Thursday, December 29, 2011
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
Monday, December 05, 2011
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
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 matter...as 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
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
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Since I rarely ever blog anymore, no one even bothers to come to my blog. Go figure. Anyway...to 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)...so 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 $10...no 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
-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
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.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Friday, June 03, 2011
"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 case...so 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
Thursday, May 05, 2011
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
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
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 us...in 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
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 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.