Sleep hygiene chaos, plus essential knowledge gained

I finished What’s the Alternative?:  Career Options for Library and Info Pros by Rachel S. Gordon, last night…at about 3 AM.  I may want to go back and reread sections of it, and I know that I will want to look back into the books referenced, in Appendix D.

Did I mention this took place at 3 AM?

My sleep schedule is all messed up:  I lay down at 8:30 PM, fell asleep after 9 PM, then woke (2:15 AM), took medication; lay back down, got up (3 AM), ate a little, fell back to sleep (4:30 AM), woke for breakfast (11:30 AM), went back to sleep (12:30 PM), woke about 4 PM.  This is why I don’t like trying to change my sleeping schedule!

I know I need to be going to bed earlier, but I have constant experience with lethargy, unless I have slept for 14-16 hours.  In today’s case it could have been because I didn’t take my (sedating) medication until 2:15 in the morning, though.  And yesterday it could have been because I didn’t take medication until 1 AM.

Hmm.  Now that I’m looking at my records, my medication time has been shifting later and later (I’m supposed to take it at 9 PM, which is why I know I fell asleep after 9, last night:  the medication alarm went off; and I turned it off and fell asleep without taking it).  I can try and do something about that, and hope (?) that it makes it easier to get up in the morning…and that it won’t just contribute to oversleeping.

I mean, obviously I was tired, if I lay down at 8:30 PM, right?

Anyhow…I learned in What’s the Alternative? that, at least as of the time the book was published (2008), it would not be expected that one could learn essential tech skills in order to open up technology-based career paths, just from classes in LIS.  Because of that…if I want to work in Web Design after getting out, I’ll have to teach myself programming.  Either this, or I could re-enter Computer Information Systems training after graduation; I’m just not entirely certain how I’ll fit that in, timewise.  And that’s largely because I don’t know what kind of job I will have at that time.

I’ve compared the Graphic Arts and CIS curricula; CIS is actually closer to what I need.  And I’ve actually compared the two systems teaching this which are nearest me…I can do this.  I might be able to do this by cutting some courses out of my future Master’s program and taking Community College courses in CIS, in person, but that doesn’t seem like the best option.

Alright:  I’ve just sent off an email about this.  I should probably try and get ready for bed, as I did just take medication, and I don’t have anything to do except homework.  (I suppose that’s a good thing, as I have three assignments due in a week.)  The hard part will be actually contacting and setting up meeting times for the assignment I was given last week…though I guess that in a pinch, I can have family test what I need tested…

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Aaagh.

I was looking through a book which I had planned to xerox and return — and found that it was designed kind of as a workbook.  I’ll have to buy it if I want to work with it, in-depth.  I did, however, get the publication information and the call number, and it doesn’t look like it was on hold.

I also found a book on writing which was in the Biography section.  It would not likely have been found, however, unless one ran a keyword search:  neither of the subject headings had anything to do with writing.  Unless one knew who Joan Frank was already (I did not)…they would just be lucky that the word “writing” was in the title, or depend on a fulltext search (which I believe my system has, but which is unwieldy at best).

Nothing else about this book makes it easily findable by browsers.  The only reason I ran across it is that I work here and sorted it.

Recap before work, tomorrow.

As I look at what I can cover in this post…it’s a bit scattered.  While I wouldn’t say there was a lot happening…it certainly seems that way.

Particularly since the language-learning part of this just got added in, and I have been considering extending my hours at work (I will have 15 hours of schoolwork a week, as versus the 30 that was expected of me last semester; and Summer’s starting means that I have had time to spend money — and time to use what I’ve spent it on).

Also, as was just explained to me:  first we had the Hawaii trip, then my relative died, then something else happened, which were all a drain on the finances.  Then:  I’m starting Summer school, which is coming out of pocket, and then I got books for Summer school.  I’m not personally in trouble, but I haven’t yet heard back from Financial Aid.  That may happen after I see my Vocational counselor next week.

I am not sure what will happen if the Vocational program covers my tuition and fees and I don’t get a grant or loan:  I’ve been depending on having a cushion so that I don’t have to work long hours at the same time as I’m taking classes (my position is not well-compensated, meaning that if I don’t get a grant or loan, I may have to find another job…and my County, just generally, isn’t the best work environment); and I have to carry at least 7 units to get full Financial Aid.

On the bright side, I got two A’s (the highest grade possible, in my program) and one C+, last semester.  I found out, today.  Well, yesterday; now that I look at the time.  Also on the bright side, I don’t see myself having to take any more big trips to the art store, in the near future:  usually, when I’m in classes, I don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to arts or crafts, though I should certainly plan to make time, as I’ve prioritized time for the blog.  But that’s majorly because I lose my grounding if I don’t write.

I feel a bit like my vacation time is over.  Summer session starts up on Monday; I’m in a class on User Experience, and expect a lot of reading:  I had to buy four textbooks for this, though I know two of them are not difficult.

Ah, and:  I’m still archiving things from last semester.  I have until the beginning of Summer session to do this, but that’s not a lot of time.  I’ve found out that anything which is saved by a hyperlink to a webpage is by its nature transitory, meaning that now I’ve got to go and copy or take screenshots of my data (particularly Discussion Posts), before it’s lost.  Even if I don’t back it up for school, I will want to back it up for myself; because I did do the work, and I do want proof of that.  Ordinarily, I would have printouts or saved files automatically.  But with this discussion-board type of interaction, it’s just not permanent and it takes an extra step to make sure I can back up the fact that I actually did the work.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I fell asleep in the late afternoon.  Possibly because I didn’t want to archive things.  I also haven’t read very much recently, though I’m fairly certain that at this point I’m going to hold off on buying the books I had planned to (that money can go to other things — like art supplies — which I can’t access without it).

What I’ve been doing is just using the Library, and I really need to get over my “ick” factor where it comes to handling things that many other people have also handled.  I work there, I know that it is not sanitary (something not entirely clear before I became an Aide); but I’ve learned to tolerate the lack of cleanliness and just be clean when I need to (when going to the bathroom, touching my face, eating, drinking, or ending my shift).

I also have realized that the suminagashi play has kind of hijacked my original intent to work with relief printing!  I’ve got a lot of knives that I have not played with, yet, and I want to try them.  Ideally this would be sooner rather than later, but classes start next week; and I have a lot of appointments in that first week of classes, too.

I’m trying to figure out just how many; as I’m looking at my calendar, I have five appointments in the first two days of the work week.  Then I go to work again, have another group that evening, and have a phone appointment on Friday and a dentist appointment the week after.  I’m thinking that I’m going to have to really think about going to my Wednesday group; that and the other group I occasionally go to are the only things I can really cut out.  As I’m having two Psych appointments already that week — and I’m probably going to need the extra time to work on homework — maybe I don’t need the Wednesday group.

Anyway — I need to get back to my original intent of working with linoleum block printing, I feel like.  I want to get back to carving, even knowing it’s hard.  I’ve realized that a lot of what I do may be based on the conversion of my own tension into creative work; this being part of the reason I started being really creative in my early teens (early teen years were fairly horrible for me), along with the sublimation of my then-libido into constructive drives.  It explains why I feel like my works are my babies:  having and planning on no physical children of my own, there does seem to be a period of incubation, then creation, then protectiveness, before I can set them free upon the world.

The conversion of the energy of duhkha into creative work is likely the reason that doing art and creative writing actually makes me feel so good.  I don’t really understand it; maybe I don’t need to?

Anyhow, I’ll leave you with a gift, though be aware that I’m reserving copyright on this one (I have the hi-res master).  We went to a relative’s house to drop off a piece of mail, recently; and not really in the mood to deal with people, I went and photographed a bunch of plants.  Particularly, a Bird of Paradise plant caught my eye.  The flowers had aged a bit — they were starting to go to seed — but looking up Bird of Paradise plants online, it’s apparent that I can fill in the blanks.  It hit me that if I want to work with asymmetrical composition, it would be helpful to work with an image like this:

924w

I have a bunch more of these; this isn’t the best.  I’m thinking of doing something with them (I’ve learned to take tons of shots from multiple angles to help with visualization), but I don’t know what media to use, right now.

Motivation

This is just another entry in the “why be creative/do art (when it doesn’t pay),” series…which it seems I should really organize, somehow.  It would be interesting to make this blog into an actual site with indexing more sophisticated than WP’s tagging/categories system…but I don’t have the skills to do that well, at this point in time.  Soon, though:  it will be very much closer to possible.  I have the chance of learning CSS this Fall, and more than that next summer, at the latest.  I am thinking/hoping that basic HTML coding will be introduced along with CSS…it’s just that the CSS textbook was the one I saw earlier in relation to one section.

(One of the reasons I’m aiming for the Digital Services track is that even if it does become a pain to catalog and retain all of my work in order to fulfill Culminating Experience for my degree (the alternative is a Master’s Thesis), I’ll still have salable skills.  That is, outside of the Library, where it may not matter if I have the Master’s or not — so long as I can do the work.)

So, this “why do art” thing.  I was thinking up things to write about here, and the question of this came forward into consciousness.  Well…it’s an easy thing to slip into, this mode of thinking.  However…as I was actually doing the art, I realized that doing it was an end in itself.  Kind of like origami, but…well, hey, origami has practical engineering uses, for one thing; but you do this work for the sake of the work and the satisfaction of making something beautiful, and then you have all these little leftover trinkets.  Like origami.  And then it’s like, what do you do with them?  I guess you give them to others (or sell them)?

I’ve been thinking of taking my suminagashi prints and printing flowers on them (probably after I rework my flower linocut), and then cutting them apart into little prints.  I actually did this last night with my first sheet of prints (on white paper), and made a bunch of neat little 2″x 2″ tiles.  However, I realized today that I can cut them into any shape I want, meaning that I can make really nice bookmarks for my friends at the Library!

I know it sounds silly, but what person working at a Library would refuse a bookmark?  😉  Who would do that.  😀

I’ve only told one person of my plans, so far.  Happily, I didn’t have to explain to him what I was doing with the ink marbling!  I’ve also sent off a letter to my old professor, asking her about any precautions I may need to take with the Sumifactant.  Just in case, I did give myself a break from exposure, the other night.  However…TOMORROW’S A NEW DAY!!!

And I’m getting kind of obsessed with this.  That was another reason I stopped.  😉  I do have a tendency to get really strongly involved in things when I do get involved — probably the reason why I ate that book up so fast, the other night!  I’ve had a hard time finishing almost any book from the Library, and didn’t want to risk letting that one go unread.  Especially as Summer Session is about to start.

Right now, I have two other books on creativity to get through, one of which looks promising; the other of which, looks didactic.  However, the latter’s theory about a “freeze” response preceding a “fight or flight” response in the case of anxiety…was telling, and has helped me get out of stasis (and understand why one of my relatives refuses to change habits that don’t work in their favor).  I’m just not sure whether it has anything more to say, than that.

And yes, I have also been reading around on the “ink” tags on WP, and now want a Lamy Safari with a 2mm stub nib.  It seems silly, but I will be going to an upscale stationery store soon…and they may have it.  I should probably check around first, though…

Growing up?

I suppose I can start off this post with an apology for staying away too long.  There has been a recent death in the family, which is why I was unable to…I believe, do anything at all on the computer, yesterday (now that I think of it).

Actually, no — I did finalize my class schedule for Summer (if all goes well on their end, I am good to go), although I am hoping that this is going to be a class that I really want to take.  I still have yet to do anything about the required books, which I should get on as soon as I can, but until yesterday, I hadn’t been committed.  Right now I’m on a break — M said that going in to work would be helpful in getting my mind off of things.  I’m not sure if that’s correct (for me), but I only have a little more ways to go, anyway.  Right now, though, I’m skipping lunch to write this.

I am wanting to post some of my photos from the other day, under a Creative Commons license.  Basically, my hesitance to post anything at all has to do with not wanting to be ripped off or have to go to court to prove that I took the photos, therefore they are my intellectual property.  Creative Commons kind of works around that issue by acknowledging that anyone (including me!) can use them.  I’m not really a litigious type, but the concept of intellectual ownership of images (“I looked at it, it’s mine!” [?]) is kind of…well, a bit scary.  I don’t have the photos with me at the moment, but I can look them over once I’m back at my normal workstation.

It was actually really peace-inducing to go out, the other day.  The thing with photos, especially photos of flora, is that the light is never going to be the same again, and the plants are never going to be the same again.  It applies strongly to images of blossoms — they’re so temporary.  I have been giving thought to photographing the people in my life as well, though my life has been so full of staged photographs of loved ones that maybe it turned me off.  Most of my photos are of natural things (my aunt was telling me that one of the counters used in Japanese depends on whether something has blood or not, heh — I take pictures, mostly, of things “without blood”).

In any case, I’m doing probably better than would be expected.  It’s kind of difficult to know what to feel in these situations; I’ve been advised to just let myself feel what I’m feeling.  Of course, there is the fact that it’s hard to know exactly what happens when someone dies.  I’m just hoping that the person who is gone is in a better situation now than he was, before.

There is also the fact that I’m in my mid-thirties and not entirely independent, yet; which makes the prospect of my own family no longer being able to help me, be a scary thing.  I do have people around me who would help me out, though, even if one or both of my parents died.  I’ve been told that the conversations have already taken place, so not to worry.  It is weird, though, having memories from when my parents were half their current age!

I suppose I have lived a long time with them.  The time I spent in student housing at college was the only time I’ve lived alone.  It was…an experience, I guess?  😉  I was at a relatively strange school, so…

Right.

Right now, I suppose, all I can do is hold down my current job or get a new one, and try my best to graduate actually with the Master’s.  The good thing about taking a technology-oriented track is that there are some things I’ll be able to carry away with me, even if I somehow end up failing.

But, it’s hard to learn without taking risks.  And my Vocational program plus the grant I got last year are defraying the monetary risk, somewhat.  I’m still thinking that maybe I should be actually applying for scholarships, and engaging more with the school.

For instance, I have worked out a system under which I’ll be able to take everything I will need to, for the Digital Services track (though I am not sure this applies to my County’s Virtual Library positions — I might want to make some inroads to speak with the new person in charge of that).  However, I’m not sure it’s optimal — I have four semesters remaining during which my classes will all be valid — two Spring, and two Fall.

I know what to take in the Summer following this one, as well.  I’ve got the course rotations somewhat in hand, so I know what is given in only Fall, or only Spring.  I also have searched out what I can of course prerequisites, so that I should be taking one of the only courses I need which will open up new courses to me, this Fall.  The major issue is whether it’s optimally arranged.  As best I can envision it, I would have to email a copy of my spreadsheet to a Counselor.

I just…am shy, have been shy, that’s part of the reason I’m in an iSchool (besides the fact that doing otherwise requires relocation).  I mean, I didn’t even want to get the social media accounts that I had to, for the program.  This is the major reason why I’m not hot on being a Public Librarian — I’m ordinarily withdrawn, not gregarious, and some of my more outgoing coworkers even get strained by working Reference.

The Virtual Library sounds more like my style (I do worry about being attacked, at times — one of my coworkers in the past knew someone whom this had happened to), but I am not certain how many shifts they take, answering phone calls and chats.  And as technology continues to improve, the barrier between myself and my clients is likely to somewhat fall (for instance, video chat could become a norm).

Anyhow…I should get back to work.  And after that, it’s sure to be reading.  *sighs*

Deities of Creativity?

It’s been interesting.  I realized the other day that I might need to take a look at books on creativity, because I was taking a fairly negative angle towards my own.  Then I realized that I have easy access to these resources — much easier than most.  Turns out that all I have to do if I want resources on “creativity” is to look!

On the way home I realized also that if I’m going to spiritualize my creativity, maybe I might want to look up (pre-existing) Deities of creativity…which could go into Neopaganism…or into a syncretic religion.  It’s been a while since I’ve been involved with anything Pagan — I used to hang out with a bunch of Pagan Reconstructionists online, so I know a bit about the cultural aspects of it; participating without violating, etc.  And actually, that does cross over with what I was talking about before, only the view taken would be from within the home religion as versus external to it — and most people don’t classify themselves the way others might.

(If you know what I’m talking about…you are very educated!)  😀

The major drawback here is, well, social dynamics.  It can be hard to be a creative person among people who like clear divisions between categories…not all people are like this, but I have a bit more “flow” than I’ve found some others can tolerate.

I’m actually thinking that an African-diasporic religion might be…worth checking out, though the only people I know who are into that, aren’t the greatest representatives.  I’d have to do my research and see which systems, if any, are somewhat like my worldview (though given that my worldview is sourced from one of my parents’…the likelihood of hitting on something is high).  I’ve even had issues in the past with mixing up Orisha and Lwa, so…right.  And though one side of my family does hail from Louisiana, that doesn’t quite make things easier:  I know next to nothing about the place, except that Louisiana, and in particular New Orleans, is different than much of the American South — because of French influence.

I’ve actually been feeling better today.  I’ve been on an upswing since I started engaging my more masculine energy, last week, even though that was accompanied by some communication flubs.  (There is some passion there, and some aggression…which makes the concept of engaging with life easier.  I don’t know exactly why.)  For some reason, I feel more alive and attendant (by this I mean, “present”) when I’m able to express this.

And I suppose it does say something about my intuition that I would pursue being creative as a life purpose even if the Deity of Creativity was maligned…I did realize that I probably put some people in a tough position, though; where they might want to encourage me in my creativity (healing!)  but not in my conception of my creativity (prohibiting!).

It may well be, though, that I’m using an archaic concept of creativity in which it is feared because it brings change — and some people at one time, didn’t like change.  At least, writing what I did, did clarify why I had a sense of conflict over being creative.  Maybe it didn’t need to be made public (I can see where massive confusion may have come from trying to communicate it to people outside my mind), but at least I made the connection.

Earlier today, we went out for dim sum, then I came back and went outside for a while…and just got out the shower (which I’ve needed for way too long).  Granted that I have a Discussion Post due before midnight tonight, but there is no way that I’m going to be able to complete all my readings and lectures before tackling it.  And everyone in the class will be able to see that post.  I think it will be obvious that I haven’t done the reading, but the upshot is that I’ve been taking care of myself.  It was just a very nice day, and I haven’t been out in extended periods of sunlight since we got back from Hawaii.

I did take pictures, too!  But right now they’re still my babies.  I have a hard time letting people see through my eyes while having been subject to verbal attacks from people, in the past…

But yeah…flowers.  ❤  🙂  It’s very colorful outside, this time of year!  (Well, here, at least!)

I’ll try and get on my homework, now…

Feeling better, a bit.

So…it’s now officially midnight and I’ve been awake for 14 hours — doing required work, some of it late.  And I was able to concentrate today, even with all the external noise.  That means there actually was something wrong when I was constantly distracted.

I had decided prior to skip the Easter visits today, that wasn’t a big decision; but I also didn’t realize that I’d be cutting it so close with the amount of work I had, and the time in which I had to do it.

I did just realize that I inadvertently skipped a lecture, which — along with a project which should be relatively simple, for the same class — I can tackle tomorrow.  I can also see if I missed anything for my Research class, though I think that’s all done (except for filling in the remains of a chapter, from last week).  Otherwise, I think we’ll be moving on, starting tomorrow morning.

I’m actually pretty proud of myself for getting four different graded assignments tackled in the same day.  I’m also really glad that I’m in my Metadata course, as it shows that things actually can (!) get easier with the advent of computers!  I’m not sure what kind of grade I’ll get in Cataloging, but hey — at least now I know not to be a Cataloger, that much is certain.

My goal for that course now (as versus learning the material) is to get out with a C- or above…somewhat sadly, but not really sadly.  It’s gone there.  Right now my best option is to mitigate the damage that course will do to my GPA, and I only have one graded assignment left, so…it’s water under the bridge.  Right now I kind of wish I had held onto my test so I could check my answers with the various scattered data about this class (some in the lectures, some in the Discussion fora…), but again, water under the bridge.  It isn’t due for another nine hours, and I could have held onto it, but it would have stressed me.  It’s more my style these days to just do it and let it go, although that might be a liability (though not necessarily, as when I “corrected” one of my answers away from the right one).

And…you won’t particularly believe this, but I was able to gain access to the one book on Japanese woodblock printing (i.e. mokuhanga:  moku = wood, hanga = print) existent at my location, the other day…so I now have that to peruse, in my off hours.  It’s kind of weird.  I didn’t go there looking for it, I looked up the subject on the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) on the spur of the moment, there was one book in the system, and one copy was on the shelf — and it was filed correctly.

Speaking of serendipity, I’ve had that word strike me from three different places within what seems like the last three days.  I am feeling a lot better with Cataloging now, though; to the point that I’m considering taking an actual LIS course during Summer Session, as versus Ceramics.  D has stated that it’s hard to make a living as an artist full-time unless one gives up one’s autonomy in the process, and sometimes people have big issues with the latter.

I figure that I only have two more years to cram everything in, in regard to the LIS program, though (I think Ceramics will still be available later — and if it’s not, maybe I can buy or otherwise access a kiln), and I haven’t even factored in the class, Issues in Special Libraries.  Given that I’m hoping to enter a nontraditional field upon graduation, that class becomes an unofficial priority.  However, I’m looking at my documents now, and that class isn’t even listed as core or recommended…and why would I take that if I could get deeper into XML or another tech-oriented course instead…something that will actually help me get a job, as versus knowledge I can (or will) acquire in the field…

And yes, I…if I can stay in the program, I definitely want to aim for Web Development as an eventual goal.  It’s probably better to say that now and mean it, than to be wishy-washy about it and not tell anyone that I want to work in tech because then I’d lose my Library cred, or something.  If I’ve got an idea in mind and a direction in mind, I need to just go for it, even if someone will finance my schooling if I say I’m into Library Automation (…I am not even going to get into that).

In my Research class…I’ve been investigating why people in positions similar to mine either leave the Library field; or never enter it, after graduation…and it doesn’t paint American Library institutions as particularly healthy in regard to retention of bright, qualified, excellent candidates (as I’ve read).  Not to say I necessarily am that (maybe I am), but…it’s a known pattern, and I have some idea of why the pattern exists, because I almost never came back from Withdrawal status, and with the exception of Cataloging, I’ve been doing relatively fantastic.

Right now my degree should help with Digital Services and Digital Library work, and help me get my feet wet with programming and User Experience.  It’s not a usual use of the skillset — in fact it isn’t a traditional skillset for Library Science at all — but I like it that way.  Otherwise, I’d likely be attempting to learn how to code, however I could (if I was even aware of that as a valid employment option, and if I could get beyond the gender stigma/barrier/stereotypes I’ve read about in the male-dominated tech field).  In that sense, it is good I am in LIS, (Library & Information Science) or at least, in the IS part of LIS — it allows some comfort of being in a relatively safe, traditionally feminized field (where there are more people like me) at the same time as it opens doors into a more cutting-edge field (perhaps made more cutting-edge by the inclusion of people like myself).

And…I’ve only got two years to go (!), though I hear that in the old days, a Master’s degree only actually took two years of training…