Friday, May 30, 2008

Excitement at the library

Today as I was checking in some items at work, the power went out. We waited in the dark, scrambling for flashlights, checking out by hand by writing down patron's barcodes, asking, "How much longer until they let us go?" It was about a half hour, and we got word that we could leave. I made it as far as a downtown coffee shop before getting the call that the power was restored and to come back. Oh, the excitement!

On an unrelated note, round one of engagement photos are on the web! Alex did a good job, kind of staying out of the way, and getting some great candid/photojournalistic shots of us just having fun. We had one more location in mind, so we're going to attempt to get some more shots in a day or so, namely a semi-lame one where we are both looking at the camera and smiling for the local paper announcement (our mothers are very keen on this).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fun with XHTML

I have been working a lot on my exercises for my online class (Internet Fundamentals and Design). My first assignment was easy. It was basically, here, make a little webpage with some italicized and bolded text with a link. So I put five links. *shrugs* I am all about content.

Next, I made this page which I lost some tiny fraction of points on, because I had two body tags and didn't close a paragraph tag. Oops. I fixed them and put up that identical page without the errors. The assignment got a little more tricky (include an image, resize it, etc.) but it took me back to the days where I made a blog on my Tripod site, superrubypunch, in 1997. Oh, I am nothing if not old school. I taught my sister everything I knew about HTML, and then promptly forgot most of it.

Then, I made this page which was fun, because I spent a ton of time hunting down pretty pictures (and naming them, so when you put your mouse over the images, there's a description). We also learned how to make links that pop up in a new window (or tab) and about ASCII symbols. I got all the points for this one. Hot stuff.

Now, I have worked ahead and created this version of the previous page because we learned how to make tables. I fully realize it would make much more sense to have the images be links directly to the items, but for the assignment, we were to make two tables, one of text that is centered, one with images. I will probably ultimately revise that page to a much larger table with links and image descriptions, etc.

I actually geek out about this stuff, which shouldn't be surprising to me, since I liked it when I did it at age 16, but hey, it's nice to know I haven't changed that much. I still like the same boy I did at age 17, so at least I'm consistent.

An additional item I didn't need, but love anyway

I am loving this scarf, which I just bought after finding out about it via, where else? The Etsy Wedding Blog.

I do realize that my wedding is in August, one of the (statistically, anyway) hottest months of the year, but since we'll be indoors for much of the time, and air conditioning is not known to be the perfect temperature, I was a little concerned about my bare shoulders/neckline. And, it should be a good match with the red silk shoes!

Oh, you'd think I'd planned this really well, wouldn't you? It's really been the luck of the wedding gods. Love the details on both are silver, and that I'll be wearing white gold jewelry, etc. etc. It's these little details that get me excited for our wedding day all over again, everytime I look at them.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My cousin Christy

My cousin Christy had her graduation party yesterday, and it was a hit. I tried my first Miller (gross), talked to various cousins I haven't seen in a while, ate a huge number of cookies (I lost count after four), and failed to really make any progress in wedding decision-making (cousin Angie is helping me with music! woo!). I scored a "you are good friends with Christy" on the 'Christy Quiz,' which was good news. I admit to cheating to figure out her favorite band (my cousin Erik revealed that the right answer was the top play count on her computer, even though the next 10 most played songs in iTunes were Colbie Caillat—hah!) but this didn't actually bump me to the eschelon of "You are best friends with Christy," so oh well.

I also got a lovely belated birthday present from my cousin Simon and his wife Eve, in the form of the game Clue. It's been a while since I've played the game, so we're going to find time in the next few weeks to hang out and watch Star Trek, play games, and go to an electronics store in the cities. Yay!

Perhaps if you are a regular reader, you've noticed the addition of ads to this blog. I'm going to try it out, see how it goes, etc. I've often wondered how ads work in a personal blog, but looking at the success of bloggers like Heather Armstrong who have a seriously huge amount of ads (but also excellent, fabulous content), makes me curious enough to try it out.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A plug:

This is just a brief plug for the site S and I are using it to some extent for our wedding registry, because we like some things that aren't available at la Boutique Targ├ęt. There are awesome housewares available all over the web, from the likes of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and even Etsy! I recommend the site even if you aren't 'registering' for an event, but just want a place to store all the stuff you find online that you like and want to remember. I know life isn't about collecting piles of material objects, but hey, everyone needs bedding and towels, right? And why not a rice cooker, too?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why online classes rule

Okay, so I'm taking this online class this summer with an instructor from Dominican University (my MLIS program is kind of confusing; I understand it, but it's weird to explain) and as I sat down this evening to watch a movie, I realized: I have an assignment to complete!

I'd started working on it yesterday morning, then promptly forgot about it as S and I went about our days. I subbed at a branch library, then we had delicious Chinese dinner with two of his aunts. After that, we watched a 'drive-in' movie, wherin we took my laptop to a parking lot where we could see the sunset and we watched "2 Days in Paris" which was great. This morning, I had a dress fitting with his aunt Jean, a.k.a. the amazing seamstress who sewed her daughter's wedding dress, and then we looked at an apartment.

So, this website is my completed assignment (nice, huh) plus I am reading about "As We May Think". And I just have to have this done by 11:50 pm! Yay for online classes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Engagement photos coming up

originally uploaded by Alexander Pierce Johnson.
This is a photo taken by our photographer, Alex Johnson, a.k.a. my sister's best friend since preschool. I'm really psyched to have him take our engagement and wedding photos. We're probably going to attempt to get outside and take e-photos either tomorrow or sometime next week.

Everyone has said, "You need a good photographer!" and I've said, "oh, my friend Alex is taking our pictures" and they've given me this weird sideways "you cheapskate" kind of look. But c'mon, look at this and his other photos on flickr... no worries! We're already comfortable with him, so that's half the battle. He's got such a great eye for beauty in small details, I'm excited!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

You take me the way I am...

Isn't Ingrid Michaelson a really cute girl? I heard "The Way I Am" on public radio a few weeks ago, and just loved the song and listened to it a million times on S and I just bought tickets to see her on June 6, so that will be our first concert together. We've been to bars to see bands, but it wasn't deliberately to see an artist we both liked. How weird is it that we've been together for more than 2 and a 1/2 years, and this will be our first 'show-going experience'?

Anyway, today is my first class meeting for Internet Fundamentals and Design, and the rest of the course will be done online. I've already decided that I'm probably going to design a wedding webpage for me and S, because, what the heck, that's what I'm spending the majority of my time working on, aside from actual library work and the difficult job of enjoying the beautiful Minnesota spring weather.

Friday, May 16, 2008

#3: RSS, Bloglines, oh my!

Thing #3 is another one I've already done. I use Bloglines, and I really like it. I have a few options that I do regularly: to skim for interesting posts from favorite bloggers, to read all posts by those bloggers since the last time I checked in, or to know it's been updated and to click through to their actual blog and read it from there. It's also one of those browser tabs that rarely gets closed once I open it in Firefox. I just keep it up and look at it once or twice a day when I want something to read.

I think one of the most useful applications of RSS could be for libraries and teachers to put out timely information on a feed instead of e-mailing or expecting users/students to login somewhere. RSS makes it easy to update the masses without masses of 'extra' information overload.

To be completely transparent, I will say that the only reason I found out about Bloglines 2 years ago was because I attended a session on Library 2.0 in Willmar, taught by Michael Stephens himself. I was the only one in the room of about 30 library staff who'd heard of or already used half the things he was talking about (, Facebook, Flickr, to name a few) and he literally told me, "You need a Bloglines account," so I went home and made one and never looked back.

I used to visit a lot of blogs on a regular basis, just to see if they'd added anything new, and now I don't have to waste time hunting around for updates. Aggregators, I find, are especially nice for keeping up with Michael Stephen's blog, Found Magazine's Daily Finds, and the combined list of LIS jobs. As of right now, I have 43 feeds in my Bloglines. Instead of hunting down where a feed is on a site, I usually just type the URL into Bloglines and let it search for the feed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Decisions, decisions, wedding related decisions

So I'm pretty sure I know why brides seem extraordinarily obsessed with their own weddings. There are so many little decisions to make, and going through the process of making those decisions leads you closer and closer to the goal of being married to your guy. Case in point: what should I do with my hair for the wedding?

Exhibit A is my curly hair with the hair adornment made by the lovely Myra. I want my hair to look kind of natural, how it normally does, but punched up a bit. My Colombian 'sister' Cata said she will help me, and I'm sure Andrea (my sister) will, too. I just really like an un-fussy look, but need something that will hold up through photos and being outside in August.

The back of my head, with curls (some enhanced with curling iron, but not much).

So, what to do? I still don't know, but it helps to write about it instead of keeping it in my crazy bridal brain.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Paper's here!

Our paper for our wedding invitations is here, and it's really lovely. These are the firecracker red pockets and we went with natural white cards. I think it's a beautiful color combination (I would, wouldn't I? Since I'm wearing the same colors...), and once S designs a motif and we decide on wording, we'll have them printed locally. I'm excited to see how great it looks! S says we can have this done by the end of the month. Woo! Yay for marrying an artistic guy.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thing #2: Web 2.0 and why I should care

For #2 of 23 things, I'm going to address some questions:

* We know time is always an issue--Stephen Abram shares some ideas on where to find the time for 23 Things. Where will you find the time?
* Why are you participating in 23 Things On a Stick? What do you hope to learn?
* How has the Internet and the vast resource it can be affected your use of time at work and/or at home?
* Where are you in your knowledge and use of Web 2.0 tools? How about your library?
* What are you looking forward to in 23 Things On a Stick?

To answer all of these, first of all, do I get bonus points for being Facebook 'friends' with Stephen Abram? No? Okay, well, anyway, part of why I want to do the 'things' is that I've got a few weeks before my next course begins, and so it will be fun to try these things and think about them differently. I already use so many of the 'things' that I'm going to be blogging about, and my hope is that I can think about these Web 2.0 tools in relation to what I will be doing as a librarian once I graduate and find employment as a 'real librarian.'

I think the perspectives of Millenials/Gen Y'ers are very important for libraries right now. Since most of us already use these Web 2.0 tools for our own personal uses (sharing photos on Flickr, using aggregators to keep up with friends' blogs, etc.) and don't even think about them as being anything 'new' or unusual, I think we can help bridge the gap between the seasoned librarians and even younger generations who simply do not find the library a relevant place. This is where Library 2.0 (or L2) comes in. As Blyberg points out,

"While there are a lot of non-technical components to L2, the fact of the matter is that technology is L2’s impetus. I think this is where a lot of confusion comes in to play. L2 is not about technology, but technology is an important component of it."

Also, I love this point:

"Also, it’s not terribly costly to integrate social software in ways that Jenny Levine, Jessamyn West and Sarah Houghton have been suggesting for a long time now. It just takes energy, enthusiasm and a will to do it."

It's like, come on, people! This stuff is FREE! Why not try it, play around, enjoy it, and embrace it? New things are fun and exciting; don't be afraid of change. Life is all about change. I love that I get to be on my library's Virtual Service Team, and talk about these things with librarians and actually implement change in my organization. What's hard is really making 'radical trust' work in a bureaucracy, which is essentially what all libraries are. I'm glad that our director has been supportive of the VST and overhauling our library's website.

Another Blyberg point I like:

"L2 is not an option. If we don’t acknowledge the weighty significance of L2, we will not just be running the risk of sliding into obscurity, we just wont be that important to society. We will become the functional equivalent of back-room storage full of green hanging-file-folder boxes."

Amen to that.

I'm really looking forward to the next 21 things, and re-energizing myself both in library school and in my current job as a library assistant.

Little Miss Maggie

originally uploaded by rubybeth.
On my birthday, my cousins visited for a while. Maggie was kind of monopolizing the conversation, so I tried to distract her for a bit with some books of centerpieces and bouquets, saying, "Tell me which of these you like," while I talked to Nick and Emily. Moments later, she found a page with, you guessed it: flower girl floral ideas.

"I could be your flower girl!" she said, "I even have a dress!" sounding completely delighted with the idea. I asked her mom (my godmother) about it, and she gave the go-ahead, so I stopped over yesterday to see the dress.

She went inside wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, and came back out in this. She's a pretty cute little ragamuffin, isn't she? She really wants a hair piece like the one I had made by Myra on Etsy, so we shall see about that (I'm thinking a headband, for the little girl who hates having her superfine hair in her eyes). So, there will still be no bridesmaids, but at least I've got my seven year old cousin in my 'bridal party.' Woohoo!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Beginning 23 Things on a Stick

Libraries in Minnesota are involved in a self-guided Library 2.0 tutorial called 23 Things on a Stick, since everything at the Minnesota State Fair is 'on a stick.' The first session of the tutorial is over, but a new round is beginning May 15. The first 'thing' is to create a blog... well, we know I've got that down! I've decided I'm going to attempt the 23 things, and just label them as such with my current blog. I'm getting a jump on the things since they're already posted here.

The other thing I'm supposed to accomplish is to make an avatar with Yahoo avatars. That was fun! I added my little Beth avatar right over there -----> and I really like her! (Note: I would never wear a skirt that short to work, but y'know, she is cuter that way.)

My thoughts on the first 'thing'? Blogging is so easy and fun that anyone can and should do it, except that blogs really need a focus in order to be relevant for readers. As my readers know, I am kind of all over the map, but I write about how I am in library school, my fiance (who appears as 'S' in this public forum) and our upcoming wedding, food, family, and lots more. I'm into a lot of hobbies (knitting, movies, classical voice, etc.) and I also like to take photos. One of my gifts for my recent golden birthday was a sweet new Canon camera from my parents, so more photos will be appearing soon!

So, here's hoping the next 22 things are as fun as the first one.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Easy spring salad: the 'Fandango' from Panera in your kitchen

S and I went to Panera earlier this week (mm, soups and panini sandwiches) to do some reading/homework (gotta love free Wi-Fi) and had their Fandango salad. It was quite tasty and seemed easy enough to make, so we went to the grocery store yesterday and recreated it at home.

All you need for this tasty, light salad are the following:
Spring mix (fresh spinach would also be good)
Feta cheese
Walnuts (a handful or so to toss in)
Raspberry vinaigrette (we got Wishbone's version with hazelnut, which was cheap and good)
Mandarin oranges (the kind from Dole in the plastic container are nice--no aluminum can taste, plus you only have to use a few at a time and can put the rest in the fridge for later)

Toss everything together in a big bowl, and serve with a mini French baguette, and you've got a quick lunch or dinner. I also think this would be good with grilled chicken or bacon if you want a meat version that will stick with you longer. You could also toss in raisins or dried cranberries to up the fruit content, or even grapes might be good. Ooh, I'm giving myself ideas...

Let me know if you try it and like it!