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Life: A Great Cereal

I have fallen behind on a few bits of personal news.

Isabelle, the little girl I told you about earlier, is still seriously ill, but following stomach surgery is holding her own.

I’m about seven weeks away from my last class in the MFA program, and then I’ll spend the summer working one-on-one with a favorite instructor as I finish up my major project, a collection of personal essays called Departments of Defense. I’m bobbling in a great barrel of homework, but enjoying every last minute of this program.

Sandy and I decided to get the Sony DCR-HC96 Camcorder. Ok, full disclosure: Sandy is simply happy I have stopped obsessing and made a decision. Thanks to Eileen and several other friends and colleagues who made it simple by saying, “Buy a Sony.” Thanks also to the collective consumer voices, which helped me focus on the features we need (particularly low-light; think Christmas services).

I decided that–aside from one e-committee I agreed to serve on and my existing commitment to one LITA Interest Group–my ALA participation is at a plateau until my family life is more settled. (People have asked me if the budget situation at my job got better would I consider coming back on Council, and here’s the answer.)

Sandy’s job ends sometime soon, probably before fall (that’s not news–it was the deal going in). She’s a pastor in the United Church of Christ, currently serving in an interim position (and doing a great job–I am of course completely unbiased in my assessment). I’m reorienting my “ALA energy” toward helping Sandy get a church. For example, last night we spent an hour just going over the latest job postings for her denomination. It was terrific quality time for us as we imagined ourselves in various communities, tried to read between the lines of job announcements, pushed ourselves to consider areas we had previously ruled out, and overall got excited about life’s next good surprises.

On the “so how am I surviving” front, I have had some great freelance offers come up to fill in the hours I will lose from my job as of July 1 due to the budget cut (assuming we haven’t ginned up enough replacement funding by then to restore lost hours). Some people have suggested that I wouldn’t really cut back the hours I work at My Place Of Work. Like many people, if I cut back to 40 it would feel like vacation, and yes, when I was a rural library director, I was full-time on part-time pay. But this time, if my hours are cut back I’m going to exercise discipline, because it’s not fair to the organization’s long-term needs to give away so much free labor that no well-adjusted people with real lives could possibly work here. (Bad message: go ahead and cut our budget; we’ll get by.) I’ll probably condense my hours and go to a three-day week so the other two days are strictly for freelancing, helping Sandy’s search, and my MFA project.

I thought the blog coverage of Computers in Libraries and PLA’s conference was spot-on. I couldn’t make Lee Rainey’s talk at PLA, so it was fun to read about what he said to CIL knowing it was much on the same track. Thanks to the con-bloggers who brought the sessions home to the rest of us, including my TechSource buddy, Tom Peters.

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