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 My grandfather had open heart surgery a week ago.  He's not doing so well.  He 's still in the hospital and really struggling.  He's confused and angry.  They suspect he had a stroke.  They are putting in a feeding tube tomorrow.

I'm taking an onlines farming course through the Cornell Cooperative extension and an RDA course through OCLC.  I applied for another job, one I am quite frankly a little less than sure I will like but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

I got really upset about something at work today but had a lovely chat with my dean. There are somethings about this job I certainly not miss, but a number of people that I will. 
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 Finn had a field trip the other day.  When I picked him up afterwards and asked him how it went, he told me a few things and then informed me that he was stung by a bee.  He went on to tell me that when it stung him, he hit it, smushing it, and then he began to cry.  I asked him if it was scary and he said no, he was crying because he killed a bee.

I have a very sweet-hearted little boy.
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I've been giving a lot of thought to what to do next, as you all know.  I haven't come to any conclusions yet, but here are some ideas:
  1. Get a job in a different library. My husband points out how miserable he was in the library he was working in and that he was really starting to doubt he even wanted to be a librarian.  He recently got a job at another library though, and he's much happier.  It's made a big difference for him and since my own questioning about staying in the profession started as things started to go blah here, maybe that will be the case for me too.  I can also always look into public libraries as an alternative where I'm doing something different but still kind of the same.
  2. Become a market gardener/small scale farmer.  I signed up for an online class through the Cornell Cooperative Extension about starting a farm.  It has a huge risk associated with it, but we're actually in a financial situation where we might be able to make that risk, thanks to my husband's new job.  I've approached a couple local vendors to see what they might want to purchase from me to sell and I'm planning on talking to a few nearby restaurants.  I've also did a little research into high value crops.
  3. Get a degree in interior design.  I can take free classes where I work and they offer a BA in interior design (with two faculty member with an interest in libraries).  In theory, since I already have a BA, I'm thinking I could probably get, at the very least, the GE credits waved, maybe.  That would me I continue to work here, take free classes, get the degree and go into consulting for libraries.  It would me traveling a lot, but I wouldn't be doing it until after the degree when the kids are bigger.  And, especially if I stick to bigger institutions, I could probably make a decent amount per job.  There aren't many interior designers (or for that matter architects) who have worked in libraries (and trust me, often is shows).
I'm still brainstorming, but that's what I got so far.

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First a hiring freeze is being put into effect.  I had a librarian position open.  We interviewed and selected a candidate only to have someone from administration contact me and tell me not to offer the job, they were about to announce a hiring freeze and it will include the non-filling of this position. I was, I admit, slightly surprised they had given me the go-ahead to search and fill this position (which replaces a librarian that left) but I'm pretty upset about it all the same.  Especially after we took all that time to search and interview.

Second, I'm on an ad hoc diversity committee (as part of the campus' new strategic plan).  The first meeting went pretty well.  The first meeting did not have all members present.  The second meeting went rather differently.  The HR
 director actually defended the nepotism problem we have in hiring on the campus.  She literally said she saw no problem with it and thought it was good that we hired from the nearby community.  Then a faculty member (who was gay and proudly out) felt that we should do a survey on campus and where people attach their names and say if they belong to a minority group and they we should approach those people and give them the job of raising awareness/being a model for said groups.

Because there's nothing alarming about asking people to out themselves as say, Jewish or Trans or Gay or whatever and making that published information or anything.  I mean, we've already discussed that this campus isn't comfortable for all employees that are part of said groups.  Asking them to out themselves will surely improve that, right?

Anyway, still looking for jobs.

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 This morning I watched a green leaf branch "swim" across the pond and then dip down under the water and disappear.  Muskrat?

Last year we had an algae bloom that killed off all our fish, which was distressing.  This year we have an abundance of frogs, especially northern leopard frogs.  The blue heron still comes, surprisingly, though not as often as it once did.  We never see the wood ducks that much at this time of year.  They come to the pond often in the spring but have disappeared by late summer.

We see a deer through the yard every now and then, especially during hunting season.  They seem to understand that our yard is safe.  We hear the coywolves often at night (regionally they're called coydogs).  We can hear turkeys often in the corn fields next to our property (and we saw one walking along our yard a month back). We have raccoons (my husband caught them on a trail camera recently), tons of rabbits, a number of fat groundhogs, garter snakes, and turtles.  And of course an assortment of birds, including a smallish hawk that swoops around our yard.  Every year a pair of warbers gets into our garage and makes a nest on something that we consequently can't use all season.  The woolly-bears are out in force now.

At this time of year the box elder beetles start swarming around our front door and sneak into the house.  They're followed by a smaller wave of ladybugs.

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*googles dinner ideas for hot weather*


*googles kid friendly dinner ideas for hot weather*

Don't judge me, but it's easier to stuff a cat into a cat carrier than it is to get my kids to eat anything with the word "salad" in it.

ETA: Who in their right mind automatically thinks "Gazpacho!" when looking for kid friendly recipes?
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Finn's second grade class is learning civics and what it means to be a citizen in the U.S.

In other news, this morning Finn declared that he is a free person and that no one is the boss of him and that he's not boarding the school bus today.

I can report that he did indeed board the bus in the end and that minimal tea was spilled during the course of this brief rebellion.

So I am actively looking for a new job now. I don't feel a little guilty about doing so. I really like working with the library staff we have here. The library itself is probably the least dysfunctional library I've ever worked for. The last place I worked at, for those of you that weren't following me then or just don't remember, was a HR nightmare, complete with death threats and meetings that devolved into screaming fits.

But, the situation isn't good here. I was about to offer a library position to a candidate we interviewed but was told to stop because they were instituting a hiring freeze. Benefits have decreased, pay is stagnant, there's little to no professional development funds. And I'm just not feeling very fulfilled.

So, I'm keeping an eye out. There were a couple of really good positions that opened out recently outside of driving range and I'm not willing to move at this point. On the bright side though, there are a number of libraries in the area and I
am not in the position that I need to find something immediately, so I'll find something. It's only a matter of time.

My grandfather needs open heart surgery.  They're scheduling it for sometime this week or next.  I'm hoping to see him this upcoming weekend.  He's 80 and not in the best of health to begin with, but the doctors feel like he strong enough for it and are pretty confident he'll do well.
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Finn had a birthday party today. Finn wanted science experiments, so I led 8 6-7 year olds in making a volcano, making oil-water glitter bottles, making slime (also with glitter) doing the coke + mentos thing, and exploding a plastic bag (using vinegar and baking soda). It went surprisinlg well. The kids all got lab goggles ($10 for 10 on amazon and they were the real deal) and got to take home the slime and oil-water bottles instead of traditional handouts.

I am exhausted!

We picked a puffball to eat yesterday and had it breaded and fried. I am using some of the remains in stuffed patty pan squash tonight (yes, I am actually cooking for once!)
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 So at work everyone got a bonus in our last paycheck.  We hadn't seen raises in a long time and saw our benefits slashed (including no retirement contributions) so it wasn't much compared to that, but it was something at least.  Full time got $600 and part time got $300 if they worked a 1,000 hours in the previous year.  When they came, our part time guy received nothing.  Now, 1,000 hours over a year comes out to just over 19 hours a week.  He works 28 hours a week.  So I called HR.  Keep in mind this is right after talking to a librarian whose office is next to mine.

I told them Part Timer didn't receive a bonus.  They said he didn't qualify-he didn't have enough hours.  I explained the hours he worked for us and asked if they could show me what showed them he didn't qualify.  She said the report they ran was on another person's desk and that she was out for lunch.  I asked her to let that person know I wanted to talk to her about this after she came back from lunch.

Directly after that, two other things landed on my desk that required me to talk to the Dean, sooner more than later.  So I hurried off to her office to find she had some time to chat.  I included the Part Timer's bonus while I was there.  She called HR and it was immediately discovered that yes he did qualify, was somehow skipped and they'll put the bonus in his next check.

All good, right?

Not exactly.

I received a message shortly afterwards from the HR director to meet with her.  I came and she said that my previous phone call to the other HR person was rude and bullying-out of line and unprofessional.  I started to defend myself but she was like: no, it was and you must email her an apology.  She was unwilling to listen to my side.  I quickly realized that I would get no where defending myself so did as asked.  But I was really confused how anyone could get that impression.  I've been bullied and worked in a library were it was commonplace.  I strive very much to never be that person.  I asked the librarian next to my office and she agreed that my tone or language never went there.

But on the way home I
 remember that I was warned early on in my career to be careful with HR-that the director has been known to retaliate from slights perceived and otherwise.  The previous administration was largely like that and the HR director is one of the last hold outs.  I guess by going to the Dean/VP of administration I went over her head and that's a slight.

I'm just...I've worked a 50+ hour week last week.  I've worked weekends and evenings.  Hell, I'm going in today from 2-10.  I'm unsure, with the craziness of the start of the semester, when I'll get to take that time off.  And then I get that at the end of the week.

I've been ambivalent at best about staying here this last year.  I guess this just really proves I've got to go.  I'm just not sure what I want to do next, you know?  I'm pretty sure I don't want to work at a big academic library again, though I know there will be some openings at really big nearby institution.  I just got my public librarian certificate so that's an option.  We also own 10.5 acres of land zoned agricultural/residential and my husband and I had already talked about starting a market garden.  That would be quite the jump, but if I can make it work we'd be able to cut down on daycare costs a little (I'd still send Amelia in while she's young, but she'd be able to stop much, much sooner).  My husband's new job pays a lot more than his old one though, so that'll cushion us if I did it.

I just don't know what to do next.
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My husband, the kids, and I took part of an event that brought new Americans out fishing, taught them to fish, and gave them all fishing poles and gear to keep. They were all Somali and fishing and eating fish is big in their culture, but they haven't used poles before. It was a fun event and I feel like I got as much out of it as they did (and I didn't even fish!) Everyone was having so much fun they needed to call them in three times for lunch!

The older guys were familar with fish but the boy obviously never got a chance and were hesitant to touch the fish. Everyone was a bit weirded out by putting worms on a hook. But many, many fish were caught. :D
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So we lost two clerks over the summer.  So we interviewed and filled both positions.  One started yesterday, the other will Saturday.  They're the late night/weekend hours.  Then one of our librarians resigned for a higher paying job in Maryland a week before the semester started.  She also worked night/Sunday shifts.  So now I'm working nights and training the new night time clerk.  Another librarian and I have split the weekends.  Furthermore, the semester started and meetings are being scheduled so I have to also come in normal hours.  Plus a large accreditation self-study landed on my desk right before the semester started.  And I had my yearly review and I...


I've decided I'm taking a me vacation later September.  My husband gets away every three months or so for a weekend, often at his friend's camp or to do something or another.  And he's been telling me I should for years and while I
 don't disagree, I really don't have a thing I want to do.  In fact, I'm too tired/overworked to want to do a thing.  

But I've made the bold new decision to do a mini-getaway for myself where I
 won't be doing a damn thing except read. I think I'll get a B&B a 30-45 minutes away from home and bring a couple of books and some comf pajamas and read and eat a nice dinner.  Maybe get a massage, maybe.  That's it.

Cuz I need it.
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 I had meant to post this sooner, but it's been a crazy busy week.  Rab-Rab,Finn's stuffed bunny, had her babies.  Finn was beyond thrilled and carried them around everywhere (with Rab-Rab of course) for days.  He had this slow dawning awe when he found them, it was so cute.  I'm going to miss the days when he believe these kinds of things. 

We were under a tornado warning when he found them, so we were a bit too busy assuring everyone was safe and didn't get any pictures.  And we had to quickly rush him off (with his handful of stuffed bunnies) so we didn't have as much time to linger over the whole thing, but on the brightside, it took his mind off of the tornado warning.  (We had a number of funnel clouds spotted on radar but no touchdowns so everything was just fine, if a bit nerve-wracking.  Given personal experience, we do not take tornadoes lightly in my family.)
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It was easy.  I never said she was, I just mentioned a couple of days ago that she felt a little heavier.  Finnegan, who is a bit bummed that we're not having any more babies, decide that he thought Rab-Rab was as well.  Rab-Rab, I should explain, is the stuffed animal he always sleeps with and, until he started school, brought with him everywhere.  (Rab still sometimes joins him at the summer program he's in.)  Anyway, Finn decided Rab must be pregnant.

On Tuesday the three really small plush bunnies I ordered in the mail should be arriving, in case you're wondering about the due date.

Finn will be turning seven soon and the days in which he'd believe this kind of thing are quickly diminishing. 
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 You know, as I do this whole clean and purge thing, decluttering, whatever, I'm coming to a bit of a realization.  I really don't feel like I belong in this house.  

First off, I'm the only clean one.  I grew up in a family of obsessive cleaners.  I'm not anywhere to their level, but I prefer things much less cluttered.  My husband grew up in a family of hoarders.  Really honest to God hoarders.  So...shit's everywhere and he doesn't see it, but I do.  Half finished house projects from three years ago?  Material's still in the hallway.  He has a fit if I try cleaning up any of his stuff too, because he remembers where he puts everything and gets upset if it moved.  Finn's only six, but he's pretty much the same.  He has a fit if I throw away his old tooth brushes.

I don't have space for me.  This has gotten a slight better after I had a melt down over this a year ago.  But my husband has the garage and the basement as workshops.  He cooks, so the kitchen's his zone (I've even been kicked out).  He has a desk by the stairs, which I will give him is not very private.  I've got...nothing.  I have no place to store things for my hobbies or my garden stuff. My computer was, until the meltdown, in the hallway.  Now it's in the office/storage with totes of Christmas stuff and his paintball stuff (which takes up a whole corner) and the kid's storage clothes and pieces of furniture.  It doesn't feel like my space, though it is more private than his desk.

But, and I think this might be the biggest factor, I have had little say in what comes into this house in terms of furniture and whatnot.  My husband's kinda cheap and keeps accepting whatever second hand, hand-me-downs offered.  There's a good number that comes from his family ("this has been in my family since the 30s!")  There's a number of chairs that could desparately use refinishing (and a few that he found at the dump that he actually refinished).  There's actually way more chairs than we actually need.  A couple are broken but he plans on fixing them eventually.  Even the one I'm sitting on right now is part of that group (and as uncomfortable as all hell.)  We have a couple of pieces from the previous house (that were left there when we moved in and took with us).  A used couch from some friends.  A pair of unmatching side tables for the bed that a friend picked up at a garage sale and gave to us so I guess their ours for life now.  Don't get me wrong, a couple of pieces are nice; the dining room table from his mom, the glider our friend refinished; I just kind of wish I got more say in what we have and the ability to make at least a couple decisions on getting rid of stuff (which my husband HATES to do).  

Even are garden is planned largely by my husband.  Or rather, I do plan what we plant in where, but he insists we just keep tilling what was once a lawn with thick heavy sod and plant directly in and we're always losing to the grass.  I think we should have raised beds.  In fact, his friends, his father, and my father have argued for raised beds.  Everyone with gardening experience has said raised beds (and he didn't grow up gardening, I did).  But, here we are with plants growing out of a years growth of new lawn because all those roots just don't die when you till.  Ideally I'd love to do something more like a potager's garden, but that's never going to happen.  
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 I'm just...I'm just so disgusted with things right now.  With Trump's handling of North Korea.  With the violence in Virginia.  

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The library has a stash of tools. We have purchased these tools with our own funds to do the various smaller projects that come up in the library.  Over time, whenever maintenance has come to the library to do projects, they've found our tools, used our tools, and failed to return our tools.  About six months ago we needed something (a screwdriver, a hammer, I forget what) just to discover we had barely anything left.

We needed to buy more tools, but loathed to buy more just to have it disappear on us again.  That's when one of the librarians came up with a brilliant idea: buy the pinkest of pink toolbox cases.  And we did.  Everything is that shockingly bubble gum pink.  Not only do we think this might repel our male staffed maintenance crews, but if they do take something, it'll be easy to identify.  "Anyone see a pink hammer?  If so, please send it back to the library."

In six months we have yet to lose a thing.
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When the Gospel of Minimalism Collides With Daily Life

Some of you of you might remember my great ongoing downsizing/minimizing project.  And while I do think minimizing has value, it only does to a point.  Just like having too much stuff and buying just to buy is one extreme in the wrong direction, I feel like a lot of the minimizing blogs out there take it to the other, equally impractical or even harmful extreme.

"Throw out all your pens and keep only one!"  Yeah, but that's really wasteful and assumes you're in the financial situation that you could go out and buy yourself one pen every time you run out of ink. 

"Get rid of all your kid's toys!  They're have more fun playing with wooden spoons and thinks you have around the house." Trust me, they won't.  Plus randomly throwing away all a kid's possessions is more than a little traumatic (and you can explain minimalism all you want, from the kid's pov it's random).

Like most things, it's a balance.  Amelia had a birthday party recently (can you believe she's 2?) and got a shitload of toys.  This was followed by me donating a large bag full of toys she seldom or never plays with anymore.  I need to do the same for Finn soon (especially with his birthday coming up).  In general we do own too many things and I do want to downsize what we own, but to a sane level.  Because the truth is, this is awfully hard to live in:

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I have received my public librarian certificate!  I'm not certain yet if that's what I'd like to go into, but it does open up options.  Pay is stagnant at my new job, benefits aren't anything special and, more importantly, they've been making zero contributions to retirement for a year now and it was low before that.

I like the people here.  It's a pleasant, fairly flexible place to work.  They bill themselves, correctly, as child friendly.  But I've been feeling kinda stagnant here.  My indecision continues about staying or going but I'm trying to keep options open.
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 I went on vacation, well more like staycation, with my mom a week ago.  It was fun, frustrating, exhausting and pretty much everything else that comes out of vacation with my mother.  She came up with my niece and two nephews and the kids all had a blast.  She rented a house by the lake and Finn abandoned us for the week to sleep over with his cousins.  My mom had us on the go from bright and early in the morning till well into the evening.  It think were all still recovering.

The Boy (aka my husband, not my son) started his new job three weeks back and it's working out very well for him.  They don't pay or have benefits kick in until you've been working there for 40 days, so we're riding on my pay and savings until then and on my benefits alone as well, but after that, his job's benefits are better than either mine or his previous job and he'll get paid more so that's good.  We are in a position we can absorb the wait time, but I wonder about those that couldn't.  I mean, we certainly could not earlier in our careers.

My garden's growing.  I might be able to harvest peas, but haven't really had much chance to get out there in the last couple of days.  The person that opens the library has been out, so I've been coming in early, then getting the kids fed and driving them to track in the evening.  Tomorrow I'm taking a half day to take my son to the eye doctor's so I'm hoping to get a chance to go out there soon

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My husband started his new job today. It seemed to go well! I'm hoping this works out well for him. Twice he had changed jobs to follow me and both times found himself in place that made him pretty unhappy. He deserves a place that'll make him haply (as much as work can).

Finn and Amelia are sick. Ish. I think they'll both be well enough to go to daycare/summer program tomorrow. They both have sore throats and Finn had a fever last night. They are both doing better this evening and actually ate dinner (solid food as opposed to the endless juice pops they had today).

I've had a lot of angst over my hair lately. I finally found a cut (with bangs!) that I like and I'm getting highlights put in Friday.

We have black raspberries in our yard. The garden is slowly growing. The broccoli is doing especially well.
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