Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Got to Go Home to the Armadillo...

I'm back in Miami after a brief jaunt to Austin TX to deliver a paper on the Digital Library of the Caribbean at the Society of American Archivists annual meeting. If you didn't know, I got my MLS at UT, lived in Austin for 4 years, and left 30 years ago. I've always wanted to return to live and work but Fate has decreed other paths in my life. I can't complain in that respect and I manage to get back to Austin whenever possible.

It was HOT in town with average temperatures of 100 degrees Farenheit. Wed. night as the plane was landing, it was easy to see there'd been a much needed thunderstorm. Sadly the rain predicted over the next couple of days never showed up. Even the conference wear I packed seemed too hot and I made a few adjustments since the 4 block walk between hotels downtown was akin to walking in a blast furnace.

Friday evening I dined with my panel mates (though I'd already met Bert Lyons in Jamaica in June) and my SALALM colleague Marisol Ramos. I hadn't met Helen Wong Smith, our other speaker, until then. It was useful to get to know one another and we loaded their PowerPoint presentations on my netbook for the presentation. The panel went well with a plentiful audience for 8am. I came away with 2 intriguing new leads for dLOC participation that I'll follow up on this fall.

I also had a lovely evening with my half-brother James Williams and his daughter Jaden. James was out of contact with most of the family for several years so this was my first chance to meet my 13 year old niece Jaden. I couldn't quite see the resemblance with my sister Janet that others have claimed but Jaden does remind me of her Aunt Bobbie (my half-sister) and my cousin Bonnie's daughter Judy Kaye. James promised they'll be coming to Oklahoma for Christmas.

I slipped away from the conference to use the Benson Latin American Collection for a research project I want to finish. Being back in the Benson is always nostalgic for me. I wander the stacks remembering using the collection for my Latin American bibliography coursework in my graduate work. There have been shifts in where some of the collection now sits so it was good that I looked at the floor map of call numbers or I'd have ended up on the wrong floor! A big change is the recent addition of a replica head from the Olmec San Lorenzo site that greets you in the courtyard on the east side of the building. I couldn't help but dubbing it "Big Boy"!

Saturday evening was dinner with Ann Hartness at the Fonda San Miguel (James has lived in Austin off and on since 1993 but he'd never heard of this Austin institution till I told him about it). The Fonda has superb Mexican food in beautiful settings and it's probably been about 10 years since the last time I dined there. Ann and I missed one another by a day when I was in Rio de Janeiro in June. It was fun to hear about her upcoming birding trip in Italy she'll be taking with Laura GutiƩrrez Witt, the other retired director of the Benson Latin American Collection. We also agreed that we despise Heathrow Airport in London!

This morning arrived TOO early, 4am to get up and leave for a 6:45am flight. I had a 2 hour layover in Atlanta where I finished my novel in an attempt to not just fall asleep at the gate. I dozed on the flight to Miami and still needed a nap once at home so I would stay awake for True Blood. My eyelids are again getting heavy so buenas noches.