misc-joy

Explorations by Kenley Neufeld

The Courage of Parents

The Courage of Parents

By on August 1, 2008

Can you imagine being together as a family and your 7-year old son complains about a headache and three minutes later is unconscious and being rushed to the hospital due to a stroke? This is exactly what happened to some friends of ours less than two weeks ago. The life of this boy continues in others now, and I want to share this message of courage and compassion by his parents, even with death.

My partner spent Tuesday and Wednesday with our friends and their young son. This family has given a great gift to the world despite their great suffering. On Thursday morning around 6:00am (Pacific), this young boy was taken into surgery to have 8 of his internal organs removed. Each of these organs were placed into another person (all but pancreas and small bowel were successful).

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Summer Flowers in Ojai

By on July 28, 2008

I just bought a new camera and have been taking a few nature shots. I found a used Canon Rebel XT on eBay for a decent price. Look for more pictures from me in the future.

Being Vegan

By on July 21, 2008

Back in 1985-1986, I was deeply troubled by the plight of the rainforest in the Amazon. The information I received at that time came primarily from the Rainforest Action Network who talked about deforestation to support the booming fast food industry and the American hunger for cheap hamburgers. I felt helpless to do anything until I realized that I could start by not eating meat. My connection to the environmental movement was connected to my eating habits and I became a vegetarian. Ten years later I began a journey into Buddhism, eventually becoming a student of Thich Nhat Hanh. It was there that I learned about vegetarianism as it relates to ethics and its connection with compassion to all beings and not killing. Now, another ten years have passed. I am still a vegetarian. I am still a student a Thich Nhat Hanh.

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4 days, 25 Monastics, 80 Children, and More

By on July 7, 2008

With almost 250 people filling Deer Park Monastery, the 6th Annual Family Retreat was a great success. Leslie and I (with kids) arrived a couple days early to help setup and plan for the arrival of many friends. From July 2 through July 6, the monastery was transformed into a time of families practicing together. It was very nourishing to see many old friends from past retreats and to share, learn, and grow together. The Dharma is deep and lovely and it was very present in those attending the retreat. How wonderful to spend time with parents on the path who have similar values and interests as we do in our family. About half the people camped while the others stayed in the simple dorms. The weather was hot, but not unbearable. This Retreat was the most culturally diverse I’ve experienced at Deer Park (having never attended the People of Color Retreat) and I was happy to be sitting and practicing with friends on the path. So, some readers may wonder what happens at a monastery with 80 children.

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Dinner in Downtown Disney (#ALA2008)

By on June 28, 2008

Apparently some of our dinner attendees had a difficult time finding the resturant. The dinner was schedule for Naples Restaurant in Downtown Disney. This is a space located between the Disneyland Hotel and the Disneyland entrance. Essentially a large outdoor mall to our obsessed need to constantly shop. Though I have lived in California for most of my life and have been to Disneyland quite a few times, I am still completely fascinated by this entire environment. People everywhere. Shopping. Eating. Appearing to have a good time. Did you know it cost $66 to get into one of the theme parks or $91 for both. That’s some serious money if you bring the family. Since I live in SoCal, I can buy an annual pass for $129.

Anyway, back to our dinner and off my little rant. We had 65 Community College Librarians from across the country join us for dinner. The food was excellent. The service was excellent. A good time was had for all. My hosting responsibilities end with this conference.

As the dinner ended, the evening fireworks show began. People were just sitting on the ground in Disney Plaza enjoying the show. My collegue said to me, “Is this the happiest place on earth?” I was feeling pretty happy at the moment.

OCLC Symposium – Gym of the Mind (#ALA2008)

By on June 27, 2008

Trying to keep a somewhat flexible schedule today even though I have three “committee” meetings to attend. With that in mind, I decided to sit in on the OCLC Symposium for a while rather than dropping in on the Forum on Education (I should be there!) and I’ll miss part of my ACRL Leadership Council.

The theme of the Symposium is “The Mashed Up Library” and it will be moderated by Andrew Pace. It’s fun to be here on the first day of conference and seeing everyone connecting with each other, meeting new friends, etc. The energy is high as we wait for 1:30. In his introduction, Pace said “mash ups are a full fledged commuting platform and on the verge of replacing the personal computer as the dominant tool.”
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ALA Executive Board Meeting (#ALA2008)

By on June 27, 2008

Stumbled upon the ALA Executive Board I meeting as I was looking for the LITA blog salon. Poked my head into the darkened room with board members hearing a presentation. A discussion and presentation of the new ALA site was already happening. The comment I heard was made that backend is Drupal and Jenny Levine is in charge – should “make the techies happy.”

Questions from board members:

  • login issues – has this been resolved?
  • Where is APA? Under related sites. Is that intuitive?
  • Burying Council under governance because membership doesn’t have a clear understanding of what governance mean.
  • What happened to the “Take Action” button on the current home page. Haven’t found a new location for it yet, but in discussion.
  • •    Any press release will appear on the home page, but it is possible for them to ranked.

Working on style guidelines for content managers. This is the next big phase.  Site scheduled to go live at the end of August. There are more than 90,000 files to move around into the new site.

Next report is from the Development Office.  Time to go look for Blog Salon.

Librarians Converge on Anaheim (#ALA2008)

By on June 26, 2008

ALA2008 Logo It is time for the Annual American Library Association convention. Our 65,000 member organization meets every June in some large city in the United States and this year we are in the home of Disneyland for ALA 2008. This year is great for me because I could drive to the convention and there isn’t a time difference. Twitter has also played a role in my pre-conference activity and excitment. Over the course of the last 18 months I’ve been using Twitter, quite a few librarians have jumped on board and become active users. What has been particularly exciting is getting to know many of these (young) librarians virtually and now possibly meeting them in person for the first time. Fun. You can track some of the conversation on Summize or my Twitter feed. If you’re a visual type person, you can track images on Flickr too.

Over the next few days I plan to blog some of the activities, which is a slight diversion from my normal posts. Here is my schedule for the weekend. Enjoy.

Movies, Television, and Children

By on June 17, 2008

Parenting is a huge responsibility and it will affect our children’s (ages four and eight) future in ways we can only guess. We make decisions for our children on a daily basis, but are we are making the right choices? Two particular choices we have made in our household pertains to media – we don’t own a television and the kids have only seen three movies to date (Cars, March of the Penguins, and Horton Hears a Who). Though the kids see television when they visit grandma (cooking shows!), it isn’t a presence in our home and they don’t seem to miss it. At a recent social gathering of friends, I was surprised to hear of a 7-year old watching Hotel Rwanda and the latest Indiana Jones with her dad and of a 5-year old who watches an hour or two of television or videos daily. This came days after Leslie and I went to a PG-13 Hollywood blockbuster and noticed some very young children in the audience. It makes me uncomfortable but at the same time makes me question our choices.

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500 Email Messages in 24 hours

By on June 7, 2008

If I spend a week off email, how do I handle returning to 500 email messages (and it is fortunate it is summer vacation!)? My goal is to get through most of the email messages in 24-48 hours so more mail does not accumulate and bring my InBox to less than 20 messages.

My email falls into five categories: personal messages, work messages, committee/volunteer-associated messages, news alerts, and mailing lists. I have all my email delivered to Gmail, with some message automatically assigned a label upon arrival (such as mailing lists and work messages). My first step is to quickly scan through the all messages in my InBox for anything that appears urgent. This means looking for personal messages and quickly scanning the first line as it appears in gMail – occasionally opening the message to verify the urgency. If it can be handled in less than a minute or two, I respond immediately otherwise I mark the message to unread and continue to scan. (more…)