Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And on the topic of Iowa

A few songs from Greg Brown and his Band of Renown. We're in a terrible mess just now with the flooding and the saturated ground. His music is just the thing for celebrating and building hope as, resident and emeritus alike face the challenges, joys, and sorrows of rebuilding.

Joys of Iowa
"The Iowa Waltz"

Home in the midst of the corn,
The middle of the U.S.A.
Here's where I was born,
And here's where I'm goin' to stay.

Iowa, Iowa,
Winter, spring, summer and fall.
Come and see, come dance with me,
To the beautiful Iowa Waltz.

We take care of our own, take care of our young,
Make hay while the sun shines.
Growing our crops, singing our songs,
And planting until harvest time.

The cafes will be filled with farmers frustrated by the inability to get into the field and have a crop this year. The anger will be intense. And yet our love of the farmer remains strong. And their sense of humor will return.

"Counting Feedcaps"
Don't wanna live in the city,
City is way too full.
I just wanna be where I can sleep
with both of my eyes closed.

Don't wanna live in the country,
I can't afford no farm.
So I'm in this little town, and I look around,
And there ain't that much to do.

Let's go down to the cafe and count feedcaps,
and count feedcaps, in a row.
Red and blue and green over the coffee cups,
Stirrin' easy, fadin' slow.

JoAnn, you know how much I love you,
That's why I brought you here.
Where the rent is cheap and the fishin's good,
When it don't rain too much.

What is this look in your eyes, dear?
Are you tired of me?
You don't wanna read; nothin's on TV,
Don't look at your suitcase like that.
[repeat chorus]

Life on Shuffle

The shuffle option on your mp3 or ipod can be a great tool for enlightenment for the soul. Your musical life shuffled at random. A reflection of your mood du jour or a varied playlist. Or the type of book your listening to. Or what you need at the time.

So many ways to shuffle today. Opportunities to look at You in a whole new way. Goodreads and Librarything show you what you read and give you clues to your Self. Even good old paper lists.

When I offload and reload new playlists and listen, really listen, I find reflection. I find myself skipping some music, repeating others. Perhaps I find intellectual stimulation in comparing and contrasting the many versions of Red Wing, Wondrous Love, and the perenniel Amazing Grace I have. Perhaps I have the blessed experience of tension and release in the Randall Thompson Alleluia. Why do I have these on the playlist? What does that say about my needs and interests? What does that say about Me?

Last night I offloaded some things and reloaded the songs I will need to carry me meditatively through the first anniversary of my father's death. Off came most of the rock and roll. On came the choral works we enjoyed. And gospel for praise. And roots/folk music that give insight into the musical history we loved to share.

I will bring my tiny wonder-speakers for the non-mp3 enhanced car. My mother and I will listen on our journey to share a pilgramage to his grave next week. As we cross the Iowa we all loved so much, we will share the roots of our musical, historical, and meditative tradition.

We will grieve the loss we have suffered. We will celebrate the land we love. We will grow. We will affirm. We will have singing. We will come out rejoicing in the love we shared. In grief there is memory. In memory emotions of all kinds. Ending in celebration is what we will need. It will give a few small moments of grace in a time of sorrow.

Let us all shuffle our lives once in a while and see anew the wonders within.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Snark-Off Time!

YAY! Kind of an angry snark this week. Enjoy!

Things I still think are Bad Ideas:
South Carolina to Offer Cross on Car Plates
via All News Feeds on 6/5/08

From the Making Friends and Influencing People Department:
A radical new strategy: kill fewer Muslims
via All News Feeds on 6/5/08

So...lemme get this straight...if we kill fewer people fewer of their friends, relatives, and neighbors want to kill us? I've got one word for that kind of thinking: BRILLIANT!
I'm on board for this one.

Dunkin' Donuts pulls Rachael Ray ad after complaints
via All News Feeds on 5/28/08
Good thinking, Dunkin'. You've just aligned yourself with uneducated hysterics who couldn't tell a keffiyah from a swaddling blanket. WAY TO GO!!!

"Confessing Movement Calls Ucc To Suspend Dialogue On Race "via
The United Church of Christ by Rev. Chuck Currie on 5/15/08
"Biblical Witness Fellowship (BWF), a small group of UCC members generally upset over the denominations stance's over civil rights for gay and lesbian people, is now calling on the denomination to suspend the "Sacred Conversation on Race" scheduled for this weekend... "

Good thinking BWF, since you disagree with your denomination's ability to love everyone let's make sure they don't preach about loving anyone at all. That'll teach 'em!

My Personal Soapbox
Of all the stupid time-wasting investigations this one is at the top of my list. Since when is inviting a prominent member of your denomination to speak at a gathering in any way a violation of the law? Helloooooo? Oh, duh, I forgot whose administration was in power...sorry:

Breaking News: IRS Determines UCC Followed All Rules
via The United Church of Christ by Rev. Chuck Currie on 5/21/08

By the same token, here's a Cardinal I'm rootin' for:
Chicago cardinal suspends priest at center of Clinton flapvia All News Feeds on 6/2/08
And rightly so.

Put On Yer Hangin' Shoes, Chester, It's Time To Dance!
Texas prepares for crush of executions
via All News Feeds on 5/24/08

What Not to Crochet and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books are my idols. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Truly, I am not worthy.

Six Handy Steps - Where is your organization?

Thank goodness blogging is not a ready-to-publish-to-the-whole world phenomenon. It's just a here's-what's-on-my-mind-world phenomenon. I hope. I've in no way finished with step one of six handy steps and now I'm thinking there just might be another way to arrange it. Still keeping the six handy steps, though.

Seeing what needs to be done is still the dominant theme. There are a lot of things a person needs to know before what needs to be done can be clearly seen. The first step, as with any endeavor, is within the Self. See where you're at. Accept where you're at. Be aware of how that colors decisions and perceptions.

Yes, Self first.

At work, there is a whole other self that is very important. That self is your Organization. Even for we humble public librarians, the Organization is the driving force. We think it's the City or ALA or the General Public or the Budget, but it isn't. It's our very own humble Organization.

Our Organization also needs to know where it's at, accept that, and be aware of how that colors decisions and perceptions. Before you can deal with the budget cuts, the patron behavior, or the collection, you must know where your Organization is at.

Take a good look at your Organization. With any luck, your Organization has a mission statement of some sort. Perhaps a long-range plan. Maybe you had a hand in creating them, maybe not. They are where your Organization thinks it is at right now.

But a mission statement or plan isn't what your Organization's culture is. These things do not encapsulate the history, the things that influenced it, the things it influenced, the traditions, the evolving theories and the discarded roles that brought it to this point.

In many cases, your Organization's mission and goals may not even be the reality of what the Organization is. They may be indicators of where the Organization would like to be or where someone thought the Organization should be five years ago.

My first step in Seeing What Needs To Be Done would be to look for that mission statement and those goals and see whether they match what is really going on. And to look and see if your administrators are still going by those missions and goals. If they are not, back away.


Your administrators may be looking at this disparity and doing something already. Or someone may be purposely looking the other way for some reason. Either way, there's more going on than you want to be directly involved with at this moment. Unless you're the administrator. Then I wish you good luck.

If you're in a position to question and decided and meet...ok, if you're an administrator..then you've just seen what needs to be done. Time to saddle up and make a plan.

Whether you do it formally as an administrator or informally at your own desk, stop and look at what's happening and why. Look at what's not happening and why. Look at what should be happening and why. Look at what should not be happening and why.

Dedicate a week or so to this. Not the nit-picky details, but the big picture. Ask yourself "Just What the Heck is Happening Here?"

You'll feel discomfort. Big time discomfort. Sure, you'll see a particular program is going great. You might also find other programs or facilities or projects plodding their way to obsoleteness before they're finished. That would be uncomfortable. You'll see some things that are exactly reaching the goal you have set. But what if that's the only thing you see?

As you go through the process you'll see all these obstacles. Let's return to SWOT analysis for a moment. Obstacles? NO! Opportunities. They are Things That Need To Be Done. Data to be acquired. Success to be measured. Potential course alterations to be made.

One way to See What Needs To Be Done.