This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


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Midsummer pause

There’s no real break in the action, and technically, it’s nowhere close to “mid” summer. Actually, we don’t even hit REAL summer for another week or so. But it feels like school has been out forever and this is the first moment there has been to sit down and reflect.

I still can’t give you much about my job. With 10 days to go, I’ve been invited to apply for the job I already hold (though on a part time basis now), with a description I practically wrote, and that literally NOBODY else given the posting will be interested in. I’m rather hopeful about my chances.

Besides the insanely long and drawn out process of figuring out what will happen with Hamma Library and my job, other things are going on in the world. So many other things. My little corner of chaos is so insignificant. I am so saddened by the continued deep divisions in our world. Our country continues to dig deeper into our polarized habits. We constantly discount the experiences and opinions of anyone we disagree with, often without even thinking about what the person is actually saying. You voted for Trump? You must be a racist, rich, conservative with no empathy for your fellow man. What? You’re upset by what Trump’s tweets? You have GOT to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal snowflake. End of conversation.

Like, really, END OF CONVERSATION. Anything said afterwards is just platitudes if we’re lucky, and more likely vitriol. We are so ruled by social media. I heard someone describe how we get information today as “through a fire hose.” So very true. It’s so much faster and with way more force than we could ever actually absorb. Then, because we cannot accept the input in that form, we pick and choose what to accept according to the dreaded “confirmation bias.” It’s a real thing. A real, really powerful thing. Anyone who tells you they have NO bias should terrify you.

I don’t know what the answer is. I keep researching more about how our brains work, how we are unable to avoid bias etc. I’m unable to find a way to gather news myself that doesn’t leave me even more terrified about our future. Yeah, there’s no doubt that I land on the liberal side of the spectrum, but I’m nowhere near the most liberal person you know. I know some folks who are about as far from center on the conservative side and they seem so very rational. So ready to get things done. Why is it then, that the only thing we hear from politicians is the extreme? Nothing is ever going to get done this way. EVER. If you listen to the Republicans, then the Democrats are just blocking progress. If you listen to the Democrats, than the Republicans are turning back the clock. In the meanwhile the “forgotten folks” is becoming a larger and larger class. I’m feeling pretty damn forgotten today. I hope we can rally the troops like those “forgotten folks” of 2016.

Nothing I’ve said can’t be found on the Internet in a million other places. There are hundreds of thousands of other Americans who feel this way. Why are we only whispering on the Internet? Probably because we’re the folks who don’t want to argue with our neighbors on Facebook. We aren’t willing to be labeled in anyway for our social media usage. (Okay, if you actually follow me, you probably would label me, and I can live with that.) We’re going to have to speak up, or the polarization is going to get worse, not better.

My children know. They know that there are these incredibly split sides. They obviously parrot a lot of what they hear their dad and I say, but they do think on their own. They ask questions that make me proud. I pray every single night that they never lose that! When did the rest of us lose that? When did we pick a side and just go with it? These aren’t sports teams, folks. Undying loyalty is extremely dangerous.

So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Not exactly earth shattering, as I’m sure there are thousands of us thinking the same things these days. We are all dealing with it in different ways. Some have become unexpected activists, making phone calls and rallying their friends. Some have completely tuned out, just ignoring the news and avoiding any Facebook post with a political bent. But there are some of us who are listening, but doing very little. I feel a bit like a watched pot. I’ll still boil, and the boil IS coming, but it’s just gonna seem like forever before the bubbles roll.

PhotoGrid_1497659563228Meanwhile, summer rolls on. I take a child to work most days, the other two stay home and do chores and watch many hours of TV. I sit outside until dusk, then hurry everyone to bed before it’s obscenely late. I worry about school supply lists and summer bridge homework. We grill. Man, I love to grill. I’m a privileged member of a privileged society. So, there’s that, too. It’s a good life full of blessings, but I want to find more, not less, ways to spread those blessings around.

And any free time I find, I read about Lutheran theologians. You know, because who isn’t fascinated by these old, dead, white guys?¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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And lastly, I don’t want to close without acknowledging my friends in the LGBTQ+ community. I stand with you, friends. It’s Pride Week and I hope you feel celebrated! I’m still sad that such a celebration is even necessary and I look forward when being LGBTQ+ is just shrugged off like being a redhead, or a left hander. Different, but not so much. Just a different spot on the spectrum of human, of Child of God! My siblings in Christ, I love you, I see you, and I’m proud to be your ally.

 


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Because it wasn’t going fast enough already?

Maybe my longest break in posting! It’s been a crazy summer, but it’s flown by. You probably know I did my internship this summer, at Hamma Library, Trinity Lutheran Seminary. I can’t even begin to tell you the things I learned there, but a lot of it is recorded in my e-portfolio. You can read about it there, if you like, and maybe down the road, I’ll write about some of the wonderful things I got out of the experience that didn’t fit in the portfolio.

So, the thing with doing an internship instead of taking a class or two online, is that it’s OUTSIDE THE HOUSE! I was committed to be somewhere other than at home for fifteen hours a week. Every week. All summer! And for FREE! The first problem this raises is that those three young humans living here had to be cared for. Also for FREE! Another mom in the neighborhood agreed to take my kids two days a week, while I took hers two days, and then they went with my parents on Fridays. A mostly winning arrangement for most involved. Mostly. It meant the kids spent time everyday with friends or their grandparents, even if they didn’t have the freedom to roam the neighborhood they might have hoped for. It meant I had extra kids here on the days I wasn’t “working” just like the other mom I was swapping with did. It meant everyday was a busy day. All summer. So, I dipped my toe, or my whole foot, into the world of the working mom.

20150819_074448Three days a week I got up and got ready for “work” took my kids to “dayare” and headed out. Two days a week slept a little later, took in a couple extra kids, and went to the library, the pool, or the grocery, broke up fights, monitored screen time, and served grilled cheese sandwiches. It was busy, and exhausting, and totally doable! That might have been the most shocking part. My house is a wreck, but the essentials got done. The laundry wasn’t always up to date, but nobody went more than a day or so without clean socks. Socks are totally overrated in the summer anyway.

And after I survived the internship summer, I turned around and realized school is starting and I’ve got a kindergartener, a fifth grader, and a sixth grader! How’d that happen? So, I think I can survive this working parent thing. I’m even excited about it. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing or where or what hours, but I can live. And now I know I’m going to have to be prepared for life to speed up a little more.

And THEN, I applied for graduation. For real.