Thursday, June 29, 2006

more small moments (a very short and rather pedestrian post)

Life is hard, but good.

Walking from work to my car (parked in the shade), talking to my mom on the cell. (She won't let me drive and talk, so I sat in the parking lot for a bit.)

Going to dinner with some OD folk (that would be Open Door, not overdosed). One beer was all I needed...I left at 8:30 and was asleep by 9:30pm. The food was paella and divine!

Thinking about how I could make a mini-trip home...since the mountain can't come to Mohammed...(the 'rents usually come up for July 4th but can't, and I have a window of time where I *could* go down there for a few weekend.)

And this weekend will be full of fun, egads!

This was the quote that hit me today, as I continue to read Phillip Yancey:

"To live in the past and the future is easy. To live in the present is like threading a needle." (Walker Percy)

Which, threading a needle isn't so hard if you're paying attention. Unless, of course, you happen to be Tom Sawyer...

I'm listening to Hoot on audio again. Oh, I highly recommend it! Chad Lowe is an amazing reader!

And soon, I promise, I'll write on Patricia MacLachlan. Pinky swear.

Today's challenge: to see if I want to do some Japanese story thing with my Mother Goose crowd or just find a copy of When the Relatives Came (by C. Rylant.) Joke thinks I should challenge myself--I'm feeling stretched beyond belief, but WE'LL SEE. Stay tuned.

Oh, and Joke also recommends Veggie Tales. That's some advice I will most certainly be taking!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Point (and further ramblings)

Well, this is Pittsburgh, after all. The city that will buy up all the brown shirts you'll sell it. (Honest injun, a friend of mine used to be a buyer in the men's department for Kaufmanns. Whenever she was in NYC looking for stuff and saw brown shirts, she bought them all, because apparently, Pittsburgh men will buy them, hand over fist.)

Yesterday I posted on an event happening at the Point. Singing a song from the Mr. Rogers' show with one of the former stars, Mr. McFeely.

On Saturday July 1st at 5 p.m., Pittsburghers, past and present, near and far, are invited to join Mr. McFeely (David Newell) to sing "It's ABeautiful Day In the Neighborhood" at The Point.This once-in-a-lifetime event is part of the grand finale of "A TALE OFTWO CITIES", a movie we are making about Pittsburgh-- the city which builtAmerica with its steel, cured polio and invented everything from aluminumto the Big Mac which now is being challenged to reinvent itself.

I found out about it from an email forwarded from someone my boss knows, who forwarded it to me. I dutifully sent it out to my entire address book. My two tried and true Pittsburgh friends replied thusly:
  1. "How do I know this isn't a hoax?" and then later, "I checked it out, it's not a hoax."
  2. "Well, it's not Rick Sebak. Pittsburghers are constantly reinventing the city. It's not really a matter of 'two' cities over time."

Oh for crying out loud. My parents, normal people, replied thusly: (well, my mom)

"It looks to me like a MUST Do. You would just have to leave work early, not not go at all right?

Love you, Mom"

So that's one Point, Point State Park, the place where three rivers meet.

This post is also about another kind of point, a point in time. It's called, Sarah Louise cannot stand her hair on her neck anymore so she MUST put her hair up. It's the Ponytail Point. Then there's the point at which Sarah Louise must take off her ring (sometime from getting home from work to at least 15 minutes before bedtime) and the point in the morning at which she must put her ring back on. It's the Ring Point. Then, there's the Shoe Point. This one can be easily determined: the minute Sarah Louise enters her garret (which is wall to wall carpeted in entirety.)

On the way to Target Monday, Babs and I discussed blogging. How it can sometimes be cliquish and high school. Well, yeah! I loved high school. (Ninth grade was horrible, but that's normal.) But then again, my high school wasn't cliquish. We had groups that morphed. I was a part of the courtyard group (the folks that ate lunch in the courtyard.) Our group was anywhere between 8 and 20 folks. I was in a similar group in college. My college was a little cliquey. However, the worst cliquishness I experienced: at the youth group at my church. I came in at 7th grade and they'd been together for years and I was never "one of them." Finally I stopped going my senior year of high school.

And I have never heard of a "pop-up" thunderstorm, but that's the forecast for this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

rain rain go away, little Susie wants to play...

It's raining. If you're anywhere on the Right coast-ish (East Coast, USA) (as opposed to the Left, or West, Coast) you know of that which I speak.

Actually, I think it did stop for a moment. But never fear, the skies are still gray. Ugh!

It's the sort of day you want to just go to the mall or curl up with a book. I may actually go into work early, so that I can leave early on Saturday and do this.

I think I'll copy-cat Babs soon and do my own "shoe" post. I even already have pictures of her shoes!

I added a few folks to the right--to "Shoe Shopping": PJ, Carolyn, who are just great ladies, and fun to read! They have every right to be mad that it took me so long, but knowing them, they'll just say something sweet. To "Church Shoes" I've added Semicolon (who I only realized today is mother to eight!!!) and What I see, the blog of the Rich Ufford-Chase, who was moderator for the Presybterian Church (USA) for the past year or so. And I don't know if I mentioned it when I added it, this crazy Catholic guy I know, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

I'll probably add a few library links to "Work Shoes" later this week. I am so grateful for the blogosphere for opening my eyes to so many new things. I wrestle to keep my blog up to date, I wrestle with what I read from others, I wrestle on what to comment or what others commented. I even did get a new name (I love it that some people call me Sarah Louise when they see me "in real life.")

It's raining again. I'm listening to WJAS, the nation's top rated nostalgia station. I love the fact that folks like Sting and Rod Stewart (yes!) have taken up singing the Standards. Sting just sang "What are you doing the rest of your life." Listening to you crooning, I think.

Oh, and reading. Last week I ordered up a ton of books from the library. Since I work there, books show up on my desk, or in my mailbox (maybe.) I have two desks, two mailboxes, and there are at least two other places my books might show up. An intriguing read for those of us thirty and fortysomething singles (and a book I'd like to recommend anonymously to a few folks): Unhooked Generation. One of the things it talks about is how our culture prevents us from committed relationships. is described in detail--I was apalled! I did the thing awhile back and luckily got every penny back. Part of my problem (and the author's) with these online sites is the "check-list" mentality. Let's see, I want a blond 6' lacrosse player who has been to Europe, wears wingtips, and will dance the Macarena at our wedding. Um, from what I've heard from my married friends, it doesn't work that way. And from my own experience, what looks great on paper, on-line, on the phone, doesn't always translate to everyday life.

In fiction, I just finished Romantically Challenged (which features a protagonist who does the dating agency thing and gets burned when the company goes belly-up).

...and I'll leave you with this quote from Julia Roberts, from my "Fabulous Broads" page-a-day calendar "I'm too tall to be a girl. I'm between a chick and a broad."


Oh, and in case you care, this week's 6:00 Friends is the whole "Ross and Rachel break up" and at 7:00, Ross just had a baby son. I'm waiting for the library to cough up the next 6 episodes so that I can continue with the Complete Fourth Season of Sex and the City.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Over time, I have become more comfortable with mystery rather than certainty. (Phillip Yancey)

This was one of those wrestling with God weeks. A friend said to me, well, Jacob didn't give up (refererring to the dream where Jacob wrestled with God and got a new name, Israel, and a limp.)

Literature on bi-polar says that a regular schedule is what will keep you in check (read: healthy, out of the hospital, etc.). Literature on first borns (me) and only borns (I was an only until 10) say that I should be organized, using a Palm Pilot, and spoiled. Well, guess what, I'm un-boxable. I have seasons where I keep a regular schedule (if you can call it that) but I am pretty free-form and my doctors are always pleased at how healthy I am. I have a Palm Pilot (or is it a Pocket PC) that I used to play the games. I'll probably sell it, as soon as I locate it in my garret and get my ducks in a row. Literature on Global Nomads says that we either wander for the rest of our lives or find a place and stay put. Yes, I have found my stay put. I do not ever want to leave my garret. (Well, not never, but I do not want to have to move!) I love Pittsburgh and am forever discovering new things to do, new people to befriend.

And I love the old (make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.) I mourn the loss of old friends but work hard at making my new ones into faux and real antiques. Change has been the currency of my life, and I want stability! I've done my globe trotting--I want to go back to the places I've been before and see them again. Yesterday I found a picture of Old Town Warsaw, Poland (Stare Miasto) which was rebuilt after WWII. (So it's really new, based on the old.) I put it on the wall by my desk at work, so I can look at it. Places sometimes mean more to me than people--I wonder if Le Petit Trianon is still there, a French restaurant where my mother and I would go for crepes in the middle of the afternoon. I long to re-visit the sculpture museum, where they had a sculpture of three pregnant women. Oh, and a Rodin.

There are places I'll remember, all my life, though some have changed... I think of Paul McCartney, now 64, and not having someone to love him like in the song (will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?).

Right now I'm in that sweet place. It comes and goes, but it's that place where I have a smile lightly dancing on my lips. This week, contributing to the sweet place:

  • Grocery shopping with Babs and Terzo. She knows I rarely say no. And she found individual yogurts--6 oz! (They used to be 8 oz, at the same price but this is about sweet moments...)
  • Marzipan with chocolate for breakfast (due to Babs recommendation.)
  • Second dinner and beer at the Sharp Edge with Babs, last night. Oh, it is so good to have friends!
  • Listening to Back when we were grownups (Anne Tyler), read by Blair Brown. (need I say more?)
  • Reading blogs: Telfair is moving, bb is traveling, and Babs is reading more books than humanly possible. Oh, and Erin is finding Play Doh in her car!
This was the verse that hit me this morning (Yes, I've gotten back to reading the Bible, mornings.)

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of [queens].

(I changed kings to queens. It's my blog, I get to do that!)

Because God is clearly concealing a whole heck of a lot from me these days. But he is also reavealing to me that I am such a broken vessel, in need of grace and glue. I thank all y'all who have donated your Elmer's moments to me, whether you knew it or not.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Everyone's going to conferences...

Already, as a professional, I've learned a few things.

Some people love conferences.

Others, hate them.

I fall in the middle. A conference is generally 4-5 days in a city far away and it really screws up my routine. I love visiting new places, but I get homesick very easily. Yes, this from the world traveler, but most of my world traveling was actually with my family.

Right now, Terry I (as opposed to Terry II--some of us actually call them that, Terry One and Terry Two) is talking about the ho-hum-ness of General Assembly. My boss, we'll call her the Storytelling Lady, is on her way to N'Orleans for the American Library Association, where she will participate in committees and such (she was at least once on the selection committee for the Newbery Award.) My father is actually AT the General Assembly, in Birmingham, and having a grand old time.

And I'm loving the fact that I can keep in step with the General Assembly online, via the PC (USA) blog and the GA website. I'm reading about Milton Meija, who my dad met when he was in Colombia learning about the (growing) Presbyterian Church there. I'm reading about Alice Winters, who I think both of my parents have met, who has been a missionary in Colombia for 30 years. I'm reading about Rich Ulford-Chase (who looks so young in that picture...and dapper, I might add.) who visited the OD and said that we are the life-blood of the Presybterian Church. That we should keep doing what we're doing. Until a few days ago, he was the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) until they elected a woman, the Rev. Joan Gray.

Another way I get to connect internationally and yet not have to leave my garret (Thank you, God!) is by visiting the blog put up by the Bellefield team that is currently in Honduras. Someday soon (2007, 2008?) the Louise family (yes, all 5 of us, my parents and sibs) are going to go with Bellefield (the parent church of the OD) to Honduras. But for now, by the magic of fiber optics and DSL, we can connect online.

Oh, and look at the time! But I got to visit Birmingham and Honduras, and think about N'Orleans, sitting here in my jammies.

Sarah Louise breaks this run of doldrums...with blog things!

So as you can see, I'm feeling better. I hit traffic and laughed, because my Anne Tyler audio book was hysterical at that moment. (Back when we were grownups, read by Blair Brown, whom I adore.)

(Aside: can you believe that my 24 year old sister doesn't know who Blair Brown is? This new generation, I tell you.)

One of my co-workers made Rice Krispy treats (yes, another Sally!) and we are all eating them...and wondering why we don't make them more often. My excuse: I don't have marshmellows at home. Hmm. Now that I have both peanut butter AND jelly, marshmallows (what is the correct spelling?) seems next on the pantry list...

I feel like writing a letter to Anne Tyler. She is truly one of my top favorite adult writers. (I think she is #1, followed by (is it a list???)

Top 5 Adult Writers, as rated by Sarah Louise
  1. Anne Tyler
  2. Jane Austen (I own four copies of Persuasion...)
  3. Sue Miller
  4. Jane Smiley
  5. Meg Cabot

Also-rans: Elinor Lipman (vintage), Emily Giffin (I have a feeling Baby Proof is not going to be as stellar as the Something books), Elizabeth Berg (who has a hit or miss style), Jill Davis (has she written anything besides Girl's Poker Night??) and I'm sure there's someone I've left off...oh, Jay McInerney, for Bright Lights, Big City. I don't think I've read his others...

TTFN (I had to explain this one to my 23 year old brother: Ta Ta For Now.) (Those kids these days...)

Clearly, they haven't met me...

Your Band Name is:

The Above Average Housewives
I mean, I am above average, but not a house (apartment!) or wife (you see any rings on the left hand?)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I’m going crazy, wanna come?

My mother said this a lot when I was growing up. That, and “Stop this world, I want to get off” which I later learned was the name of a musical. My mother also sang wonderful songs like “Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he, he called for his pipe, he called for his bowl, he called for his fiddlers three. And we threw him out the window, the window, the second story window! Old King Cole was a merry old soul and we threw him out the window."

My cousin Art, bless his heart, was fond of the nothing song. “I do nothing nothing nothing, I do nothing all day long, I do absolutely nothing, how do you like my nothing song? Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse…”

This is the state of one’s mind, I’ve discovered, when one has to work with children all the time. And I’m not even working with them, just near them. They are here in the library with their parents, nannies, and grandparents, signing up for summer reading club. Or we’re calling them on the phone and they are sometimes calling us back because we need to know what school the kids are attending in the fall. (They get letters sent to the school saying Junior participated in the SRC program at X library.) (I’ve heard it gets you a lollipop and a certificate at the elementary school down the road.)

We are the largest one building library in our area, possibly in our state. We already (at the middle of the second week of registration) have over 1000 kids registered. Which is barely the tip of the iceberg—if we had full registration, it would exceed the 2000 we generally get by the end of each summer.

“Stay on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, stay on the sunny side of life…”

Oh help!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The kind of conversations we have...

My father is a born storyteller. I don't suppose it's a trait all PK's have, but I imagine it must have something to do with sitting there in the pews, week in, week out, listening to your dad preach.

So he's told me a bunch of Condi Rice stories this week, being that he's in Birmingham, where her daddy's church was. (He went there on Sunday, and talked to the minister, telling stories, making connections, as he always does.)

I just got off the phone, wishing him Happy Birthday. We played a short game of telephone tag.

This is the Condi Rice story he told me today: (and as much verbatim from my dad as I could remember) she was not going to church for awhile, when she was teaching at Stanford. She was in the grocery store in Palo Alto. Now, you have to figure, there aren't a lot of African Americans in Palo Alto. A man comes up to her and says, "Do you know how to play piano?" She's so struck by the directness of the question that she stutters, "why why yes." He says, "Our tiny church really needs a piano player." So she goes to the church, and realizes she was never taught to play gospel music. She phones her mother and her mother says, "Just play everything in the key of C." Well, apparently what happens in a lot of African American churches is the song leader starts the choir in a capella and the piano comes in right afterwards.

Sunday he told me the story about something else. I can't remember. But I'm starved. I *am* going to lunch with Heather at 11, so I probably shouldn't spoil my appetite. I'm so tempted to go to Pamela's though, since the message from my father on my voice mail is how five years ago on his birthday he went with me to Pamela's for the first time.

It is so good to have someone else for remembering the things you've forgot.

The book Terzo gave him (not Bab's Terzo, pay attention!) was by John something Gattis, a historian. It came out of a conversation that Terzo and Dad had about history and how it's hard to make it objective. My dad was so pleased that the gift was the fruit of a conversation they'd had. That's just the kind of guy he is.

As we got ready to hang up, he said, "I've heard from all my girls today."

And as I write this, there's one girl I wish was still around, his mom, my Granny.

June 20, 1942: Happy Birthday, Daddy!

My dad's birthday often falls on Father's Day, but always is very close to it. So on Sunday, when we spoke, he in Birmingham for the PCUSA General Assembly meeting, me under a tree standing next to my car at the Pittsburgh Seminary, he reminded me that I'm the reason he's a daddy. I love him dearly.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Whose am I? And what is Jesus doing? (Thoughts for a rainy Pittsburgh morning)

This morning, as I sat in my car, looking at the abandoned tennis court, rain pitter patting and then pouring down and then pitter patting and then pouring...I discovered that I had left my walkman at home. So I read about the eighth mark of New Monasticism: Communities of Celibates and Marrieds--that community is a family, whether it is made up of blood ties or not.

And it occurred to me that right now, the main relationships I'm in are without confusion of face, at this blessed moment. I know whose I am. I am God's child. I am Jesus' follower. I am my daddy's #1 daughter. I am friend of Babs, Joke, and Erin (among others). Emily loves me. So does Pete. I'm not anyone's girlfriend, wife, or mother. And that's okay. Although, when I wrote words to that effect in the journal I found in my bag, I wept.

And it reminded me of Gerard Manley Hopkins' words: "Margaret, are you grieving/Over Goldengrove unleaving?" and the last verse: "It is the blight man was born for,/It is Margaret you mourn for." Because I wasn't weeping for Darfur, or the lack of good leadership in our nation's high offices. I wasn't weeping for my abandoned tennis court. I wasn't weeping for anyone but ME. Me, the one that doesn't have a ring. Me, the one who doesn't have a child. Me, the one who shares her bed with Marvin, the teddy bear, who ends up on the floor every morning.

The sermon at church last night was on Mark 6 and looking deeply at our Christology. Do we believe that Jesus is here, now? Or are we looking at him as a good teacher to emulate, someone who lived 2000 years ago (What would Jesus Do?). Instead, we should be asking, what is Jesus doing, now. That Jesus is saying to us, "Get out of the way, FOLLOW MY LEAD." We are not Jesus' hands, feet, body. We are his FOLLOWERS. I know it will take probably all week for this concept to sink into my thick head...and so, yes, we need to examine what defines us as followers. But we must rely on HIM. He is the one that starts the change in us. HE chose US.

The call to worship was verses from various psalms and included this one: Lead me to a rock that is higher than myself. Oh the humanity. Because some moments I'd rather just settle in the valley with a nice man and have a few bambinos of my own. But as Lauren Winner says, "If you are single, then you're called to be single." (I might have paraphrased her words a little.)

I feel like I'm taking dance lessons, or preparing for an elaborate trip. Both work with the analogy of one step forward, two steps back.

John talked about how in Mark 6, when Jesus told the disciples to go, he told them to go unprepared. Take your shoes. Take the shirt on your back. (The words written between the lines are these: rely on the people you will be meeting and ministering to. Rely on THEIR hospitality.) I wasn't able to sit still--the chairs my friends chose were uncomfortable, so I spent the second half of the sermon pacing back and forth in the back of the Great Hall. John said, Jesus did not say, fill up your truck with 2 by 4s. Max out your account at Home Depot, because these people need what you can offer. Nope. Jesus went against the Boy and Girl Scout oaths: Be prepared.

Which speaks to me in volumes. I am a ragamuffin of the nth degree. I could write a volume on this. But here's the thing: here's what puts Christianity in a corner, away from the other thoughts of Life: We are supposed to be broken! In our brokenness, we participate in His ministry. I am very unschooled in other thoughts, but I think Buddhism talks a lot about suffering. But I don't think it has the joy in suffering that Christianity does. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (NIV) Our suffering points us back to Him, the one who made us, the one who suffered far beyond what we will ever suffer or comprehend.

It is my brokenness that allows me to be a friend, because I can participate in brokenness--I (have) experience(d) great loss, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.

Change is the life of the pilgrim.

Pray that there will be more workers for the harvest, NOT work the harvest. In returning and rest you will be saved, NOT in doing. Of course, I need to practice what I preach, nothing new there.

On my wall is something I try to attain and forever fall short: Pray More, Do less. I am not there yet.

But if I can say this to others, I can say it to myself, "Don't try to get ahead of Him. It's basically how people burn out."

I'm posting this now, because I have to go meet Babs and Terzo for coffee. And because these thoughts are as unfinished in my mind as they will appear on the screen. I welcome your thoughts.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

This Post brought to you by the letter P...

I've been tagged by Carolyn! And the letter she gave me is P.

P as in Pink and Pink Sneakers. Pink has been my favorite color since kindergarten. Julianna and I were going to go to New York and be famous ballerinas. I have always wanted a pink car since I saw a pink punch-buggy (no punch-backs) when I was in five or six in Germany. Hence the whole Mary Kay career...hello, can you say Pink Cadillac?

P is for Pop (what they call soda in Pittsburgh) and also another name for Dad, and after all, today is Father's Day. My dad's name also starts with a P. So does Paul McCarthy's. (Who is now 64.)

P as in Pittsburgh, the city of my soul. I could write a novel on this, but all of a sudden, I'm shy. The link is so old I had to go to the way back machine (internet archive) for it.

P as in Pete. Pete is a friend who is younger than my sister, older than my brother (he's 24ish) and who "gets" me. The other night I was starting to tell a story and he totally got what I was trying to say before I got the words out. Friends like that are precious.

P as in Pittsburgh Penguins. Today in the coffee shop we had a conversation about Ben R. (not the Seattle Seahawks QB!) and we started talking about our favorite hockey players. Babs and I are going to a game next season, as long as they don't get sold and move...We all love Sidney Crosby.

P as in Pittsburgh Steelers. The World Champions at the Superbowl FIVE TIMES!! I don't get into football except when it gets into Playoffs for the home team.

P as in Pandora. I put in Annie Lennox, hoping for "Walking on Broken Glass," but they haven't played it yet. Right now it's playing Pat Benetar, "We Belong."

P is the 16th letter in the alphabet. I would never use this sign, but it always cracks me up "welcome to our ool--what's missing? P!"

Playful, play, playing, as in what I'd like to be doing 90% of the time. For me, if it's not fun, why do it? (Although my version of fun may not be yours: I like doing dishes, most of the time, and I like checking Dewey Decimal numbers to see if they match the book in hand.)

P as in Pennsylvania, the state I live in.

P as in palindrome, like madam, or nurses run.

P as in pansy, a flower I do not like. I do like: geraniums (red only), tulips (any color), roses (any color).

P as in Poland, the one place I would go at the drop of a hat. My parents lived there for three years while I was in college and I visited them seven times.

pelican, piano, paper, Presbyterian, percussion (other p words I like.)

Printed in books CIP data: "printed in China, not at government expense" (note in book Masters of Movement) and "Design by compisotor name here." (note in a book about Chinese/American foreign relations.)

I could go on, but I want to post this.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

the one where Sarah Louise loves the one where...

So I came home and to my delight, baseball wasn't on, Sex and the City was! And now that I've seen the HBO goodbye montage, I knew that Berger was going to break up with Carrie on a Post-It, so today I got to see the episode where it happened and the episode where she got over it.

THEN, when things couldn't have been getting any better (five points if you do the Chandler voice), Friends was "The one with all the Wedding Dresses." Probably one of my top five favorite episodes. I haven't laughed like that and clapped my hands and laughed and clapped for a long time.

Oh it feels good to laugh.

I'm going to a charity event tonight. The tickets (plural) (two) are comps because I volunteered last year. I remember thinking then, this is cool, but I'd rather be with someone. Yeah. I wish that tonight too, but everyone (and I mean everyone) had other plans. Yeah, them too. Yep, asked her. Yes, asked him.

I generally do not mind going alone.

I go to movies alone. I go out to dinner alone. I go to First Fridays alone. I go to parties alone. But this is an event where I will probably know no one. And while watching a movie is something that doesn't really involve someone in the seat next to you (which is why I do not advocate it for first or second dates), and sitting in a restaurant alone can be fixed nicely with a book, going to a charity function where most people have paid the entry fee can be a little daunting. Especially when you have cajoled your single male friends almost to the point of embarassment and know you will have to face them at some point in the future. (Ugh.) Especially since last year I only saw one person I knew. (I'll have you know I just deleted three extremely catty but hysterically funny sentences.)

(You never know who reads this, and besides, I wouldn't want people talking about me that I too nice to be comic?)

So I'll get dolled up and I'll have fun. It is, after all, the event of the year. And I'm getting in FREE! It starts at 9, so I even actually have time to watch Murderball, which is overdue at the library, with 18 holds. If you're one of those people waiting, I'll return it Monday, I promise!

Oh, and if you're looking for a great chick-lit mystery, Size Twelve isn't Fat is a wonderful choice. Meg Cabot is a writing genius. I hope she never stops writing. (Wasn't it only seven years ago I was saying that about Elinor Lipman?)

Anyways, Happy Father's Day, everyone.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Make new friends...

This part I wrote the weekend Babs and Blackbird went to Bethlehem:

Last night I finished reading Eat Cake. I may start reading it again tonight. Two books I ordered at the library came in for me today, books I'm not sure I'm really ready to read:
  • What Did I Do Wrong?: When women don't tell each other the friendship is over
  • The Friend who got away: Twenty women's true-life tales of friendships that blew up, burned out, or faded away.

It's a subject that I've been working on emotionally since Sally Brown (not her real name) told Tray I liked him and then flew away to China the very same day. That was in the fourth grade. For two years, books were my only friends. Friendship-ending is a subject that women don't talk about. Here's a quote from WDIDW: "Yet I could positively say that this subject had never come up. I had never asked a woman, 'How are you?' and heard the response, 'Not so great, I'm in the process of being dumped by a very close friend and I'm feeling so sad and kind of ashamed about it.' No, I'd never heard anything even close to that." (Pryor, 5)

Pryor tells her story through conversations with us, the reader, and with other women. How we get tons of sympathy from all corners when a guy dumps us, but there doesn't seem to be a category for "friend grief." I think back to Maya, who helped me with my yard sale a couple years ago. I think back to Tara, who was my roommate for a few months in college. I think of Lorelei, who fell off the face of my earth for a few years. I think of...and the list goes on. It was my fault, it was her fault, it was geography, it was time, it was marital status... Pryor talks with her friends at a baby shower. Phoebe gives us this: "I go back and forth daily. I hate her, I miss her, I'm pissed, I'm sad. I can't get over the fact that she sees me as so replaceable. We have so much history, and for the life of me, I can't imagine what happened to outweigh all of that. She was the only one I never had to go back and explain things to. She was there for all of it..." (Pryor, 14)

A few years ago, I was really depressed. It was summer, and I'd been friends with Maya since winter. Life, junk, and the co-dependency of our friendship was pulling me into an abyss so low that I finally had to take some time off work. I went home to stay with my parents for five weeks and when I came back, I didn't work for months. I couldn't face her. I cut her out. She'd call, and I'd let the phone ring. I couldn't tell her. Because with a guy, you know you probably won't be with him forever unless you're both wearing rings. But when you meet a girlfriend, we all have this fantasy that we'll be friends forever, have houses next door to each other, and raise our children side by side. It's the girlfriend version of the American Dream. So when stuff pisses us off, we put it aside. We don't talk about it. And it builds. And it builds. And it builds. Until the thought of that person makes you want to vomit.

Men don't seem to have this issue. In an earlier post (back in March), I wrote about the book Why Men Hate Church. In there, I read about testosterone and its role in relationships. Here's me, from Still reading that book called "Why men hate church" (March 11, 2006)

... For instance, I knew (who didn't?) that men have more testosterone. In conflict solving, this allows men to fight it out quickly, sometimes mano a mano, and then shake hands and be friends again. What I did not realize was that women have more seratonin. (Which explains why women "are naturally more self-controlled, less aggressive, and less prone to violence than women. Women get angry, but seratonin allows them to handle conflict differently...Seratonin lets women suppress their anger, allowing it to smolder while they plot their revenge. Men get mad; women get even." p. 83)

Lily and I haven't been talking--I've been too tired to get back in touch. But we chatted briefly on Friday and she told me she'd run into Maya, who wanted to get together for dinner sometime. I didn't say a word. I'm stronger now than I was two summers ago. Maybe I could be friendly with Maya.

Make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver and the other gold. A circle is round, it has no end, that's how long I want to be your friend. (Traditional song.)

This part is tonight, at 11:42, as Kenny Rogers sings "The Gambler" and my air conditioning whirrs and makes the room cool.

What is a true friend? It changes every day. And yet, it is the same. One soul in two bodies. I woke Emily up because I was angsty about something I did earlier today. And she didn't judge me. She didn't offer advice. She said, SL, those things are things that only God can reveal to you. And that, my friends, is golden. Because that was what I needed to hear. I don't understand why my life is what it is, but He does.

A bruised reed he will not break, a dimly burning wick he will not quench....Isaiah 42:3

This has been a heck of a week. But it's almost over! One more day of being a Children's Librarian, a charity function, and then it's Sunday! I actually have just about 24 hours before it is a new week. Hallelujah!

Tomorrow is a brand new day--with no mistakes in it.

--L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

But you must have wondered about the mysterious way small objects seem to disappear.

Nothing of great value--small things, like pencil stumps, safety pins, stamps, corks, pillboxes, needles, cotton spools--all sorts of things?" Mary Norton, The Borrowers Avenged, p. 9

List Friday--Lost and never regained items. Sponsored by Mrs. Pom. (forgive the crazy formatting...I'm losing my patience...)

Loretta already knows that I have great fun with List Friday. It just so happens that I'm trying to come up with a list for parents and children of good audiobooks for the summer (you know, for those long car rides.) AVOID Ben and Me. It's by Recorded Books and the reader is dull as a doorknob (are doorknobs dull?). But as soon as I put in The Borrowers, I listened all the way home and part of my morning commute. Which put me in mind of lost things, of course.

1. Two rings. One was a Christmas gift that year and the other I bought at a Renaissance Festival while in college. I took them off for a nap and I swear the Borrowers got them, because they were nowhere to be found later on. My mother has now gotten in the habit of giving me rings for Christmas and I need to tell her to stop. I only need one for my right hand and I have one, with three amber stones.

2. A teardrop earring. Probably on my first movie date with Daniel. We went to see Jerry Maguire and I lost my earring. I found the other one a few months ago and am glad that I lost that one, because the teardrop earrings I now own are much more stylish.

3. My watch! It's a men's watch I got at Target while in grad school. It's a men's watch b/c men's watches tend to have a second hand that is a different color from the hour and minute hands. The second hand on this watch was red. I love that watch. It's been lost since Christmas, when I got a new watch from my mom. (You don't think she got rid of my old watch...)

4. An earring that I know is under my couch, but I probably won't find it until the next time I move the's from Brazil and it has an opalescent sheen.

5. A lot of money in Internet scams. Ugh.

6. A bracelet that I bought at the Highland Park yard sale just a few weeks ago!! It is beautiful, with glass beads of multicolors.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster

(Elizabeth Bishop, "One Art")

7. Marla Kuhn. She was my friend in 5th grade, I think. She moved, or I moved. I think of looking her up every once and awhile. She was the first friend I fought with. We played Barbies by making elaborate houses "Borrower" style. A bowl was a swimming pool, books became floors or walls...

8. Sally Brown. We were best friends in fourth grade. Then, right before she moved to China, she told Troy Zepeda I liked him. We reunited in the seventh grade, when we were both living in the DC Metropolis, but after that I lost her. I'd run into her mom occasionally, who volunteered at a thrift shop I liked in Falls Church.

9. Sally Himmens. I think she wigged out when I went manic. I did get better. It's such a shame that people are so afraid of madness, however temporary.

10. Tanya Dill. I went to her wedding shower, I went to her wedding. But after that, I lost her. She never answered calls, or emails, or letters.

11. the process of losing. I talked to her every day when she had her chemo treatments for ovarian cancer (the kind she should not have survived.) We've called each other on our birthdays every year for 17 years. There are things I wouldn't tell anyone but her.

But I can't bear to think of this beautiful day (It is GORGEOUS here in da Burgh) to only be thought of with lost things. So a few found ones...

"I once was lost, but now am found..." (John Newton, "Amazing Grace")

  1. My commonplace book. It was lost for months and months in the wreck of my apartment. It has all my favorite quotes and poems, including some that I've written.
  2. The earrings I'm wearing today. They are clear Brazilian crystals. I tend to take earrings off before bed and sometimes that means they get caught in the carpet. I've lost and found them about 5 times.
  3. my friend Lorelei. We had a few years where we completely did not talk and then somehow one of us started back up again.
  4. my other friend Sally--she was totally into the kids for a few years there, but now we talk occasionally and even go to the movies! (Yes, I attract Sallys like moths to the flame)
  5. Stamps. You know, they aren't as many cents as the new ones.
  6. Contact solution--two bottles. I knew I bought some.
  7. Kleenex--pink. (I only buy pink.) I now have three extra boxes.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Show and tell--hats!

(Didn't we do this in January?) (That's a rhetorical question, because I have the proof!)

So I'm posting an old picture.

It's one of my favorite hats, my souvenir Union Project hard hat.

Show and Tell, courtesy of that fabulous babe Blackbird at Say-La-Vee.

And now I feel like a heel, because it was the fabulous Vickee that asked for hats. Check the archives, it's around January 19 or 20.

The update post and some thoughts about friendship (it's the perfect blendship)

The title's clickable. I haven't figured out the code (Babs?) on that yet. You might get a lovely pop-up, and for that I'm sorry, but hey, it's the Internet, folks. It's a html-java jungle out there.

I woke up this morning after having the same dream twice. It was the cinematic ending of a book (in my dream, cuz in real life I've never read him) by Don DeLillo, called The Road. Oh, it was a dream, it would be too complex to explain. Anyways, that's not what got me off the sofa and to the keyboard right away.

Oh, you want the update?

Wait a second, or scroll down.

My friends are the most important thing to me. Why? Because, honey, they were all I had for a long time. I went off to college and my folks went to Poland. Hello? As in six time zones away, phone calls that cost a dollar a minute, and me, sitting in the hall at the phone booth (the room phones didn't work for international calls) praying I'd get through. We're talking I'd get the message, "I'm sorry, all circuits are full. Please try your call later." Before and after I became a Christian, I just prayed. "Please God, this time!" I didn't pay attention to the polite lady with her "I'm sorry"'s. I dialed again. And again. And again. And sometimes, after dialing eighteen times, I'd get through. I talked to my folks once a week with a short laundry list of business items. So my friends, through the magic of the phone in my room or the postal service (Lorelei and I wrote so often that we had to number our letters--sometimes we'd send 3 in one day) were my lifeline. For the first semester at least, I had mail EVERY SINGLE DAY. God bless Sir Roland Hill (my ancestor, the one who thought up the penny postage stamp.)

I didn't have a boyfriend. I didn't have college friends until my second semester freshman year. I couldn't go home for laundry. My high school friends were it. They kept me afloat, literally. Both of them are married now, and with one or two children. We write less frequently, and for a while, used the phone only for birthdays. Then I got a cell phone. You know, free long distance? Oh, baby! I was talking to Boston on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.... and of course, as with all my married-with-children friends, the phone calls were full of "Come inside" or "Can you see I'm on the phone?" etc. Which I'm totally fine with. Because if the kids come with that package, I'd rather have that than have no package.

I'm still single (and pretty happy with it, for the moment). But I still need my friends, although my parents and I are closer now (we talk at least four times a week). Because in the meantime, I developed this mental health issue that is sometimes scary. And it helps to talk about life. (Enter friends.) But in the meantime, most of my girlfriends are married. I had a conversation with one of them yesterday, another Sally (how can I keep them all straight?). She said, "You know, I don't have any high school friends anymore. I mean, they live near here, but we don't keep in touch. And our college friends have reunions every once in a while, but Joe and I rarely go." Which is why I woke up with this urge to write. It's no sense calling up Sally and saying, "Hello, you got married right out of college, so you've always had Joe, plus the kids, and you live your marriage out in the same neighborhood where you went to high school."

Hey, that is wonderful. But I'm Carrie. (The single part, the girlfriends part. I haven't had a kissing boyfriend in eight years, so don't get me started.) I don't have the house, the husband, the 2.5 children. I respect the h-e-double hockey sticks out of anyone that does. I just haven't met anyone yet that I wanted to spend my life with, besides my girlfriends.

In my frantic search on Sunday to find the poem (do a search on my blog search for List Friday--it's not up anymore b/c it was tres personal), I found an old card from Lorelei. It said, "I'm glad you're a forever friend." We haven't spoken since I got back from my trip to New England. I've sent her a few emails, but that's our speed right now. I think she sometimes reads this. Maybe I'll email it to her. It is always a red letter day in the Sarah Louise household when I get a letter in her penmanship that has LKM in the return address area. (Yes, she uses her initials.)

In the meantime, I'm mourning the loss of Boston. I had no idea I would be so homesick while at the PLA conference, translating into probably one of the worst weeks I've ever had, and it had to happen while I was visiting my other high school friend. Somethings you can't control. I refuse to live in the "well, if only I had..." because that week was drenched in prayer. It was also drenched in my own brokenness. Which was the straw that broke the friendship. Which I'm mourning the loss. (Did I split an infinitive there?)

It's gonna take some time. Carole King can sure write some songs: "It's gonna take some time, this time/To get myself in shape/I really fell out of line this time/I really missed the gate/The birds on the telephone line (next time)/Are crying out to me (next time)/And I won't be so blind next time/And I'll find some harmony." (Using italics reminds me I still haven't blogged about Patricia Machlachlan. I also have a post on the letter P in the works.)

Oh, you want the update? Okay, so my gyn. called me yesterday and said I have a small cyst (2 cm), which probably will resolve itself. (We're so cyst-y, women are!) If I want to go ahead right away with the lacroscopic deal, I can. Or I can wait 6-8 weeks and get another sonogram (my bladder is giving me the silent treatment) and THEN decide if I want to do the lacroscopic deal. Oh yes. I like that. If we have the luxury to take this slow, let's take it slow. Meantime, I can find out how much the lacroscopic deal costs and if my insurance covers it. Oh, and I can stop taking the contraceptives. YAY! Because frankly, I am sick and tired of breakthrough bleeding. (Of course, I would have liked to have had that conversation BEFORE I spent $35 on the Seasonale pack, but hey, it upped my Fuel Perks.) I've started taking fish oil again (it's good for so many things, one of them being cramps) and I'm incorporating more veggies into my life. Yes, it's time that Sarah Louise takes control of what goes in her mouth--less Wendy's, more Whole Foods.

And because when I googled Fuel Perks, this wikipedia article came up, a little Giant Iggle history.

Because it takes a giant to make life simple...

I'll be here all week. Oh, and I'll be commenting on that post that says you don't have to post every day. No, I do. I'm a writer. Some day I'll be working on the novel and maybe I'll stop blogging or blog less frequently, but right now, yes, I have to post every day. I don't care if I'm clogging the blogosphere. (More on that later. My bladder gave up on the silent treatment.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What it's like, just in case anyone wants to know

So you've already surmised, if you've been here awhile, that I do not have *one thing* that I write about. I would really get too bored.

Right now, I cannot concentrate at work. Nothing is working, I'm getting error messages, and people who could help me aren't around. So, I thought I'd craft a quick post.

Depression sucks. It's like having cotton in your brain. You can't concentrate, you want to cry, you want to eat everything or nothing. There is a heaviness, and sometimes actual physical pain. You don't want to do anything, like get out of bed. Even brushing your teeth seems like too much of an effort. Laundry piles up, junk mail piles up, dishes pile up.

Mania feels good, but if it goes unchecked, it breeds depression (see above.)
Mania feels like racing thoughts, you can't concentrate because every thing reminds you of something else and they're all good ideas, no, great ideas, ideas that could win you the Nobel Prize. You can't sleep, you don't want to! You don't sleep, and you aren't tired. Everything is fast fast fast. You talk loud, dress loud, act loud. Sometimes you get a lot done. Sometimes you just pretend to get a lot done.

Right now I'm not in either of these, which is why I can write about it lucidly. I am in a funk, but it's situational, which means my funk is based on situations in my life, not a chemical inbalance.

People that experience mental issues have an amazing tool that often backfires: it's called masking. (Well, that's what I call it.) It's that plastic smile when your world is crashing beneath your feet and the light at the end of the tunnel is really a train ready to maul you. It's what keeps people from asking for help because you'll feel better next week until next week becomes next month and next month...I masked my bipolar for about eight years before it became so out of control that I had to be "airlifted" to my parent's house. So I left Pittsburgh and recovered for three years.

Anyone that tells you "suck it up," or "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" has never really been depressed. That feeling you get when your dog dies is not depression. That feeling when you realize you are out of cash and payday is two weeks from now is not depression. Depression is when for no reason you cannot pull it together. There is no shame in asking for help. This is when you will find out who your real friends are. And this is when all sorts of people will come out of the woodwork and you'll realize that more people than you know are taking Zoloft, Ativan, Wellbutrin, and/or Prozac.

Cling to what you love. If you love pink flamingos, surround yourself with them. Find a book that can take you to another time and place. Find something that can make you laugh. Find someone that will give you hugs. Find more than one person that will give you hugs. Someone that will hold you as you sob on their shoulder, or into their stomach, depending on their height.

I once described having Bipolar to my dad sort of like having an email account. When you're depressed, everything piles up, in your inbox, in your spam box, and you couldn't care less, you don't even open anything. Or nothing is happening. It doesn't matter how many times you hit the "check mail" button, nothing is coming through. But when you're manic, suddenly, all the messages come through, and everything is important. (The analogy made more sense to me before...)

And then one day, the meds kick in, and your therapist gets what you've been whining about, and the sun shines, and you feel normal. It happens. I promise. I've been there, and I know these things.

So take a walk. It may not work, so take one tomorrow too. Keep taking them. One summer I took a walk every morning and NOTHING happened. Except that my mother wouldn't talk to me until I'd at least tried to take a walk. That was the year I stopped being just a Children's Librarian and split my hours to also become a Cataloguing Librarian. It is also the year I took five weeks off and then three months...and then worked half time until I finally felt better.

Oh, look, our time is up. (Don't you hate that?) Back to the salt mines...

Monday, June 12, 2006

CNN, the most trusted name in news

said that Ben Rothlesberger, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, suffers injury in his jaw and nose. Um, no.

That would be the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bloggers Block...

Or is it? My life is so convoluted right now that I'm not sure I want to put it "out there."

but I will say this: I CHANGED MY FIRST TIRE! (Yes, I got a flat just as I pulled up to church last evening.)

I am a very geographic person. That is to say, I have places I go when I need comfort. I have special "sitting places." One right now is an abandoned tennis court. I got up early and knew I had to go and sit there. I had music on my cd player and I sat and watched the birds and sat amazed at how much grows through the cracks in the tennis court floor. People may have abandoned this place, or come only to drink ice tea and leave their empty cans, but the grass and the weeds are almost pretty. Today was the first time I saw a broom. So I swept some broken glass aside. There's a trailer at the edge of the court, and I sit on the wooden steps. I walked around and wondered at the new leaves on the weeds that are growing strong. Some leaves were in that curled up not quite ready to be leaves yet stage, green green green, as I described it to a friend.

If weeds in an abandoned tennis court can be almost pretty, maybe there's hope for me and my unplowed ground.

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

Hosea 10:12

Saturday, June 10, 2006

"We'll be friends forever, won't we, Pooh?" asked Piglet.

"Even longer," answered Pooh. (AA Milne)

Well folks, I had plans for a nice long post detailing stuff and things, but it's already almost 8 and I have to be at the UP at 8:30. So, quickly:

  • Thanks to all for wishing me well re: health. No, I have no updates (not even from the gyn)except to say I still have the cough, and um *other* issues. Email me if you really want to know. Tomorrow I really am resting (as opposed to last Sunday, where I told you I was gonna and ended up spending the day in whirlwind social activity.)
  • Blogger will be out at 8:43 PST. Read more here. Ugh.

Last night I went to a goodbye party for a friend who will still be in town til July 17. So this was just the first goodbye. But I will miss him. He and his wife are among the first friends I got to know when I came back to Pittsburgh for grad school. We were all a part of a Bible Study that in the past 4 years has morphed into at least two other Bible Studies. At least three of the men who were single when we started are now married. At least one of the girls is now dating. It took me two episodes of Friends, one episode of Frasier, and a Seinfeld stand-up joke to finally get my rear in gear to get ready. Yes, I dreaded this get-together. Why?

Hello, no rings here. Oh, and did I mention that there's at least one baby? Most of these folks still attend Bellefield, so I don't see them regularly, since I attend the Open Door. They are lovely people. They are even, my friends. But it felt a little bit like the anxiety one might get going to a school reunion. I got the best compliment from Allie: "Your hair looks great long. I saw you the other day across the room and I was stunned at how striking you looked." WOW. Tell me more!

I got lost on the way over there, in part because Pittsburgh is that way. You think you know where you're going and oops! you took one wrong turn and you're on the other side of the river. (Well, not quite, but almost!) I hadn't been to Greenfield in at least a year and I thought, oh, I'll remember when I get there, but clearly I did not. What was interesting was the route I took (before I got lost) was

  • past a place I used to go swing dancing,
  • a place I used to live (which brought back memories of Sweet William, whistling on the way home from a party.) (We had a fight, I left early, and when I heard his whistle outside my window, I went down to make-up.) Oh, Sweet William. But he wasn't the one for me. But he was a really nice guy. Ah, wistfulness.
  • past the apartment building where two women lived that were in a singles/grad students group that lasted about a year, in the mid 90s. I remember coveting their highrise--I've never lived in a highrise except in college and I have always wanted to.

So it was a trip down memory lane and then that pit feeling of crap, I am so lost!! My dear friend Kelly also lives in Greenfield. Our relationship is mainly my cell to her home phone, exchanging prayer requests and updates on our health. Maybe I'll be able to connect with her more this summer. Anyways, she had books I'd lent her at least a year ago, and every time she saw me, she told me "They're sitting on my dresser." She and her kids were walking/riding bikes on the road below where the party was, so I left the party and went to get my books. Oh it is so good to have friends. She knows me on a more daily basis than the folks at the party, so she was able to calm my anxiety. Plus, we got two hugs in--hugs are always the best!'s like the pay phone after your quarter is gone, "Your time is up." Off to wash the hair, etc. and then the UP for the OD, and then to work.

I dream of a blissfully quiet Sunday...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

He sent me plastic roses, the kind that never fade...

(The Chenille Sisters)

My garden is an indoor one. And made of silk flowers. I used to save dead roses, but now I just have a few dried rose petals.

Sally actually used silk flowers for the floral arrangements in her wedding. I used to have the bouquet that was mine, but at some point it, too, went to Goodwill.

I have picked these up over the years, mainly at Goodwill, for 50 cents or a dollar.

My favorite are the red tulips with faux dew drops, mainly because they were a gift from Sally, who knows I love red tulips.
The ones in the window can be seen from the street if you look up to my third floor apartment.

I also love those pens that have silk flowers at the ends and are wrapped in green tape. I am *such* a girl.

Show and tell, courtesy of Blackbird.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Summertime and the living is...

Apparently the song, Summertime, was not written by a Children's Librarian. This is high season. Everyone wants audio books to travel with, they want to sign up their children for Summer Reading Club (Monday, you can sign them up Monday!) and we are interviewing volunteers to help us hand out prizes to kids.

So why have I changed my profile shoes? If you look closely, the shoes are covered in paint. They are truly work shoes. They are propped up against a copy of The Pied Piper of Hamlin. When I made up my "portfolio" in graduate school, one of the lines I used was something like "I'll be the pied piper to your pequeño patrons." (Highlighting my Spanish language skills while referring to a well-known German folk poem.)

Pied is a favorite word of mine. Pied piper, Pied means patchy in color, according to my American Heritage dic•tion•ary.

I started "crafting" this post almost 2 hours ago. In between, I talked to my friend Emily, I watched part of About a Boy (but the tape is in pretty bad shape) and an episode of Sex and the City. I'm in Season Three now. It's time for bed!

So this is one of the shorter posts, where you have to connect the dots. Go to it! I guess I'd better find a picture of a plant. I wonder if it has to be living?

Cue the theme to "Golden Girls" and a list of the books I scored at the yard sale

A girl can never have too many shoes or too many friends. I have been saved by my friends this week:
  • spending Monday morning with Babs and offspring. We went to look at a lovely table which she bought.
  • Emily gave me advice Sunday morning on smiling at guys: it's good! Don't analyse it! Don't think it to death!
  • Sally coached me through not spazzing out about the diagnosis I don't yet have of the sonogram. Vickee emailed me on the same subject. I vented to both. (Did you know that women create endorphins when they vent? Now, all we need is for men to create them by listening...) (Dreaming, I know.)
  • and yes, you can be friends with organizations. My two favorites: the Open Door (usually listed in this blog as OD), my church, and the Union Project (the building that houses the OD, the new Union Station Cafe, and other lovely things.) (often referred to as the UP.) (NOTE: they are both now on my links, see right, under "Local Shoes.")
  • Why I love the OD: It's the bestest church I've ever belonged to. It just is. I really like the people, the music, and well...just I like it. I even love it.
  • Why I love the UP: The new cafe--love the samwiches, love the staff. The events they hold: love the First Fridays, loved the Rent party. The building and the beauty of it: I could wax forever on this.
The yard sale update: (sorry no links and some of the authors aren't mentioned. I'm making ya work for this one--I got a reprieve to go into work a little late today so I'm writing this on the fly. Maybe I'll update it and link it later...)

The HP yard sale was Sunday, as I mentioned earlier. Well, the UP had a table and everyone loves the UP, so they donated a lot of stuff. Well, a lot of it didn't sell. Five boxes of books, baby! I was helping them, because the books I took were books they didn't have to cart off to Goodwill.

Read em and weep: (some I'd never pay money for, but for FREE, hey, why not.)

Penguin Classic version of Persuasion (this would make 3 copies in the collection?). This one has a "memoir of Jane Austen" in the back.

The Millionaire Next Door: This was a pretty popular book years back when I worked for Fox Books. Hey, maybe I could learn a thing or two.

Barn Blind, by Jane Smiley. (her 1st novel) As Duplicate Keys, another JS book is one of my top 5 novels (at least in today's brain), thought I'd give this one a whirl.

Crossing to Safety, a wonderful book that I discovered after I wrote a paper in college on a different book by the author. (Wallace Stegner). About two couples and how their friendships were wonderful--I probably already have a copy, but I could give this as a gift! It is really a very life affirming book. I'd say more if I remembered more--its been years since I read it.

Possession (Babs talks so much bout it)

The Way men act (copy #2) Elinor Lipman. I mean, Lipman seems to be on a downward cycle (see Bab's recent post on books) so we might as well hoard her good ones. This was not stellar, but it's readable. I've read it twice, as opposed to other Lipman's that I've read thrice at least (Then She Found me, the first comic book about adoption I'd ever read. Y'know they're all always so weepy either from the mother's or daughter's point of view. This one will make you laugh out loud.)

Complete Idiot's GT Personal Finance in your 20s and 30s. Hey, I'm not an idiot, but I'm neither a millionaire. Just so long as it doesn't tell me to make all my coffee at home.

My legendary girlfriend (I read another book by this guy, Mr. Committment) Brit guy-lit. (as opposed to chick lit. You can probably rhyme your way to another name for this phenomenon of guys writing light romance novels.)

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: Never read it, never really felt the need, but it's a hardcover in good condition. Vacation reading?

The Broke Diaries (do you see the money theme repeating itself?)

Medieval Lives I know very little about ze mittel ages, so why not?

The letters of Abelard and Heloise I've heard about this, so why not.

I also scored some roosters which Bep will love as gifts eventually (you'd like pictures, wouldn't you, but I'm not playing that game, mateys!) Oh, and a picnic set that has a cutting board!

Author's note: Gotta love how Blogger keeps track of when you CREATED the post. Changing the date stamp to when I PUBLISHED it. And please excuse the spelling mistakes. Thank you for overlooking my misuse of it's/its in Monday's post. (In the same sentence, even!)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sarah Louise goes for a sonogram...

Update: I won't know the results until like Friday, so rest easy. And apparently what we're looking for may not show up on a sonogram, which means we have to go for the lacroscopic deal. I will keep yins updated. Pinky swear.

There are some things I will not blog, so don't worry, this is PG. But I did take some nice pictures of the flowers outside the hospital, since my mantra is SLOW DOWN. So I actually smelled a rose.

Irises, aren't they nice?

The rose I smelled.
The rosebush from whence the rose I smelled came.

The player piano in the lobby. Can you see that some of the keys are pressed down? It's playing on its own.
Maybe you can tell a little better in this picture.

The fun parts:
  • My driver's side window is still broken (to be fixed tomorrow, for a pretty penny), so to push the button to get the thing to open the gate for me to get in the parking lot, here's the routine: put the car in park, put on the parking brake, get out of the car, push the button. Puh-leeze!
  • I get to registration, wait for ten minutes, only to find out I was pre-registered by phone and could have just walked down to the imaging lab first thing. My appointment was for 4:15 and I get to the lab at 4:30. Lovely. Then I sit and wait for them to call my name, they give me a lovely bracelet. So attractive, and plastic. There's your age, for all who can do quick math with your birthday.
  • (Not that I care--I'm 34 1/2. Yes, I have six months to get used to the idea of being thirty five.) (Gah!)
  • I go up to the waiting room for the imaging lab (yes, it's the next level of inner sanctus) where there is a sign that says sit here and someone will come get you. But it seems a completely un-manned (or woman-ed) room. There *are* two windows, but they both have mini-blinds. I look through one set and see offices, the other set is too tight to see through. (One set is beige, the other this code?) Then there's a door that says "No entrance--authorized personnel only" and there's a woman sitting in there, reading a magazine. Another waiting room? I glumly read the sign that says "If you've been waiting for more than 15 minutes, alert personnel." Who would I alert? There aren't even any courtesy phones, and while there is a "patient concerns" phone number on the wall, I'm not technically supposed to even have my cell phone on at this point, much less use it.
  • So I read Oprah's February, the one that says it will take your romance life in one month from rocky to rocking. Oh, they lie like a snake on the floor. The only slightly helpful article is about a program run by a guy in Seattle, I think. But it's like a profile you'd find in the local section of the newspaper, not an advice article for a women's magazine. I think I actually bought this issue of Oprah. Never again. And besides, does she have to be on the cover EVERY month? (Apologies to all y'all Oprah lovers. I just don't see the appeal.)
  • Finally, some one comes and gets me, calling me by my formal name, the one only doctors use. Yes, in my real life, I am an -ie, y or i. (Cindy, Vicki, Lizzy.) But to doctors, I am always my formal name. (Cynthia, Victoria, Elizabeth.) This does not apply to therapists. Although I think my psychiatrist uses my formal name. I digress.
  • (this part we skip.)
  • Finally, I get to pee. (Part of the sonogram process is the kind the opposite of the colonoscopy--instead of expelling everything, you're supposed to hold 32 oz of water in your bladder for two hours. Lovely.)
  • (this part we skip.)
  • Back into street clothes, back to the elevator, back outside, back to the car. I'm free--no, I turned out of the hospital in the wrong direction. On a country road. I turn around in a cul-de-sac and go on my merry way.
  • Oh, I bought the Newsweek that rebutts their 1986 article about women and marriage. Apparently, the line "more likely to get abducted by terrorists" was a joke that no one got. The author says, yes, I wrote it, the most irresponsible line in all of journalism. Well, no need to boast, now.
  • I treat myself to a dinner at Abate. I eat too much.

The end. Oh, and I didn't know until today (I talked to the nurse at the gyn) that fibroids are different from endomitriosis. I couldn't tell you what the difference is, but I'm sure if you're really curious, you could go to or Google.

I need a nap--big time!

So I'll blog later about all the free books I scored at the HP yard sale, and the wooden roosters...and I'll introduce a few new links I added to the template this morning...while you were sleeping.

Today I go in for a sonogram to start the process as to whether I have fibroids. I do not relish this experience, but if there's something going on, I want to know and I want it fixed!

So--probably the shortest post ever, or at least in a very long time.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

You'll never get to heaven if you break my heart

and then the next song is "only love can break a heart, only love can mend it again."

Maybe I need a new radio station...

Has anyone heard that song, though? It's the silliest thing I've ever heard, and theologically so wrong--the angels will see if you leave me at the altar, etc. etc.


I had fun at First Fridays (the galleries have receptions. I usually just go to the one at the UP.)
I had fun at the Rent Party. I won a set of vintage Highland Park postcards in the silent auction. I smiled at a bunch of guys. They smiled back.

Oh, here's the song I love, "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams." I wonder if Green Day heard it and then wrote their song. "Gigolo and gigelette wake up to a broken dream...I left my soul behind me in an old cathedral tower." "The joy you find here you borrow, you can not keep it long it seems."

Today is the Highland Park Yard Sale. I got one of my desks there for $4 about ten years ago. I'll be visiting Sally to get the spare set of my car keys, as I'll be having work done on my car Tuesday and it's always good to have a spare set of keys. (Um, this is one of those times it would be GREAT to have a SI, but being the genius that I am, I have the logistics worked out.)

I might catch the new Jennifer Aniston flick.

Brooke: You... you got three lemons...
Gary: What my baby wants my baby gets .
Brooke: ...Baby wanted 12.


Or, you know, I could go to the Three Rivers Arts Festival! (Except that's not something I'd really do on my own, and a movie is.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rubber duckie, you're my pal....

You Are Ernie

Playful and childlike, you are everyone's favorite friend - even if your goofy antics get annoying at times.

You are usually feeling: Amused - you are very easily entertained

You are famous for: Always making people smile. From your silly songs to your wild pranks, you keep things fun.

How you life your life: With ease. Life is only difficult when your friends won't play with you!

Yeah, the first time I took this, it said I was Bert. I knew that was wrong...and the last line is SO true--I mean, have you met me? (I get borderline rude and diva-like when I think I'm being ignored...) (Well, at least Sarah Louise does. Offline, I've discovered, I'm a little different. It's sort of weird...but it's the price I pay...)

If the shoe fits, I guess.

Oh, and I got this off Carolyn's blog. She's really funny. G0! (then come back and comment. I love comments.)

Friday, June 02, 2006

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

(Pablo Picasso)

The runner up for this title quote was "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up." (also our friend Paul.)

So Mrs. Pom today wants us to list what unblocks us from our artistic blocks. As always, I'm playing fast and loose with the rules, so I'm including what unblocks me in general when I'm blocked, in life as well as art.

In no particular order, things that unblock me:

  1. Re-reading old books. Right now I'm re-reading A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler. It is one of, if not her only, books that is in first person. It's a coming of age story of Barnaby G., who turns thirty by the third chapter. The book is full of dry humor, and as we read, we see Barnaby turn into a man with sufficient self worth. Barnaby is the "black sheep" of his family, working for a company that offers assistance to elderly Baltimorians. Rent-a-Back's services include escorting clients to the grocery store, helping them set up their Christmas trees, and putting out their garbage cans on trash day. Every time I re-read this book, I am struck by the wit. Such lines as, "Oh, my life was a wide-open book to half the old ladies in Baltimore," just slay me! (I guess you need more context, but this is a list of un-blockers, not a book review.) (Watching movies again and again also falls into this category.)
  2. Taking a walk. As I awoke this morning at 4:15 (not by choice, mind you) one of the options available to me was an early morning walk. I generally walk five minutes out, five minutes back, routed through the Seminary near my house. Walking on the quiet grounds, looking at the historic buildings, I get my bearings back. Today I wanted to spend some time at the Union Project cafe, so I did half the walk.
  3. Spending time in a cafe. There's something about being somewhere that isn't home that gets those juices flowing. Today I merely read more of my Anne Tyler book, since I had spent a lot of my creative juices earlier doing another thing that unblocks me:
  4. Writing. I wrote a rather long email to Erin, one of my e-pals.
  5. A deadline. When I had to create Station #(whatever it was, Jesus speaks to the Women of Jerusalem) I knew about it months in advance. I thought about it months in advance. But then I went to Baaston and then I visited my dear friend Susan and I couldn't really work on my station in either of those places. So when I returned to da Burgh, I had about a week left. I set aside two evenings, and went to town. But not before:
  6. A trip to the art store. Even if you only buy a few things, just wandering around an art supply store gives ones creative juices a run for their money. I found great paper scraps and there was pastel/chalk on sale (5 cents a piece) so I was on a roll. But I was hoping for something else, I wasn't sure what, so I drove over to Joanne Fabrics. Which is where I found the linchpin of my project, the rack I used to hang my greeting cards on (The Station I created was the "Gospel in Greeting Cards," using the passage found in Luke 23:27-31, which is a very hard teaching.) (It didn't photograph well, which is why I never posted photos.) If I had not gone to Joanne Fabrics, and the wooden rack had not been on clearance, ($5!) I might have come up with an entirely different product in the end.
  7. Just do it. I set up to work on the two evenings I'd set aside, and worked with what I had, made mock-ups, made the actual cards, and Voila! (Um, but it took both evenings, so don't think that #7 is the easiest part. It's just the hardest to explain, how I got creatively from point A to point B.)

Creativity isn't as hard as it might seem. I always get angry at people who say "Oh I'm not creative." Um, who dressed you this morning? You created an outfit when you picked those earrings to go with that skirt and top. I could rant on this for hours. But I won't.

A few books I've found helpful as an artist:

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Full of writing exercises, you won't be able to read this book straight through without the itch to write!

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, by Madeleine L'Engle. This book is more how to think about art. But it has been very helpful to me, as I think about what I consider art, and how art can transcend cultural, religious, and whatever other boundaries we might want to constrain it with.

Both of these books were gifts from my friend Lorelei and her mother. Her mother passed on recently, but her legacy in the way I think about art and creativity live on.

I live in envy of many fabulous creative bloggers. My favorite one is Il Bloggo, written by Hanna, a Swedish journalism student. I am always in awe of the work she does.

A blogger's blessing: may the keyboard rise to meet you, may the words come out in a lucid stream, may the photos download quickly, and may the spell checker not replace "blogging" with "blocking." Buena suerte! (Which is Spanish for good luck.)