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How do you survive without pumpkin pie?

18 Oct

Did you guys know that they don’t have pumpkin desserts in Australia? It sort of makes me want to cry for the whole continent. I had the opportunity last weekend to introduce an Aussie from my book club to mini pumpkin cheesecakes. She said “Thank you” and I said, “You’re welcome for changing your life”.

Besides my adventures in pumpkin, lots has happened since I last posted. I’m back in Vancouver, working through my last year of library school. The end is looming closer and closer, slowly but surely increasing my panic about entering the library workforce. But my anxiety can wait for another post.

Since I returned I have been enjoying my time in this beautiful city. Really, Vancouver is pretty spectacular. The weather in September and early October was gorgeous! My roommates and I went to the pool in September. Craziness. We’ve also been trying to hit all the neighborhood fairs and markets. Those of you who know me know I love being a tourist in my own town. We went to the RIchmond Night Market, and I was reminded of the many markets I visited in Asia.


Me, Mackenzie and the Biebs at the Dunbar Harvest Festival

I started a new job this year with a program in the UBC library called the Small Business Accelerator. It’s a free online business research resource for small businesses and people looking to start their own business in BC. I’ve been doing lots of design for the website and their promotional materials, which has been really fun. I’ve been putting all my Communication student skills to good use. We went to a conference yesterday, and I got to chat with lots of small business owners and other organizations about what we do. It was super fun and got me excited about our program all over again. My boss is great and I like the other grad student a lot, so I’m really enjoying this experience.

School is pretty good. Totally insane these last couple of week. I think I have self-induced amnesia every semester about how difficult the second month is because every October and February I find myself totally shocked by the amount of work I have to do. This term I’m in 4 classes: Children’s Services, New Media for Youth, Information Assets Management (aka Records Management) and Planning and Design of Libraries. Some day I will write another post about all my classes, in case any future librarians who are curious about what we study happen to run across my blog.

Well, I have lots more to write about, but I’ll save it all for future posts. It was nice getting back in touch with you all. Although I only have a readership of like 6 people, I always enjoy posting and feeling like I’m engaging with people in my life through this blog. So yeah. Thanks for reading.

A bed big enough for two

31 Mar

I won’t lie. It’s been kind of intense lately. The sum total of food in my house will tell you that I’ve been too busy with homework to do much else. Of course, probably two thirds of that time was wasted on simply worrying about homework rather than getting anything done. And if you were curious, here is the sum total of food at my house, excluding condiments and spices: one egg, a sleeve of saltine crackers, 2 strips of fruit leather, one packet of Oregon Chai instant latte powder, 4 carrots, a package of frozen cranberries left over from Thanksgiving, one mini-bag of microwave popcorn, half a bag of chocolate chips, and 3 onions.

Apparently, according to Molly, I’ve been pretty incognito as well. “I don’t call…I don’t text…” So I wanted to check in on the blog and let you all know I’m alive.

I’m entering my last week of classes–EEK! I can’t believe I’m almost halfway done with graduate school. That’s just seems so preposterous to me. Slowly, but surely, I am checking things off my homework list and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Easter is coming up, which I couldn’t be more excited about. It’s not my favorite holiday, but it does have my favorite holiday candy. I am hosting Easter brunch at my house for (so far) 14 people, with hopes that they won’t mind sitting on the floor next to our golden retriever Mackenzie. The forecast predicts sun and, wait for it, 0% chance of rain! I didn’t think that was possible in Vancouver. Here’s the photo if you want proof. (51 Fahrenheit = 10.5 Celsius)


After school ends I will be doing a two-week practicum at the Vancouver Public Library. I am super excited to get my first real library work experience. Although I’m not sure they’re going to let me do much besides watch. At any rate, I’m stoked.

In other news, I bought a bed today. I’m marginally creeped out that I got it off craigslist, but I’m dealing with it. I was assured it comes from a clean, bed-bug-free home*. I’m looking forward to both a more comfortable mattress, and a big enough bed to have someone sleep with me. That sounds so dirty! What I mean is that when people come to visit, they can either stay with me, or in the case of a couple, they can share the bed and I’ll sleep on the couch. My first visitor will be my dear friend Angela, who is coming to stay for a few days and then make the long drive back to SLC with me. She has already told me she’s looking forward to our upcoming snuggle parties.

I’m doing my best to savor (or savour if I’m being Canadian–aka wannabe British) my last few weeks here. I’m thrilled to be going home to my beloved mountains, family and friends. However, I’ll be sad to leave this beautiful place. One thing I’ll miss is the crazy cheap insurance. I’ve been dealing with a mysterious back injury these last few weeks. Basically I couldn’t stand up at all for 2 days, and not straight for more than a week. Luckily, at only $10 a visit, I’ve become great friends with my new chiropractor, and I’m about to order my custom orthodics (a $300 value!) for free. While I remember all too well the torture of waiting for hours with Molly at the emergency room, the healthcare system here does have it’s benefits.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this photo I stumbled across today that I’m just in love with. Here’s the link to the original blog. I’ve always been a fan of this painted wall, and if I remember correctly, it is located in SLC in the courtyard behind Sam Wellers books.


*Do we have bed bugs in Utah? Until I moved to Vancouver, I had never even considered the possibility of anything being tainted with the vile little things. Even the library books here are infested.

Epic fail

18 Oct

Today I had my first really disheartening grad school experience. We got our grades back for our first cataloging assignment. We had to take some bibliographic records (you know, those long reference citations that have title, author, year, publisher, etc for books and articles and websites) and then cite all the formatting rules from the AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd Ed.) used to create those records. Try to remember back when you used to have to figure out bibliographies for research papers. It’s like doing that, but backwards. It was a terrible assignment. I hated every minute of it. The AACR2 totally made me its bitch. I’m pretty sure I got the worst grade in the class. I’m not exaggerating; people are pretty open about their grades, so I had a lot to compare myself to. **Silver lining, my 78% is actually a B+ here at UBC. They are so weird with their grading in Canada.** Anyway, despite the B+, it was a pretty dismal performance on my part. And now I’m sad.

School is hard

18 Sep

Since I decided to get my Master’s in library science, a lot of people have asked me, “What do you actually study in library school?” Well, that in addition to the clever the first time, but super lame the 100th, “It takes two years to learn the Dewey Decimal System?” Hi-larious. So I thought I’d let you all know where my academic pursuits have taken me.

Everyone in my cohort has to take the same 4 core courses this first semester. Three are regular classes on campus and one is online. The idea of these courses is to start with the very basics of technology skills and LIS (library and information science) theory to bring everyone up to at least the same base-level knowledge.

All in all, I’m finding the grad school experience to be whole lot of work. The work itself isn’t that hard. I would say it’s not any harder than some undergrad classes I took, it’s just a lot more time and effort that I have to put in. Mostly in terms of the amount of reading I have to do. I spend at least 4 hours a day just reading–and that’s with a lot of my lazy skimming. Along with that it’s been a challenge to make and keep a work schedule. I only have class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (each class meets only once a week), so I have five days in a row without class. I’m also not allowed to work for the first 6 months that I’m here. All that free time makes it easy to push tasks, most often reading, to another day. However, if I procrastinate at all there’s just simply too much to do in one or two days.

The rest of this post is just a description of my classes, so you can stop here if you’re no longer interested. I won’t be offended.

Foundations of Information Technology: This is my online class. We met up once at the very beginning of the semester to go over the interface of the course. From then on it’s been strictly online. We have content modules where we get all the information of the class, and we participate in online course discussions. There are also optional computer lab demonstrations to help us with the technical aspects of the course. This class covers the very basics of LIS. There are two components:

1. The syllabus states: “It deals with the development, current state, issues and challenges of information technologies in society at large. While the implications of these techno0logies for libraries and other information-based organizations will also come up, the course generally takes a wider view of information technology and society.” So far we’ve  been talking about what information actually is, how we use it and classify information, and how  technology and access to information impact our lives.

2. This is the technical skills portion of the class. We have 3 assignments that deal with PowerPoint, web design and social media.

This class is one of the most difficult for me so far. I’m finding it hard to really concentrate on all the reading online. It’s hard because I tend to skim when I read online, so I have to go back and re-read things several times. The online discussions are hard because they never end. I log on every day and I usually have between 40-75 new messages to slog through. This is one class that is really testing my ability to manage my time.

Foundations of Information Society and Information Organizations: This class is focused on professional roles that students will fulfill after graduation and issues of interest to information workers. It emphasizes the development of professional skills, including reading and analyzing academic and professional literature, presenting, writing, and giving and receiving constructive feedback.

We have 3 assignments that include

1. A presentation where we have to teach a portion of the course material to a small group and lead discussion activities

2. A paper in which we discuss an article from the popular media that focuses on a topic relevant to LIS

3. A critique of a scholarly article from the class

So far this class seems fine. We haven’t really delved to far into the material, but I’ve enjoyed learning about the different kinds of libraries and all the career options for LIS grads (i.e. public libraries, archives, academic libraries, hospitals, law firms, gov’t organizations, newspapers, corporations, and the list could go on and on…)

Foundations of Resource Description and Access: This class focuses on how information is actually organized in libraries and various classification systems. There’s a lot more to this process than I ever knew. It takes a ton of work to figure out how to organize information and documents in a way that makes sense, looks good and allows for easy location and retrieval. This is the class where I learn about the Dewey Decimal System 🙂

There are 3 assignments. (Sensing a theme here?) Two have to do with classification systems, and one is about subject headings.

So far this class is SUPER technical a.k.a. boring. I think I will get more into it once I get the basic terminology down. Right now it’s like blah blah blah metadata systems blah blah indexing blah bibliographic control. It’s important information to know, but I know it’s going to be a tough one for me.

Foundations of Information Sources and Services: Where the last class focused on how information is organized, this course focuses on how to find and access information. Basically this is what you need to know to provide reference services. It emphasizes both the technical skills/research strategies needed as well as interpersonal and communication skills.

Again, there are 3 assignments.

1. A written report analyzing our experiences using information services. Basically we have to go out with some sort of need, have an information professional at the appropriate location help us address it (at a library, bank, insurance company, etc.) and then analyze the experience.

2. A set of written responses to information seeking scenarios

3. A group project in which students identify the information needs of a real or hypothetical organization and design a reference collection to serve those needs.

This class is also a bit dry so far, but I think it’s going to have TONS of great and practical information about how to be an effective resource for library patrons.

I don’t have to live in a box!

29 Jul

Hey all,

I’m a terrible blogger. I never update my page. Blah, blah, blah. Anyhoo, I figured I let you all know that I FINALLY found a place to live in Vancouver. Now I don’t have to sleep under a bridge or on a park bench. HOORAY! Pretty stoked about it. The roomies have an affinity for Super Nintendo, cooking and learning to rock climb. I think we’ll get along fabulously.

Another exciting fact: I only have 3 more weeks of work until I leave. Well, until I go camping with the fam, and then leave. It’s coming on so fast. I’m so excited, but trying to make the most of the time I have left at home.

94-111: about a zillion to catch up

21 Apr

93.    I finally know where I will be spending the next few years of my life.
94.    I will be home for the summer. Meaning that I will be home for all my fave summertime activities. I can’t wait to go camping and hiking and rafting and Lagoon-ing and zoo-ing and everything else that the warm weather brings.
95.    I have found 2 people already that are interested in sharing an apartment with me.
96.    Molly FINALLY closed on her house. I never thought the time would come, but she’s actually a homeowner. And her house is super cute. I’m so excited for her.
97.    This caramel apple cheesecake pie recipe. Amazing. I haven’t quite mastered the homemade caramel sauce just yet though. I burned it on my first try and the second was gritty. Not delicious. The pie however, 100% delicious. A few tips: I added an extra cup of nuts to the crust itself and I think next time I would double the cheesecake layer. I also just served it plain with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top of each slice.
98.    I took four Benedryl the other day and lived to tell the tale. At the time my itchy burning eyes deemed the potential overdose necessary, but in hindsight I realize it probably wasn’t a great move. Other than a drug induced 5 hour coma, I was ok. And my eyes felt great!
99.    Long chats with old friends in the entry way of Molly’s house.
100.    Dying Easter eggs with Blake.
101.    This photo of Molly and I. Aren’t we the cutest kids ever?
102.    You get a chocolate dipped strawberry at Zuppas. I love that.
103.    Pushing Daisies. I just watched the whole series on Netflix and I’m so sad there were only 2 seasons. Best show ever.
104.    Skirts. My favorite warm weather clothing item.
105.    Thunderstorms. I love thunder. Almost as much as I love it when the power goes out.
106.    The I Owe You app on my windows phone.
107.    I get to work an extra 10 hours this week. Not exciting, but I need the cash.
108.    Those white out tape roller things. My mom just got a new job where they still use liquid white out. I was stunned.
109.    Five gum.
110.    Reese’s pieces eggs. The greatest Easter candy ever.
111.    True Blood. A gloriously violent and ridiculously dramatic entertainment spectacle. Can’t wait for season 4.

I guess I have to start saying eh now, eh?

21 Apr

Well guys, it’s been ages since I updated you. I realize that I haven’t posted any pics from my trip (apart from the library ones) and that I’m a deadbeat blogger. It’s partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I have been stressing out about where I will be attending school in the fall. I felt like I was about to have an anxiety attack any and every waking moment. I found out yesterday that I didn’t get the fellowship in Boston. Apparently there was another more qualified applicant. Lame. I was a little disappointed but mostly relieved. Now I can finally get excited about Vancouver. And I really am excited. I think I will really love it. Although, this does bring on a whole new set of challenges by being an international student. I’m ready and willing to embrace those challenges though and look forward to the next few years in Canada.