A new quarter

Tags

I facilitate three sections of an information literacy class for a local career college. I have been doing this for a year now. The curriculum is pretty set in stone — my time as a facilitator is spent helping explain the concepts the best I can in an asynchronous online classroom environment, grading students’ work, and filing reports. Today I was asked why I ever got into this. It was an interesting question considering the source (my new boss).

I like helping people find information. I really do. I don’t care if it is someone’s next great mystery novel or a teenager’s five required sources for their research paper. It is fun to get to peek into people’s lives and help them along in their pursuit of information. This class is sort of like 60 reference transactions spread out over the course of 12 weeks. As a librarian I rarely ever just look up a book that is requested and hand over a slip of paper with a call number on it. It is an ongoing quest to question the patron to find out exactly what it is they are wanting to find out, what restrictions are present on the format of the information that they require, how much time do they have to get the item in, and so forth. When I turn to the computer to start digging for the answers, I explain what I am doing with the hopes of teaching the patron how the information is being sought so they could maybe do it themselves the next time or at the very least feel confident in the results that we come up with.

Teaching college students how to find, evaluate, and cite sources is pretty much exactly the same experience. It has been rewarding. While I might have applied for the job initially based on needing some extra cash, it has become something I enjoy. Some students hate the class, no matter how hard I try to reach out. But… there are a few each quarter who really “get” it and are the better for having learned the skills I had beat them over the head with all quarter long.

I am hopeful that with each new technique that I implement each quarter that I increase that number who appreciate and push themselves to learn just a bit more and get all they can out of this class and the opportunities it holds.

Hip to Knit

Tags

,

Gathering with women and girls of all ages to knit, share projects and patterns, and talk while knitting is a much different experience than knitting alone at home on your couch. There is a shared bond that exists in a knitting group that is very special. To gather such a diverse group of people in one place and to have everyone agree that the very old traditional activity of knitting is cool enough to warrant the learning of a new skill, the researching of patterns, the purchasing of yarn, and the actual knitting and wearing of the garment still fascinates me every month.

Hip to Knit is approaching its fourth anniversary at Greenwood Public Library. The first Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7:30pm a group of knitters or want-to-be knitters gathers for an informal knit night. Usually there are some newbies there just to learn how to knit or be reminded of how they learned in years past. The rest of the group is a mix bag of women of all ages, teenagers, and little girls all working on their project of the moment.

Work In Progress: Ravelry username - kendrabookgirl

I learned how to knit by obsessively watching YouTube videos four years ago when I needed a topic to present on in one of my classes in library school. Why I didn’t just choose something I already knew how to do is still a bit of a mystery. I am so glad I went overboard back then. In the four years since then I have knit a whole lot of scarves, some shawls and hats, countless wash rags, and a few baby blankets. I have given loved ones gifts that they have treasured and created my own favorite wardrobe pieces from scratch.

I have had the opportunity to teach hundreds of people to knit (only one so far has been a guy). Some catch on right away and still return to knit night from time to time, some have given it up, and others have sought additional guidance and are now more advanced knitters than I will probably ever be. I don’t really do challenging projects – the fun in knitting for me is a distracting hobby that I don’t have to work too hard at. That isn’t what makes it fun for everybody, and that’s okay.

Hip to Knit generally has between 10-20 people in attendance each month. I love meeting new people this way. Tonight I met a paramedic who caught on right away, despite this being her first time picking up knitting needles (confession: she is an avid crocheter). She was sitting next to a regular patron who is a busy homeschool mother who only really gets to knit during her two hours away from home each month for Hip to Knit. It took her about six months to finally “get it.” That was three years and several shawls ago, however. I also had a pretty involved conversation with a third grader about the benefits of sparkly pink yarn and learned that she knits at recess now with several other classmates.  

Knitting can be a wonderful community activity. That’s what makes it such a great library program. It’s the part of my job that I absolutely love.

New Year’s Resolutions

Tags

,

2011 was a great year in many ways. I am hopeful that 2012 will be even better. I am notoriously bad with resolutions, however. I get really excited – – but keeping up the momentum to stay the course throughout the year is pretty difficult. This year I have decided to reframe how I create my goals with the hopes of obtaining better follow-through. Dave Ramsey has a pretty incredible portion of his website on goal setting: https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/promotions/goal-tracker.html?ectid=bitlyified122920111047

Career
Increase communication with staff with weekly informal face-to-face conversations and wrap-up emails.

Family
Spending time away from home discovering new things together is important for my husband and me. We will plan and go on a date each week.

Financial
My husband and I will create a monthly budget, track expenses, and set monthly financial goals.

Intellectual
I will read a minimum of one book per week across multiple genres.

Physical
By December I will lower my cholesterol to optimal levels. Overall cholesterol will go below 200. I will do this naturally by eating a low fat and low cholesterol diet and exercising a minimum of four times per week.

Social
I will sign up for dance classes with my husband and attend at least one session during 2012.

Spiritual 
I will continue to attend PCIR classes each Wednesday to learn more about the Episcopalian faith. I will study and pray from the Book of Common Prayer a minimum of three times per week and will ask questions as needed to fully understand what I am reading.

Christmas Eve

Tags

,

This is my official Virtual Advent Tour Post. You can read about other Christmas traditions from around the world by visiting http://adventblogtour.blogspot.com/

Christmas Eve

The day before Christmas has always been so special to me. My mom has always let my sister and me open one present each on Christmas Eve. It is always new pajamas. When we were younger, they often matched…

As a child my family would go to my grandparents’ house where tons of cousins, aunts and uncles would all gather for a delicious food (wonderful appetizers, warm spinach salad, fall-off-the-bone ham, desserts of all kinds) and wonderful company. My grandfather had the tradition of getting one gift for every member of the family and after everyone had eaten he would go in order from oldest to youngest and present each person with some small, yet significant, gift that he had picked out at some point the previous year. My most memorable gifts were a variety of panda-themed items (I love pandas!) and, one year, nutcracker tickets. Every year the evening would end with a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by my mom.

The traditions of Christmas Eve have evolved over the years. My immediate family now gathers at my parents’ house for appetizers followed by a beautiful dinner made by my parents. We still get pajamas on Christmas Eve, although the giving has expanded by including husbands and now my niece. We miss my grandfather terribly, especially on a day that was always so special to him. It is sometimes hard to accept change and break from tradition, even when you have so much to still be grateful for.

This year my husband and I are celebrating our first Christmas as a married couple. We are looking forward to participating in the family fun, but also look forward to carving out our own special Christmas Eve memories and starting our own traditions. After the family dinner, there is a carol sing and 11pm service at the church we have been attending. We are really looking forward to the entire day and night filled with wonderful moments.

Christmas Gifts 2011

Tags

,

I am a planner. I like to know as far in advance what is happening and have a 22 step plan in place and be ready to go. Life keeps getting in the way of that, however. I am learning how to be flexible, darn it!

I work with an amazing group of people. I honestly would have loved to have given each and every one of them a thousand dollar check and a turkey for Christmas. Unfortunately, the state of my life here lately had me and my coworkers wondering what our financial lives would be like in the new year. I didn’t feel comfortable spending much money on gifts this year. I still wanted them to know I care, so I wrote cards and baked bread. I decided on bread because 1) it’s one thing I can bake well 2) making bread is a lot of fun.

I clipped coupons for the fabric store and found a tutorial online for homemade bread bags. So, I started sewing several weeks ago and had them ready to go by the time the bread cooled.

So, my gifts were simple and homemade this year. Everyone was so kind and thankful. I don’t think they expected extravagance this year, but I hope they felt the love that was baked into every loaf.

2011 Yuletide Celebration

Tags

,

Organ music greets guests as they enter the Hilbert Circle Theatre

Indianapolis has a world premier symphonic orchestra, and I have been lucky to hear them perform my holiday favorites for two years in a row now at the Yuletide Celebration. The wonderful music, beautiful costumes, and gorgeous sets provided a night of fun unlike any other. I had a terrific time and am filled with gratitude that I was able to see the magical show once more.

It isn’t just the fabulous performance which made this a memorable evening, but also the entire package. The Yuletide experience involves beauty and grandeur with the decorations which is unmatched, and the feel of the Hilbert Circle Theatre is very festive. Women are dolled up in party dresses and men wear ties. Little girls are wearing formal wear, and teenagers don’t seem quite as sullen. It’s kind of hard when if you start to frown, a giant reindeer is likely to come up and stand beside you.

Me with a certain red nosed reindeer

The singing and dancing were terrific. This year a lineup of magic / circus performers were worked into the second half, which was neat. I still prefer the classic performances of the first half, but I really can’t complain. It was a grand evening worth the hefty price tag paid several weeks ago for balcony seats.

What is your holiday splurge this year? Anything magical?

Greater Greenwood Community Band Christmas Concert

Tags

, , ,

Greater Greenwood Community Band

I saw in the paper that The Greater Greenwood Community Band was performing a Christmas concert at the Greenwood High School Auditorium Saturday night, so we decided to check it out.

Guitar Soloist, Cale Hoeflicker

The concert was much more than I expected. In addition to an hour and a half of Christmas medlies played by the band, several guests were featured to provide additional fun. Acclaimed guitarist Cale Hoeflicker performed a guitar solo of El Noi de la Mare, the Greenwood Middle School Dazzerlettes performed to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, a reading of Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus was performed by Ronald Bell and Gabriella Hoffmann, Santa arrived as the band played Here Comes Santa Claus, and The Winter Singers performed the Halleluja Chorus from Handel’s Messiah as the last song of the night.

It was a fun night. The band had a good turnout to their concert with several hundred people in attendance. It was good to see so many familiar faces all decked out in their red and green to enjoy a fun performance and support their local musicians.

Cost: Free
Location: Greenwood, IN

Zumba!

Tags

, ,

 

Last night I tried Zumba for the first time!

According to www.zumba.com :

“Zumba Fitness® is the only Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, and contagious steps to form a “fitness-party” that is downright addictive.

Since its inception in 2001, the Zumba program has grown to become the world’s largest – and most successful – dance-fitness program with more than 12 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages taking weekly Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries.”

Zumba is dancing mixed with exercise set to a variety of music. I liked it. At times I felt like I had two left feet, but I don’t think it will take me long to learn a few of the routines enough to feel more confident. I could definitely feel the burn. I’m not sure what one hour of intensive dancing burns in terms of calories – – but it was a fun way of getting movement into my day.

I paid $12 for a four week class at the Greenwood Community Center. The instructor was energetic and very good. I want her body, so that alone should keep me going for the next three weeks.

Christmas at Lilly House Open House

Tags

In the spirit of claiming a few peaceful Christmas moments, my husband and I decided to drive up to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) for the Christmas Open House. I had admired the outside of the Lilly mansion for years, but had never gone inside. 

The grounds were packed, so the $5 fee for parking made the evening not totally free, but once we started walking along the luminaria lined path to the Lilly house we were happy we had come. The grounds are always beautiful, but hundreds of lit candles made the grounds stunning.

The Lilly house has a beautiful first floor, that has been restored to the grandeur of the 1930s-1940s. Each room was also decorated with elegant Christmas decorations that appeared perfectly suited to the style of the home. I love the effect garland has when hung over doorways and windows, and I was in awe of some of the pairings of ribbons and baubles adorning the garlands at the Lilly House. The other effect that struck me as particularly beautiful were the elegant floral arrangements that filled the spaces of the unlit fireplaces. What a neat idea!

A flutist and guitar player provided elegant background music. There were docents stationed in each room of the house. They were so friendly and willing to talk about their room for as long as you would let them. They care very deeply about their work and I was very impressed with their knowledge and presentation style.

We enjoyed our walk and tour of the home. Taking a few minutes to appreciate beauty at Christmas time is a way to stay connected to life outside of work.

The Lilly House will be having another Open House on Dec. 22:
http://www.imamuseum.org/special-event/christmas-lilly-house-open-house 
I highly recommend attending.

 

Milky Way Candy Bar Cake: A Holiday Tradition

Tags

, ,

Milky Way Candy Bar Cake

I love my mom’s Milky Way Candy Bar Cake. She has been making it since I can remember, usually for special occasions. Sometimes it is for Christmas Eve dinner, sometimes it is a work function, sometimes for a dinner party with her friends. When I moved out, I would occasionally miss whatever event was being celebrated with Milky Way Candy Bar Cake, so I started making it once a year. I usually pick some occasion when I am going to be around other people. Last night was the 2011 Milky Way Candy Bar Cake event. I had some gals over for euchre and I wanted to make a special evening. We haven’t gotten together in a while, and I wanted to make the evening fun–especially where the food was concerned. 

 

 

 

 

Milky Way Candy Bar Cake

Ingredients:
8 Milky Way Candy Bars
2 Sticks Margarine
1 1/4 cup Buttermilk
2 cups Sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. soda
4 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions:
Melt candy bars and one stick margarine. Set aside. Cream sugar and one stick of margarine. Add beaten eggs. Blend with buttermilk and melted candy bar mixture. Slowly add flour and soda. Add pecans. Bake in tube or 9×13″ pan at 325 for 70 minutes.

Milky Way Candy Bar Icing

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Evaporated Milk
6 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Marshmallow Cream
1 stick Margarine

Instructions:
Cook sugar and milk to soft ball stage. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, marshmallow cream and margarine. Stir until melted. Ice cake.