A Farewell To 2007

December 31, 2007

2007 was an interesting year. I’m not particularly sad to see it go – nor particularly happy to be moving on to 2008. I’m not one to celebrate the passage of time. I do not really celebrate my birthday, anniversaries or New Year’s. However, I can’t stop the inevitable need to reflect a bit when such occasions do occur.

Thoughts on School 

In 2007, I took 5 classes bringing me much, much closer to the end of my MLS program. I am VERY excited about this. At this point, I am extremely happy that I choose to take more classes than I wanted to in order to try and finish in 2008. This looks to be a reality that I will be able to accomplish. I will definitely need some to recover my mental sanity once I am done. But, I will be done!

I have all sorts of mixed up thoughts about library school, distance education, the program at SCSU, my personal experience in graduate school and many other related topics, but have been very hesitant to blog about many of them. I’m not actually sure how much of my jumbled thoughts will make it into this blog, but I am sure that I won’t even think about writing about many of them until I finish the program. I definitely harbor some hostility about my program, and feel as I was allowing that hostility to overshadow the positive experiences. I’m not entirely sure if this past semester was better because I tried to stop thinking about the problems or because I was lucky enough to be in a great class. Either way, I did feel much better about things things semester.

I’m very nervous about the upcoming semester. I think my class will be a great deal of work. I’m also expecting this upcoming semester to be incredibly difficult at work. This probably means that I will be highly stressed and quite overworked. I should probably apologize in advance to my husband.

By the summer of 2007, I had hit bottom in terms of my feelings about school. Spring 2007 and summer 2007 were very difficult semesters for me because of how involved I had gotten involved in issues some distance students were having at school. I was extremely discouraged with the ways things turned out and feeling as if I was to blame for having stirred up a hornet’s nest. There were some very unhappy people, and I was getting way too involved in other people’s problems (I just want to note that this was my fault. There wasn’t anything specific that anyone else did). I decided to distance myself from the situation a bit especially when I realized that I was having serious thoughts about walking away from the program despite being only two classes shy of graduating.

Thoughts about Blogging

Interestingly, one of the things to really suffer when I decided to distance myself from issues at school was blogging. At first, I was having trouble formulating coherent posts. Later, I found that I had definitely lost a bit of interest in blogging. I wasn’t keen on spending non-work and non-school time writing about school and work issues – especially when I had determined that certain topics were off limits. I figured out that I needed space from the world of libraries. I did feel guilty about this for awhile – longer than I would like to admit. It is amazing how much a part of my life blogging had become. Fortunately, I realized that I can’t force myself to blog. The desire is either there or it isn’t. Taking a bit of break wasn’t hurting me – in fact, I’d like to think that it helped give me some time and space to experience some of the things that I hadn’t really had time to do since starting school in September of 2005. I’m not sure how much I will be blogging in the future – and I’m not particularly worrying about it one way or the other.

Other Stuff

The saddest thing is that when I look back at 2007, there isn’t a whole of non-related school stuff in the old memory bank. I certainly did things – most notably the trip to Las Vegas that my husband and I took in June (the Grand Canyon rocks!). I spent time with my family and friends. However, school dominates my 2007 memories – especially because it was such a difficult year school-wise. While I do not generally make resolutions, I certainly do not want school to be the biggest part of my 2008. Graduating from school? Yeah, I’m ok with that being a big memory, but I do not want school angst to be what I remember most.

Re-reading this blog post, it definitely sounds like a bit of a downer. Obviously, 2007 was a difficult year overall for me. However, I’m not particularly sad or upset as I write this. The past couple of months have been great. I had a great semester. The breaks from worrying about school and from blogging have worked for me. I’m feeling more positive about school – and am worrying much less about whether I should be blogging or not. Life is pretty good. The New England Patriots are 16-0. I got seasons 1 & 2 of Bones for Christmas. I have gorged myself on the remnants of a wonderful boiled dinner for several days straight. And, my husband and I are spending a wonderful New Year’s Eve at home together.

Happy New Year’s to all!!!!!!

Do Do, Re Re Meme

December 30, 2007

Diane from Journeys tagged me for this Do Do, Re Re Meme before Christmas. I have been blissfully absent from the online arena for a while – so didn’t really notice until recently. I’m not entirely sure that I can come up with seven more random things about me. It might be time to retire the random things meme. However, I will give it one last shot. Here goes:

  1. Our Christmas tree never really made it up this year. It kept tipping over because of tree-strand problems. It tipped over for the last time after I got about 15 ornaments on it. At this point, I propped it up in the corner and tried to ignore it. I decided it was best not to put any presents under it – or allow anyone to go near it. For the future, I’ve decided that I have had enough of the real tree thing.
  2. My favorite Christmas present this year was a package containing seasons 1 and 2 of Bones on DVD. I’ve made it almost all of the way through season one.
  3. I love to color with crayons. I usually indulge with my nieces and nephews, but have been known to sit with a coloring book all by my lonesome. I, however, cannot color unless I have a package of crayons with at least 64 colors. Otherwise, my creativity is seriously impeded. My personal box of crayons has 96 colors. I’m thinking of upgrading to 128!
  4. I made my first ham and cabbage boiled dinner yesterday. This is my favorite mean of all time (yes, my mom’s family is of Irish descent). It was yummy, and I have lots of leftovers!
  5. Most of my house is clean for the first time in many, many months. It feels wonderful!
  6. I’m going to miss my parents who have decided to winter in Florida now that they are retired. They left today.
  7. I am watching Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as I’m trying to write this.

This is definitely the end of the random facts for me!

I’m Starting To See The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

December 20, 2007

In some ways (ok, in many ways), I feel like I have been going to school forever. It is difficult to remember my life when I didn’t have school – when I had free time. I do know that it hasn’t been forever. After all, I took my first class in the MLS program at Southern in the Fall of 2005. So, I have been making decent progress in completing the program. I’ve been aware that I have been getting close to the end. However, two things occurred this week that brought home how close I am to the end.

First, I received my grade for my fall class, ILS519 – Collection Development. In response to the email from the professor, I took time to thank her for this class – and two others that I have taken with her. I figured this would be a good time because it would be the last class that I will take with her. She sent me a wonderful reply with some incredibly kind comments. I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t be able to take another class with her.

The second thing was that I payed my last tuition bill. WOOO HOOOO!!!! (Note: I haven’t really paid it off yet because I paid the bill with my credit card. But, the end is in sight) This was extremely satisfying – especially since I have been paying for the degree out of my own pocket. I just added it up – a meager $17,045.00 for a distance MLS degree. And, that is quite inexpensive when compared to tuition at other schools!!

Now, I have one class to finish – and the other graduation requirements to complete: an eportfolio which includes a resume, information about important core concepts learned in the program, links to one’s best work and one’s capstone project. I will be doing the project in ILS680-Evaluation and Research during the Spring of 2008. I’m planning to work on the eportfolio stuff over break. We will see how that works out.

So, the end is in sight. If everything goes accordingly, I should graduate in May of 2008. I’m a bit in awe because it doesn’t seem possible. I’m feeling a bit sad because although I need to be done so that I can get back to my life, the experiencing has been enriching in many ways. I’m also nervous because I expect this semester to be the most challenging of the program. The nicest part is that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.

Winter Wonderland

December 13, 2007

Winter Wonderland
Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.

Today, we had the first major snowstorm of the fall of 2007. It, of course, caused all sorts of problems especially for driving here in southeastern Massachusetts. Fortunately, the college where I worked closed at 1:00PM. My normal 15 minute commute took a little over a half hour. I am very glad to be home!! Hopefully, it will stop snowing soon – especially since we may be getting a bigger storm this weekend.

Meanwhile, I’m safely ensconced in my fluffy, comfortable and warm pajamas – watching some of my favorite tv shows on DVD and having some fun blogging. Cool!! Tomorrow, I will worry about whether or not I will be able to actually start my Christmas shopping – nevermind whether or not I will be able to actually finish it.

SantaThing – The Most Fun Ever

December 13, 2007

I was deeply intrigued when I read Tim Spalding’s post about LibraryThing’s SantaThing. As I so often do, I read the post, thought about participating and went on to do other things. However, I was on LibraryThing this morning and couldn’t resist signing up. The idea is pretty ingenious: those who want to participate pay $25 to sign up; LibraryThing selects each person’s Secret Santa; then people go to a web page to find out who they get to buy books for; LibraryThing employees actually buy the books and have them shipped to the participants. The Secret Santa page is open to all LibraryThingers, so that everyone can help by making suggestions. Of course, people can’t see their own page – so they do not know what suggestions might have been made or what items have been purchased.

All I can say is that this sounded like fun (ok, maybe in a geeky way – but I’m all about geekiness), and I am so glad that I decided to play along. I do have to say that picking out books for someone was not as easy as I thought it would be. Although the price to participate was $25, one could not spend more than $20.00 for two books. The $5.00 extra is to cover shipping. So, trying to find two books that were available on Amazon from the suggestions that the person I was buying for gave was difficult in itself. And then, I spent a good deal of time trying to get two books that came as close to $20.00 as possible. I mean, I want the person to get the most out of this as possible.

Well, I have made my selections for the person for whom I am playing Secret Santa. I really, really hope that I did a good job. I’m a little bit nervous. Of course, I don’t think there will ever be a way to find out if the person liked the books or not. So, I need not to worry about it. I tried my hardest – and the books were by authors that the person suggested.

Anyway, this was the most fun ever (ok, the most fun I’ve had all week). What a wonderful idea!! Happy Holidays! A big thanks to Tim Spalding and LibraryThing! I promise that I did this to have fun – and that I will indeed be pleasant about whatever books I receive from my Secret Santa.

Don’t You Want To Know What Type Of Cookie I Am?

December 7, 2007

I do so look forward to the Friday quizzes that Angel Rivera from The Itinerant Librarian posts on his blog. I usually take them all. I will admit that I only post the results that speak to me in some way – (meaning those that I like). Today’s quiz, was the best ever! Who doesn’t want to know what type of cookie they are?

Who wouldn’t want to be a chocolate chip cookie? And, I have to admit that the chocolate chip cookie and I have a very strong bond.

It Is Time To Celebrate

December 7, 2007

I just passed in my weeding assignment. Yeah, the semester is officially over!!!! I’m beat. I’m exhausted. It was an awful week. I had issues sleeping – and got very little. I have been working almost non stop on this assignment. I was only at work two days this week – and both days were beyond abysmal. The end of the semester seems to bring out the worst in most ways. But, I’m done with school for the semester (only ONE more to go!!) and am putting work out of my mind for the weekend (unless I get calls about network and wireless problems).

Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts!!!!!

Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

December 5, 2007

I think the blogger’s block is gone – although I can’t really tell because I haven’t been blogging. But, the reasons that I haven’t been blogging are numerous: back issues that kept my horizontal for much of November, school work and my latest social networking site that has been keeping me very,very busy. I am now officially part of WebKinz World. My niece and nephews bought me a panda WebKinz for my birthday. They are WebKinz fiends – and felt compelled to share the experience with first their parents, then their grandmother and then me – Aunty Jen. Within minutes of meeting my new pet, I was at the computer with my nephew, Jimmy, going through the adoption process. He then gave me a cursory tour of the WebKinz website – paying particular attention to his favorite parts of WebKinz World.

All that I can say is that I am quite amazed by the whole thing. I’ve been aware of WebKinz for quite a while. I’ve bought several as presents. I’ve watched the kids the play games, helped them answer trivia questions, etc. However, I didn’t realize how intricate the whole process would be. WebKinz World is a fairly sophisticated social networking site – for children. Before you can adopt a new pet, you need to create a login. When I went to register, I was amazed to see that simple passwords are not allowed. People must use a number in their password. One the registration page, there is information about password security.

From there things get interesting. My nephew helped me add friends – himself, his sister Emily, my sister in law, brother and mother. “We can chat. We can send each other notes. And you can send me presents,” he told me. He then showed me the games. Sadly, he didn’t tell me about the fact that one has to regularly feed and exercise one’s pet. Don’t worry, though. Jimmy sent me a treadmill, and now I’m exercising and feeding Freddie regularly!

So far, I’ve added a bedroom, a bathroom and an outdoor space (to grow the corn that I received as a present from my niece Emily) to Freddie’s home which originally had only one room. I’ve furnished the bathroom and the bedroom with my Kinz cash. Of course, all cash must be earned. So far, I have done several jobs and answered lots of trivia questions. Jimmy keeps emailing me in order to check on my progress. He is worried that I am not taking care of Freddie. All in all, this is a fascinating world. And, it is where I have been spending ALL of my free time. This is one of the major reasons that I haven’t been blogging of late. Now that I’m comfortable with WebKinz, however, I think I can spend less time there. Well, unless my niece and nephew find out . . .

Weeding – Not So Much Fun!

December 5, 2007

Ok, there is something incredibly satisfying about throwing things out. One of my fondest memories from my time in the world of libraries is getting to toss many years of hardcover Index Medicus volumes out of a third-story fire door into a waiting dumpster. The fact that this was in preparation for a move into a new library made it that much more exciting. However, when weeding a section of a library for a school assignment, you don’t actually get to experience the thrill of the toss. And, while I have thoroughly enjoyed my collection development class, it has only reinforced my earlier belief that collection development is not a job that would make me happy.

As you might guess, I am knee deep in my final project for ILS519-Collection Development. I am weeding a section of QA76 books in my library. This is a very, very time consuming project. We need to examine each book, determine whether to discard, keep, replace, etc. Should we replace a volume with something else? We need to make recommendations about new titles where appropriate. I feel like I am up to my eyeballs in library catalogs, Books in Print, OCLC, Resources for College Libraries, Choice and other sources. Realistically, I probably have a good handle on the project. But, it isn’t due until Friday (which isn’t that far away) and I feel compelled to keep looking for more information on the titles in question. I think that I am physically incapable of finishing an assignment early. I have an obsessive compulsive need to keep working. I still have to do quite a bit of narrative also.

Well, it is time to get back to work!