This was a good day.

It’s…been a day!

So yesterday and tonight were spent working on two assignments for my Reference Services class. That, itself, has been a ride. I’m glad I took this class, even if I don’t end up working in Reference. Right now we’re finishing an Ethics unit, and I turned in a paper based on an (awesome) interview with someone who helps run a large urban library.

Tomorrow looks like it will be full of studying for my Database class, and my Political Advocacy class. If you count this as the early morning of the 22nd (I have about 23 hours left), I only have about six more days to turn in everything for the latter, so I better hop to it. After this week is over, though, I won’t have to deal with that one class anymore, and I can focus on the other three. (Nice thing: I haven’t had to use Accommodations yet! And I’m in 10 units! In a Master’s program!)

I should, though, catch up on the group work that I’m dealing with: I put it off on Tuesday and Wednesday to get what was due (technically) last night, done. Now it’s early Thursday morning and I’m wondering what to do with myself, given that I didn’t take medication until about 12 AM. I doubt I’ll even get tired until about 1:30 AM.

I also just realized that after my Advocacy class ends, I then have two weeks free from having to go in to work…unless I volunteer to be on-call. Should I? Or should I just concentrate on catching up and working ahead in my classes…? (I don’t think I can answer that, now.)

Well, like I was saying, work today was — well, hectic. I was only on desk for an hour, but I was running around to keep up with everything, by the end. I also helped seriously knock out a backup of carts-to-be-shelved (the lineup was full when I got there, and nearly empty when I left. [That’s what happens when I’m not on desk!]).

The problem is running around so fast that I get confused as to what I’m doing or where the extra receipt came from and why it was there and did I hand out something else (I figured it out after I slowed down and gradually remembered what happened. I had to let the adrenaline rush go a little bit, though). I was trying to complete processing of an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) cart by the end of my shift, in addition to keeping the return bins clear and helping patrons sign up for cards and checking out materials…when I should have just left a little of the ILL cart for the next person, and not stressed so much.

But I’m so totally not hating my career choice, now. ūüôā What’s weird is the difference between the humanities-and-research-oriented side of my curriculum (Library Science), and the technical side (Information Science). I’m very sure they’re using different parts of my brain. What I haven’t been sure about, is where I’m going.

…Though thinking back, I’m certain I wanted to be a Web Designer and/or Web Developer (though this was before I was feeling so good about public service). I just haven’t decided to take the MySQL class, yet, or the other two small tech courses I can fit in. If I do all of it, my Summer is going to be packed. On top of that, it’s only a start. It will be a foundation, but not anything in which I believe I’d be able to be immediately employed. There is the opportunity to work in the Virtual Library; we’re just not sure if it’s located too far away (ironically).

Right now, the vast majority of my job experience has been in Public Libraries, along with some Academic work (I was briefly a Student Assistant, acting as an Editor for course texts). I think that ethically and values-wise, Public Libraries are a fit; but interacting with people so heavily is new to me. It wasn’t until I spoke with someone high up in Reference somewhere else, that I realized that customer service and public service wasn’t just part of his job; it was the focus of his job. (I also didn’t realize how many people in the Library field are genuinely accepting and kind!)

That is, my experience as a Library Aide is atypical for my branch. Most of the jobs of most of the people I work with, heavily involve dealing with people; and I’m just sheltered from most of it because I’m support staff and in a relatively junior position. They have to do Outreach, Advocacy, Programming, and Marketing. For the public-facing part of my job, I’m just tasked with Circulation.

I deal with the athletic stuff (lifting, sorting) and the stuff that requires high mobility (crouching, reaching) and high accuracy (everything needs high accuracy), with limited responsibility to staff a public desk. But the Clerks deal with the public more than I do; so do the Library Assistants and Librarians. The only other position at my branch is Head Librarian, and even she does staff Reference.

So I’ve been trying to get more comfortable with dealing with the public, and have been reaching back for help when I need it (like when I forget a rarely-used policy, as happened today). Now that I know that my time on desk is quality time in which I’m acclimating for a higher position, I’m not so upset about it, anymore.

I’ve also realized that my workplace…doesn’t work as well as I think many would wish. But that doesn’t mean that all libraries are dysfunctional or that the entire system is corrupt (as has been suggested to me). And it doesn’t mean that I’ll never get tough enough to deal with routine interpersonal problems. We do the best we can, you know? I’m just seeing patterns now that I hadn’t seen, before, and it’s informing my process.

I’m also learning a lot in my classes, and that is also helping.

I should probably get going so I can get up sometime before 11, tomorrow. ūüôā I was concerned on Monday about being able to get all this done by the end of Wednesday, but it seems I overestimated the time it would take for me to get things done. I also probably underestimated my ability to write to a deadline…

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Gettin’ serious, now:

Okay, so I guess attending class this morning does count as classwork done. Plus, I went to work (which wasn’t bad, this time).

There are actually a good deal of Library Assistants, Library Clerks, and Aides/Pages in my classes, which is causing me to think about getting back on the Clerk list. It would likely be less shocking a transition than going straight into an LA position. I’d just have to refresh my typing certificate, to apply.

I also have three more pages of reading to do before I can start in on all the little assignments due on Wednesday, and I should get on listening to the lectures.

Aside from that, and maybe starting in on another article (the one I’ve printed), that should be enough to think about, for the night.

If I really can’t sleep tonight, I can work on my own personal tech reading (e-books, tutorials), especially as my Database class will not cover MySQL (I found this out, today). I doubt I’ll have that much boredom, though.

There are some additional thoughts I’ve had in regard to listening to everyone’s different experiences…and my own workplace dynamics, but this isn’t the place for them. I should put them in a personal journal, or get back to work…

I knew this blog was good for something.

Over the turning of the new year, I realized a couple of things. One, I have gotten out of the habit of writing regularly, because schoolwork demanded so much of my time — not least, my time at the computer (which is limited due to repetitive-stress concerns: I have had severe pain in my upper back from sitting at my terminal for too long before, and don’t want to repeat it). Two, I have also gotten out of the habit of making art. When starting is the hardest part, that’s not good.

So over about the last week, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my time. Right now I have three weeks to go before school starts up again. It’s fairly evident that I’ve gotten into a sewing kick, but I didn’t realize how to link that and another of my projects — this being the mandala project that I started towards the end of my Art AA and which carried on a bit further after that — until last night. Check the mandalas tag on my blog to see some of this work.

I’ve realized that the paper-folding technique with which I’ve attempted to create mandala art, may be more useful in plotting quilt squares, than I’ve thought. It may even be more useful this way than in its original form, as paper-folding from a square base tends to make four-sided (or “gated”) designs. It was because of this that I eventually migrated away from paper-folding, to utilizing a compass system. However…it seems to lend itself to this.

I’ve been looking around for books on appliqu√©. I was only able to find one today, but the quilt book I checked out before also has a section on this. Although it wouldn’t necessarily be easy to work on a pieced quilt with geometric designs stemming from origami forms (though I could be wrong: I haven’t tried it, yet), appliqu√© can basically take any form. M was thinking that I might be really good at it because I work best in tiny, delicate stitches.

Right now, the biggest question is what construction method to use, as a rigid approach would be fine for something I’d hang on my wall; not so much, though, for something I might eventually use. For example, I wouldn’t want to use¬†glue (as one of the books I found today, recommended), for anything I wanted to cuddle up under. I did find a book which was more laid-back than this, though, which also used hand-stitching as versus machine-stitching (the former of which is basically one of the key reasons for me to be in sewing at all).

I’ve got to return some of these library books.

I have, also, gotten through one chapter on the couture sewing book I checked out, and it’s fairly clear that the entire chapter will be useful.

Anyhow, looking over the blog, the other night, was what tipped me off as to what I had enjoyed before, and directions I might want to go in as regards quilting, now…

I also suppose I am working content into my work!

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…

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? ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Who would do that. ¬†ūüėÄ

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. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†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…