Archive for August, 2007

School Schedules

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

It was easier to have a kid in school when I wasn’t working.

Tonight I got the school schedule for my son starting 8th grade.  In the first month, there are already four days where I will have to move around my work hours to accommodate school stuff.  Urghh!

Math Counts is the only after school activity which I have the faintest hope of getting my son to participate in.  Fortunately, this year the Math Counts coach knows about him–so I’m hoping she can keep him from skipping it and saying, “I forgot.”  🙂  He’s completed Geometry and is good at Math, so I think he could enjoy this.  But they start September 19th–and the late buses don’t start until October–so there are 2 times I will need to reschedule my work hours.

Back to School Night is held at 7 pm, so working parents should be able to go.  Unfortunately, they picked Thursday night, which is the one night per week that I work.

Then, the first Wednesday in October, they’ve scheduled a parent information meeting about the local magnet high school.  It’s supposed to be strong in science and technology, and so might be just the thing for my Nerdfighter son.  The meeting’s from 3 to 4:30, however.

Still, I only work half-time, and my boss is very supportive and accommodating.

And the truth is, when I think back to last year, even though I wasn’t working, things were a whole lot more stressful.  We weren’t in our apartment yet and didn’t have our household goods, but were living in my friend’s basement–so we had to register as Homeless!  We had to buy all new school supplies.  I was trying to get my older son ready to start college in Florida.  I was trying to get myself ready to start online graduate school.

Yeah, okay, I’d rather be settled in and working!

Thing #11

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

I’m back at work, continuing in the “23 Things” program.

For Thing 11, I tried out Library Thing.  My account is at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/SondySue.

Library Thing is a site to catalog your library books.  A fun idea!  You can catalog 200 books for free–seems like a kind of piddly amount.  Still, for $25 you can get a lifetime subscription and catalog as many as you want.

One fun thing about this–After cataloging five books, I decided to see what books Library Thing would recommend I should read next.  Sure enough, most of the books listed are ones I already have–and love.  But the first one was new to me–so I’m going to check it out and read it–the comments do make it sound like a book I’d like.

So, the question is:  Is Library Thing worth it for someone who has a bad habit of buying books?  Would I really even begin to get them entered?  Would it maybe embarrass me and help me finally control my book-buying?

I do have my own system of keeping track of my books–and I review everything I read (Well, okay, I’m a year behind–but I try!) on www.sonderbooks.com.  Library Thing could be interesting in “meeting” people who enjoy the same books, but I’m not sure I have time or interest in keeping it up….  Maybe I will enter some more books, or maybe enter books as I review them, and see what I think.

I Love Libraries!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Today our branch manager mentioned that last month our juvenile circulation was up by 40%.  She said she believed this was because a second children’s librarian and I have been added to the staff.  When the library only had one person in the children’s department, she naturally wasn’t able to keep the children’s desk manned.  Now we have someone sitting among the children’s books almost all the time.

It felt good to be told that my presence has made a difference.  Sometimes I sit back there and feel like I’m only getting the opportunity to smile at babies, hear clever children read, and start the computer for kids.  Fun for me, but is it helping anyone?

But yesterday I got to help a Dad find summer reading books for his first grader.  I got to find more train books for our little friend Miles.  And I even got to help my friend Darlene’s adorable children find books to check out.

(I know my former boss will wonder if the stats are up simply because I use that library now.  However, I’ve been checking out more YA books than Juvenile ones, honest!)

And really, even if I don’t hand them a book, surely it’s a good thing to win the heart of a toddler, as I got the chance to do today, simply by smiling at him.  The mother was one of our many, many immigrant patrons, and I think she felt a little more welcome when I obviously thought her son was adorable.

I do love libraries.  You get to meet parents who care about their kids enough to read to them.  You get to share amazing books with amazing kids.  It was nice to be reminded today how privileged I am to work at a library.  Also nice to hear that my having fun at the library might even be making a difference!

The Latest

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Here’s what I sent in an e-mail to my friends, just what’s going on in my life these days:

It’s now been almost a year since I came to Virginia with Timothy and Josh.  I’ve been very blessed this year.
We spent the first few months living in Darlene’s basement–so generous of them to let us stay there!  I especially enjoyed the chance to get to know Darlene’s brilliant and adorable kids, Ryan & Michelle.  But by far the hugest blessing of living here has been the chance to interact so frequently with two such wonderful friends–Darlene and Kathe.
And they go to a wonderful church, Gateway Community.  I joined the home group that Kathe and Darlene attend, and that group helped me tackle the daunting job of moving in when my furniture came in October–completely dissassembled.  I still haven’t completely finished the job of unpacking and moving in, but it’s getting close, and these dear people pitching in to help, right at the start, made an enormous difference.
Josh left in October to attend Full Sail Real World Education in Orlando, Florida.  He’s studying film, and is already only a year away from getting his Bachelor’s degree.  (It’s an accelerated, intensified program that goes year-round.)  He has already directed his first short film, and he loves it!  I’m thrilled to see him enjoying it so much, and excelling.
Timothy attends the school where our church meets on Sundays.  I can’t say that he enjoys it, but I can tell it’s a great school–You know it’s a good sign when every teacher at Back-to-School Night says how glad they are to get to teach there.  Timothy did have a rough year, but at his lowest, I was impressed at how his teachers noticed and cared and helped him get back on track.
Though his biggest boost came when he got to visit his Dad in Japan over Spring Break.  And he’s thoroughly enjoying having the summer off.  In this year, he became a teenager and shot past me in height, and seems to be still growing.  He completed Geometry in 7th grade, and at this school that’s not even unusual, so he will smoothly go into a computerized Algebra II class next year.
I’ve been taking online classes with Drexel University to get my Master’s in Library and Information Science.  I’m now on my 4th quarter.  I’ve loved my classes, and only have two classes left–I’ll finish in December.  It worked out nicely that I was able to be a full-time student until this summer.
And I got a great job!  I was starting to feel desperate, applying for jobs that didn’t show any interest.  I had started looking at jobs in DC, even though that would be an awful commute.  Before Spring Break, I hated the thought of spending so much less time with Timothy, as well.
And then, at just the right time, when Timothy was doing better, and I had almost finished my 3rd full-time quarter, a job came up at the local library my friend Kathe uses, and I got it!  It’s a half-time Library Assistant position in the Children’s Department–perfect for me.  On a good day, I can get to work in 7 minutes, which is fabulous as well.  Sometimes I get to see my friends at the library, or get to have lunch with them.  It’s a real treat to work there.
And they are very supportive of my classes, and very encouraging about the possibility of getting a promotion to a librarian job after I finish my degree.  So that’s tremendously encouraging.
Lately, I’ve gotten my website of book reviews revised and I’m posting again:  www.sonderbooks.com.  I’m also enjoying writing a couple of other blogs.  To keep an attitude of thankfulness, I’m trying to post every day something I’m thankful for at www.sonderbooks.com/sonderblessings.  And I’m also collecting inspiring quotations at www.sonderbooks.com/sonderquotes.  For just “ordinary” blogging, and pictures, I’m using www.sonderbooks.com/sonderjourneys.  They all have links to each other, so you can go to one and be able to access the others.
I guess using these blogs, I’m not feeling as much need to send out general e-mail newsletters.  With the blogs, people will only read it who want to read it, and I don’t feel like I’m clogging anyone’s inbox.  But I did get to thinking that I should let people know they are there!  So now I’m telling my friends and family:  take a look at my blogs now and then!  🙂  Life is good, and I’d like to share it with you.
God has been very faithful this past year.  I feel very loved and cared for by my friends and the people at church.
I got to go to the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC, this past June and got to meet lots of authors and got very excited about becoming a librarian.
This month, Steve will move from Japan to Langley AFB, in the Southeast corner of Virginia.  It’s about 3 to 4 hours away.  We are still married, and I am still praying with all my heart for our marriage to be restored.  In the meantime, it’s a distance where it will be much easier for Timothy to spend time more regularly with his Dad.
On August 26, Steve will arrive, and on August 27, I’m going to drive Timothy down so he can spend a week with his Dad before school starts the day after Labor Day.  My own summer quarter ends at midnight the night of Labor Day, so Timothy and I don’t have any overlapping vacation left–but at least I can do most of the hard work on projects during that week when Timothy’s with Steve.
Timothy and I didn’t really do a summer vacation this year.  Josh came to spend a week with us around Independence Day, but with my classes, we’re mainly just hanging out at home–which is what Timothy prefers, anyway.  Next year, I should have some vacation time built up, so maybe we can begin seeing America.  (Oh, and next year, ALA Conference is happening in Anaheim–sounds like a great reason to visit family!)
So–that’s the latest with us!  I love hearing from you all–and will do my best to answer.  Please forgive me if I’m too scatter-brained to do it–just e-mail to me again!  Right now I really should be working on my class projects, but it was nice to take a break!

Thing #10

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

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Thing 10 is to play around with image generators.  I thought I’d make a sign in honor of the logo of http://www.rejoiceministries.org — God Heals Hurting Marriages.

The catch is that the image I generated on the site, http://www.letterjames.com/, is much bigger and easier to read than what I was able to save.  A little bit frustrating.

However, on the site you can upload your own pictures and then make albums and calendars and things like that.  Could be a lot of fun.

Thing #9

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Now I’m on Thing 9 of the library’s 23 Things.  If I do them all, I get an MP3 player!

For Thing 9, I’m supposed to add some RSS feeds to my bloglines account and blog about it.

I’m warming up to Bloglines.  This try, I discovered the “Add” button, which makes it easier to add feeds.

The blogs I like best seem to all be found as links on my friend Akelda the Gleeful’s blog.  She has some great links!

That’s how I recommend finding feeds.  Start with a blog that you like, then look at the links they link to, and so on….  Real networking–because if you were to graph the links, you’d have an intricate network.

Today, I read all of Akelda’s “Children’s Books That Never Were”.  Sooooo funny!  Indeed, I don’t think that Marjorie Flack could have gotten Angus Lost published if the original idea was to present Angus as a platypus.  So good she got direction…. 🙂

Bloglines also let me know about a bunch of knitting blogs–I’m looking forward to looking those over, too.  Bloglines did NOT have a set of Kidlit blogs–so I’m delighted that Akelda has plenty of links to those.

I’m starting to like RSS feeds.  It’s not as simple as messages in your e-mail inbox.  I tend to prefer that–and some of my Sonderbooks subscribers do too, I can tell.  However, once you have a place to go to see what’s new, it is a convenient form….  It’s probably better to keep the list from getting too long, so you can keep track of the ones you really follow.

Thing #8

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

I’m doing a series of 23 Things for Loudoun County Public Library’s Learning 2.0 program.  We are supposed to be learning to use Web 2.0 technology.  On each step, we’re to blog about our experiences.

Thing #8 was to set up a bloglines account and subscribe to some feeds.

So far, I’m not real happy with bloglines–I like My Yahoo much better, and wish we could have taken our pick.  I probably won’t use Bloglines a lot in the future.

Besides, I set up my own personal feed reader at http://sondy.blogspot.com, the former site of my blog.  (And there are archives there of my adventures in Europe.)

I believe that Thing #9 has us exploring Bloglines a bit further, so I will see if I grow any more fondness for it.

I tried to add Brotherhood 2.0 to my feeds at Bloglines, and it didn’t work real well.  That’s the video blog my son and I are now hooked on.  It’s library related, because John Green is a YA author, right?

My life now is busy, busy, busy, but I figure that since Learning 2.0 is a program sponsored by my employer, I can try to get a Thing done every week or two, and that’s fair.  It’s a challenge doing that.  Sharing an office, running story time, Babygarten, and Summer Reading programs, we don’t get a lot of time at our desks.  So I’m seizing the day today….