Party like a groundhog!

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Yesterday was Groundhog’s Day. Phil saw his shadow (no surprise there!). The reason I paid attention to the date was that I had a wine reception to attend last night. Leadership Johnson County hosts a reception every year on Groundhog’s day to provide networking opportunities for alumni of the program.

There are those who can work a room like nobody’s business. They know everyone, have them pegged and rotate around like the pros they are. And then there is me. I like meeting people. I like learning about people. I don’t really do great at remembering names, associations and a person’s place on the social ladder, however. I do best on a small-scale. If I can connect with a few people in an evening and learn something about them, or find something we have in common, then I feel good.

Last night I met a couple of new people, was re-introduced to a few I couldn’t remember their names or where they worked, but had the most meaningful connections with a couple of my LJC classmates. One person I felt I knew well already, but was able to meet her husband and one of his coworkers. I also had a chance to chat with another classmate who introduced me to a friend who had volunteered at the library last fall. 

I had a nice time. I didn’t stay the full two hours, but am glad I went. The main reason for me wanting to do Leadership Johnson County was to have new experiences. Sipping a glass of wine in a beautiful historic house while chatting with other professionals in my community is a pretty great experience to be a part of.

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Library Day in the Life: Day 2

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The Library Day in the Life Project is a semi-annual event coordinated by Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day. Twice a year librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.  Check out the wiki to learn more.
 
Tuesday shift: 11am-8pm
Tuesdays have become my hardest day of the week. My library recently changed its hours of operation due to our financial crisis. We are no longer open on Sundays and have cut back to 4 hour shifts on Fridays and Saturdays. This means for all of our full time employees getting forty hours of work into our open hours of operation without having to work every weekend is turning into a feat of endurance more than anything else. I have no room to complain, and yet here I am complaining – others who have lost their jobs or had their hours and incomes reduced have it SOOOO much worse.
 
Tuesday evenings have traditionally been the night of the week when we have the most successfully attended adult programs. Tuesdays don’t conflict with church nights and people remember to come as opposed to Monday night programs. We generally have a program or a class happening every Tuesday evening for adults. Tonight a coworker was teaching Advanced Word while I worked the reference desk for three hours with a wonderful intern.
 
Before my evening stint, I also covered an hour on the desk at 12 so a student clerk could leave early, I formatted some library stories that came in for use in our lobby display and website. I attended a summer reading meeting with other department heads, which was fun. This year’s theme is Dive into Summer Reading. I got my wish for official Friday Hawaiian Shirt Day every week from May 14-Aug 1. It’s the little things that keep me happy.  I also coordinated Project Foodie programs from now until August with a coworker who is my right hand gal with that series. I facebooked & tweeted a little for the library, and spent the rest of my time trying to find statistics that are due for a monthly board report whose deadline was bumped up a week two days ago which had everyone in my department scrambling a bit.
 
So a long day, but productive. The library stories that came in were the highlight of my day. Two of them were from patrons I know very well. Knowing that I helped shape their personal library experience in a positive way was really nice.

Library Day in the Life: Day 1

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The Library Day in the Life Project is a semi-annual event coordinated by Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day. Twice a year librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.  Check out the wiki to learn more.

Today was fairly calm. I began and ended my day with class stuff for the online information literacy class I teach for a local career college. This morning I posted class anouncements and sent out go get ’em emails. I also posted to the class facebook page. Not too many followers on that one – but I’m trying something new and trying to be patient with myself and my students as we navigate this new method of class communication.

My day at the library started with a 3 hour reference desk shift. I was by myself for the first two hours and was swamped. It is tax season. Wow… I feel like a receptionist this time of year trying to calm angry patrons who called too late for the volunteer tax assistance program that we schedule appointments for. It’s a great program run by some wonderful people, but we could easily fill four times as many appointments as what we have available. Second to tax appointment calls were ereader calls. In case you haven’t heard – everyone on this universe has a Kindle (except me). They would all like to check out books from the library, by the way, but have no idea where to begin.

I met my dad for lunch at To the Nines. It is a restaurant inside a local career preparatory center. Culinary students prepare and serve the food. I had a stuffed fish. Dad had a monte cristo sandwich. They were both good and the service was great.

This afternoon I worked on website stuff, e-newsletter stuff, and fundraising stuff. Donations have started trickling in for a fundraising campaign that was recently launched to try to come up with some much needed cash as a result of a budget shortfall. The amounts aren’t large monetarily, but it is promising to see some movement on that front. It is just hard to stay super positive when you are constantly faced with the issue of your library being in the midst of a financial crisis.

I also created a pretty large Google spreadsheet that I am hoping our department can use for its monthly reports. After dealing with the statistical insanity that is “end of year report” time, I really want a new way of tracking all these stats in one place. I’m hopeful. We’ll see.

For a Monday, today went well. One of my emails mentioned Doodle for scheduling appointments. It sounds intriguing. Hopefully I can look into it and see what potential it holds for increading the time it takes to pull together a meeting.

Zen Salon & Spa

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Mom and I went to Zen yesterday for our first massages ever. We were a little bit nervous and didn’t know quite what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised. My masseusse, Deborah Macke, was great. She asked what areas I wanted to concentrate on, explained what to expect when she walked me to my room, and made me a very happy and relaxed woman once she started working on my body. I felt so relaxed and pampered by the end of the time.

Zen is a very beautiful facility without being stuffy. Every person we interacted with was friendly and helpful. We will both be returning in the future.

Zen Salon & Spa
2800 S State Road 135 Ste 250
Greenwood, IN 46143
(317) 535-6936

Project Foodie: Sushi Simplified

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I really love to watch people “in their element”. This past Tuesday I was lucky enough to see a co-worker in her element while presenting on a topic she is passionate about. I attended a Project Foodie program at Greenwood Public Library entitled Sushi Simplified. Sara O’Sha presented a similar program to one of her library reference classes last semester as part of the requirements to get her masters degree, and I talked her into doing an encore performance for library patrons.

The class was perfect. It was engaging, informative, and fun. There were sushi enthusiasts as well as several people who had never eaten sushi before. Sara was able to provide a program to satisfy all. She also kept the program under budget at less than $1 per person, and provided every participant with a sample of fish-less sushi and a really terrific handout to get them started in sushi fun.

I’m going shopping today for supplies and hopefully will be experimenting myself this weekend!

Talking about Major Pettigrew with BookLovers

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Today I led my first Booklovers Book Club at the library. This was a new gig for me. The club has been meeting for many years but I became the new leader recently and was a little nervous about what to expect going into an established group as not just a member, but a discussion leader.

I wanted to go into the situation prepared – so I read the book (picked out by the previous leader) a few weeks ahead of time so I could be sure that I finished it. Yesterday I pulled discussion questions off the internet and printed them out. I also got up early this morning to bake peanut butter cookies (super simple recipe: 1 c. peanut butter, 1 c. sugar, 1 egg).

I set up a refreshment table with a pot of coffee and hot water for tea and the cookies. I had copies of next month’s book ready to be checked out, a pad of paper for writing down names and notes.

It was an incredibly frigid day, so I wasn’t sure what the attendance numbers would be. Luckily there were several in attendance that I knew previously from previous programs, and everyone was so kind with their introductions.

After we attended to some housekeeping and business related items we were able to discuss the book. I lucked out in that I loved this month’s pick- Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. My review of this book is available on Goodreads.

This book had us discussing love and romance, cultural discrimination, inheritances, manners, and guns. Gotta love a book that has so many  hot button topics perfect for discussion.

Arsenic and Old Lace at the Historic Artcraft Theatre

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I went with a friend for pizza at The Willard in Franklin, Indiana this evening followed by a movie at the Historic Artcraft Theatre. Tonight’s feature was Arsenic and Old Lace.

Carry Grant was great to see. I love his facial expressions. What really made this a fun night out, however, was seeing it at the Artcraft. This historic gem is a wonderful night out for those near and far. I am lucky to live so close to get to frequent the Artcraft pretty regularly.

Going for a movie at the Artcraft means being able to step back in time. From the decor, the friendly ushers, to the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and old fashioned cartoon playing before the movie – the whole experience is worth so much more than the $5 admission.

Take advantage of the Artcraft if you live nearby. If you don’t – seek out the closest historic theatre near you so that you can appreciate the experience while you have the opportunity.

Quality of Life

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This month’s Leadership Johnson County program day was on quality of life/creating a giving society.

The day started with an interesting presentation by the director of the Johnson County Community Foundation. Learning how they operate and about their philosophy and how they got started and the various programs they help fund was very interesting. The idea of setting up community foundations to serve this need seems like a very wonderful project that the Lilly Endowment started twenty years ago.

Today’s meeting was at Camp Atterbury. I have driven around it, heard stories about it, and everything in between. Today I actually went INSIDE the gate! Gasp! I knew that this was a training center where soldiers went to before and after their deployments overseas. That’s about all I knew, however. Today I learned that this facility trains thousands of troops every day and has thousands of staff people who report to work each day to make it all happen. It really does seem like its own little city. I also learned that they took over Muscatatuck state hospital campus south of Edinburgh several years ago to convert to additional training facilities. We had our sessions inside the nicest conference room I have ever been to. It was incredible. The screen, the projectors, the large screen TVs, the beautiful tables, the sound system–everything was beautiful.

While we were on base we were taken on a tour. It was very interactive and fun. I was able to get up close and personal with very large modified guns in a simulation room (I had never touched a gun before). We also were buckled into a roll over simulator where we–rolled over, and over, and over.  It was not glamorous.

In talking about the quality of life issue I was reminded just how blessed I am. The amount I am able to take for granted because I live a privileged life makes me hope that I am always able to put that into perspective and give in whatever ways in order to pay it forward. That is my wish.

A road to abstraction

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The Channel of Gravelines, Petit Fort Phillippe by Georges Seurat

Art has the power to stimulate thinking and feeling. I have trouble grappling with abstract ideas that I can’t immediately understand, however. For this reason, I have always had trouble appreciating any kind of art which wasn’t realistic and easy to interpret. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the beauty of some paintings and artwork when I can’t tell what they “are,” it’s just that it always intimidates the hell out of me. I would like to educate myself in an effort to dispel some of that fear.

Today my husband and I held our weekly date at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). My parents gave us a membership as a Christmas present, so I browsed their website this morning in an effort to plan our first outing with our brand new free parking passes.

The one o’clock free tour today was listed as A road to abstraction. The description of “explore the evolution of European art as it progressed from realism toward abstraction” sounded intriguing and like it might be a good first step towards facing my fear of the unknown, so off we went.

The docent, Margie Berns, was wonderful. She is a passionate art lover who encouraged tour participants to share their own thoughts about the handful of paintings she took us to while explaining the progression of European art history in an easy-to-understand way. At no time this afternoon did I feel the usual intimidation of art that I have in past visits. I had fun and look forward to going back to the IMA in the future.

 

Greenwood Art Day Preparations

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Today I was part of an interesting mix of Greenwood people all talking excitedly about an art project that the Greater Greenwood Arts Council is planning. They have received funds and are hoping to have local art installed along the trails in Greenwood this spring and want the launch to take place on Saturday, April 28. They would like to have art activities around town on that day and the library is actively planning ways to reach out to all age groups to offer opportunities to view and make art during the event.

One of my fabulous coworkers offered to assemble a demo art piece of quilling (the art of paper rolling) as a possible passive activity for adults. The card she designed is beautiful and costs about $.06 a piece to make. The children’s department is planning some type of sculpture activity and local teens will be creating something during this time period as well. Lots of very cool activities.

The sense of community was really fun to be a part of today. I can’t wait for the event and am looking forward to seeing the city rally around the arts on such a big scale.