HEre’s a view of my morning run along the canal in downtown Indy. Beautiful running weather (at 37 degrees!) but no rain like yesterday morning. Lots of great art and architecture along this path that you can see on this google map of the run:
Today I received an email from a student that caused me to stop and reflect. Well, to be fair, I read it and quickly shot off an email response and didn’t give it much thought. But then it occurred to me that there’s plenty to reflect on here. First, I’m not at work today (well not the usual sense of work)- I’m in another state, at a library conference. So kudos to me for my timely response to a “reference question”, right? [insert glowing compliments here].
But more importantly, the question tells a story. The question came from a music grad student at Baylor with whom I’d worked in the past. Each Fall, for more than a decade, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the School of Music’s graduate research methods course, working alongside wonderful colleagues from the SOM who see the value of libraries and librarians and who are willing to share the stage with me to help guide their students through the morass of electronic tools and resources that can help them navigate through the metaphoric sea of information. More on that later.
Here’s the email I received (name withheld to protect the innocent) and below it, my reflections.
From: IDENTITY REMOVED@baylor.edu>
Date: April 11, 2013, 2:55:54 PM EDT
To: “Towers, Sha”
Subject: Google Reader is closing!
You got me hooked on Google’s RSS in Research Methods last semester and now they’re closing it! I’m heart-broken! It’s so sad. What am I supposed to use now? What would you recommend?
Anyway, I hope you’re having a great day!
As I thought more about this email, there were several things that stood out to me.
BTW, I told her to check out Feedly.com – where I just finished moving my own google reader universe.
So you if you’re still reading and you happen to remember (or glance back up at the title of this blogpost), you’re probably thinking I’m patting myself on the back for “making a difference” in the life of this student. But that’s only part of the story. The other part is that this email, this experience of helping people, this “being a librarian” is rewarding…fulfilling…meaningful. This email made me stop and realize that this work, this job, this vocation, makes a difference to me.
Ran across a phrase this weekend that spoke to me and that summed up nicely what running has meant for me lately. It was in an editorial by David Willey, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World magazine:
” . . . [I] felt my senses shift from desk-bound and stressed out to alert and alive.”
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” -Peter Drucker
This is a favorite recipe of mine that I love to make this time of year (oh who am I kidding? I love these ANYtime of year!)
Thanks to my friend JD for introducing us to this delight!
1.5 cups sugar
.75 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
1.5 cups flour
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, don’t thaw)
1.5 cup chopped pecans (optional- we don’t ever include this since our little guy is allergic to tree nuts, but i bet it’s good that way!)
Preheat oven to 350. Butter 9×9 square pan (I recommend The Pampered Chef’s stoneware square baker). Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl until thickened, about 2 minutes. Beat in butter and almond extract. Add flour and stir until well blended. Stir in berries and nuts – it will be very thick! Spread evenly in pan. Bake about one hour, until top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool, cut into squares, and enjoy!
(Bags of fresh cranberries, only available in the fall, can be frozen for later use, so stock up!)
Jazz legend Dave Brubeck died yesterday, 5 December 2012, one day short of his 92nd birthday. A noted composer, pianist, and band leader, he is probably best remembered for his recording of the 1959 classic “Take Five” (composed by fellow band member and saxophonist Paul Desmond), the first jazz recording to sell over a million copies. Brubeck’s fascination with exploring non traditional time signatures (at least for jazz at the time), is seen in other works from the time as well, such as his “Blue Rondo à la Turk (in 9/8 time). In addition to his work in jazz, he also composed orchestral works, ballets, oratorios, and cantatas.
In the 1970s, he collaborated with his wife, Iola, on the cantata La Fiesta de la Posada, reflecting the Mexican Christmas tradition commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph and their search for lodging in Bethlehem.
Brubeck says about the musical tradition that inspired Fiesta de la Posada: This music “reflects those qualities I most admire in people…dignity in moments of tragedy, infectious high spirits in moments of joy, and an unshakable religious faith made evident in a strong sense of one’s own worth and a deep respect for the shared values of one’s group — family, church, village. These qualities, I think, are universal to people with a strong communal sense — an increasingly rare attribute in urban culture. It is this sense of sharing in an event which I have tried to capture in the simple retelling of the Christmas story.”
I had the wonderful opportunity to experience this cantata performed by Dave Brubeck and his trio in San Antonio in 1984.
From this cantata comes one of my most favorite “christmas songs” — God’s Love Made Visible!. Dave Brubeck incorporate the same 5/4 time signature used in “Take Five”, but here blends it with a joyful Mexican musical style (complete with claves, maracas with interjections from a celebratory pair of trumpets). Iola’s text beautifully sums up the the most central theme of Christmas:
God’s love made visible! Incomprehensible!
Christ is invincible! His love shall reign!
From love so bountiful, blessings uncountable
make death surmountable! His love shall reign!
Joyfully pray for peace and good will!
All of our yearning he will fulfill.
Live in a loving way! Praise him for everyday!
Open your hearts and pray. His love shall reign!
God gave the Son to us to dwell as one of us -
a blessing unto us! His love shall reign!
To him all honor bring, heaven and earth will sing,
praising our Lord and King! His love shall reign!
Open all doors this day of his brith,
all of good will inherit the earth.
His star will always be guiding humanity
throughout eternity! His love shall reign!
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
Here’s a close up view of several recent rides in WP:
I’ve been mountain biking a lot in Woodway Park lately which has wonderful trails (for hiking, trail running, or mountain biking). I’ve also been doing a little paddling in the kayak in preparation for an adventure race at the end of the month that involves, trail running, paddling, mountain biking, and some vague urban adventure component. Here’s a map of my latest paddle and bike outing in Woodway Park and then on Lake Waco this week.
Ann asked me to check a book out from the library to read to her class and she shared with me this beautiful ending to the book:
I started to wonder if San Pablo really was the most beautiful place in the world. I wasn’t sure my grandmother had ever been anyplace else, but I still thought she’d know.
“Grandma,” I said, is it?”
“Is what?” she said.
“Is San Pablo the most beautiful place in the world?”
My grandmother made a little face.
“The most beautiful place in the world,” she said, “is anyplace.”
“Anyplace?” I repeated.
“Anyplace you can hold your head up. Anyplace you can be proud of who you are.”
“Yes,” I said.
But I thought, where you love somebody a whole lot, and you know that person loves you, that’s the most beautiful place in the world.
The Most Beautiful Place in the World, by Ann Cameron