I haven't entirely decided what to do with the upcoming free time. Although, unlike when I got laid off in 2004, I'm not strictly looking at this as a break, I don't expect to find anything right away, either. I did apply for one position already, but I haven't seen much else out there. This is a tough time to find work as an academic, especially as a librarian. Financially, we'll be fine for awhile -- the severance package and my unused vacation takes me almost through the end of the year, and with careful planning we can get by without my income; I am very fortunate in that I don't really "need" to work. But I want to, or at the very least I want to be working soon. Then again, I can't exactly job hunt eight hours a day, and it would be great to get in some travel, some writing, some home improvement, some lazy-bum-on-the-couch time. How exactly to balance all that is the open question: do I put myself on a schedule? Allow myself freedom and see what happens? Start planning a trip or two now, or give it a little time to see if a job comes through quickly? The idea that appeals the most is a loose schedule, along the lines of my monthly writing goals, but I'll have to see how it ends up working out.
I have my “it’s true, I was laid off, I was ready for it and I’ll be okay, I promise they aren’t closing down the library (an actual rumor that’s been making the rounds through the student body), I’ll be here through the end of the quarter” speech down pat; part of me is tempted to put in on a card and hand it to people instead of having to run through it several times a day, but I recognize that wouldn’t be very friendly. ;) People want to talk about things and make sure I’m okay, and I appreciate the sentiment very much.
Four weeks to go.
I was informed this was coming on Monday, but I've seen it on the horizon for much, much longer: I'd say the writing’s been on the wall for at least a year, and the signs got clearer last spring. I’ve been preparing myself both mentally and financially, and I get pretty decent severance, so even if I don’t find something right away, I’ll be all right. It’s not what I wanted, but given how things have been going with the company that owns my school, it’s been too late for that for a long time now. Given the current situation, I think it’s for the best. I’m ready.
2. I seem to be whole-heartedly embracing Cinders as a fandom. At the moment, I'm in the midst of something I've never done before: writing a scene or two of a story every day or so and posting as I go. Originally I didn't care for Tumblr as a fic-posting venue, but for this mode it actually works pretty well. It will definitely need polishing before I put the whole thing together -- the seams between scenes, especially -- but I'm happy with how it's coming together so far. And it's a nice way to keep myself pushing forward on it rather than letting it drift into WIP limbo. If you want to follow the WIP, here's a link to the tag.
3. Also on Tumblr, I completed a 30 Days meme for Alistair, which was particularly interesting because a lot of other folks were doing it too, and it was fun to see other people's takes on the questions and on his character. I got some great new headcanon thoughts, and came up with some ideas of my own. Eventually I will probably post the character development interview I was writing up for Sereda Aeducan at about the same time, especially as my work on each informed my answers for the other.
4. I spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks vegging out in front of the Olympics, which was fun, but good god was the NBC coverage wretched. I should probably have given up and gone to the livestreams, but I much prefer to watch sporting events on my nice large television than on a computer screen. As a result, I found myself watching less and less, and skipped the closing ceremonies entirely. I had heard rumors that NBC was going to lose it stranglehold on coverage, due largely to the time delay shenanigans, but no such luck -- they've got the contract through 2020 at least. Sigh.
5. I gave in to temptation and bought the eARC of "Captain Vorpatril's Alliance", the new Vorkosigan saga novel, which isn't out in print until November. I haven't had a ton of reading time lately, so I've been working my way through slowly, but I've been enjoying an Ivan-centric novel every bit as much as I thought I would. This is one of the first novels I've read on my iPad, and it's... interesting. Not sure how I feel about the experience, overall. More thoughts on both the story and its ebook format to come, I'm sure.
In today's meeting, and also in his announcements to the faculty yesterday, the dean mentioned me and the other librarian, and gave us kudos for keeping everything together in the face of changes and cutbacks. It was a surprise, and a nice one. I think a lot of us in academic administration are so used to the idea that we will bend over backwards to shield the students and faculty from financial constraints and bad decisions by upper management that it just becomes expected. So it felt good to be acknowledged, to hear that they know it's not an easy thing to do and that our efforts are appreciated.
Anyway. Now I can start putting the last three months behind me and start looking forward to tomorrow, when I will get on a plane and then be in Rome. So excited, you have no idea. Can I just close my eyes and be there now?
My computer is coming with me, and I do have wireless where I'm staying, but I don't expect to be online much, so this is me, mostly signing off for now. Ciao! See you in a week. :)
1. Work: Things have changed pretty drastically recently and I'm scrambling to keep up. The upshot of it is that I have fewer people to get more things done -- isn't that always the way? -- so I expect my life to be a bit more constrained for awhile. For one thing, I'm moving to a Tuesday - Saturday schedule for awhile, starting this week, probably at least through August. I'll probably also have longer hours in general, and my time while at work will be more constrained. Everything is balanced on a knife-edge, no slack whatsoever, and although I understand a desire to make things more efficient, if you pull too hard on a rope with no slack, it breaks.
So I guess we'll see.
2. Fandom: As planned, I've started a DA:O replay. I went for a Brosca game; her name is Kasia, and I love her to death. Right now we're back in Orzammar, and so far it's everything I could have hoped for. Very different from Aeducan's homecoming, and honestly I think better developed. But more on that when I've played it further. I've been blogging the game over on Tumblr, under the tags KJ Replays DAO and Kasia Brosca, if anyone is interested.
Also, don't forget Doink! signups close tomorrow!! Have a link. I have signed up and am really looking forward to it.
3. In other news: Chorus has started, we're doing Schumann's Mass in C Minor, which is a new piece for me. Very nice so far, although tough in some places. As of yesterday, I am going back to Rome in June, for a week with A and M, which should be extremely awesome, and there's also talk of spending Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas. Whatever can get me through this ridiculous quarter, I'll take it.
Also today, I finally made some good progress on my Mega Flare story, which is running much more smoothly now that I've accepted the fact that I'm going to write the Dragon Age/FFXII crossover and that my original idea, the one based on the reversathon prompt, is going to have to go on hold for awhile. (Sorry, Sev. I really do want to write it someday!) Then, on the walk home from Panera, I was bitten by a plot bunny, hard. So the minute I got home, I sat myself down and pounded out a first draft in record time. It might be entirely too self-indulgent to ever polish and publish (honestly, I think it was a reaction of sorts to Saturday's gaming trauma), but we'll see.
Regarding things not relating in one way or another to Dragon Age... tomorrow begins my last week of the Tuesday-Saturday work schedule. I'll work this upcoming Saturday, have Sunday and Monday off, we get a four-day weekend for Labor Day, and then the other librarian and I will switch back to our regular schedules. Being a Saturday Librarian has been an interesting experiment, and in theory I'm not opposed to doing it again, but there were so many exceptions and schedule changes that I never worked the schedule for more than two weeks in a row; I was never really able to settle into a pattern. So we'll see. Meanwhile, four-day weekend coming up! And boy do I ever need one.
Work: Stuff going down that I don't want to say too much about; personnel changes, mostly, for good, for ill, for big scary unknowns. It's been a really busy quarter, the kind where I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water. The Tuesday-Saturday schedule would be fine if I could settle into it, but it seems like there some exception every other week that keeps it from becoming routine, and now it's almost over -- possibly at the beginning of September, definitely by the end of the month.
Media: After getting it recommended by tons of friends over the years, I finally started watching Friday Night Lights last weekend. I've seen the first four episodes, and it's good so far, if a bit predictable. I look forward to seeing where it goes. I've also seen the first four episodes of Game of Thrones, which will definitely get its own post when I'm done. Current book is In Ashes Lie by Marie Brennan, which is good so far, although it's the second in a series and I've forgotten too much of what happened in the first volume. More later, I hope. Also, we went to see Captain America today, and it gets the thumbs up. Steve Rogers is so adorable in his earnestness. I just want to give him a hug and tell him that everything will work out.
Games: We made a little progress on Dragon Age 2, although not as much as I would have liked, and I logged a good chunk of time on my third DA:O playthrough, this one with M!Surana -- I've been wanting to play as a mage, I haven't tried out being an elf yet, and I was definitely curious to see how a male Warden affect things. (And, as long as I'm making true confessions, I'd like to branch out on my romance options, and I just know that if I play as female, I will be unable to resist Alistair's charms. It's hard enough to resist them when I know they can't go anywhere.)
Writing: I didn't get anything else written for the Porn Battle. A few ideas, but nothing that gelled for me, and I ended up spending most of the week's writing time on yet another DA:O conversation, a new one. I think it's almost finished, so look for that soon. And then I really, really need to get cracking on my Mega Flare. Anyone up for some Larsa-related brainstorming sometime soon?
The Rest of Life: It rolls merrily along. One week will be crammed with social events and the next will be quiet, which works okay for me. The whole "offset weekends" thing is fortunately not wreaking as much havoc with my social life as I was afraid it might, although I am having to skip a weekend trip I would have really liked to take. But not much to report, really. Except that I am still in love with my MacBook Air. So, so in love. I bought a new laptop bag for it, a smaller, classier one, and I am ridiculously excited for it even though it's backordered until mid-September.
And now, bedtime. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, DW, Goodnight, LJ.
Then a new student comes up to the desk and asks me an intelligent and interesting question, one that I've never thought of in the five years I've worked here, and I am, one again, reminded why I'm really here. Sometimes, my job rocks.
(The student who confesses to having a two-month overdue book and pays her fine with nary a whimper helps, too.)
I would never have offered this if I wasn't willing to do it, and I can see definite upsides to having Mondays off. And Saturdays are a good time to get projects done. And there are advantages to having one workday per week on which no meetings can be scheduled! But I can already tell that it's going to take awhile before I don't see dragging myself out of bed and to the library on a Saturday morning as an imposition. But who knows; once I get used to it, I may not want to go back! We'll see how it goes.
Fortunately, I am not alone. One of the things you accept when you become a librarian is that you may have undesirable work hours from time to time -- early mornings, late nights, Saturdays and Sundays -- and you can follow our adventures on Twitter at #saturdaylibrarian.
Edited to add the other upshot of this, which is that I am likely to be online and looking for distractions most days. If you're around, come say hello!
The piece is Vaughan Williams's Hodie; it will probably never be one of my favorites, but there are some segments of it that I like very much -- parts that are fun to listen to, parts that are fun to sing. The tough bit is the venue: Stanford Memorial Church is a lovely space, but it's very echoey, and it's very hard for us to hear ourselves over the orchestra. The first time through any piece, particularly, is a real challenge. Still, overall our first dress went pretty well, and I'm looking forward to the concert.
Work continues to plod along. It's between midterms and ramping up for finals, so things are fairly quiet right now. Calm before the storm, as they say.
I finished the first edit of my Mega Flare; now it just needs one more run-through, and a title. Why do I have such a hard time coming up with titles? I've auditioned a few ideas and hate them all. Titles and endings: my nemeses. Although once I found the ending for this story, I was instantly happy with it. Maybe I'll feel the same way about the title, once it presents itself.
Getting this out of the way first: I love being a librarian. A colleague once told me that librarianship is not a job or even a career; it's a calling. And that stuck with me, because it really is like that, not just for me but for most librarians I know. I cannot, at this point in my life, imagine wanting to do anything else with my life. So take that as a given.
( Top three awesome things about being a librarian )
( Top three non-awesome things about being a librarian )
This question comes at a weird time for me, because that last point has recently manifested itself quite forcefully at my place of work: book budget cuts, centralization of some services, and just this week a reduction in staff. So right at this moment, I'm not feeling too positive about my job. But my confidence that I've found the right line of work (and there is a difference) is unshaken. I'm proud of what I am, and what I am is a librarian.
30 Days of... Project! Complete list of questions / Ask a question on LJ or on DW.
2. Ask me anything! Still over half a month of slots open on my 30 days meme. You folks have left some awesome stuff so far, and I really want to see what else you can come up with. Post your questions here (DW) or here (LJ). Thanks. :)
It's mostly fun stuff, mind you (except for the meetings), and I've been enjoying the days. But now I need a weekend to recover from my weekend, and instead I get three more days of meetings. Whee. However! These days o' meetings will be followed by two four-day weekends in a row, which should more than make up for it. Yay, flexible schedules over break.
Also this weekend, somehow, among all the social events, we found time to finish World of Goo and then finally start Portal. I've been wanting to play Portal since I found out it existed. We just finished Level 16 (robots arrrrrrgh), and so far it is every bit as awesome as I have heard. World of Goo was great, too; I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys puzzle games. Plus, it might just have the best music of any game I've ever played. And I don't say that lightly. I think the only other non-Final Fantasy game music I've been this taken with was Freedom Fighters, which I used to encourage T to play just so I could hear its awesome Russian choruses. But I digress... Portal: thumbs way up. Rumor has it that a sequel is on the way, which is pretty exciting -- so far, I suspect that my biggest complaint about the game is going to be that there wasn't enough of it.
It all kicked off this week, with a messy mix of switching around shifts, working short days and long days, meetings galore, cumulating in a full day of work today. I'm not sure why it's been so exhausting, but I'm really fried -- I could barely keep my eyes open at my desk. Tomorrow I get my one-day weekend, the centerpiece of which will likely be an afternoon of laundry.
Then I work three days, during which time I have a half-dozen projects to wrap up. Thursday morning I leave for Boston, where I'll spend the weekend attending a librarian conference. Monday I hook up with amybang, we spend a couple of days hanging out, and then it's back home on Wednesday, where I immediately head back to three days of work, including another full shift on a Saturday, two weeks from today.
So basically I lose three weekends in a row: two to working on Saturdays, and the one in the middle to the conference, which, while not exactly "work", isn't exactly "not work" either. I'm not complaining, exactly, but it'll be hectic. And if you wonder why I'm not around as much in the next little while, now you know why. I might have to steal myself another three-day weekend sometime next month.
The upcoming week will feature a lot of meetings. Between those, I plan to focus on finishing up all of our break projects. I'm on track to accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish, which is pretty exciting. I don't think I've ever managed that over a school break before. Then we swing back into action with a new group of students, although this start is historically pretty small, so it should be relatively low stress.
As for the upcoming year, I have reason to hope that it will improve upon the last. Work is settling down, which is a big help in that regard. I don't have much in the way of travel planned, just a conference in Boston in April and BMC Reunion (15 years, how did that happen?) in May. I expect we'll also head down to San Diego to visit T's mom at least once or twice, and we're making noises about going to Vegas at some point. (It probably says something about my expectations regarding travel that I consider this roster of travel "not much"...) Closer to home, I'm slowly getting started on getyourwordsout, having made decent progress on one story already. Behind on word count, of course, but right now I want to focus on the habit of just writing something every day. Productivity will come later. I hope.
Also, a 46" HDTV is on its way, planned to arrive on Friday, so that's pretty exciting. My scintillating life, let me show you it. ;)
My work project for the last couple of days has been going through the magazine back files: putting them in order, rescuing mis-shelves, pulling really old issues that we need to get rid of to make more space. It's the kind of mindless busywork in the stacks that I like doing from time to time, both to share the load with the student workers, and because I find it oddly relaxing to put things in order like that -- creating order out of chaos. But this time, I'm finding it somewhat depressing, too, because I keep coming across magazines that have been shut down. Magazines start and fold all the time, and keeping track has always been part of the job, but it's been epidemic in recent months, and some really venerable titles, too: Gourmet and I.D. (a very cool design magazine) both come to mind. It seems like almost once a week, lately, that I head or a title shutting down or moving to online-only. Also, we had to cancel a bunch of titles for a lack of student readership lately, which is sad for different reasons. Although, it occurs to me, possibly related ones.
The death of publishing? Only time will tell.
Posted via LiveJournal.app.
I'm currently listening to the recording of Carmina Burana I picked up last year (the last time I performed the piece) and only listened to a couple of times. Although it's much higher quality than my old one, most of the tempos are just a hair slower, and it's driving me to distraction. Remember what it was like when we used to listen to tapes on our Walkmen, and when the batteries were just starting to die? Yeah, it's like that. With almost any other classical piece, I could probably handle it, but I know this one so well and it's just *all wrong*.