Annie and “The change” (part 2)

Like most women, my hormonal balance has changed multiple times throughout my life. My current shift is moving into the late stages of reproduction.  For me this has caused high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, and severe anxiety.  The first two I’m on medication for, the last one I’m learning to recognized and negotiate all over again.

Let me clarify, Annie (or my anxiety) isn’t always demanding attention.  Because she is so ingrained in my thinking, most days she’s sleeping in her pocket, where she doesn’t disturb me. We have learned to communicate and negotiate how she effects me and when.  But now in my late 40s, there is a week out of every cycle (every 21 days) when she won’t settle down or be quiet.

For me it’s like Annie changed her mask, color, and shape… leaving her unrecognizable.  I’m having to renegotiate all the things I had grown used to doing to get her to calm down. On really bad days, it doesn’t work and the pit in my stomach and compression in my chest won’t go away.  Then the nausea takes over.  On these days, I have learned to close my office door and work quietly while not making big decisions if they can wait.

I’ve learned that if I’m busy enough, she calms down because I don’t give her the space she wants.  But as soon as things slow down, she starts screaming again.

Don’t misunderstand me…  I logically know that there is nothing to worry about and that everything and everyone is fine.  But when Annie stands up and starts screaming, it’s like my basic flight instinct is on overdrive.  I feel as if something bad is going to happen.  I suspect an attack at any moment, but have no idea from what corner.  It feels as if with the slightest push, I’ll lose control and start crying or screaming whichever one will give the most relief.  And while this is all happening, I KNOW that I’m being irrational.  That this shouldn’t be happening and I should not feel this way.  But Annie is there and she is in control.

I’ve also come to know that in when my hormones cycle back around, it will pass. That’s my blessing … her really bad screaming visits usually only last 2-3 days, then she quietly sits down and goes back to the usual routine of everyday normal worry and negotiation that I’m used to.  

Those 2-3 days of screaming attacks at the top of her lungs, are hard to get through, but I am extremely grateful, that it’s only for 2-3 days.


Annie… (part 1)

I dont draw Anxiety much, but when I do, her design is reflective of her hold on me at the time. In late 2017 I was having a rough time, so she’s more monstrous but recently I’ve been kinder to myself when she’s around which is subconsciously...

I first met Annie in 2014 when I ran across Tom Allen’s Real Monsters images. Tom’s images helped me realize… she was changeable, I knew her, and I could claim her as mine.  Annie has always been with me, but I didn’t understand that she could be a separate thing from the way my brain worked.

Annie has been my constant companion that I learned to quiet, ignore, or compromise with when I was younger.  See, she is a living breathing creature that lives in an invisible pocket in the center of my chest.  She has been there forever, and our relationship has always been multidimensional.

I remember as a child trying to go to bed, hugging my teddy bear and forcing the image in my head to change to Micky Mouse or a sunny day instead of the “bad things.”  I got my Teddy at the age of 2 and I remember using him like this when I was 6 (although I probably did it before that).  I learned to do this because my brain is wired to always think of the worst case scenario.  Always.

I didn’t realize this was unusual until talking to my mother and sister in my early 40s.  My mother told me I shouldn’t worry so much and asked why I did.  I asked her to clarify the question, because I din’t identify it as worrying.  I explained it was preparation.  Then asked, didn’t they prepare contingency plans of what they would do in different situations?  They both looked at me like I had grown another head.

Which of course I had… Annie.   But Annie and I had long reached an understanding.  I would allow her to roam wild as long as it was before whatever was happening.  We would prep for all cases and she would be quiet on the day of the event.  It was the compromise so she would not overwhelm me when I got stressed and was in a new situation.

For example, I ALWAYS hated the first day of school, but the week leading up to it was the worst.  The heart palpitations, the dreams, the stomach ache that came with the beginning of a school year happened no matter my age. And no matter how long I’d lived there (as a military brat we moved a lot, but when we were in Tx we stayed in one place from 6-12 grades).  Annie and I dealt with it though organizing and preparing scenarios.  Organizing helped calm my nerves and be as ready as possible.  The scene preparation consisted of possible conversations I would have with various people throughout the day.   I anticipated each person, class, situation I thought I would be in. Then I tried to come up with the right combination of words and actions that would cause the least amount of stress on me and the person to whom I was talking.

By high school, Annie and I were pros and in college, we continued our arrangement. I learned to adapt more quickly to new situations and environments like work and social activities.  She became a part of me that was just the way my brain worked.

But things changed, in my 40s…

(continued tomorrow)

#OpenLearning19 has begun and I’m already shook…

YA’LL,  the Internet is ONLY 30 YEARS OLD!

I know right!… I’m having a hard time right now too.

But let’s get back on track… we were annotating Adulting for the Web as our first assignment.  I’m supposed to tell you how I chose the places where I left notes, did I leave more then one kind, and if so what kinds.

So for OpenLearning19 we use to annotate.  I used this last year and it was wonderful.  I comment to other peoples notes primarily and I used links where I thought appropriate.  I did try to use an image in, but it didn’t’ work so I linked instead.  Annotating this way leads to greater understanding and a place to ask questions for clarification.  It’s like blogging and chatting asynchronously on something someone else wrote.

Now… what did I learn from the blog post?..  The internet is younger than me and has had a much bigger impact on the world than I ever will.  And I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong it does a lot … but it is a tool… and like every other tool, it is only as useful as the user/operator.  And not enough people take the time to understand what it is and how it works to use it well.  I’m an advocate for education, but as an adult educator, many people don’t want to know how it works… They just want it to work.

The more dependent we become on our electronics to “do it” for us without the understanding or knowledge of how and why it works, the closer we come to Ray Bradbury’s dystopian Fahrenheit 451, where all information is given by the government and any knowledge outside of the given is punished and burned.

For a librarian/educator/truth seeker, that is a future I don’t want to live in.

And now I’m sad…

Managing Up

Related imageThis past week, one of my librarians and I presented at The Collective 2019.  We worked on a presentation called “Trading Places: When Young Guns strive to be Real Geniuses” (it was 80s themed).

In it we had to start with the difference between Managing Up and Mentoring.  For me since I’ve been researching the topic, it appears to be 2 sides of the same coin.  They are both about relationships, but mentoring is the relationship you build with anyone who can help guide you through an organization/problem who supports you.  Managing up however is about your relationship with your boss and their bosses.

I have developed both relationships and I use both to garner understanding and guidance for myself and others, but I’m always struck by how some people see managing up as negative and mentoring as fine.  Where did this come from?  Why is it considered a bad thing to build a trusting working relationship with your boss where you help them succeed?  How do people not see managing up as a skill that (if you can master it) will always work in your favor?  After all these years, I’m I just being naive?

A good book I would love to recommend to all those out there who think managing up is a bad thing is Managing Up: How to Move up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss by Mary Abbajay.  It’s a easy read with lots of practical advice and reasoning on managing up.   Chapter one was really good in explaining why one should be managing up (although I was already on board).


The internet and information literacy

Sigh… So work got away from me so I didn’t get to participate as much as I would have liked so this is my attempt to catch up.

Week 2 we examined the Internet and how it relates to education and open access.  I did the reading early and then didn’t have time to fully participate to get my questions answered.  When I read and annotated the Tim Berners-Lee article I didn’t get the chance to respond to some of the questions I was asked about my comments, which deserve to be answered.  As I read the article I was struck by the income bias.  The article while very informative and enlightening, has a bias toward those who can afford access. Gardner Campbell noted my concerns and is I believe on the right track with inclusive access for all.  Gardner also provided a link to Pew research showing the increase in usage of the internet.  But as I looked through this data I was struck by how we are still biasing access with income and education.  While general use has increased, lower income and education have just now reached the use point of higher income and education individuals were at 18 years ago.  And home use of the internet via home broadband for low income is at 53% and low education at 34% verses high income and high education’s 93% and 91%.  This is not taking into consideration location (data is provided).  Also of note in that same research is that lower income and education individuals are more dependent on their smartphones for all their internet access.  The internet has an inherent bias to those who can afford access, and I think it’s important to recognize that.

Week 3 we examined information literacy and open access.  As a librarian who teaches a credit bearing research course, Facing the Frames just confined what I do.  Although there are differences since my class is 16 weeks and we go into more then just information literacy (we also cover some aspects of writing), the concepts of teaching the student to analyze every aspect of what they are doing is important for librarians to understand and use in every aspect of what they do.  Critical thinking and evaluation is the most important thing we teach.  Which lead into Beyond Buttonology… I have to say I was surprised at this article, because I had thought that librarians had moved beyond teaching the mechanics already.  Critical thinking and metacognition has always been emphasized where I have worked.

That’s my $0.02.


Kal-toh, chess, and tic-tac-toe

This week we peeked into the world of open and flew into a worm hole.  There is sooo much that can be read into one word, and so many uses of the concept that it gets difficult for me to see the multidimensionality of it.  I have a tendency to stay on the surface because that’s what I understand.

On the surface, open education is teaching through a free means.  Open educational resources are the items used in the teaching that are also free.  I’m good here, this is easy to understand.  No cost to teachers or students for textbooks, articles, or any materials the instructor wants to use.

“Kal-toh is to chess as chess is to tic-tac-toe.” (Tuvok: VOY: “Alter Ego”)

But let’s talk about free.  Free starts to get complicated because free should just be that, but it isn’t.  Just like free from a library isn’t free if you can’t get to the library or you live outside the service area, free on the internet isn’t free if you can’t get onto the internet.  You need a computer and access to get to the free. So what exactly is free? and how do we provide it to ALL to create real openness?  Also, is free, free when we make students pay to be taught?  And here is when I stop playing kal-toh and go back to tic-tac-toe.

So how does this relate to my own idea of open education?  I’m not sure I have an idea about open education… yet.  I do know that  in my practice I want to save the student from having to purchase material to learn something when practical application and discussion can accomplish the same thing.  But the materials we use are the library databases that are not free since they are licensed via the library budget.  So even though they don’t have a textbook, their tuition pays for the subscriptions, so in all technicality that is not free or open.

Can I create assignments that are completely open?  The easy answer is yes, by using open access articles to do information literacy objectives, I could use all free materials. But again… this is not truly free for the student who doesn’t have a computer or the internet at home, because they would not be able to access the material anyway.  To further complicate this, they have already paid for my class.  I’m not sharing my expertise free of charge, which again technically would not be completely open or free.  I keep getting stuck in the free aspect of open.  Because really, nothing in our society is free.

I keep thinking about Star Trek.  The open society where you explore your passions for self-improvement, self-enrichment, and the betterment of all humanity. There is no money.  Everyone (supposedly) has the same opportunities for learning and working.  In this world open education is open and free.  In our world, there are too many facets to “open” and “free” to truly be either.

So until we can live in the Star Trek world, we do the best we can and cut cost to the student where it is feasible.  To me that means, finding ways to provide open educational resources to the faculty to use, finding ways to integrate what the library already owns into an easier medium for the faculty and students to use, and to explore whatever options present themselves to make the life of the student easier.  As a librarian, I am a facilitator of access.

Looking Forward

This week for Open Learning ’18,  I’m to expound on these two questions…

  • What do you hope to get from Open Learning ’18?
  • What do you hope to contribute to Open Learning ’18?

Well shoot, if I knew that I probably wouldn’t be here.  Okay… breathe…  Just be honest…

What do I want to “get” from OL18?  Well… everything.  Am I asking too much? Of course I am, but it’s what I want.

I have found myself in a unique situation on my current campus.  I’m leading the Open Education Task Force for the administration and trying to generate discussion to see where we want to go as a campus.  While I know the basics of OER and how it functions, I have no real experience with it beyond my own teaching where I have “borrowed” ideas, activities, and in class materials for my own use.  I have had the great pleasure to work with some fabulous people who were always willing to collaborate and talk though how they did things so peers could benefit and adapt their idea for their own use.  When I started this is what you did as a good colleague, but I don’t think any of us saw it as OER, although essentially it was, it’s just moved online.  I know nothing about how librarians fit in, how web components fit in, how to generate excitement for OER, or how to garner support.  I’m essentially hoping to get some great ideas I can take forward on my campus in an area where I feel inept.

Contribution?  LOTS of questions.  I essentially feel brand new to this and I have quite a bit to learn.  I want to be effective on my campus, but I need more information, guidance, and expertise to feel comfortable in this arena.  So I’m going to be leaning on the MOOC to help me learn.  What I will give you, is a new voice to question how you got to where you are, what is good or bad about OER, and general inquisitiveness about anything you bring up.  I’m looking forward to the discussion.

Atlanta Zoo: Lizard in log
Uh huh, and how do you feel about that?

Pacing myself

Ok… I did my very first tweeting today.

In the morning I played along with #DigitalGaurdiansEg Twitter Scavenger Hunt and that wasn’t so bad.  People posted pictures and other people guessed what the pictures were.  I didn’t get to the party until late, so for me the asynchronousity of it was an easy way for me to learn the ins and outs of replying and loving something.  I also got to learn the “tabs” for keeping up with content.

Then came the afternoon live tweeting with the #OpenLearning18 group… Oh my… I’m so out of my depth.   I felt unsure of what to do in the beginning and as we progressed I felt that I couldn’t keep up.  Understand… there were only like 8 of us, but it felt like 80 to this novice.  I muddled through and think I did well enough in the end.  I didn’t try an original post, but I did lots of replying and (to my mind) supportive commentary.

After the chat was over, I went back to the pre-syllabus, and remembered seeing Sue Erickson’s post about surviving and thriving.  I re-read it and bullet 4 struck like lighting.  I don’t have to be on every post, comment, or blog.  I get to choose, I’m not supposed to do everyting… Wow.

I know for some of you this will sound crazy, but for me this concept is profound.  It was recently commented by my co-worker that I don’t say no to anything I’m asked to do.   As a librarian and contentious employee, why would I say no to a request?  If it’s in my power to help, I help.  If it’s not, I find someone who can.  I have always been this way and it works for me.

So for me this translates to… As a student why would I not do all the work?  I have always been an overachiever who read the syllabus and some of the material before the first day of class.  I  tried to get assignments, readings, and homework done early.  I was that student in class that had the orderly binder of all the materials annotated a week before it was discussed.

In this setting, I have to teach myself not to do it all.  I need to remain flexible but focused so I don’t overwhelm myself.   I have to choose my path which may be the through the woods and not on the road everyone else is on.  And I have to learn that that’s okay.


Open Learning

Open Learning


My first post should be about why I started this blog… so …

I’m joining to collaborate with other professionals on “open.”

  • Open learning
  • Open education
  • Open access
  • Open collaboration

I’m hoping to learn and share where we go and how we get there.

This is my first experience with a MOOC and after reading some of the introductory materials and other people’s blogs, I’m concerned I won’t have enough time, experience, or drive to communicate the way I need to in this new medium.

I’ve always been a lurker.  I watch what everyone else is saying and doing, but I have a tendency not to contribute.  Partially because I feel other people have more experience or better information to contribute and partially because I’m a natural observer (I love people watching).

I’m going to make a concerted effort to get out of my comfort zone and fully contribute to this experience.  Thank you for your patience and kindness.