Coast. They are clear that they aren’t trying to change anyone’s feelings about them. They don’t care what anyone else feels about their union, their lives, their sexual preferences. They have the rights they should have and beyond that, they are uninterested in changing anyone’s minds about anything. It made me smile. It made me even more happy for these couples. They’re just like any other couple getting married. Just as they should be, they’re focused on themselves, their own lives, their future.

Congratualtions, South Carolina. I’m proud of the state where I came of age. Now if my own home state would just catch up!


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Winter beauty blessings

The snow is here, little early this year, for sure. Maybe it’s because I grew up so very far away from this place, but I’m still a so amazed by the snow.

When they started forecasting some measurable snow for Sunday, I went through the same routine I do every time. Start by totally not believing a word of any forecast more than three days out. More often than not, even my favorite local meteorologist is wrong about snow more than three days out. He’s very careful about how he phrases his forecasts, never wanting to make promises so far in advance, but even so, calling for a couple inches of snow for Monday morning just doesn’t mean much on the Wednesday before.

On Saturday, I started thinking maybe there might actually be a little. Well, even if we don’t get the “couple inches” or even something measurable, I bet there will be a pretty shower, and I love to watch it snow, especially at night. As a kid, I didn’t really know how to watch for snow at night.Not until after I moved back to Ohio as an adult did I learn how to find a light, like a street light, maybe across the street, and look to see if it’s snowing. Just looking out the window, it’s often easy to miss the snow at night, or totally misjudge how fast it’s falling.

By Sunday morning I was starting to believe the reports calling for two to four inches. I started wondering if I’d have the Monday my calendar said I would have. I should have been up scrambling eggs at 6:40 shepherd everyone through the morning chaos, then pile them in the car and drop the big kids at one school, then off to the church in another suburb to drop the little guy at preschool. No point heading home, so hang around in that part of town until he’s out of preschool, then longer until our scheduled parent teacher conference at 1:00. Then back to Worthington to be home when the big kids get home, on to homework, dinner, laundry, baths, bed, etc. Just a couple inches of snow can change all that pretty quickly. Only a couple inches, maybe less depending on timing, could cause a delay or two and my whole day can be turned upside down. But, still. SNOW!

By Sunday afternoon, the kids were getting in on the predictions. They got their homework finished, but I know the big ones, at least, were pulling for a full on snow day. Everyone slept with their pajamas inside out. I’m not sure where that superstition comes from, feel free to tell me if you know. Maybe I just wasn’t privy to such things, growing up in Georgia, where it only takes the threat of a couple flakes and a freezing temperature to call off school. Seems to be the prevailing wisdom among elementary aged kids here in Ohio, though, so inside out went the jammies. Even for the youngest.

I put everyone to bed by nine or so, and since my homework was turned in, I enjoyed my silly take out meal alone. I climbed into bed by eleven or so and as usual, cracked the window over my bed. I could hear that it was raining, and the news said the outside temperature was 33 degrees. I tried to watch until the full weather forecast, but I just couldn’t stay awake. When I got up to put Baby Bird back to bed after a potty break, I noticed it was strangely quiet outside. That eerie quite that means just one thing. It’s snowing. Sure enough, everything was pretty much covered already. Except the ground. It’s still pretty early in the season, so concrete, and any place the grass isn’t all that long, is still pretty warm. But the temperature was dipping below freezing and it was sticking.

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This the backyard we woke up to.

 

When we woke at the usual time, our Worthington schools were delayed by two hours. That’s it, the day will be a little different. No sense driving back and forth to the preschool with the snow-crazed rush hour drivers, especially since I’d have to be in Worthington to get the bigs to school. Two hours is long enough for everyone to get a little off with the scheduling, so tempers were out of whack. Got them to school and took the little one to the grocery in the still falling snow. Drivers are crazy, but at least we’re close to home. As I drove, I giggled at myself for still being so amazed by the snow covered trees. Heading into my 19th winter in Ohio, and I still feel like a little kid when the snow flies.

But then. Then after lunch, I looked up and the sun was out. And the sky is the absolute most amazing shade of blue you’ve ever seen. And the branches of every tree are covered in chunks of the white stuff. It’s amazingly gorgeous and even if you’ve lived here your whole life, you have to admit, it’s stunning. So, I’ll share a little of the beauty with you. Enjoy.

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What I DON’T want my children to learn from me…

And I'm not even all that good at keeping up with the laundry!

And I’m not even all that good at keeping up with the laundry!

So, to follow up my Nine Things I Hope My Children Will Learn From Me, I wanted to list a couple things I hope they DON’T learn. We’re all passing on our best and worst to our kids, but I hope being aware of these is helpful. I’m still convinced we’re all messing our kids up in some way. I just hope that they can overcome my parenting shortfalls and turn out to be successful, happy citizens despite them. I’m sure there are more if I thought long enough, but these are the things that pop into my head often. Dear Children, please don’t learn these things:

  1. Procrastinating is a reasonable life habit. We all put the unpleasant off from time to time, but cramming all night for a test, or waiting until your lease is up to look for another apartment, or just waiting until you’re hungry to think about preparing a meal, will not serve you well. There is an argument to be made that an approaching deadline can get your creative juices going and make you perform better. It’s a good argument, I get it, I’ve felt it. But do it to yourself. Set your own deadlines ahead of time. If you have six pages to write by the 20th, tell yourself you must have all resources gathered by the 5th, a rough draft by the 10th, editing by the 15th, and final formatting by the 20th. Or whatever. Respect your own deadlines as much as the instructors, or your bosses, or the cable company’s! If I’d learned that by the time I graduated from high school instead of only after I’d birthed children, I would have avoided a great deal of stress in my life. That black cloud of dread hanging over your shoulder stinks, and it can be avoided.
  2. You don’t need a budget, credit is easy, and there’s always time to save later. Again, I finally learned this lesson, but not until I’d married your dad. My parents knew it, and tried to teach me, but I just didn’t get it. Just like number one, if I’d learned this earlier, I’d have saved myself a whole lot of stress. Your dad may be a little too neurotic the other way, but we balance each other nicely. Don’t count on meeting a mate that balances you, though. There are too many other things on the must-have list for a mate. Take care of your own money because it’s smart. Set a budget, stick to it. Don’t take unnecessary credit, and pay what you do take on time as agreed. And always, always, always save something for the future.
  3. Girls must stay home and cook meals, do all the laundry, care for the kids, and never mow the lawn or perform car maintenance. Now, you might think this one is obvious, but it is what your mother does, at least for now. As much as I spout equality for men and women, I stay home, cook ALL the meals in our home, do all the laundry, provide nearly all primary care for the children, and I’ve never ever run the lawn mower. But you have to understand that this was a choice. Your father and I have divided our family and household chores in the way that works best for us. I LIKE to cook, he barely likes to eat! It does not have to be this way, it’s just the way it is at OUR house. And your dad can, and has, pitched in cheerfully to do laundry, and frankly would do more of it if I weren’t sort of a freak about how it gets done. That’s my own issue, maybe I’ll talk more about that another day. It’s best to find a mate who compliments your interests. If you hate to cook, it’s great to find a mate who loves to, but if you don’t be sure you both agree on what the best take-out is.
  4. Cursing is an acceptable method of communicating. I’m working on it. I know I let the naughty words fly more than I should, and I know you’re listening and repeating it. I know. I promise to try harder. It’s not cute, it’s not even funny. Other people are judging me based on what comes out of my mouth, and they will you, too. And that’s fair because we are all in control of our own mouths!
  5. Smoking for a while when you’re young is no big deal, you can quit later. I hate to use the word “regret” because I wouldn’t change anything that would change the place in life I find myself, with this family, in this place, at this time. If your father and I weren’t smokers, or if only one of us had been, our initial social interactions might have been different and who knows if we’d be together. That said, my only real regret in life is picking up that first cigarette. I really wish neither of your parents had ever been a smoker. You see that I am not a smoker today and maybe you think it was just a thing I used to do and you could try it, too. Please, please, please don’t. Quitting was enormously difficult. I am extremely proud that I accomplished it, but it’s not a project I would wish on anyone. Ever.
  6. You must always make your point. I know you (and probably most of the readers) think I actually believe this one. I don’t, I just have trouble remembering it. As much as I enjoy a good disagreement, and believe it necessary for a healthy relationship, sometimes you have to just let it go. You cannot have a healthy long-term relationship if you can’t sometimes just let the point go. Sometimes making the point isn’t necessary, sometimes it isn’t advisable, and sometimes it’s just too much effort for no pay off. Choose your battles.


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Saturday with friends

Saturday! Yeah, I’ve got some school work that should be looked into, but it isn’t due, yet. Our favorite overnight guests, the only people in the world who can text at 8:30 in the morning and say, “What are you doing tonight? Can we come visit?” are coming tonight. Seriously, if it were anyone else, NO! We couldn’t plan this last week? A few days notice would kill you? But no, these friends are given a pass. We love them, and they are the easiest guests ever. Plus, they love my obnoxious children. I mean, I love my obnoxious children, but I could totally see how folks visiting might be annoyed by them. But not these friends. These are the friends we took with us to Disney just so we’d have a better adult to child ratio. These are the friends who have loved my kids since they were born and are like an extra aunt and uncle. So, yes, yes YOU guys can come tonight. Let’s watch the game. What should we eat?

Besides, I think I already decided I was not getting up at 6:00 a.m. to get everyone to church by 9:00, so even better.

It’s a blessing to have such wonderful friends. 


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La La La Lies

Did you read MotherhoodWTF’s recent blog about the lies we tell the world on Facebook? You should. It’s called “When Photos Lie” and I wish I’d written it. I could have. I’ve had the exact same experience, only there are three children on our outings, we have never had much luck with kites, and I usually don’t even get good pictures. Since I’ve long since learned that only a tiny fraction of you will even glance at that blog entry, even though I gave you the link right there, I’ll just tell you that it’s a mom talking about how we only post the good stuff on Facebook and the like, and that’s all fine and good, but it’s just a slice of real life. She’s not saying we should post more bad stuff, or stop posting good stuff, just that we all have to remember not to compare ourselves to the mostly airbrushed version of our friends we see on social media.

fall 15Just for fun, let’s remember the wonderful pictures of my beautiful children that I took while they played in the leaves on Sunday afternoon. It’s looks like an all American autumn afternoon with sweet, rambunctious children romping in the leaves. What it really was? Three completely spastic children called away from their over indulgence in video games and Halloween candy, forced outside nearly against their will, who found a few minutes of fun so thrilling that they had to shriek nearly the entire time at a decibel level that would cause hearing damage, while never going more than three seconds without bickering with one or both siblings. I spent most of the time asking them to glance my way or stop hitting each other, or at the very least keep the leaves in some sort of grouping because remember Daddy is trying to load them on the tarp and haul them to the street. In the end, the bickering got so out of hand, I sent them all inside to separate rooms and then retreated to the basement to look at the pictures on the good computer. When I heard the bickering start up again, I went up to try and come up with some idea for dinner, which I did not want to cook and I knew they would not want to eat.

Pictures lie, for sure. But they don’t either. I want to remember the sweet innocence of these tree beautiful kids throwing leaves in the air an hour before sunset. I want to remember that they were trilled to be outside on a cool, but not yet cold, autumn afternoon. I know when they are grown up I will remember that they bickered and undid the cleaning or leaf gathering that I did every day, but I don’t need to remember the EXACT times. I want to remember exactly that moment when I stood over the three of them, lying in the leaves giggling, looking up at me. And I have pictures of that.


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This moment…

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“We have tons of these like this, Mom.”

“I know, but I want to remember this one time, when we watched that one show, and you came over and put your head on my shoulder.”

“Whatever, Mom. You’re silly.”

Sigh. When did I stop being “Mommy” and become “Mom?” Seems too soon.