Monday, March 23, 2015

Letters to Papa: February

Dear Papa,

On this bright sunny morning in February I visited you. I found you in your red shirt, asleep in the tv room. It was hard to look at you. Your head covered in plaque and crust, your forehead dotted with scabs, your left ear plugged with gauze. I told the nurse it was so hard to see you this way. He reminded me the perhaps the dementia helps you to cope with the physical challenges.

I took you to your room, parked you in the sunshine, and put on some music. I chatted away at you the whole time - not really sure if you were listening. I sat down on your bed facing you and, to my surprise, your eyes were open. You were looking at me! I got up and got close to you. I said "it's me Papa - Kristina, your granddaughter." I held your hand and you held mine. I sang along with the music, I wonder if you did too. You looked around, and mumbled. You raised your hands, tried to bring me close. I came close and hugged you, telling you how much I love you. I sang several songs with the cd before leaving to go to work. 

As always, I blessed you before going: 
May the Lord bless you and keep you...
make His face to shine upon you...
and give you peace.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 Reading List

In my update on my 2014 reading, I promised to reveal my 2015 reading list. I read just over 5 books a month last year, not including the ones I started and decided not to finish, for a total of 61 books.

I'm 2015 my goal is to read (finish) 60 books:

33 books from my personal shelves
2 each from the Forest of Reading categories: Blue Spruce, Evergreen, Golden Oak, Red Maple Fiction, Red Maple Non-Fiction, Silver Birch Fiction, Silver Birch Non-Fiction, Silver Birch Express, and White Pine (18 books).
2 from each Raves & Faves category: Adult Non-Fiction, Adult Fiction, Young Adult, Junior Non-Fiction, Junior Fiction, Picture Book (12 books).
10 books for book club

This brings me to 73 books, but I'm hoping there will be some overlap in categories!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

2014 Reading List Update

Last year I provided an update on my reading in 2013 and set some goals for 2014. I had only recorded 33 books in 2013, which seemed low and inaccurate to me. Nevertheless, I set a goal of reading 3 books a month, for a total of 36 books. As you can see, I surpassed that goal.

I tried to include every book I read, including those I started and didn't finish. There are 32 on my unfinished ‎shelf, from various years - 10 for 2014. The reason I included these is that I find that people generally don't include or rate unfinished books. If a book is unfinished, there's usually a good reason right? Maybe it wasn't what I thought it would be, maybe I just couldn't get into it, maybe it isn't a very good book.

So my total number of books read for 2014 is 61 books, or just over 5 a month. About 1/4 of my reading is non-fiction, followed by picture books (they're short and I have four children!) The longest book I read this year was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (552 pages), however I have to confess I listened to it on CD during my commutes back and forth to work. The oldest book I read was Christmas in the Stable, by Astrid Lindgren, originally published in 1961. The most recently published one was Lock In, by John Scalzi, published in August 2014.

As part of my 101 in 1001, my reading goal this year is to read 33 books from my shelves at home. These are books I purchased or that were given to me but that I haven't read. I need to read them and decide if they're "worthy" of the space they're occupying in my  home, or if they need to be donated. Stay tuned for my 2015 Reading List!

What about you? What did your reading list look like in 2014?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Five tips for getting the most out of a conference

The Ontario Library Association is Canada’s largest library organization and OLA’s Super Conference is Canada’s largest continuing education event in librarianship. Within the Super Conference event is the country’s largest library tradeshow. The program is a tribute to the ability of OLA members to balance the cutting edge and the practical in a way that can satisfy an increasingly diverse number of member interests and needs. (from

I recently attended 3 days of OLA's Super Conference and here are my five tips for getting the most out of a conference.

1. Volunteer to be a convenor. You do not get in to the conference for free, but you do get to use the speakers' lounge. The speakers' lounge gives you a place to check your coat, leave your boots, have a coffee or tea, and use computers (the WiFi in the MTCC is quite spotty). 

2. Comfortable shoes are a must! There is a lot of walking travelling between sessions and exploring the Expo floor, not to mention going out for lunch or grabbing a coffee. Bring a couple of pairs of shoes and alternate them on different days. If possible, change shoes during the day - leave the roomier ones for the afternoon!

3. Share a hotel room with a colleague from another library system, or a friend from your own system. Doing this meant I didn't have to commute back and forth on the GO train every day, plus the walk from Union station to the convention centre. Although this expense was out of pocket for me, it really made a positive impact on my experience and I plan to do it again.

4. Pack at least your breakfast and snacks, your lunch too if you can. If you're renting a hotel room there will more than likely be a mini-fridge in your room, as well as a coffee maker. Save your expenses for lunch and/or dinner with colleagues and friends.

5. Be flexible with yourself. If a session turns out not to be what you thought it would be, it's ok to walk out. You might find another session to attend, or use that time to explore the Expo. Time spent networking is also very valuable and is definitely work. Don't feel badly if you end up "skipping" a session or two here and there to make your day more balanced.

What about you? What are your tips for getting the most out of a conference?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

101 in 1001: Monthly dates with kids

As my family grew from one child to two, then three, then - within 15 months - four, I wondered how I could ever spend enough one-on-one time with each of my children. During the years I was homeschooling them I felt that they certainly had enough quantity time, if perhaps not always quality time. 

Now that they're out at public school and I'm working full-time, the quality and the quantity of the time are important.

I'm enjoying monthly dates with my kids. I'm usually off 2 Saturdays a month and I take them each out for about an hour. We go to Ikea, Tim Horton's, the Library, or even just to run an errand. They love the one-on-one time and that I buy them a little treat. I'm so happy to be doing this. I used to think I had "so many things" to do, but now I realize I don't have anything more important to do than to develop these relationships.

This article from Parents magazine, based on a great book (No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years Into Cherished Moments With Your Kids, by Dr. Harley Rotbart), has some good ideas on how to spend more quality time with your child. And Club 31 Women has some thoughts on looking after our sons' and daughters' hearts.

What about you? How do you spend time with your children?