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It’s done, y’all. I made it through my first semester of grad school.

At this point, I’ve actually been done for over a month. I turned in my last assignments during the first weekend of May, and I’ve already received my grades. Despite the anxiety brought on by COVID-19, I managed to power through my online classes and secure an A in each of my three classes for the semester.

I’m registered for my next round of classes, beginning this fall. I’ll ideally have knocked out all of my required classes (aside from my capstone) within my first year, leaving more room for exploration through elective classes next spring.

Right now, then, it’s just a matter of getting through until the fall. Hang in there, y’all. It’s been a wild year so far, and it’s not even halfway through.

I can see the finish line, y’all.

I’m a week (roughly) from the end of my first semester of my MLS. Two big papers, one little paper, and it’s done. I’ll be 1/4 of the way to my Master’s degree.

It’s been odd doing this in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, since the library closures have meant that I’ve had way more time at home than I would’ve initially expected. On the other hand, though, it’s given me great insight into how libraries handle a pandemic, both good and bad.

I’m trying to decide if I feel like I’ve learned a lot. Because I’ve worked in libraries for 14 years or so, there was a lot of overlap with my existing knowledge base. I’ve learned stuff about specifics of library science that I didn’t know in the same way before taking these classes, though. I’m glad that I’m pushing for this degree right now. I know that the working world I’ll return to after COVID-19 is not going to be the same one that I left. Still, I want to be striving for something by way of professional development. I look forward to advancing my career, and I look forward to my classes that I’m registered for in the fall.

Time to wrap this up.

In which I am supposed to leave my home only for the essentials.

I’m in the 4th week of not working, and it’s more than a little surreal. My library has been closed since the middle of March due to COVID-19. In the last few days, I’ve played on the backyard swing set and slide with my kids, shoveled 4 – 5 inches of snow off of my and my neighbor’s driveway, read a couple of books, re-dyed my hair (thanks, V), participated in a couple of games of D&D online, soloed the last few missions of Halo 4 on Heroic, maintained my elliptical running schedule, and done some baking.

But I’m keeping up with my grad school stuff, first and foremost. 

It’s kind of fun, because a lot of the information from my classes has places where it overlaps. At this stage in the semester, I’ve been able to cycle through some material faster because I’ve already covered a form of it in a different class. 

Oh, and I’ve registered for classes for the fall, too. Right now, I’m signed up for a library admin/management class, a class on integrated systems in libraries, and a course about literature and young adults. I’m pretty psyched for the YA class, because it will be my first elective! If all goes well, I’ll have knocked out all but one of my required classes within my first two semesters. That’s pretty exciting. Oh, and the integrated systems class is a half semester course, too. It’ll be a front-loaded semester, but once I’m halfway through, it’ll ease up a lot going into the winter break. On top of all of that, one of my classes is supposed to be with a professor I currently have. It’s shaping up to be a really good semester. 

Our governor has ordered residents to stay home whenever possible until at least April 26th, so I know that I have at least two more full weeks of quarantine ahead of me. I’m going to try to knuckle down and get through the last few weeks of the school year. My semester ends on May first. Holy shit, my semester ends on May first… Uh… Anyway…

After that, I may have some free time for whatever again. I’m trying to read/write more, but I always say that. I always mean it, too. 

But tonight, it’s late, and I’ve got to help teach/grade some homeschool stuff for my stepdaughters in the morning. Gonna go curl up in bed with a non-textbook and fall asleep. 

I have made it to mid-semester.

Seven weeks down, seven to go, with a few glorious days of breathing room in between. I’m going to try to get some early work done for next week, but I’m also going to be reading some stuff for fun.

So far, so good.

Good afternoon, everyone! I promise that I am, in fact, still alive, despite the best efforts of parenthood, full-time employment, and grad school.

I’ve almost made it to my mid-semester break, and I’m honestly feeling pretty good about this whole thing. It has, however, made it more difficult for me to keep up with my usual pace of writing for fun. I’m still working on a full review of the other best book that I read in 2019, Tamsyn Muir’s beautifully dark Gideon the Ninth.

But fear not. These things and more will arrive for your reading pleasure in due time.

Meanwhile, I’m taking three online classes through Clarion University. Organization of Information, Information Sources and Services, and Intro to Information Professions. It’s a pretty solid introduction to the whole job that I hope to be doing when I’m all done, and a decent refresher course on a lot of what I currently do.

For now, though, I must go. I’ve got a presentation on Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable to complete.

 

WordPress has informed me that today is my 9th anniversary of setting up this blog.

It’s pretty close. My first post was on the 20th of January, 2011. Either way, I’ve been at this nonsense for almost a decade. Thanks to those of you who have put up with me for so long, and thanks to those who have joined along the way.

Things have changed a lot since the outset of this blog, and I’m happy to say that I’m a better person than I was back then (albeit still not a published novelist, but hey, you win some, you lose some).

For the foreseeable future, stay tuned for poetry, short stories, book reviews, and random insights into my current status as a grad student.

2010 was a terrifying year.

I was loving my life, the end of my senior year of college rushing at me. I had no idea where I was going to go. I had summer employment and housing lined up through my university, and I was throwing job applications at anything and everything I was remotely qualified for, but the dread of having to move back to my home town, even temporarily, was looming.

It’s been nearly 10 years since I finished my undergraduate career. I got through 7 years of underemployment, balancing part-time jobs and substitute shifts. I’ve had roommates come and go. I’ve struggled to make rent (and struggled to ask for help with rent). I’ve seen an employer file for bankruptcy. I’ve been in a car accident. I’ve attended the funerals of my father’s parents, and those of too many friends.

But there has been joy. I’ve reconnected with old friends, and made new ones. I’ve fallen in love. I’ve gotten married, had children, bought a house. I’ve found a career that is fulfilling. I’ve traveled around the world (Korea, Hawaii). I found a pirate crew. I’ve won trivia competitions. I’ve expanded my horizons beyond what 2010 me ever would’ve believed possible.

And now, in 2020, I’m going back to school. I’m a full-time library specialist, full-time dad, and full-time student. I’m reading, writing on the side (as, well, always), and running pretty much exclusively on caffeine. So really, not all that much has changed. But I have. I’m a better person than I was ten years ago, and I can only strive to continue the trend in the next ten years.

2020 is a terrifying year. But I’ll get through it, and so will you.

Hey all,

It’s been an eventful summer in the Krogmeier house. It all started when we bought a house. That’s right, folks. As of mid-May, we own a house. No more apartments, at least for the foreseeable future. Woohoo! Now it’s the end of August, and we’re still unpacking, but you know, we’re off to a good start.

In June, our little family got a little bit bigger, as our son Wodan was born. Thankfully, there were no major complications, and he’s fitting in very well. Life as a parent (and not just a step-parent) is a new adventure for me, and I love it. Yes, there are challenges, but I have the best spouse in the world, and a strong support network in my friends and family. I’m not the only new dad in my friends group, and that is also kind of awesome. Side note: paid paternity leave is amazing, and should absolutely be included as a benefit at any job, along with paid maternity leave.

Then the last weekend of July was the end of the 41st annual Colorado Renaissance Festival. I worked for the faire for as many weekends as I could (that whole thing about having a baby arrive in June did mean taking some days off). It was my fourth year working for the same shop, and I couldn’t have been happier. I got to see so many of my friends and faire family this season, and got to introduce most of them to Wodan.

August also means that the library’s summer reading program has wrapped up for the year. Between my leave time and a co-worker moving away,  it was a bit rough. Thankfully, the rest of the staff stepped up, and it made my return to work in July so much easier.

I’m getting back into my reading pile at long last. The DC Rebirth titles have been stacking up, and I’m gearing up for another round of YA booktalks in local schools for this fall, plus I’m hoping to re-read a few favorites before the end of the year. I’ve got A Game of Thrones on audio, and it’s filling in some of the hours and getting me back up to speed. I may take that approach with a few others I’ve already read.

There’s some sad news, though. Because of various scheduling things and expenses, I’m going to have to cancel on the one convention I’ve gone to every year since I first started cosplaying. Dear friends who will be at NDK this weekend, I’m sorry I am not able to make it this time around. I hope to be back in full form next year. It’s going to be weird missing out on it, since I’ve been going since 2009. All the same, it’s better for me to take a bit of time to gather myself before diving into cosplay/costuming stuff again. That said, all of my cosplay goals from last February still hold true.

Finally, I’m sorry I’ve not been writing much this year. I’d intended to utilize my new work schedule to try to get more stories cranked out, and I’ve barely managed to get blog posts written. It’s good that I’ve been busy with my day job, but I’ve got to be better about my creative outlets too. Thankfully, work is giving me all kinds of opportunities for new outreach stuff, letting me meet new people in the community and encouraging me to move outside of my comfort zone. Growth is good, y’all.

Some quick updates.

We got a cat. Her name is Hermione, and she’s incredibly smart and sweet. However, it’s very true when they say that having a cat is one of the worst things a writer can ever do, re: distractions. I’m learning this all over again.

I got through season two of Daredevil and loved it. Was it perfect? No. Case in point: Asian and Asian American representation. Jon Bernthal kills it as the Punisher/Frank Castle (and I don’t watch The Walking Dead, so I really had no prior experience with his work as an actor). Foggy remains my absolute favorite character on the show. I also finally got to see the first season of Agent Carter, which is a delight. Peggy kicks ass across the 1940s, breaking limbs and stereotypes all the way.

I’ve been working on a D&D campaign for next month’s local game convention. It’s eating a lot of my creative energies, making it tricky for me to focus too much on anything else. I’ve also been reading a LOOOOOT. I knocked out V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows a few weeks ago, and I’m in the middle of Sam Sykes’ The City Stained Red, which may be one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. I swear it’s like he sat in on some of my college D&D sessions and captured characterization from them. I love it. On a more realistic side, I also just finished reading Tess Sharpe’s Far From You. Holy god damn, this one was intense. Illicit love, murder, drugs, and a quest for the truth keep you turning pages non-stop. It’s not something I expected to pick up, but there was a great discussion of it during a Twitter chat about queer YA titles, and it hooked me.

It’s tempting to use some of what I’ve been reading for the D&D campaign. The magic system from Schwab’s work, for example, is one of the most clever presentations of elemental manipulation I’ve seen since Avatar: The Last Airbender. It would be fun to introduce some plot elements from books and then encourage the kids to go check those books out from my library, and would definitely boost the outreach factor. “Hey kids, if you liked my campaign, try these books!” We’ve already seen a boost in checkouts of our 5th edition manuals. Imagine what that could do for our fantasy literature circulation…

The 3D printer at work is awesome. I’m looking into utilizing it for some cosplay props, and I’m really exicted about the prospect of hosting a cosplay-themed program in our Makerspace soon.

Fireside opens for submissions this Friday. I’m going to be writing. More soon!

 

2015 has been an incredibly big year for me, but not so much on the writing front. It’s become painfully clear to me over the last few weeks that this needs to change. I’m not typically one for New Year’s Resolutions, though. Sure, they’re a good way to plan out some of the changes that you’d like to make over the coming year, but how many of them are abandoned? According to research, about 92%. So it’s not good enough to make this just a 2016 resolution. It’s got to be more than that. So, here we go.

1.) Write more. I know, this one’s fairly obvious. I didn’t get a whole lot written during the course of the past year, and I need to focus on that. I’ve neglected my blog, and therefore neglected you, dear readers. That’s not fair to any of us. If I’m going to be a writer, I have to write. “Art harder, motherfucker.” Part of this includes starting up a journal again. It’s been nearly two years since the last time I kept a regular journal, something that I used to work on every day. At the very least, it’s a way of ensuring that I write something (anything) more frequently. It’s all about developing a rhythm. Writing needs to be my strongest habit.

2.) Submit more work. I’m totally okay with getting rejection letters, but I have to, you know, actually send stuff in to publications in order to get said aforementioned rejection letters. And who knows. Maybe somebody will like what I send them (I’m open to recommendations, by the way).

3.) Draw more. It gets my creativity going, and I know that’s been a major issue as far as #1 has been concerned. I’ve been trying to get back into it, since I’ve always love to draw. I found my art supply tote from college, and so I’m going to be breaking out the charcoals again for the first time in a loooooong time. I also want to get back into pencil drawings (way less messy and so much easier to take on the go—and an example of some of my work from high school can be found here).

4.) Communicate more. I’ve been kind of in hermit mode for a lot of the past year. While I did see my family a lot (having two sisters get married in the same year will do that), I didn’t get to spend as much time with some of my friends as I would have liked, especially considering that some of them have moved closer. Some will also be moving away soon, and I want to see them before they go.

5.) Vote. What? It’ll be a presidential election year. If you’re eligible to vote in the US, get out and fucking do it. This applies every year, but since more focus is given to presidential elections, I’m making a special note of it. I’m not going to go into any sort of depth on my political viewpoints here. This isn’t the place for such things. Those of you who know me well should have a pretty good idea of who I’m rooting for anyway.

6.) Get full-time employment. You’d think that with almost five years at my current employer this one would be a gimme. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Fortunately, I’m getting a lot of substitute shifts. Substitute shifts are good, and definitely help to pay the bills. However, locking in full-time would give me a great deal of job security. Is it the ultimate solution to financial woes? No, but it’s better than hoping that another one of my co-workers gets sick or goes on vacation or has a baby or what have you.

7.) Read more. I’ve knocked out 187 books so far, according to Goodreads, and I’m pretty pleased. My goal for the year was fifty. And yes, many of them were graphic novels, but I still got through all of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, along with several other longer novels. I’d still like to read more. I’d always like to read more. One of the best parts of my job is knowing that everything that I read is helping me provide better guidance to library patrons looking for their next book.

I’d say that’s a pretty good start to planning my year. Stick around, dear readers. There’ll be new stories coming your way soon.

And hey. Thanks.