Monday, 24 June 2019

Summer Freedom 2019 Playlist

Summer Solstice was on Friday. The warm weather is here. My family has opened up our pool for the season (although I still haven't gone swimming yet). Yes, Summer has finally come to Northern Ontario. That means that it is time to turn up the music and have fun while soaking in the beautiful sun before it disappears again for half the year. For me, Summer brings the feeling of freedom so I decided to base my Summer playlist this year on that wonderful feeling that anything is possible! Also, I like making my Summer playlists a bit longer so this one has 20 songs.

Check out the playlist on Spotify here: Summer Freedom 2019 Playlist


Monday, 3 June 2019

Sudbury Gutsy Walk 2019

On Sunday, I participated in the Gutsy Walk for Crohn's and Colitis. It's an annual fundraising walk that raises money for Crohn's and Colitis Canada, an organization here in Canada that funds Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis research, provides various programs for people living with the diseases, and raises awareness and educates people about the diseases. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).Canada has one of the highest rates of IBD in the world and it is estimated that 1 in 140 Canadians has IBD. 

I am actually one of those Canadians living with IBD. I have ulcerative colitis for which I am on a biologic drug called Remicade that I receive through an IV infusion every eight weeks and it keeps my colitis under control. I had to go on this drug when my colitis flared up badly in 2016. We found out that the inflammation had spread throughout my colon and my body was not responding well enough to the usual IBD medications so I needed something stronger. It was really scary and, afterwards, I really wanted to get more involved in spreading awareness about IBD and help other people living with the diseases so I decided to start volunteering with my local chapter of Crohn's and Colitis Canada.

I started volunteering with the Sudbury chapter of Crohn's and Colitis Canada in September 2017 and this year's Gutsy Walk was my second time volunteering at the walk although it was my fourth time attending the walk. Last year I was in charge of the kids/activity area on walk day so I took on the same role this year. Last year I had a lot of anxiety since it was my first time volunteering at the walk but this year was so much better. I still had a bit of anxiety before the walk but once we got started setting up I was much better since I knew what to do from last year.

The kids/activity area had three tables underneath two canopy tents. There was a hired face painter who also made balloon animals, bags of candies with sticks in order to make a candy kabob resembling the gutsy guy logo of Crohn's and Colitis Canada, temporary tattoos of that same gutsy guy logo, "I want _____ to stop" stickers where you could fill in something IBD-related that you want stopped and could stick on a board that we had available, a binder full of educational brochures, as well as an area that required donations which included a plinko game. The face painting, tattoos, and candy were obviously very popular with the kids at the walk. 

Since I was in charge of the area, I helped set it up and decided where everything went and then helped out wherever I was needed in the area. I did, however, make it a goal of mine to get lots of people to fill out the stickers for the board since people were not as attracted to that activity last year. This year, I wanted the board to be filled with lots of stickers so I would ask anyone who came to the table if they wanted to fill out a sticker and the board, as you can see in the photo at the beginning of this post, was filled quite nicely.

By the end of the walk, I was just really happy. I had so much fun and I feel so much more confident volunteering at the walk now. It was so amazing to participate in something so important to me and get to talk to some people about IBD and show that they are not alone in having IBD or supporting someone who has IBD. I just wish that the brochures would have been more popular. I think encouraging people to look through the brochures will be my big goal next year and I look forward to it. I'm so excited for next year!


Friday, 31 May 2019

My Second Library Placement

If you do not already know, since September 2017, I have been a college student in a library and information technician program online through distance education. The end of the program involves two library placements. I previously blogged about my first library placement that I did at an academic library. I just finished my second library placement on Tuesday, which I did at a public library, and I am now finished my entire library and information technician program! I am so excited to be done my program and have realized that I definitely made the right decision of choosing this program. Library work is well suited to me. I have seen this through my enthusiasm in both my courses and my placements. I love it so much!

At my second library placement, I had both similar and different experiences than my first library placement but even the experiences that were similar were still a bit different. Here is what I did:

Health and Safety: I went through health and safety training that employees and volunteers must complete. This involved a tour of the library, a staff member explaining health and safety procedures, and online courses (videos, text, and quizzes) with certificates.

Cataloguing and Physical Processing: I catalogued CDs, DVDs, fiction books, puzzles, and board games. I did physical processing for books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, puzzles, and board games. I also had to check the catalogue for DVDs that were donated to see if any of the library branches had them, which ones had them, and how many had them.

Archive Digital Folders: I organized newspapers that were digitized from microfilm into folders by week since they had already been organized by month.

Interlibrary Loan: I learned about how the interlibrary loan system usually works since, at the time of my placement, interlibrary loans were suspended, and I got to experience how it was working at the time. I still got to work with returns, reserves, check ins, shipping, shelf checks, patron requests, processing, and stats despite the suspension which is a lot more than I thought I would get to do.

Children's Collection: I learned about ordering/purchasing books and DVDs for the children's collection through various companies and even got to actually order some, with help from the staff member in charge of the children's collection, of course.

Weeding: I weeded the teen fiction section and the adult graphic novel section using lists that were given to me by staff. The books were either on the list because they had been checked out a lot and may not be in great condition or they had not been checked out in a while. I removed the books from the shelves and then went through them with staff members to see if any were worth keeping and withdrew the rest that the library wanted to get rid of and learned the different fates of withdrawn books. They may be just thrown away or they could be donated to a school that wants them or sold through library book sales or a specific organization that helps libraries sell books.

Technology: I helped update children's apps on iPads by restoring the purchases for all of them.

Makerspace: I learned about the different tools and aspects of the makerspace and how the makerspace functions when it comes to using tools and setting up workshops.

This library placement was so much fun and the staff were amazing. I got to have experiences in so many different departments and see just how much work goes into running a public library. There are so many details and it is fascinating how the work is distributed among staff in a large library. I am so glad that I had this experience and now feel even more confident with library work.


Monday, 27 May 2019

Feeling Overwhelmed

I have spoken about my anxiety in previous blog posts so it should be no surprise when I say that I get overwhelmed quite easily sometimes. Obviously it is related to my anxiety. New situations make me anxious. Meeting new people or socializing with groups of people make me anxious. Changes make me anxious. And when I am anxious, I get overwhelmed. There is so much going on and then, on top of that, I have to deal with everything that my anxiety brings to the table. I get overwhelmed by too much happening at once or feeling like I am being rushed. There are ways to deal with it though and here are some things that I have learned for dealing with anxiety and being overwhelmed.

Stop for a moment and take a breath: You have probably already heard about how much breathing can help calm you down but it is definitely something that I myself forget to do in situations where I am overwhelmed and my anxiety is acting up. I used to get a lot of anxiety when getting needles (I still get some anxiety but having to get IV infusions every 8 weeks has gotten me more used to needles) and had to ask the nurses to remind me to breathe because my breathing would act up and I would start sweating or even shaking in some instances. When I get anxiety, my breathing often goes funny and I will sometimes hyperventilate. Taking a moment to just stop, leave everything to the side, and take a few deep breaths can really help clear your head and set you up to tackle whatever situation you are in. When you are feeling overwhelmed, it feels like things just keep piling up so pausing and taking a breath can stop that feeling of things piling up.

Let people know what you are going through: In certain situations when you are with people and you are becoming overwhelmed or you think that your anxiety is going to act up or it is acting up, telling the people you're with about it can really help. When I started volunteering with my local chapter of Crohn's and Colitis Canada, I told the president of the chapter about my anxiety. When I joined a local community band, I ended up letting the conductor know about my anxiety after the first few band rehearsals since my anxiety had gotten quite bad during them. In both cases, it really helped me, even if it did not necessarily help calm my anxiety. It just helped to know that they knew what I was going through instead of thinking that they must be judging me for acting strange or think that something else is wrong with me. When I told them, they were also very understanding so I knew that if my anxiety acted up again they would be understanding then too. 

Ask questions to clear things up or ensure that you are on the right track: I know that, for me, not knowing can cause a lot of anxiety and make me feel overwhelmed because I start worrying about what is to come, whether I am doing something right, etc. I therefore ask lots of questions and like knowing what to expect. It helps lessen the anxiety and makes me feel less overwhelmed because there is a plan laid out. Even if there are a lot of steps to the plan or it is only a very basic plan, I at least have something to work with and I can use it to figure things out one step at a time.

Take breaks to recharge: Taking a break and getting away from people or a situation for a little while can really help clear your head and help you recharge so that you will be ready when you return. As an anxious introvert, I need my alone time. Even if it is just a few moments alone in a washroom. People and certain situations can feel suffocating and I just need to go somewhere where I can finally breathe.

Take things one day at a time or even one moment at a time: Life can be so overwhelming and we just have to remember to take things one step at a time. Even if we feel like we need to get everything done now and feel like we are in a rush, we need to remember that that is not how things work. Everything takes time so we need to slow down and take the time needed. Sometimes we might feel like we just want to get something over with and can't wait for it to be done because it is causing us a lot of anxiety but we need to take things one moment at a time and we might actually end up enjoying whatever it was that was causing us so much anxiety in the first place. When it came to my library placements, I had a lot of anxiety. Before even starting the placements, I was already telling myself that it was only 15 days per placement and that I just had to get through it then it would all be over and I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. In the end, I actually ended up really enjoying my placements and learning a lot despite my anxiety and was actually sad for my first placement to be over and am sad that tomorrow is the last day of my second placement.

I hope maybe these things help you as much as they help me.


Monday, 20 May 2019

Kaylie: Name Confusion

This blog post is going to be a bit different than my usual blog posts. It is still going to have my thoughts and feelings about a certain topic and may end with me coming to some kind of realization or lesson but it is mostly just going to be me ranting about confusions that other people have when it comes to my first name. So, you might want to grab a cup of tea and find a cozy place to sit for this blog post because it is going to be a doozy!

First of all, let's actually start with my first name: Kaylie. Pronounced K-AY-L-EE. The meaning of the name is unclear according to the results from several websites. The name Kaylie is a modern American creation and does not traditionally come from another language but, if we break it down and find the meanings of the names in it, then we can give it meaning. Most people focus on the Kay part of the name. According to the internet, the name has Kay in it which comes from Katherine which is from the Greek word katharos meaning "pure." Some websites say that the name might also come from the Celtic word caol meaning "slender." These are the most common name meanings that people usually present for Kaylie. Going even further, the "lee" part of the name (spelled L-I-E for me) comes from the Old English word leah meaning "woodland, clearing." Sometimes you will see statements that Kaylie is a form of Kayla which comes from the Hebrew name Kelila meaning "crown of laurel."Another interesting fact to add would be that a Celtic party is called a ceilidh and is pronounced the same way as Kaylie.

My mom ended up choosing to name me Kaylie because her mother's first and middle names were Kathaleen Lillian (although everyone called her Lillian) and Kaylie has parts of both names in it. K-A from Kathaleen and L-I from Lillian. I love this! I love having a special little reason for my name and having a connection to one of my ancestors while also having my own name rather than the exact same name as them.

Now we get into the confusions with my name. People make mistakes with the spelling of my name if they don't know how mine is specifically spelled, or if they forget, or if they just aren't paying attention. I remember getting valentine cards in elementary school that, even though my fellow students had known me for a while, would still have wrong spellings of my name.

Here are just a few ways that my name can be spelled: Kaylie, Kaylee, Kailee, Kaley, Kayley, Kailey, Kayleigh. There are also so many other spellings. It can be spelled in all sorts of different ways as long as you have the "k," "ay," "l," and "ee" sounds in it. It can also start with a "c." So, imagine all of the possible spellings after the first letter and then think of all of them starting with a "k" or a "c." That's a lot of different spellings!

Since there are other names that are kind of similar, I end up getting called those names sometimes, especially Kylie since it is so close to my name. So many people have mistakenly called me Kylie that, when introducing myself, I now tell people that if they can't remember my name, they can just call me Kay. That is usually a lot easier for them to remember since it also sounds just like the first letter of my name. People have also told me that it will help them remember that I am Kaylie and not Kylie.

As annoying as it is for people to spell my name wrong or call me by the wrong name, it kind of makes my name special. My name is not as common as other names and it has so many different spellings. It is unique. Also, maybe I should be grateful for the fact that people at least remember me, even if they get my name wrong. And who am I to judge when I myself remember faces better than names?