Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Dear Pedigree,
I would never feed my doxies your food, but I think your commercials are amazing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Library Technologies

Description: A blog is a type of website that contains regularly updated entries. The phrase comes from a blend of the terms web and log. Blogs entries are typically updated more often, which gives them an advantage over conventional websites. The most current blog entry is displayed on top with the other entries coming in reverse-chronological order. Blogs are considered easier to create and maintain in comparison to regular websites because the creators do not need to know HTML or how to transfer files to a server using FTP in order to write and publish their blogs. Blogs also implement the use of other newer technologies such as RSS and Podcasting.

Library Use: There is a wide variety of ways that a library can implement blogs. One way is as a source of news updates for patrons. This could include information about new books, new computer terminals, or new location hours. Another way libraries can use blogs is as a form of marketing. Blogs are an additional web presence that can promote a library and its services. A third way to use blogs is to help share knowledge and information among patrons and staff. Patrons can ask questions that both library staff and other questions can help answer. A fourth way libraries can use blogs is as a community service to promote outreach programs. The blog can serve as a gathering place for links to other clubs and organizations offering services that patrons would be interested. Finally, libraries can use their blogs as a source of internall news that staff would find useful such as work schedules or new library policies.

Social Impact: Blogs can serve to strengthen the bond and interactions between patrons and their library. However, in order to stay relevant in a world where the instant updates of Facebook and Twitter dominate, blogs will need to be able to adapt. Perhaps setting up a Twitter account and then tweeting whenever a new blog entry is posted will help libraries keep their blogs connected with their patrons.

Description: RSS originally stood for RDF Site Summary, but now it is more often called Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a type of web feed that that shows updated works such as news headlines or blog entries. The RSS feed creates an XML page of the content that can then be read by multiple outlets. Through a news reader, such as Google Reader, users can subscribe to the RSS feeds of their favorite websites. Then instead of having to visit each site separately to check for updates, user log into their readers where they are presented with a list of new articles or blog entries. RSS feed subscriptions can even be customized. On the RSS feed page of the AZ Central website (http://www.azcentral.com/help/articles/info-rss.html), users can choose to have only certain topics, such as dining reviews or UA sports, included in their subscriptions. Most websites have an orange icon somewhere on their page if they have an RSS feed. Users click on the icon and save that website to their chosen news reader.

Library Use: Libraries can use RSS feeds on their blogs to inform patrons of when new entries have been posted. With thousands of blogs currently in existence, a library blog can be easily forgotten in lieu of more exciting blogs. Having a news reader periodically check for new feeds from the library blog can help to keep the blog’s web presence relevant for the library’s patrons.

Social Impact: A few years ago, RSS feeds were a great way to keep users alerted to new entries on their favorite blogs. This type of technology may need to reinvent itself in order to remain viable. The RSS feed can remain the same, but the associated news readers would do better if they used real-time alerts. News readers should create cellphone applications so that users can be immediately alerted when a site they subscribe to has been updated. Many celebrities continue to keep themselves in the spotlight because of their real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter. News readers will need to create a similar presence if their RSS feeds are going to stay relevant.

Adaptive Technologies
Description: Adaptive Technology is a term used for a group of different devices used for people with disabilities.  These devices help individuals access and interact with technologies that they would otherwise be unable to, or have great difficulty, working with.

Library Use: There is a wide variety of ways libraries implement adaptive technologies. One way is through audio books that help individuals with visual impairments. Digital screen readers, screen magnifiers, and speech-to-text programs can be installed on public computer terminals throughout the library to help patrons with visual impairments. Easily accessible computer work areas are ways that libraries can adapt for individuals with physical disabilities. Many companies are making computer workstations that have teachnologies that would be useful for a wide variety of different disabilities.

Social Impact: Libraries that make their resources available to all patrons are having a positive affect on their whole community.  If patrons are able to access all the resources that their library has to offer, regardless of their disability, then those patrons can continue to educate themselves on many different topics.  A well-informed citizenry is a boon to any community.

Decription:RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and its use dates back to World War II. It was initially used to identify between allied and enemy aircraft. RFID technology uses both microchips and radio waves. An electronic tag, or RFID tag, is placed somewhere on an item. In books, it is often attached to the inside of the back cover. Radio waves emitted from a nearby antenna are used to activate the tag. A reader then reads the stored data from the tag in order to identify and track that particular item. Unlike more traditional bar codes, RFID tags can be read from a distance and do not need to be in the direct line of site of the tag reader.

Library Use: Many libraries are switching from bar codes to RFID tags. There are many benefits to using RFID tags over other traditional methods. RFID tags can significantly improve the speed and efficiency in which library books are checked-out, checked-in, shelved, and inventoried. RFID tags make self-checkout a very real possibility. Traditional scanners and bar codes required library staff to operate them. With RFID tags, self-checkout stations can be set up eliminating the need for library staff involvment. This, in addition to the ability for multiple RFID tags to be scanned at once, speeds up the check-out process. Removing the need for library staff also offers library patrons more privacy with the items they check-out. RFID tags can also speed up the checki-in process. A tag reader can be built into book return bins to automatically check-in materials as they are deposited. More sophisticated systems could even sort materials as they enter the bin based on the RFID tag information. Can serve as theft-deterrence in place of “tattle tape”.

Social Impact:  RFID tags can provide valuable information on the use of particular items in terms of how often those items are checked out. This information can help libraries determine what resources are in demand in that community. RFID tags also make the check out process of the library easier for patrons and it grants them some privacy in what they check out. Patrons don’t have to worry about library staff seeing what materials they are checking out. These reasons may promote library use, keeping library’s a relevant part of society. However, in an increasingly electronic world, less and less is being checked out from the library. How long will these tags be needed?

Best Technologies
RFID tags are the technology that will most improve libraries for librarians. For librarians, RFID tags will free them from having to do many tasks that they were previous involved in. RFID tags make self-check out a viable option. Librarians are no longer needed to staff the check-out desks. They can instead be focused on other tasks. RFID tags also make checking in books, sorting them for shelving, and doing inventory much more efficient. 

Blogs are the technology that will most improve libraries for patrons. Library-run blogs can have a huge impact on the way patrons think about and access their library. Many patrons may be unaware of the huge variety of resources offered by libraries. To some, libraries are a place to check out books and that is it. Blogs can help show patrons that libraries offer classes and trainings on many different subjects. They can point them in the direction of valuable services in the community. The library’s blog can alert patrons to special events are the library that they may be interested in. Overall, blogs will help to create a tighter relationship between patrons and their libraries.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trier, Germany

I will try not to give too detailed a description of my trip to Germany.  I'll stick to the highlights.

The first city on our itinerary was the oldest city in Germany.  It is over 2,000 years old and contains architecture that dates back to when it was part of the Roman Empire. We stayed at the pentahotel Trier.  The avacado color scheme in the bathroom was right out of the 1970s.

After traveling for two days, food was high on our priority list. We found a restaurant with outside seating in the town's main square. Aimee and I shared schnitzel and pommes frites.  I love schnitzel and have been waiting five years to eat good schnitzel again.

Ancient Roman baths.  We stumbled upon this by accident. All that's left of this structure is the underground heating ducts.

Amphitheater. It was built in 200 A.D. and seated at least 16,000 spectators. 

Dom (Cathedral).  Very beautiful. The oldest church in Germany. This first picture is a view of its inner courtyard.  Notice the kids all over the place? It was "Kindergarten Day" in Trier and thousands of little kids from all over Germany were touring the city. 

Porta Nigra (Black Gate in Latin): Built between 186 and 200 A.D. There were originally four gates that guarded the entrances to the city, but this is the only one that still exists.  

Break time for us.  Jet lag is a terrible thing.

Our last dinner in Trier before we moved on to our next city.  This meal took us about three hours. Waiters don't bring the check until you ask for it as they expect you to sit around and relax. We decided to branch out from our usual beer to have a glass of German Riesling. 

I had schweinerukensteak mit spatzle. (Pork back cutlet with spatzle noodles.)

On the train headed to Munich. I loved when we could get a compartment for just the four of us instead of sitting in the general seating area. Much more relaxing. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Packing For Two Weeks in Germany

As I pack for the trip, I keep repeating "minimal" in my mind. We will be doing lots of walking with our luggage as well as hurrying to make plane and train connections.  We change hotels every two days, and I don't want the headache that would come with repacking a massive suitcase for every move.  The four of us have all decided to take one backpack each.  That may sound small and impossible, but I could easily fit way more than I need in my backpack.  Even though I have the room, I still don't want to be carrying too much weight around.  Hopefully my back and shoulders will thank me at the end of this trip.

Here is a look at what I will be taking with me.

The trip is 12 days, but I am only taking 6 shirts with me.  I don't think anyone will care that I will be wearing each shirt twice.  I don't plan on running a marathon while in Germany, so my clothes won't be getting too dirty. I will also be taking a black cardigan, three tank tops (I love to layer), yoga pants (for wearing on the plane and as pajamas), and two pairs of pants.

My blue crossbody purse is perfect for traveling. In it I will carry my camera, Kindle, chap stick, hair tie, bobby pins, mirror, sunglasses, Advil, and a pen. I also like to carry a money belt for my passport and most of my money.  I still have a lot of Euros left over from my last time in Germany.

For my scrapbook/travel journal I am taking tape, double sided adhesive, and airplane approved scissors.  For toiletries I have sunscreen, face moisturizer, a small amount of makeup, comb, deodorant, face wash bar, shampoo bar, two mini bottles of conditioner, and hair straightening gel.  (An unneeded luxury, but I hate my curly hair.)  I will also be taking a camera battery charger, the Kindle charger cord, a collapsible water bottle, very small tripod, band aids, and a stain remover stick. 

Germany Travel Journal

I’ve learned through experience that I always forget more than I remember when it comes to traveling. The big moments stick in my mind years later, but the little moments are gone. That makes me sad. I wish I had pictures and writing about the terrible hostels I have stayed at and the weird food I have eaten. The more I travel, the more I learn to really document the entire experience.
Two years ago my mom and I spent a week in London. This was my first experience with taking a journal and scrap booking the experience as it happened. I learned through that experience that I love the idea of writing down all the little details as they happen. If I had waited until I returned home, so much of it would have already been forgotten. Plus, I am never able to follow through with scrapping once the trip is over.
One change I want to keep in mind as I create my Germany travel journal is less is more. I am only taking a pen/marker and some double sided tape with me. I don’t need the extra embellishments. Especially since I plan on taking one small backpack for the 12 day journey. I won’t have room for any extra stuff. I am even worried about fitting the journal itself into my bag.

I am obsessed with Remains of the Day style journals. This is the perfect style of journal to document all the moments of my Germany trip. This was my plan for creating my journal.

1. Pick out the paper.
I originally planned on using only patterned paper from my stash. A visit to my local scrapbook store blew that idea away. I went looking for chipboard that I could cut down to use for the front and back covers. Then I spotted a piece of paper that I loved and everything went downhill from there. I came home with 20 pieces of paper. I added 30 pieces from my stash for a total of 50 pages.

 2. Cut the chipboard covers.
Decided to cut the chipboard pieces down to 8 x 6 ½. Cutting the chipboard was not as easy as I had hoped it would be, but it worked out in the end. I also glued paper to the back of each cover. There was a snafoo that forced me to add a strip of blue to the edge of the back cover.  Let's all pretend I did it on purpose.

3. Cut the patterned paper.
The patterned paper was then cut to various sizes. The largest being 6 ¼ x 7 ¾. I want the journal to have an eclectic funky look, so the papers are not uniform in size. I also added some envelopes to the paper mix.

4. Put it all together.
I took the journal pieces to school and used the bind-it-all machine. (Thanks GPS!) After some paper scrunching and a few choice words, I was able to get the spiral binder in place.

5. Start journaling.
I am not going to wait until I am in Germany to get going on this sucker. One of the best parts of traveling for me, an organization and planning freak, is all the stuff that happens before I ever leave home. I want to add those details to my journal. So I added in my to-do list as well as some information on all the preparation I have be doing to get ready.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baking Cookies

 First, I had to gather all my ingredients which required two trips to the grocery store.  That's right, two.  Cause getting everything the first time just isn't my style.

This would be so much easier with a stand mixer. I think I developed some pretty killer forearm muscles from all the stirring I did.  

I couldn't have done it without the help of my wonderful sous chef.  He was by my side every step of the way.

"Where's the other doxie?" you ask.

She was no help at all.  It's okay though. She's a disaster in the kitchen.

My Mother's Daughter

If I were to write a book on what I have learned from my mother, Chapter One would be titled: "You can never have too much toilet paper."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Decluttering My Jewelry

I have been in the mood to get rid of all the excess stuff I own.  I would love to live like Francine who has a 390 square foot 1 bedroom apartment that she shares with her husband.  I've been taking baby-steps to declutter my house and get rid of anything I don't need or absolutely love.  I've always been a routine purger, so I don't have years worth of old clothes, shoes, or magazines lying around that I don't use.  Still, I could be making a greater effort to minimize what I have.

My first stop was my beloved jewelry box.  I am very attached to much of my jewelry because many items were either given to me by friends and family, or I picked them up somewhere during my travels.  In fact, jewelry is often the only souvenir I buy when I visit someplace new.  It takes up less room in my bag and I know it is something I'll make use of in my daily life. 

To start, I placed a blue ribbon on top of my dresser.  Then I emptied out all of the drawers in my jewelry box.  On the left side of the ribbon I placed everything I was getting rid of.  All the keepers when on the right side.

After much deliberation, this is what I ended up getting rid of.  

Some pieces were easy to get rid of.  Like this gold flower ring that is way too big for any of my fingers.  Whenever I wear it the ring spins around on my finger and I end up taking it off before the day is half-over. I also had no problem getting rid of these hoop earrings.  In college I wore them often, but they now hurt my ears so I avoid wearing them.  Why hold on to earrings that I like but never wear?

Other pieces were harder to part with.  The silver disc earrings were sent to me by my parents when I lived in Germany.  They were in a care package along with other goodies that I loved.  Over time and much use, the earrings are beginning to tarnish.  There are spots on them left from hairspray and perfume. I love these earrings and I love the memories they bring, but now that I no longer wear them they just take up space.  I have many pictures of me wearing those earrings as I adventured through Europe so they will not be forgotten. I don't need these tangible things to remind me of the generosity and love that my parents show me everyday.

These earrings have hung around in the corners of my jewelry box for longer than they should have.  I bought them in Venice, Italy in November 2006.  They came with a matching necklace.  When I purchased them, I never had any intention of wearing them, I really just wanted the gorgeous necklace.  I wear the necklace often, but I have never worn the earrings.  However, I could never bring myself to throw them away before simply because of where they came from.  But really, I have the matching necklace to remind me of my time in Venice and I think that is enough. 

This necklace was also picked up in Venice. I've worn it maybe a total of 10 times.  I think it is beautiful, but it feels very awkward on and I fidget with it throughout the day.  I hate doing that so out the door it goes.

These are the pieces I decided to keep. Almost everything here I wear on a regular basis.

These ruby studs used to belong to my Little Grandma and I wear them often.

These gold hoops are one of the only things I kept for sentimentality even though I don't wear them. They were a gift from my dad to my grandma. She gave them to me at the same time as the ruby studs above.  They are too precious to get rid of.

The following earrings I picked up in Chicago, Vienna, and Paris.  They will all be staying in my jewelry box a little while longer.

Here's the final shot of how the top of my dresser looked when I had everything divided.  Even though it seems like I didn't get rid of as much as I had originally planned, I no longer have to use my massive jewelry box.  I now have all my pieces displayed in pretty tea cups and dishes so that I can easily see what I have. 

I bought my old jewelry box in Flagstaff while in college.  I can't bear to part with it quite yet, so I am going to put it aside from the time being.  If I was a real minimalist it would be in the Goodwill donation box right now. Baby steps. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to donate it.

I gave my mom the bag of jewelry that I was getting rid of so she could go through and pick out any pieces she wanted. She then got motivated to go through her jewelry.  She put her unwanted pieces in the bag and gave the bag back to me. I made the not-so-smart move of looking over her items.  After picking out several necklaces and pairs of earrings I think I now have more jewelry than I did to begin with!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why We Love Geocaching

Aimee and I can go places like this.

Near Mormon Lake


Line Shack near Morman Lake.


We get excited about finding things that look like this.

We can take our friends.



My Mom
And our dogs.
Ava and Gabe

It gives us an excuse to take photos of ourselves.

Austin, Texas



We come across sights that make us smile.

Austin, Texas

Near Lynx Lake

And sights that freak us out at first.

Javelina in Sedona

At the end of the day our car looks like this.

Fourth of July Weekend