You Know What I Love About My Home?

We all know it’s important to focus on the small things from time to time so I thought I’d just share a bunch of stuff that I love about where I live.

  1. My town is a bird sanctuary. Yup. My WHOLE TOWN. Not just the parks, the whole freakin’ thing. Our house came with a bird feeder and Karl is REALLY into keeping our feathered friends well fed. His absolute favorite birds are a couple of cardinals who hang out on a branch nearby and take turns carefully choosing seed from our feeder and then flying back to feed the seed to one another. It’s adorable. (Still working on an action shot of this phenomenon.)
  2. Dibley is a muppet. He looks like a muppet, he makes muppet noises and sometimes he also moves like a muppet. Do you know how hard it is to say goodbye to a muppet every morning and then see that muppet looking at you sadly through a window as you walk away? It’s shocking that I make it to work every day.dibley
  3. My house is straight outta’ Mad Men. It’s a midcentury modern ranch that is almost entirely original. When inside it I drink as many liquids out of martini glasses as possible.                       house
  4. Surprise flowers! There are so many cool plants that I can have now that I live in the south. Whenever I get into a new house I love the year long unfolding mystery of what plants are living with me. So far we’ve discovered wild roses, day lilies and ton of mature tulip trees surrounding our house.

Take a couple minutes to look around and appreciate, folks. We get one ride on this big spinning ball and the more you can appreciate the small stuff the happier your ride will be.

Countdown: 1 Week til the Book Comes Out!

Whoosh. That’s what just happened with my past year and a half.

It feels sometimes like I still just arrived in Chattanooga in a Jetta packed to the gills with all the possessions I’d need to make a go at living alone for 6 months and diving deeper into a library than I ever have before. (Dishes? No. Paper Punches? Yes. Sheets? No. Upcycled teddy bear turned into a cyberman from a teen? Of course!)

The Book fell into my lap because of Justin, really. He was contacted about writing it but didn’t feel he had the time. Plus, as he put it: “Programming is why you’re here now. You should do it.” I replied to their inquiry and nervously pitched a chapter all about STEAM activities one could do with just Legos. Turns out it was just what the folks at ABC-CLIO Libraries Unlimited were looking for and I was set free to create a work truly my own. They just cut me loose and told me we’d talk in about a year unless I had questions.

I obsessed, I hid from my friends, I worked hard and I put my brand new marriage at risk. My husband made me write when I didn’t want to, ordered me pizza and put up with me frantically reading him sentences about everything from the pH balance of our hair to time stamps in vampire videos. I demanded answers about appropriate adjectives. I forced uncomfortable discussions revolving around my status as a “non librarian” in the big picture of The Book. The man is a saint.

I worked harder. I shaped and reshaped my work before the editing process even began and I held my copy editor mother at bay. (“I just don’t want them to know what a bad writer you are!” She’d say. “They’ve already seen that and still want The Book!” I’d plea.)

I met my deadline! I breathed a sigh of relief.

I met my editing deadline! I breathed another sigh of relief.

Turns out there are multiple editing processes that take place. I kept breathing. (But by this point it was just normal breathing because I didn’t think I would ever actually finish.)

I wrote an index. (And breathed no sigh of relief. That part was just stressful.)

And now, in 1 week The Book will be released. It will arrive in libraries, schools and houses in cardboard boxes – a fleet of my ideas and successes pounding the pavement and stretching across the world. (I have a library friend in Sweden who tells me how excited she and some colleagues are for the book to arrive. SWEDEN!!!)

Because of the world we live in there will be a fleet of people who will probably be really mean about… whatever. The way I program, My abundance of space/lack of space/inability to be their exact library, one of those adjectives I obsessed over, who knows. The truth is when we create something we leave ourselves open for criticism. I have a tendency to take criticism lightly on the surface but I internalize it much more deeply. I can’t help but wonder how this experience may change me.

After every program or event my mind reels with what I could have done to make it better, bigger, cooler. I’m finally getting to a point where I can accept that I work hard and the results of my hard work will vary because this world is not a frictionless, sterile environment catered specifically to my programming needs. People will go on vacation, they’ll get sick, their parents will ground them, new movies/skate parks/organizations/coffee houses will open and steal my thunder. I keep working hard and giving to my community in ways that make sense to us and that makes my work better. I hope my library community can use The Book to do the same. Cater and bend it into what works for their communities. Hearing about all those adaptations, mutations and inspired changes are something I can NOT wait to hear!

Only 1 more week til we get to start the conversation!


Antiprogram Simplicity

Programming can be complicated these days. We all want to use flashy tech gadgets, the newest fad toys, and to loudly stomp our feet as we break new ground. 

Sometimes though a pure and uncomplicated mess is the most alluring program you can create. Like cooking all you need is simplicity and fresh ingredients. For this one I busted out a bunch of paint that wouldn’t stain clothes, a ton of paper in different colors and sizes and a few cups with water and brushes and let them go wild for a week. The art you see here is just  some of what they created that week. The numbers were great too, we had dozens and dozens of people participate!

I’ve been leaving a different mess out every week lately. We’ve done random piles of rainbow loom supplies, aqueducts made of straws & tape, and this painted sloppy mess. Coming up I’ve got knot tying, creating a giant game of Plinko, and more

School’s almost out. The energy is about to get high. Give yourself and your tweens a break and encourage a little messiness for a while (and have a great time making it with them!).