Thursday, May 31, 2007

Subbing tonight at a different library from the one where I normally work. A very nice change. It's just a few hours, but to see how things work in branch libraries every once in a while is good for me. I used to work in branches before I moved to the main library, and I appreciate both in so many ways.


-In a branch, you are often the only one working at the desk. At the main library, you can "ring" for back-up help and another staff person will come to assist you.

-In a branch, the area is smaller, only one desk/point-of-service, so you are overseeing the entire library and doing everything anyone asks of you. At the main library, I am just a circulation desk worker and don't answer reference questions or place items on request for patrons.

-In a branch, if something goes wrong (from the toilet overflowing to an angry, screaming patron), you are the decision maker for solving the problem. At the main library, there's always a supervisor to make those decisions.

There are benefits to both positions. Branch staff have autonomy, but main library staff have quantity. To call in sick at the main library means the schedule might be tight--to do so in a branch might mean finding a substitute last minute. To not get a break at the main library would mean you get an extra break the next day, but to not get one in a branch (due to lack of staff) is a normal thing.

Out of break time for now!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bad management joke

My family spent time yesterday putting up our above-ground pool, and S helped. He was in the pool after we'd gotten it standing upright, but asked, "Beth, do you know how to flatten the bottom?"

"No, but I know how to flatten an organization."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Increased dependency on foreign oil

The last two trips to the cities I've made have involved terrible traffic, a missed a college friend's wedding, more than two hours in the car one way, and being able to read four pages of an article for class while driving less than 5mph.

I really don't like driving this much when gas is at the prices that it is, and when anyone complains to me that gas prices are high and all they do is drive to work each work, I want to remind them that during the Reagan administration, gas prices were even higher than this, relative to the value of the dollar, and that I drive to freaking St. Paul twice a week to go to class for a whole three hours.

Anyway, clearly I'm venting. I like the cities, I really do, and one of the goals of going to school is to be able to move someplace else, perhaps the cities or elsewhere. It's just kind of hard, going back and forth, living at home, working not enough hours to support myself independently, and feeling productive.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Learning about management from the best (and saying goodbye)

I started my Management of Library and Information Centers class (now hereby known as "Management class" for blog purposes) on Monday night, wherein we discussed "good" managers and "bad" managers, Myers-Briggs, and the "Queen's Croquet Ground" (Chapter 8 of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"). I am definitely pleased about this class and group of classmates, especially since I found out that Liz from my previous class got into this class, and will be in my group for our project! Score.

In our introductions, I freely admitted to the class that this course might be hard for me, since my direct supervisor has given his notice and will be leaving in June, so if we're talking about great managers and I start to get a little misty, they'll know why. I got an "aww" from the class. Really and truly, my boss is a wonderful manager, and I will miss him.

It all came as a bit of a surprise to me, but I know that his job is demanding and I'm trying not to worry about whoever they hire to replace him. I'm sure it will all work out, and having a variety of managers throughout a career is a given variable and I am excited to see what will happen next, as I always am with anything in life.

Excuse any lack of regular posting for the next month and a half as my life is more complicated with driving to St. Paul for class two nights a week and trying to get my homework, social life and work life to mesh.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Date night?

S and I had a bit of a disagreement at the beginning of our official dating relationship (to distinguish it from our friend relationship wherein we went on "denial dates" for many months). He thought it would be nice if we had a specific date night each week, wherein we would take turns planning a date and then make each other the priority for that night.

I, however, thought this idea was lame.

I had a number of reasons at the time, but I can't seem to remember them now. I think it was the idea of being forced to plan something, even if we weren't getting along, or feeling obligated to hang out with each other instead of getting things done, or maybe it was just that we hung out all the time anyway, so why make a specific night the "date night," when practically every night we were on a date, if you define "date" as "hanging out with someone you are interested in getting to know better." Our whole time together was one big date.

S was disappointed. He has close friends who have date night, and liked the idea very much. So a few days later, I came around. S planned a date night.

And then, he changed plans last minute to spend time with some family. This was not good for my need for order, but I went along with it, because I was still getting to spend time with him. I did tell him, though, that I thought date night was supposed to be just us. Then he didn't like the idea of date night so much anymore, because he couldn't switch things around to include other people. We then dropped the idea altogether.

Later in our relationship, I complained that we didn't get to go out on dates very much, and S remedied that pretty well. Then it went to zero dates while he was gone, and then just a long of hanging out once he was back.

Last night, I was surprised when he called me in the late afternoon and said he was going to take off work and wanted to take me out on a date. He did just that and showed up at my house at 4:30, dressed nicely. We looked at movie times and decided on our showing, then waited to get hungry by watching a Japanese movie, "Densha Otoko, Train Man" which was fitting since we planned to get sushi.

One delicious sushi dinner later (awesome California roll tempura style and a couple of pieces of yellowtail), and we were at the theatre enjoying "Spiderman 3." While it seems unlike me, I think I enjoy the spontaneous date night more than the planned one. I certainly wasn't expecting to even see S yesterday since he works until 10pm and I had to be to bed early to work at 8am, so it was great to have an unexpected evening of good food and even better company.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Why is it...?

Why is it that I can put on mascara and a little extra blush, and suddenly, S is asking me what it's like to be so hot?

Why is it that I decide to wear a low-cut top because it's warm outside at last, and I get hit on at the circulation desk?

I know it's true that men are visual creatures, but man, is it ever easy to get attention that I don't necessarily want. Of course I don't mind attention from S, and I'm glad he appreciates my efforts to look nice, but I think women really do have to be careful about these things.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Photos from Nate & Julie's wedding (5/5)

A few photos from S's cousin Nate's wedding on Saturday. S served as usher, hence his lapel decoration (calla lily). It was held a the Como Park Conservatory in St. Paul, and was quite lovely.

Me and S in our classic pose from vacation:

A random person I didn't know offered to take one of us:

The Como Park Conservatory:

Exchanging vows with the help of Pastor Dom from Calvary Chapel St. Cloud:

Me and S's cousin Rebecca, in our (lovely, I would say) Asian-themed outfits:

Quite contrary

Since we got back from our California vacation, I've felt a lot better about life in general. Going to work is easier and taking another summer class is a little less daunting. I am excited for my new work schedule to begin as well, and looking forward to the Winnipeg Folk Fest in July gives me an end goal.

I think S and I are both suffering from spring allergies/jet lag in the same way. We've goth stayed up very late a few nights in a row and slept most of Sunday away after going to his cousin's wedding on Saturday night. It took me quite a while to fully unpack, and we're still working on compiling our stories into our travel journal.

I am trying to be on my best girlfriend behavior lately, but it's backfiring in a big way. Being with S for an entire week was great, and we kept it together really, really well, which most people say is a good indication that this relationship is built to last, but of course, I am a worrier. I could worry professionally, and S has an elaborate backstory wherein I actually do make money with my anxiety, working for the Department of Worry. I need to trust S, believe in him and believe what he says, and I need to trust God above all things.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Summary of San Francisco

My boyfriend and I got back from San Francisco on Tuesday evening and are back to work as usual, except that I don't have class for a couple weeks here.

The trip was a great time, and when asked what the best part of it was, I said, "Being with S." He made an excellent travel partner, even when I was not at my best or in a very good mood. We got so sore walking up and down hills and all over the city (our luck with the bus system didn't kick in until Saturday) that our routine was foot massages each evening.

We went to Chinatown, Japantown, Haight-Ashbury, the Tenderloin (kind of scary even in full daylight), and inadvertently wound up in North Beach a number of times without planning to, which became our running joke. We saw Golden Gate Park and hung out on Hippie Hill, and walked along Marina Boulevard and enjoyed the architecture. We visited the Japanese Tea Garden, Huntington Park (my favorite little park), and Union Square.

We went to the Asian Art Museum, the de Young museum, the Exploratorium (their equivalent to the Science Museum of Minnesota, but more interactive), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. We went to Alcatraz on my birthday and it was cold and windy but really interesting. We saw Ocean Beach, the Sutro Baths ruins, and ate a number of really excellent little places. We had a lot of Chinese and Japanese food, and some awesome pasta on my birthday, and even ate steak at a little French bistro. We shopped and got cool souvenirs for ourselves and our families.

I posted all the best photos on Facebook (more than 300 photos!), and I will add the links here for all to see once I get a chance. Steve was a shutterbug, and had it not been for him, I don't think we'd have all the great shots we do. What a great guy, and what a great vacation.

Album 1, which includes our first days.

Album 2, which includes Alcatraz.

Album 3, which includes more Alcatraz and Golden Gate Park.

Album 4, which includes our Sunday in the City.

Album 5, which includes a lot of random things.

Album 6, which includes our last days.