Staying Sane: A Grad School Update

I realize I’ve been neglecting my blog of late…  So hey, let’s chat.

In September, I started my first semester of graduate school.  I’m taking classes online through the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee to get a Masters in Library and Information Science.  Going into it, I knew that grad school would be a challenge.  But, of course, there’s a difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing it experientially.  As someone who has half a semester under their belt, I can attest that grad school is HARD.

It’s not the work itself that is challenging.  I mean, yeah, it’s hard.  But it’s grad school.  High standards are to be expected.  For the most part, I think I’m keeping up just fine.  I understand the coursework, participate in discussions with my classmates, and have pulled decent enough grades on my assignments thus far.

The most difficult part about grad school has been finding time to actually do the work and still maintain a shred of sanity.  I’ve already had two emotional breakdowns this semester, which is two more than my entire career as an undergraduate.

Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 6/17/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on my front patio in the beautiful morning sunlight.  I’d probably be in my pajamas groggily drinking my morning tea and watching my new kittens scamper around.

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Yes, I have new kittens!  I got them yesterday from one of my patrons at the library.  There are two girls–one calico and one grey–and they are adorable!  I already love them so much!  They’re to be outdoor kitties.  Last night, I got them set up in their new cat house.  They’re still adjusting to the new surroundings–they freak out if one of our other cats comes near them.  But they’re starting to play and explore in our flower gardens, so it’s only a matter of time for them to be settled.   I don’t have names for them yet–any suggestions? Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 5/20/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be bundled up in sweaters with our mugs clutched closely to our chests.  It’s been rainy and cold this week–good for reading and sleeping, bad for all the farmers who have work to be done.  I had picked out a colorful spring outfit to wear to work this morning, but the moment I stepped out of bed my body was like, “NOPE.”  So it’s back to cozy sweaters.

I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me.

This afternoon, I’ll be getting coffee with a dear friend who recently returned from three months in England.  She stayed at the same ministry, L’Abri, that I did a year ago.  I’m excited to hear about her experience and gush about how much we miss it. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: 5/14/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on a blanket in the sun.  Spring is finally in full swing here in Minnesota and I am loving every moment!  I’d be sipping my usual mocha–what would you be having?

May is quickly slipping away… I can’t believe the month is half done already!

Today is Mother’s Day!  My parents have been away for most of the weekend enjoying fishing opener at a friend’s cabin up north.  They’ll be coming home later this morning.  My siblings are home for the weekend and we’ll be enjoying a nice brunch.  It’s not often that we’re all together.  With vacations, work, one brother doing an internship in North Carolina for the summer, we probably won’t be together for a while.

My family’s apple orchard is in full bloom!  We’ll be opening it to the public for a special Mother’s Day walk later this afternoon.  I hope lots of people come–it’s one of the prettiest times of the year.

It’s been a pretty quiet week.  I had shopping plans with a friend yesterday, but she cancelled, so I decided to go alone.  I spent WAY too much money… but really needed a new dress for all the weddings I’m attending this summer.

At work, I’ve been busy getting ready for our Summer Reading Program.  I’ll be away on vacation when the program officially starts, so I’m getting the pieces together.  While I know it’s going to be a busy summer with kids coming in, I’m excited for all the fun programs.  I’m doing preschool storytime, a marshmallow engineering event, a stuffed animal sleepover, and am starting a Lego Club.

Aside from family time, I plan to spend the rest of my weekend soaking in the sunshine.  I’ll be mowing the lawn this afternoon and will hopefully go for a hike tomorrow (I don’t work on Mondays).

That’s all I’ve got today… what have you been up to this week?  Do you have any Mother’s Day plans?  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up, hosted by Nerd in the Brain.

Weekend Coffee Share: 5/7/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be in my local coffee shop again, which has become a bit of a refuge for me on Sundays.  I’d be wrapped in a cozy sweater sipping my usual mocha and smiling sleepily at you.

How am I doing?  At the moment, I’m really tired and in a bit of pain… I’m recovering from yesterday’s adventures.

Short version: I got up at 6:30 AM, went to work, hiked 7.5 miles, went white water rafting, and got home at 11:30 PM.  It was an absolute blast, but my body is definitely in recovery.

Long version: You see, a friend invited me to go white water rafting yesterday evening.  The location is two hours away and the town I work in is right in the middle of that route.  It didn’t make sense to drive an hour home only to drive two hours again, so I spent my afternoon at a state park.  The park was beautiful–featuring a river with roaring rapids and endless woods where spring has only just begun to visit.  Stupidly, I decided to take the longest hike possible.  Three miles in, I realized I had bitten off more than I could chew, but it was too late to go back… so I powered through. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 4/23/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting at a table by the window at my local coffee shop overlooking the lake.  The sun is shining, but do not be deceived!  It is colder outside than it looks.  As I write to you today, I actually AM at my local coffee shop.  Much to the chagrin of my family, our internet is down for the weekend.

Today is super exciting because it’s Shakespeare’s 453rd birthday!!  Someday, when I’m on my own with a circle of friends who live near me, I want to host annual birthday parties for the Bard.  I think it would be so much fun to have themed snacks, games, trivia, and readings.  For now, though, I’ll just reminisce about the time I toured his house in Stratford-Upon-Avon and watch the adaptation of Twelfth Night I rented from the library.  Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play or poem?

At my library this week, we had a MASSIVE donation!  A man brought in ten large boxes of books!  My Friday had been shaping up to be pretty boring, so I was thankful for something concrete to do.  I spent most of my afternoon sorting books by size, genre, and author.  Our sale area has been pretty pathetic lately, so it was really nice to fill it up with good books.

I took Saturday off work so I could get out and enjoy Earth Day!  It was a beautiful day–so sunny and warm that I got to wear shorts.  I planned attending my local March for Science, but arrangements fell through at the last minute.  So I instead went for a long hike at a local state park and thoroughly enjoyed being out in this beautiful world we live in.

Today, I’m feeling a bit under the weather.  I don’t know if it was all the exercise I had yesterday (I spent an hour helping my mom in her garden in addition to the hike) or the cooking at the fundraiser breakfast we went to after church, but my stomach isn’t feeling too great.  Around noon, I did something uncharacteristic and took a nap.  I normally don’t attempt sleep in the day, but today I definitely needed it.

How was your week?  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up, now hosted by Nerd in the Brain.

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I found these tiny lovelies on my Earth Day hike!

Weekend Coffee Share: 3/26/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be at the Caribou Coffee by Target on the edge of the Minneapolis suburbs–you know the one?  You’d take a seat opposite me and I’d scramble to make room for you.  You see, my laptop and lunch are taking up the whole table.  I’d offer to share my cucumbers and carrots while messily trying to keep my chicken caesar wrap from falling to bits.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined in the coffee share.  How have you been lately?  I’ve missed you.  I’ve been suffering from writer’s block and even the thought of drafting a casual post was was enough to send me scrambling away from my computer.  But I’m back! Continue reading

I Was Going to Blog About Something Else, but Then my Day was Beautifully Wrecked by a Book

Don’t you just hate it when your day becomes ruined by a book?

I sure don’t.

You see, when you read as much as I do, stories become familiar.  They fall into patterns.  As you read, you think, “I’ve seen this plot before.  I’ve met these characters.  I know how this is going to end.”  Without realizing it, your standards skyrocket and a couple of things can happen: you become a snob or you lower your standards.  I’ve done both.  There are times when I’ve turned up my nose on stories because their predictability is beneath me.  There are also times when I’ve pushed aside that critical voice and chosen to enjoy things for what they are.

All the while, though, I have this tug in the back of my mind–this nagging desire to read that one story that is going to sweep me away and leave me breathless.  My subconscious knows what kind of story it longs to get lost in… I just need to go out and find it.  This longing propels me forward, keeps me reading.  Despite genuinely enjoying almost everything I choose to read, there’s always the hope that the next book will be it. Continue reading

Everyday Resistance: Saying NO in the Little Ways

The past few weeks have been hard to bear.  With each each move the new presidential administration makes, my heart sinks deeper.  I long to join the resistance, to blazingly declare NO, to do more than wring my hands and scroll through social media feeds.

 

At times like these, I am confronted with my own smallness.  I am just one person with just one voice.  I live far enough from the cities to make attending protests logistically challenging.  My workplace is an hour from where I live, so it’s hard to get involved with local resistance efforts because I’m always in the car.

Where does that leave me?  What can I possibly do to make a difference?  Who am I to even complain?  I live a life of incredible privilege.  I’m not going to be deported or separated from my family.  I’m not going to face discrimination for my skin color, sexuality, or religion.  Yet, even though I will likely get through the next four years unscathed, my heart hurts for those who won’t.  This spurs my longing to resist.

I’ve been thinking about these things a great deal over the past weeks and have come to the conclusion that, while I may not to make grand efforts, there are many small ways in which I can take a stand.   Continue reading