What a Weird Strange Trip It’s Been

The brain child of Bobbi Newman (aka LibrarianbyDay) is going on again this week.  Library workers all over the world are recording their days so people can understand all the different duties we do.  So let the fun begin with round 4 of Library Day in the Life (via blogs, Twitter, Flickr and other social web sites).

Monday January 25, 2010

My day started way too early for my taste.  Maryland was under a flood warning due to heavy rains during the night.  Since our basement tends to flood when we have flash floods (ground water levels rise too quickly and spill into our laundry room) I was waking up every hour and checking the water levels.  So my day actually started around 3am – considering I didn’t go to sleep until 12 midnight this didn’t bode well.  Luckily we didn’t have any flooding problems and I didn’t have to turn on the sump pump.

Crawled back to bed around 4:30 only to have the alarm go off at 5am and then the patter of 8 legs and 2 wet noses assured me that I wasn’t going to snooze the morning away.

Went downstairs and let the 8 legs out (Lab mix and an English Springer Spaniel).  This was a bit funny to watch as the Lab mix hates to get wet (sure she’s a Lab??) and the wind didn’t go over with her either.  She basically did her business real quick and came back to stand right next to the door.  Had to hunt down her sister who doesn’t mind getting wet but hates the wind.  Had to force her outside and she wouldn’t go unless “big doggie” was out there too.

Turned on my Wii to weigh myself and found I had lost 3.3 lbs for a total of 10.2 lbs in 3 weeks!  So I immediately ran upstairs to my computer to log into Weight Watchers and record my progress.  Happy to know my indulgent night out on Friday hadn’t hurt me as much as I thought it would.

Let very sad-looking dogs back in.  Went downstairs to check the water levels again.  We dodged a bullet this time!

Upstairs to shower, dry and set hair in curlers (thinking that it will be pointless with all the rain and wind but what the heck).

Back down to feed dogs, watch morning local news WBAL-TV, and fix breakfast.

After several attempts of trying get hubby out the door (he forgot his cell phone and couldn’t find it) finally saw him off.

Upstairs to do hair, makeup, brush teeth and get dressed.  Away we go – took back roads which was littered with debris from trees because of the high wind gusts.

Reach the library parking lot at 7:25 am and checked in as Mayor of Howard County Library Central on Foursquare.

Unlocked the elevator, rode up to unlock office door.

I had morning duties which included  putting in the cleaning tapes and swapping out the backup tapes on 2 servers, unforwarding the helpline phone (goes to one of IT’s cell phones for nights and weekends – we answer it in person during the day).  Fired up my 2 machines (running Ubuntu and Windows).

In desperate need of caffeine but with only a $5 bill I went downstairs to see if the only two other people in the building had change so I could get a Diet Coke.  Alas no luck so back up one flight to get ice from the ice maker and Diet Ginger Ale 😦

Back at my desk I log into Tweetdeck, work email via Thunderbird, Gmail and open Firefox which loads Staff Intranet, iGoogle and Meebo.com.  Check the IT helpdesk to see if there were any tickets over the weekend that needed to be assigned.

On to the rest of the morning duties which include checking Day End in Horizon, checking servers remotely to make sure backups had completed, making sure that notices from Unique and AquaBrowser arrived.

Tweeted a reminder to participate in Library Day in the Life round 4.

Started working on the bounceback emails.   A lot from the weekend so Mondays always takes a while.  Have to remove email account from Horizon record, put a block on their account asking for new email address and forward any hold notifications to our ILL dept. so they can force a printed notice which would then be mailed to the customer.

Then the bittersweet part of the day really began.  Previous Friday my boss let us know that she had resigned her position at Howard County Library and would be working for PTFS.  She was asked to come in Monday for an exit interview.  Her kids wanted to stop by and visit one last time with us all.  Nice to get my Hannah and Darren hugs.  I am happy for her as I know this new job will use her skill set better than her old one but it was still a shock to think of her not being here.  I feel like I lost a boss and a friend.

Reviewed my RSS feeds but found nothing earth shattering for the day or maybe the weird mood and lack of sleep just made me feel blah towards things going on in the world.

Ran to the bank across the street to get money for our lunch – we took our now ex-boss out to lunch to wish her farewell and good luck.  Food was great but our mood in general was just dismal – guess it matched the weather.  While eating lunch we laughed some (seemed when the sun poked its head out) and were contemplative about what this all meant for those left (seemed to happen when the skies clouded up again).

Back to work.  Worked on an open helpdesk ticket that was assigned to me (removing my boss from email aliases) not my favorite helpdesk ticket to work on.  Then assigned another ticket that came in to the appropriate IT staff person.

Updated the IT blog on our staff Intranet which the latest entry was my boss’s resignation (she asked that I change some wording for her).

HR came over to speak with each of us.  Just wanted to know how we were doing and to let us know that things would be okay.

Hugged our now former boss goodbye.

After the password to her email address was changed, I went about moving over shared emails to my account (that I needed) and moving a shared folder she had created to the Admin account so that all of IT could link to these shared files again.

I left to go home with a heavy heart.  I’ll find out tomorrow what the plan is for my department during the time of transition.

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Library Folks Have Real Lives Too (or Two) – Day 3

How ironic that last year when I chronicled my week for Library Day in the Life, I had to take my husband in for some testing.  Turns out this year wasn’t going to be an exception except this time it was my Mom.  She was scheduled to have a bronchoscopy.

Day 3

Woke up early because I was sleeping in a strange bed (at my parent’s house).  Went back to sleep and woke up again at 7:30 (which is sleeping in during the week for me so that was a treat).  Jumped in the shower and got dressed.  My Mother never listens – she is going to feed you within an inch of your life if she can.  I told her cereal for breakfast was fine (that is what I have at home) but of course she had peaches cut and a blueberry muffin in the toaster oven as well.  I humored her on the peaches (love ’em) but wasn’t hungry enough for the muffin.  Checked email quickly (both work and Gmail) before we left for Chambersburg Hospital.

Same Day ServicesQuick drive to the hospital from my folks house.  Walked into the Same Day Services area of the hospital and checked Mom in.  We found 3 seats (Dad, Mom and I) and proceeded to wait for her to be called.  Odd thing is they called my Father’s name instead.  Gee, maybe Dad would do the procedure for Mom instead?  Nah.  They went back to get her prepped and I settled in for a wait.  Pulled out my iPod and shuffled my tunes.  Grabbed my book, The Moses Stone by James Becker (picked it up at Heathrow) and didn’t get very far when my Dad came out.  They would allow me to go in the room with her (which was much better than waiting in the waiting room).

They wheeled Mom into the procedure room.  2 students were there to observe the procedure.  One student, Joe,  turned out to be a med student who had attended University of Maryland and had worked in Columbia, MD for awhile.  Small world!  The nurses couldn’t have been nicer and Joe and the other student were great.  Dr. Jamblin came in and asked if we had any questions (my Dad almost asked him where he had been as he was 30 mins. late).  We left to go wait.

I swear they were done in 15 minutes or so.  The nurse said that Mom was a good patient.  We went back into the room and the doctor told us how things went.  Unfortunately, we won’t know the results until Monday the 3rd of August.  Gee, thought the procedure was bad but waiting through the weekend might be worse.

After they took a chest x-ray to make sure Mom’s lung hadn’t collapsed they wheeled her into recovery.  She wouldn’t be released until her gag reflex returned.  It did as the numbing drugs wore off but so did the realization that a strange foreign object had been down her throat.  She said her throat was on fire.  Nurses said we could use Tylenol and throat lozenges to ease the discomfort.

Dad went out to bring the car around and I stayed with Mom.  Then off to get lozenges for her throat and lunch for all of us.  We stopped at Panera and I was really surprised – their Panera had a drive-thru!  Wish the ones here did.  Took all our goodies home and ate lunch.  Poor Mom probably shouldn’t have eaten as much as she did as she wound up getting sick.  All the stuff they gave her (and they warned us this can happen) just didn’t agree with soup and a salad.  So I shipped her off to bed.

This gave Dad time to play around with his new Blu-Ray disc player and for me to catch up on Twitter, Facebook, email and such.  Wound up writing my blog post from the previous day at my parent’s house.

Day and Night

Between the pouring down rain storms I managed to get outside and take a few photos.   A neighbor’s daylily had blown off it’s stem and landed in the road.  I liked the dark orange against the blacktop of the road.  Didn’t get to stay out very long as the next line of storms came through.  So I went back inside and fixed dinner for my folks.  Nothing big just leftovers from the birthday dinner I had taken up for my Dad on Sunday (lasagna and salad).

Then I headed home to Reisterstown.  Once home I was greeted by 2 very happy dogs.  Maddie, the English Springer Spaniel and my constant shadow, had missed me terribly.  But Dani, the Lab mix, was also glad to see me.  Dealt with dogs, downloaded and edited pics …. crawled into bed around 9:30.  Thought I was tired but wound up watching “Top Chef Masters” instead.  Actually never did see who was the final winner.

I would have much rather been at work than in the hospital.  But since she had to go through this I was glad I was there for Mom.  Let’s just hope the results are good.

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25 Things About Lil Ol Me

There has been a Facebook/Friendfeed and probably elsewhere Meme going around (although folks aren’t really tagging people they [like me] are just jumping on the bandwagon).  Well to not be left out (actual I thought it might be interesting to see what I could come up with) here are 25 Things you may or may not know about me:

  1. I’ve had a total of 3 years of voice training from 2 very talented voice teachers (one of them recently found me on Facebook).
  2. I sang for many years in a church choir as a first soprano.
  3. My favorite choral piece to sing is Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata (with brass quintet).
  4. Music has always been a big part of my life (flute, organ and voice lessons).  I’m always with music (XM radio in car, Grooveshark-Finetune-Pandora-LastFm on computer, iPod when mowing the lawn, etc.)
  5. I’ve worked basically for the same place of employment since I was 16 years old.  Started on Feb. 1, 1980 and only left for 1 year before coming back.
  6. Other library positions I’ve held outside of my current POW – periodicals and acquisitions depts. at Catsonville Community College.
  7. I’ve done my fair share in the retail arena as well – Roy Rogers (fast food), Musicland (record store), Gantos (clothes store) and Target.
  8. I had never been on a plane until 1998 and then I flew to Hawaii for my first airplane ride.
  9. I’ve been to Paris, Spain (Andulacia region), England and Australia (New Zealand too if you count layover in the airport).
  10. I’m an only child and the mother of an only child but my Mother is 1 of 12.
  11. I’m very particular about color.  One of my favorite books from childhood is “The Color Kittens” by Margaret Wise Brown.  Colors if not right really bother me (be it paint, web sites, etc.)
  12. Humor is very important to me.  Guess that explains why I use it as a defense mechanism.  Favorite comedians include Eddie Izzard, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Robert Klein, and all time fav George Carlin.
  13. I have had an Oscar night party for 8 out of the last 10 years.  Complete with evening dress, champagne, voting (sometimes prizes), and decorations.  It is being requested that I do it again this year so I will host once more for the 81st Academy Awards.
  14. I can often be a Johnny-come-lately when something becomes TOO popular.  E.G. Harry Potter and LOST – both I finally gave into after most everyone were on board.  Now HUGE fan of both.
  15. If I had to pick a sport that is my favorite it would be baseball.  I think my love of it comes from my Dad who used to play softball (he played shortstop) and took me to many a Baltimore Orioles game (even got my picture taken with Mark Balengar who played shortstop for the O’s).
  16. I’m highly allergic to cats, somewhat to horses and guinea pigs but not dogs.  Thankfully since I have had 4 dogs in my lifetime so far – currently own a Lab Mix [Dani] and an English Springer Spaniel [Maddie].
  17. I’ve had the honor of seeing Raul Julia & Kevin Kline (Arms and the Man), Yul Brynner (The King and I), Ben Vereen (Pippin), and Carol Channing (Hello Dolly) perform live.
  18. I was half of the lead couple that did the Virginia Reel as part of Ellicott City’s bicentennial celebration at my elementary school which has now been turned into condos.
  19. I’m married to a Englishman who came here in 2001 (right after 9/11).
  20. If I hadn’t wound up working at the library I could have been a caterer who designs interiors while being a secretary for lawyers.
  21. My first computer was an Atari – I’ve used Windows, Mac and now Linux – I’ll take the Linux thank you very much (it’s on my desktop and laptop at home and main work machine).
  22. One game I’ve not played that everyone else seems to is World of Warcraft.  Now if they only made a Linux version.
  23. I like mowing the grass.  We have 2 acres and it’s my time to zone out, crank my tunes and have some alone time.  Besides I take pride in doing a nice job getting around the trees my husband hates to deal with.
  24. I wrote poetry for a brief time (probably influenced by the poet I was dating at the time).  Once we broke up I have not written poetry since but it helped at the time.
  25. I believe everyone enters your life for a reason.  Some are there for a short time while others stay longer – everyone is there to teach you a lesson.

Late night musings of a techie procrastinator…umm trainer

Explore, discover (or rediscover in this case) and play. That is what I’ve been doing all day. Some might be jealous that I had such a luxury but truth be told it was due to a bad case of procrastination. Months ago (last year even) I was spurred on by a Web 2.0 committee meeting. Being part of the staff development committee I had been privy to all the great training we were offering staff when a light bulb came on – why shouldn’t we offer more of this for our customers? Since my base is in the technology world my thoughts immediately turned to computers and the web. So while sitting in a meeting trying to figure out what Web 2.0 features we wanted to explore to give our customers more, it dawned on me – why not start with a class on just what Web 2.0 is.

Forward to this year in May when I submitted to our marketing department, a series of classes (5 in all) touching on Web 2.0. I was fortunate enough to have several committed colleagues that wanted to help me explore Web 2.0 with our customers. Classes included wikis, photo sharing, audio streaming, and social networking. All of which followed my overview class. Classes didn’t start until the second week of October and in May that seemed a long way off. I had thoughts in my head, bookmarks on at least 3 different computers, and a few Impress presentations slides started but nothing really solid.

Monday October 13th. Thank goodness for Christopher Columbus and the government for wanting to celebrate him by giving me a day off from work. However, the Internet service providers weren’t letting me off the hook that easily. I settled in at my desk – laptop, comfy chair, plenty of Diet Coke and my English Springer Spaniel at my feet. Now if only my wifi connection had enough strength to load a page of Google image results I might have gotten something done. Alas it was not in the cards or the stars. Off I trudged to work where I could be assured (I hoped) of a blazing fast connection to the Internet. Bingo!

Felt I got a lot done but time flew before I knew it it was time to pickup my son from school. Stopped to get dog food on the way home, minor bird emergency (son’s cockatiel) to attend to, dinner to fix and eat, being IT had to figure out why hubby’s Windows laptop was suddenly not connecting to the wifi while my Linux laptop had no problem (solved) and at 8:30 pm I was finally able to look at what I had done that day. UGH! What I thought sounded good this afternoon suddenly didn’t flow like I had first thought.

So here I am as if I was back in college pulling an all-nighter. Laptop, FineTune.com playing, and a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke by my side. Sadly the Springer is asleep in her cage. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put the “paintbrush” down. I tend to tweak and tweak and tweak like a painter who is never quite happy with how things look or sound.

So when I go to demo blogs, tags, comments, RSS feeds on Wednesday night, I think I might just keep my class away from my blog. I don’t want them to think I didn’t care enough to do this earlier. Honestly, things have been mulling over in my brain since I first thought about doing this class in 2007. And work has been plentiful this year and in the last couple of months very intense and consuming so much so that when I got home I was usually asleep right after dinner (not a whole lot of time left to work on things).

Lesson learned – even though I know the material inside and out, upside and down it takes time to sort, organize, play a little so you rediscover features and okay, get a little too lost on YouTube (darn those Mac/PC/Linux, Eddie Izzard, and Springer Spaniel videos!).

Open Mouth, Insert Both Feet

*sigh*  I should have known it wasn’t going to be a good day.  Both dogs (Lab mix and English Springer Spaniel) slept with me last night but due to windows being opened decided to alert me every 2 hours that something was in our yard.  God knows if there really was anything out there other than our usual visitors (deer).  But my sleep circle was off to say the least.

I seem to be on a roll today.  I’ve managed to open mouth insert foot at least 3 times this morning.  Twice on the web and once in person (although that one was a setup by my boss who was laughing the whole time).  That maybe a new record.

I’ve prided myself, up until now, on keeping snarky/opinionated comments out of social networking feeds.  For several reasons – a) my feeds are subscribed to by more than just family or friends but many co-workers and fellow library people and b) the old adage still holds true … “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  Obviously I didn’t follow directions well today.

I made the terrible mistake of commenting on something from our staff Intranet.  It was my opinion but since it wasn’t worded in the best manner it should have stayed inside my head where it would have done no harm.  Instead I vocalized to the social networking community.  I thought I was being smart by not posting it to Twitter but to FriendFeed instead.  Something told me that I should haven’t posted it but I thought “Pshaw, no one will read this on FriendFeed so I’m safe.”  FAIL!

I completely forgot that not only Twitter but FriendFeed as well feeds into my Facebook account.  Lo and behold the comment that I didn’t want known was read by the person I didn’t want to read it because they are a friend on Facebook.   How’d did I find this out?  That person graciously sent me a humorous comment on my status.  Talk about 20 shades of red.

So what did I learn?  Don’t post snarky/opinionated comments to your social networking sites?  No, I knew not to do that but instead I learned that if I don’t have anything nice to say that it belongs inside my head not out on the web.

So since I publicly made a comment I figured the best way to apologize is to also do it publicly and ironically through social networking sites.  My blog feeds into Twitter, FriendFeed and my Facebook account.  So hopefully the gracious person with a great sense of humor will read my most sincere apology and know that I learned a big lesson today.  I can’t thank them enough for not calling me out but instead using humor to diffuse what could have been a nasty situation if they had chosen that route.  They took the high road where I did not.  I am humbled by their choice and will apply it to all my future Tweets/Feeds/Posts.