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Friday, January 26, 2007

Just Another Week...

I'll start with a quick update of Jason and his rib. He's doing better. Still a bit uncomfortable, but he's getting there...learning what he can and cannot do. (Like he can't quite do those 12-hour days, but he can still handle 10-hour ones.) Anyway, we appreciate your continued prayers for his healing!

We're tossing around the idea of getting a recliner because he's having a hard time finding a comfortable sleeping position. I think he'd break MY rib if I posted the picture I took of him asleep on the couch, but here's an idea...(no idea who this kid is)








My
jaw/tooth is much, much better, and I assume Fred's head is feeling better as well. So I can eat solid foods again! Wait a minute...is this good news?


By the way, I have come to a realization about one of the items on my "27 by 27" list. The 27-mile thing just ain't gonna happen. One day I would like to be able to walk or even run a marathon. It's a goal, but with my schedule right now, I just don't have the time to invest in that long of a workout.
I'm doing great if I can get in my hour in the morning! So, as I said before, I'm learning an important lesson about realistic expectations.


Moving on...earlier this week, we were excited to meet NPR's
Robert Siegel and Debbie Elliott at APR's 25th anniversary celebration at a new place (for us) Chuck's Fish House.


Jason and I love Debbie Elliott. She has an Alabama history, and we feel like she brings a bit of a Southern flavor to ATC on the weekends. She's also just a super nice person.


Quick plug for Chuck's. I'm not a big seafood fan, but if you are, you need to try this place. Really neat atmosphere, great owners, and they even got me to admit the sushi and the crab legs were pretty decent. I think I'll stick with pizza tonight, though!


I guess this post has been just a lot of rambling...but, hey, what else are blogs for? haha
I'm heading home to eat my favorite meal, watch my favorite show and hang out with my favorite two guys-Rib and Riblet. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Week's End...

Sorry for the quick post, but I wanted to send these out before the end of the week. I promise to do better next time!

Hope you enjoy!

Washington Post article: A Librarian's Lament: Books Are a Hard Sell

Lifeway article on church libraries

University of Alabama SLIS's new myspace.com presence

ALA link for the literacy awards

Bryan Appleyard article about Google's Book Project

Saturday, January 20, 2007

When It Rains...

What a week we've had at the Norris house! To quote the Bard, "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions."

Where do I even start?

The good news is...we're all doing better! (And I'm loving this new blogger system.)

As for the not-so-great news...

Last weekend...Fred's head and my jaw collided, leaving me bruised and swollen and in lots of pain. Luckily, we were out of school Monday, and I already had a dentist appointment. So they did x-rays--nothing broken--great news. So they put me on an anti-inflammatory and pain meds and sent me home.

I go back to work Tuesday and made it a half-day. Then made it only an hour on Wednesday. At this point, I'm having knee-buckling pain--worse than when I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Seriously!

So I went back to the dentist (great guy, fellow believer), did more x-rays, got stronger pain meds and muscle relaxers.

Aah...that was the key.

Finally, the pain starts subsiding. The swelling is going down, and all appears well by Friday, which was my first full day back at work.

In the meantime, though...(cue the dum-dum-dum, sinister music)...

Jason, who has had a persistent cough since around Christmas, coughed in "just the wrong way" and broke a rib. Not kidding. We actually think he might have cracked it before with all the coughing, and this last cough was just the one that completely broke it.

So, Wednesday afternoon (just after I've gotten my first good dose of the heavy pain stuff), we have to go to the ER to get him x-rayed by, not kidding here either, a guy named Dr. Pepper.

So, by Thursday, we were both pretty much camped out on the couch, in a heavily relaxed state, just happy to be numb for a little while!

So, what a week, huh?! Fred has somehow skated through all this and just likes having both of us at home a little more.

Jason and I, thankfully, are both doing better. I'm just about well. He's still a little...uncomfortable...but I think he's on the healing end. It is going to be an adjustment for him during the next four-six weeks, so please keep him in your prayers.

It's odd...at the same time...we both had these painful injuries that a) could not really be prevented and b) could not be just fixed quickly. We're just having to wait and let them heal. So we're still trying to discern what God wants us to learn from all this. Not sure if it was a test, something "the enemy" tossed at us or just one of those things.

But Jason and I do believe that God has a plan, even when those difficult or frustrating or just everday occurrences occur in our life. So, through all things, we praise Him!
Haven't been at work much this week (see Tiff's Thoughts for details), so I don't have a whole lot to report.

We do have an open house on Sunday from 2-3 p.m. if anyone in Tuscaloosa is interested in seeing the place you've heard so much about! (I'll try to post pictures sometime in the next few months.)

Other than that, I'll leave you with a few links:

An interesting take on the Chaos Theory

Gates Foundation expands U.S. libraries initiative

Google's new Librarian Central Blog

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Technology

I'm the first to admit that I am not a tech-savvy kind of girl. Jason had to give me more than a few pushes to get a blog...and a web site...and a new phone. The list goes on.

And...the other librarian at
ACA handles most of our computer issues. She even hooked mine up in my new office!

It's not that I can't do this stuff...and it's not that I don't appreciate the new advances that technology brings us. It just seems to be a costly hassle (sometimes time, sometimes money) for what seems to be just an average payoff. Does that make sense?

Anyway, my point is...sometimes it's good to fiddle with tech stuff because I finally learned how to get the pictures off of my camera phone and onto this blog!

Just a few from our Christmas vacation. Enjoy!











This is Jason and me in New Rochelle, home of the Dick Van Dyke Show, of which we're huge fans! In fact, it was one of the things we liked best about each other when we started dating (for the first time-in 2000)!














And...this is us in Norristown, chosen, obviously, for its name. A nice place, though...and we really enjoyed seeing Philadelphia! We joked that this was our "preview" vacation. We need to come back and spend at least a week (each) in New York, D.C. and Philly!

Everything else is going well. It's been a crazy first week back at school and work, but we're getting back into the swing of things. I'm off Monday, so that will be nice. In the meantime, I'll be trying to continue to make my peace with technology...hmm...maybe an
ipod wouldn't be so bad after all...

De-selection

OK, this is a bit of a long post because I didn't have the exact link to this interesting WSJ article. Also included the featured library's response.

De-selection...it's a tough balance to strike between responsibility versus demand, especially for public libraries. I think schools face the same challenge, but we (at least at ACA) have a little more freedom. We are keeping the books the kids SHOULD read, just in case they (or their teachers) get ambitious...even if they'd rather read Gossip Girl over James Joyce.

But first...Check out the...

Outstanding Theological Seminary
(could be more to come on this in the next few months--we'll see).

Enjoy the article...

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" may be one of Ernest Hemingway's best-known books, but it isn't exactly flying off the shelves in northern Virginia these days. Precisely nobody has checked out a copy from the Fairfax County Public Library system in the past two years, according to a front-page story in the Washington Post.

And now the bell may toll for Hemingway.

A software program developed by SirsiDynix, an Alabama-based library-technology company, informs librarians of which books are circulating and which ones aren't. If titles remain untouched for two years, they may be discarded -- permanently.

"We're being very ruthless," boasts library director Sam Clay.As it happens, the ruthlessness may not ultimately extend to Hemingway's classic. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" could win a special reprieve, and, in the future, copies might remain available at certain branches. Yet lots of other volumes may not fare as well. Books by Charlotte Bronte, William Faulkner, Thomas Hardy, Marcel Proust and Alexander Solzhenitsyn have recently been pulled.

Library officials explain, not unreasonably, that their shelf space is limited and that they want to satisfy the demands of the public. Every unpopular book that's removed from circulation, after all, creates room for a new page-turner by John Grisham, David Baldacci, or James Patterson -- the authors of the three most checked-out books in Fairfax County last month.

But this raises a fundamental question: What are libraries for? Are they cultural storehouses that contain the best that has been thought and said? Or are they more like actual stores, responding to whatever fickle taste or Mitch Albom tearjerker is all the rage at this very moment?

If the answer is the latter, then why must we have government-run libraries at all? There's a fine line between an institution that aims to edify the public and one that merely uses tax dollars to subsidize the recreational habits of bookworms.

Fairfax County may think that condemning a few dusty old tomes allows it to keep up with the times. But perhaps it's inadvertently highlighting the fact that libraries themselves are becoming outmoded.

There was a time when virtually every library was a cultural repository holding priceless volumes. Imagine how much richer our historical and literary record would be if a single library full of unique volumes -- the fabled Royal Library of Alexandria, in Egypt -- had survived to the present day.

As recently as a century ago, when Andrew Carnegie was opening thousands of libraries throughout the English-speaking world, books were considerably more expensive and harder to obtain than they are right now. Carnegie always credited his success in business to the fact that he could borrow books from private libraries while he was growing up. His philanthropy meant to provide similar opportunities to later generations.

Today, however, large bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders bombard readers with an enormous range of inexpensive choices. An even greater selection is available online: Before it started selling mouthwash and power tools, Amazon.com used to advertise itself as "the world's biggest bookstore." It still probably deserves the label, even though there are now a wide variety of competing retailers. (Full disclosure: Years ago, I was a paid reviewer for Amazon.com.)

The reality is that readers have never enjoyed a bigger market for books. Shoppers can buy everything from hot-off-the-press titles in mint condition to out-of-print rarities from secondhand dealers. They can even download audiobooks to their MP3 players and listen to them while jogging or driving to work. Companies such as Google and Microsoft are promising to make enormous amounts of out-of-copyright material available to anyone with a computer and a browser.

The bottom line is that it has never been easier or cheaper to read a book, and the costs of reading probably will do nothing but drop further.

If public libraries attempt to compete in this environment, they will increasingly be seen for what Fairfax County apparently envisions them to be: welfare programs for middle-class readers who would rather borrow Nelson DeMille's newest potboiler than spend a few dollars for it at their local Wal-Mart.

Instead of embracing this doomed model, libraries might seek to differentiate themselves among the many options readers now have, using a good dictionary as the model. Such a dictionary doesn't merely describe the words of a language -- it provides proper spelling, pronunciation and usage. New words come in and old ones go out, but a reliable lexicon becomes a foundation of linguistic stability and coherence. Likewise, libraries should seek to shore up the culture against the eroding force of trends.

The particulars of this task will fall upon the shoulders of individual librarians, who should welcome the opportunity to discriminate between the good and the bad, the timeless and the ephemeral, as librarians traditionally have done. They ought to regard themselves as not just experts in the arcane ways of the Dewey Decimal System, but as teachers, advisers and guardians of an intellectual inheritance.

The alternative is for them to morph into clerks who fill their shelves with whatever their "customers" want, much as stock boys at grocery stores do. Both libraries and the public, however, would be ill-served by such a Faustian bargain.

That's a reference, by the way, to one of literature's great antiheroes. Good luck finding Christopher Marlowe's play about him in a Fairfax County library: "Doctor Faustus" has survived for more than four centuries, but it apparently hasn't been checked out in the past 24 months.

---------------------------------------------------

Mr. Miller writes for National Review and is the author of "A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America" (Encounter Books).

Now...here's the response...

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Not Quite Final "27 by 27"

OK, here it is...what I accomplished (and what I still have left to finished)...

1.) Most disappointedly, I did not lose my 27 pounds. I lost about four, but that's my big goal for this year. If I accomplish nothing else, I need to get this weight off!

2.) I plan to accomplish that by walking my 27 miles, which I also did not finish. I'm almost up to five!

3.) I did read my 27 books, of course. So many good ones...but some of my favorites...the Dee Henderson and Robin Jones Gunn series. Also, What's So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancey and Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.

4.) I saved my $270.

5.) I did not get around to writing my 27 stories, but that's another big goal for this year. I just want to write more overall.

6.) I did not finish my 27 random acts of kindness (oh, the shame). Those are harder to find than you might think but well worth it!

7.) I'm still working on the new workout/yoga moves as well!

8.) I did learn my 27 new piano pieces. LOVE my new Billy Joel collection!

9.) I did finish my 27 movies. (See what I mean about better time management? All I do is read and watch TV! haha) Some of the favorites, the afore-mentioned "Rocky" series, "Superman Returns" and "Click."

10.) I've almost finished the 27 new/notable things I've never seen/done. I'll do a separate post on those when I'm officially done because there are some pretty cool things there!

11.) I finished reading the 27 books of the New Testament.

12.) I have visited only eight libraries, but I'm working on it!

13.) I have tried 19 new recipes. Jason has given his thumbs-up to about half of them, I think!

14.) I've come up with about 16 solutions to cliches.

15.) I have tried 18 new toenail colors...this one turned out to be a little pricier than I thought, or I would have finished it by now!

16.) I spent 27 minutes outside almost everyday, just walking Fred and working on my "garden" (another blog for another time). Of course, rainy days don't count!

17.) I have learned 10 new words. My favorite so far is alektorophobia.

18.) I'm still working on getting the 27 memories of my mom down on paper.

19.) Also still working on that 27-T-shirt quilt.

20.) Oh, I'm so embarrassed to admit this, but I did watch all 27 episodes of the fourth season of the "Dukes of Hazzard." The shame! I think my favorite was "Sadie Hogg Day." It was also cool to see Johnny Paycheck perform.

21.) Moving on...I still intend to see the movie "Chapter 27" when it comes out! (That one was an exception from the start.)

22.) I'm still learning the 27 amendments to our wonderful U.S. Constitution.

23.) I exchanged listening to Mozart's 27 concertos (too long, too expensive) for getting 270 AR points. Easily accomplished by reading those 27 books, but I'm upping the ante to 300 points this semester. That's double what our seniors have to get. I'm going to see if we're being too hard on them! haha

24.) I took a cue from Shaun Alexander and looked up "27" in the Bible. Here's how it worked...in the books that had a chapter 27, I read that. In the books that didn't, I read every "verse 27" I could find. I wouldn't recommend it for a consistent form of Bible study, but it was kind of interesting!

25.) I drove on Tennessee Highway 27 (amended from the original Georgia...and I just thought this was a cool picture...I realize Ontario is not in Tennessee).

26.) I'm still working on my Web site, slowly but surely.

27.) I did make 27 updates to my blogs (if you include Fred's and my professional)!

So...that's it! Again, it's been fun, challenging and definitely a learning experience!

Here's a quick rundown of what's left to do well before I turn 28...

Take care of those pesky pounds and miles.
Write!
Be kind!
Just a few more new/notable things.
19 more libraries
9 more recipes
11 more solutions to cliches
10 new toenail colors
17 new words
Memories of Mom
Make the quilt!
Learn the amendments!
Finish the Web site!

Not so bad when you look at it that way...;)

...And a Happy New Year!

Listening to a little Elvis this weekend? If he were still around, the King would be 72 years old on Monday. Hmm...wonder if he'd still be eating those incredibly delicious fried PB&B sandwiches? Anyway, I personally like his gospel stuff best. If you have a chance, I suggest you check out his rendition of "I've Got Confidence." Cool song.

Anyway, it has just been an amazing three weeks. Jason and I have both been off work, spending time with family, relaxing, getting the details of life together. What a blessing!

We had an amazing Christmas in Connecticut. Most everyone was under the weather at one time or another...but it was still a really nice holiday. Jason had never been to that part of the country, so we did quick "drive-throughs" of New York, D.C., Philadelphia and different Connecticut areas (sans the snow, sadly). All fun stuff, though!

Check out Fred's blog to find out more about his first motel experience. He was a hoot on the trip!

Watched lots of good movies...please go see "Rocky Balboa" and rent the first five! It's so worth it--and we got to see where his statue used to be (see the above link to Philly)! Rocky and Adrian are pretty cool in my book.

Moving on...one of my favorite things about Christmas is taking time to read good books and not feeling guilty about the amount of time I spend reading those books! haha My top picks...not linking to any of these individually...you can find them all on Amazon. Small Island by Andrea Levy, How to Live With a Neurotic Dog by Stephen Baker, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver, Miracles by C.S. Lewis and The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan. (Come to think of it, read anything by C.S. Lewis or Amy Tan--you'll love it--trust me.) Anyway, thanks to my birthday and Christmas, I now have a stack of great-looking books to start on this year!

Speaking of my birthday...you might be wondering if I accomplished all 27 of my "27 by 27" goals.

Hmm...not exactly.

I'm trying to put a good spin on this--haha. I accomplished many of the things on the list (an "official" post will come after this one). However, I didn't quite get there on a few of the others!

I did, however, learn a valuable lesson about managing my time, the expectations I put on myself and what I can handle at the ripe old age of 27!

So my New Year's resolutions are to do a better job of managing my time, balancing the public/private sides of me (just like Britney Spears--haha) and, of course, finishing the rest of those "27" to-dos!

I've got to say...I'm really looking forward to 2007. God has been really good to Jason and me, especially these past couple of years, and I'm just so excited to see where He's planning to take our lives this year.

I know I'm rambling, and I'm sure you're SO eager to see the "27 by 27" list--just a hint of sarcasm there--but can I just give a quick "Roll Tide?!"

I've been a fan of Nick Saban for quite awhile now, and I want to officially (along with thousands of others) welcome him to Tusca-vegas.

So, Roll Tide, and Happy January!

Happy January!

So here I am at the end of the road...where do I go from here?

And we've got to begin again...though we don't know how to start...

Despite the Billy Joel reference, I'm actually really looking forward to this semester at ACA. The kids are back Monday, and I worked a few hours this week to sort of ease myself back into the work routine!

Christmas displays were replaced with "Winter" themes...Katherine Paterson usurped Scott O'Dell as this month's featured author. (By the way, read anything she writes--you'll like it, I promise!)

And...I have some excellent ideas for the upcoming semester, thanks to visiting a couple of noteworthy Northeastern libraries (thank you Burlington and Norristown) during my nice, long Christmas vacation (thank you ACA)!

Meanwhile...below are some links that I hope you'll find inspiring or interesting or just worth checking out.

Again, Happy January!

Minority librarians sought to update image of white "bun lady"

December publication of the Library & Information Science Program at Wayne State University

Opinionjournal piece about library practices

US News and World Report--Best Careers 2007

Read from the beginning...