Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I heart being a librarian

I'm in sunny (and windy) California for a librarian conference. This has been quite an adventure as I've been mostly on my own, which requires me to go sight seeing on my own, something I rarely do. But let me tell you it's a great experience. I get to see exactly what I want, when I want, and for as long as I want. But, I do find myself talking out loud to myself a bit more often than usual and there are moments that I wish I could share, so I guess there are some trade offs.

In the keynote session this morning, Paul Holdengraber was interviewed. This man is incredible. I've heard him speak a few times. He has revitalized programming at the NY Public Library and his vision for the library is refreshing. He has created a program called Live from the NYPL which are unique conversations, debates and performaces with a variety of people from President Clinton to William Forsythe. He even talked this morning about an opera that was performed based on E.B. White's Manual of Style. One of the things that they often do during the programs is conversation portraits. Flash Rosenburg draws as the program happens. These are quite clever and you can watch a few here.

Paul also said that of all the things that he is, he is "not a librarian; but nobody's perfect." Love it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Anna and a Boat

Thing #15 was to take the water taxi to Georgetown. It also happened to be on Amy's list as well. So we planned to go during Priesthood session in hopes that some of leaves would be changing and it wouldn't be too cold. Well the leaves aren't quite changing and it was pretty chilly sitting on top of the boat, but it was well worth the trip. (On the way back we sat on the inside of the boat.)

The boat has a narration that points out interesting things along the way. When we went under the Memorial Bridge the narrator described it as a bridge between the North and South and that there are 26 stars (I think that was the number) to represent the number of states at the time of the Civil War. I also learned that the Kennedy Center is the federally recognized memorial to JFK. And that the Potomac River is one of the top 10 places for bass fishing (if you've seen the river, I'm not sure that you'd want to fish in it). It was quite an educational evening. In Georgetown, we had dinner at Chadwick's and wandered a little through the area right near the dock.

The monuments from the Boat (courtesy of Jenny's awesome camera)

Jenny, Amy, me, and Michelle on the top deck

Thing #7 was to read (or listen to) Anna Karenina. This was my third attempt at reading this classic. The first two times I never made it past page 100. Knowing this, I checked out the audiobook from the local library in the hopes that this would help me along. I did get farther than page 100 this time (to about page 150), but I've decided not to finish the book.

While the book is beautifully written and the characters well developed, it is a heavy book, and I don't mean physically (although depending on the edition you have it could be that, too). Tolstoy includes descriptions of cows and politics and women's dressing habits and other things that are interesting tidbits, but make for dense, laborious reading, I mean listening.

I was torn for several days deciding if I should just plow through and get it done or if I should replace it with some other thing. While pondering this, I realized two things: One, this project is about accomplishing things that I have always wanted to do. While reading AK, it became something I no longer wanted to do. And two, that the decision to stop reading it and understanding that I no longer feel the need to read it was accomplishing the goal, too. So I have counted this thing done; I have returned the audiobook to the library and removed my copy of the book from my shelf. So long, Anna!

Current Tally: 21 done, 2 started, 4 to do