Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Down to the creek

A place that I consider very dear to my heart is no longer in the family. My aunt and uncle have moved away from their place in the country. They had no choice in the matter, so I am quite happy that they have found a wonderful new home.

But there is still a queer sensation in my stomach as I think about the lane Jenny, Rosie, and I walked down countless times, gravel crunching underneath as we laughed and talked about everything--boys, friends, school, books, everything silly and serious that concerns growing girls.

The cats and dogs would always keep us company, the cats pretending that they just happened to be heading our way, the dogs too stupid to care about pretense. They would leap and prance, snapping at the air, happy to be going somewhere. There was nearly always a hawk in the air, hunting in the fields bordering the lane.

We would cross the road at the end of the lane and forge our way through the sharp waist-high prairie grass to the creek--for the creek was nearly always our destination, a hidden place. You never knew where exactly its path was until you nearly fell in, for the creek was always changing its way through the grass, subtly, slowly with each passing year.

It seems we grew up there, though I know we hardly went there as often as memory misleads me to think. But we went often enough that it has become a backdrop for my childhood--the prairie grass and the wide open wind mixing with such sensations as the smell of woodsmoke and the harsh scrape of Grandpa's mustache when he kissed my cheek and the crisp page of a book in my hands as my parents and I all sit quietly together, reading.

All this serves to tell me what this queerness is: I am grieving.
I should also mention that this paper is a management paper.


I have read too many quasi-scientific papers in which the behaviors of the human race have been reduced to numbers that somehow fit into an equation that purports to predict how they will act next.

Jon told me, "Welcome to the scientific method."

He also said that if psychologists can predict what people will do 20% of the time, they are considered geniuses. He would never have approached his adviser with results that abysmally low in his soil science experiments.

A ring of fire

I finally understand why I procrastinate.

When I am working on a project, particularly a paper, it tends to take over my life. I live and breathe the project to the point where it becomes like the ring of fire that encompasses Frodo's life towards the end of his quest. It becomes the only real thing in my life, and everything else a shadow, while the paper is being formed in my mind, random ideas being knitted together into coherent sentences.

Even my dreams are affected (I am a wonderful sleeper, to Jon's chagrin, except during these times), becoming like fretful little squirrels in the face of the behemoth that has taken up residence in my head.

I don't like it. So I procrastinate.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Here are a couple silly pictures from a silly website I found out about through facebook:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Will the circle be unbroken?

A lady I worked with at EKU passed away unexpectedly last week. Her desk was on the other side of mine, behind a flimsy cubicle wall. Throughout the day, I could catch glimpses of her movements through a crack in that wall--picking up a journal, sitting in her chair--myriad actions that reminded me that someone was on the other side, always ready for a little chat...

I don't know why I dwell on such an ordinary memory, something that doesn't indicate our growing friendship, other than that remembering those fleeting glimpses makes the present all the more stark: her chair is empty, the computer screen on her desk black.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The ordering of love

Madeleine L'Engle passed away recently.

I don't remember when I first read her books. My memory of them is timeless, like that of my parents. They've been there since before I can remember, before I even knew that memories are something to be made and cherished, what the older folk meditate on in their later years.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Electronic resources madness

The past couple of days have been a little crazy, work-wise. A librarian emailed ERIL, an electronic resources listserv, asking if anyone had started compiling a list of publishers and their perpetual access policies (for those of you happily unaware of what this means, I think you should remain so, if not, go here for clarification). I innocently responded that I had started such a spreadsheet and would be happy to share.


If I counted correctly (I can't make the picture above any clearer), I got about 170 responses within the past two days, mostly of "me too!" emails. There were even some responses from abroad: Hong Kong, France, England, Slovenia, Beirut! Obviously this is a big issue.

The cool thing about all this is that my supervisor, electronic resources librarian Kelly Smith, and some other people associated with ER&L (Electronic Resources & Libraries) are going to start developing a wiki (a website that can be edited by anyone) that will be based on this spreadsheet so interested people can contribute to this ongoing project.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Animals everywhere

Here is some of the wildlife we saw:

1) wild turkey

2) Southeastern five-lined skink

We almost saw a black bear.

These don't count:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wise old sages

Hooray for Professor Dumbledore!

Oh the things I never knew

I found out about some funny quizzes through the blog of one of the librarians here at EKU :

What Kind of Guy Will You Fall For?

You would fall for the geek. If you're looking for love, consider spending a little more time studying up in the library. To you, there's nothing more attractive than intelligence, shyness, and kindness; your future love may have four eyes and zero social skills, but he'll make up for it in brains and heart.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Which Disney Villain Are You?

You are Lady Tremaine. You're the evil stepmother little girls have nightmares about. Hooray for you, who helped kids learn to love their birth parents and do everything possible to avoid stepparents. Next time, though, be careful not to get in between a girl and her dreams.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Which Harry Potter Character Are You?

You are Dumbledore. You're the wise sage in any group. With your guidance, any situation can be resolved in the fairest way possible.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

The merry-go-round of web 2.0 applications

I'm not too interested in learning about all the web 2.0 applications out there simply because there's so much out there! You can create online "to-do" lists, make your own wiki, join all sorts of social networking sites, make your own travel page, etc. etc. etc. etc. If you want to dive into the madness yourself, go to Web2List yourself.

We're supposed to write about something that might be useful for work. So here's what I found before I got web 2.0 fatigue: Connotea. This is a "free online reference management" tool that lets you save citations and webpages to your account for easy access later. This is certainly a helpful tool to recommend for researchers. I haven't explored it too much--I wonder if it allows you to save citations from databases that the library subscribes to?

For fun, here's a link for all you scrapbookers out there: Scrapblog. This is a free website that lets you create online scrapbook pages. Here's a sample scrapbook: Old Wind Gap Postcards. This has a nostalgic flair to it. Here's another one, made by one of the PLCMC people who created the original Learning 2.0 playground: My favorite books (warning: this contains some Jane Austen pictures).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sense of s p a c e

The personal space bubble of people from abroad is quite different than that of Americans. Jon and I were routinely elbowed off various trails in the Smokies by large Indian families. They weren't being rude, though it was hard to be gracious after several close calls with the dangerous edge to nothing but a graceful dive into the welcoming arms of the rocks below.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Out in the mountains

Jon and I just got back from a weekend in the Smokies. We stayed at Standing Bear Farm, which is located about 200 yards from the Appalachian Trail, right on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. It is nestled in a little hollow, with mountains rising up on either side--absolutely beautiful!
The cabin we stayed at sat on top of a stream (though there wasn't much of one while we were there). When Jon first stayed here, back when he was hiking the AT, he said the sound of running water lulled him to sleep. There was an outhouse and a snug shed with hot water for washing up and showering. Everything the body needs--though I was a little nervous about going into the outhouse with 2 huge wolfish spiders nesting in the corner, until Jon investigated and told me that they were dead.
We biked through Cade's Cove, where I had my first accident on my bike, and hiked up to some old growth trees above Laurel Falls on Saturday. On Sunday, Jon climbed the road on his bike up to Clingman's Dome while I did some hiking. We met up at the top and admired the spectacular view of the fog. On our way back down, I drove behind him while he descended on his bike. I had a hard time keeping up with him in spots--he was going over the speed limit of 35 mph!
A very pleasant way to spend the weekend, though I'm a little sore from all the activity!