Archive for December, 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Greetings to all my online friends!

Here’s my Christmas Letter for this year. Imagine, if you will, the list from my last post as a sidebar, Top Ten Ways You Know You’re a Youth Services Librarian at Heart.

With My Boys, Tim and Josh

Merry Christmas, my Friends!

Yes, I’m a librarian again and loving it! (For 6 months of 2010, I had to work at another agency due to library budget cuts.) At the City of Fairfax Regional Library, where I work now, I’ve also had the chance to learn about doing genealogical research in the Virginia Room.

Tim’s a Senior in high school this year! How did that happen? He’s doing a Research Seminar in Computer Science, taking plenty of AP classes, and has almost finished his college applications. This summer, we got really hooked on playing Dominion together – a deck-building game with lots of expansions. I am not looking forward to an empty nest next year!

I’m afraid the big event of 2011 was that I had a stroke! On the flight to ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, I slept for awhile with my neck at a bad angle, and had a consistent low-grade headache for a month after. Then, out of the blue, sitting at the reference desk, the room started spinning. It turned out I’d had a cerebellar stroke (balance center of the brain) caused by a vertebral artery dissection (neck injury). Blood rushed to the injury and clotted, and then a piece of the clot broke off and caused a stroke.

They didn’t catch the stroke when I first went to the ER, but I had another episode a couple days later, and that time they found it, and I spent 10 days in the hospital. I feel tremendously blessed to be alive and kicking! I have no permanent disability, though I’m definitely still recovering, and have ongoing trouble with low-grade dizziness. I’m hoping that will leave when the vertebral artery dissection finishes healing (can take 6 months), and in the meantime I’m on blood thinners to keep from having another stroke.

I definitely learned that I have many people around me who love and care for me! Church friends helped in many different ways, and Library co-workers donated lots of leave, so I didn’t have to skip my paycheck. A really lovely side effect was that I spent lots of the summer at home with Tim – for his last summer before graduating from high school.

Just as I was recovering enough to go back to work, my brother Robert got married in Oregon. Tim and I spent a week staying with my Auntie Sue in my grandma’s old house in Salem, and I also got to see Josh, who had recently moved to Portland. All 12 of my brothers and sisters made it to the wedding, and it was a truly wonderful and memorable week.

Here I am with ALL my sisters and brothers!

I do feel very blessed and have so many reasons to rejoice! May you also have a joyful and blessed Christmas!

Much Love,

Sondy Eklund

PS After I wrote this letter, my neurologist did an exam and told me I may have had another stroke, a mini-stroke this time. My eyes don’t track together if I look up and to the right. I’ll have an MRI done next week to find out. So my healing journey isn’t done yet, and that’s my excuse for being so late on my Christmas gifts and cards and letters. But I figure this means that THREE times now, something much much worse could have happened. (The initial stroke was two episodes, with two visits to the hospital, not caught until the second time.) So I am either incredibly lucky or incredibly protected. With all the prayers I know have been offered for me, I’m going to consider myself incredibly protected!

Top Ten Ways You Know You’re a Youth Services Librarian at Heart

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Every year, I like to make a Top Ten list that summarizes my year. All of these have shown up in my life this year.

Top Ten Ways You Know You’re a Youth Services Librarian at Heart:

10. The only movie you’ve seen this year was the final Harry Potter film.

9. You can’t stop checking out picture books, even though your own kids are way past that age.

8. A highlight of your year was when, on vacation, your 17-year-old son read aloud to you from The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

7. You have taken telecourses about the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz Awards.

6. You are blazing fast reading Fox in Socks.

5. You are unable to refrain from collecting Advance Reader Copies at ALA Annual Conference, even though you’ve recently suffered a major neck injury and can barely carry them all.

4. You have lists of Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz Medal predictions and hopes.

3. You’re over the moon when you get a picture with Gary Schmidt (who wrote your top pick for the 2012 Newbery Medal, see #4).

2. You attend KidLitCon in Seattle, for KidLit bloggers, and instantly discover a multitude of kindred spirits.

1. You’re already planning to buy a table at the 2012 Newbery/Caldecott Banquet in Anaheim and began a year in advance trying to talk your siblings into attending.