Inspired #1

“What a week!”, our heroine exclaims early Tuesday morning.

I don’t bother to point out that Tuesday will never be the end of any week. Tuesday can sometimes be a start. It can, maybe, be the beginning of a week, after a public holiday, but not ever is it anywhere close to the end of a week.
You do this for people you love, you hold your thought. You listen and wait for the words to unfold.

“So many endings and beginnings!”
Everything said with an exclamation at the end.
I wait to hear some more.

“It’s all so exciting! And a little sad!”
I wait again. Anything I have to say can wait too.

“I can’t wait for it to begin!”
I hesitate. And then wait some more. I love a good story, a happy beginning, the excitement and newness of it all. So I remain, waiting.

And I’m thinking, while waiting, happy endings are never a guarantee my love. No life can be assured of the grand finale we dream of before it occurs.

Happy beginnings? Well, who wouldn’t want to start any adventure, or any day, like that?

I wait. And I listen.

Where It’s At – Reflecting on Social Media and Libraries

Cartoon by Tom Gauld @

Cartoon by Tom Gauld @

Reflecting on our Social Media unit and how libraries are embracing the phenomena across so many platforms ~ to sum it up in a word; interesting. It’s one of my favourite words, even the way the word rolls off the tongue is, well, interesting! I love being interested. I’d like ‘Always interested’ to be the thing I am remembered for, the words engraved onto my headstone, the final word on me and from me. I can think of no higher honour to bestow upon a human, an event, a situation, a thing, a life, than to think it interesting. There is just so much to be interested in in this world. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed our journey through Social Media and how it can be utilised by libraries to reach new patrons. Growing up in Australia – such a large and, except for the coastlines, a mostly desolate country, way down the bottom of the world – every now and again a story would appear on TV or in the paper about children living far from the rest of us, on cattle stations, or huge farms, 100’s of kilometres from their neighbours, 1000’s of kilometres from me. I was always a little heartbroken for these outback kids who couldn’t get to libraries, though the thought of school being held in your own house, over a CB radio was something I envied. But to not ever be able to get to a library? How awful for those kids! The sensitive (and perhaps overly empathetic) child I once was need not have worried and fretted quite so much. Since my childhood,  the big old world wide web has brought us all a little closer. It has brought libraries closer. Books and information are but a few clicks away for a substantial amount of us, here in our lucky country.

The many different social medias that libraries use to connect with users did not really surprise me. The fact that I hadn’t thought to find them, however, astounded me! I’m a book lover, a library lingerer, an information junkie. I have, and frequently use, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’ve used YouTube for years, I’ve looked at a gazillion cake photos on Flickr…why had I never thought to add or search for libraries on any of these sites until this year? It’s a ponder-full question, one that will bug me until life gives me a heap of new ‘whys’ to consider and wrack my mind over. My brain likes a good hard think. This unit certainly provided that, in abundance.

I found Facebook and Twitter to be my favourite social media platforms to connect with libraries, perhaps because I am familiar (and then some!) with them both? Instagram is currently my favourite way to connect with the social media world, though that could change in a heartbeat. I’m a flitter-er like that, depending on how busy my Mum-ing, working, studying life is at any given moment; Instagram is ideal for now, for a quick squizz, a small chat, a double tap to show you like what you see and thankyaverymuch, that’s all folks. I delve in and out of Facebook, deactivating often because it is waay too easy for me to spend every spare moment I have lurking catching up with what’s happening to my fb friends, and then wasting time wondering why I’m not having quite as much fun as my online friends are, rather than being present and living my own life, right now. There is even a name for this 21st century affliction – FOMO, as in, fear of missing out. And everyone’s life looks fabulous on Facebook, it really is a modern day album of all our best moments. Adding libraries to your newsfeed is a sure fire way to ease some of that FOMO, fo’ sure.

YouTube was fun, I didn’t really expect it to be, having used it for years as merely a music source and nothing more. My sons LOVE YouTube, they would quite happily spend all of their weekends on the site if I let them. After researching libraries and YouTube though, I’d happily spend all weekend on there too, if I could. But I can’t. So I won’t. Parents setting good examples to kids and all that stuff…I’ve bookmarked a huge amount of pages though, for that rainy day in the future when time is mine again, yaknow…retirement.

All in all, social media is a way for libraries to connect with current patrons, possible patrons and future patrons, in ways that have never been available to us before. I believe it is a necessary channel of communication if libraries are to maintain their relevance in this century. Libraries are information centres. The way forward for libraries is to embrace the information highway. Social media is the guaranteed way to ensure maximum publicity for minimum cost. And what’s not to like about that?



The after life

I seem to be stuck in a cycle where I can only do this task ~ insert Very Important Task here ~ once I have completed that task ~ insert Really Very Important Task here ~ ?? What on Earth is this all about?

Like every parent/human, I am (usually) quite adept at multi-tasking. I hate it. But it’s the only way to manage a family of five/life. Trust me, I’ve tried single-tasking, it only works if I’m the only one I have to worry about. As in never.

And like every parent/human, I’ve dropped many a ball from over-multi-tasking. Lunches left on the bench. The kids sent to school in uniform on mufti day. Dinners burnt (our dogs love those nights). It’s a loong list, but you get the picture.

My concern here is ~ since starting my studies in Libraries and Information Services ~ I’ve lost my multi-tasking abilities. Everything goes on a list, that list gets prioritized and everything must be done in order of priority. One thing at a time. Or else I’ll die. Well, not really. But seriously. I’m sure my world will collapse in on itself if these lists aren’t crossed off in order of urgency, one at a time. Or I’ll forget to pick up one or more of the kids from school. Which would be a disaster in itself. To me, not the kids, they are much more resilient than I previously realised.

I feel selfish, devoting whole days (that’d be five and a half hours in parent time, the hours between dropping the kids off and picking them up) to me. My studies and assessments, research (lovely research, there ain’t much bad in trawling social media for library pages) and revision, just to make sure I’ve got it down pat. Dinners don’t get done, washing waits, chores pile up. I’m doing this for my future. The first major thing I’ve done solely for me since the first-born drew her first breath.

So multi-tasking is out the window, sayonara, see ya later. I’m pretty sure it’s a coping strategy, even of it’s a complete turnaround from how I’ve survived and kept a family alive functioning for years. If it keeps up, I don’t doubt that I’ll get used to it. I may now suck at multi-tasking, but I am utterly adaptable.

ctrl F5-ing me.

A precious day off. A lengthy list of to-do’s. Five and a half whole hours to cross things off that list. ‘How’d I do’ is a question I ask myself most days. It comes with my personality ~ infused through my cells in utero I’m sure ~ can I do better, could I have handled that differently, how could I have improved on the day??? We live in a world of busy busy busy. I cannot recall the last time I had enough time, can you? I find myself getting envious of anyone who says they’re bored. Ohmygawd! Gimme some of that time! The things I could do with it! It’s not a nice place to find yourself. Envy feels so icky.

A wise friend warned me last year of the impending ‘speeding up of time’ we would all experience and soon. She’s an esoteric type of gal. If it will make the world a better place, she’s right up there in the vanguard, charging away to pave a path for the rest of us to reach enlightenment. If we all lived like my friend, the world would be the most beautiful place to live. Peaceful, loving, empathetic, abundant. Our planet would last until the end of time itself. So much love.

I listened to her filling my head with the limitless possibilities of the future if only we all slowed down while I was prepping dinner, sorting and pegging out washing, cleaning the youngest child’s room for packing, making up moving boxes and throwing in bits of conversation here and there. Our chats aren’t often so they are long to make up for it. She lives so far away, and keeps getting further in kilometres. This is a woman who will move house in a heartbeat to follow the dreams of her family, even while her health problems are long term and ongoing ~ I live in hope for an answer to what it is that’s not right in her body, let alone a cure. I always hang up the phone feeling whole. Refreshed in the truest sense of the word.

As is evident, it takes a fair while for her sage words to ebb into the bits of my brain that make me think.Lately I’ve noticed, time has sped up. I would usually assume this is merely a sign of being a working, studying, mum-ing wife, friend and daughter. Isn’t everyone busy? Being busy seems to have become a life sport. It’s what we do. Yet as I look around me and listen harder, it’s not just my generation, nor is it just the stage of life I am in. There is a running theme (pun intended) in the lives of everyone I meet lately ~ that’s about 300 customers a shift some days ~ rush rush rushing to the next thing, person, event, commitment….life? Really? Is this it?

So how’d I do today? Well, I baked red velvet cupcakes for my former neighbours 70th birthday on Friday. I sat here at my computer and wrote a long and hopefully funny letter for my sisters upcoming 40th birthday. I cooked a delicious dinner. Baking, writing and cooking make me happy. After I’ve done these things I feel whole. Refreshed. And not the slightest bit rushed.

The to-do-list? It can wait.

The wisdom of ages

In spite of my best intentions, I’ve crossed into middle age. I still wear chucks, jeans and retro band t-shirts. There’s a good indicator of my age there. I love dressing in vintage. Though that simply means trawling through my wardrobe. So it goes.

My generation, the awesome and too cool for school Gen X. We’ve somehow turned everything we loved into fashion and commodity. We grew up in the utterly unfashionable ’80’s. How did we become cool after so many years of trying to be just that? Wonders will never cease.

I remember dancing in my ultra cool Aunty Judy’s loungeroom, in front of a record player that really needed its own room. It played LP after LP on it’s magical rotation system. For the last twenty years or more, a record player of any type, let alone that monstrosity, would have been junk. Now it’s a collectors item. This is the way of our world now.

I fight my battles here, holding on to the past, the carefree memories of a time long gone. But almost coming ’round again.

Soon enough I’ll be in fashion. For once. I’ll enjoy it this time. I promise myself.

The spaces between us

What do married couples argue about when there’s nothing really to fight about but tiredness and the witching hour that kids thrive on? In our home it’s the dishes. And we don’t even do them! That’s the kids chore. Well, the older two. We’re still training the youngest to get his stacked at the sink, empty of food and toys.

It’s amusing (admittedly mildly at first, then immensely once my temper cools) at how many ‘discussions’ my beloved and I have about ‘the dishes’. Such a mundane thing. Yet the one topic guaranteed to spark off a blazing row. The kids slink off to their rooms, wisely. And we, the grown ups, keep trawling through our minds for that one reason to be crankier than the other. Museums of memories will be un-vaulted. I’m busier/tireder/more run down is a constant banter between us.

Life would be easier with a dishwasher. But then who would stack and unpack it?

The commonsensical thing to do would be to admit to tiredness and easy irritability at once upon arrival home. Our upbringings, long may they hold us hostage, beg to differ. There is infinite beauty in the differences between us all. I exalt in cultural differences, adore learning new customs and I wouldn’t be the cook I am if I couldn’t use pasta or whip up a stir fry. The wonder of humanity lays in the spaces between us. The celebration of the other. The learning of tolerance. Wonderful things!

Unless it’s about the dishes.

Ridiculous really

My New Years challenge this year (’cause resolutions never work for me, I’m not disciplined enough ugh, so I changed the wording) was to forego fiction for a year. A whole long year. I have shelves full of non fiction, I devour books, this should be easy peasy.

Except it’s not. Only four months in and I’m aching for anything but reality in my reads.

Fiction is a thing of wonder to me. How magnificent is a mind that can make up imaginary worlds. Whole lives. Conversations. Generation after generation in one book, from one mind! I’d like to be an author. Wouldn’t we all? To know that something out of my imagination sat on bookshelves all around the world. Simply wondrous.

For once I’m in tune with half the world. I’m enthralled by the show ‘Game of Thrones’. One teeny tiny problem ~ I must read the books! My NY challenge is about to get thrown out the window. I’m ok with it (that lack of self discipline again, I guess ‘resolution’ and ‘challenge’ aren’t really that different blah) but I cannot get through another week without a fantasy world conjured up by a fiction writer soothing me into my sleep.

George R. R Martin, I’m all yours.

Divine discontent

“I grow weary of this place” screams Magenta in my all time favourite movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I can recite the lines almost word for word. A whole movie! Who has the time….

But that one line floats into my mind more than any other. I feel that line more than any other. Take me home! It resonates deep within me. I’m a grown up, I’ve made my own homes for over 25 years. So where is this ‘home’ I long for? Why so weary with this place? And ohmygawd, please, do I have to pack everything again before I leave?