Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I need a day...

I need a day
To wake up when my body wants to
Drink coffee at my leisure
With no particular place to go

I need a day
When my body feels whole, refreshed
I'm not too tired to exercise
Movement bringing a smile to my face

I need a day
With no deadlines, no rushing
No planner with lists
Except this one:

With eight days of school left, two more days of testing, and thirteen days of work, I woke up with a sore throat this morning. This post is wishful thinking about summer break! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Celebrating a milestone

The dinner reception was well-attended.  Employees from multiple campuses gathered to celebrate milestones in their district careers--twenty, twenty-five, thirty, even forty years.  Many were retiring.

This is my twentieth year:  eleven spent running ARDs (IEP meetings to non-TX folks) in our DAEP, three teaching in an elementary resource setting, and now six as a librarian--a job I truly love.

The meal was delicious, and I enjoyed seeing colleagues I've known since the beginning of my employment, most from my ARD facilitating days. My registrar was also celebrating her twentieth, and my "big boss", director of library services, was there to cheer me on.  We were announced, had a photo op with our superintendent, shook hands with board members, and got a congratulatory gift.  All in all, a nice evening.

And then it was back to work.  Not a mention of the anniversary at our faculty meeting, and I thought the festivities were over.  Moving on...

Friday began with our final all-school assembly for the year.  For once, I wasn't on the agenda to present a library award, so I hung out at the back of the crowd.  We listened to guest speakers, recognized student achievements, and watched volunteers and Eagle Scouts receive awards. One of our assistant principals came to the front and asked, "Who loves books more than anyone?"  Most of our students raised their hands, which made me smile.  Then she laughed, and said, "I meant to say--which teacher on our campus loves books more than anyone?"

I was called to the front, and received praise and roses, along with our registrar.  That was lovely--but the raised hands of those readers was the highest praise of all.

Did I mention that I love my job?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tuesday Slice: The pot on the stove

It was an old house when we bought it in 1991.  Seven months married, we had been casually looking at homes for sale, some newer in subdivisions to the east, some older in the neighborhood in which we were renting.  The newer ones had more space inside, but less of a yard; you could spit on your neighbors' windows on either side without leaning out your own.  

We stumbled across this one quite by chance.  Sitting vacant for two years, the price was right, the yard was huge.  With the hike-and-bike entrance on the right and space to spare on the left, there would be no window-spitting.

Practical and almost-poor, we painted the interior but left the carpet in anticipation of childhood juice stains and muddy feet; the carpet is still here, despite several rounds of browsing over flooring, resulting in nothing more than sample tiles hiding behind the china cabinet.  Over the years, appliances have been replaced and the exterior has been painted.  A post-inheritance splurge landscaped our front and side yards.  The roof has been replaced once?  Twice?

Which leads to the pot.  During the last few rainstorms, we noticed water pooling on our stovetop.  My husband investigated, and it turns out that some caulking is loose near a vent.  The roof is fine, the attic is fine, but when the wind blows rain in a certain direction, it runs down the vent.  He hasn't had time to climb up and seal it yet.

Thunderstorms are forecasted for twelve of the next fifteen days.

We may not have a lot of money, but we have a pot to drip in.
Photo by marcelo

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tuesday Slice: There ain't no cranky...

"There ain't no cranky like the last-day-of-TLA cranky," the sharp-dressed women declared, waiting ahead of me in the Starbucks line at the hotel across the street from the convention center.  I nodded my head in agreement.  "Everyone is just done," she added.  I concurred again.  "Hopefully the coffee will help," I replied.

Four days of waking up just before 4am, to catch either the 604am or 633am train downtown.  Two 7am meetings. Five hours of Tech Camp, beginning with lots of tips from Richard Byrnes of "Free Tech for Teachers". Three hours of "speed dating" half-a-dozen Bluebonnet Award Nominee authors with another half-dozen activities viewed and ten books signed for me and our library.  An opening session with Sylvia Acevedo, rocket scientist/ CEO of Girl Scouts, USA via Skype and a closing session of heartbreaking, masterful storytelling from Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes". Seven break-out sessions on culturally responsive pedagogy, student-centered librarianship, Texas Library Standards, a picture book artist panel, administrative involvement in library programming (with my principal!), deep connections between readers and text, and how to use Google Keep.

Let's not forget the three learning lunches--tech camp, database offerings, Bluebonnet Award presentation--and one breakfast with my Teacher Day @TLA attendees, all of us starry-eyed over Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen, and Mr. Schu's presentation as we munched on eggs and bacon and caffeinated ourselves after the 604am train ride.

And the exhibit hall, oh my.  Bumping into favorite local authors, sharing titles with a fellow district librarian, finding a booth of Indian kidlit--so needed for my campus.  Gifts for my assistant and mentee, new library shirts for me (my yearly splurge!).  Confirming my book fair, getting posters from my favorite jobber, and grabbing free books along the way.  

So yes, by Thursday morning, many of us were tired, ready to get back to our libraries and our lives.  Our minds were buzzing, our arms tired from carrying heavy bags of books, our notebooks brimming with ideas to ponder and hopefully implement in the coming school year.

There ain't no cranky like the last-day-of-TLA cranky...but there ain't no event like the Texas Library Association Annual Conference.  Sign me up for next year!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Sunlight through eyelids

The train rocks back and forth on the tracks
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack
Now fast, then slow
Cli-cke-ty-claaaack, cli-cke-ty-claaaack
The recorded voice announcing the next station

"Next station, Howard.
Siguiente estaciĆ³n, Howard."
The aisle empties, then refills
So tired, I am grateful to be sitting

My seatmate makes no motion to get up
I readjust my heavy bags on the floor
Grip the handles tightly, and close my eyes

We break free from the city, and sun warms the cabin
Orange-red light blinking through my eyelids
As we pass light posts and trees
Now slow, then fast
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack.

I am attending our annual Texas Library Association conference in my home city this year--one of the few times I take the commuter train downtown.  How nice it is to avoid traffic and parking fees!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Overscheduled

At this time next week, I'll be preparing for day two of our Texas Library Association's Annual Conference. I've downloaded the app to map out my sessions, but I don't know how much I'll get to use it.

I'm overscheduled.  Out of three-and-a-half days of conference, 8a to 6p, I have maybe twelve hours to attend breakout sessions and peruse the exhibit floor.

I'm usually overwhelmed by the sheer number of offerings at TLA, dashing from one session to another, trying to cram all the learning I can into this week away from my circulation desk.  But this year feels different.  Yes, I'll learn a lot on Monday at Tech Camp and Speed Dating the Bluebonnets.  It will be interesting to participate with my principal for the first time at the administrator's conference on Tuesday, and there may be some new bells and whistles with our databases that the vendor will reveal at their luncheon.  Wednesday will be fun because I'm hosting two of my teachers at their first ever TLA conference. They've already planned their day past our opening breakfast--but I'm on the committee, so Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, I'll be preparing for Teacher Day.  My own schedule is filled with big events, leaving only small pockets of time in between to grab a session or visit my favorite vendors in the huge exhibit hall before they close that night.  That leaves Thursday morning to attend just a couple sessions...and then it's over.

Will I even have time to take notes?  

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tuesday Slice: They're baaaaack!

"Dang it!" I muttered to myself, "Something's been eating my milkweed!"  It took a full minute for that to sink in.  "Something...is...eating...my...milkweed.  Could it be, might it be..."

I took a closer look.  Right there on the edge of a leaf, barely visible at less than a quarter inch long.  Too small to even identify.  But still I hoped...Carefully plucking the leaf from the almost-bare, frostbitten plant, I laid it carefully among some new growth in another pot.

That was Saturday.  After work last evening, I went out back to water my container plants, and decided to take a look first.  Yep, some more leaves had been eaten.  I spotted one, two...and headed inside for my camera with a macro adjustment.

The monarch caterpillars are back!  Five counted so far, big enough to identify at a half-inch.  Here's hoping my milkweed growth can keep up; I'm looking forward to hatching some butterflies this spring, if my luck holds.  I successfully launched monarchs and queens for two years, but my last efforts didn't go as well, with caterpillars dying before forming chrysalises. I'll let nature take its course as long as possible this time, and hopefully get these crawlers into a container safe from winged snackers just before they start their "J" hanging.  Until then, I'll just keep watch, and maybe buy a new milkweed plant or two to keep them satisfied.   

One of my goals this April is to spend at least fifteen minutes a day outside. I think I just found a good reason to do so--keeping track of my new backyard buddies.