LeakyCon – Day 1

LeakyCon has easily become one of my favorite con experiences and we are only into day one.

The Hufflepuff Meetup was brimming with amazing people who shared why they are proud to be in this fantastic Hogwarts House:

HuffleMeetup

*Hufflepuffs are always excited to see each other! (We usually make a Raise the Roof motion and hug/high five.)

*Hufflepuffs love the other houses as much as their own.

*Hufflepuffs are always kind and hardworking.

*Hufflepuffs are the underdogs – the trodden upon, but we’ll stay by your side until the final battle.

*Hufflepuffs are united and welcoming of our differences.

*The Hufflepuffs started a Scream Off with the House Meetup in the next room and then let them win so we could continue to listen to the feelings our of Housemates.

12  Open At the Close at Universal was such an amazing time. We hit up 12 Grimmauld Place.10488056_10202569011128443_1528064040679611498_n

We stopped at the Diagon Alley and then hopped the Hogwart’s Express!

kings crossThe cosplay and house colors from LeakyCon attendees added a special magical element to the evening. I finally found my wand too!

moddy

 

I made it six butterbeers into the #38butterbeer challenge. I hope next year’s LeakyCon won’t be in memory of the person who completed it and perished.

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Our group learned that there’s a con happening in our hotel from August 1-3. CONjure is a multi-genre convention featuring Science Fiction, Fantasy, Comic Books, Anime, Gaming, and Technology. Apparently Supernatural’s own Mark Sheppard is attending. Destiny, right? We may have to check it out.

love,

sch

Readying for our Sherlock Meetup today and looking forward to making new memories and friends.

Road Trip: Disney World

disney1

Today, Mallorie and I visited Disney World. While I’ve never held a burgeoning desire to visit, I did find everything magical and so so much fun.

Mallorie has virtually done…*everything*…so she showed me the ropes. :P

We took the ferry to the Magic Kingdom when the first rain hit. I love Florida rain because it leaves as abruptly as it falls.

disney3

The majority of our day was spent in Epcot and we enjoyed “visiting” various nations of the globe.

Things we learned today: 

*It rains in Florida A LOT. (They may need to rethink that whole “Sunshine State” thing.)

*Mallorie rocks a conical hat.

*First aid can be administered to the tune “Do you want to build a snowman?”

*The Test Track ride is flipping incredible! Ride it again and again if you can.

*Folks from Ohio are aware that Iowans are frequently confused for Ohioans. However, they seem less perturbed by this information than we do.

disney2

Photobomb of the Day: This little girl has a beard the size of a healthy rhododendron.

disneyphotobomb

Heat stroke symptoms set in a bit. I think I may have over-excited myself. Who wouldn’t, right? We left minutes before the deluge.

We plan to prep for LeakyCon and watch our Twitter fans brave the storm in their various, amusing ways. A rainbow just popped out to greet us.

Mallorie asked, “How do we get out of this monolithic parking lot?”

I told her, “Second star to the right and straight on til morning.”

love,

sch

Road Trip

So the latest health news has had me down and I can see how my current condition has affected our travel style. Mallorie’s been very calming and supportive. I’ve slept most of our journey so far but I’m really excited about Disney World tomorrow and LeakyCon the rest of the week.

Highlights:

  • I waited 9 hours to make the Florida Georgia Line joke and Mallorie’s groaning eye roll made it totally worth it.
  • Stopped in Metropolis for the night. I love this town and had some Superman fun before we hit the road again.

superman

  • Discovered my Somnolent Sam alter ego. She bolts upright in moving vehicles, takes the cherry off Mallorie’s ice cream sundae, eats it, then promptly returns to sleep. *In my defence, Mallorie doesn’t even like cherries.*
  • Finished reviewing research proposals for the YALSA Midwinter Paper Presentation Conference which sparked the most comprehensive conversation I’ve given in awhile. Mallorie offered tremendous insight and we talked shop for a bit. Always fun.
  • Played around with Cas in a Box. Our friends will never trust us to travel with their cosplay again.

Cas in a Box

Concerns:

  • Super tired. Wish me luck!
  • Somnolent Sam agrees with about anything you say -could become troublesome.
  • Still confused at how my comrades talked me into trying out GISHWHES (Refer to the above concern.)

Some friends are coming over to our room to grab con gear we brought with us for them, eat some pizza and hopefully play Cards Against Humanity.

love,

sch

Get It Together

Treatment Journal:
Start Mechlorethamine Hydrochloride (Nitrogen Mustard) today to remove topical lesions.
*Anticipate more tiredness.
*Anticipate cell death.
*Keep out of direct sunlight.
*New blood work to avoid drug induced blood cancer.
*Figure out who to tell / how to tell.
*Stop crying so much this week.

Quote of the Day:
“I just hope for you that someday you’ll get it together.”

For me, one of the most harmful criticisms or suggestions is the phrase, “Get it together.”

A significant part of life, a good life, is striving. We spend our whole lives trying to get things together. We wish to keep our faith and our choices together, our education together with our career goals and life passions, push together our life trajectory with our families and loved ones, ad infinitum.

Personally, I spent years avoiding the desire to keep it together. It’s very hard for me to want anything out loud. Even when out loud is just in my heart or within my own mind. One of my worst vulnerabilities is the fear and pain from a dashed expectation.

For several years I lived with denial. I denied how badly I wished to keep my parents together when I was a child of divorce. I denied the constant fear of never making friends and finding companionship or togetherness as an isolated, home-schooled teenager. I denied my orientation for all my teens and most of my twenties because I worried it couldn’t reconcile with my faith as I walk together with Christ.

I’ve spent two years denying that my life is never going to be the same again. I am never going to get together with the Samantha of 2012.

I can’t get my treatment, my grand(Parent) and dearest confidant’s inability to recognize me, my love of learning and growing in my field and this deep -bone deep – tiredness together.

Accolades and blessings have offered peaks to this roller coaster that I just can’t seem to stop. Friendships, invigorated faith, this pause- this two year white noise- to observe and admire and cherish have enriched my life.

But this is still an ongoing ride that I have no control over. I’m scared and erratic and terrible nervous about my inability to keep it together. This is still white noise that blocks out much rational thought and hope and drives me headlong in a desperate bid for validity. I’m not sure what this life will represent when I’m done. I’m not sure how my existence will be useful or interpretive. I hate this.

If I were to tattoo an inspirational quote somewhere on this vengeful, betraying body, undoubtedly it would be wordy and most likely something to this affect:

“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

-Ray Bradbury

I cannot call today’s mind storm anything remotely close to intellect, but the conclusion I keep coming back to is “fuck getting it together.”

This is my disease, this is God’s will, this is life. If the pressures of getting it together paints my life with crippling fear and anxiety then it’s time to find a new life motto and make wings on the fall down.

Family. Friendship. Community. Kindness. Charity. Humor. These are the things that I feel naturally come together. These will be my mottos.

This afternoon I’m going to leave work early, spend a few more hours with my family, find something to laugh about, cry with my Mom, cry with my Dad and start again. I hope to fail a little less with each step and quit pretending I have any control in this or that there is much together to get.

love,
sch

ALA Annual 2014

The New Members Round Table graciously awarded me a stipend to attend my first ever American Library Association Annual Conference. This experience was by far one of my favorites since entering the information technology and library science field.

FLAALA Day 1- TSA lost (and found) my car keys, I gave an impromptu, mid-flight Storytime and was given hugs (awwww), 2.5 hours check-in queue, met up with some YALSA peeps, rode the HighRise, watched the Bellagio fountain show, took a lunch class to hand toss and bake my own pizza, live flamingos (EVERYWHERE!!!)

Mallorie Graham and I were asked to present at the Nebraska Library Association Conference. Good day.

GLAALA DAY 2- Tons of Committee meetings. Very impressed and inspired by the folks I’m privileged to work with on amazing goals. Approached by Blink! to talk about a potential inspirational novel about my treatment experience. Met David Levithan, Scott Westerfeld, Graham Salisbury, Marie Lu, Erin Jade Lange, and Neal Shusterman. Best YALSA panel on the need for Diversity in Fiction. Talked about good writing, representative writing and head cannon. Finished chapter for i2c2 book.

A casino shuttle rear ended by cab on Sierra Vista. Nice little ER trip. Concussion.

No sleep. No sleep. No sleep.

TWI

ALA Day 3- Walking around with a black eye and a few cuts. Looking scary and unprofessional and demoralizing. Internet dropped in the middle of my LITA presentation. Rolled with it, made some jokes and essentially ad-libbed entire talk. Thought I bombed.

Asked to present again for the California Library Association and to create a few webinars for a private company. God is amazing!!!

WESTALA DAY 4- Finally braved the exhibitor hall. Learned so much to bring home. Collected four large totes of reading swag for our library and its users. Amazing sessions for Leadership, Diversity and even a hands-on circuitry maker-space class. Please, please, please do yourself a favor check out the Free Library of Philadelphia Marker Jawn. The presenters encouraged me and gave me several ideas to bolster our Google Maker Camp for this summer.

Volunteered at the NMRT Resume Booth and met so many awesome people.

Met Ann M. Martin!!!!!!!!!!!

Talked with LibrarySparks! Magazine about being a semi-regular contributor.

LEV    TWO

ALA DAY 5- Enjoyed the Stonewall Book Awards (my first professional commitment since coming out as an aro-ace) and flew home.

Simplify the Work Environment: Kindness

samanthahelmick:

Coworker Kindness

Originally posted on The LEGO Librarian:

As a Millennial, I am aware how unusual it is to stay in one workplace for longer than two years. The characteristics of the modern work environment and the values of my generation make moving on a natural step. The longer I don’t move on, the more I am susceptible to professional ennui. As a women, I am at an even higher risk to burnout before I’m thirty which has been attributed to personal and professional factors in most studies.

When I think about my retired colleagues, those fortunate enough to build long careers within the walls of a single institution, the kindness of their environment is a common factor. My former supervisor thanked us for many years of “warmth and kindness” during her retirement party. Another coworker recently wondered if she would find “the same kindness” when she moved on to different pastures.

Kindness is a very economical…

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Simplify the Work Environment: Communication

samanthahelmick:

Let’s talk about stress, baby…

Originally posted on The LEGO Librarian:

The Active Service team has me thinking about simplification of the work environment. Our profession invests much time to expedite and clarify library processes for our patrons but internal simplifying is commonly overlooked. One of the key concepts of active service, and I believe simplification, is communication.

Deloitte University Press recently published study findings in Global Human Capital Trends 2014: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, suggesting 44% of employees are not ready to handle information overload. Staff communication needs are growing and expectations are evolving into always-connected, 24/7/365 connectivity, or what the Atlantic termed “hyper-employment.” My realistic hope is to use supportive tools to support staff and eliminate stress as this trend continues .

Some thoughts:

cookie_monster_waiting

1. Structure all communication. Emails, memos, and exchanges should always convey why and what this means to theemployee points. When communication is part of the planning process for each new project or initiative…

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Active Service

Originally posted on The LEGO Librarian:

After nine month’s reflection, kicking around cans and feeding thought bunnies…on everything from jack-hammering the circulation desk to building a switchboard room…we have Active Service liftoff.

ImageI presented on Active Service to the Library Board of Trustees this week in the form of nine pillars:

1. Walk-the-Walk – remember to use the main entrance once in a while, allow someone else to check out your material (if that’s not already policy), fight with the self-check machines, consider the layout of collections

2. Learn as We Go – manage the fear of making mistakes (which is hard to do when libraries are constantly on the chopping block), eliminate pride, continually seek feedback

3. Communicate – create a News & Notes spreadsheet on a cloud drive – update it in a heartbeat, start Follow-Up Fridays, create more teams

4. Examine – even if a 30-year-old procedure continues as is for the next…

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Is it time to update what we consider to be reading?

Originally posted on The LEGO Librarian:

Common Sense Media published a research brief last Monday which offers insight on “Children, Teens and Reading.” The authors enter and leave the conversation with as many questions as the audience while providing practical, though-provoking statistics from national studies on academic achievement rates, media access figures and gender, racial and economic disparities in reading.

Their thesis statement appropriately grabs our attention in saying, “the technology revolution of the past decade has led our society to a major transition point in the history of reading,” and then guides the dialogue to examine this revolution’s implications for youth literacy.

The brief applies linear, 20th century connotations to the concept of “reading” and has difficultly attaining or supposing how ereading maps comprehension for our nation’s early readers. I submit the idea this revolution leaves reading itself eligible for significant transformation and redefinition which may help us in future research and rumination on children…

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Brick by Brick

samanthahelmick:

We’re I’ve been lately…

Originally posted on The LEGO Librarian:

I feel a touch overwhelmed lately…

Recently I finished a chapter on library management in the 21st century, given the honor to write a textbook on mobile social marketing applications for libraries, accepted into this summer’s Iowa Library Association Leadership Institute, found myself entrenched in interviews for our library’s YALSA/Dollar General intern grant, discovered the ALA Scheduler because the New Member Round Table generously awarded me a grant to attend annual, and asked to fly out to consult a major American library system and train their staff on New Adult library services as a result of my PLA presentation.

Recently, my job description at my home library has met phenomenal change, drastic staffing and financial cuts have lurked for nearly 18 months. I’ve thrown my hat into various rings to meet mixed results (some interviews, some second and third interviews, some offerings, some “thank you, but no thank you” letters)…

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