Thursday, December 29, 2011

The hard Eucharisteo

It has been a harder Holiday season this year. It seems like I know many families experiencing personal loss this season. On Tuesday we attended the funeral of a 4 month old boy. Pray for this family. They knew his time here on Earth was going to be short...but it is so hard. Another family we know of lost their 19 year old daughter in a car crash on December 11th. She was driving to church. Luckily we know Nancy really loved Jesus. She really radiated Him in her life. Our pastor lost his 17 year old daughter in November. That has been hard for my children...who were friends with her. Ivy touched so many people. She will be missed. Another girl I used to know just lost her life to cancer a few days before Christmas. She was 39 and leaves a husband and 3 children. I hadn't seen her in about 20 years, but I still remember her sweet and gentle spirit. Childhood friends of mine lost their father, and two step-brothers in a tragic fire. My sister is related to this family through marriage.
Meanwhile...I notice my mother slipping farther and farther away from us mentally. It's another loss.
This is the hard Eucharisteo. I think I have been a most ungrateful daughter and have decided to become a more thankful one. It's not always easy. It takes practice and a lot of it. I've started journaling it the old fashioned way...with pen and paper.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Do you have your shopping done? How about the baking? I don't!

Monday, December 05, 2011

BHS Class of 1946

I looked in the yearbooks at BHS today and found my aunt in 1946.
She's on page 25.
Here's a closer look. She looks like a sweet girl. I would have liked to know her. The sad thing is that a short time after she graduated from high school, she died in a car accident. She was only 19. My mother was 14; her younger sister. I've often wondered what she was like and how life would be different if she had lived. I would probably have an uncle and cousins that I don't have now. Who knows what sort of different set of dynamics that would have brought to my life and family. Today I walked down the halls of BHS and thought, "She walked down this same hall as a young girl in high school all those years ago." It made me feel momentarily melancholy. However, the library at BHS is much too busy to allow me to ruminate for long on thoughts such as these. It was another busy day and I was on my feet assisting and locating resources for students and shelving books.
(P.S. I will be subbing at BHS for one more day as it turns out.)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Welcome to BHS University.

Life has been interesting...even if my blog hasn't been. I have had the unexpected privilege of being able to act as librarian for a few days at this upscale high school in Rochester, NY. (Incidently, one of my aunts graduated from this school. Perhaps my older sister will let me know what year it was so I can look in one of the old year books there on Monday.) The regular librarian has gone to Florida because her mother is very ill.
I think it has been the most interesting high school I have ever worked at. It has an open campus policy. That means the students can come and go as they please, as long as they are present in class. There are no study halls. If they have a free period or lunch, they can go home or to a friend's house or even shopping for that long as they make it back to class, it is fine. They have operated on this schedule for years with very few problems. It is the first library that I have worked at where I have not had to say or have heard the following words, "Do you have a pass?" "Where are you supposed to be right now?" "Where are you going?" or "You must sign in." I find it to be rather refreshing. No babysitting! The clerk working with me says that the school treats the students this way, keeping in mind that the vast majority of them will be going to college in a few years (or less depending on their age) and the administration feels that it is part of the school's job to get the students accustomed to being responsible for their own time management. I love it! In fact, that was my first impression when I walked in on the first day. The library just had a very "university feeling" to it. Not only is the library very large (two stories), but most of the students are very academic.
It is also one of the most culturally diverse high schools I have ever been in (as far as race or country of origin...I think the vast majority come from well-to-do homes). There is a large Jewish population, as well as a pretty large Asian population.
The library is one of the busiest libraries I have ever been in. On the first day I subbed, I arrived at around 7:10 in the morning and found the library packed with students. Most of them were working on school work. School does not even technically start until 7:45. I happened to mention to the clerk that I need practice with reference questions. I have gotten practice alright! Some of these students are asked to research some very challenging topics. Each day I have had students come up to me asking for help finding information on some obscure topic. It has been a bit intimidating...but I am happy to say that I have been pretty successful! (phew) I am really enjoying this placement. I would love to work here! I am pretty sure the regular librarian loves her job too and will be returning on Tuesday.
In the meantime I will enjoy working there again on Monday.
(P.S. I forgot to mention that on the first day that I walked into the school, there was a man standing in a stairwell wearing a tuxedo, who was serenading the students on a violin. I'm not kidding! I'm wondering if they use fine china in the cafeteria...)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don't Jump!

This picture was taken this past summer just outside of Lowville, NY on a trail that lead to Gleason's Falls.

I've been trying to come up with something interesting to say...I have to admit that I have sort of lost interest in blogging. I just can't seem to generate motivation to do it. I still like reading blogs...but I'm not sure I'm doing my own for much longer.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is last year's turkey...fresh out of the oven. Someone managed to slice it before I took the picture.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Since I rarely ever blog anymore, no one even bothers to come to my blog. Go figure. my two royal (er...I mean "loyal") readers I write today.
I have been subbing in at least one library per week...with new ones asking me to sub all the time. I have observed so many things that I have decided to try and reflect on what I like and what I don't. I also must try to be discreet about what I don't like. I really do not want anyone stumbling upon this and it coming to haunt me one day. I do not wish to burn any bridges, but I need to reflect and learn from these experiences too. So all libraries: both good and bad, will remain anonymous.
Yesterday I subbed at a middle school library. I have subbed here a couple of other times. The librarian loves me. She and I are about the same age. I really like how she is quite relaxed in some respects: joking with the kids, always taking time to talk with them. She is very friendly and approachable. The kids like her and her library is a busy place. I feel as though she and I could become pretty good friends. I have one huge complaint however. Her collection is a mess! It drives me crazy when I am there. I honestly do not think anything ever is discarded from the library. She purchases new books, but never gets rid of anything old or outdated. All the shelves are very tightly packed and I don't see any evidence of things being shelf-read. EVER! (Shelf-reading is the process of putting the books in order on the shelf) A few weeks ago, I helped to shelf some books and it was nearly impossible to do it because nothing is in order. I'm not sure if anyone ever straightens or tidies the books either. I understand that a shelf of books can get messy quickly when students start perusing the shelves...but I've never seen it get THAT bad. While I was putting books away that day, I found one book that even had the wrong label on the spine. Ugh!!!! Give me a little organization. That's part of what I like about libraries. Everything has a place to go (unlike my own home) I can put things away and it looks nice!
It gets worse. I was giving a group of students an orientation of the library yesterday. I showed them all the sections of the library and talked about what fiction vs. nonfiction means, etc. I showed them the biography section. I randomly pulled a book off of the shelf to show them how the spine is labled with the first three letters of the last name of the person the book is about rather than the author. Guess what book I pulled? O.J.: the Story of Football's Fabulous O.J. Simpson, published in 1974. ( I even found a copy on e-bay: someone is trying to sell it for $ one's biting. Was great for an image though!) Seriously? Why is this book even in that library? This is not simply a rare or bizarre occurrence in this library; the entire library is like that! Whenever I am there, I am just dying to start weeding out books. No one wants to look at old books like this one. I actually fantasize about going through this library shelf by shelf and culling old books like this one. (I know that I am sick...but I am a librarian after all.)
So I've composed a little poem with the help of Emma Lazarus:

Give me your tired, your poor, your yellow paged books,

Your shelved masses yearning to breathe free,

Toss them into the wretched refuse of the school’s dumpster.

Send these to be homeless, tempest-tost either to the dump or to donate to someone who actually wants them,

I lift my hand to say "Good riddance!" beside the library door.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Libraries libraries libraries

I have not blogged in forever. I did not get a job this year...but am being kept relatively busy through substitute teaching. I'm getting better at it all the time. I no longer get very nervous about it. What is totally cool is that I am often called or requested to substitute for school librarians. In the past few weeks I have subbed in 6 different school libraries (some more than once). It has been interesting to observe the different moods of the different libraries I have been in. Some are relaxed and low key. Here are some of the things I have observed in those libraries:
-a group of students playing a game of "Jenga"
-students doing research on computers
-teachers stopping by to not only book the library for their classes, but to stop and engage in friendly conversation as well
-students coming up to the desk to find out if the sub can help them find a good article for their research paper (does she know her stuff?....and yes, I could!)
-a stash of chocolate
-middle school kids coming up to tell me how great the last book of a series was and how they need to put the next one on reserve.
-students saying, "Awww! Where's Mrs. ________?" (This is good...I'm the sub, but they love their librarian: which says a lot for her)

Sadly, I have been in a couple of libraries that seem to be the opposite. The adults who work there seem a little uptight to say the least. I was told by an aide that I really ought to go over and speak to a group of students who had come into the library to take pictures for a storyboard. Apparently, they were just having too much fun I guess. I noticed that no one seems to come to these libraries very much-teachers or students.

I just hope I never turn into an uptight librarian.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Went to a Yankees Game

We had a great time with family at a Yankees Game on Sunday! Our family (my husband's side) had an entire suite to ourselves. It was a wonderful arrangement, especially for my nieces and nephews who have small children.
I believe this is Derek Jeeter up to bat. He hit a home run!
we all had a wonderful time and will cherish the memories.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sewing Project

Thanks to a friend who let me borrow her sewing machine, Alicia and I were able to complete our sewing project. Alicia made the bathrobe that the middle doll is wearing. She did an excellent job! I sewed the one on the right as an example. I also sewed the one on the left...just because I couldn't resist! Click on picture to see more detail.

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Mom, I want to learn how to sew."...and the saga of the old sewing machine

Alicia decided that she would like to learn how to sew. I am quite delighted by this since I enjoy sewing (most of the time). We went to JoAnne's to find a simple pattern for a skirt or something she might wear, but Alicia found something that she'd rather sew. New clothes for her American Girl dolls (she has 6 of them...and no we did not buy them all).
So here is Alicia working on a bath robe for her doll. Yes, I realize that I have a quaint old sewing machine, but I love it. I inherited it from Jamie's grandmother when she passed away. It is a 1950 model Featherweight sewing machine. It has sewn countless articles for me since about 1993 when I became its proud owner. Unfortunately last night while I was sewing, something went wrong with it. It stopped working and there is a strange sound coming from the motor. This morning I called my sewing machine service and repair people. It is a business run by a Mennonite family in Penn Yan. I explained the problem to a woman named Rachel who answered the phone. She told me they probably can fix it because they have many old black singer machines up in their barn for parts. I just don't know when I can get it there since it is a hike for me.
Anyway, here is a finished bathrobe that I sewed in order to make sure I knew all the ins and outs of sewing this project before getting Alicia started on it. The first lesson? Make sure that if you have directional fabric, that you place the pattern pieces on accordingly. For now we have upside-down kisses! Oops!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Panther Pond

Went hiking just over a week ago to Panther Pond in Adirondack Park just outside of Lowville. We were on our way to pick up our son from camp. It is a beautiful and absolutely peaceful place. Wish I was there now.
My job search has not been very successful thus far. It's a tough job market out there for librarians. There have been job cuts and many librarians looking for work. I have had two interviews out of the 14 job applications I have sent out since June. I did not get either job. I'm trying to keep my chin up and ears open for more leads.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


How do you solve a problem like a game piece being stuck in a very high tree during a family picnic?

It takes team-work and...
a very brave soul.
Quick update on my life: My summer job is going great. I find teenagers to be very amusing...although they can be frustrating at times. Still looking for a job. Keep me in your prayers, especially seeing that I have an interview on Thursday.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Gone but not forgotten

Yesterday it was just Alicia and I here. I wanted to go for a bike ride with her. That is when I discovered that Alicia had no shoes other than flip-flops that fit her. We will be heading to Cape Cod next weekend and she will need more than just flip flops for that trip. So we went sneaker shopping. I figured we'd just go to the Shoe Department store here in town and be done with it, but Alicia had other ideas. She had her heart set on converse and the local store wouldn't do, so we went to the mall. She had mentioned in the past that she would like to go to her grandfather's grave and see it. I figured this might be a good day for that so after Alicia decided on the gray converse sneakers, we headed up to Oakwood Cemetery in Penfield. I hadn't thought to bring my camera along for this excursion. I'm sorry now. Thankfully, I have a sister who doesn't mind my borrowing images that she has taken. (Right, Mart?)This is not my father's grave, but it is my mother's father's grave. His grave is just three down from my father's grave. I showed this one to Alicia too. I have no picture of my father's grave. Perhaps Martha has one, but not one on her blog that I can borrow.Afterward we swung over to Webster for a bit to eat. We drove by the Dayton Corners School house on the corner of Creek and Plank and I decided to pull in and show Alicia the initials that her great grandfather carved into the post running up the outside. (This time my Father's father)
This of course is not Alicia pointing to her grandfather's initials, but it is my niece, Hannah in 2004. Grandpa P was born in 1904 and attended the school house when he was a boy. I'm guessing that these initials were carved in or around the year 1917. No one knows for sure though. Grandpa lived down the street in a big farmhouse. He was one of 6 children and the family owned quite a bit of land on Creek Street. The farmhouse is still there...right near a street called Royal View Drive on the opposite side of Creek Street. I drove down past it and pointed it out to Alicia. The house sits on an average sized lot and the barn is gone. All the farmland has long ago been parceled up into sections for more houses and neighborhoods.
Lately we have been busy cleaning out my parent's home in Webster to sell it. It felt strange to be so near a place I called home for many years and be unable to go there. I was pretty sure that no one would be there and the place is empty and locked up. Soon it will be owned by someone else...just like that old farmhouse on Creek Street. History gone but not forgotten.

Friday, July 01, 2011

"I'm the Librarian."

Somehow I managed to not mention that I got a real librarian job for the summer. I will be the librarian for the Western Wayne County Summer School that runs from July 6-August 19. Here's the story of how it happened. The application deadline came and went for the position of which I was completely ignorant. Then my dear friend and mentor, Jacquie contacted me and said, "They still haven't found a librarian for the summer school. If you are interested I'll get the information to you." Was I?!!? She got the information to me on a Saturday and I hand delivered the completed application on Monday. A few days later I got a phone call from a Mr. C-the assistant principal of the summer school. He said, "So are you interested in the job?" I said, "Yes." and was expecting him to tell me to come in and talk with him. Instead he said, "Okay, our first staff meeting is on June 29th at 8:00." I was a bit taken back by this. Wow! Talk about being in the right time and place. I will say that Mr. C already knew me because I had been the library intern at his school this past fall.
So I went to the meeting this past Wednesday morning. I'm listed as a part of the support staff (along with the principal, assistant Principal, nurse and office secretary). After the meeting, all teachers went to their respective room assignments and to see if their log-ins worked for the computer system. I was sitting in the library behind the desk (the same library I worked in as an intern). The library door opened up and in walked a man pushing a cart of refreshments. He was setting up for a meeting that was going to be held there (one that really had nothing to do with me). He looked at me and said, "Who are you?" I said, "I am the librarian." It suddenly occurred to me that it was the first time I had said those words with absolute truth. There have been times when I have been acting as a librarian or even referred to by others as one...but this is the first time that I have said the words-having my degree completed and actually being hired for the position.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lago de Papallacta

I wanted something beautiful to look at when I opened my blog page. (Not me...but the scenery) Here I am with my Spanish tutor, Franklin in Ecuador. We are sitting in front of el Lago de Papallacta. I am up and awake at 2:30 AM and thinking about Spanish and how I have not really spoken it since Ecuador. How am I ever to become fluent without practice?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reading Together

This image brings new meaning to the phrase.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Wilma and Humphrey

"Oh shoot, Wilma is too tall. Her neck doesn't fit!"

So what do you suppose that my son is talking about when he says this sort of thing? Naturally he is talking about one of his guitars. He has two of them and is getting quite good at playing them. He just rushed into the house on his way to a party. He was taking Humphrey with him (his other guitar)...but needed to switch cases since Humphrey's case is ripping. He then exclaimed that Wilma is too tall to fit in Humphrey's Wilma rests on his bed while Humphrey goes out partying.

Incidentally, I have no picture of Allen playing either Wilma or Humphrey. The picture above is of him playing his aunt's guitar at her house on Easter Sunday.

When I was in college, my roommate named her bassoon Howard (if I'm remembering correctly) after her grandfather. Does anyone else out there name their instruments? My father had guitars and banjos around all of my life and I cannot recall him ever naming them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tulips and Snow in Summer

This is what my flowers looked like earlier in the week...but alas they have faded and the petals have fallen.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

An Ecuadorian Delicacy

Do you remember those furry little pets called guinea pigs that either you or your friends had growing up? Forget that image and enter the world of fine dining in Ecuador. Cuy! (There are plenty of images to browse on google of this fine feast) Above is my friend, Patty. She and I got into a discussion about these little animals after I saw a pen of them in the yard of a home in Paluga. She was surprised and amused to find out that in America we keep these animals as pets. They are commonly kept in pens in the yards of many homes in South America...just like you might find a pen of chickens in some yards in America. We don't think anything of someone going out and getting a chicken to make into a feast, do we? The same is true for the cuy in Ecuador. They are not named, talked to or cuddled. They are simply fed and eaten when the time is right. This has been going on in Ecuador for thousands of years. The Incas ate cuy. When the Spaniards conquered them in the 1500's, the tradition of fine dining didn't end there. Many of the indigenous people were converted to Catholicism. Early traditions die hard as shown in a painting of the last supper in a cathedral in Cuzco.

Nothing but the best for Jesus and his disciples at this last supper. It is interesting to note that there are other items at this feast that are native to the Andes Region of South America.
(I did not actually see this painting but had heard about it. Cuzco is actually in Peru. I found the painting with the help of the internet)
I had been warned about cuy before I left on my trip. It is a delicacy. It can be expensive and is often reserved for guests or special occasion only. Every year the mission team has been served this. This year was the first year that it was not served. I was actually a little disappointed. I wanted to be able to say that I had experienced this!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Las Escuelas

The chapel at Colegio Bethel...the closest thing they have to an auditorium.
I'm really in no position to say whether or not the education system in Ecuador is good or not, but I did notice some major differences between the schools that we saw there and the schools here. We take books and supplies for granted, and clean and well equipped school buildings with the latest technological resources. We also take the very clothing we wear for granted. I saw very few school supplies and almost no books at all at two of the schools we visited. We brought up pencils, crayons and some folders to give away to some of the students we met.
I took this picture while casually walking past the classroom. I didn't want to be a disturbance, but I forgot to turn off the flash and there was a collective reaction from them after I took it. (oops) I think it was a math class. Basically the classrooms are bare bones. Four walls, a write and wipe board, and rows of desks.
A window outside the classroom at the high school. Notice the pane of broken glass. I don't know how long it has been broken, but I doubt that it is a high priority to have it fixed.
The school was able to put together a computer lab using old donated parts of computers. They are very proud of their computer lab...and yes, they are wired to the internet. They are definitely very resourceful with what they have. Here in the states, we would probably dump most of these in a landfill. I do not recall seeing any textbooks at this school. I wish that I had asked one of the students there if they had any.
By contrast, the one room school house at el Tambo had quite a few textbooks and other shelves of resources. I am sure that the American couple that started the school has contacts of people in the states that make that possible.
Math work sheets at el Tambo school.
One preschool-kindergarten school we visited seemed to have a number of books too...I did not look closely, but at a glance I could tell that many were in poor shape and/or very old.
The students at Peniel Christian School line up at the school gate to say goodbye to us on our last day. School uniforms in Ecuador are a must and are not free. They must be paid for by the family. For some families this is very difficult. Sometimes this is made possible through child sponsorship.

I am not trying to pick on the schools of Ecuador that we visited. On the contrary, it is on my heart. I love books and education. That is why I want to work in a school library. I know that statistics show that when children read...even for pleasure, it makes their grades go up. I wish we could share some of our resources here. We have so much. I am actually praying about how to help. I recently found this organization and am wondering if it could help.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Another special person I met in Ecuador was Franklin! He was my Spanish tutor during my trip. Franklin would sit with me and purposely initiate conversations with me in Spanish in order to help me practice. He was very patient with me and I was able to have several meaningful conversations with him in Spanish. On my last day in Ecuador, I had a conversation with him about my parents. I told him my father lives in heaven with God (I didn't know how to say that he had died). I also told him that my mother struggles with some health issues and lives with my sister. I told him that my mother cannot always think clearly anymore and that it is difficult for us to see her aging. Franklin was very encouraging and reminded me that "La cuerpa is de la tierra." This entire conversation took place in Spanish and I found it very comforting.
Towards the end of my trip to Ecuador, Franklin told me that he did not know how to speak any Spanish until he was sent to Quito when he was twelve to go to school. Up until then, he had only spoken the Quechua language. I then had a little more insight into why Franklin had been so patient with me while I struggled to put sentences together in Spanish...poor pronunciation and incorrect verb tenses and all!
On our last night, Franklin took us to his church in Quito. He attends a Quechua church. I was able to video tape a portion of the women of the church singing to Quechua. Enjoy!

What was truly special was feeling an incredible bond to these Quechua people because we are united in Christ Jesus!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


As I said in an earlier post: going to Ecuador was really about the people. I met some amazing brothers and sisters in Christ. One of the sisters I met was Martha. Martha will be turning 80 this year, still rides her bike through the village of Pifo, and is a somewhat of a legend in the area.
Martha came to Ecuador in the late 1950's to work for HCJB radio as a nurse in Quito. A few years later she moved to a small clinic in Pifo where she was the only nurse between Quito and the Amazon jungle. During the course of her work, she ended up adopting 20 children who were left parentless for one reason or another. Many of these children were half of a set of twins. Twins were considered to be a curse by the indigenous people because there was no way to keep both babies alive. A mother could not nurse two babies because of lack of nutrients. Many times a mother would choose one baby to keep alive and would leave the other to die. Martha ended up keeping these babies. I had the privilege to meet 6 of Martha's children and a few of her grandchildren.Here is Ruth,
Carola and a grandaughter,
and here I am with Patty. I did not get pictures of either Nancy or Rosa.
They are all committed Christians. They were all a blessing during our trip. Sometimes they translated for us or helped keep children entertained...or just simply helped with crowd control. Martha has some children who have moved to the USA. One son is a doctor in Houston. TX. After Martha adopted 20 children, she started sending other children to the USA to be adopted. You can check out a story about one of those children here.
On the last day of our trip, we were treated to lunch at Anita's house and many of the members of the family came.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A New Resolution

I have not talked a lot about the poverty level in Ecuador. I have seen pictures of poverty...but to see it first hand is a whole new thing to me. I wanted to take many pictures of the dwellings I saw, but I really didn't want to be disrespectful of the people living there. I took almost all of the following pictures secretly from the bus window. I saw places that were much worse than these.
A house in Pifo, Ecuador.
A house in another small village that we visited outside of Pifo. I cannot recall the name and cannot find it on a map.
A house along the highway in the Andes Mountains. Notice the thatched roof. I thought this one seemed nice in comparison to many houses I saw. I liked the roof.
A home that I saw while walking to the school in El Tambo.
A house in Palugo, Ecuador. All the kids in the picture, including the boy coming out of the house came to our VBS program in the village.
A woman doing her laundry in Palugo, Ecuador. I took this out the bus window. I didn't really want her to know I was taking her picture. The little girls in the picture came to a VBS we ran in the village.
I have decided that I will try not to ever complain again about the home I live in. If I do, I hope the Lord will remind me of what I saw in Ecuador. I will be thankful for what I have been blessed with.