Monday, June 18, 2012

Looking Up

What happens when you're 35 weeks pregnant and getting over being sick? And yet still finding yourself quite busy? A post from the (hidden) archives! As I described in a post some months ago, I have in "draft" form a handful of vignettes I wrote a few years back about the stars and why I love them. It's a series of posts I do intend to see to its conclusion, even if they seem a little out-in-left-field when they appear. The last time I shared one such post was back in April. And of late I've been reflecting on how I plan to share this love with my little one when she arrives next month. And so, as these thoughts percolate in my ever-nesting mind, here is my next post in this series...


Image courtesy of NASA and ESA / Hubble Space Telescope

The house I grew up in is on a hill. While there is some ambient light from the nearby towns, on a clear night the stars are quite visible in our yard. When I still lived there, one of my favorite moments of every day was after dark, during the walk from the car to my front door. Since I grew up in this house, I knew the path very well: walk down the driveway, take one step up onto the patio, walk another five paces and then walk up four steps to our porch. I could do the walk with my eyes closed, which was a good thing because on this walk, every time...

I looked up.

Even if the sky was not clear, I'd still attempt to penetrate the cloud cover with my vision and imagine the stars hidden behind. On clear nights I just soaked in the view. Partly cloudy nights were my favorite though, because I had about fifteen paces to search out and grab with my eyes as many of the stars as I could. It was a game we played, the stars and I.

And now, looking back on it, I think it's safe to say that I always won, whether I saw many stars on my short walk or not. I say this because, in retrospect, these playful attempts to seek out the stars amid the clouds, and my insistence to myself that they were there just beyond the cloud cover whether I could catch them or not, were the real reward.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Naming Our Home

My husband and I first encountered our home last year. We were engaged and planning our wedding for later in the year, and Paul drove the two hours to come see me in Scranton every other weekend or so. (The alternate weekends I drove to see him.) When he was in town, our Monday morning route (before Paul set off for home) from my apartment to my favorite coffee shop took us past the house that would eventually become our home, which at the time was "For Sale By Owner." It is a Victorian house, built in 1870, which had been lovingly and painstakingly restored by its then-owners. It was that exciting time in our relationship when we were dreaming of our future life together, and in the midst of that hopeful time (where nothing seemed too far out of reach, within our natural sense of reason), we started to imagine what it might be like to someday call that Victorian house our home. At some point, we decided on a whim to phone the number on the "For Sale By Owner" sign, in order to arrange to view the inside.

But here's the kicker, and the reason I'm telling this story starting from before we bought the house: before seeing the inside (and thus, before we had reached a true decision to actually pursue the house as one we'd like to own), we named it. This is significant for folk like me and my Paul. I grew up on Anne of Green Gables and the subsequent volumes in the series, and right there in the title of the first story you can see that Anne lived in a time and place where the naming of places mattered. Take a look at the titles of the other Anne books, and you'll have an idea of how the name of a place can reflect its character (and the character of those living in that place):
  1. Anne of Green Gables (a home)
  2. Anne of Avonlea (a town)
  3. Anne of the Island (referring to Prince Edward Island)
  4. Anne of Windy Poplars (a home)
  5. Anne's House of Dreams (a home)
  6. Anne of Ingleside (a home)
  7. Rainbow Valley (a locale near Ingleside, named thus by Anne's children)
  8. Rilla of Ingleside (the same home as volume 6; Rilla is Anne's daughter)
As you can see, other than the second and third volumes in the series, every novel is characterized by a place that has been named by its inhabitants. There's something magical about this. As for my husband, if I am someone who absorbed this ethos through the stories I read, Paul just is the kind of person who would want to name his home someday. It's innate to who he is, and one of the things I love deeply about him. 

So, last year when we first encountered it, we named the Victorian house we found ourselves utterly enchanted with, without having seen the inside yet. I knew it was emotionally dangerous to do so, since we had no idea if it would ever be our home, and naming the place bound it to our hearts. But, put simply, we just couldn't help ourselves. The house practically named itself, in our view, so calling it by its name in conversation with each other just seemed natural--we couldn't help it, so we didn't bother trying. 

Jumping ahead to the present, God blessed us and rewarded our emotional risk of naming the house without knowing it would ever be ours, because it did in fact become our home later that year. We knew from the get-go that we wanted to hang a sign on the front of the house, bearing its proper name, but we also wanted to do it right (and not sloppily), which meant it would take some time to get to.

Which brings me to the true purpose of this post... Paul found the time this week to finally adorn our home with its name, just above the front doors, and I am so smitten by it I simply had to share it.

Welcome to Greenvale :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Recent Accomplishments

In the whirlwind of the past month or so, I accomplished two very different things of which I am rather proud. The contrast between the two also provides a lovely cross-section of my life at the moment, and both are things I wanted to share here anyway, so here they are.


First, the final publication version of an article I co-wrote with my research partna', Teresa, became available on the publisher's website. The article was accepted for publication back in February, to be included in that next issue (which was available in pre-pub form in March). It is our first peer-reviewed journal article about our Facebook research, called "Information literacy on Facebook: an analysis." That link will take you to the article information and full abstract at the publisher's website, all of which is freely accessible to any web visitor. If you're interested in the "stuff" we're working on with Facebook (or, if the question crossed your mind: What serious relationship can Facebook have with anything educational, let alone scholarly?), go take a look at the abstract to see what we're up to. And as the abstract notes, this article is part one of a two-part study, so God willing there will be another article within the next year or so that reports on our further findings. 

Also, I love talking about this stuff, so if you read the abstract (or if you're a librarian and/or professiorial-type and can get access to the full article through your library's subscription or ILL), and you want to discuss what we're doing, leave me a comment! 

I am not at liberty to post the file of the full article here--though once I figure it all out I should be able to post a pre-pub version at some point down the line--so in lieu of linking to the article itself, I have some images that sum up my excitement. Oh, did I mention this is my first real publication? As in, my name on something in print that needed to go through a rigorous vetting process before it was accepted? I joke with my friends who've known me since childhood when my one dream was to perform on stage for a living, that this is the research equivalent of seeing my name in lights...

The front page of the final pub version of
our article, complete with the publisher's
emblem in the lower left-hand corner
(I know, I'm a dork) :)
click to embiggen

Yes, that's a pic of the computer screen I took with my phone, of the first page of the article. But look! It's my work, with my name under it (and Teresa's too, of course), and our affiliations, and the publisher's emblem, all on the same page! And wait, there's more...

The bibliographic record for our article
in the online research database ProQuest
(click to embiggen)

Full record of our article in ProQuest--
we're indexed! :) click to embiggen

When you're junior faculty, working towards tenure, and a librarian to boot, which means most of your professional time is spent in databases like ProQuest, seeing your work appear in the context of one such database is pretty thrilling, to say the least.

So, yea, it's been an exciting few months for me and Teresa and our work. Up next: writing up part two of the study, to be submitted for publication as soon as we can manage it.


The second thing I accomplished recently, this past week in fact, was to begin to get Rosebud's room ready for her. When we moved into our home last summer, our second bedroom became de facto a storage room. When we found out Rosebud was on her way, it became clear we needed to transform the room from storage into a nursery. This involved removing things we were storing in there that didn't belong in a baby's room, and making room for the essential pieces of baby furniture we knew we'd need: crib, changing station and rocker. There was already a bookshelf as well as a full-sized bureau (matching), brought from my former apartment, which we planned to keep in there for Rosebud. And, we also put in that room a loveseat-sized foldout couch, also from my former apartment, which we use when guests visit. This couch is so heavy and difficult to move, we decided to leave it in there even after Rosebud arrives, since we don't have a separate guest room to speak of (we live in a two bedroom house). The plan is, when we have guests (including Rosebud's grandparents), they will stay in the nursery on the foldout couch, and Rosebud will sleep in our room on one of our portable type sleeping options (which we've registered for...more on this in a moment). We recognize that this will only work for the first couple of years of Rosebud's life, but we'll worry about future arrangements when the time comes (God always seems to provide solutions to problems we haven't even identified yet).

So, without further ado, and definitely still a work in progress, here is Rosebud's nursery:

Crib my mother bought for Rosebud,
rocker, and of course, laundry, including
baby clothes and bedding that were
gifted to us second-hand

The foldout loveseat (I don't like the bright red color--
it was on sale a few years ago when I acquired it, largely
due to the color I think, though thankfully it doesn't
utterly clash with the colors in Rosebud's room--
I've toned it down with a lovely rose pattern quilt)

Book shelf (holding my childhood stuffed animals :) )
which will house Rosebud's library...the diaper
changing station will go in front of that window,
which also needs an AC unit before the
heat of summer settles in

The bureau, for Rosebud's clothes and extra bedding,
and the door leading out of the room--there is also a
small closet (not visible) immediately on the right on
the way into the room, where we'll hang Rosebud's
little dresses and things (and also where bedding
for the foldout couch/bed is stored)

The room came with that lovely Victorian wallpaper, which we had every intention of keeping whether we were having a boy or a girl--it has a border of faded roses along the top (perfect for Rosebud's nursery). But clearly there are still a lot of necessities missing, including the diaper changing station I keep mentioning. Which provides a perfect segue into sharing links to Rosebud's registries--something I've been meaning to post in a public-like place for some time.

By the grace of God, my husband and I are blessed with many people who love us dearly, and by extension, already love Rosebud beyond imagining. Various communities in our life are throwing us baby showers for Rosebud--for which we are incredibly grateful, since I'm not sure we'd be able to afford otherwise all the one-time, up front costs of setting up house for baby. I created a Pinterest account with the purpose of using it to make sense of Rosebud's registry items, and it has served well in that regard. She is registered at Babies R Us and on for baby things, and then she also has a books and media wishlist on Amazon (since many of the people who love Rosebud are of the bookish sort, so their gift-giving inclination may lean in that direction--this way we are less likely to receive titles we already own, since I have a pretty formidable children's book collection already, being a children's story geek myself).

In a sense, I'm sharing these more so the mommies out there can see how we plan to "fill in the blanks" in the above photos of Rosebud's nursery, plus items for other parts of the house, for both functionality and beautifying the space. I'm always interested in what mothers more experienced than I have to say about products we're looking to get (although I did pretty extensive customer review research on the essentials before adding them to the registry). So, here are the links:

Rosebud's Registry at Babies R Us [Edit: Bah, turns out there is no such thing as a direct link to a Babies R Us registry; this link will take you to the registry search screen. Just search for our last name and you should be able to find us.]
Rosebud's Registry on
Rosebud's Books & Media Library Wishlist on
My Pinterest boards (where you can see how the products come together visually based on where they'll go in the house)

Needless to say, I'm getting very excited at the prospect of meeting our dear little girl. Less than two months to go!


So, two very different accomplishments from the past few months, but there you have it. Sums me up pretty well right now.