Archive for the ‘Us’ Category


Not Our Favorite Summer

July 22, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Ocean, sail boats, coast line

This summer did not go according to plan. Only three of our many plans came successfully to fruition. DaddyBird was able to attend the university graduation of BabyBird. I was able to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. We both (separately) were able to spend time with family. Other than that, all plans fell apart.

Early in June, we found out that we were going to have to move out of our apartment by July 31st. Since we had planned to be in California until July 21st, we decided that some change to our plans was needed to accomplish this feat. DaddyBird’s USA trip plans were significantly shortened. He returned to Shanghai two days before I was scheduled to leave.

The move was accomplished, but two days later DaddyBird was seriously injured while assembling and moving a large bookcase. He attempted to survive on his own, but on the third trip to the doctor, it was determined that surgery was necessary. Therefore, my trip was shortened by four days so that I could return before he was released from the hospital and be here to take care of him while he recuperates. He is healing well, although he wishes it would happen faster.

In addition to the inconvenience of having to move out of an apartment we were very happy with and the pain and frustration of being injured, we missed out on seeing friends and family members. I don’t start back to work until August 10th, so had hoped to get to do a little travel within China, but that won’t be possible either.

On the bright side, we easily found a new apartment, there are many shops and restaurants in the new neighborhood, and the apartment staff have been VERY helpful – taking care of DaddyBird in my absence and helping with transportation to and from the hospital. It is not all bad, but definitely not our favorite summer experience.


End of a Journey

November 20, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

smiling woman wearing a hat

On Sunday afternoon, my mother, Marian, ended her 88 year journey through life.

Finding a Mother’s Day card was always a challenge, because she was not the kind, sweet, supportive, and unconditionally loving mother that inspires greeting card sayings. She did, however, teach me many things for which I am grateful.

My mother worked hard. She was almost always in motion. When I was young, we lived on a small family farm and there were few tasks she wasn’t willing and able to do. She planted, tended, and harvested a sizable garden. She spent days canning the extra for the winter months. We were able to eat home grown vegetables and fruits all year round. She milked the cows morning and night when necessary. She even bucked a few bales of hay during summer harvesting time. She baked her own bread eight loaves at a time, kneading the large blob of dough by hand. She churned butter by hand. When she had a few spare moments, she would create clothing, blankets, and slippers. My mother taught me about industriousness.

She wasn’t a feminist, but from watching her in action I learned that women are equal to men. She wasn’t dependent on my father. She worked right along side him, just as hard as he did, contributing to the welfare of the family unit.

My mother made it possible for me to become independent. She was not a “helicopter” mother, nor a “tiger mom.” I learned that decisions worked best when I made them for myself. The consequences are mine, as well.

Mom taught me that laughter can get you through the rough times. She taught me that “pretty is as pretty does,” a maxim I still find reliable. Another gem she passed along – if you are doing something, do it well.

Mom, you have my love and thanks.


2011 in review

January 1, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Most Orderly Graduation Ceremony Ever

June 10, 2011

Posted by Kanga.

high school choir at graduation

There she is in the front row looking up to search the crowd for her parents.

graduates standing in line for diplomas

Standing in line for that trip across the stage and that well earned piece of paper

graduate names in the printed program

Just look at all the wingdings after her name. They stand for National Honor Society, North Carolina Academic Scholar, Honor Graduate, and Academically/Intellectually Gifted.

graduate and grandparents

The proud grandparents

graduate and father

Proud DaddyBird and his BabyBird

There were 4 speeches and 400 graduates, yet it only took 1 hour and 15 minutes start to finish. A well oiled machine, I’d say. This is due in large part to the strict instructions that grads and guests received. “Guests will not be allowed to approach the stage to take photographs or to videotape. … We ask all parents and their guests to refrain from yelling out, screaming, clapping, or acting in any inappropriate manner as names are called. Diplomas are not awarded to seniors who conduct themselves in an inappropriate manner or whose guests disrupt the solemnity of the ceremony.” There was also a rule against bringing any flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, or gifts into the ceremony.

You almost could have heard a pin drop in that place as the names were called. Only two pebbles were thrown into that pond – one grad fell down in the middle of the stage and one family disregarded the noise prohibition and proceeded to whoop and holler for their grad. They were promptly escorted out. As she was leaving the grandmother said “We came too far to be quiet!”

The rules seemed a little harsh, but I am very thankful. It was a pleasant ceremony. Of course, once everyone had their diploma and it was time to turn the tassels, the cheering began.


Need a laugh?

January 2, 2011

Posted by Kanga

I’m going to recommend two blogs. The writers/illustrators of these blogs crack me up. If you are lucky enough to have a sense of humor like mine, they will crack you up, too. These blogs also make me think maybe I should draw my own illustrations, but I suspect that they make it look much easier than it actually is.

First is Hyperbole and a Half. I don’t know the writer, but she recently moved to Oregon, so she gets extra points for that. My favorite post so far is Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving. Made me laugh so hard, I cried.

The second is Wit and Sarcasm by Alexandra, a student worker at my previous place of employment. My favorite so far is “Am I An All-Knowing Genie? Not Yet.” I’ve lived it. Every word is true. No hyperbole there.

Without a rock solid sense of humor and ability to laugh at the stupidities of life and at myself, I would not have made it this far. Here’s to another year of laughter.


Humor Will Keep Us Together

October 25, 2010

Posted by Kanga

Typical day with DaddyBird and Kanga:

[DaddyBird is terribly sick with a cold. Kanga is preparing to go out to get him some dinner, medication, and juice.]

DaddyBird: … and some lemonade and some fresh ginger to put in my tea…
Kanga: Wait, this is getting to be a long list. [grabs iPod Touch to enter the shopping list as a note] …heh, heh, it wants to capitalize Ginger…[pause for effect] I’m not bringing you that kind of ginger.


Why librarians don’t sit around and read books

September 22, 2010

Posted by Kanga.

I had one of THOSE conversations with a good friend last weekend. “If you don’t read books all day, what does a librarian do?” Every librarian has had this conversation multiple times.

So, this has not been a typical week, but I am going to describe it for you so that you will know why librarians are not sitting around reading books all day.

Sunday (first day of the work week in the Muslim world):

  • Late shift, came in at 10 am, worked until 8 pm
  • One hour – new student orientation to the library
  • One hour – collection analysis, comparing the titles in our collection to a recommended core collection (percentage is too low, need to order a lot of core titles)
  • Meeting with other library staff to discuss how the first session of student orientations went
  • Lunch – yes, for my health I insist on actually taking a break and eating something
  • One hour – reference desk = being available to answer any questions people have and help them use library equipment (photocopier, scanner, computer)
  • One & half hours – preparation for instruction sessions I will be doing Monday & Tuesday evenings
  • Rest of the “day” until 8 pm – “manned” the circulation desk, sole library staff person on duty


  • In one hour late, because I am staying late to provide instruction to an evening class
  • Four hours on the reference desk – photocopier help, etc.
  • One hour – new student orientation
  • Lunch
  • Administrative tasks – trying to catch up on paperwork, follow up on tasks that have cropped up, responding to faculty requests, scheduling instruction sessions, etc.
  • Instruction session for a class – teaching them information literacy in preparation for a major research paper they will be doing


  • Three & half hours – proctoring an English proficiency test
  • Lunch – totally starving because I missed breakfast
  • One hour – new student orientation
  • Three hours – reference desk
  • Instruction session, just like the one the night before


  • Administrative tasks – trying to keep up with my email and paperwork
  • Collecting together all our policy documents related to “collection development” = selecting, ordering, receiving, and withdrawing library materials (On another day, I will read all these, edit, and add to these documents.)
  • One & half hour – attend a class to see students give their first presentations in front of the class and to talk about blogging.
  • Lunch & run to the bank
  • Responding to emails and following up on some requests, trying to keep my head above water
  • Meeting with another staff member to revise some documentation on our process for ordering books from vendors like Amazon
  • New student orientation
  • “Manning” the circulation desk so that the assistants can be free to do other end of day tasks

Thursday: (tomorrow, so this is speculative)

  • Library staff meeting – one hour
  • New student orientation – one hour
  • Reference desk – two hours
  • Lunch
  • Meeting about donating withdrawn books to another library
  • Meeting with another librarian to draft proposals for a change in how we do some of our tasks in hope of freeing up some time

Now, I do have to admit that I did check out a book. It is a book on how to build a core library collection, so not an exciting read. I’ve managed to read about one page. I did pick up another book. This was during a orientation session time slot. I was waiting for students to arrive and wandered into the biography section, discovering that we have a biography of Yul Brynner written by his son. So, I looked at all the pictures, read the captions and read about one page of the first chapter while waiting. I also did some reading while proctoring the test, but it was mostly Twitter on my iPad.

So, there you have it. This is what those strange non-reading librarians are up to.