Three Beautiful Things for Thanksgiving

It's been a pretty trying week as we have wrestled with car repair costs, Christmas budgets, and other various and sundry monetary concerns that may or may not be a subject for a later day, er um, post. (Probably not - who wants to read about money troubles?)

Of course, like many or most - I paused yesterday to take time to think about all that I have to be thankful for.

To share them and to provide a bright spot to the end of our week - I'm borrowing another idea from my friend Cat, (I told you I think she's brilliant) and sharing 3 beautiful things.

1. The four lovely ladies in my life. Showing my bias, but probably not facing much if any argument from many I'm sure - Netter is one of those people who you know from the moment you meet to be a special person in your life. Of course, for me she is the MOST special person, and I am lucky and privileged to have her in my life. I love you Honey.

D and K are brilliant, intelligent, and beautiful growing young ladies. I am very proud of their accomplishments, but even more proud that they are loving, caring and helpful individuals.

Meghan Joy is an inspiration for me and for many. Because of her, and the legacy she provides we have been able to share our gift of Joy with so many children with challenges in the Central Ohio area. I love you Meghan Joy.

I am grateful for the gift God has given me to be a Daddy to all of my daughters. I love you girls.

2. My extended family, especially my in-laws. So often I hear horror stories about grunting and groaning father-in-laws, manipulating mother-in-laws, and crazy sister and / or brother -in laws. I don't have any of that. I have a group of wonderful people who I am happy to call my family. Thanks Atchison clan.

3. My friends. I always thought I had great friends, but over the course of the last year I've discovered that I have many, many friends I may not have even thought of or known about. I am honored to have both old friends and new, and I very much appreciate knowing you are there for me as I hope you know I am there for you.

3a. Mulligan James - My boy is a crazy, energy driven, sometimes willful beast who I love with all my heart and soul because I know he loves me. Everybody should have a puppy dog, (man’s best friend) like Mulligan in their life.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I hope you enjoyed the day.

One month - Today - I am just thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful to be able to share a story about a wonderful day I got to spend with my family, a day I am very thankful for - exactly one month ago today in fact.

I thought a lot about whether I wanted to talk about this one month, what I might say, what I might reflect on. I have been 40 years old for one month today. Would I say or do anything at all?

Well, I've never been good at keeping my mouth shut and I do like to share, so:

To begin, I have the most amazing friends. Upwards of 30 or more showed up at my mini-shindig, celebration at Buffalo Wild Wings the Friday before my birthday, and that many more shared their good wishes with me during the week(s) that followed. It was an incredibly euphoric high that I'm not sure I've yet gotten over. Thank you to again to everybody.

Of course I also have a wonderful family, and we shared a great day on my birthday. Let me tell you about it.

We decided to go to Easton to hang out, do a little window shopping, walk around and use the gift certificate we had for The Cheesecake Factory for my birthday dinner. I don't generally do the "mall scene" anymore as I prefer the reasonable prices of Wal*Mart and The Thrift Store for my shopping needs.

Being a total geek, the first store we headed for at Easton was a no-brainer if ever there was one. The Apple Store called to me, and I spent a 1/2 hour or so wandering around the store checking out the latest and greatest in Macintosh technology.

Despite the fact that the only Mac I still own is about 10 years old, I am still a huge fan. Netter of course knows this, so she spent some time convincing me to buy the iPod she saw me look at more than once - Okay I plugged it in and listened to almost two full songs before leaving to "think about it."

I also stopped into Aeropostale, you know just to look around.

Kailey shopped for jeans.

I bought a sweatshirt with Delaney's approval.

I embarrassed both girls by going into Pink to see what all the fuss was about. Yeah, I get it.

No, not my child.

Then we went to a store called Whetseal, or Wet Seal aka Who the heck thought it was a good idea to sell these kinds of clothes to teenage girls?

Do people really wear these shoes?
Oh, and I propose a new law - teenage girls should wear flats, long skirts, and let's not forget good old fashioned "Granny Panties."

Doesn't a thong create a wedgie by definition? Aren't wedgies supposed to be bad? Who can explain to me why teenage girls have this infatuation with having wedgies?


We stopped into a few other stores, grabbed a coffee at Cup O' Joe's, snapped some pictures of this train for my friend Steve then visited Barnes and Noble, the biggest book store I've ever seen.

We finally made it to Cheesecake Factory absolutely exhausted and famished.

We ate as much as we could, and took home more than one doggie bag.

We finished up with a ride home rockin' out to my fav album. It was a great day!

What a lucky guy I am!

Most of you know I did finally buy the iPod, a red Nano. After so many years of listening to talk radio I was amazed at the emotion I felt as each song played in my ears. So many vivid memories, another part of myself I had lost. Who knew?!?

It certainly has been a year of discovery. That's for sure.

Where to next?

I have to admit I don't know. The uncertain economy has all of us a little on edge, some more than others. I know I am looking at our Christmas budget, and 2009 numbers and probably inciting a little bit of panic at my house.

Sorry ladies, it's just how Daddy gets sometimes.

Still, as I've written before there is so much I still feel I'm gonna, or at least wanna do, so many places I wanna go, so many things I know my family would like, things I would like for my family. (No, I'm not just talking about stuff or things.)

I hope that my family knows this, but I have to admit to the reader that I put it in print today so that all of my ladies are sure to know I am aware.

Sometimes, as I'm sure many do, I just feel strapped in by the financial day to day.

Here's hoping that while today, tomorrow, and every day we all take the time to be thankful for that which we have, we might continue to be able to move forward, and enjoy what the future may hold.

Blog Scavenger Hunt

I've been sharing quite a bit lately about how blogging, and reading blogs has changed my life over the course of the last year, and with that in mind I thought I would have a go at another meme from my friend Cat. (That doesn't count - see the rules below.)

The blog it seems has taken over my household so I don't think I'm going to find blogs that are from people who live closer to me than Netter, or K, who forgot her password for the blog, or D, who doesn't get the whole blog thing, but then again doesn't get a lot of things as she is at the "I don't know" stage in her young life.

I follow my online friend Juice's many blogs. She blogs at NHL Connect, the Freep, and also here. I "met" Juice during the Red Wing's live game blog watching the Wings win the Stanley Cup last spring "with" a bunch of fans from around the country. I almost got to actually meet her this fall as many of us were scheduled to hook up in the D for a celebratory beer, but the events of the summer, i.e. the $4,000 appendix, which also ate into my PTO balance, and two aging vehicles prevented Annette and I from making the trip.

While I only know Juice through hockey and the Wings, her writing is just awesome. She has an insanely funny imagination, and she is incredibly intelligent. I just know having a chance to sit down and chat with her in person would be an experience of a lifetime.

Whaddya' say Juice? Next fall in the D? Celebrating back to back cups? Netter and I are in. :-)

The job I used to have or wanna have is a job I didn't even know existed until a short time ago. I've joked about it quite a bit lately, and I don't know how I could reconcile this with the fact that I really don't want to leave the library, or travel a lot but the job I wanna have belongs to Chris Brogan. Read Chris' bio here.

I think once upon a time a long time ago, I was ahead of the curve, on the cutting edge, ready to make a difference, heck people even listened to me. I just got stuck somewhere along the way. Okay - whew - enough of that.

Be on notice world. I'm fighting my way back. ;-)

My friend Cat wrote a post called 3 beautiful things about the first snow of the season. It made me reconsider my view of snowfall and winter, and while it's still not my favorite season I do have to admit there are some things about winter that I do like - snowflakes, sledding, big fuzzy sweaters or sweatshirts, warm fires, (They smell different than summer fire pits.), hockey season (of course), and the quiet solitude of the evening when the ground is covered with snow, just after it has gotten dark and everyone has gone inside.

Of course, I also was smitten, (yes I just said smitten) with the idea of writing about 3 beautiful things. Bad day? Pick 3 beautiful things. Bad week? Pick 3 beautiful things. Bad mood, karma,mojo , feeling depressed, sad, angry - anything - Just pick 3 beautiful things, stress the positive and see where that takes you. Thanks Cat.

When I tried to think of one blog that made me laugh so hard folks wanted to know what was going on there were quite a few possibilities, but one stood out. I'll post it here with the warning that it might be something in context, it's not the most politically correct, and the author didn't even remember writing it, it was so long ago. All that said - here you go. YMMV.

Cat would have been a really good choice for a blog from someone I've known for a long time, but haven't hung out with in a long time. But I know I need to use a different blog for each answer --Hmmm...

Well, if you don't follow Cat's blog - I suggest you do. She is a fascinating individual. Another fascinating individual who I see every so often, but don't get to hang out with often is my friend Lynne. I love to read stories about Lynne's daughter Erica, and her family. Warning - bring tissues. These are some pretty heartwarming stories.

I was inspired to blog from all of the blogs I followed last summer, but the two most influential belong to my friends Kelly and Christa who share stories about what is going on with their families, with a touch of humor, and a solid take on the important things. Of course, I could say that about a number of blogs I follow, but da rulez say I can only use each one once.

Julie is the one person I never thought would be blogging. I'm really glad I was wrong. As I told her in a comment to her first entry - "I'm looking forward to reading. Don't think of this as 'just a journal.' Think of it as a place to share all those cool witty observations you are always making in real life. You got this - trust me." Julie is one of the smartest, funniest, people I know. I'm glad I have the privilege of calling her my friend, and reading her blog.

I'm sure I could point you to a lot of articles, or posts or sites that I think could change the library world. Some of them you probably have read yourself. I'm gonna go outside the box a little bit on this one and show you a blog post that shows the library world is already changing. Check this out.

Alright - the final thing, numero diez.

My friend Mo writes a blog that makes me feel good every time I read it. It's not that I agree with everything Mo writes, although I mostly do, or that she makes me laugh, although she usually does. The thing is; following Mo's blog I can tell that she puts a lot of thought into what she writes. She doesn't post every day or even as regularly as her fans might like. (hint, hint) But when Mo does post it's usually something that has really struck her and I think that's cool.

There you have it. This was probably the hardest meme I've run into yet, but it was a great exercise to consider who, what, where, when and why.

Of course, there are blogs I follow that I didn't mention here today. For example, my friend Gregor who has been a big part of my journey and has just started blogging again himself. This doesn't mean I don't have props for everybody. It just means you all write too darn much good stuff.

Want to play along?

Da Rulz:
  1. Use a different blog to answer each question.
  2. Be sure to include hot links in your answers, and if you're referencing a specific post, be sure you're linking to the permalink for that post (not just the general blog addy).
  3. Not every linked blog needs to be a Library person or a L&P participant.
  4. If you do this meme, please come back here and give me a link so I can read it!

Da Thingz to find:
  1. A blog written by someone who lives close to you physically.
  2. A blog you read written by someone you've never met, but would like to.
  3. A blog written by someone who has the job you used to have, or the job you wanna have someday.
  4. A blog entry that made you think about something a new way.
  5. A blog entry that made you laugh so hard your co-workers and/or family asked to know what was going on.
  6. A blog from someone you've known a long time but haven't hung out with in a long time.
  7. A blog or post that inspired you to start blogging (or just written by the person who got you going).
  8. A blog from someone you never thought would be blogging.
  9. An article/post/site that you think could change the library world.
  10. A blog you've found that makes you feel great every time you read it.

Stay blue... or Go Bucks!

I'm wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt today, and if you know me you know that's a bit of an anomaly.

Having spent the better part of my first decade growing up in Michigan I naturally grew up a fan of the Michigan Wolverines or as the great Bob Ufer would say the Meeechigan Wolverines! I say naturally because it would be considered fairly unnatural to grow up rooting for Michigan State. Just kidding Juice. ;-)

In all seriousness though, the UM vs. MSU rivalry was the one that was emphasized most in my house when we lived in Michigan. This is not to say we weren't cognizant of the OSU rivalry, it just wasn't as upfront and personal for us.

Then we moved to Lima, Ohio. Suddenly, not only was the rivalry personal it was a whole lot more heated. Picking a Michigan and / or Michigan State team in Michigan seemed like Potayto / Potahto compared to picking a Michigan team in Ohio.

I understand this now, but back then I remember both my Dad and I being more than a little bewildered. It seemed my whole classroom wanted to alternately beat me and / or entice me into betting on the game so they could mock me if I lost. I remember many Sunday evenings scraping together pennies so I could pay off those debts.

Ah, would that pennies to pay off debts would be enough these days. Sigh!

Oh, sorry - back to our tale.

My family and I toughened up, stood our ground and supported our team through thick and thin. As I grew up, the heated rivalry could still be heated for us, but gradually grew into just friendly banter among friends even when we moved to Columbus.

My Mother did take her life into her own hands one evening while attending OSU. Wearing a Michigan snow cap to keep herself warm as she walked across campus she was confronted by an angry student. Fortunately, she held her ground and the student relented.

I met and married my wonderful wife Annette, herself an OSU grad, who let my U of M short comings fall by the wayside and decided I was okay after all.

We attended THE GAME in 1994 heretofore my first and only live OSU vs. UM game. We were each clad in gear supporting our teams, and the fans in the stadium were all great sports, (save one drunk who was quickly guided away by more good sports) and we had a great time. Of course OSU won that game, probably the greatest win of John Cooper's career so everyone was in a great mood. Oddly enough, even I was in a pretty good mood.

In 1995, for a number of reasons I decided to return to school and finally get my college degree. Unfortunately, I faced a bit of a quandry. While I have a great deal of respect for colleges like Columbus State, Franklin University, Ohio Dominican, Capital et al. I wanted to get my degree from a "big school." I had grown up dreaming of going to Michigan, made three campus visits to Notre Dame, seriously considered going to Penn State and finally ended up at OSU the first time around because it was the simplest thing to do. This time I chose to go to Ohio State.

I reasoned that it was okay to attend college at "my team's" top rival university since it was my only big school option. I had begun to root for the Buckeyes when they weren't playing Michigan in football, and especially when they were playing Michigan in basketball. (Fab Five - best team money can buy eh?) So, it would be all good right?

I saw Archie Griffin on campus, and ran after him like a little boy asking for his autograph - on my notebook.

I also pulled a stunt not unlike my mother, forgetting one day that I had worn a Michigan windbreaker to work and deciding to wear it to class and take the heat rather than leave it in my car where it would surely be stolen or damaged, or worse yet my car might be damaged. Strangely enough, I enjoyed a number of friendly exchanges with students who chided me about Michigan's loss that year to Northwestern. It was all good, I thought.

Then the Buckeyes took an undefeated record into Michigan Stadium riding high off a one game winning streak in THE GAME. Of course the Bucks promptly made Tshimanga "Tim" Biakabutuka a first round draft pick on their way to being upset by the Wolverines.

The mood on campus was never the same again. Needless to say, I didn't forget and wear the wrong jacket anymore.

Instead I continued on toward my degree, graduating in March of 2001. At this time a friend gave me a book he said was required reading for all true Buckeyes. 101 reasons to hate Michigan or some such thing. So, I read it. It was funny. Ha Ha...

What the friend didn't know was that after that Buckeye loss in 1995, and the resulting angst of their loyal fans I had seriously begun to question my allegiance to the Wolverines.

While Buckeyes and their fans were up in arms about the loss to the Maize and Blue, the Michigan team and fans did not seem to feel the same degree of urgency to win them all.

I have all the respect in the world for the legend that is Bo Schembechler. Still it had always eaten at me that his teams, and then Gary Moeller's teams, and especially Lloyd Carr's teams again and again lost games that they should have won, classically underachieving for their talent level. I understand that losing happens, but mediocrity seemed to be the rule rather than the exception, particularly under the last of the "Michigan Men," as it were.

I know, I know - Lloyd Carr won a National Championship in 1997. I have the commemorative hat on a shelf above my desk, but what many don't know is that on the evening of that victory I opened a bottle of champagne, poured a glass for my father and myself, took a celebratory drink, and put down my glass with this immediate thought - "Because of this championship we will be stuck with this man until the day he decides to retire." I was not happy.

But I remained a Michigan fan.

In 1998 the Wolverines lost their first two games. Still I remained a Michigan fan.

Lloyd Carr made a mockery of the college careers of both Tom Brady and Drew Henson.

I remained a Michigan fan.

2000 3 losses, 2001 4 losses, 2002 3 losses including a loss to the Buckeyes sending them to the National Championship game.

This was a culmination of a season that had seen me watch the Buckeyes with so many close friends each and every week. Heck, I knew the Buckeye roster better than Michigan's.

I celebrated the Buckeyes' success with my friends, and rooted hard for them in the National Championship game against Miami. I cried in victory when they won.

I remained a Michigan fan.

I had actually heard after that year's GAME that many respected me for continuing to root for my childhood team, and sticking to my guns, showing up at a party of hundreds with the only Wolverine jersey in the bunch. Oh, if they could have known how conflicted my heart was becoming.

2003 I attend my first game in Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines win an important game against Purdue and I am seemingly the only person in the Stadium who cheers the victory. Seriously, 111,349 in attendance and I felt like the only one celebrating. Michigan also wins the GAME - I couldn't celebrate. I felt sorry for my heartbroken friends.

But I remained a Michigan fan.

2004 3 losses dropping games to Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Texas, the last being one of the best college football games I have ever seen.

I remained a Michigan fan.

Of course 2004 also marked the beginning of the college career of one Mike Hart. More on this later.

2005 - 5 losses, 2006 2 losses - the last two games of the season. Could a heart take much more?

Or would that be a Hart? I don't believe Mike Hart has any heart. I don't believe he is a leader. I don't believe he is a player who cares. (I also don't generally attack the character of college athletes unless they run their mouths and open themselves to scrutiny.)

2007 - Appalachian State - Need I say more? Mike Hart by all accounts did not play the better part of the 2nd and 3rd quarters because he was "dinged up." When he finally did play and score a touchdown to put his team back in the hunt, he promptly jogged to the sideline rather than stay out for the two point conversion. A leader? After the game he said his head was held high, better in the first game, than the second, blah, blah, blah....

Coach Carr - why are you letting players talk after that game? Why are you...?

You know what?!? Never mind. I'm done.

No longer a Michigan fan.

Tucked away in closets, I have my windbreaker, a jersey, a hat or two. Tucked away in my heart I have the memories from my childhood.

I wish Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines nothing but the best - but my heart won't be yours to break, my pride won't be on the line for your program every weekend I live in Columbus.

To date, RR I've seen nothing to warrant my return.

Besides I am now a proud Buckeye. I've lived in Ohio longer. I graduated from The Ohio State University. I have nothing but respect for Jim Tressel, the man he is, the young men he molds, and the emphasis on excellence he places in every aspect of his work, and in the goals and pursuits of his teams.

Tomorrow, I will be attending a party with my friends, proudly wearing the same Buckeye garb as they do.

I can't pretend to harbor the same hatred for the team up North that some may have.

But, I will not continue to be disappointed by a team that seemingly cannot understand one basic concept.

In life and on the field, we all have our struggles, we all have our successes, we all have our highs and lows. It's what we do with them that really counts.

Will we strive for perfection or will we forget what the Michigan program does not seem to get?

Mediocrity is not acceptable.

The First Album Played on Jimmer's iPod was...

First I want to thank everyone who voted in the poll.

Next - I want to tell you a story. (You knew that was coming.)

I love my girls so much, and like any father I want to find things to share with them. I've been fortunate enough to have many memories with my girls. Today, I want to tell you about one of the strangest.

Sweet Treats the sign said above the glass door, below on the shelves were cookies galore...

Say it out loud, in a sing-song voice. Kinda catchy right? It's from one of the books I used to read to the girls when they were little.

It's also the phrase that I found ringing in my head while playing hockey one evening about 10 years ago.

It's not a bad little rhyme, but it's not exactly hockey music. My first thought was; "Jim, if you keep this up you are going to get run (into)." I cussed a couple of times to "tough out" the game, and when I got home I immediately put a tape in my vehicle that would be much more effective for playing hockey.

I needed some really high octane, turn it up, bad mother music that could help me really take it up a notch. I wanted something that would take me back to my teenage days when I was that cocky kid riding around on my bike, boom box jamming and swinging. Music that would help me to remember to be that kid that wouldn't come off the ice.

I had the perfect album.

The next week and many thereafter I cranked that music from home to the rink, and actually played sort of good I think. It felt like it anyway. ;-)

The girls decided to come along to watch a game one night which is always really cool, but when K got in the car, (Delaney was riding with Mommy.) I looked at the tape; looked at her, looked at the tape, looked at her - The tape was AC/DC's Back in Black - the child was very young. Hmmm... What to do? Well, I wanted to play a good game in front of the fam so in the tape went, and so began the "pumping up the volume explanation." Kailey loved it. We rocked it out to the rink and had a great time.

We did that a few more times over the next couple of years and then one Saturday as we were headed out to one of K's first basketball games she asked for "the pump up music." Yes, I was surprised, but it was all good. Surely this wouldn't last right? It was just an “I wanna be like Daddy phase.” Right?

No, that would be wrong.

I'm happy (I think) to report that K rocked it out on the way to every game through the end of her basketball career in eighth grade. Delaney rocked it a little bit until she gave up the game this year, but not quite as much as K. I think part of the reason D didn't get quite as wound is that we only had one tape, and when the girls played in different places so we didn't all travel together K took the tape - with her sister's blessing.

For those of you who are wondering - I'm pretty sure Annette was secretly laughing, okay sometimes she laughed out loud at all of us, but we were having a whole lot of fun.

I thought this was all really cool until Kailey's 8th grade year when she and I would crank the volume and sing along and I realized she knew a lot of the words, a lot better than I did. (Though she claims she still doesn't know them all.)

I know the album is pretty much all raunch, with sexual connotations, drinking references, and on and on, but I mean – who knows the words - right?

Um, Kailey knows the words Jim you idiot.

Okay, better be an informed Daddy so onto the Internet I ventured. Holy Schniekes'!!! I quickly deduced that I didn't want to know all the words because I might have to explain some things to my daughter that even I didn't necessarily know all the details about.

Still, one evening driving home from Bww, (Because I’m a good Dad like that.) I talked to Kailey a little bit about Back in Black. I expressed my concerns about the many "adult" things in the song, and wondered if she had any questions. Did she want to know about any songs in particular - etc...?

It turns out - ALL of my concerns were completely unfounded. While K knew what the words and the songs meant, she didn't care. That's not what the tape meant for her. This was our tape. She shared it with her Daddy, and that was really all that mattered. (Yes, K I was paying attention.) Whew...

Alright - give me a minute here I'm all verklempt.

D - I'm not leaving you out. We all saw you banging your head back there. ;-)

Sharing AC/DC with my girls, from my childhood to my children's childhood. Does it get any better than that? Whoda thunk?

So, while a Billy Joel song was the first to echo through my iPod. The first album my friends was AC/DC's Back in Black.

Guess who was the first person I handed an earphone to?

10 Random Things About Me - Learn & Play @ CML Bonus

1. I obtained our family's first iPod for the grand total of $1.00 + the cost of gas to go pick it up. I won it in a church raffle with a ticket I only bought because all of the parents around me at the basketball game were buying tickets. My daughter Delaney still uses theiPod, except when it "white screens" which we haven't been able to fix permanently for some reason.

2. Though I have played almost 12 years of organized hockey as an adult, I only played one year as a kid. When I was 8 I skated for "Warner-CantrellPadmos" or the Blackhawks as we called ourselves, in Redford Township, Michigan. I was very green, and also very good. But, I had a heart condition. Nothing major, but enough of a concern that my ice-time needed to be monitored. As do many youth coaches, mine wanted to put his best players on the ice as much as possible. As the season progressed each time I was due to come off the ice my coach would ask more and more if I was alright to stay out. Of course I always answered yes. I was a kid, I didn't understand the consequences of overexerting myself and I wanted to play. The last straw came when my coach left me out for so long I was finally met at the door to the bench by my Dad who physically removed me from the ice. When the season was over so was my youth hockey career. I wanted to play goalie, but I think my Dad knew that was a ruse just to get myself onto the ice by hook or by crook. I was disappointed and decided to hang out at all the summer camps my friends were attending. I don't know why - just to watch and make myself more miserable I guess. I was pleasantly surprised when the scouts and coaches running those camps told me how disappointed they were I wasn't on the ice for more development. They had seen me play and wanted to work with me. I don't believe I ever told my parents this, and I don't talk about it much, but it's fun now to think about what might have been. I did talk myself into one of the post-camp games and scored a goal laying on my back. I hung onto that memory for a long time until I was fortunate enough to finally play again thanks to Joe at Hilltop who pulled me back to the game with late night pick-up at OSU. Thanks Joe.

3. My first major at OSU was Theatre. I was going to be an actor, (Plus I didn't want to take math.) The pic I used for my read poster was actually a resume photo. After my first year at OSU, I went to New York and auditioned at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was accepted, but didn't get the scholarship I needed. I knew I didn't want to go back to school atOSU, at least not then so I went full-time at CML and the rest is history.

4. During my time at OSU as a Theatre major I returned to my high school, Bishop Ready and directed both the fall play and spring musical. I got a little thank you of $100 each time. I guess I could say I've worked "professionally in the theatre." Wonder if I should add that to my resume? ;-)

5. As a child I would spend many late nights listening to my mother clean to the music of Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Helen Reddy, Neil Diamond, and Abba. Consequently I know many lyrics to a lot of songs I wasn't sure at first I was happy to know. Growing up however I've become more and more comfortable with my "Inner Gay" as my friend Shoebrarian calls it, and I'm happy to know and love the work of these amazing performers.

6. My favorite movie is "Prince of Tides," but that's not the only "chick flick" I like. A close second on the list is "50 First Dates." What can I say? I'm a sucker for love stories.

7. I have a talent for remembering numbers. I can tell you my first credit card number, my original library card number, the first phone number I had to remember, and every jersey number I've ever worn. I can associate almost any number with an athlete pretty much immediately.

8. When getting dressed I always put on the left first, i.e. left sock, left shoe, left glove, left skate. I once got dressed for a baseball game, jumped on my bike to go play and realized I had put my right sock on first. So, I made my buddy wait while I went in - undressed and redressed. I went 2-3 and raised my average to .571. I've never chanced it again. I actually think I'm naturally left handed as I can do just about anything with my left hand without much trouble. Playing hockey - I still shoot left handed.

9. I've been a part of two branch moves in my time at CML. I worked to move Morse Road to Karl Road and to combine Hilltop and Hilltonia into the new Hilltop. (This was my second tour of duty at Hilltop, and I still consider it my CML home if you will.) Branch moves can be great team builders, and a lot of fun for everybody involved. I don't think I've ever worked harder though. :-0

10. Here's my favorite library story - I met my wife Annette at Morse Road Library. When she walked into the staff room on her first day I said to my boss, "that newLTA is hot." He just rolled his eyes at me. Little did we know. A few weeks later Annette and I went to lunch together at Mother's, (we still have a matchbook) and a few months after that - after we both got engaged to and broke up with other people - we moved in together having never gone out on a date. We both just knew we were meant to be together. More than 18 years later, I still wonder how I ever got so lucky.

Whole New Rodeo Dog - Thing #23.

Alright Gang - I'm going to try to do this one with a little structure, but include some story too.

I'll try to use the suggested questions as a framework.

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

There are two answers here: Obviously my favorite and still continued exercise is Twitter.

My favorite discovery has actually been rediscovering my love of writing through my blog. I am so grateful for this. In short it has been therapeutic and life-changing. In the last few months I can even tell when I haven't been blogging as much as I need to as I felt my anxiety level rising.

The blog allows me to remind myself to be Jimmer, i.e. the real me. I've tried to be sure not to make Jimmer a character, to not talk about myself in the third person, except for maybe when it was appropriate for a piece. This is not a character by any stretch. This is Jim Brochowski about as exposed and open as I've ever been, reaching out, reflecting, trying to give myself another chance by simply being myself.

Two recent examples make me think I'm on the right track.

The first is a situation wherein I was pretty much asked to prove that this wasn't all just lip-service. I believe the reviewer is convinced.

The second is a comment from a friend at CML. She told me I could quote her.

I have loved following you on Twitter. Like I said in a recent tweet, your willingness to self reflect and share that process has been heartwarming. As we all reveal a part of ourselves through social networking, new relationships are being created and others are being rekindled. It is so cool to watch it and experience it. Of course my follow-up tweet said this, “Now you have become more than just the guy who drinks coffee all day.” I’m sure you understood why I said this. The only time you and I had ever had any interaction is when you passed by the Greeter Desk on the way to the Java Master, coffee cup in hand. We are communicating on a whole different level now, and I think it is great. Looking forward to the continuing conversation…..

That means a lot more than I think I can verbalize. Thank you Type A Librarian.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

My lifelong learning goals all relate back to 3 things. Three discoveries I've made about myself in the last few months / years. These are my base.

Because the 23 Things for me has been so much more than just Learn & Play, I think it is obvious that this program has been more than just those things. It has provided an avenue to learning, a way to reconnect and show people who the real Jimmer is.

So, what are the three things you ask?

The first thing - a customer came into the library to print something out. He had no idea whatsoever what he was doing so what he ended up doing was taking it out on our staff. Cussing up a storm, swinging his arms, banging the equipment and not getting what he needed in the process.

I don't know how or why, but something struck me. I was never more calm as I said to him - "It's okay. What do you need?" Looking puzzled he stared at me and said "Huh?" I repeated what I had said and he told me what he wanted. Together, we accomplished his task in a little less than five minutes. That was weird I thought, but I didn't really understand the magnitude of the situation until I received a copy of a note / "say it" the customer had left commending me for being helpful while he was "irate."

Reflecting on this I realized that what I had done was recognize that this man's true intent was not to create a disturbance. He simply needed to accomplish something he had no idea how to accomplish. Huh?

True intent.

I began to think long and hard about how I was interacting with people. Was I recognizing what their true intent was when they came to me with a question for example? Was my Mother's true intent really to frustrate me every time she visited?

Wait - My Mother - Oh the poor woman. I really needed to work on this when interacting with her.

So, I set two goals for myself, and made them my New Year's resolution and Lenten promise until the end of time. 1. Be nice to my mother and do everything in my power to make her feel welcome in my home. 2. Always try to consider peoples' true intent when interacting with them and respond accordingly and without bias.

Note: As far as I can tell - True Intent in this context is my own thing. I don't think there's any great concept out there. Hmmm... Maybe I should write a book or something. "True Intent" copyright 2008 Jim Brochowski ;-)

The second thing - When I tell the story of Meghan Joy I always include the following quote:

"From Meghan and because of Meghan we learned to attack each day with enthusiasm. We learned to reach out and make things happen for us instead of waiting for them to happen to us. We learned to face each new challenge head on, with our entire being. We now know the value of living and giving a total effort. Many years ago I lost my daughter. As I look back on her story and what effect it has had on our lives I see that I’ve tried to live my life from that point exactly as I’d promised Meghan I would. I guess it sounds like a cliché, but life is short."

It's almost like a prepared text pulled from the pages of her story, but when I saw it in print at our golf tournament this year it was abundantly clear that I was not keeping my promise. I began to do some deep soul-searching, looking at the man in the mirror as they say and trying to find better ways to change.

The third and final thing.
This one I owe to Randy Pausch. In his final lecture he talked about, among other things being a Tigger or being an Eeyore, i.e. an optimist or a pessimist. He also talked about how he had lived his life, doing things for his kids, and his wife. It is an incredible lecture. If you haven't watched it I assure you it is an investment of your time you will not regret. He also wrote a book titled "The Last Lecture" which I highly recommend.

I really admired Randy's viewpoint, but I didn't know how valuable it would be to me personally until my daughter Delaney started school this year. Delaney was a worrier, the "what if" person if you will and I was having a hard time convincing her that it would be good to go into school with a positive attitude, charging ahead, being a leader and so on. But she wasn't getting it. Finally, I looked at Delaney and remembering Randy's lecture I said;
"Are you Eeyore? Or are you Tigger?" Instantly her eyes lit up. She got it. She really got it, and she now tries to be a Tigger in every way.

Having had this talk with my daughter I knew I needed to ask myself the same question. Jim, are you a Tigger or are you an Eeyore? Yes, I needed to change my answer too.

These three things are my base. I try to check myself regularly on these, and I encourage you to check me as well. Go on. I'll listen. ;-)

Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I have been pleasantly surprised by the sense of community that has been created at CML. This exists throughout the Web 2.0 community. I have been able to reconnect with my colleagues at the library in several locations, and I have made new connections via Facebook, and by following the "rock stars" blogs.

I think my new career goal might be to be one of those rock stars. Look out Michael Stephens. Kidding ;-)

Seriously, this program has provided me a way to reflect by moving forward. For that I will always be grateful.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

My old self would have said something really badass, like: "Don't you dare change a thing about this program." But that's not me anymore.

I think what I would say now is don't ever forget the term "Perpetual Beta." Please always be willing to consider the next idea, the next thing and embrace them. Try them even if they don't initially seem to be so great, even if they require radical trust, even if the benefits aren't immediately obvious.

I believe there are so many organizations, companies, and even industries that are being held up by their reluctance to change and adapt, to try new things even.

I think my biggest pet peeve right now is people who say; "I don't have time for all that Web 2.0 stuff, that new fangled techno stuff and so on. I've got real work to do." I wonder if they have ever considered how much more work they could get done if they would get on board and let that new fangled techno stuff work for them.

I'm trying to bring Web 2.0 technologies to my foundation with a new board later this month. I am very hopeful they will agree with me on this. I think The MJB Foundation can accomplish so much. Please wish us luck.

Oh and consider this your formal invitation to follow The MJB Foundation on Twitter. (Updates should become more frequent soon.)

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again choose to participate?

This one is simple and requires only a few words - in a heartbeat.

One more you didn't ask:

What has been the coolest thing about this program?

As a teacher, trainer, and a coach the coolest thing for me are the "Aha moments," when you can see folks really get it, When they are really connecting and helping themselves succeed. When they are engaged. I've been fortunate enough to see more than my fair share of these over the years and Learn & Play provided that many more. My favorite saying in these instances is "this ain't my first rodeo dog."

Of course this rodeo has been quite a bit different.

Learn & Play @ CML Thing #22 MOLDI

Yes, that says MOLDI - as the Learn & Play blog says "yeah, I know, horrible acronym, but great service."

It is a great service, but I have to admit to having at least some reservations.

Finding material is easy enough - search features are very simple with several ways to search for different types of material.

Checking out, as it were is also very easy. Simply following instructions and looking for some intuitive cue words like "add to cart" I found it to be very much like online shopping.

The rest of the process is also easy enough - You "checkout" your ematerial. It's downloaded to your computer or portable media player, as is the “reader software,” if needed, and cha - ching you are on your way.

Cool, I thought - now how does it get returned? Or more accurately, if I'm an author and I want to keep my copyrighted material mine - how can I do that?

I know it's the digital age and everything is available to everybody, but as a creative type I wonder about such things.

I did some quick digging on MOLDI and then took this question to my Twitter community. "After 14 days, do items delete themselves or is it " a trust thing?" I can't find an answer." I know, I probably would have found an answer eventually, but I find the layout of most FAQ pages to be cludgy. I also think FAQ's with perspective are much more fun.

The answer seems to be as follows "They delete themselves from your computer, but if you burned them to disc nothing happens," as in they can be played "...forever and ever."

So, I asked my friend CychoLibrarian who knows about such things if that bothered anybody?

His reply - Well, it was perfect.

"It doesn't bother me, but only because the publishing industry is clueless about how to handle the digital age."

See - call me old fashioned, but when I create something I want to keep it. I like to share it, but it is still ultimately "mine." Take my writing for example - If you follow this blog with any regularity you know that this is very personal for me. I would like to think that if I had something worth distributing to the masses I would feel the same. It's very personal.

Still I can't find fault with my friend's viewpoint. The publishing industry really is clueless in this instance - so what do we do?

Well, the only thing left really is a term I learned about not long ago - radical trust - I may be bending it a little to fit my purposes here, but to me putting creative work out in this medium requires quite a bit of "letting go of control..."

So, for our purposes today - what do I think of MOLDI? I think it's a great way to take the library to the community and provide a virtual presence. I found many titles I would check out - AND return.

Let's hope more folks do the same.

*edit - I want to also give credit to my friend KKBookmom for pointing me to the actual MOLDI FAQ's.

Learn & Play @CML Thing #21 Podcast Ur doin' it - kinda right akshually

I can't help it. I've tried podcasts, whether running across them on newspaper websites, or on television websites where I once listened to a 1/2 hour on Greys Anatomy, they always, and I mean always put me to sleep.

I'm reminded of old episodes of The Walton's where the family would be gathered around the radio, excited to listen together and slowly Grandma and then each child would drift off into slumber - as if the radio was the perfect soothe sayer. I believe the podcast is the 21st century replacement.

Still, I figured I must be missing something with podcasts so I jumped into this exercise with an open mind, eager to learn about this web 2.0 technology that I must be doing wrong.

At least from my perspective - I was not.

I do have a new iPod and I have been rockin' around the clock, so it could just be - not the right time for non audio and video broadcast(s) for me.

I'm considering all possibilities. So please don't let this reviewer sway your opinion. YMMV.

A podcast does provide a means to disseminate information to a wide and varied audience. The library could certainly use all the tools we can find to tell our story.

Allowing that I can often be found scratching my head, saying things like - "Huh, I was wrong again..." I looked at the instructions for creating one's own podcast and have stored the info in my list of ideas for The MJB Foundation to consider in the coming year.

All that said I will share these final 3 thoughts

1. I'd like to see more consistent search engines for podcasts. Kinda like I'd like to see RSS feeds be more prominent - so maybe that's just a matter of time.

2. I've been listening to talk radio for the better part of the last 15-20 years so I'm kinda tired of just listening to people talk "at" me.

3. When you start to inventory your life as I have been doing for the past few months - if you see the need for change - you get pretty busy, pretty quickly and sleep becomes a luxury you don't want to afford.

Good night Mary Ellen, Good night John Boy...

Politics? Purple is Ideal

I'm wearing purple for the third day in a row. (Yes, I have 3, actually 4 I think purple shirts.) On Wednesday I wore purple because it is my favorite color and it helped me feel better. I thought that was the only reason at the time. Yesterday I just grabbed purple again and didn't really think anything of it. Today it hit me.

As I was watching the final election results and reading all the tweets on Twitter there was a call for no more red, no more blue - how about purple? I remarked at the time that I didn't think it was possible. What with all the hate filled diatribes, and mocking of all of the candidates, even as they were giving their concession speeches it didn't seem to me that the America we live in today was really capable of blending into purple.

I had planned on breaking down all of the attacks, from both sides in this space today, to talk about how wrong it is to hate because someone is different. But this is a lesson we all have learned long ago. Right?

Isn't it right to respect another's opinions or viewpoints even when they differ from our own? From the sandbox forward we've heard this, we've preached it, and we've passed it on to our children who we pray will pass it onto theirs.

When it comes to politics however we throw all that out the door. Anybody who is not on our side of the aisle is - well they're just not right. Right?

So here is my question - why does there have to be an aisle? Why do there have to be sides?

Shouldn't we all be on the same side?

I watched the president elect’s first speech after he won the election. He was very respectful in his comments toward Senator McCain, citing the service, the dedication of a man who can arguably be described as having given more for this country than any of us could ever give, or imagine we might give. The president elect gave a speech that was filled with hope. It was filled with promise. If we can accomplish even half of what Barack Obama talked about in his speech Tuesday night, well Wow!

But you know what? We can only do that together. We can only do that if we're purple, and we need to be that way for a long time.

The political process, the way the system works is broken. I personally believe it is damaged beyond comprehension. Still in four years the majority of our country will again repair to their respective sides of the aisle and we will start all over again, and it will happen again, and again, and again.

I'm not advocating the end of the political process and I'm not suggesting an 8 or more year term for our new president.

I'm presenting purple - the recognition that though there is a need to decide who leads, who is in charge, who governs, there is no need for the name calling, the bitterness, the hate. It is time to recognize that we are all ultimately on the same team, and we will succeed or fail together.

Please note - This post is not intended to support one side or the other. If you read it that way, I suggest you read it again. I don't believe in sides. I believe in purple.

Learn & Play @ CML YouTube - Holy Home Movies Batman!

There are millions of videos on YouTube, but for me there is one series of videos that make it one of the best of the Web 2.0 tools available.

For this exercise - I'll just use the summary - Warning, this is not for the faint of heart, nor does it accurately depict the game of hockey as it were. It does show what being a teammate, being committed to your team is all about.

If you watched even the first 50 seconds, you saw a vicious cheap shot that broke Kris Draper's jaw requiring surgery and months of rehab followed by the retribution that was dutifully doled out to the cheap shot artist, (whose name does not even deserve to be spoken) by one Darren McCarty.

(A little extra info - DMac is one of my all time favs, and also without me thinking about it at the time - an inspiration for a lot of what I've done in the past year. In short, he's a flawed individual who is trying to put himself back on the right track.)

Lest you think I am the only person who holds this strange team viewpoint - I will share that a very mild mannered CML librarian who also plays for Brian's Bail Bonds once told a player who challenged us to a fight - "I didn't do it. But I'll step up."

So, in that I am a Red Wings fan, and a hockey player, and committed to my team I can get lost pretty easily in highlight reels like this one.

Regardless of the subject though - YouTube is a place I would venture to guess many could get lost. There is so much out there, and each video clip provides links to another video, and another, and another, and another, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on...

Think you might be posting something unique? Think again - I've had a YouTube account since February for various and asundry, (is that how you spell that?) reasons, so just for fun I thought I would try uploading my own video. I didn't want to put up anything too big, and I'm not ready yet to put up something that might draw a crowd that could maybe make me uncomfortable.

Uh, good luck with that Jimmer.

I thought posting my birthday thank you video would be a cool idea, a Jimmer starting point.
In case you didn't see it - here it is - Thank you all again!

If you scroll down in the related videos at the YouTube site there are 194. Really - 194 related videos, and many with "Jimmer" in their title.

Incredible stuff!

I don't see YouTube as a time waster though - It can be used to send a message - like my birthday thank you. It can be used to share information with an organization - as Gerald 2.0 and Library Joy have done with the Learn & Play videos.

It's effective, and it's also fun.

Heck - you're going to the movies over and over and over and over again...

Learn & Play Thing #19 Tooling around the Library

Isn't it amazing how many things are right in front of our face that we sometimes miss?

I mean, sometimes people have to make us look at something before we even notice it is there.

Sometimes we hear about things because a little birdie told us with his twitter. Other times we find things because they create a distraction - much like a ball going boing-boing around a room.

Some think there is a bit of a tech-crunch going on, but I guess that would depend on how one defined crunch.

The technorati would tell us that we need to look around and see what we can digg up. Of course if you're a Worldly Cat or crazy like a Firefox you know you already know how you might burrow to find some pretty delicious - Library Things. Heck you never know what you might just stumble upon without even trying.

Use your G-mail and send me an email so I can tell you about this great place called the Columbus Metropolitan Library. There you will be able to find so many cool things including some incredible power tools that can make working on the web a whole bunch of fun.

Another Meme

This Meme comes from my friend Cat.

1. What time did you get up this morning?10:22

2. Diamonds or pearls? Opals.

3. Last movie you saw? All the way through? No idea.

4. What is your favorite TV Show? Project Runway is the only thing I'll stop and watch. Yeah, go ahead and laugh.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? toothpaste - Haven't eaten breakfast since 6th grade. On the weekends I am a sucker for Cracker Barrel.

6. What is your middle name? John

7. What food do you dislike? liver, oatmeal, chicken noodle soup, egg noodles.

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Getting an iPod this week. Haven't listened to a CD in some time. Answer coming later.

9. What kind of car do you drive? 1994 Ford Ranger - yeah the blue one.

10. Favorite sandwich? Sausage Grinder from W.G. Grinders - Also been into soup lately.

11. What characteristic do you despise? Entitlement

12. Favorite item of clothing? big baggy shorts and sweatshirts

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? London - just always wanted to go.

14. Favorite brand of clothing?Ashworth or no name comfortable stuff.

15. Where would you retire? Someplace warm with consistent weather.

16. Favorite birthday? Just celebrated my 40th in a number of ways with awesome family and friends.

17. Favorite sport to watch? hockey - There are other sports?

18. Beach or Mountains? I like to look at the mountains from the beach.

21. Are you a morning person or a night person? I am a night person, but I have this strange admiration for morning people. So productive. One of my goals - one day.

22. What is your shoe size? 8.5-9

23. Pets? Mulligan James - springer spaniel.

24. What's your favorite holiday? Not a fan of any holiday really. Maybe Halloween.

25. What did you want to be when you were little? A baseball player. A hockey player. Love of the games drove me to believe one or both were real possibilities.

26. How old are you today? 40, but I was sixteen just last week.

27. What is your favorite candy? Twizzlers. Can't say no.

29. What day are you looking forward to? The day I feel like I'm successful.

30. What are you listening to right now? Stapling.

31. What was the last thing you ate? JP's barbecue.

32. Do you wish on stars? I believe Meghan Joy is a star above my house. I always give her a wink and a nod and tell her how much I love her.

33. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Burnt Orange. My fav as a kid until forever.

34. How is the weather right now? A little cool, but unseasonably warm, considering it's November.

35. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Brandi at LensCrafters.

36. Favorite soft drink? Coca Cola

39. Favorite restaurant? Buffalo Wild Wings. There are other restaurants?

40. Hair color? dark brown, and lots of gray

41. What was your favorite toy as a child? Sadly - Johnny West, but I had a huge imagination that didn't require toys.

42. Summer or winter? Summer - most definitely. Margaritas on a deck somewhere.

43. Hugs or kisses? Kisses and hugs.

44. Chocolate or Vanilla? Butter Pecan.

45. Coffee or tea? What is tea?

46. What is under your bed? Lots of dust bunnies.

47. What did you do last night? Worked on converting VHS to DVD. Frustration and then some.

48. How many keys on your key ring? 4 - 2 car keys, 1 house, 1 no idea, Work keys on separate ring - 9, -might have to find out what a couple are for.

49. How many years at your current job? more than 10 years in this position, Almost 23 at the Library.

50. Favorite day of the week? Thursday - don't know why. I just like Thursdays.

51. How many towns have you lived in? 12 at least.

52. Do you make friends easily? I make friends easily, but it takes a long time for me to make close friends. (Completely stole Cat's answer because it is perfect.)

53. Who inspires you most? I am inspired by people who realize that anything they want to accomplish is always within them. People who say - "OMG, I did it!"

54. Who do you want to tag to do this meme? Everyone who reads it! Then let me know if you've done it. (Also Cat's answer, but again perfect.)

Halloween Hogwash

Not a lot rankles, (now that's a fun word) me these days. It takes way too much energy to be angry, mad, frustrated upset, etc... and so on. I'm not saying I never get this way. It just takes more these days than it used to. (Don't tell my kids. I still yell at them sometimes just to keep them on their toes - kidding.)

But last night I was spitting, yes, spitting mad. And this is why.
My daughter Delaney found this in her candy in a box of Nerds. I was incensed.

I mean really, what is the point? To think that some "adult" put this much time and energy to send this message to my 12 year old is simply ridiculous. What message is that anyway?

You're too old to be a kid? Really? Who made them judge and jury for "kiddom?"

Okay, we all remember that point in our life when we stopped trick or treating. Many of those stories go something like this.

I didn't want to wear a costume. My parents told me I couldn't go door to door asking for candy if I didn't at least take the time to put on a costume. I decided it wasn't worth it. My trick or treating career was over.

But D did take the time to put on a costume. She was a "50's girl." Her friends also had on costumes. One was Barbie. The other was an OSU fan with frightening scars on her face, and a James Laurinitis' jersey.

Okay, maybe not the sort of princess and fairy costumes they might have come up with when they were younger, but serviceable at least, and not the "Hoochy Mama" outfits some of the older teenagers were wearing. (Now that's another post entirely.)

My oldest K stopped trick or treating after her 7th grade year. An 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C. conflicted with Halloween, and by her freshman year her candy hunting days were a faded memory.

We fully expect D to take the same trip next year, so there was a tinge of sadness as we watched her walk around with her friends on what will most likely be her last trick or treat night. We fondly recalled the memories of so many Halloween's past, and wondered how our children could be growing so quickly. It was a beautiful evening. We all had a great time - and then...

D opened her box of Nerds.

Harumph - Nerd indeed!