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Instructional Support Division Team Newsletter: July 2

Staying Connected as a Team Through Covid-19


If you had a drink (coffee, tea, soda, beer, wine, etc.) with a historical figure, who would it be and what beverage would you choose?
That's such a hard one. There are so many interesting people who've lived but not necessarily people I'd want to meet. I love the works of Poe and Lovecraft but it would be a real downer of a visit with either. I think I'd have to go with a quiet early morning coffee with John Muir, looking over Yosemite Valley or walking through the sequoias.
There are so many people. One person who pops out is the Dalai Lama. I would love to sip tea with him and talk about his teachings on happiness.
I would have a martini with Marilyn Monroe.
Of course, I would have tea with the Queen of England!

Live Poll

Where is your favorite spot in which to work at home?
Dining table so I can spread out: 7 votes (31.82%)
My bedroom so I can lock the door: 3 votes (13.64%)
Outside on the porch so I can watch the wildlife and enjoy the breeze (or humidity): 3 votes (13.64%)
Anywhere my family is not: 9 votes (40.91%)
Total Votes: 22
Everyone should take an afternoon break, so what’s your favorite snack?
Something salty like popcorn, cheez-its, or pretzels: 8 votes (36.36%)
Something sweet like M&M’s, ice cream, or Oreo's: 3 votes (13.64%)
Something healthy like apples, carrot sticks, or edamame: 7 votes (31.82%)
Something cold like a smoothie, a Popsicle, or frozen grapes: 4 votes (18.18%)
Total Votes: 22
What’s your typical work-from-home outfit?
Professional on top, shorts on the bottom (just right for Webex meetings): 4 votes (17.39%)
Pajamas – all day, every day: 0 votes (0%)
Head-to-toe professional – maybe it will inspire productivity: 0 votes (0%)
Comfy clothes with comfy (or no) shoes: 19 votes (82.61%)
Total Votes: 23

Just for Laughs

Marty, whatever happens don't ever go to 2020.
I'm no expert on COVID-19 but this is the Cure.
All of a sudden everybody has become Sheldon
Zoom meeting: Audio only; With video
What did you hate sharing as a kid? Has it changed as an adult?
I don't like to share my chocolate. If I do share, it means I REALLY like and appreciate you! I share better as an adult.
Anything. I was a bratty kid. I have changed so much as an adult. I like sharing. It brings me joy.
I'm a really light sleeper so I hated sharing rooms with others when I was a kid. I grew up with two younger siblings in a very low-income home so we were usually sharing rooms all the time. It's definitely changed as an adult. After living with my husband so long, it's difficult to fall asleep if he has to go away for business.

Next Issue

Let's play "Guess Who!" This Is?

To allow more time for people to submit their childhood/baby photos for our “Guess Who?” activity, we’re going to push it back to the newsletter published on July 23.  So, please submit a photo!  We’d love to have more of our part-time family participate!  Here’s the link to upload:


Issue No. 6 will be released on July 23.

Get Ready!

Hope shared with some of us this cute event a library hosted called the Edible Book Festival. It captured our imagination and we thought that this might be a neat project that we could do at home, take photos, and share our creations in an upcoming newsletter. 

So, until we map out the project details and make this "official", put your thinking caps on and brainstorm ways to combine some of our favorite things: books or stories and food.

Stay tuned! We'll have more in the next newsletter.


Mindfulness Mondays

In one of the last newsletter survey forms, Gabby offered to host some meditation sessions. She is offering live 15- 30 minute sessions every Monday at 1:00 p.m. via WebEx: 

If you can't make it, we will do our best to share recordings of these sessions.


WebEx Attendees

In our remote work setting, we regularly spot new attendees in our virtual meetings. In the All Instruction meetings, David Baty's pets have made appearances on the screen. We found this so amusing as he went on with what he was talking about while ignoring his cat pacing between him and his laptop. Many of us found this to make our leadership more human. 

Kaleigh followed up with David and was able to get both photos and names of all David's furry meeting participants. All David's pets are rescues.

Lucy Spencer


-a frequent WebEx visitor


-a frequent WebEx visitor

Desi Winston and Piper


-Lucy's brother

Winston (caramel) and Piper (black)

-Piper joined David's family in April


What was the highlight of your past week/month?

What made you smile? What are you grateful for?

Kaleigh My brother gave his cats a bath and it turns out they actually seemed to enjoy it. They just let it happen. They came out cuddled in towels, looking adorable.

Deer“There’s a deer right outside the fence,” my husband called. “Hurry out with your camera.” 


Sure enough, there was a deer not twenty feet away, having a stare-down with our dog through the fence. I raised the camera to snap a picture. The deer stood frozen. Then, just as I pressed the shutter, a bike came by. Startled, the deer jumped! But as soon as the bike was passed, she and our dog resumed their standoff as if nothing had happened.


I am grateful to have a job and to be working with such a great team! I am grateful for the roof over my head and a garden to play around in with many creatures.

My dog, Molly, found a stray cat in the culvert driveway. The poor thing was skin and bones and doesn't have a tail (not even a nub). Since our first encounter, I leave kibble out for Fera (what I call her). Every night, Molly drags me along to the front patio and to each culvert to find and check in on her.

On a similar note, Rosemary, one of my cats, hangs out on a window perch in my office. There is a resident Anole lizard that hangs out on the window. I now call him Eduardo. I regularly see Rosemary and Ed visiting one another between the glass. Coexist FTW!

Amanda Last week I made a lemon pie and it was delicious.
Jennifer We are finally getting our master bath remodeled! It has been a long time coming! My house is currently in chaos, but it will look beautiful when it all comes together!
Anne My daughter, Katie, has moved into her finished home (after it was flooded in the May storms and TS Imelda.) I loved seeing her cats run around the house exploring all the rooms especially her Mario themed game room and Harry Potter themed guest room.
Charlotte I'm grateful for all of the wonderful people in my life, personally and professionally, who've lifted me up and supported me while things have been extra tough lately. I'm fairly certain there have been times when I thanked them with snark and grumpiness, so I'm doubly grateful for their patience and care!

I am grateful for a well-behaved, obedient, unselfish child; he is a blessing. I am also grateful for a boyfriend and his cat who make our lives more exciting with each passing day.


What do you miss most about pre-quarantine life?

What’s the first thing you will do once the quarantine is over?

What positive things have come from quarantine that you hope to carry forward?

Anne I miss seeing my family in person. However, I am glad we have FaceTime, Skype, zoom, and other platforms to "see" our loved ones. When the quarantine is over, I want to be able to hug them.

Does it make me sound like a crazy shut-in if I say there's not much I miss?

Honestly, I think I miss physically going to work the most. I miss seeing my team, and I miss seeing our students; I even miss the constant stream of interruptions on some days. I miss the dynamic, textured, ever-interesting world that was "us."

I've learned a lot of tech/software skills from my "eventually I want to know this" list, and some I didn't even know to put on the list, since quarantine. This whole situation has forced me to view things differently and to reach for new solutions at every turn, and I plan to carry that forward. Necessity has illuminated a whole world of possibilities that were just faint, poorly defined glimmers of "maybe" and "what if" before, and I'm excited to see where it takes us as we move forward.

Amanda Traveling! I'm aching for some time away from home.
Jennifer I miss looking forward to our cruise for Haiden's graduation. It was canceled and he is a little bummed. I miss easier trips to the grocery store. I also miss only having to worry about making sure I get my flu shot!
Sue What do I miss most about pre-quarantine life? Travel, I thought first. I miss the trips I had scheduled, I miss being able to drive to see my daughter, and I miss my son who was supposed to be here for a visit. Then I thought, no, maybe it’s shopping. I need a length of fabric for this project, but without feeling it, how do I know if it’s got the right body? My backyard chairs are falling apart. The leg on one just collapsed in a burst of dust and the back on the other is unraveling. I looked online for replacements, but how do you choose a chair without sitting in it to see if it’s comfortable? I miss theater and live music and chatting with friends at work ... but mostly, I miss being able to make plans. Once the pandemic is over, there will be a future again.
Kaleigh I miss traveling! I really want to go somewhere and see the ocean and trees.
Mikha I miss giving and receiving hugs. I hope that people will be more mindful of their surroundings and how to help and care for one another.
Hope What I miss the most: traveling and live music. Two of my trips (to Oregon and to Europe) were canceled this year, but I am eagerly awaiting my next opportunity to visit someplace new. I am also an enthusiastic live music fan, and I attended concerts weekly. It has been very difficult to watch musicians online through the computer; it will never be the same as the experience of sitting in front of an incredibly talented guitar player with the crowd going wild.


What’s your best personal remote work hack?

I bought a dining table to replace a desk that I kept bruising my legs on. I have a (thick) History of Art book mounted on top of a monitor mount to raise my laptop up to eye level for greater ergonomics. And I hooked up a small TV to my laptop for added screen space.
I am still trying to figure that out! LOL!
Having two laptops to use for spreadsheets and creating lessons.


What unique, creative ways of staying connected have you heard about that families or friend groups are using during the pandemic?

We all watched Onward on our shared family account while messaging one another throughout the movie. Many tears and laughs. 
More recently, we watched 13th and had a good discussion about it.

We FaceTime a lot!  

Playing Jackbox tv (polling games using your phone) and Zoom. 

My mom lives in an assisted living facility, so to brighten her day, I send her pictures of the happenings in my yard. Those include daily animal sightings and newly bloomed flowers.


What is the first restaurant you'll visit when everything reopens completely?

Samurai Noodle, or Tiger Den.

CHUY'S!  I have to admit, we have already gone.  It was the first place we went,

A Mexican Restaurant like Los Cucos, Chuys, Chachi's or maybe try a new one!

Russia House in Austin with my boyfriend.


Highlight from Jennifer:

I have found pleasure spending time with my dogs and refreshing my backyard. I never realized how much fun gardening and planting could be. Also, the new Atascocita Dog Park is open! It is my new favorite place! My dogs definitely believe 2020 has been their year.

Highlight from Hope

My security cameras have picked up unusual happenings in the middle of the night in my yard. The past two weeks have caught a possum on the fence, a family of six raccoons on my front porch, and a flying squirrel. I have enjoyed watching nature as it happens.

The End of a Saga

At Last  

Watch our presentation and other information we shared here.

We also shared our story with Choice, the publishing division of the American College and Research Libraries. They released a new podcast series about library-related stories. Our Harvey experience is their inaugural story. They broke it down into five episodes that are being released weekly.

New Resources

The full-time team has been hosting peer share training sessions. We share our skills in using various tools and have been recording them for everyone to benefit from. We are housing them in the Instructional Support Professional Development Guide. We have been working on some resources guides about current events, in case you need some quick tools.


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