Student Snippets

A WINDOW INTO THE DAILY LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF SLIS STUDENTS

Reading Deprivation

I'm flipping the script in today's post, meaning I plan to tell you about what I haven't been reading instead of what I have, or rather, why I am not reading at the moment. I'm participating in an experiment this week called "reading deprivation" as a part of this Artist's Way book I'm working through. If you think that sounds impossible and a bit insane, then I would have to agree with you. Do you know how difficult it is not to read something, or anything at all on a given day? It takes a real concentrated effort, and maybe a blindfold too. The tool is meant to "monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum," according to author Julia Cameron, that way you're able to tune into your inner voice more clearly and hopefully be rewarded with more outflow. And while it's true that I've seen my writing increase, I've also gotten petty and annoyed about the whole idea. What about my work emails? My text messages? Those quotable images that I love so much on Pinterest and Instagram? And that book I have to finish for book club by next week? Where do I draw the line? I'm not sure, but at this point, I'm setting aside my novels and avoiding Internet articles and calling it good.

So what have I been doing in lieu of reading, you wonder? Let's see here...

  • On Monday I wandered through South End before joining my roommate to see Evan Greer and Kimya Dawson perform at Make Shift. They were incredible, by the way.
  • I have more time for yoga and long walks. Three cheers for being healthy!
  • If I'm honest, I've been watching more TV, which isn't the point of the exercise at all. Oops. It's just so easy, you know? I started Sharp Objects, which premiered on HBO last weekend. It's based on Gillian Flynn's novel of the same name, so I still seem to be getting a book vicariously through the screen.
  • I'm taking a day trip to Portsmouth, NH tomorrow. I thought it would be nice to go somewhere new, and I'm looking forward to checking out the scenery at the Urban Forestry Center and Great Island Common. I also hope to stop by their Athenaeum, and maybe pick up some tacos at Dos Amigos Burritos for dinner on my way back.

While reading deprivation is proving to be an interesting sort of challenge, and it's opened up my schedule for a more diverse set of activities, I have to say...I'm ready to have my books and articles and quotable images back again!

Fun | Relaxing | Summer


Summer Has Arrived

Oh my goodness a heatwave has hit Massachusetts!  If summer wasn't here before, it has definitely arrived now.  I must admit, I'm not really a fan of excessively hot and humid weather, and I'm glad that it seems to be cooling down just a bit.  

Because of the heat, I've been trying to stay indoors with my beloved air conditioning as much as possible.  Between work and my summer class, it really has not been difficult.  As I mentioned in my last post, my summer class is online, and we're fitting 14 weeks' worth of material into 8 weeks.  The class is keeping me very busy between the readings and assignments, but I'm really enjoying learning all the new concepts and interacting with my classmates.  We've been learning about information organization, metadata, and as of this week, encoding standards.  I will admit, learning all the new material in the shortened time frame has been a challenge, but it has been an enjoyable one. 

One of the best parts about this class is that there are so many opportunities for discussion.  I will fully admit that when I started at Simmons, I really hesitated at taking online classes because I thought that I would be missing out on the chance to connect with my fellow students, but the experience that I've had at Simmons has shown me that you can have it all.  However, I am planning on taking an in-person class at some point. 

Even though work and my summer class have kept me incredibly occupied, I've tried to manage my time so that I can have some time to relax and unwind.  I'm slowly but surely working my way through a couple of books.  I'm one of those people who reads several books at once, but right now I've limited it to two- The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore and Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.  I highly recommend both of them to anyone who is looking for a good read this summer! 

I hope everyone is having a great summer and is managing to stay cool!  Until next time!

Online | Summer | classes | reading


Bookshops

It is toasty outside guys! I took a rare day off last week to go visit a few bookshops in the Boston area and cool down out of the heat as my apartment does not have air conditioning. Who needs an excuse to visit a bookshop anyway? A quick Google search for used books leads me to Brattle Book Shop in downtown Boston. It is one of America's largest and oldest bookshops in America! Established in 1825 and in the same family since 1949. I was in for a surprise when I went because I was really looking for newish books that were on sale.  I didn't think I would come across beautiful antique books.  I kept thinking, wow, this would be an excellent place for aspiring writers to find a book about an obscure topic who want to research the old fashion way.

I have a new interest in human anatomy books, and their section here was small and very old.  Rubber bands held the leather covers to the books, the paper was brittle and old (not a place for aspiring med students to research). I found a couple yoga books in the Occult section too (not sure if this was by accident or on purpose).  They have so many books and genres it's worth it just to browse.  Upstairs on the third floor, they have their antique books, first editions and the like, and I believe you have to have an appointment to go up there.

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Commonwealth Books is also in the area, so I walked the few blocks to visit it. It is a smaller version of Brattle and includes prints in their collection. I found a few photographs of the human body and they were going for a pretty penny.  I saw a few newer books in here, but plenty of older books that one could spend hours going through. If you have free time in your day-to-day, I would highly recommend visiting these shops! Boston Common is close by, and you can spend some time in the park to make a day of it!

Until Next Time!

Books


Dog Days

Well I was right about my online class - it is all the work of a normal semester class in half the time. We had a research paper due at the end of our second week (last weekend)! That assignment was a bit of a wakeup call for me that 1) I really need to stay on top of the work for this class and 2) I need to prep early for research papers and take better notes. I've been on "vacation" still in Virginia this whole time but it hasn't felt like much of a vacation because every night I'm up doing homework! I don't mind too much though because I am really enjoying this class. I could have never guessed that records management would be so interesting to me. The discussion forums have been very lively and I do feel highly engaged in the course. Maybe it's the accelerated schedule that makes it more of an "immersive" experience.

 Despite the rigor of the class I was still able to drive to go visit my best friend in Tennessee this past weekend. We've been friends since middle school and only manage to see each other about every other year, so it was a visit we both really needed. While out to dinner with some friends I had to actively restrain myself from asking someone I'd just met how the records were managed at his job for the Tennessee Department of Health. Talk about a conversation starter, haha. My friend had just moved into a new house and didn't have the wi-fi set up yet, so keeping up with class was a bit of a challenge. Luckily last week was a "light" week to allow for the 4th of July holiday.

 We're right in the thick of summer and class and it's hot and humid all over the east coast. I'm actually grateful for my class keeping me busy while I'm sitting indoors in the A.C. - because otherwise I'd probably be wasting my time with phone games and Netflix. There's not much for me to do now except take the kids back to Connecticut and keep plugging away. I'm beginning to look forward to the August break and hopefully knocking a few more books off my summer reading list. Until later!

Summer | classes


A Glimpse of Summer

I had almost forgotten about the feeling of that sweet exhale summer break brings until now. I don't know if what I'm doing 100% qualifies as a "break" since I am working a lot and still managing to keep my schedule quite full, but it is nice to be doing all of those things without having to worry about homework and readings for a few months!

In terms of work, I'm still filling in as a senior substitute at the Somerville Public Library. I love it for...well, many reasons. 1) SPL is an awesome place and you should come visit us, okay? Okay. 2) We've got three branches, and I've been fortunate enough to work in various roles at each of them. Plus, I have amazing co-workers who have been so helpful and supportive. A little circulation here, some reference desk there, and my personal favorite--the children's room. I got to do an impromptu preschool story time a couple of weeks ago and it was only a little scary, but mostly a lot of fun and way cute! The parents and caregivers there were the real champs since they helped me out with all of the songs I didn't know. It was great. 3) Did I mention SPL is awesome?

I've also been picking up some catering gigs in between my shifts at the library, which has taken me to a lot of interesting places and introduced me to some pretty cool people. I never fully know what to expect from any given event, so it keeps me on my toes while helping me pay the bills.

And behind the scenes of work and sleep and getting together with friends, I've been taking time out of each day to foster my creativity. I committed to doing this 12-week course from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I'm coming to the end of week 2 now, and it's been challenging and frustrating, but yes, already rewarding. Fingers crossed that I can stick with it to the finale. Hope all of you are having lovely summers so far!

Boston | Fun | Real World | Summer | classes


Of Classes and Museum Passes

Oh my gosh the past few weeks have been so busy!  My class officially started last week and it's been a wild ride!  It's been all good so far.  There are a lot of opportunities for group discussion in this class (even more than my last class), so I don't feel like I'm missing the student interaction part of an in-person class at all!  Admittedly, it is all behind a screen and in a forum, but still.  The summer class is a bit intense though.  We're fitting 14 weeks' worth of material into an 8-week class, which is a bit daunting.  But so far everything has been great, and the material is really interesting! 

On a more fun-related note, I've finally gotten around to doing some more sightseeing!  I went into Boston to go to the Museum of Science with my family.  When my dad was a child, he had a book with a Van de Graaff generator in it, and he's wanted to see one in person for a long time, so that's what we did for Father's Day.  We also went to the Butterfly Garden and the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science.  It was really fun and I highly recommend going if you are in the Boston area!

 Because we went to the Museum of Science, we took advantage of one of the really cool things that the library systems in Massachusetts have to offer: museum passes!  All the other states I've lived in don't have these, but if you have a library card at say, the Boston Public Library, you can reserve free/discounted museum passes. Seriously, take advantage of the museum passes because there is a very good chance you can get in to a lot of the museums in Massachusetts for free, or at least at a steep discount.  I did not know about the museum passes when I first moved here, and I went to the New England Aquarium with my family in Boston and that adventure cost over $100 for admission alone when we could have gotten in for free (depending on which library's museum pass you use- some have free admission up to a certain amount of people per pass, some passes get you discounted admission).  Different libraries have different rules and different passes, so if you live in Massachusetts, be sure to check out the museum passes at your local library! 

If you want to learn more about the Museum of Science, you can do so here.

If you want to learn more about museum passes at the Boston Public Library, you can do so here.

Boston


Our Neighbors at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Hi guys! This week I took the opportunity, as a fairly new resident to the Boston area, to explore our neighbors at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  I have heard a lot about this museum and have been itching to get over.   First things first, Simmons students get in free! I was prepared to pay the much-discounted student price of $5, but the lovely girl at the desk said no fee with my student ID! I believe this is true for the Museum of Fine Arts which is nearby as well. 

It's a gorgeous building and was Gardner's home as well.  She traveled the world looking for fine art, collected it, and brought it back to Boston to display in her house.  She picked where each piece went so it is unique in that way and unlike any museum I have been to.  Her pieces are amazing.  I often found myself wondering how they shipped some of the pieces over to Boston.

Now for the juicy part.  This museum is home of many works of fine art, such as pieces by Vermeer and Rembrandt.  In the 90's, two thieves dressed up as police officers were let in by the security guard and stole 13 works of art worth around $500 million dollars! I believe this is the largest heist in recent history, and the artwork has yet to recovered.  You can read more about this with a quick google search, also there are a few books about the heist.  I watched a few documentaries about it and have included the links at the bottom.  It is fascinating.  The ISG website has a disclaimer about the heist along with the reward if you know anything about it.  A pretty hefty award too.  The empty frames are hanging in the room where the crime went down and its sort of eerie seeing the frames on display without their art work.

 Until next time!

A Dateline type of show covering the heist:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTbhFNXFyJ0

Documentary trailer:

https://www.amc.com/video-extras/trailer-stolen-documentary

Security Camera footage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSw1BsJEBB4

BBC Documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oevMUJcVMeM

Fun | Students | Summer


Back in the Saddle!

Hoo-boy it's been a wild week! Summer has officially started. My online class has officially started. I spent two days at Hershey Park with my family, two nights at a remote cabin getaway with my husband, and have somewhat settled into the new summer routine at my folks' house in Virginia. Everyone is healthy and things are going really well. My online class is off to a great start with the usual virtual introductions and the first forum discussion. I didn't realize it before, but this summer class has only seven weeks and each week encompasses two "modules." So I guess I should expect it to be more intense than a typical semester-long class? This is my second online class and as with the first, it will be a lot of reading and writing. The way I see it, the extra reading makes up for the lack of classroom lecture time and the extra writing fills in for the lack of classroom discussion. There are pros and cons to online courses that I hope I'll be able to articulate for you over the next several weeks.

I'm excited as always to learn about something new to me, and this time it is records management. We've begun to engage with various case studies illustrating the many issues involved in managing records in today's modern business environment. From medical records to client files to sponsored research documentation, records management can encompass a wide variety of information types and situations. Just last week my husband was telling me about some things he was working on at his job and I realized how much records management figures into his daily workflow. It's like when you learn a new word and suddenly start seeing it everywhere. So I'm getting back into the swing of homework and assignments while enjoying a more relaxed summer schedule and it feels pretty good. Now check out this shot of our awesome cabin! 

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Online | Relaxing | Summer | classes


Some Thoughts on Cars and Parking Permits

Hello, people of the world! I'd like to pass along some practical advice about what it's like to bring your out of state car to Massachusetts, because there are a number of things I've had to learn the hard way since I did just that a couple of weeks ago.

First off, there are a number of cities in the Greater Boston Area that will require you to have a street parking permit if you aren't lucky enough to land in a place with a driveway or garage. Know that you have been blessed by the parking gods if such fortune falls upon your head. And since the spaces in the lot behind my apartment complex were already filled up, I was in need of such a permit. I made a big, fat assumption that since I was a grad student living here temporarily, I'd still be able to get some kind of permit. Oh, I was wrong. So very wrong.

It turns out that when you're living here and have your vehicle here, you're required to register said vehicle in MA. And I had to do just that if I even wanted to think about parking my car in the vicinity of where I am living. *deep sigh* So I've been jumping through hoops and filling out all sorts of paperwork and couch-surfing at the homes of various friends who DO have available street parking (which I'm super grateful for and has been very fun and sweet, actually) until all this gets settled. Fingers crossed that it will be soon!

Another note- Be sure to order an E-ZPass transponder for when you're taking toll roads.

Anyway, if you're planning to bring your car here like I did, I hope to save you some of the hassle I've been through! I'm leaving a link below to the state government's blog that provides all sorts of handy information, from what all you need to do to the paperwork you'll need to bring when you brave the lines at the RMV. There's also another link for setting up an E-ZPass account and ordering the transponder. Best of luck to you!

http://blog.mass.gov/blog/living-in-massachusetts/moving-to-massachusetts-part-2-drivers-licenses-and-motor-vehicle-registration/

https://www.ezdrivema.com/ezpassma

 

Boston | Real World


Pondering the Future

So, readers, my little summer break is almost over.  My new class starts next week (LIS 415: Information Organization).  As I've mentioned in a previous post, it's an online class again and I'm excited to start.  I am a little bit ambivalent about the shorter timeframe, but I'm really excited about the topic and I've already started in on the reading. 

Over the past few weeks I've been pondering my future a lot.  Currently, I'm doing the Archives Management concentration within the MS in Library and Information Science program.  Even though I'm near the beginning of the program and am still taking my core classes, I can't help but wonder whether or not the Archives Management track is right for me and if I should instead be doing the design-your-own option.  I've been doing a lot of informal networking lately, and through my discussions with other librarians I've started to think about what I really want to do with my life once I graduate from Simmons, and if archives will play a role in that.  I started to think about this when doing course planning and seeing all of the awesome LIS classes Simmons has to offer and trying to pick what electives I'd want to take in the future.  It's just so hard to choose as all of the classes sound so fascinating.  On one hand, I don't think I'll fully know whether or not archives are for me until I actually take an archives class.  I don't think I could go wrong either way, but I feel I'll miss out on something great, whether it be some amazing electives or archives classes, no matter what I choose.  But, this is the time to figure out what I want.  Right now, I work in an academic library as a reference assistant and I love it, so maybe academic libraries are my future!  Maybe something completely different!  Who knows what the future could hold for me- but the one thing I do know is that I'm going to love each and every class I'm going to take at Simmons. 

If you want to learn more about the course offerings at SLIS click here.

Getting a Job | Librarians | Real World | Summer | classes | skills


Books and Adaptations

Hello again! I am back in Boston as of late last night (early this morning) and they weather is gorgeous.  I read many great books while abroad including a thriller/mystery series. My sister-in-law had obtained a collection of books from the UK author Ann Cleves. These books are great mystery books and the Vera series has been made into a television series in the UK (which we can watch here in the States on Hulu).  These series remind me of Agatha Christie series with Hercule Poirot.  Great for summer time beach reading of you're into that sort of thing.

Reading these books got me thinking about books that have been adapted into television and movies.  I feel that most popular books have now been adapted into a film or television series. Often, people only know about the adaptation before learning that it was a book first (with the exception of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games). The Divergent series, The Maze Runner series, The Book Thief, and Riverdale as well as Lemony Snicket as Netflix series just to name a few of the Young Adult books/comics. Jaws and Jurassic Park were books first as well.  This is the tip of the iceberg. 

What does this mean for LIS and Children's Literature as a program of study at Simmons and how should we approach the subject as students and later, professional? I believe it is something that should be considered and thought about because I do not see this trend going anywhere. Should adaptations be considered as an approach to those who are aspiring authors, or would this be considered selling out?  I do not know.  Is it something we should leave alone altogether as students? I think it would be interesting to see course work related to this topic even if it was just a small section of the course.  Perhaps it already is! As a fairly new student in the CL program I have a lot to discover and I am looking forward to it all.

 Until next time!

Books | Children's Literature | Fun | Summer | reading


The Summer Interlude

Well readers, I was right - my enthusiasm for school seems to be dutifully returning now that I've had a sufficient break. My online class, LIS456: Records Management, starts in a week and I am looking forward to it. As a bonus, the instructor put the entire course up on Moodle way ahead of time and encouraged us to start the readings and lectures early - if we so desired. I am very pleased that he did this and it makes a lot of sense for an online, asynchronous, self-directed class. Our professor has acknowledged that folks may have trips and other things going on during the summer and has given us the capability to manage our time and plan accordingly - increasing our chances for success in the course. Thank you, Professor Wood!

 As it so happens, my family will be embarking on our first big trip of the summer the very week that class starts. I'll be spending the first day of class at Hershey Park, PA. Woo hoo! I have mixed feelings about online classes that I'm sure I'll share with you in the weeks ahead, but there can be no denying their convenience. How else could I be attending a Simmons course while taking summer vacation? After Hershey we're going to head down to my "home" (a.k.a Grandma and Grandpa's house) in southwestern Virginia and spend several weeks there, as we usually do. I can picture it now: sitting on the front porch with my feet propped up, a cold Diet Coke beside me, typing away on my laptop while gazing out at the Blue Ridge Mountains. That's the life right there.

 In other news, I've done some local exploring over the past couple weeks and found two beautiful nature preserves tucked away right here in Fairfield county, CT. Because my wonderful husband took the kids to his family in New Jersey for a few days, I was able to get out and go explore these areas on my own. While it may not be the safest way to hike, it's probably my favorite. I love to be alone with my own thoughts out in the woods. It was just what I needed to restore my internal balance and charge my batteries for another round of class.

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Classes | Fun | Online | Summer


Summer Reading

It's time for another book list! Here's what I'm currently diving into, and one more that I'm planning to pick up from the library ASAP.

Needful Things by Stephen King- I haven't read a good scary book in a while. Well, that's not true. I did read The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, which thoroughly unsettled me. I would not suggest that one if you are a mother looking to hire childcare anytime soon. The kind of scary I'm talking about is the supernatural horror variety, and King is my go to author for that particular brand. I'm only a few pages in, and once again he's taken me right into the small-town life and happenings of Castle Rock, Maine. He has this enchanting way of writing characters, dialogue, and setting that transports me inside of the story. It's fantastic, and it also guarantees that I'm going to be frightened at least a few times. I can't wait :)

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- Yes, I'm reading this one again. I think it's going to be one of those books that I return to every few months. It was on sale at a bookstore I found in Vermont last weekend, which I took as a sign that I had to buy it then and there, so now I can underline and make notes to my heart's delight. I've been listening to a number of podcasts with Gilbert as a co-host or interviewee, and I just love her ideas about creative, amplified living and cultivating a lifestyle where we choose curiosity and playfulness versus being crippled by fear. Phew. I'm working on it, and she's a huge inspiration.

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan- I'm trying to make my way through some of the more well-known works of feminist literature, and this is one of them! The chapter on the history of feminism in America has been one of my favorites, and made me realize there are so many incredible women who I have never heard of (ex. Julia Ward Howe, Lucy Stone), along with women I have heard of but wish to learn more about (ex. Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony). There's not much to be said for intersectionality in this book and it's certainly a product of its time, but I've been alarmed to realize it was only 50-ish years ago that young men and women were being educated and pigeonholed into strict roles of breadwinners and housewife-mothers. It's an attitude that still pervades today, even if it's not as prevalent, and it's easy to see why when Friedan references certain magazine articles, fiction, research, and textbook materials that used to be widely spread and accepted in our society. I still have about half of the book left, and I'm interested to see what else unravels.

Insurrection: To Believe Is Human, To Doubt, Divine by Peter Rollins- I've been listening to Rollins, a philosopher and theologian hailing from Northern Ireland, here and there since last fall. It's only been in recent weeks that I've started taking more keen interest in his work, and I was real excited to find out that he has a few books published. I'm not sure what to expect from this one, but I imagine it will be awesome. Whether you're spiritual or religious or not interested in any of that whatsoever, Rollins is a fantastic thinker and speaker, and he has a great accent to boot. He asks great questions and forces the reader/listener to contemplate, which I appreciate a lot.

As an end note, I'd also like to diversify the titles that I'm reading. As you can see above, these authors are Western Caucasians, which is all well and good, but there are a whole lot of other authors out there in the world! I would love to do something like Ann Morgan spoke about in her TED talk, where she read a book from every single country. That sounds so, so cool and exciting to me. I have to dash off to work now, but thanks for stopping by, and happy reading to you!

Summer | reading


Local Discoveries

I'm not going to lie, I've kind of failed on the planned adventuring. As I said last time in my post, I was planning on discovering more of Massachusetts on the weekends, and I was going to plan out my trips, and report back. I had a great adventure planned to write about, but unfortunately it didn't happen. I initially planned to go into Boston and meet up with my sister (to see her for the first time in five months!) and I had a list of places to go, things to do, where to eat; however, I was unaware that first, the MBTA is doing construction on the Commuter Rail that I take on the weekends and that has messed with the schedule, and second, that Boston Calling was this past weekend, so I did not end up going to Boston. 

However, I have made some discoveries about Massachusetts in my own neck of the woods. For example, the wildlife. So, as someone who is not from New England, I have had encounters with wildlife before. In Colorado, we had mountain lions, bears, and deer. Seriously, so many deer. And the deer were kind of domesticated too, as in they looked both ways before crossing the street. In North Carolina, we allegedly had deer, but the entire time I lived there, I never saw a living one. I saw possums, geese, and a lot of squirrels. However, in Massachusetts, I have been introduced to a new animal in my backyard: wild turkeys. I know, most people don't find this anywhere near as fascinating as I do, but when there's like five turkeys in your backyard and you've never really seen a wild turkey before it's kind of exciting. The turkeys are also big, and they puff their feathers out, and there are so many of them

Another thing that is unique to Massachusetts compared to other areas where I have lived, is that there seems to be a lot of farms/farm stores. In North Carolina (or at least in the area where I lived) there were some farms, but they were more industrial and not really in the city. There were some farm stands, but in the area where I lived they were few and far between. However, there's an abundance farms that have stores where you can buy produce and other goods and get a bite to eat near where I live. Some of these farms even produce their own ice cream, have their own breweries, or let you pick your own produce. I've been trying to visit some of these farms because buying local is always good.  I went on an outing this past weekend and visited two farms in the area: Water Fresh Farm Marketplace in Hopkinton, MA and Outpost Farm in Holliston, MA. I had a great experience at both farms, and if you ever see some local farms/farm stores in your area you may want to stop by. 

Boston | Fun | Relaxing | Summer


A Much Needed Break

I'm afraid I don't have any exciting summer adventures to report on yet; with my son's preschool still in session our summer hasn't officially started. To be quite honest, I've been laying pretty low since the semester ended. I've written no blogs (until this one), largely ignored my school email, and given barely any thought to school or libraries. I've also been sick almost the entire time (thanks kids) which has necessitated taking it easy. That means watching shows, reading books, and playing silly games on my phone. But the best part of my break so far has been all the unstructured quality time I've been able to spend with my family, without the worry of school deadlines weighing me down and subtly siphoning away my energy and attention. My husband and kids are thrilled to have mommy back in full for a little while.

And yes, as others have mentioned, spring is in full swing here in New England. It's that brief and magical time of year when the house needs no heating or cooling - a few open windows does the trick. The insects are beginning to reappear but have not become a nuisance yet and the rain is charming and soothing. It's one of the few times of the year that I can lord it over my friends in Virginia, who are already contending with heat and humidity.

It's lovely, it's relaxing, it's easy right now - the exact opposite from life a month ago. It's given me time to think about the big picture, and about what happens after graduate school. Unfortunately my thoughts have been tending more toward the "will this all be worth it?" variety. Honestly if I had to start classes again tomorrow I think I would be dreading it. Let's chalk it all up to a "mid-program slump" and the fact that I really needed a break. There are still about three more weeks until my online class starts, and I feel confident that by then I will be ready to dive in again. Thank goodness for the seasons and the cycles in our lives that bring variety and balance and keep life interesting.

Real World | Relaxing | Summer


E-Readers, Tree Books, Libraries & Traveling

Currently I am in Manchester England.  The UK is a place I visit often as my husband is from England.  I was never much of the E-reader type.  I like to hold my books, collect them, smell them, all the things people like us in the LIS & Children's Literature programs are all too familiar with.  I tried E-readers in the past and could never get behind them.  It didn't feel real.  Even traveling back and forth from the UK I would lug Jonathan Frazen, Stephen King, or any of my 350+ pages of YA books across the pond.  My in-laws and husband would smile at my efforts and my diligence in my devotion to the book I was reading. (The idea behind Frazen was that if I brought a long enough book I wouldn't have to bring several smaller books, logical right?)

I did begin to utilize the public library system over here, which was a huge help and downsized the small personal library I brought with me everywhere.  Plus, it was interesting exploring another country's public library system and comparing them. Liverpool has been my favorite library thus far. Very modern but has a fantastic reading room that was the old library, so it has all the English feels about it. 

Lately, though, I finally have got behind the e-reader trend (not so much a trend anymore is it?).  Not for all my books, but for a lot of them. The app Libby is great because you can utilize your local library's ebook selection.  You can browse from the app and download the book in just a few minutes.  The only downside when traveling with the app is you have to have internet connection to access the books. Which can be a problem if you are on the train abroad without a connection and just want to read your book. I still carry a paperback with me just for this reason.  I also enjoy Apples iBook app because I can instantly buy a book and have it in my library.  No need for wifi once you have bought a book here.  Having an e-reader just makes sense when you are traveling and literally lightens your cargo making room for more clothes and shoes and gifts!

Happy summer! Until next time!

Books | Fun | Relaxing | Summer


Summer Travels

Greetings from Amarillo, Texas--home of the Big Texan 72 oz. Steak Challenge, truly epic thunderstorms, and according to a 2016 article by The Weather Channel, it's the windiest city in America. Another fun fact? A-Town's record wind speed clocked in at 84 mph back in 1949, and I would imagine the tornado passing by the instrumentation less than a mile away may have had something to do with that.

Anyway, here I am hanging out with my younger brother, caffeinating with a coconut chai, and smack dab in the middle of my cross-country road trip. It's hard to fathom that I was at home in Somerville just last Saturday. Since then I've been to California to watch one of my dearest friends tie the knot, flown to Texas to spend time with my family, and made a quick trip back to my hometown in Oklahoma to visit my Grams. Y'all. It has been the definition of a whirlwind. I'm zonked from traveling and switching up time zones, and I'm only at the halfway mark. This weekend I'll drive my missed and beloved car all the way back up to Massachusetts. If you're wondering how long the trip is, I'll span roughly 1,950 miles in three days' time. Does that make me crazy? *cue the Gnarls Barkley song* Yes, it might make me crazy, but I think a few days on the open road will do me a world of good...granted I don't get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. I've had a hard time letting myself decompress and be still since classes finished, and even though it may seem counterintuitive, I have a feeling this road trip will help me recalibrate.

Here are a few pictures from my travels thus far: Lake Mission Viejo in CA, a sunset in OK, and some fun chalk art on the menu at a favorite local coffee shop in TX.

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Fun | Relaxing | Summer


Summer is Here!

Within the past two to three weeks the weather has finally warmed up!  Today it was 85 degrees outside!  Can you believe it?!  I can barely believe that just a few short weeks ago I was wearing a parka.  Practically overnight all the trees have leafed out and everything is now so green.  It just suddenly appeared.  This is the weather I have been waiting for!  However, as I am writing this post, there is currently a tornado warning and it is pouring rain, so I guess I can't have everything. 

As I mentioned last time, I'm done with classes and I have a bit of a break before my next class starts on June 19, so I'm taking advantage of my time off to try and discover more of Massachusetts on the weekends, as I am kind of new to the area.  Also, once class starts, I still want to try and explore while the weather is nice.  A few months ago, I found the Massachusetts Office of Tourism and Travel's website while working on an assignment for class, and now I've been using it while looking up places to visit, things to do, and where to eat.  Also, they have a culinary tourism section of the website that has a calendar of food fairs and festivals, if you're in to that like I am.  My goal is to try and explore as much of Massachusetts as I can, whether it be further away, or just close to home.  I'll keep you updated with my discoveries!

Also, a quick note about my blog from last time.  I wrote about Tempests and Slaughter, Tamora Pierce's new book.  I mistakenly wrote that it was released in November 2017.  It was actually released in February 2018.  Sorry if there was any confusion!

Fun | Summer | Weather | classes


Simmons Connect

I wanted to mention how helpful Simmons Connect has been for me this semester.  It was my first web-based experience with Simmons (other than simmons.edu).  This is where you find out your registration start date and times, how you register for classes (very important), view your schedule, check your email, find events happening around campus, access campus print (another super important one), any way you get the idea. 

Access to Simmons Connect keeps you on schedule with the school, but another aspect I really like is students can post things here (through a mediator of course).  People looking for babysitters, jobs, sublets, and important updates you need to know such as the library only being open to students during finals (don't forget your student ID!).  I found my summer sublet here from a fellow student who is in the Social Work graduate program.  I really like knowing we can sublet from other students; it feels a bit safer.  When you are new to a city, craigslist can be a bit daunting with unfamiliar locations, safe/unsafe locations, proximity to Simmons, and then the whole idea of living with strangers (!). Trusting your space, or your children, or whatever it may be, with someone within the Simmons community takes away a lot of the anxieties some of us feel.  So, log into Simmons Connect to touch base with your program, shop for a new apartment, or find a babysitter, it does it all!

SLIS | Students


The Prettiest Afternoon

I went on a lovely little outing this past Saturday! I met a friend at Copley Square and we went to treat ourselves at L.A. Burdick's, an amazing and decadent chocolatier that I highly suggest you try at least once in your life. After we had armed ourselves with drinking chocolate--yep, that's a real thing--and pastries, we made our way over to the Public Garden and then strolled into the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The city was pulsing with activity, with everyone coming out to sunbathe and play and enjoy the general splendor of the afternoon. It. Was. Delightful.

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 Once we had finished up there, I was off to pick up a new library book...one of many that are piling up in my room now that the semester is over and I can genuinely read for pleasure...called The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin. I recently joined a sci-fi feminist book club, which promises to be awesome on a whole lot of levels, and Le Guin's book is next up in our queue.

 I'll be traveling all over the country here in the next couple of weeks, and will look forward to sharing some of my journey with all of you! But for now, I'll leave you with a few local snapshots from my day about town.

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Boston | Fun