Thursday, September 2, 2010


I haven't been as bloggy lately - sorry. It's not even that I've been *that* busy at work, but just taking it a bit slower and trying to squeeze the last bit of summer out of the city. I had that one week off in August, and am taking a week in September that may turn into course prep time for Algonquin (I'm teaching ILLs again this fall). I should be prepping more now, but I have an idea of everything I'm doing, and the lectures are done, I just need to fiddle with some exercises, so I am procrastinating for now. It's 42 degrees - who wants to work on PPTs?

What have I been up to? Well, I've started investigating having several legal aid clinics (French and English) for Winter 2010 at Rideau, and maybe even a French adult author visit (!), and have completely revised our contacts list for community organisations. I like to keep track of our history interacting with groups, so I updated all that info and went over it with my team. I sent out all my e-mails to schools, community groups, daycares etc. about fall programs - both what's on in September and class visit invitations, highlighting out author visits, too. I used to send out the letters/e-mails later in September but I decided to take advantage this year of the fact that teachers are sometimes back before the kids and getting work done before school starts. No one wants to visit before later in the fall, but at least we can get some scheduling done before the madness begins. What do you do about this? How do you communicate with schools and groups in your community? E-mail? Snail mail? Phone calls? When do you do it - seasonally? I also sent out the same info for Rockcliffe Park Library, since I will be temporarily supervising the great people there again starting Sept 20. Wheeee!

We wrapped up SRC at work - 201 kids this summer, up 21 from last year and up a significant amount from 2008 - I think we were under 100 then! Fun facts: We tracked which schools our kids were from this year, for various reasons, but it ended up telling us how our big outreach push in May made a difference: of the 152 children who reported their school, 78% of participants came from schools in our catchment where we had promoted SRC via outreach (or in one case, an e-mail to the principal and all teachers, since visits were not possible). An additional 20% of participants came from schools outside our catchment, which is also interesting (about half from branches nearby, but the other half from as far as Kanata and Nepean).

This week, I dealt with building stuff at work a lot for whatever reason (ah, the life of a supervisor!): a falling bookshelf, a wonky toilet, and a drying garden - good times! I'll spare you the details, except I know more about flushless urinals than I ever wanted to know. I also did a random conference call consulting for a law firm - yup, that's all I'm saying about that!

The husband and I were also thrilled to welcome a friend visiting Ottawa (a rezling's boyfriend, in fact!), and we took him to the Canal Ritz (which was just scrumptious, and the view wasn't bad, either) and to Mosaika, the new show on Parliament Hill (detail at left and below). The show highlighted the "physical, historical and cultural landscapes" of Canada, and one part projected various literary texts on the Centre Block. The works featured were:
  1. Souvenir of Canada Douglas Coupland
  2. Bonheur d’occasion Gabrielle Roy
  3. L’avalée des avalés Réjean Ducharme
  4. Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative Thomas King
  5. La Sagouine Antonine Maillet
  6. A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry
  7. Never Cry Wolf Farley Mowat
  8. Survival Margaret Atwood
  9. Too Much Happiness Alice Munro
  10. Two Solitudes Hugh McClennan
  11. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Mordecai Richler
  12. The Stone Angel Margaret Laurence
  13. Life of Pi Yann Martel
  14. No logo Naomi Klein
  15. Mercy among the children David Adams Richards
  16. Agaguk Yves Thériault
  17. Poésies Émile Nelligan
I definitely think L. M. Montgomery got shafted there. What/who would you have added?

In September, we're gearing up for our police visit and a bunch of other stuff: group and class visits, an outreach visit to a Métis centre... Etc!

Meanwhile, I've been reading, of course:
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett - I scored this one at the famous Rockcliffe Park Library booksale (the waiting list at work is insane). It took me awhile to get into it, but now I think I'm enjoying it. Wow, that was lukewarm. Sorry.
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley - There are some great, funny, true moments in this book of literary essays - Sloane Crosley's sharp wit and quirky stories keep you hooked. For anyone who was a child of the '80s, there is much to sympathise with: an entire essay about The Oregon Trail! Be still, my beating heart! I did feel that this book could have benefited from better editing, however; some of the essays veered off course rather abruptly, failed to entirely coalesce ("The Ursula cookie,", "Bastard out of Westchester") or covered topics that had been covered to death ("You on a stick"), while others ("Fuck you, Columbus," "The pony problem,") were mostly perfect little gems. I can only read a few of this type of book every year, because I tend to find them a little self-obsessed. Am I over-reacting? Oh well....
  • Three Junes by Julia Glass - Really brilliant rumination on love, family, friendship, and legacy. Set in Scotland and New York in the 1980s and 1990s. Deeply moving. Thanks Cait for the recommendation.
  • My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares - I was kind of surprised that I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought the premise sounded like a trite rip-off of The Time Traveler's Wife, but it was actually intriguing, complex and romantic, but not in a clichéd way. As it turns out, it's an excellent read-alike for The Time Traveler's Wife. Huh. The book that appeared to have no read-alikes!
  • The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry - Cute princess role reversal story for kids too young for the Princess Diaries but interested in the same type of book. Bonus: illustrated by Feiffer, of Bark, George fame.
  • City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems: sweet story about friendship between two titular characters. Sad ending. Crying predicted. Good for early readers (simple text) with hardened hearts? I dunno. Magnificent illustrations.
I should totally be reading my 2011 BOYCA books. That is so going to bite me in the a** later. I had to move the giant pile to vaccuum this week (ok, truth be told, so the husband could vaccuum) and I was racked with guilt.

I am now off to Montreal for shopping, lollygagging, and an un-birthday dinner! 30! What the hell? I think I've accomplished everything I wanted to professionally by this point, but I am not totally where I wanted to be overall by now. But, you know, life happens.

1 comment:

  1. I thought the same thing about My Name is Memory and The Time Traveler's Wife. I certainly hope, however, that they don't try to make the first one into a movie. I just can't see how that would work.