Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good heavens... has been full lately.

At the library: 1) we had a fresh Epic Technology Fail, an event handled with grace and good humor by staff system-wide. 2) We learned that, if somebody smokes a great deal of pot next to the Kitsap Transit office door, the big fan in the wall by my office will pull the scent right into the building and it will smell like a freshly-deceased skunk. 3) I've entered several items in my Toilet Events log. 4) The roof continues to develop new leaks, offering opportunities for creative drip-catching. 5) You would not believe the things we've found inside returned books.

Our daughter, Amy, is still in Tokyo. She was in class when the big earthquake hit and she ended up staying at the school for 14 hours while things settled down. It's been a one-day-at-a-time saga since then. The school was closed for a week, reopening as the trains began to run again. Amy had stayed with friends for that week and she was thrilled to finally head back to KCP and reconnect with her teachers and friends but, alas, most of the students had returned to their home countries. They've now combined the two upper level classes into one class of 10 students. Her 12-story dorm has three residents, Amy (10th floor), Sarah (11th floor), and the dorm manager. The term ends on Friday. We're still working on getting her return ticket changed to a date earlier than April 9.

I suppose this experience is a good test for Amy, since her goal is to live and work in Japan. She loves the culture and people. Her language skills are certainly up to it. We've often joked that she was born Japanese. So, we shall see!

I've always enjoyed twitter, facebook, flickr, and etc, but I am now thankful for social media. We've finally chatted with Amy in facebook, getting a real-time update from her on the true conditions in Tokyo. We send email to her phone (it shows up as a text message) and when she texts a reply, it arrives as email. She uses twitter for quick comments. Early on, I posted updates to Amy's facebook Wall so her friends could be assured that she was ok. I posted updates on my Wall for family and friends.

You wouldn't think humor could be found in something so dire. Every day brings news of developments and discoveries - earthquake, tsunami, nuclear reactors damaged and leaking radiation, Japan (the entire island) shifted eight feet, the rising number of aftershocks (I stopped looking at that when it reached 500), the earth's axis tilted an inch; I finally posted that Godzilla should be showing up any time now. When a volcano erupted at the southern tip of Japan, a friend commented that Gamera might be joining him. (I could immediately tell who among my friends had enjoyed those old Japanese films.) Amy told me that my post made her laugh and it helped her feel calmer. We affirmed that we weren't making light of the disaster; we were recognizing how surreal it had become.

In other news, Ken and I visited Port Townsend last weekend. It was one of those gettin'-out-of-Dodge-City sort of trips. We both needed a break. We decided on a Sunday-Tuesday visit. We browsed the shops, walked a lot, tried to do some geocaching (which deserves a posting all its own), and had every meal out. We visited several bookstores and I had a grand chat with one of the librarians at the Port Townsend Public Library. We hunted for beach glass. I bought supplies for an altered book project and Ken took lots of photos of Victorian buildings. Port Townsend is a sleepy little place this time of year and we enjoyed it immensely. It was just what we needed.

Now we're back and I'm in full-blown Conference Prep Mode, working on my session materials. I'm presenting two sessions, one as a co-presenter and one all on my own. The solo session is "Accidental Leadership" (some have greatness thrust upon them) and I'm on the hunt for humorous images for the visual part of the session. I found the perfect image for the "Don't isolate yourself" portion:
I hope the session is helpful and fun for those attending it. For me, presenting at a conference is a bit like jumping from a roof into a firemen's net - I know it will be fine but there's still that deep breath beforehand.

Overheard on Twitter: Why don't they make ALL shampoo "No More Tears"? Apparently now that you are an adult, crying is just part of it.

Next time: hostile geocaches in Port Townsend. Stay tuned.