Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Library Haikus

Librarians across the state of Kentucky were invited to enter a haiku contest as part of the annual Kentucky Library Association/Kentucky School Media Association Fall Conference. The entries are posted at the website below. You can find my haiku in the bottom right corner. All the haikus are about libraries and books. Welcome to "geeksville!"


Happy Librarian's Day

October 16 was Librarian's Day, and I didn't even know it until I received emails and cards wishing me a happy day! Below are some of the well-wishes included in homemade cards from some of my students.

Dear Mrs. Mansfield,
How was your break? Well you know what mine was horrible. How was Librarian's Day? It sure does sound good.
P.S. Your a great librarian.

Dear Mrs. Mansfield,
Thank you for being so nice to use. Thank you for being so kind to us when we misbehave. I like you as a librain and I hope you can stay one!

Dear Mrs. Mansfield
You keep us safe from falling back in are chair and busting are head and having to go hostpitle. Thank you for letting us check out so many books.

Happy Librarian's day!! You go Girl. Thank you Ms. Mansfield for running the library. That is a big responcible job you now. You sould be prowd for what you dun over the years. Agan thank you.

Dear Mrs. Mansfield,
Thank you for running the library because if you weren't hear the school would not know how to use the library. Thank you for keeping the library up like putting the books up where they go. Thank you for all that you do. Happy Librarian's Day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Through Thick and Thin

This past weekend I saw two great movies about very different kinds of families: I Am Sam and Little Miss Sunshine. Both movies promote the positive family value of "sticking together through thick and thin," but in quite different ways. Although I would recommend I Am Sam for most audiences (I saw the edited for TV version -- original has some language in it, I believe), I would be cautious in recommending Little Miss Sunshine to anyone I don't know.

The language in Little Miss Sunshine is quite offensive at times, and some of the subject matter is very adult (homosexuality, pornography), BUT the end result (spoiler alert!) is that the family sticks together to overcome the many obstacles facing them as individuals and as a whole. Divorce is not an option for the parents, leaving someone out of the everyday life of the family is not an option, and turning backs on troubled family members is not an option. The belief of the family that the main character, Olive, can win the "Little Miss Sunshine" pageant, despite the fact that she is obviously NOT the typical pageant contestant, is heartwarming. Olive has such a great sense of self-esteem that has been fostered by the members of her family.

In I Am Sam, the main character, Sam, (played superbly by Sean Penn) is a mentally challenged father trying to raise his normally developing seven-year old. The court system thinks Sam is not fit to raise his daughter, but the overwhelming love that Sam and his daughter share for each other overcomes even the skeptical social workers and court system. Others around them learn great truths about themselves and their families through the whole process.

Sticking with your family through thick and thin--a great lesson from two creative movies.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

On My Nightstand This Month

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Elianna Update #6

Lots of things to report this week:

1. Rick and I both had our first two home study interviews.
2. We turned in our I-600A form to Customs and Immigration Services. (see picture)
3. We had our Federal fingerprinting done. (see picture)
4. I met with our Home Study organization in Louisville and with our Adoption Agency in Lexington to go over paperwork.

Still to do: Apply for passports, get pictures made, wait on references and other paperwork to get done.

Goal: All paperwork turned in by November. Dossier to China by end of December. Dossier logged in February or March. Then approximately 14 month wait for a referral.

Please pray for us that all paperwork will be completed in a timely manner so that we won't have delays. Physical exams and criminal background checks expire after 6 months. We'll be cutting it close!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

2006 Embarrassing Moment #3

We had our first home study interview this past Monday evening. Actually it was an individual interview with me that lasted an hour. Rick just came along for the ride. But enough of the boring details, and on to the embarrassing part. Background: My first name is April. I’ve always been called Kathy (short for my middle name, Kathleen).

Me: Hi, I’m Kathy and this is my husband Rick.

Social Worker: Hi. Nice to meet you. I noticed that the name April is used on some of the documents. Do you usually go by “Kathy?”

Me: Yes.

Rick: April’s my concubine.

Me: (saying nothing; staring blankly at the social worker; mortified)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

2006 Embarrassing Moment #2

A few weeks ago, I participated in my first ever 5K Walk/Run during Simpsonville's annual Fall Festival. The t-shirt I received upon completion is a testament to the fact that I finished the race. Thankfully, the t-shirt doesn't say how I did in the race.

Entering the 5K Walk/Run was a lark. Several co-workers and students had encouraged me to enter, knowing full well that I'm not an athlete by any stretch. Truthfully, most thought I would never actually show up the morning of the race, especially since the sign-in time was 7:30 a.m., and I'm definitely NOT a morning person.

Well, I surprised everyone by showing up at the starting line. Encouraging hugs from co-workers and students boosted my self-esteem. While folks around me did warm-up stretches, I looked around uneasily trying to figure out how far 5K really is. One of my students announced loudly, "Don't worry Mrs. Mansfield, we'll send an ambulance for you!"

The starting call sent approximately 50 runners, joggers, and walkers on their way. Within three seconds I was far behind. Even the walkers were moving as fast as the runners in the front ranks! Pretty soon I couldn't even see the closest participants. As I passed by the home of one of the families from my school, I hollered out, "I'm afraid to turn around to see if I'm the last one!" They hollered back, "You are!" Then they proudly cheered me on, yelling "Way to go Mrs. Mansfield!"

At every turn of the route, race officials and sheriff's deputies radioed that "the lady in the gray shirt is making the turn." That was the signal to open up that part of the route for traffic. The midway water break was shutting down by the time I meandered towards it. I yelled, "Wait for me! I need water, too! I'm in the race!" They saved a cup of water for me.

As I approached the final hill, I couldn't see anyone at the finish line. I knew the others had long passed the final mark and were enjoying the free biscuit and gravy breakfast provided to all runners. Suddenly one of my students ran down the hill and started shouting, "You can do it Mrs. Mansfield! Just a little ways more. I'll run with you!" I panted back, "I AM running." Of course my slow, laborious walk didn't look much like running. I couldn't believe my student would help run me in for the final stretch. I huffed and puffed as I asked, "Did everyone else already finish?" "Yep. A long time ago," he smiled.

A finish line never looked so good. I completed the race in 50 minutes. Dead last. I was so proud. Not one ambulance had to be called. And I got a t-shirt.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

New-to-me clamshell iBook

I've recently discovered a need/want for my own laptop computer. Thanks to my husband's ingenuity, I now have an inexpensive, but way cool indigo blue clamshell iBook! At the state library conference last weekend I won an iPod nano. Since Rick received a free iPod nano with his new MacBook, we decided to sell the prize one on eBay. The money from the sale paid for my new iBook. With minimal upgrades, I now have wireless internet capabilities, Keynote, iPhoto, Microsoft Office, and tons of other stuff I might possibly need down the road. It currently has 320 MB of RAM. It came with OS 9, but Rick upgraded it to OS X Panther. All of this for about $100!

Rick captured me on his camera phone during my first outing with the iBook. We're at the Java Brewing Company. Don't I look cool!

Elianna Update #5

Our first Home Study interview has been scheduled! I will have my first interview with the social worker next week. Rick's interview will be later in the week. Then we will have a joint interview at some point. The last interview will be with both of us in our home. This is our next big step in our journey to get Elianna!

Countdown to Elianna!