Saturday, December 29

Dog Park

I was back at the dog park for the first time since Johnders was cut. Tara took him the other day but we both went today. It's always fun. The dogs are fun to watch and it's fun to see Johnders run around. We chatted with a young woman, recently moved to Inglewood from NC. She mentioned how you can spend a couple of hours talking to people at the dog park and never get their name or talk about what they do. You talk dogs.

I have to say yet again that it is a wonderful training experience, you don't get better distractions than a bunch of dogs running around. Also we get Johnders home and he's laid out - quiet and motionless for a couple of hours.

Thank you metro parks!

15 Minutes of Fame

This past week I was on the local NBC News. The library is doing its Food for Fines. One minute I was answering the phone telling Channel 4 that I would transfer them to the PR Dept to ask for permission to film and the next I am out front being ask to be a backdrop for the story.

I'm standing there in my BB King tie and unshaven face chit chatting with the library's PR mistress, Deanna Larson, about living in Inglewood and she also made me aware, although I already try to check myself, about what and how I blog; I am also a public face of the library. Anyway, the guy is filming while we are chatting. When I got home I watched the 6pm news and there I am just gesticulating away. The next day a coworker said they repeated the segment a couple of times.

Woohoo! Not only was I on TV but somebody saw me.

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays to my few but loyal readers and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

Saturday, December 22

Congratulations, I think.

I have just completed my first week as Customer Service Specialist for the Nashville Public Library. When the announcement was made I got several honest congratulations but I got several tepid, even disappointed congratulations. Most of the latter came from people who I have observed as not the most customer service oriented and I imagine they pictured themselves dealing with the "problem" patrons and just couldn't imagine that being a good job. Honestly, I worry about that too but for a different reason.

It's not logical but I will take some issues of complaints personally. I think it is usually related to how the patron approaches me. I can't put my finger on what all that means but it does have to do with the way they approach me. The other part of it is that I want to be understood and I don't think I am necessarily confusing but when it apprears to me that someone doesn't understand what I am saying I want to explain more and that usually frustrates everybody. So, my hesitation or concern about the job has to do with me not letting go of a situation after its over. Yoga techniques and mindfulness practicing will help me deal with all sorts of focusing and concentration issues. I hope to use my mindfulness techniques to help deal with difficult situations. My predecessor always said this was a job in which she got to make people happy by resolving they problems. I hope I can maintain that attitude.

This first week went well. At this point, it is a very hectic job. I am trying to organize the space, organize my head, and organize the daily duties/routine. The job involves making phone calls, receiving phone calls, sending/receiving emails, answering emails on-line, searching this building for items, emailing or calling branches to search, and fielding questions at the front desk. Basically, there are a lot of moving parts and I have to figure out how to best organize the day and the space to make sure I don't get pulled into a crazy mess. I hope I will have the routine half-way figured out by mid-Jan...that is two full weeks (since we have holidays both this week and next). I'm sure I will be referring to zen habits and lifehacker for some helpful hints.

Overall this seems like it was a good choice on my part. My two supervisors have shown confidence and support which, I would like to emphasize, is a wonderful feeling. I am sure I'll be ok once I'm settled but as any new chapter I am nervous and a little discombobulated. I know it will come but its hard when you hit the ground running and you have to take a lot of responsibility .

Friday, December 21

Dog walking is the way to go!

The past week I've been trying to walk Johnders more than I used to. I've noticed he's been a little antsy and unfocused. I mean, he spent the last 2 weeks with an E-collar and it's been raining alot. I recognize he's a high energy dog but I have not been able to make myself go to bed early enough to get up early enough to take him for a walk. Last week we started walking when I got home. Almost every night we've walked up or down Gallatin Rd. We are probably averaging a little over a mile a day which means I am walking 2 miles a day when I ride the bus (probably 8.5 of 10 days). I haven't seen much improvement in him as far as hyperactivity but he is walking on-leash better. He's not pulling as much if he wears his harness. The surprising thing, or at least the part I didn't consider is that I have seen improvments in me. I now weigh less than 185, not by much but there is downward movement and I have been hovering at 185+ for months. We'll see how I survive the holiday eating season but so far so good.

The other thing I have to mention isn't directly about dog walking but it is something I have noticed how my polartec jacket combined with my lightweight gore-tex rain jacket. Wicking is cool. I sweat while walking and I get home and only the outside of the polartec is wet. I think that's cool.

Tuesday, December 18

Smartest Dog on the Planet

Last week I bought a bell to hang on the door so Johnders can tell us he needs to go to the bathroom. He rang it once yesterday but I didn't see it happen so I wasn't sure if it was an accident. We went out and he peed. This morning I saw him do it. That's barely one week of training! Now, if I can get him to stop jumping and pulling when on leash.

Woohoo! Johnders is great.

Ear Candy of the Moment: Method Man - Rodeo ft. Ludacris (Mixtape)
via FoxyTunes

Food=no fines

Exchange canned goods & other foods for overdue library fines to support Second Harvest Food Bank
Resolve to help the hungry in Nashville and get overdue fines forgiven during Food for Fines, January 2-9, 2008 at Nashville Public Library.

Library cardholders will get $1 in current fines waived for each can or package of food donated to Second Harvest Food Bank during the drive, held at the downtown Main Library and all neighborhood branches.

Items especially needed include peanut butter, canned meats (tuna fish, beef stew), canned vegetables and fruit, macaroni and cheese, and rice and beans.

Bring canned goods, or items in boxes or plastic bags or jars (no glass can be accepted) to the circulation desks at Main Library, 615 Church St., or any library branch (visit for locations).

Staff will accept the cans & food items as payment for overdue fines on customer accounts at the rate of 1 can or package per $1 in fines. Replacement fees for lost or damaged materials, fees for losses that are in billing or collection stages, and lost card fees are not included in the food

Bring canned goods, bags, boxes or jars (no glass containers can be accepted) to the circulation desks at the Main Library, 615 Church St., or any library branch (click here for a complete list of library locations).
Ear Candy of the Moment: Lucinda Williams - West
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 10

Buddhist Thought of the Day

I believe this is my new mantra. OK, I know its basically the eightfold path but this makes that seem so real. Besides, its a bit long for a mantra.
In this present moment I care that my thinking be the right kind of thinking, thinking that reflects understanding and compassion. This kind of thinking can nourish and transform me, bringing joy and happiness to me and people around me. In this very moment, I care that my speech be the kind of speech that communicates understanding and compassion, the kind of speech that can restore communication and offer confidence and reconciliation. At this very moment, I care about my physical action. My physical action should be able to translate my understanding and my compassion. If I'm sure that my thinking, speech and physical action are in line with understanding and compassion, I don't have to worry anymore about the future, and I save a lot of energy. I wasnt to invest one hundred percent of myself in this very moment. And this is possible. If I know I am doing my best in the present moment, I'm not afraid of the views or ideas of people now and in the future. The past, present, and the future are interconnected. The present contains both the past and the future.
Thich Naht Hanh, "Art of Power"

Thursday, December 6

Buddhist Thought of the Day

This is a great first step.
Don't cling to anything and don't reject anything. Let come what comes, and accomodate yourself to that, whatever it is. If good mental images arise, that is fine. If bad mental images arise, that is fine, too. Look on all of it as equal, and make yourself comfortable with whatever happens. Don't fight with what you experience, just observe it all mindfully.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"