Highlights from 2005…
Jenny graduates from MHS and starts college! Jeff places 5th at State High School Diving Meet! Natale family reunion!
Char plays Star Wars!
Our new dean delivered on promises to look at reorganization. Months of committee meetings later, we had a new org design and a plan. All dept. heads had to re-apply for their jobs or any other job that happened to be open. We did internal searches for 8 dept. heads and are recruiting nationally for 2 new associate dean positions, a head of Special Collections, director of HR, and a director of Financial Services. I stepped down from my interim senior management position and applied for a dept. head job. I am now the Head of Cataloging & Serials, which under our new design, oversees cataloging, serials, electronic resources, database maintenance, and the Libraries’ desktop support. I wish I could say my workload has decreased but that’s far from true. We’re doing additional hiring for faculty positions – several of them new (so we’re actually growing for the first time in years!). Since late summer I have been chairing two search committees and also serve on the search committee for the Financial Services position. Within my department, we’re implementing a new electronic resource management system–known as an ERM in library lingo–which tracks licensing and acquisitions data for the databases and e-journals we have access to, we’re planning a HUGE database (i.e., the online catalog) clean up, and have to identify, move and do the database clean-up for 500,000 volumes that are going to a new remote storage facility 90 miles away beginning in spring 2007. Busy, busy, busy!!
Jenny graduated from Manhattan High in May. She turned down offers to attend Beloit College in WI, Hendrix College in Arkansas, the U of KS (in Lawrence, KS), and UNC-Asheville. She’s right here at K-State, renting a duplex with 2 girl friends, walking to classes (they live 2 blocks from campus). Sociology is her favorite class. She spent the summer working 3 jobs but cut back to 2 when college classes started in August. By Oct. 1 she was down to one job at Gymnastics Plus.
Grads Jenny and boyfriend Codi, Class of 2005
Jeff is now a senior. Wow! He’s doing great in school. Still thinking of computer programming as a college major, and looking at colleges that have competitive diving programs. He’s working as a coach at Gymnastics Plus and is thinking of getting certified as a lifeguard in the spring. I imagine we’ll be doing some college tours with Jeff after the holidays.
Diving kept us busy throughout the winter and spring. Jenny completed her high school career by placing in the top 16 at the girls State meet. She had a great season!! Jeff nearly missed competing at State when he had a major ‘ouch’ 2 days before the meet. During practice, his feet slipped on the end of the board and his body slid along the edge of the board. His legs were ripped up and badly bruised. Despite that setback and the pain, he competed and placed 5th at the State meet.
Jeff attended diving camp at Indiana University-Bloomington in July. He had a great time and now wants to attend IU! He was diving off the 7 and 10 meter platforms! Looked really scary to me but he loves it. He hopes to go to a college that has a 10 meter platform so he can compete at that level. During the late summer & fall Jeff worked out with the local diving club 2-3 days a week. High school diving just began in November and he’s hoping to break a record or two!
Jenny took up a different kind of diving when she turned eighteen. She fulfilled one of her life-long goals in March. She went skydiving! And not just once, but three times. She’s joined the K-State Parachute Club, too. I’ve only seen pictures. I can’t bring myself to watch. Not yet anyway…. but we really do need to get this on video!
Other Family News
Son Joel stays busy at MG Studios in Florida where he is a video & audio production editor. The company has expanded into larger quarters. His show “Gina D’s Kids Club” is adding a number of new episodes and will start airing on PBS in 2006 or 2007. Joel even has an entry in the Internet Movie Database, imdb.com. In addition to being the film editor, Joel also contributes original music for the show. (He works on other projects but I don’t hear too much about those!) He’s been taking guitar lessons, is teaching himself to play piano, and hopes to form a band with some friends. He’s writing music for a short film he wants to produce, too! Joel moved into a new apartment in May – now sharing with 2 other guys. Certainly helps with the rent payments so he can save for the cool keyboard he wants.
Mom is doing okay. She visited us in Kansas for a month during the summer. She’s not too active these days; can’t do the walking she used to enjoy. Limited trips out. In Florida she now has to count on friends and neighbors to take her places. Her doctor advised that she no longer drive. It’s been tough because she’s always been so independent.
The Natale reunion (Mom’s sisters & families) was great fun! We gathered at Port Canaveral, Florida in mid-November and went on a 3 day cruise. Saw some cousins I hadn’t seen in 30 years! We had representation from 5 of the 7 Natale siblings – from Millie, Betty, Jo, Jean, and Rita’s families – about 37 of us in all, including spouses, children, grandchildren, & friends. Joel and Jeff were able to attend. See some fun photos at:
Jeff heads to Florida for Christmas break shortly. I won’t be going back since I was there for a few days in November.
I did the college tour again with Jenny this year: we visited Hendrix (Arkansas) in the early spring. I did a ton of business-related travel: to Boston in January (where I got to see cousin Dan Lenzo and his wife June), Washington, D.C. in March, Minneapolis in May, Denver in October, plus various places in Kansas. Fun trips: I got to the Orlando area during March to see Mom, Joel, and my sister Carole; and to Bloomington, Indiana in July to pick up Jeff from diving camp.
And then there was Indianapolis and Star Wars Celebration III….
Star Wars news….
There was a new movie out this year in case you missed it! I didn’t. As has become tradition since Episode 1’s release, I went to the midnight premiere in May with a friend. A bunch of us planned to go here in Manhattan, then real life interrupted and we were all out of town – on business – in different parts of the country. So… I ended up going with a library colleague from Pittsburgh while we were at the annual North American Serials Interest Group conference in Minneapolis! This required great planning and organization, of course. We had to find a theater, get tickets, and be able to get back to our hotel at 4am!!
It all worked out (thanks to the Internet and hotel staff). We found a theater about 10 blocks from the hotel, ordered tickets online, and got there around 10pm with the other only slightly insane folks. Needless to say, of the thousands of people there, we were two of the oldest! Anyway we had a blast. I’d give Episode 3 a “B.” I can’t say I’d place it ahead of the original 3 films, but in my book it’s tied for 3rd place with Return of the Jedi!
The month before the movie I worked at Celebration III, the huge Star Wars convention held in Indianapolis. The Lucasfilm Fan Event Coordinator, Mary Franklin, is a friend from early Internet days. Mary calls upon our Star Wars group for volunteers, which allows us a few perks, like getting to the head of the line for the George Lucas event at the convention.
We worked hard to get that privilege, putting in about 6 hours a day on our assignments. We missed many of the shows, but still had a great time. Photos and a mini-diary from the con are available at http://members.cox.net/alxwngr/index.html. Son Joel attended (his xmas present from me) and had a great time. He hung out with cast members from the Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes (a fabulous show if you ever get to see it)! There are pictures of Joel with the cast on the website noted above and that’s Joel in the photo to the right, standing in front of one of the huge signs.
The starwars.com member’s section (Hyperspace) continues to re-publish my short stories online. There is a chance they’ll start accepting new original fiction so I’ve been working on an Alex Winger story, ready to submit as soon as the call goes out. Wish me luck!
HAVE A WONDERFUL 2006!
Char, Jenny, and Jeff