Thursday, May 26, 2011

The "Done" Point That Gets You To "Begin"

So I'm a Libra. Now I've never put much stock in horoscopes, I can read any of them and find similarities to myself but I do tend to lean towards a few of the characteristics of Libra. Such as... social, fair-minded, cooperative, diplomatic, gracious, indecisive, will carry a grudge. Perhaps because the sign of Libra is the scale/balance, indecision is a known trait of a Libra. This is incredibly true of me. I abhor any unfairness and unhappiness as a result of decisions which don't benefit all. Hence indecision. Now this doesn't affect my every day life, but major life decisions I tend to weigh and over think. However once I make a decision, I rarely if ever change my mind and I don't look back. For me things suddenly click, and I am often "done". Done weighing the decision, done talking about it, done fighting the inevitable, just done. Life then balances out and things go back to harmonious, harmony makes for a happy Libra. Perhaps this is why I stayed in a broken marriage when my brain knew it was over. My inner voice wasn't telling me we were done, when the head and the heart don't agree you get a mess. Personally I had to wait for the "done" moment and when it happened and the balance returned, well things happened for the life, new home, new job.

This got me to thinking about resources for the person who wants to alter their life, for the procrastinator or the Libra or the person looking for their harmony. So here are a few suggestions that help me:
  • The Kind Life. This site, started by the actress/vegan/activist Alicia Silverstone inspires me. When you live kindly, to yourself, to animals, to others you find harmony. Life is good.
  • Crazy Sexy Life. A great uplifting lifestyle website. I always find something that gets me thinking, moving or something I react too. CSL is from the same gal who created Crazy Sexy Cancer which is an amazing resource for anyone fighting or supporting someone with disease.
  • Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, by The Prince of Wales. Yes, it's a book by the future King of England who is a major supporter of sustainability.
  • Mars and Venus Starting Over. Yes it's a "self help" book. I think it was the first I ever read. A friend recommended it to me the week I decided I was leaving my marriage. It helped. Great lesson, focus on the love you had, not the loss of it. Believe it or not.
  • The Procrastination Equation. Procrastination costs you time, relationships, money...
So go find your happy place and share it with others.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going to the Show

"Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once - the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains." Crash Davis from Bull Durham

Well my first week on the job passed by in a rush. The week was a mixture of library tours, introductions, meetings and training all seamlessly organized by my new supervisor. My new colleagues have been wonderful in their welcomes, their patience and their enthusiasm. After 6 years at my former library it's interesting to set up a new office, learn about the librarians who share my work space, start new routines, laugh at new shared jokes and meet new patrons. As I slowly make my way through emails, years of saved paperwork, fliers, folders and files, learn a new catalog, explore new databases and attend meetings in and outside of the library I'm realizing how amazing the opportunity is that I have been given to assist library patrons. I'm working at a 5 star library, one of the best of the best and I'm part of a team, it's frankly just really cool.

As a lifelong library patron I am reminded now that I am working at my home library that one of the greatest things my parents provided for my sister and I was an environment of learning. Being raised by teachers we grew up with the expectation that education was one of the most important opportunities of life and visiting the library was a big part of that. Now as a librarian in a new and much larger library than I have ever worked in before I am learning constantly, it's exhausting but so much fun. It's pretty awesome that the hours fly by and when I finally crawl into bed at night I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

So with my full days at work and my full evenings working on my new house, it's a busy time and I apologize for not updating my blog as often as I should. I feel like Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh in the movie Bull Durham, I've moved from the minors to the majors (The Show).

Friday, May 13, 2011

When 1 Door Closes...

Another opens. Today is my last day at the wonderful Library where I have worked for the past 6 years. As I clean out my desk, hug colleagues who have become friends, get teary eyed saying goodbye to patrons and pack up the gifts, cards and trinkets staff have given me as a goodbye, I'm sad. It's been the best work experience of my life so far and I will miss it all.

So in wrapping up, here are a few of my favorite things:
  • The patrons. I've watched pregnant moms walk in, then later I've cooed at their newborns and finally applauded as those children got their first library card in kindergarten. It's been a pleasure to watch families in the Library. More importantly, it's validating that they USE the Library.
  • Being a reference librarian. Sure you get the impossible questions, "I need a book... I don't know the title or the author but it had a red cover." LOVED those questions.
  • Being a technology instructor. I made a difference in people's lives. I taught patrons how to set up an email account, how to surf the Internet, how to apply for jobs, how to connect with long lost family and friends. Absolutely the most rewarding part of my job. It was amazing to be a part of the process. My most recent favorite, helping a young couple who visited the library the week before Christmas last year. They arrived with an elderly man who was the young man's father. They were trying to get to Las Vegas for Christmas with their newborn and the older gentleman but couldn't fly and needed to either take the train or a bus. I showed them resources online and how to buy travel tickets, it took them a few days on the train but they got there. It was the man's last trip to see his family before he died.
  • Those you work with. What can I many of my colleagues are cherished friends. That won't change.
  • The Unexpected. The car that drove through the Library windows. The car that drove into the front of the Library. The animals that wandered into the lobby. Rarely dull in a public library.
  • The learning. Someone has a question about a disease, you help them find the resources to research it. Someone needs tax forms, or permits or do-it-yourself legal documents. Every time you assist a patron you learn a little bit more.
Being a Librarian is the greatest job in the world. I'm sad to leave what's been a fantastic job but so excited to start anew at an exceptional Library.

Gotta wrap things up at work and then it's off to a local bar, my colleagues are giving me a proper send off. Good thing I can walk home if needed, I love a good celebration!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Must Read Book-Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance

A fellow librarian brought this book into the Library recently and it's a must read. In 2007 NFL quarterback Michael Vick was arrested for running an illegal dog fighting operation. His Bad Newz Kennels were raided and 66 dogs removed from certain death. This book is about 1 of those dogs, Audie a pit bull, his rehabilitation and finding his "forever home".

The book is written for children but should be read by every animal lover. The pictures of the dogs living conditions in the woods behind Vicks multimillion dollar house are heartbreaking, as are the pictures of the scared dogs they found. But reading the story of Audie and looking at the pictures as the dogs get healthy, find homes and help others is amazing.

Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance is written by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent with photos by William Munoz. Great information is included about the Bad Rap organization, the volunteers who evaluated the dogs and found them homes.

For more information on Bad Rap, visit their site:
To read about what happened to the dogs they rescued from Michael Vick, visit here:
I follow a great blog about 2 adopted pitbulls who live in Chicago with their loving owners. The pictures are wonderful and so are their stories about their beloved pets. Also great info on pit bulls and dog adoption. To check it out visit their blog at 2 Pitties in the City.

After serving 18 months in jail, Vick was released and reinstated by the NFL in 2009. He is starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles with a multimillion dollar salary. Shame on the NFL, the Eagles owners and management. Michael Vick is a bad man, one can only hope karma will get him.

Good Guide for Chicago

The latest edition of the Michelin Guide is out for Chicago. The Green Guide is a favorite of mine and I enjoy flipping through each new edition. Here are some highlights:
  • True true true weather facts in the When to Go section. Yes, as much as we Chicagoans don't want to admit it, winter is our longest season and yes, the high humidity in summer is barely tolerable. Good to know tips for visitors.
  • The guide mentions the fantastic Green City Market in the Chicago for Foodies section. This is one of the best markets around and not to be missed. Open year-round, winter in the beautiful Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park and in summer down the road a bit across from the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of America's last free zoos.
  • Didn't know this myself but handy for locals and visitors. Guide lists all the Foreign Consulates in Chicago in the Know Before You Go section.
  • Yes Chicago is built on a grid which makes it easy to navigate when looking for an address. Good description of how to get around in the Getting Around section. Also info on the famous "L" elevated train system.
  • Looking for things to do? The Guide is organized by City section: Downtown, North Side, West Side, South Side and suburban excursions. Figured this out yet? There is no East side, you'd be swimming in Lake Michigan.
  • Looking for a place to stay and something to eat? There are the traditional suggestions in the Your Stay in Chicago section. There are the big hitters, The Four Season, The Peninsula, The Drake. However the Guide is compact so there are very few accommodation and food recommendations, so do your research before you visit there are obviously lots more options than the 8 pages in the book. Chicago is a food city, some of the finest restaurants in the world. You won't go hungry whether it is traditional deep dish pizza, our famous hot dogs or the #1 restaurant in America, Alinea. Personal favorites of mine, the Swissotel, (I had my first wedding reception in the penthouse, AMAZING views of the City and the Lake.) I also love The Omni Chicago, located on Michigan Avenue a perfect location for shopping and seeing the sites. Their breakfast buffet is fantastic and the rooms are all suites! And my favorite restaurant in Chicago, The Gage across from the Art Institute and Millennium Park. The curried mussels are to die for.
Overall this is a guide book for Chicago that I recommend. So what are you waiting for...come and visit!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

A day for spending with your mom, remembering your mom, loving your children, petting your furry pet babies. It's a day for moms of all types.
I've been blessed, I was raised by an amazing mother, who also was raised by an amazing mother. My mother gave me the love, freedom and support to be myself, to follow an unconditional path, to make mistakes, to keep on trying. No matter what, I know that my mother will be there, by my hold my pick me wipe my cheer me encourage my laugh at my moxy.

Having a wonderful mother showed me that motherhood is life's greatest joy. At 22 years old, when I dropped out of college to have my own baby I wasn't scared or cautious, I just became a mother. Now as my baby is about to turn 18 years old and start a life on his own, my days of motherhood are changing...but still I learn everyday from my Mom about how to be a mother.

So today as we celebrate moms, I celebrate the moms who made a difference in my life. Thank you.

1. My Mom. She is my comfort, my counsel. She combined a career with motherhood, family, service, and friendship. My love of travel and parties comes from her. I am athletic because we biked, skied, swam, sailed and played together. She surrounds herself with people who make her happy and reminds me that life is short, take chances, make your own happiness. If there is beauty she finds it, if friends are alone she invites them, what she has she shares, what she knows she teaches. She is who I want to be. Pure love.

2. Grandma MeMe. Strong, ahead of her time, earthy, funny, friendly, a devoted wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend. I remember her beautiful hands, her laugh, when she fell asleep watching 80's sitcoms in her bean bag chair, her legendary family recipes, rocking on her porch swing, stopping by the Mexican restaurant near the beach in Gulfport Florida after a day of swimming with my friends to find her drinking beer at the bar with her friends. She hung my son's tiny baby sock in her bedroom and would have loved that he is now a giant man of 6'6. She loved all my boyfriends. She wrote me lots of letters. She told me I was beautiful and I believed her.

3. Sharon. Oh her love for life. Her beauty. Her courage. Her kindness to me when I needed it most. Her ability to multitask with 4 children so she never missed a game, a dance, a party. We were almost sister-in-laws as we loved 2 brothers, she was my maid of honor but died 4 months before my wedding. As our sons who are good friends get ready for prom and high school graduation next month, I miss her more and more, we would have had such fun watching our babies leave the nest. I see you there my friend, near the fireplace.

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving