Friday, August 31, 2012


Remember last week, when I was all, "blah blah blah I work at the VB library on Fridays now"? Today was, of course, the first of those Fridays! I very much enjoyed my day and I will tell you all about it in a second, but first, I have one huge, central fact about the day that I just absolutely love: I have a DESK.

That's my desk! For now, anyway. I'm going to make it look nicer. But it's mine. There was a teeny tiny spider among the pens in the long top drawer but I squished it and now the desk is mine. (That's how it works, right?)

Now that we have my exciting desk-related news out of the way, I can tell you everything else. All the staff and the librarians and everyone were very happy to have me there (or at least pretended to be, but I already know them so I think they were actually happy) and they were very helpful and friendly as they always are. My supervisor is awesome and she cleaned the desk for me and filled it with supplies. Another librarian walked me through the process of ordering books and gave me the guidelines and tips and information. And finally, I worked at the circulation desk for a while, and the guy who is usually at circ on the weekends (so I know him pretty well, compared to some of the others) trained me on how to do all the tasks over there.

And now it is time to prepare the house and ourselves for the EPIC BIRTHDAY PARTY that is almost upon us!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


SO MUCH RAIN. Getting home was like driving straight through a hurricane. (I would know; I've done that. A couple times.)

The storm had barely made it to Portsmouth by the time I left work, so I hardly got wet getting to my car, and then as soon as I buckled my seatbelt, the sky opened up. So I checked traffic radio and it said nothing about the Downtown Tunnel (thank goodness, because I really didn't want to take a less-familiar path home in that mess). Parts of 264 were starting to flood on the Portsmouth side, which I've never seen before. I guess I'm lucky the tunnel wasn't flooding. Norfolk was apparently a complete disaster, but they flood at the slightest provocation, so that wasn't surprising.

And then I got to the Broad Creek Bridge (right before the 64 interchange) and the rain just stopped, like I had flipped a switch. There was still that misty stuff coming up off of everyone's tires, but no rain. There was barely a sprinkle until I got off at Laskin Road, and then it was just kind-of-raining. Like normal rain, not the deluge I passed through in Norfolk. There was lightning, but not much thunder (until later, when the storm showed up at the house, but even that wasn't so bad... not even a power/internet flicker, which is unusual here).

This probably isn't very interesting for (1) people who have no idea what those streets are that I'm talking about, (2) anyone who is reading this past about a week from now, because "omg rain" is hardly a fascinating topic. But it was crazy while it was happening, I promise.

I'll find something more interesting to post about tomorrow.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Coastal Grill

Birk's parents took us out to dinner at Coastal Grill tonight. It's sort of fancy-ish. (You know the type of place... small menu, muted atmosphere, mood lighting, lace curtains... but you don't feel like you have to wear a tie - or the female equivalent - to eat there.)

Soft-shell crabs aren't my bag, but if they're yours, they apparently have the best, so you should try it out. I had roast chicken, which was pretty good. It had corn on the cob and roasted red potatoes with it, which were delicious, and there were three sauces with the chicken: cranberry, cinnamon apple, and something like a butter sauce. All great.

I know this post is kind of like the verbal equivalent of posting a photo of my meal with Instagram, but consider it a restaurant review.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bike Ride

Birk and I took a bike ride around the neighborhood last night. I had nixed his offer to go play tennis, and the rec center closes at 4 on Saturdays, but I wanted some kind of physical activity.

My bike feels too tall for me (but I've been told that I'm wrong) and the seat wasn't adjusted exactly right (not Birk's fault, I couldn't tell if it was okay before we left) and my hands got sore from putting too much pressure on the wrong part of the handlebars the whole time. Oh, and I ran over a giant stick that got stuck under my bike and knocked the chain off its track (but luckily Birk fixed it pretty easily).

But it was still fun. The weather was perfect, the sun was about to go down, there were no cars threatening to run me over (my steering isn't so great... it's been a few years since I got on a real bike, I've gotten used to the ones that sit still in the air-conditioned gym).

The sky looks really ominous this afternoon (we're supposed to get storms from both sides this week) so I doubt we'll be lucky enough to get another clear evening, but if we do, we're definitely taking another ride around the neighborhood.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I don't think I'm going to write the next best-selling novel to take the world by storm. I don't expect to become the next J. K. Rowling (and I don't want to be the next Stephanie Meyer or E. L. James, no matter how stinking rich they are). I do, however, think I am capable of putting pen to paper (and then fingers to keyboard) and creating a halfway enjoyable, mildly interesting book that I can self-publish via Amazon and make a few bucks from, while reveling in the fact that, in this day and age, I can get other people to pay money for a digital version of my writing without shelling out any cash up-front myself. Pretty cool.

So I've started writing again. Pretty much all of you (even if you know me really well) probably never knew that I used to write at all. I gave it several shots, and for the most part, I was creating facsimiles of my favorite genres at the time (which happened to be cheesy-camp-horror and a mild version of Gaiman fantasy). It was still a fun exercise in creating characters, settings, plots, and turns of phrase. I still have a large collection of my own writing, and although it makes me cringe to revisit it, it is interesting. (I mean, of course, that it is interesting to see how I used to write, not that it is interesting in a way that merits publication.)

Right now, I'm working on what seems to be I Am Legend, with multiple characters, most of whom will eventually intertwine. Oh and without the monsters/vampires/whatever you want to call them. Yeah, I'm not sure how well it'll turn out either. But it will be fun and interesting to try.

I'm sure "it's been done before." And I'm sure there are cliches and all sorts of other grievous writing faux pas, but I don't really care. Like I said, I'm not trying to be the next big thing. I just felt like writing, so I am.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Professional Development

This is some exciting news on the job front!

I'm getting 8 extra hours at VB, which means more money, more hours as a professional that can go on my resume, more professional development opportunity, and more mingling with the others at that campus (which I normally don't get to do). I know a lot of this makes no sense to most of you, so I'll break it down.

This is my weekly work schedule (now that we're back in school... between semesters is different).
Monday-Thursday: sign shop 8:30-2, Portsmouth 3-7
Friday: sign shop 8:30-5
Saturday: Virginia Beach 9-5
Sunday: Virginia Beach 1-5

I have a Master's degree in library and information science. This is something you have to have to be a "librarian." (Little-known fact.) If you don't have the Master's and you work in a library, you're probably a library technician or specialist or associate. (What they're called usually depends on the institution.) At Portsmouth, I am a library specialist. At Virginia Beach, I am a librarian. You can probably guess that this means I am paid more at Virginia Beach per hour (and you would be right). This also means, in theory, that I should have more responsibilities at Virginia Beach. Due to the part-time nature of my employment, and the fact that I'm there when everyone else is off (on the weekends), the only extra responsibility I really have there is supervising the weekend staff (who are so great, it doesn't really feel like supervising) and being responsible for the library (if there are complaints or problems, they're my job to deal with).

So the higher-ups at Virginia Beach wanted to give me more hours, during the week, which would give me a chance to see the other librarians more than once per semester at our big staff days, because otherwise, they never see me. I'm the only librarian who works on the weekends there.

This offer would also give me more money, obviously. It would also give me a chance to work on some projects: the kind of things that librarians should be doing. Things like collection development (buying new materials), weeding (getting rid of old materials), whatever needs to be done.

It was a little rocky trying to figure out when I could have these extra hours, because we couldn't take away my Portsmouth hours (if we could, what would be the point of my being employed there?) but Fridays are slower days at both campuses, so nobody really needed me on Fridays.

I just heard from Virginia Beach, and they're going to give me Fridays anyway! (They're really focused on helping me develop professionally... I have a theory about that, and I'll get to it soon.) That means eight extra hours per week at my highest-paying job. Plus, they're giving me some collection development responsibilities, which is particularly exciting, because I've been wanting to do some of that, but all the sections were spoken for, and I didn't want to request one and step on someone's toes. It will look really great on my resume, too.

My theory on VB developing me professionally, as promised: VB is getting a huge new library next spring. I mean, this building is ridicu-large. It will be half-TCC, half-public. Nearly everyone at the TCC library is in agreement that we're going to need some more full-time employees when it opens, but there is no official word on whether they'll hire anymore, much less how many there might be. My theory is that the VB administrators want me to get one of these fabled positions (mostly because I'm already there, so it would just be bumping me up, instead of going through the whole hiring process, and because I already know how things work there and they wouldn't have to train someone new) so they're "grooming" me for what they'll need. Fine with me! (And if I'm wrong, then it's as simple as: they're nice people and want to see the best for me, and all of this professional development will be really useful in my resume and interviews. Which I know to be true, but I like to think they want me for themselves, too.)

For my own sanity and health, I'm going to take a day off from the sign shop (either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday... or maybe I'll mix it up depending on how busy things are on certain days in a particular week). Otherwise I'll burn out really fast and be entirely useless at all my jobs. So my week will look something like:
Monday: sign shop 8:30-2, Portsmouth 3-7
Tuesday: Portsmouth 3-7
Wednesday: sign shop 8:30-2, Portsmouth 3-7
Thursday: sign shop 8:30-2, Portsmouth 3-7
Friday: Virginia Beach 8:30-5
Saturday: Virginia Beach 9-5
Sunday: Virginia Beach 1-5
Still incredibly busy, but at least I'll have a time where I can sleep in a little, get some things done (chores, errands, rest, go to the rec center, whatever) and that's incredibly important. (It frustrates me, every single week, to have time off on Sunday, because nothing is open and I can't get anything done.)

I'm in a considerably better mood today because of all this. I can't wait until next Friday when I can start my full day at VB!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What on earth does your blog name mean?

Because most of my readers (ha, like I have readers!) probably don't speak French, I thought I should probably take a second to explain my blog name.

"Quoi de neuf" means "what's new" or "how are things" in French. The French for 2 is "deux" and 9 is "neuf." So "Quoi 2 9" would be like French text-speak for "how are things."

Which means that the name of my blog, "Quoi de neuf, Alex?" or "quoi29alex" means "What's new, Alex?" Cute, right?

In the beginning...

So, I have a blog for my wedding plans, and a blog for my exercise regimen, and a blog for my crafting. But I don't have just... a blog for me. So this is where I'll post about anything that doesn't directly fit into one of the three other blogs.

And I'll be starting on kind of a downer note: I got a rejection email from a job I really wanted today. (I don't want to post details because it's sort of a gray area, etiquette-wise, and I really want to work for that school eventually, so I don't want to bad-mouth them.) This did prompt me, however, to triple the number of places I'm searching for jobs, which is something I've been meaning to do for a while now.

See, I've had this spreadsheet on Google Docs that lists the institution name, the direct website for their open job postings, the date I last checked it, and which jobs I've recently applied to there (with the position number and date that I applied, date that it closes or projected hire date if they listed them). Up until today, this list included: TCC, ODU, CNU, NSU, Hampton U, city of VB, city of Norfolk, city of Chesapeake, city of Portsmouth, city of Newport News, Virginia state jobs, Virginia Department of Corrections, USA Jobs, the Smithsonian, and Library of Congress.

Today, I added UNC, ECU, NCSU, Duke, Wake Forest, city of Raleigh, city of Greenville, city of Asheville, city of Cary (actually I think they're a town) all in North Carolina; city of Fairfax, Fairfax County, Gaithersburg, Frederick (all in Maryland); and Portland, Eugene, Springfield, Sandy, and Clackamas County (all in Oregon). I plan to add colleges and a few more cities in MD and OR tomorrow. These are all the places I'm willing to live if I get a good job there, because these are all places that I have support systems. Either friends or family of mine live in these places, so I have deemed them suitable for me to live in. (Personally, I'd prefer something in either Hampton Roads or Northern VA, because they are familiar to me and have more concentrated numbers of my support system members, but I'd be happy with any of these places.)

I actually found two positions at NCSU (that's North Carolina State University) and one at Wake Forest to apply to today, so I did so. The two at NCSU wanted to hire by the first week of September... I don't know if that's still valid, but if it is, I would be really happy (except that it might destroy my birthday plans, which would be okay if it resulted in a good full-time job!)