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Knitting memories

As we get closer to April, the reality that I will soon be looking for a new apartment closer to work is starting to sink in.   I’m very excited about living in a new place and being closer to work.  The packing and moving part, however, is less than exciting.

In an effort to make the packing part less stressful, I have begun to start going through everything I have accumulated during the 3 1/2 years I have lived in my current apartment.  Tonight’s activity?  Cleaning out the yarn cabinet.

I have always been jealous of the large amount of yarn my knitting buddies have but I have to admit that, while going through my own yarn and getting it packed up, I was very grateful that the size of my stash is a small fraction of the size of others I know.   Even so, it was still a lot to go through.

It’s amazing how going through my yarn was an indicator of a way that I have grown since I first moved to NH  3 1/2 years ago.  When I came here in August 2007, I wasn’t even knitting.  I had learned as a child, but hadn’t knitted in at least 20 years.   It wasn’t until two months after moving here that I started knitting again.   And it wasn’t until a few months later, in March of 2008, that I joined the knitting group.  In fact, St.Patrick’s Day will be the three year anniversary of me joining the knitting group.  I still remember that night and who was there!

Going through  my stash now, I can easily identify which yarns I bought when I was first starting to knit again and which were purchased later, after I had been properly “educated” about yarn by my knitting buddies!

After the yarn was packed away, I turned to my books.  As you can guess, a librarian has no shortage of those!

Among the books I found was one that brought back a lot of memories.  It was “Things I Learned from Knitting” by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot).   I got this book when I went on my first trip to Webs with some of the knitting buds.   We went to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee speak, although at that point I had no idea who this woman was!  I remember that day so well because I was still a newbie to the group and still didn’t know everyone that well.  I think only four of us went, but it was a great chance for me to get to know a few members of the group better (and for them to get to know me!).   And I still remember very well how, at lunch, someone was not very happy because her noodles were not as crunchy as they were supposed to be!

So the yarn is now packed away, as are many of my books.  Still a lot to go, but if I do it in small chunks over the next several weeks it won’t be too overwhelming.   Packing may be a pain, but I am definitely enjoying the memories that come along with it.

Been a while….

So I just realized it’s only been about three months since I last updated this blog.  It’s not that my life has been so boring that I have nothing to say.  Just the opposite!  Things have been crazy busy, but in a great way.

As most of you know, I began my new job in August.  I’ll admit, the first several weeks were a bit shaky.  I had my few moments where I would close myself up in a dark room and inhale a bag of chocolate while wondering if I was going to survive my new job.

Fortunately,  thing settled down and I settled in. Now I couldn’t be happier.   I love my job, I love the people I work with.   The next big step in my life will be finding a new place to live that is closer to work.

Knitting has unfortunately fallen down on my priority list.     By the time I get home from work (usually around 6pm), I’m tired, hungry, and just want to snuggle with “the kids” (my dog and cat) after being gone for 12 hours.    This may change once I move closer to work, but that also means I’ll be further away from the knitting group!  I don’t even think I’ve made it to knit group in a few weeks.   I thought I’d finally be able to make it this week, since it was school break week and I could stay up later, but ended up filling in for someone at the public library that night.  Maybe another time, but it’s difficult because once I get home at night now during the week, I just don’t want to have to go out again!

The last knitting project I actually completed was some mini Christmas stockings.  My original plan was to knit enough for all my volunteers at the school (I have about 15) and fill them with chocolate, but I got behind and couldn’t finish them all on time.  So I instead gave them to my family for Christmas presents.  I still gave chocolate to my volunteers.

I just started working on a pair of socks a few weeks ago.   I think I started them the last time I made it to knit group.    Although there’s still a few months before the end of the school year, I’m contemplating knitting small gifts for my parent volunteers.  At least if I start them now, maybe I’ll get them done on time!!!

New job reflections

My immediate reaction on the day I got hired was excitement, mixed in with a bit of shock.   Of the over fifteen jobs I had applied for, this was the only one that had called me for an interview.    When I did get the call, I had already started to accept that I likely would not have a school library job this year.

After about twenty minutes of excitement, reality sunk in.  Here I was, an inexperienced new librarian just out of grad school about to take on a huge responsibility.  The excitement quickly turned to panic.

The first few weeks of school were very overwhelming for me.  It was a new place with new people.  I had to learn hundreds of new names, had no idea what the students already knew, and had to learn quickly what books I had in my library.  Over those first few weeks I had many moments of self doubt.  It was a very emotional time which  included a couple occasions where I closed myself up in a room with a bunch of chocolate at the end of the day!

Fortunately,  I work with a lot of wonderful, patient people who have all been very understanding and supportive of me.  This really helped me make it through those  overwhelming weeks.

As the weeks have gone on, I have felt myself become more comfortable and more confident.   At least now I know the teachers’ names, and am starting to get to know the names of my students as well.   I am feeling so much better now than I did just a couple months ago.   As I become more comfortable,  I can also feel myself growing to love my job more each day.

What really helps is those moments where a student will do something or say something that shows me that they were listening to me and actually learned something.   Having a lot of enthusiastic students who enjoy what I’m teaching them is an amazing thing.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

As for the knitting,  I’ve only had very limited time for that!  I did make it to knit night last week and had a great time!  I’m hoping to make it there more often, especially with lots of gifts that need to be knitted for Christmas!    It was great seeing everyone this week at knit night.  I’m going to miss seeing my knit group when I move in May to be closer to work.  But there’s still a lot of time between now and then so I’ll just have to try to get to knit night more often!

It’s been three weeks since school started and it’s  crazy, busy, and exciting.  I’m surprised with how easily I’ve adjusted to being with so many kids each day.    Between the two schools I see 30 classes a week, ranging from PreK to 5th grade.  They are an interesting bunch and I’m looking forward to getting to know all of them and seeing them grow.

Right away I learned that among the essential people to get close to are the secretaries.  The secretaries, I’ve learned quickly, know just about everything.   For a newbie like me,  this is very important.   And the teaching staff and principal have been amazingly supportive.    As a librarian, I need to be close to the teachers so I know what library skills the students may need for class assignments.  Everyone has been very helpful and nice.

Because this is my first official school librarian position, I’m finding that my days are very long.  Unlike a more experienced school librarian, I am starting fresh.    As I come up with ideas, I quickly jot them down in lesson plan format.  The challenge is to come up with lesson plans for each week.  Fortunately, the recently retired librarian left behind some of her old lessons, however I do want to incorporate some of my own as well.    The long days are also due to my needing to get to know the library collection as well.

Several years ago I remember an acquaintance commenting about how teachers had it so easy, insisting that they had shorter days and got summers and school vacations off.   In these past three weeks, between the time I spend at school plus the lesson planning I do on weekends, I am probably putting in close to 50 hours a week.

The drive, which some have continuously implied will become a “drag”, has actually been not that bad.  In fact, I’m liking the alone time in the car.  On my way to school, I use the hour to plan what needs to get done.  The hour drive home is my alone time, and I use this time to wind down.  Once I get home I’ll have the dog and cat to deal with, plus whatever else comes up.    So that hour alone in the car is actually a good thing.

Knitting has gotten a bit neglected over these last few weeks.  I’m sorry to admit how pathetically far behind I am in the Mini Plunge.  October’s just a couple weeks away and I’ve only managed to complete two pairs of baby socks.  I was able to make two baby hats for a recent baby shower (sorry, I forgot to take pictures) and last night started some cute slippers from a new book we got at the public library – Knitting Mochimochi.  I’m planning to make my nephew and niece each a pair of these slippers for Christmas.

I may have a long commute and long workdays, but I am so thrilled with how things are going.

Moving forward

It’s been a long, crazy three years and now I have finally reached the point that I have been working towards.  Two weeks ago I interviewed for an elementary school librarian position.    This past Tuesday I met the the district superintendent and was officially given the job.

Suddenly everything is happening very fast!    By mid-July, when I didn’t have any response to my applications, I had come to accept I probably wouldn’t have a school job for this upcoming school year. When I got the call for an interview three weeks ago, I was very surprised and excited.

I’m very happy about this job.  This is what I’ve been preparing for.  At the same time, I’m finding I am going through so many emotions.  Obviously, the excitement of my first school library job.  At the same time,  I’m a bit nervous of the thought of my new responsibilities as a school librarian.  I’m also very sad at having to leave my current job, because it is an amazing place and probably the first job I’ve had where I’ve looked forward to going into work everyday.    Everything is happening so fast and in just two weeks I will be preparing my new library for the new school year.

This is probably one of the biggest changes I’ve ever gone through.  I know it will all work out, because things usually do, and I’m sure that I will love this new job.

A surprise invitation

As many of my fellow knit group buddies know, I worked for several years as a veterinary technician before starting grad school.   Over the five years I worked at the veterinary clinic, the staff stayed fairly stable – and by stable I mean that there wasn’t a high staff turnover, the staff mental stability is a whole different story.  Anyway, besides the occasional UConn pre-vet students (who, on average, would stay for about two years for the purpose of getting practical experience to put on their vet school applications) I worked with basically the same group of people my entire time there.    However,  in the last year my old boss has had two of her long term employees abruptly quit, so on a recent visit I walked into a clinic where I only recognized one person (besides the veterinarians).

One of the employees who left in the last year was someone I was never particularly close to.  She started about a year after I did, and immediately I was put off by her high maintenance, bossy, bitchy, selfish attitude that only progressed during the four years I worked with her.   She and the boss were always at eachother.She was good at what she did, but difficult to work with.    When I visited the clinic a few weeks ago, I learned that she had abruptly quit several months earlier and was now pregnant and living with her boyfriend.

Because of our lack of closeness, I was beyond surprised this morning when I received an invitation to her baby shower. Her mother probably called the clinic to get the addresses of all her former coworkers, because I truly doubt my pregnant former coworker would  have my NH address.

I’m kind of stuck on what to do.  Do I politely RSVP no, or do I say yes and spend money on a baby gift for a former coworker I never really liked?

On the positive side, this will be a chance for me to see some of my old coworkers.  Plus, this is an opportunity to get more socks knitted for the mini plunge.  She’s having a girl, and I definitely have girly sock yarn.

What happens next?

I will readily admit that I am the type of person who reads the end of a book first.  Well, not immediately first.  I like to read the first chapter or two so I can at least get a sense of who the characters are and what’s going on.  Then my curiosity forces me to jump right to the end to see what happens to everyone.  I still read the rest of the book of course, because even though I know the end, I like to see what happens to cause that ending.   I have yet to read a book without jumping to the end to see what happens.

So, with this in mind, can you even imagine how I’m going crazy right now not knowing what’s going to happen in September?  For the last year my plan has been to finish grad school this summer and get a school library job.  The grad school part is almost done – just three days left until my comprehensive final, and a little over two weeks left of class.  By this time next month, I will have my degree.

It’s the job part that’s getting to me.  I know I have to be patient and stay optimistic that I’ll find something.  And even if nothing comes through, I know I can continue part-time at my current job and find a second job to balance everything out.   But the not knowing, that’s the hard part.  If I’m too impatient to read a whole book to find out the end,  how can I possibly stay patient while I’m waiting to find out where I’ll be working in September?  I need to know what happens next!!!