Websites That Help You Help Others

I have recently come across two websites that I thought I would share as they are very useful. There are many times in our lives when we need to help out others. Sometimes, they need meals, sometimes people need help with other things, like chores or childcare, during a family crisis, surgery, or the arrival of a new baby. There are two websites that I have used that make coordinating these things for friends and family much easier. -is a site that coordinates meals. For some areas, they even have a section of the website where you can order soup to be delievered to someone. This website creates a new schedule for someone and then anyone with the last name and password (a four digit number) has access to the schedule.

Lotsa Helping Hands – This site lets you create a community. Each community has a message board, a calendar on which you place items that are needed (chores, meals, childcare, etc.), photo gallery, announcements, and a place for people to leave well wishes. This site requires that you create a unique account when asked to join the community.

Both websites are easy to use and seem to be intuitive. They definitely take some of the headache out of coordinating help for those that need it.

–Jane, currently benefiting from the meals provided by friends

Midwinter Round-Up, the good bits

This is the round-up post minus the soapbox elements. In this post, I write about the things I liked about my trip and the things that made me feel good about ALA. There were, of course, some not fabulous things about Midwinter, but I am putting those in their very own post. Just for you, readers, because I know how you sometimes like a good bitch.

ALA Midwinter was fun, if very quick, for me this year. I flew in on Saturday and left Monday. Philadelphia was a nice city to visit, even if I left one rainy cold city for the same weather at home.

The best meeting I attended by far was the Jim Rettig Presidential Advisory Board Meeting. It was a good meeting for two reasons:

First, it was very well run and efficient. Second, at no time during the meeting was any idea turned down with a no or dismissed. We instead discussed how to make each idea feasible, even if it meant giving the idea to a group who could handle it better. I left feeling positive about the possibilities for the group’s initiatives and it was the best meeting I attended all conference, including the one that I helped run. It affirmed my belief that there are plenty of people in ALA who want to try new things.

The ALA Publishing Reception was at the Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. I liked the babies in jars and fetal skeletons displays the best followed closely by the syphilitic skulls. I have not seen so many cool skulls since Physical Anthropology in college. Fabulous. The Terminal Street Market was wonderfully full of delicious food, spices, fruits, vegetables, and handmade items. It was a feast for the eyes and the belly. I had some veggie samosas from Nandi’s Kitchen that were fantabulous.

This is likely be my last ALA until Annual 09 because I plan on staying home from traveling for a year after Baby Rochester arrives. I still have virtual commitments to several committees and that will continue. It made all my meetings with friends bittersweet, knowing I would only see people online for a large amount of time until I start the conference circuit again. It was nice to see old friends and meet some new people, as always.

The Blog Salon was fun, as usual, and was in a wonderfully large room this year. Sadly, there were no shower caps, but I did see a group in Second Life off to one side. I also met the creator of the “March of the Librarians” video, Nick Baker, who is a lovely person.

As I was uploading pictures to Flickr, it dawned on me that I take less pictures when I am not drinking. My set for Midwinter is very small as a consequence of my being in Philadelphia for a shorter period than normal and for the distinct lack of alcohol consumed. I still have a handful to get online.

The wifi, though occasionally spotty (as wifi sometimes is), was usable in most areas of the conference center. Thank you, ALA. It is much appreciated and was noted by this blogger. I hope this is a precedence that only improves.

–Jane, it’s raining in Houston today

On Being Thankful

At the request of KGS, here is a list of what I am thankful for this year.

My growing faith and some important lessons I have learned.

Mr. Rochester, the best husband anyone could ask for. Last night, he gave me a big hug and told me he missed me the last couple days. Mondays and Tuesdays are our busy days where we pass in the night. I missed him too.

A new addition to the family, though Monster Rochester is not here yet.

Friends who make me laugh and love me.

Family that is occasionally dysfunctional, tends to drink more than they should, but has a lot of love.

Big, slobbery, puppy lips rubbed on my face in greeting on Saturday mornings. I know he loves his momma.

The roof over my head, the food on my plate, health, and jobs that pay the bills.

I am thankful for being able to recognize new opportunities as they appear and I am curious and excited about the year to come.

We all have blessings to be thankful for. I wish you all a year of bounty.

–Jane, thankful

CIL, the funability version

Sushi boat for 4

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre.

I realized this afternoon that most of my posts about CIL have been all business and no tales of hilarity. And boy, were there tails. On ponies. With monocles.

This week the fun was all about three things, in order of their importance:
Strippers named Strawberry

If it was cool, bad, hilarious, or you said the wrong thing, it was on Twitter. I may have a slightly biased view as all of my comrades were also on Twitter, thus creating a self-fulfilling mode of hilarity. Steven Cohen is obsessed with Twitter and was sending jokes to Twitter from the bar. He lives his life in 140 characters or less.

Alcohol. Beer. Scotch. Beer. Wine. Beer. A shot named something with a surfer. We had, last night (Tuesday) at the Irish pub, perhaps the largest bar bill I have ever been handed. Luckily, I was not the only one putting money in the pot. The drink challenge never really took off, as neither Steven nor I were truly in the mood. Plus, seriously, I was drinking things like Blue Moon and Smithwick’s and Steven was drinking Budweiser. “I’m just saying.”

Sometimes rumors get started. Sometimes the rumors include strippers named Strawberry. But only sometimes. Related to this rumor is another fiendish plan, brought to you by the team that delivers ponies and monocles. Meredith Farkas will soon be quitting her job, selling Information Wants to Be Free, and starting a blog about Judge Mathis. As Meredith said, “All life lessons can be learned on Judge Mathis.”

Tonight we are having sushi. A semi-tradition of Information Today conferences. I am sure there will be more silliness, but then, there always is.

Added retrospectively: The sushi boat was wonderful (see post picture). I miss everyone already.

–Jane, don’t stop believin’

An Ode to Friday

Friday, how I love thee. I am at home and looking out into a day so clear and blue it sears my eyes to look upon it. The temperature is a lovely 68 degrees.

My Five Weeks groups are keeping me on my toes. Our conversations covered everything this week from why superheroes should not wear capes to Microsoft Vista. We talked about wikis too. Many of them found wikis to be very useful, especially when pondering the creation of subject guides. This project never ceases to amaze me.

I think that people do not give themselves enough credit when discussing technology. Most of us are very smart and can learn things easily with time and practice. It is the time that is hard to find.

I am off this weekend to Dallas, home of my graduate school career and one of my best friends, who is turning thirty. There should be some great pictures and some unrepeatable stories. Have a great weekend.
–Jane, there always is

ALA TechSource Rockstars

ALA TechSource Rcokstars

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre.

We met, lunched, shared ideas, and laughed. Sometimes I look around at the company I Keep and think, “How did I ever fool these people enough to let me in here?” This is the first time we have been all together since I joined the group. We talked about the next year and some of the cool stuff going on in libraryland.

–Jane, loves being a librarian

Bits of the Week

I will have a post about the ALA Web Planning Retreat tomorrow afternoon. I needed time to digest a bit and then there is always the pesky work that gets in the way. Here are some bits to tide you over, all having nothing to do with ALA:

  • I finally finished A Storm of Swords. Geez. It only took me a year, off and on. And I promptly went on a reading binge. Three books later, I am feeling a bit better.
  • I made kolaches.
  • Cleaned my house.
  • Participated in a Festivus Party, complete with metal pole and Bagels.
  • Bought the last gift on my list.

Tonight, I am leaving Mr. Rochester to fend for himself, dropping my menagerie off at my parent’s, and joining some old friends for what should be a night of much laughter and unrepeatable stories. With drinking, of course!

Friday, I am making more kolaches, a molasses ginger cake with vanilla whipped cream (the real kind), and writing up my ALA notes. Good Times.

–Jane, Merry Jeebusmas

Baking Day!

Today, a couple of my friends and I are participating in a family tradition of mine, Baking Day. It is the day you spend baking many varieties of goodies to disperse upon friends and neighbors because Lord knows you do not need to eat all that junk yourself. My recipes for the day include Pecan Crisps, Molasses Cookies, Date Bars, and Kolaches (the real kind with fruit). My friends are bringing recipes with them as well.
There is wassail a-brewing, nog in the fridge, and rum to make everything extra tasty. It is going to be a great day.

–Jane, culinary pictures to follow


With the flurry of posts, you may have realized that I have reached the end of the tunnel! Yes, gentle readers, the light is now upon my face. The birds are singing and the air is cool.

This weekend most of my college friends will be in town for a wedding. Aggie football is on TV early enough for us to watch the game before the wedding so all is right with the world. The two previous sentences mean we will be acting, not like responsible adults (a questionable statement in any case), but like crazy college kids, at least for a couple of days. Bring on the beer games and make sure the Bloody Marys are nice and strong in the morning.

Beat the Hell Outta Texas Tech, Whoop!

–Jane, in love with Fridays