I Move to Hawai’i and This Happens…

In July, this Kansas woman moved 3800 miles to the island of Oahu.  We came for a job. We put our kids in good schools. We started to settle into a routine. We are slowly getting everything unpacked and the house put in order and taking care of all of those logistical things that happen when you move long distance.

Kansas City to Honolulu Map
Map of the United States

The State of Hawai’i is part of a 1600-mile archipelago of volcanic islands and is home to the most remote city on the planet, with the next nearest metropolis over 2000 miles away. We aren’t near much of anything except tinier islands that stretch back across Eastern Pacific Ocean, a trail left by a volcanic vent over the course of several million years. That volcano continues to erupt as Kilaeau and is currently expanding the size of the Big Island.

Hawai’i is a place where people want to go on vacation. Why? Because the weather is almost always sunny and the air and sea are warm. The ample beaches are sandy and the turquoise water beckons. We go to a beach at least once a week as a family to take a dip and watch life.

Between June and November, it also happens to be Hurricane Season in the Pacific. The likelihood of the major Hawaiian Islands being hit is rare – a small group of islands in a vast ocean makes a tiny target. Conditions have to be just so.

Hurricane Hector passed by with a distant wave in early August, but that storm

Satellite and Radar of Hurricane Hector
Satellite and Radar of Hurricane Hector – August 2018

went on to break the record as the longest lasting major hurricane on record. (And the entire storm only completely dissipated on August 16th.) Hector’s nearness to the islands, as well as a class assignment about disaster preparation, made me act on getting our supplies together little by little. I planned to stock up over several weeks to the recommended 14-day supply.

Fourteen days because we are out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and it takes at least that long to resupply the island with commodities like bottled water and food. Fourteen days for each person in your household. That’s 28 gallons of drinking water, 28 gallons of general use water, and 14 days worth of non-perishable food to cover 4 people. That’s quite a bit to stock, but I’ve got time, right?

Hurricane Lane has other plans. Hurricane Lane, just two weeks after Hector, is charging at us with torrential bravado. Lane is here, and it is going to drop rain by the truckful on these little islands. The Big Island is already in the deluge. Maui, Lana’i, and Moloka’i are next. On Oahu, we are just waiting for the rain and the wind.

How much of each? Forecasts predict 20 inches or more possible of heavy rain in the next few days. Winds depend on the strength of the storm as it closes in. If the weakening trend holds, this might feel similar to a severe Kansas thunderstorm – with the winds coming from the wrong direction. Either way, I’ll let you all know what happens when we come out the other side.

NOAA Image of Hurricane Lane
NOAA Satellite Photograph of Hurricane Lane and the Hawaiian Islands

 

Interlude

It’s wonderful to see that, despite my long absence during this first semester, readers continue to come and visit my sites. Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

Now that I have come to the end of the first semester of Library School, I find myself in a healthy standing with new and fabulous information tucked into my utility belt of knowledge. I’ve accomplished reading hundreds of pages about the history of libraries and librarianship, the ethics of the profession, and the changing face of the public library in this country. I’ve conducted literature reviews of journal articles for papers short and long, and I’ve discovered the ins and outs of digging through tens of thousands of offerings to find what is meaningful and what can be put aside.

Along the way, I’ve met many new acquaintances from varying backgrounds and with varying goals once they complete this degree. Some will go on to be school librarians, others in academic libraries, and still others will carry on the efforts to archive the artifacts of human history that we now create in the millions each and every day. And I’ll be in class with many of them throughout the degree, so we should get to know each other fairly well by the time we’re through, even though we each have our own lives outside of school.

So, what have I learned about library science? Quite a few things I knew but didn’t know I knew, for starters. Libraries are places where anyone can go to learn about any topic that interests them, no matter their socioeconomic status, the color of their skin, or which god or gods they believe in or don’t believe in. And everything they look at and check out is private – no one, not even the government or law officials, can come in and ask to see circulation records.  Librarians are humanists, in general, and they exist to help people answer questions and find information so that they can grow intellectually. It is not the librarian’s place to judge anyone for what they read, watch, or search. I had observed these standards all my life in visiting libraries but didn’t realize it is an integral part of the profession. Privacy is at the top of the librarian responsibilities.

I also learned a lot about formal research. We spent many hours digging up journal articles about different aspects of librarianship, from public libraries to academic libraries and special collections to archiving. We reviewed various research methods and technics and assisted classmates with our “big” assignment, a 7-page paper synthesizing 7-10 articles on the topic of our choice.  I dug into data on the effects of digital archives on historical research. None of us came out of the class as experts, but we weren’t expected to. We all came out with a morsel of knowledge and experience we didn’t have previously.

The summer semester will begin in just a couple of weeks, and I’ll continue to absorb all that is possible. I’ll be diving into an introduction to archives and reference services. And somehow I’ll find time to read and write and finish my WIPs. While Book III of the Bona Dea novels has been simmering for quite some time now, more of the details are falling into place. And on another front, two paranormal novellas are solidifying (they’ll be released together as one book). Thanks to the public library, I’ve been reading about witching gardens and magical plants to guide me.

And here is my plug to go and visit your local library. Libraries are community universities and social centers. Without them, the search for knowledge would be more difficult for everyone (even with the internet at most people’s fingertips). Libraries serve our communities with access to vast amounts of knowledge and programs that both inform and entertain. Don’t let our libraries go to waste and don’t let anyone take them away. And while you are there, request that books by your favorite indie authors be added to their shelves. Donate copies of books. Donate time. Join your local Friends of the Library groups.

Hiatus

Dear Followers,

So, amidst the scribbling of poetry in October, I started to think once again about pursing my Master’s Degree in Library Science, something I had considered several years ago but just couldn’t make the logistics of work, kids, and traveling for weekend classes a viable reality.

But now is the time. I’m heading back. Given the deadline for the application, I abandoned my poetry challenge after Day 23 to focus on getting the application and all the supplemental bits submitted on time.

I’m rearranging my life in a few ways to make this happen, but I’m committed to seeing it all the way through.

Starting in December, one of those little rearrangements will likely be taking a hiatus from working on this blog. I may pop on from time-to-time to post about my progress or offer up some advice, but for the most part, this will be a quiet realm.

Thanks for following along.  See you soon.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth N. Love

GO VOTE!!

votedDear Readers,

If you haven’t taken advantage of ADVANCED VOTING* like I have, your last opportunity to make a difference in this year’s presidential election is TOMORROW (November 8th)!

No Excuses! If you are an American citizen**, not matter how you got here, it is your right to vote, so no one can tell you can’t. Not your boss, not your neighbor, not some blubberhead on television who doesn’t even know you. Polls will be open all day. Be sure to take a photo ID.

And it isn’t just about POTUS. You may also be voting on retaining judges, sales tax increases, bond issues, county commissioners, state representatives. . . and so many other IMPORTANT issues and offices that directly affect YOU. Local elections matter, too.

Need to know where to go? Contact your county election office or check the internet!

*Where available. Advanced voting let’s you vote when it is convenient in your schedule.  I voted on October 30th while I was waiting for my broken phone to be repaired. A good use of my time.

**For those of you outside the United States, be sure to vote at your next election!

#OctPoWriMo 18 – Ancient Water

Ancient water pressed into rock
Markings of a billion years
Time unknown before the clock
Ticked inanely in our ears

Ancient water, once it flowed
Across these plains now hot and dry
The same hot sun has always glowed
In the same brilliant and bold blue sky

Ancient water springing anew
The same water all Earth life has shared
Cleanse the world, wash my view
Bring solace to all life repaired

Ancient water, the cycle repeats
From life to sea to sky and down
Future times and travelers meet
Drape Mother Earth in her watery gown

#OctPoWriMo 6-Apple

Protective layer of glossy skin,
Mottled red and lightly speckled,
Cannot withstand my closing grin.
Red skin, white flesh, the edges deckeled.

Sweet and tart tumble inside my maw,
Fibrous chunks milled by my gnashers.
Juice trails across my pale paw
As I grip the fruit corpse between my slashers.

Glorious fruit, your bounty behold!
The fruit becomes a part of me,
and  I know, as sure as I grow old,
I’ll become a part of that tree.

The Moderate Birder

I profess to a love of watching and listening to birds.  I enjoy studying their behaviors and identifying the different species I see throughout the year, marking the seasons by their migrations, and seeing the next generation take flight. Observing the natural world offers therapeutic relief from the stresses of the human world and replenishes my spirit.

I’m not a The Big Year type of birder, spending countless dollars and vacation days jetting off to bird hubs just to get a glimpse of different species (this would only add to those human stress factors). I hang feeders in my yard with various types of bird favorites and watch them come and go. I listen to the cardinals, goldfinches, sparrows and blue jays as they swoop in and out for lunch or extended snacks. I drive around the lake looking for ducks, eagles, and sandpipers or along county roads looking for hawks, turkeys, and meadowlarks.

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird

When I’ve seen all I can see from my car and when the weather warms to a reasonable temperature, I take more deliberate outings walking the streamway trails and footpaths that make up the recreation system in our county. Away from noisy roadways and the congestion of people, birds are abundant. With my binoculars or camera in hand (I can’t carry both at the same time), I can spy the smaller varieties of feathered critters hiding among the trees and prairie grasses. With over 250 species coming through or residing in Eastern Kansas, I find a few new species each year that I haven’t seen before.

For birds outside my local area, I catch them on trips I’ve already planned for the family. Driving east or west, I may be able to spot hawks and songbirds along fences and at rest stops. Since we’ll be heading to Maine this month, I’m looking forward to finding some particular species I’ll never see in Kansas, such as puffins and storm-petrels.

I’ve been lucky this year to capture some of my observations with my camera, including the ever-elusive pileated woodpecker who swooped onto a utility pole while I just happened to be nearby. Birders know how exciting it can be to finally spot the one bird you’ve been looking for!

 

Cliff Swallows
Cliff Swallows

So far this year, I have over 70 birds on my yearly list, including several new varieties. And exciting as it is to find those new ones and the old favorites, the true joy of bird watching is just knowing they are out there and taking the time to listening to the natural chorus they sing.

 

2016 Bird List

 

#OctPoWriMo 19 – Autumn

Wind blowing like waves of water
Withered leaves scraping pavement
Pavement graying beneath shade clouds
Permanent stripe across the hill
Hills roll down and away beneath the shade clouds
Hues of green and mottled sienna grass
Grass as high as the brown bison’s shoulder
Grazer’s heaven in the spend of autumn
Autumn descends like a drape
Across the closing of the year

#OctPoWriMo 14 – A Bridge

A bridge between here and there
Between us and them
Between now and then
A bridge constructed before us
Eroding behind us
Each step we take, fast or slow
Our eyes avoiding the danger below
We wonder when the bottom will fall out
We each build our own bridge
Constructed of choices
Each plank laid is weak or strong
Some break, we stumble and nearly fall
Others hold fast, keeping us aloft
Build your own bridge with care
And surge ahead when sections fail
Don’t let it collapse beneath your weight
A bridge between now and then
Between us and them
Between here and thereBridge Graphic