Posts tagged Carnegie

Happy Nouruz and Happy Spring

Carnegie north wingfixed up North WingNot sure how to spell the Kazakh holiday but I DO know what spring should look like around here.  We have been fooled into thinking spring is here and then BOOM, we got an inch of snow surprise several mornings ago.  We have a faint layer of snow on the ground now but that won’t last long if the temps rise above freezing today.  We survived Daily Light Savings time switch a week ago. Of course, I felt tired for losing the one hour sleep but I think I am back to normal now. I just finished having a wonderful spring break for ONE week and so it felt like I was away from teaching for TWO weeks because I accomplished a lot.  I will show pictures of the Carnegie building we have been working on.  One is an older photo, the other is a photoshopped photo.

We had a committee meeting with six of us talking about the future of the Carnegie and how we need to raise money to do all the renovation that is necessary in order to have it a place for community gatherings.  Lots of GREAT ideas for five months from now, but also lots of work. We have 200 boxes full of OLD books that need to be processed.  I am buying up 4×6 and 5×7 inch picture frames at thrift store so that we can put colorful pictures or etchings from 100 year old books behind glass. We will sell these mementos for $25 a piece and hopefully raise at least $25,000 to start work on what needs to be done first in the Carnegie building.  So much work to do in the downstairs basement area where the archives will be. Glad to have two librarians and an archivist working with me on the book purging that we are doing.

Well, tomorrow I am back in front of my students and they don’t want to be back as much as I don’t want to be there.  I worked on my lesson plans for the next month so there is a light at the end of the tunnel for ALL of us.  Yes, give me summer but then there is the tyranny of the weeds to pull in all 15 of my different gardens outside. The snarly weeds got the best of me last year because of my accident, so now I have to serve double time to get those chokers out.  I’ve lost some of my perennials to weeds but maybe I can get out and do the work that needs to be done.  Which work do I prefer, Carnegie or outside gardens? That’s a toss up!

Happy Nouruz to all my Kazakh and Central Asian friends!

carnegie library looking SE

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MOVING Experience yesterday at the Carnegie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week was our first week of classes for the spring semester.  I met with my two composition classes to talk up Martin Luther King Day yesterday as a kind of service learning project.  On Monday and Wednesday I thought I had at least 25 students who were on board to get on the bus to come to the Carnegie and help move boxes of books.  By Friday when I had the sign up sheet go around in the first class only ONE student signed up, the others had better things to do.  I didn’t even try to coerce the second class into coming to the Carnegie to lend their “back” support to moving old books and newspapers to another location.  The night before I had told the board of directors for the historical society that I had 25 students, now I realized I had to eat crow.

Things certainly do change in 24 hours. I went to the coordinator of Martin Luther King Day and told her my dilemma.  The one who was in charge of Service Learning was out sick with pneumonia and so I thought we would just do the best we can with 150 boxes full and figure out how to take the Christmas decorations down and assemble 75 more acid-free boxes.  I had asked for TWO pickups to be there at the site because the neighboring library would be closed due to Martin Luther King Day.  I didn’t know if the weather would cooperate because we had been suffering through negative teens and 20s.  All looked lost until I talked to the main coordinator  for MLK Day on Saturday night while I watched our university team lose their basketball game 80 to 50.  Her son was playing on the team but she told me the head football coach was looking for something for his players to do on Monday.

Then I got an e-mail  back that same night from the head football coach saying he would have THIRTY football players ready to work at 1:30 at the Carnegie.  I was thrilled but I knew by Sunday morning that I needed to have many different projects going simultaneously on Monday.  I didn’t know how many other people would show from the historical society but I alerted everyone on the Carnegie committee on Sunday saying: “All HANDS on deck!”  I got about half showing up and three of my students showed up right at 9:00 a.m.  Things moved fast with the small group of about ten people working.  I had to cross things off the lists that I had made.

We were able to fill 75 assembled acid-free boxes and fill them with noting what each box contained.  We added small books to the magazines to fill every possible square inch.  I had the editor of the local daily newspaper come to take photos and write up a story, he was there right at 1:30.  I showed him the upstairs and downstairs, especially all the boxes of books that were lined up ready to go out to the waiting pickup and trailer. We came back upstairs and the lobby area of our Carnegie was filled with all sizes of football players ready to work.  I had them sign the different lists and some went right away to the museum with the Museum Director to move some heavy glass cases.  I had another group go with our guy in charge of the pickup and trailer.  Another group stayed upstairs where the Bose player was sounding out “December” by George Winston.  The latter group I was in charge of making sure the floor was mopped and swept, the shelves were dusted and oil put on and generally staying out of the cookies and pop that were waiting for them after the work was through.

I am happy to say that in one and a half hours, we had 200 boxes moved of books to the other location 1/2 mile away and that there were NO injuries.  There had been ice at first but the temps hovered around 32 degrees and it looked like a false spring day, though gloomy.  I was thrilled that we got sooooo much accomplished in such a short time. I wrote a grateful e-mail to the head coach, I said told him the players were hard workers, polite and got much done for the good of the community.  I hope we can have them again to help when we moves things around again.  I’m glad only 20 of them showed up and NOT 30 because we had done so much in the morning that I am not sure what we would have done with ten more willing hands and strong backs.

Moral of story, sometimes when things look bleak, admit you need help and help may MOVE in your direction!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



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Helpful and Informative Comment about Kazakh Rugs

Kyrgyz carpet in Carnegie

I love when people who are originally from Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan write comments on my blog! They are authentic and informative. What a surprise for me to read a comment made on a blog I posted years ago about Kazakh carpets. Similar to this intensive labor of love, I am having informed ladies from my northwestern Minnesota community come and talk about the hard labors of making quilts at our Carnegie library in October. We will feature antique quilts that were made over a century ago, some are crazy quilts. But nothing compares to the back breaking work of creating a beautifully colored Kazakh or Kyrgyz carpet. I’m glad I have my Krygyz one that I bought 20 years ago and brought back to the U.S. and now featured in our old Carnegie library.

This is what 46 year old Pakiza wrote about from her experience of making a Kazakh rug:

“I am from the south of Kazakhstan. We used to make all kinds of rugs when I was growing up in my aul (small Kazakh settlement). The last time I took part in making a rug was 1984, just before I left my aul at age 17. Making a rug is a hard work. Weaving an average size kilem of 2.5×3.5 meters four girls takes minimum one month, working from dawn to midnight. Apart from four women weaving the kilem, it is also a hard work for a host lady feeding these girls well four times a day. So this is only the weaving process.

But the preparation process is even harder, starting from cutting the wool off sheep (mountains of dusty wool), washing, dying and drying, then sabau, we say in kazakh, this is repeatedly hitting the wool by small piles by thin wood sticks to make it more puffy), then the wool is pulled by hand. These work takes days and everyone would get involved here grown ups and children. The more helping hands the better, quicker. Otherwise it is extremely tedious. Then yarn is prepared (urshik iiru) which is also hand made throughout winter months (it takes many months!). It is a back breaking work but I enjoyed weaving it (avoided hand pulling wool, very boring). Now I miss those days. It’s a shame we stopped doing it nowadays; it’s because there are plenty of factory produced rugs (most of them are synthetics and not warm and cosy) available which they can buy. Easy. But these are synthetic rugs and not so soft, warm and cosy like our Kazakh rugs). But when I return to Kazakhstan one day, I will make a beautiful rug myself even if it would be a small one although it will probably be difficult to find women who would make yarns, the special yarns.”

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