Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Onward and Upward

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a milestone one. Nah I don't try to hide it even if I cannot quite say the exact number (rhumes with bixty hive). Neither do I plan to retire. My dad worked right on up to age 95 and only quit because his wheelchair was unwieldy in the office. He is my hero and I believe that, like him, I am not a person who would retire well. BUT I have taken a major step in the direction of a less stressful and tiring work schedule. As of September 1, I am no longer Chair of the Department of Library Science at Sam Houston State University. I am resuming my "old identity" as full time Associate Professor of Library Science. I am able to do this because my friend and colleague, Dr. Holly Weimar, has agreed to step up into the Chair's position. Last Friday was moving day. She moved into the 4th floor corner office with the great view. She will get to have the business cards with CHAIR on them. I am so grateful to her for taking on this largely thankless job. It does come with a decreased class load and a humorously diminutive stipend. Well maybe its not so funny but laughing about it helped me. I will go back to doing the things I really love--teaching, writing, and presenting. I will also serve as Assistant Chair and promise to help Holly at every opportunity. Maybe, maybe, I will also post to my blog more often! I am grateful to all the great folks in our department who supported me, listened to me vent, and went above and beyond the expected in helping with department initiatives, including our dramatic increase in enrollment in the last two years. Thanks everybody and especially Holly! The job has many rewards as well as headaches. I confess to feeling a great weight removed from my shoulders and I am humbly grateful for that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday and I am all alone. My daughter is on a trip. I chose to stay off the roads over Labor Day because I always hate the holiday traffic. So here I am with just my dog and cat. One thing I tend to do on my birthday is remember past ones. I remember a backyard party with a pinata. Maybe my all time favorite memory is a surprise birthday party on my 16th. Another time, many years later, I looked up from the circulation desk in my library to see kids pushing a piano through the door. A wave of irritation swept over me because I had no notice of an event being scheduled that day. But then the choir trooped in and sang Happy Birthday. What a thrill! I remember black balloons on a couply of landmark birthdays. And I remember one sad day when I went to work and not a single person mentioned my birthday. My daughter was away at school and my husband was spending the week down in Houston. By the end of the day I was enveloped in gloom. I came home and checked mail. No cards there either. I had been surrounded by people all day but felt very, very lonesome.

Today I have not had any calls. No cards came in the mail, another sad reminder that Dad is gone, because he always sent one. BUT I am overwhelmed by an avalanche of great greeting! I have a wonderful collection of Facebook greetings and ecards. I have heard from old high school friends, many of them who were at that surprise party. I have heard from colleagues, students, and even some of my heroes! I do not feel a bit downhearted about my choice to spend this beautiful day relaxing on my back porch, enjoying incredible weather, and watching all the events in my back yard. I got my fountain up and going this morning after weeks of weather so dreadfully hot that I didn't have the heart for it. I am truly blessed to have such a nice day. And I am very grateful for social networking and specifically Facebook.

I am not one of those naysayers who want to claim social networking isolates people. This gloomy description still pops up despite a very credible PEW research survey to the contrary. I did a quick search and found that there are still people out there making this claim. Here is the wackiest article I could find:

ANYTHING can be done in excess. I have had students who READ constantly and were very isolated from their peers. I had a friend whose husband got obsessed with playing darts in bars. They divorced over that. Another guy got hooked on playing those games where you snag the toys with the little crane. Shopping is fun but too much of it can break your pocketbook and your marriage.

As for me, I just want to say thanks for all the wonderful messages! I treasure them one and all. I have actually lost count of how many I have received, but counting would be a little obsessive anyway, huh? So thanks again to all my online friends. I am off to buy myself something online for my birthday...