Sunday, February 22, 2009

Restorative Powers of Footloose

Well, after my long week of collections packing and moving at the museum (which, thank God, has gone pretty well so far - I haven't heard anyone say "oops" yet!) I was more than ready for a relaxing weekend. Yesterday I tackled the enormous monster pile of laundry that has been spilling out of the corner of my bedroom for a couple of weeks. Not so relaxing, but it felt good to get it done. Then last night I went to a good old-fashioned sleepover at L's house with an '80's theme. We watched Adventures in Babysitting (seriously, that's a GREAT movie!) and then we put in the ultimate classic Footloose! There is no work-related stress that a few dancing montages can't relieve! So, now I'm lounging on my couch, kinda thinking about running the vacuum or maybe doing some dishes, while watching UFO Hunters on the History Channel. I love this UFO stuff - it is such a great way to waste tons of time on a weekend.

Oh yeah - and the Oscars are on TV tonight! Yippee! Sadly, tomorrow its back to work and more moving and packing, so I'll have to make my last few hours of weekend really count - I might tune in to the E Red Carpet coverage that starts 2 hours in advance. Woohoo!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Freaking Out a Bit...

Normally, I don't allow my work-related stresses to invade my personal time on the weekends (well, occasionally I do, but not often). But I must admit that this weekend I have pretty much been one big ball of nerves over work and what's going to happen there next week (as in TOMORROW - dear God, only 18 hours of freedom left!). You see, today my museum closed to the public, and we will be closed for the next 6 months while our little historic building gets totally renovated inside and out. Actually, that part's really great - we really, really need the renovations (which will guve us things like a handicap-accessible bathroom and electrical wiring that is significantly upgraded from our existing wiring dating to ca. 1955 - we call it "vintage"). But, in order for these massive renovations to take place, EVERYTHING in the building has to be moved out. All of our office stuff, all of the gift shop contents, and, oh yeah, the museum's collection. I did win a battle to hire a professional art handling company to come in and physically move the collection to a secure, climate-controlled storage facility, so that's good, but there's a lot of prep work to do beforehand, and I'm the one doing it. Everyone who works in a museum will tell you that moving even portions of a collection is a headache of monumental proportions, and moving the whole thing is, well, its always a disaster to one degree or another. So, tomorrow morning at 8:00am the art handlers are showing up, and we'll see if all my prep work over the last few months has been worth it. And we'll see how hell-ish my life is going to be over the next 2 weeks.

Also, just to be helpful, my boss sent me an email this morning to let me know that when he stopped in to the museum a few hours ago our security alarm was beeping, but "he took care of it". First, when you open the door to enter the museum, the security alarm always beeps. That's how it works. Since my boss is NEVER the first one at the museum in the morning, I'm guessing he just didn't know this. Second, I have no idea what he measn by "took care of it". Did he call the police? Did he rip the alarm box out of the wall? Did he tackle a would-be burglar in the hallway? Hmmm. Something else to look forward to come Monday morning...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh Yeah, it's V-Day

Yep. It's Valentine's Day. I actually completely forgot for about 3 hours this morning, until I turned on the TV to catch the weather report and the local news was doing a V-Day spot on getting good restaurant reservations. Well, since I don't have a special guy in my life to share this day with, I'll just sent out a genuine hug to all my friends and family - you guys are my heart all year long!

Also, in another bit of feel-good news, the economic stimulus package was passed last night in Congress, and guess what was dropped from it! That's right, the Coburn Amendment!!! Well, sort of. Museums are now allowed to compete for economic aid, but zoos and aquariums are still banned. I don't get that, and I'm really sorry for all the zoos and aquariums out there, but yay for museums!! Clearly, the vast majority of congressmen and senators read my blog and were swayed by my very coherent argument. It may have also had something to do with the massive effort of hundreds of museum workers and patrons allover the country voiceing their outrage over the last few days. But mostly it was my blog.

Anyway, just another small reason to feel the love today...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Speaking Up...For Museums

Okay, I have to get something off my chest that's really been bothering me over the last few days. It has to do with politics, so forgive me for this little soap box moment...

George Washington wore dentures, but he never cut down his father's cherry tree.
Frank Lloyd Wright was an architectural genius, but he was also an egomaniac and a control freak.
Thomas Jefferson had children with one of his slaves - a woman named Sally Hemmings.
Rachel Carson started the environmental movement before most people even knew the word "environment".
Abraham Lincoln was a gifted speaker, but he had doubts that his Gettysburg Address was up to par.

How do we know these facts to be true? Well, Washington's dentures, Wright's personal correspondence, Jefferson's account books, Carson's writings and Lincoln's rough draft all still exist - in museums. And these are just a few examples off the top of my head. Isn't that amazing? Museums actually house the things that make our history true. The proof that it all happened. And ANYONE can walk right in and see these things - you don't have to be rich or privileged or attractive or anything else. And here's another pretty incredible fact: a survey done about a decade ago showed that the vast majority of Americans trust the information they get in museums above newspapers, books and even school teachers. Hmmm. Sounds like we kinda value these things called museums, huh?

Museums are amazing places. With almost no money and very little staff, they are charged with protecting the most important artifacts from the most important moments in our history. They do good work. Now, obviously, I'm partial to history museums, because I work in one, but let's not forget art museums, science centers, aquariums and all the other cultural institutions out there that teach us all the stuff that gets glossed over in our "no child left behind" educational system. Yeah, it all seems pretty worthwhile, right?

Wrong. According to a Senator Coburn (R-OK), "museums, aquariums, zoos and other cultural institutions" deserve to be lumped into the same category as casinos and highway beautification projects, and that none of the above should be allowed to have a single penny of the economic stimulus funds currently being debated in Congress. Senator Coburn feels so strongly that museums should not get any economic assistance from the government, he authored an amendment to the economic stimulus package that bans museums from even applying for the money (oh yeah, and also, no cultural institution that might somehow get its hands on stimulus funds should be allowed to use the money to buy big screen TVs or anti-gravity chairs. I'm not kidding.)

I honestly didn't think there was anyway that the Coburn Amendment would make it into the final stimulus package - it was just too whacky. Besides, would any self-respecting senator actually stand up and say, "Screw museums!"? Apparently, the vast majority of senators did in fact decide to stand up and say just that. The Coburn Amendment was approved, and is now officially part of the package.

I don't know what Senator Coburn's problem is. Frankly, I don't really care what his problem is. What I do care about is the fact that museums employ hundreds of thousands of people allover this country, and they supply some much-needed diversion from what is quickly becoming a pretty tough world. They house the things that make us who we are. And they already do it without much help. We're not asking for a $700 billion bail-out. We're just asking to be allowed to compete for what funding there is, just like everyone else.

If anyone out there (other than my museum professional friends who are already as mad as I am about this) feels that museums are a wee bit different than casinos, and that museums probably won't spend their money on anti-gravity chairs, visit the American Association of Museums web-site to find out what you can do to help.

Rant over.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It takes time...

My only excuse for my long absence from the blogosphere is that it really just does take time to recover from your team winning its SIXTH SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm really not kidding - I've been in outer-space ever since, and I think I'm only just now coming back to Earth.

My little Super Bowl party was a success - we had a ton of food, but we enjoyed it thoroughly. We all screamed and cheered so loudly that Bailey and Pepper are still traumatized. Well, it didn't help that Bailey is completely freaked by the balloon that I bought as deco for the party (as pictured above). He hid from it for a couple of days before he got a bit brave and started making sneak attacks on it from under the couch. Its now hidden in my closet.

Anyway, now that I seem to be getting back to normal, the posts should be a bit more frequent!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Prep Update...

Just got back from the grocery store, where I almost had a heart attack. I looked and looked and looked and couldn't find the Mrs. T's Pierogies anywhere!!! Dear God - the party was doomed!! I hunted down a store employee who looked at me like I was from Mars, and I guess she was concerned that I might become violent, so she called in the manager. After a few tense moments of me trying to explain to these Southerners what exactly I was looking for, the manager asked if I had checked the ethnic foods aisle. I had not. I guess where I come from pierogies aren't ethnic, but that's where I ended up finding them. Crisis averted...

T-minus 6 1/2 hours to go...