Cafe du Monde & Hurricanes

Final night. Dinner out with friends. Course one a respectable meal in a lovely historic building on Jackson Square. Course two was a quick stop to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and about six pound of powdered sugar, and course three was a stop at Pat O’Briens for our Hurricane fix!

A fun time, as always New Orleans. Until next time…



I must admit, I have not done a lot of conferencing today beyond final prep and delivery of my own presentation. Paint Chip Poetry, one of my favorite programs, was the topic of my Ignite Session. An Ignite session is a five minute presentation accompanied by 20 slides advancing that advance one every fifteen seconds. They are a fun and energetic way to present your topic, and provide participants with just enough to grab ideas and be inspired. ALA calls them Ignite sessions because they are intended to ignite passion and a desire to go home and do! Paint Chip poetry lit that room on fire! I am very pleased, and excited to present this idea to a room full of librarians.

Once that was finished, I made my way to the poster sessions to support my fellow Georgia Southern Librarians, Jeff Mortimore & Ruth Baker.

And of course took time to check out the other awesome posters. I have one more session I want to catch, and my ALA18 experience will finish. It’s been fun, educational, and inspirational. All those things you hope a conference will be.

Day 2: the afternoon slump

This is the face of a Librarian who has been conferencing since 8:30 a.m. We call it the ALA Overload. Feet hurt, head hurts, brain hurts (yes, they are different). Yet, I have one more session I really want to attend in about half an hour, so I’ve plopped down in an open area with several other overload souls to recharge for a moment.

Have attended a couple good sessions, and spent a good amount of time in the exhibit/vendor area. The exhibits are always a huge draw. It is a high energy, networking, swag grabbing, book signing, food and drink sampling, showcase of products and talent. You can roam them for hours and still not hit every booth!

It’s also the area for poster presentations. Loved the theme on this one, and the energy from the two presenters!

I had lunch with a group including two friends and former colleagues from Savannah State University. I love this aspect of ALA-the opportunity to reconnect and catch up with folks you love.

I’m going to drag myself into this one final session, and then I think it will be time to make it back to the hotel and prepare for tomorrow.

Michelle & Carla!!

Rest of day one. I did attend a very nice session on increasing communication with faculty, so some work did occur. However, today is opening session and the keynote speaker is Michelle Obama! I know folks who shelled out quite a fee to change flight plans just to make this session.

Michelle was scheduled to speak at 4:00. They allowed folks to start lining up at 9:00 a.m. And some did…

What you may not be able to see in these photos are the folks sitting on the floor behind the purple curtains. I did not line up at 9:00. But I did worry a little when my session ended at two, and the line covered the length of the convention center. The center is over a mile long, by the way.

I sat near an outlet to charge my phone for over 30 minutes, and the end of the line never passed me! They moved it quickly, though, and I did get in. Before Michelle, we were treated to a concert by Trombone Shorty!

I found friends!

And then Michelle!!

She was awesome. Please excuse me while I reminisce about a time when our first family had class, dignity, intelligence, was articulate and well read, empathetic, and adorable…..

Such a great opening. AND THEN…the exhibits hall opened! And I do not have photos because my phone was on 1%, and I was saving it to meet and have a photo made with Carla Hayden, our Librarian of Congress!!!!!

Even more exciting than Michelle (sorry, Michelle. I’m a little partial). So awesome!!

Now off to dinner with a colleague, and preparing for another full day tomorrow.

Day1: Beignets & Badges

Woke up this morning ready to hit the streets! My hotel is on Royal, which is a visual feast of art galleries and antique shops. I am also a short five minute stroll from Cafe Beignet, so my beignet fix has already been satisfied along with a lovely cup of cafe au lait.

I then took a quick stroll to Jackson Square to see the cathedral. I love that you can have spiritual and palm readings right outside the church. New Orleans has you covered, no matter which way you swing!

And where else can you find musical instruments just laying around near a bench…

And from there it was off to the convention center to pick up my conference materials. The sites are always fun and eclectic. The heat and humidity is off the charts. Everyone I meet says, “oh! From Savannah, GA. You’re used to this.” Ummm, this place makes Savannah seem cool. It’s like this city laughs , ” oh puny east coast port city, you think you know summer. Come on down New Orleans and let me show you real summer!” I was drenched by the time I arrived , but truly it is worth it. I cannot imagine NOT walking this city…

…and then registration! Folks are starting to show up. The energy is rising. The ALA store is already up and running, folks are printing at the Internet cafe, they’re milling around starting to find sessions, they are arranging their bags and swag (librarians will plop down anywhere to arrange that bag!). It’s going to be a full day. Hope to catch Michelle Obama’s opening keynote-wish me luck!

New Orleans: Getting Settled

Whew! Busy day of travel. Hit the road around 6:30 a.m. Mother Nature was kind, and it was a beautiful drive. I also did not hit a ton of traffic. It slowed down a bit in a couple of spots in Alabama – both minor accidents – but nothing that added significant time to the trip. I arrived in New Orleans about 4:30 local time. After managing the narrow streets of the French Quarter, I pulled up to my hotel, handed the car over, and do not plan to touch it again until I pull out to drive home on Monday! I’m staying at the historic Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street. The hotel is beautiful, and my room is cozy.

Once settled, I walked to the Convention Center, just to see how much time it might take me tomorrow morning, and fortunately, it’s going to be a straightforward and easy walk. Unfortunately, I arrived a little too late to go ahead and pick up my badge today, so I’ll have to wait and handle that part tomorrow.

This evening was a testament to one of the many positives of social media. An ALA2018 conference group has popped up on Face Book. A fellow librarian put out the call for anyone interested in meeting up for dinner tonight. I shared a lovely evening with Shannon Oltmann, from KY, and Chereeka Garner, from FL! Shannon teaches Library Science courses for the University of Kentucky’s Library Science program and she is also one of the editors for the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. Chereeka, is an 11th grade English teacher who has just finished her M.L.I.S. from Florida State, and she has a part-time job as an academic librarian at a community college in FL. Thanks, Shannon, for putting out the call to meet up!

My apologies, as I did not take a lot of photos today. Just a few of the hotel lobby area, and a few during the drive. It’s been several years since I’ve been to NOLA, so my short time today was spent soaking it all in and reorienting myself to the city. Tomorrow will be a full on conference day, so I’m about to call it a night, veg out with a little television, and fall asleep dreaming of the adventures to come.

Final Morning on the Beach.

Our final morning in Rio called for a quick trip to the beach. Earlier in the trip, we had an opportunity to walk Ipanema, but we wanted to take a moment, relax, and really take in the beach. A trip to Rio is not complete without some beach time. Winter thins the crowds, which makes for a quiet and peaceful visit. A dear friend, Bernardo, also joined us.

When I wrote about the National Library, I mentioned that they did not capitalize on library merchandise like we do in the United States. The beach vendors make up for it. You can buy almost anything on the beach here: jewelry, bikinis, clothing, food, drink, toys… The list is nearly endless. One of my favorite treats is the fresh coconut water straight from the coconut itself. Rio’s beaches are a culture in themselves, and not to be missed. Bon Gia, my friends.

Petrópolis: The Imperial City

2018-06-10 13.14.01    As mentioned in my previous post, we spent this past weekend visiting Petrópolis. During the Napoleanic wars, the royal family of Portugual fled to Brazil (basically to save their lives), and settled in Rio. However, the climate in Rio can be a bit brutal for anyone not so accustomed to the heat. Somehow, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how some of these groups made it up these hills surrounding Rio, they found their way to Petrópolis. The elevation provides a much milder climate than Rio – especially in summer, and the royal family had a summer palace built. As a result of the royal family stationing itself in Petrópolis, other high ranking persons (Dukes, Baron’s, etc.) also made their way to Petrópolis and had homes established. Their is a street in this city with some amazing old homes. Many of them are no longer single dwelling homes, but their beauty certainly remains.

We did visit the Imperial Museum. I don’t have much to share in the way of photo, as none are allowed. Probably best, as many of them would have boring photos of crowns, jewels, and royal robes. It is a shame I cannot share an image of the golden cradle. This was the most impractical, dear Lord I cannot believe they actually placed a baby in that thing, contraption Carolina and I had ever seen. We both stood in amazement for several miutes. Truly and indication of more wealth than sense! I was able to take a few photos of the grounds, which are beautiful.

I also could not resist sneaking a photo of the shoe protectors they require all visitors to wear. These giant slippers went over your shoes, and made it impossible to pick up your feet and walk normally. Instead, you simply had to slide your feet, as if you were skating. All of the floors in the palace are either wood or tile, so this was not difficult, and actually was kind of fun. It also created some comical observations involving children, and I am sure a few headaches for the parents involved!

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We also made a brief visit to the Cathedral, which was commissioned by Princess Isabel, of the royal family. It was beautiful and had quite a presence within the city.

When were not exploring Petrópolis, we were spending time at the darling home of Marta, Bernardo’s mother. As mentioned, her home is actually in Iataipava, which is a small town outside of Petrópolis. The grounds of her home are stunning, and the views are amazing. The home was bought by her parents, so Bernardo has been visiting the area his entire life His memories and stories were heart warming. The area itself is beautiful – absolutely breath taking. I can see why so many folks from Rio head to the hills for their weekend holidays It is quiet, milder climate, provides a little bit of space, and lush with nature. We saw so many birds that I’ve never seen in Rio – such as the Japu. 

I will say that the trip itself was a little nail biting for me, as the roads up this hill are intense! They are rough, narrow, and extremely curvy. It took a great deal of concentration to control the motion sickness, but I am happy we finally made this trip. So much history wrapped into a small package.

Alberto Santos-Dumont

2018-06-09 15.02.27   Our final weekend in Brazil has been full and busy. Every time we have visited Brazil, Mauro has planned to make a trip to the mountains to see Petrópolis, and every visit this plan has been pushed aside due to a schedule crammed too full to possibly manage every item. The trip to Petrópolis is a solid hour’s drive, and often longer due to heavy traffic and the road conditions. The roads in Brazil are not stellar. They are rough, narrow, and tedious. This year, Bernardo’s mother, Marta, offered a visit to her mountain home located in Iataipava. Mauro jumped on this, and so the trip to Petrópolis finally took place.

The trip was full of new discoveries (at least for me and Olivia), and so I have decided to write at least two posts to cover them. The first post will be dedicated to a person Mauro is passionate about, Alberto Santos-Dumont. Mauro and Carolina were both appalled that the United States seems to skim completely over the accomplishments of Santos-Dumont and only give credit for the first flight to Orville and Wilbur Wright. Mauro has made it a point to highlight the inventions, successes, and accomplishments of Santos-Dumont at every given opportunity. We have watched documentaries, he brought a book back to me covering the life of Santos-Dumont, and any time we see a North Carolina (the home of the Wright Brothers) license plate, he makes it his mission to compare Santos-Dumont’s flight successes with that of the Wright Brothers – the biggest emphasis being given to the fact that Santos-Dumont’s took off using it’s own power, AND there were actual witnesses to this flight that were not immediate friends or family!

Petrópolis just happens to be the location of Santos-Dumont’s Brazilian home; a charming little Chalet he helped design and named Encantada (Enchanted). The home is now a museum honoring this Brazilian inventor, engineer, and pioneer of aviation. It was a fun visit, and the home truly provided a brief glimpse in to the personality of this eccentric man. For instance, he apparently had many superstitions, and one of them involved stairs. He had all of home stairs designed to force a person to start off using their right foot. Also, you’ll notice in the photos of his home, that there is no kitchen at all. He did not feel the need to have a kitchen, as the hotel across the street would deliver meals to him on a daily basis. I encourage you to explore and find out more about Alberto Santos-Dumont, as he led an interesting life, and certainly was ahead of his time with his thinking and creative approach to life’s every day trials, as well as the bigger puzzles of the world.

We will board a plane back to the United States tomorrow evening, and I am hoping to have time to write the post detailing Petrópolis and our trip to the mountains before we leave. We’ll see if this plan actually manifests itself successfully…

Escadaria Selarón: Selarón’s Steps

2018-06-08 15.15.50    From 1990-2013, Chilean-born artist, Jorge Selarón, created what he called, “my tribute to the Brazilian people.” The steps straddle the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro. They’ve been the subject of many photos, commercials, music videos, and other forms of media, and they have become a major tourist attraction for the city. Olivia has been wanting to visit the Escadaria Selarón for years, and today we finally managed to work them in.

The steps and surrounding areas are covered in random tiles. Originally, Selarón used salvaged tile that he found, but later, folks began donating tiles for the project. Selarón considered the steps an evolving and living work of art, that would never be finished. Tragically, in 2013, he was found dead on the steps he loved.

The randomness of the tiles is astonishing. We just happened to find two Georgia tiles in the mix!

I think you could visit these steps 100 times and find something new each visit. We even saw some random ceramic roof tiles worked in to various areas of the steps and surrounding walls. If you can zoom in on these photos, take a look at the dates on them!


The persons living in the area have capitalized on the attraction, and some eateries and gift shops have popped up near the bottom. Some of the families living along the stair way have also started selling goods – everything from drinks to photo tiles of your visit to the steps.

The alleyway leading up to the steps is equally visually stimulating, with amazing graffiti paintings gracing your journey to the actual steps.

I think Selarón would be pleased at how much people seem to enjoy his gift to Brazil. The atmosphere on the steps is happy and jovial. They certainly bring joy to those who visit, and I’m happy we were able to work them in to this visit. Tomorrow, we head up to the mountains to visit Petropolis.