Scuttle

In the morning, I scuttled from my accommodations at the home of Ms. Lawley (in West Henrietta) to the grad student AirBnb (near downtown Rochester). The blue, two-bedroom AirBnb reminded me of the apartment I shared with Vicky and Sidney in Syracuse. I checked in, dropped my things and walked to the conference center.

From 1pm-2:15pm, I served as a monitor for an interactive session on “cultivating empathy in librarianship”.

From there, it’s all a happy blur: meeting with friends in the exhibit hall, session sampling, sweets, beer and tofu wrap at Drifters, pizza in the presidential suite, reuniting with Lane Lawley and company, reception at the Strong Museum of Play, late night talent show with Urban Librarians Unite.

David and I had light-touch communications. In his work world, he prepared to make a switch to “product side”. I’ve come to understand it’s like the research and development side of marketing.

Cancer

Dear Mom,

I’m thinking about the moment you walked me down the aisle. I’m thinking about tomorrow. I thinking about the year behind us. A lot happened.

I just got out of the “synchronous” part of my online class. The class is called Library Planning, Marketing and Assessment. David and I squabbled after class. I was telling him about one of my assignments, and before I finished, he was telling me how to do it. I wasn’t listening as well as I could have been when he began talking. I could tell he was fueled by a stubborn passion and the experience of his own work in marketing. It’s possible that he said something to the effect of:

Find out where they’re spending money. Find out who’s seeing what you’re putting out there.

He disappeared back into League of Legends. I stormed into the kitchen and settled back at my computer.

I’m turning my thoughts to tomorrow. You’re going in for surgery to remove the trouble spots. I remember seeing them on the scans when we met that surgeon at Smilow.

I’m flying to California tomorrow night. I want very badly to be with you, and to support you tomorrow – as you have done for me my whole life.

I want to visit during your recovery, when Mitch has gone back to work and things start seeming quiet again for you. To help in any way I can.

Mom, you’re the strongest woman I know.

Love,
Samantha


The trip to California is centered around a Saturday memorial for David’s Aunt Joss. The first time I met Joss was on a CD in David’s car. She was on piano. I met her in-person when she gifted everyone the last-hurrah trip to Paris.

David comes to the kitchen to reconcile. He opens with an apology for being mean and a hug.

You categorize it in terms of paid and earned media.

You measure it in terms of dollars spent and time spent.

Those are the two sections of your report.

And maybe you do a brand guideline.

It’s really that simple.

Here’s the dollars, here’s the time, here’s the output.

You don’t remember school at all? I say. He says no, and makes a comment about higher education. I invite him to see the very detailed 7-page outline of what’s expected for my final report.

He looking at the outline and getting excited again. He talks about spending time and money to earn media. He says,

“Marketing and communications is the study of paid and earned media.”

I ask him questions to get deeper and try to learn more. He perceives it as an attack on his competence and freaks out again.

He expresses feeling a certain way, and I ask him not to take that out on me.

I’m remembering the gist of a book I’m reading for work: It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.

I would add to that: it’s what they feel.

I think this could be an important insight for my marriage.

Speaking of which, husbometer check-in:

Line chart of Husbometer progression. Looks like a mountain range.
Will we ever again reach honeymoon highs?

October 12th, October 12th

I left the Hotel Ithaca around 6:20am in group of 8 or so. We were led by Mary Carol. Our first stop was Cascadilla Falls. It was still dark out. The falls were next to a church. On seeing the falls and the rushing water, I was reminded of my friend’s recent death. I bottled my sad thoughts. The morning was cold but comfortable.

We made our way to Ithaca Falls, which were massive. From the bridge we saw a heron. In order to approach the falls, we walked the path to the right of the bridge. With the recent rainstorms, the falls were going full blast. They were massive (100 feet tall and almost 200 feet across). There was someshoreline flooding. Mary Carol told me the falls are fed by Lake Cayuga.

After the hike ended, then came: breakfast, errand-running, presentation prep, and presenting. CVS and Tompkins County Public Library came to my rescue!

My poster session featured Enterprise Risk Management research from one of my class projects and my lightning talk coached conference attendees on Design Thinking. I challenged them to think about its applications to library management and project work.

The conference wound down with more new friends and a trip to Syracuse. I drove directly to the Inn Complete for Librarian’s Night Out – where I got to reunite with many grad school friends and mentors.

It was a lot of social energy output in a very short time! I did not have enough energy leftover for blogging.

My old roommates hosted me. I stayed in Sidney’s bedroom. I read a great book that was on the kitchen table (Tea Dragon Society), reunited with Mo and Vicky, and then proceeded to have an intense sleep.

Again, David and I talked little, except to discuss plans for the following day. He had already headed to Boston with Tom. David made the trip for his alumni lacrosse game and reception.

 

Higher Education

I raced in the door after my 1.5+ hour commute home. I called David when I got off the subway.

Hey babe, can you help me? Can you get the lap top set up on the kitchen counter and reheat some food? I think there’s still leftover pasta in the fridge. My class starts at 7, and it is 7.

I’m not actually paying attention to the asynchronous course content like I want to because my brain is tired and my body is angry. Why can’t I better protect the time I had carved out for fitness?

I, and all of my classmates, couldn’t access the synchronous session tonight. My levels of stress were too high to stay committed to the troubleshooting process.

2uzoomlockout

I rage-posted to Facebook.

Facebook screencap. Venting on Facebook.

This is a very small nighttime anecdote, not worthy of my long-building frustration. Has it peaked? Will I forget these feelings when I meet graduation again?

I count my blessings for David’s support, encouragement and little things. In the space of 15 minutes, he let me cry, yell and cuddle. That’s some grade-A husband healing.

Other weird, defining moments of my day:

  • Starting the day with a disagreement about car responsibility and parking
  • Not being able to find parking, driving to Brooklyn
  • Meeting the amazing J. Chrastka for the first time
  • Free bagels and cream cheese
  • Meeting Johannes, NYPL marketing superhero
  • Working on a campaign for a public library in New Jersey (specifically a revamp of their YES committee’s Facebook presence)
  • Wearing sun glasses on the subway
  • David and I imagining life together with a baby
  • Good friend, Allison, and new sister-in-law, Caroline, reaching out to lend their support about my higher education rage

Final thoughts:

We preach the goodness of higher ed without a particularly critical eye toward what students are asked to spend (or assume in debt), or a careful examination of what is actually gained.