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Archive for January, 2009

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Puppy love

Chavo

Can Slim control Chavo if he decided to bolt?  Questionable.A couple of weeks ago when F & I went to Guanajuato, we were walking to the Presa when we bumped into none other than Cascarabbias!  Coincidentally, we had just come down from Espina (Spine Street which takes you all the way up the rim of the teacup that is Guanajuato) to see if we could get a glimpse of Casca.  But he wasn’t there. He was on a walk.

When he passed by us on the sidewalk, we turned back and followed a little bit working up our nerve to talk to his owner. After stalking Casca for so long, we felt as though we were meeting a celebrity.  Turns out Casca’s name is Chavo and he’s two years old. As much as I wanted to pet him and kiss him on the top of his head, I figured he could take my face off in one bite and I didn’t want to risk it.

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Keeping it alive

Proyecto Itzaes homepage screenshot

Click on the image to visit the new website.

After meeting with Cindy in Merida a month ago, we decided the Proyecto Itzaes website needed some freshening up and quite possibly a makeover. Today’s web is much different than it was just a few years ago. Not only does a website have to be intuitive to navigate and friendly to use, it needs to be social.

So I began looking around at templates that took advantage of social technologies and I found one. I appreciated how a blog, tweets, and a flickr photostream were featured on the homepage. It meant that someone would have to tend to and take care of this website to keep it alive. The concept of a living website is just as important as a social one. In fact, the two might very well go hand-in-hand.

So Cindy bought the template and I began migrating content from the current website to the new one.  I also contacted the template designer for a little bit of help that was beyond my skill.  Turns out: a lot of help.  After completing the website in Dreamweaver, I learned that to take advantage of some of the features, like rotating Flickr photostream images and pulling new testimonials out of a database for every refresh, I need to redo the site in WordPress. This was an entirely new concept for me and so I asked Milan, the template designer, for help.

Working with Milan taught me even more than constructing the website did. Through his patience and kindness, I learned a lot about remotely serving customers.  We “met” in google chat almost daily where he would hand-hold me through numerous learning moments: how to install plug-ins, how to change headers from a post (so different than Dreamweaver!), how to create a widget, reminding me to follow Standards, and soooo much more.  There’s a seven hour difference between San Miguel and Belgrade, Serbia, where Milan lives.  Even though he worked very late sometimes, he never lost his enthusiasm, his kindness, and his can-do attitude.  We’ve decided his slogan should be “no problem.”

If I do go back to librarianship, I’ll want to use chat much more than in the past. I’ve learned first-hand how empowering it can be.  Students need help the most when they’re putting their papers together, not when their instructor brings them in for a one-shot 50-minute blaze through the databases. I’m grateful to have had such a fantastic mentor for remote attitude.  Milan really made this project come together for me while fueling my own enthusiasm.  Sometimes, all you need is a little hand-hold to succeed;  you need it in the moment and where you are.  If a Serbian designer can graciously help a librarian in Mexico put together a website, teaching her along the way, I’m pretty sure this librarian can do the same for any student.

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When I grow up…

[clearspring_widget title=”Animoto.com” wid=”46928cc51133af17″ pid=”497f9d3174dcfea8″ width=”432″ height=”260″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

(1:27)

The Science in the Villages Program by Proyecto Itzaes inspires a young student to study science. 

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Foxi Lady

 Roberto Gasca Martinez

Foxi Lady vs La Gangrena by Roberto Gasca Martinez was easily my favorite at one of the museums we went to on Sunday (I didn’t use flash and it was ok to photograph). Besides being muy Mexicana, I love the colors and the texture.  I imagine Roberto spent an entire afternoon photographing Foxi and Gangrena in various positions and degrees of undress.  Then he took two days sorting out the photographs, setting his favorites apart.  Finally, he selected one and painted it, executing it faithfully and beautifully and then faithfully again.  Foxi asked him to not include her unsightly birthmark located on her inner arm.  Martinez should have received at least an Honorable Mention for this one.  ¿Cómo que no?

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Sunday parks

Yellow dress

I spent most of yesterday strolling from park to park in Querétaro, admiring the city’s sculptures, and crossing the street to walk on the shady side.  There was sun everywhere.  Ice cream cones and water fountains, everywhere.  By late afternoon, F & I were close to falling asleep on one of the park benches, lulled by the sounds of water, children playing, and the rhythm of Spanish language. Leaning back on the bench, I cracked my eyes open and admired the late January lighting as it filled in cracks and illuminated a girl’s yellow dress.

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Yucatán hoops

Yucatan Hoops

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