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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Doldrums…

I was so looking forward to these weeks between the kids going back to school and the start of my fall (and final) class. I was going to get so much done. I love fall, and when would it be better to tap my productive side than when the weather is changing and the leaves are turning? Maybe I still will, but the kids have been back in school for two weeks now, and I’m just not feeling it.

I get up every day and bust my butt getting three kids ready and out the door. The husband gets off to work and I start my day. I move all day. I do laundry, I cook meals, I shop for groceries, I run errands, but at the end of the day, it never feels like I got anything done. And to add insult to injury, it’s HOT! So, freakin’ hot! If you know me at all, you know, I don’t do hot. There are NINETIES in the seven day forecast. This is not FALL! There is no autumn here.

Okay, to be fair, it’s only September 3rd. I get it. And my Southern friends will be waiting a lot longer to find a nip in the air. Still, I’m ready. I’m SO ready. The highs are forecast in the low 90s and high 80s for at least another week. I know I can hang in there, but my few weeks as a stay-at-home mom with no job and no classes are slipping away. I need my FALL NOW!

Hopefully, this weekend is my last Labor Day weekend before I actually reenter the labor force. I don’t know what I’ll be doing, but I have every reason to believe I’ll be employed in some manner by next Labor Day. That seems like a milestone, right?

So, the push of grad school and internship is sort of past, and the push of finding a job has not fully kicked in. I want to give my all to this whole Homemaker thing, but eh, it’s hot, I’m tired, and I’m just not finding the motivation. I will. There are still a couple weeks before my class starts, and even when it does, it’s just one class. Just not feelin’ it this weekend.


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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.


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Summer Salad

I should write about back to school. I should tell you all about the start of 4th and 5th grades. Eh, it will be more fun to tell you about that when the First Day of School photos stop showing up on Facebook.

Back to a little food blogging. I fell away from the paleo thing over the summer, and it’s time to get back at it. No 30 challenge at this time, maybe when we get further into fall, but I am turning back to a more paleo-esque diet. I felt better and dropped weight. Plus there are plenty of dishes I really like and totally satisfy.

20140826_121608Today, for lunch, I’m eating something really similar to my favorite summer salad recipe from mom’s kitchen. The original recipe is pretty simple. Wedged tomatoes, sliced onions, striped and sliced cucumbers, all marinated in cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and sugar. Topped with a dash of celery seed for good measure. It’s delicious after an hour in the fridge, but amazing the next day. As a kid I remember taking a spoon to the leftover dressing in the bottom of my bowl. So tart and sweet, tasted like summer itself to me.

I wanted to make it a little more paleo friendly. For me, one of the most important things about paleo is the processed sugar. There are a few paleo-certified sweeteners, and technically agave nectar is only paleo-friendly, but it’s still my sweetener of choice. Hey, I said paleo-ESQUE! The vinegar was fine, though I switched to unfiltered, raw cider vinegar. And the switch to olive oil was just common sense. To get it all to mix, I used an immersion blender, which might not be strictly necessary, but I liked it. I’d say I used equal parts agave and oil, to twice as much cider. Dumped it over the tomatoes, onions, and cukes, topped it with a few shakes of celery seed, and set it in the fridge for an hour or two before lunch yesterday. Success! It was delicious. And of course, today’s lunch is even better.

Too bad I ate it all. It would have been an ideal thing to take to the pool this evening. The kids will be enjoying the last cheap hotdog night at the local pool. Guess I’ll just whip up some shrimp something after they are in bed.

 


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Summer love

I wish I could paint you a picture of my backyard, but I’m not sure my powers of description are up to it.

It’s very green. It’s July and the driest part of the summer hasn’t arrived, yet. Our yard has it’s share of weeds, but we tamed quite a few in the grass this summer. The “flower bed” that lines the back of the property, however, is hip high in things that weren’t intended to grow there. The four foot wide section that lines the edge of the patio and then around the corner of the house could be a flower bed, but it’s all ivy. Ivy and weeds, but my husband yanked most of those before the holiday weekend. I mean to dig it all out at some point and put in a garden. I want to grow tomatoes, and peppers. and squash, and maybe some herbs. It’s the only section of the yard that has any chance of getting enough sun during the day.

There’s a pretty large pin oak that dominates the yard. It provides a lovely shade this time of year and along with the sweet gum in in the front yard, allows us to keep the air off on days where the highs top out in the low 80s and the nightly lows dip into the 60s. To the other side is a gorgeous royal maple that’s just large enough for its branches to barely touch those of the pin oak. Now that we’ve removed the overgrown burning bushes next to the patio, I enjoy watching it’s strangely lovely purple leaves in the sunset these long summer evenings.

The deck I’m sitting on is pretty old. In a few years, we’ll have to tear it out and see about the retrograde situation back here. I don’t know what we’ll put in later, but for now, this old deck is wonderful. I love the old boards. The feel of a deck that’s been here for 30 years or so is different than a new one. There’s a pergola roof with warped slats that will probably have to come down before the deck, but it lends a certain character to the whole thing, too.

For the holiday weekend, I hung some cheap strands of Christmas light style Chinese lanterns. They are too cheap to leave up long term, but they make me smile on these perfect summer days. As it’s getting dark, they make the whole place feel comfortable.

In the yard there are about a million twinkling lightening bugs right now. The flutter up to the deck and twinkle out at the fence line. It’s like looking out on a fairyland. I can hear the traffic of the major highway that runs across the top of our city just north of us, but it seems a lot further away from my suburban backyard. I know there is a mall, and a grocery store, a gas station, and about six banks all within site of my roof and I can see the chain hotel just two backyards away. Still, it’s an oasis here. The darker it gets, the more the fireflies show.

I’m not a summer girl. Summer may actually be my least favorite season. Tonight, though, is different. Tonight I am all about summer. Summer in Ohio. Summer on my own back deck. Summer with only the most basic responsibilities. Summer as its meant to be.

Give me another week or two and I’ll be ready for fall. 🙂20140709_211812


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Jumping back in…

More than two months have passed since I’ve found the time to sit down and write a full length post. I’ve got a few drafts sitting neglected and growing more stale by the day. I’m sitting down with a blank page now and thinking about all the things I’ve meant to write about this spring. I am all over the place. I have thoughts to share on politics and current events, the graduations in my circle of friends and family, end of life issues as I watch the last of my children’s great grandparents live out their lives, food and diet thoughts, observations on my children and the wrap up of their school year, even a few insights on library school and all the great experience I’m gaining volunteering at the seminary. And the weather.

But it’s too much. I am having trouble boiling it down. Not an uncommon problem for me. And this time, I’ve let it snowball to a problem so big, I’m truly unable to figure out where to begin. I think the best solution is to just start writing and see how it goes. Tonight I’ll start with school stuff. Not because it’s biggest in my mind, or because there’s the most to talk about, but because I hope I’m wrapping it up for a few weeks.

I finished the rare book class and got my grades for that and the special library class. A and A-, respectively. I was so upset about the first A-, but I guess it hurts less the more you get. I’m thrilled to have not gotten a B, yet. That rare books class was such an amazing ride. It’s the longest class I’ve taken so far in the MLIS program, and it was by far the most intense. I learned an amazing amount. I fell more deeply in love with books, as objects. At the same time, I became even more ready to accept whatever path this career is going to take, whether I actually get to work with old books or archives, or end up doing something completely different. As long as I’m working with helping people somewhere find answers, I think I’ll be okay. Surprisingly, I found out more about my ability to do research in that rare book class than I had anticipated. Perhaps that is because the professor wasn’t just looking to teach us about old books, but how to find answers. I got into this field because I am that person, that know-nothing know-it-all who loves to find the answer for you. I’m thrilled when I can give you real answers to whatever question you have. It took me until I was forty to find out that there is actually a field for that, and that it’s not about being right because I’m not wrong, rather because I really truly found the answer and I’m right!

So, that class ended on the Friday before Mother’s Day. The next class started on the Tuesday after. In effect, I’ve been in school with no break since right after Christmas. Not so tough, I guess, if school is the main event in your life, but it was wearing thin for me. There’s still a week to go in this class, but then I’m done for the summer. A couple pass/fail workshops, but I think the pressure is off until fall. I need the break. I need the break bad. The kids need the break. The HOUSE needs the break. Oh, good Lord, my house is a wreck.

summer21We’ve got big plans for the summer around here. I’m gonna get this house clean for real. Stop laughing, it could happen. We’re going to spend lots of time at the pool and I’m going to read. For FUN! We’re going to go to the zoo. It’s gonna be a good summer, I think. The kids are playing ball, and going to a couple Vacation Bible School weeks, but that’s about it. The big kids can ride bikes to a few friends in the neighborhood and the park. The little one can swim more independently in the kiddie pool. The three of them can be way more mobile than they have been in summers past. I am hoping that they can experience some of the extra freedom and unstructured time that marked summers of most childhood for most of my generation. Wish me luck.

So, maybe tomorrow I can tell you more about all that other crap going on in my head. Today, I guess that’s enough. It’s something, anyway.

 


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One Busy Summer

So many things happened this summer that I wanted to talk about and it all just got away from me. I was so crazy busy there was never time to write about any of them. I had visceral reactions to many of the news stories of the summer and I wanted to take the time to flesh it out here, but I didn’t dare stop and take the time. I barely kept my head above water for the month of June, and July wasn’t much better. I wish I’d taken the time to just jot down some notes about the high points, but eh, it’s over.

Having taken just the one class in the spring, trying to ease back into the whole academic life, I figured I would up it to two classes and try to take at least two at a time until I finish. Somehow I failed to properly plan for the fact that summer classes are generally accelerated a bit. Normally 12 week classes are condensed to fit a shorter schedule. Yeah. I took one class condensed to FIVE weeks, and another to EIGHT weeks. They started on the same day, just 10 days after the kids got out of school. I must have been momentarily insane when I signed up for that. I don’t actually know what I was thinking. It hadn’t been THAT tough taking the one class. I got the work done, everyone lived. But there had been at least a few hours a week of quiet around here. Not so much when school is out. These kids, oh, dear Lord, these kids are loud. Together, apart, when sleeping, they are just loud. Naturally, brilliantly, annoyingly, maddeningly LOUD. You can give it prettier words like boisterous, or exuberant, but it all boils down to loud.

Now, those of you who know me in real life better just wipe that smug grin off your face. Yes, I know I am not a meek or quiet person. I am fully aware of all the people I’ve driven mad with my noisy ways over the years. I know that these children get these tendencies honestly and all of that. But really? Please? Just a few minutes a day of slightly lowered noise level? Please?

And don’t forget that both big kids played ball in June, and Annie’s season ran into July. Multiple games and practices each week, plus all the usual life stuff that mom has to do to keep everyone clean, fed, clothed, and not tripping over piles of our own crap. I had help from my parents, who took kids together and separately at various times all summer, but still! All I’m saying is that this summer has been a bitch!

See? We got to see the 2013 Butter Cow at the Ohio State Fair!

See? We got to see the Butter Cow at the Ohio State Fair!

Here’s the good news, though. I did it. We all survived. And I think I even got As in both classes, but one just ended yesterday, so grades aren’t in, yet. I’ll know for sure by the end of Tuesday. Both kids had wonderful ball seasons. We made it to the State Fair. We had a lovely Fourth of July. We even made it to church a few times. Once, I took all three of them to the pool for the afternoon, and I liked it. Now I’m on the other side and looking back. There’s really nothing like being at the finish line (even if it’s just a sort of sub-finish line) and looking back with amazement. I’m feeling good about the accomplishment and I’m thinking that fall is going to be wonderful.

I love fall.  I mean, I REALLY love fall. I always have. The smells, the colors, the clothes, the weather, school starting, the beginning of the push to the holidays, all of it. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in October? I don’t know, but I love it. So now that I finished summer classes, I am looking forward to a couple weeks off, with the kids still out of school, but I can’t wait to get back at it with the fall. The kids go back on the 20th, I start up on the 26th. Naturally I have a long list of projects I’d like to tackle around the house before going back, things to paint, or clean out, or whatever, but when I’m being realistic I know I’d be happy to just get all the bathrooms cleaned at the same time and the laundry caught up.

And I wanted to write about hipsters tonight.  The topic has come up in a couple different contexts lately. I’ve had a few separate conversations about it and I was going to share my thoughts. Eh, I’m tired. Maybe tomorrow.


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Laundry, dishes, and dust

Thought I was gone for good, didn’t you?  Ahh, never underestimate my ability to drop and then restart any form of journaling!  Yes, I had grand plans for the things I would write about during this long break between school terms, but it somehow just didn’t happen.  I’d look at the computer and think about sitting down to the keyboard and it just seemed like the last thing in the world I wanted to do.  I’d wonder what I could tell you, and nothing came to mind.  So a day would pass and pretty soon a week, and now almost two months.  And it’s not like I feel I have so much to tell you today, but somehow it feels right to be sitting here typing.  At least I can babble a while.  I won’t be offended if you’ve already closed the page.

photo (1)photoI could write for two hours about what we’ve been up to since I last posted, but most of it is pretty boring, and pretty standard.  School ended for the kids.  Girlie finished the year with strong grades, Middle Bird’s were better than last term.  I’ve lost a tiny bit more weight and I’m still working on it.  Daddy Bird and I went to Florida to visit one of my best friends for her Fortieth Birthday and found out we like visiting South Florida, but love living in Ohio.   Baby Bird has peed in the potty a bunch of times but with no regularity and has still never pooped there.  The weather is warmer and both kids are playing ball.  It’s Girlie’s second year at softball and she’s not the star of the team by any stretch, but she’s getting better and she seems to love it.  Middle Bird has never played before so he’s getting a tough dose of reality since most of the boys have a year or more experience.  I think he thought he would just decide to be great and it would come naturally.  Not so much.  But he’s still enthusiastic and I’m really proud of him for keeping that up.  He’ll get better.

/net/brutus/hsm/dept/mktg/nemo/PersonalityPoses/Dory/ncr_dory.per8.34.tifLife goes on, you know?  I do the laundry and it piles up again.  I empty the dishwasher (or Daddy Bird does, he’s good at that chore!) and it just fills up again.  I vacuum and watch the dust settle again.  It all feels like swimming against the current a little bit.  But we have to keep swimming.  Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!  Just keep swimming.  Thanks, Dory.  Heading into the summer of chaos and freestyle stroking at full speed into the fray, I’ll just keep swimming.

Got an email from one of my two professors for next term yesterday.  I love that she’s in communication a full WEEK before the start of classes.  She included the textbook information and I was able to put it on reserve at the Worthington Library.  I’m the only requester so far, so maybe I won’t have to buy it at all!  She also included a big explanation of the 8 week course with the same curriculum as the 15 week course and how we should plan carefully to get it all done.  Phew, good thing it’s the only thing I have to worry about for the next eight weeks, right?  Oh, wait!  There’s that other class, and these three kids and the damn laundry, dishes, and dust.  Whatever.  It will get done.  Or it won’t.  Priorities will be set and corners will be cut.  This is just the way it is.  As long as everyone is fed and safe, it’s all good.

Did I tell you I got the A last term?  Yeah, that’s right.  It’s just one class, but so far I’ve got the 4.0.  Somehow I just can’t let that go.  I will be crushed if I don’t keep that.  Wish me luck.  Sure, it’s going to take me busting my ass, but it’s going to take a bit of luck, too.

I have some theological things floating around in my head that I want to write about.  I don’t know how to phrase the questions I’m trying to answer, yet, so I guess I can’t write about them just yet.  It’s coming, though.  Might help if someone asks about them later.