Friday, September 29, 2006
I'm talking, however, about men that have brrrrrrr brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (yes, chainsaws) in the back of my back yard (as in the back yard of houses opposite my back yard, so, still very much in my hearing range.)
I came home from the conference (early, as previously mentioned) and I thought, hey I could tackle some more of my apartment, or upload more books to library thing. NO. The noise was enough to drive me out of the house to go to Waterworks, the nearest strip mall with a movie theatre. I had giftage to purchase and no clues what to get (what do you get a one year old that has everything?) and I needed a movie--NOW! Since watching one at home wouldn't work and giftage is needed by Sunday, staying home was not an option.
I went to good old Fox books, spent the requisite amount, and did pretty well, I might say. More on that later, maybe, maybe not. I had already purchased my ticket for the 5:30 showing of Little Miss Sunshine, so I got the "Manager's Special" (nachos and a medium drink) for $5.50. LMS bore up quite well after the second viewing. Love that movie. It is so real, so much of what we go through every day, only they had to bundle EVERYTHING up into three days. Life, death, beauty pageants, and broken clutches (to start the VW van, they had to give it a push and running start if they weren't on a hill.)
I am definately hormonal--the mood swings are like roller coasters. Yum. Day Two will be here ANY day now... But it's too dark to cut trees now, (ah, the quiet!) so I'm going to pop in either Something's Gotta Give (Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton) or Cookie's Fortune (Robert Altman.) I've already seen CF and it is BRILLIANT, so I think I'll go for the wild card, Something's Gotta Give.
Oh, and I have the rum and coke flowing. Yes folks, it is Friday!!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Friday I'll be at an Early Literacy Conference (yes, it starts at 8 am, that IS early!) and I'll be done with my day early too (3:30!!) ...I may go for a drive north to see Emily.
Or I may mess around on the computer...this will be a very social weekend: party on Saturday, walking the steps in South Side on Sunday noon, a party in the afternoon, a party after church on Sunday, ice skating on Monday... (plus work all day Saturday, as per usual.)
So I better store up some alone time...
Book I've started reading: Riding the Bus with my Sister. It is amazing!!! As a bus rider for most of my working life, I love reading about riding, and this is a real, not sugar coated story, about how Rachel rides the buses with her mentally retarded sister, who has the bus system figured out. Beth knows the best drivers, all the routes, and has friends all over town. Her bus pass always has the 00001 sticker, proving that she is the queen of the busses, because that's the first pass sold every month. It's the One Book, One Conference for the PALA Conference (Pennsylvania Library Association) in November. I'll be presenting a Poster Session on my Stuffed Animal Sleepover.
Time for bed!!
There are a few movies that I can always count on for a laugh. My Cousin Vinny is definately one of them.
We've started our latest Beth Moore study. This one is on The Patriarchs. In the introductory video session, Beth said, "easy lives don't make great stories."
One of the best things I've read about writing is the following: "get your character up a tree, throw rocks at him, then get him down out of the tree." My Cousin Vinny is just like that. Every night Lisa and Vinny can't sleep because of the noise in the hotel. Every day Vinny makes a mistake in court and gets sent to jail for contempt of court. I mean, what kind of movie would it be if Vinny had won many murder cases prior to this one? The humor is in the fact that he keeps screwing up.
Anyways, I'm just jawing here. I gotta get ready for work.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Coming soon: Monday Oct 2 for RAD days.
Mellon Arena Free Admission 6-10PM
66 Mario Lemieux Place (Uptown)
Be Sidney Crosby or Sasha Cohen for a night as you skate on the Mellon Arena ice. Family skate sessions from 6:00PM-7:15PM and 7:45PM-9:00PM. Ice will be cleared between the sessions. Restrictions apply: You MUST bring your own skates (can NOT enter ice without them); no hockey sticks; under age 12 MUST be accompanied by an adult to the Arena. Arena Tours take place from 6-9PM; tours last approximately 45 minutes; last tour begins at 8PM; first come, first served. Parking is free in the South and East Lots of Mellon Arena starting at 5:30PM. Enter at Gate#2 (Center Avenue). Concession stands open.
What are RAD days? In Allegheny County, we pay 7% tax. The rest of Pennsylvania pays 6%. The extra 1% goes to libraries, stadiums, the ballet. So once a year, the organizations that get the money offer RADical Days, where stuff you'd normally pay to get in is free!!
Margaret are you grieving over Golden Grove unleaving? (Fall is coming!!) The trees are starting to turn. I'll post pictures soon.
MOP signs--I have been seeing them all over and wondering...this morning it hit me, Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon's novel being made into a movie. I haven't read it since college, and it strikes me that it was a bizarre book, but hey, I support movies being made in Pittsburgh.
So, for you, a list of movies made in our fair city: (well, the link leads you to most of them. My list is of the ones that I knew about/have seen/not seen.) Hey, it's my blog!
Flashdance: still have not seen it. But I still have pink legwarmers from when they were a fashion statement after the movie came out.
Only You: a friend from college was an assistant to someone in this flick.
Diabolique: same friend was assistant to Sharon Stone on this flick. I haven't seen this remake, but the French original is stunning in black and white.
Wonder Boys: do not watch this unless you can sit for the whole time. The first time I watched it, I got the video from the library and only watched it twenty minutes at a time. It is much better if you watch it all at once. I actually was living in Virginia when this came out, but a friend remembers being at CMU where a lot of it was filmed.
Dogma: a bit irreverent, but fun. Matt Damon had just finished reading All the Pretty Horses when this came out and so a crew member came in to Fox Books and wanted to buy all our copies as Matt (yes, we're on first name basis...not!) wanted to make a movie of it. (He did.)
Also, Alan Rickman came into same bookstore and I couldn't place him (I know I've seen him...) so I walk up to him and say "Are you in movies?" "Yes," he replied. Doh! I felt like an absolute id-jit.
Also, the church used in the movie is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a double spired gothic-style church in East Liberty. My dad is a stained glass afficionado and one of his favorite stained glass artists, Lawrence Saint (father of Nate Saint, one of the missionaries killed along with Jim Eliot, see the movie End of the Spear or the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor.) made the rose window. It was his first commissioned window.
Also, I am rereading the first chick lit book I remember reading, Pushing Thirty by Whitney Gaskell. It takes place in DC and there are many mentions of the book The Rules. Our heroine, Ellie Winters, is almost 30 and has fallen for a man who is twenty years her senior. The review says he is "the only man on the planet who isn't interested in dating a younger woman." Main chick lit themes: old boyfriends cropping up at the wrong moment, a heroine who hates her job, and mention of pricey shoes such as Manolo Blahnik. The cover image (click on the link above) is priceless, a woman being smothered by a larger than life birthday cake.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I can't think of anything to write about except families. They are a metaphor for every other part of society.
Well, my brother decided he needed a car, so my dad is driving the one we call "Teal" to Austin today. Meanwhile, the 'rents decided they wanted a manual transmission this time around, so Sis says to me plaintively, "Why aren't you here to teach me?" (I learned how to drive on a standard transmission--and to parallel park in the same VW station wagon.)
I'm still living in Pittsburgh, just fine with my automatic transmission...this place is too hilly for standard (for my liking). And my short car is doing pretty well at parallel parking, although I did park in the garage last night to go see The Illusionist. WOW. Double wow. I might have to see it again--"Everything you see here is an illusion."
Plus, it was filmed in the Czech Republic which pretty much looked like Vienna to me. Oh how I long for Central Europe, right about now.
Oh, and I got to talk to my brother yesterday. Did he mention that my dad was driving down? Did he mention that his job is with GM? No. I got that from Sis. Boys!! The great communicators, they are NOT. But he's doing fine, and it was great to hear his voice. He was at a bookstore when I called, I totally approve. A little bragging: this is the young man who has read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's latest novel in Spanish.
Monday, September 25, 2006
This song was one I learned on Sesame Street. SS, being one of those shows that repeats content (which stacks up with brain research for early childhood), now I have lost the grammatical thread of the sentence. What I was trying to say is that SS repeats content. So "There's a hole..." is a song from my first childhood (when I was wee) and my second childhood (when the sibs were wee.) I wouldn't be surprised if it is still featured on Sesame Street. For the record, I'm on my third childhood (where all my friends have wee ones and I am a children's librarian.)
Another tangent. I spoke yesterday with a dear friend who reads this blog daily. It was a bit bizarre that he knew exactly what I was talking about because he could reference blog entries as I was filling him in on my life up to date. His daughter is five. As a reflex, I asked him how old she was, and I knew before he answered, because of course she's five. All my friends that could be, were parents five years ago. So I know at least three five year olds in Pittsburgh alone. Four, if you include Cranberry. I know more than five if you include the lower 48 and extend it out to include the world. Of course she's five. What other age could she be?
It is either way too late or way too early for me to be up, but there you go. I had an exhausting but satisfying Sunday and came home to crash on the couch (with the TV on) at 9pm. I woke up at midnight to Sis' favorite show, Alias, which I'd never seen before. LOVED IT. I mean, few network shows feature Warsaw as one of their stops around the globe. That wasn't the only thing I loved, but I am too tired to expound.
I impulsively check email upon awakening. It's not the best habit, but there you go. Yesterday I didn't talk to anyone at 304 Walnut but last night my father sent me four emails: an article about Billy Graham, an article about Evangelical Christianity moving to places in the third and second worlds (i.e. not the "Western World," Europe and the US), a column by Art Buchwald about being a hospice dropout (It starts out with these opening lines: "The summer is over. As I reported in June, instead of going to Heaven I went to Martha's Vineyard."), and an email in which he recorded that today (yesterday at this reading) was Jim Henson's birthday. He would have been 70.
Three of the emails were articles he'd referenced in phone calls we'd had. My father is one of the most well-read men I know. When he worked the Econ desk in Warsaw or Tegucigalpa, he would read three newspapers a day. He reads more now, I think. He goes to Panera with his laptop because while Starbucks has the New York Times in print form, Panera has the Wall Street Journal, and you can get most of the print content of the NYT online, while the WSJ online has a hefty subscription fee. In another life I think my father would be a librarian. He keeps up email lists that are pretty much clipping services to former collegues about Brazil, Columbia, and Poland. It's not something I think about often, but I think the church will be standing room only when he passes.
To my father, (I've said this before, so humor me) a stranger is a friend he hasn't met yet. I remember one time as we were in the airport in Brasilia, on the way to my gate as I was going back to Pittsburgh, we ran into, of all people, my dad's barber. Yes, the man who cut my father's hair. We stood around for at least five minutes while my father bantered on with this man. (Did I mention there was a blizzard on the Eastern Seaboard and I didn't know if my flight would depart?) But that's the kind of man he is. As annoying as it sometimes is, I love him for it.
Emily and I have been talking about fathers lately. How knowing an earthly father aids us in constructing a relationship with Father God. How true I am finding that these days. In my walks, as I gaze upon my Father's world, I think about how dear I am to Him. And that is where we come back to the bucket. Remember the bucket? There's a hole in the bucket.
Dwight L. Moody, when asked if he was filled with the Holy Spirit, replied, "Yes, but I leak." As I have been supporting my friends in this time, as I have been supporting myself in this time, I have found that I need to refill my bucket daily. If I don't have time with God, either in solitary prayer or corporate worship, I'm doomed. Because no human can fill my bucket. No human can fill the need I have for agape love. I love my family. But they are not always around. I love my friends. But they are often wounded, cracked pots, just like me. There's a saying that crops up on bumper stickers: Hurt people hurt people. We don't have to try very hard to hurt someone's feelings. And sometimes we hurt their feelings without even trying. We didn't know that today was their birthday or that they love that song/movie/book/person we just ranted about.
"All my life, I've been in hiding, wishing there was someone just like You." These lyrics only really work if we're singing them in worship to God. Most love songs on popular radio are in the same category. I've heard Peter Gabriel's song "Your Eyes" done a cappella by a Christian group, and the words made so much more sense referring to God's eyes. "In your eyes/I am complete/in your eyes/I see the doorway to a thousand churches/in your eyes/the resolution of all the fruitless searches..."
So my friends, the joy I share with them, is just icing on the cake. I need them as much as they need me, but if I don't have a solid relationship with God, I am no use to them. Because I leak. I offend. And I get lonely at two in the morning.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
It was the perfect end to a wonderful Saturday. I work almost every Saturday and so when I have one off, I often feel like I'm back in that place where I worked 9-5 and all I did on the weekends was watch movies in my garret. Because all my friends know I work every Saturday, and most of my friends spend their weekends with their families.
So yesterday I spent the morning picking up trash in my 'hood. On the streets I know because I've lived in Highland Park and walked all around 'SLiberty for over ten years. The Home Depot guy stood up and said, "These are my roots. I have lived here my whole life and I bought the house I grew up in. So thank you for coming out to clean up my 'hood." And that's what I felt like. Like everyone was there to help me make my streets look nicer.
In the afternoon I did not buy a bike, but got a chance to be overwhelmed by all the choices out there. I was smart to take a friend with me. Then I got to go with my friend as he picked out what he was going to wear in a bit part in Michael Chabon's newest movie, "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" (He was the guy who wrote the book that became the movie "Wonder Boys.") So I got to spend my afternoon in my favorite places: thrift shops and a quick pop into the Joseph-Beth bookstore at the Southside Works.
So it was a perfect end to a wonderful Saturday as I skated fast to "I'll Fly Away" and "Our God is an Awesome God." (The evening was sponsored by the local Christian radio station.)
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Okay, I've been reading enough blogs this morning to see that it's time for one of "those" posts.
It's just easier to pretend that I'm not a single, going on 35 year old woman with Bipolar II.
I want people to think I'm normal (which I am!) but I forget that normal means BROKEN.
We all are.
Right now, I'm the healthy one. I tease Marian that right now it sucks to be my friend. Case in point:
- Relationships are breaking left and right. It's BAD. There are shipwrecks and we need a whole new shipyard!!
- und so wieta (and so on, in German.)
These are the things I've been doing. (If you have friends that are going through tough times, take notes!!) And by the way, if you don't have friends that are going through tough times, you probably don't have friends. (I mean that in the best way possible, but us depressives are really good at acting.)
- Showing up. I call Marian and say, I'll be near your house, do you want me to stop by? Or more forceful: I have something for you (see next bullet), I can drop it off or come by with it on my dinner break at 4:30.
- Buying little gifts. This week I've purchased little books, a stuffed pig, and a pink magnet board (they didn't have anything with flamingos)
- Buying milk and OJ. Marian's car is broken and for a few days, so was her fridge. I brought her a can of cold ginger ale each time I visited.
- Sharing meals. This week I've driven 45 minutes to meet someone for dinner (meet halfway!), I've taken my dinner to Marian's, I've taken her to lunch. (Well, she paid, but I drove.)
- Commenting on blogs.
- Posting fun stuff. (We ALL need distractions.)
- Being honest with my dad. It's taken 15 years for me to stand up to him and say, "Hello, I am doing my best over here, and I'd like you to look at where I was 15 years ago and remember that, not recent history" (15 years ago: I was a straight A college freshman who wrote down every penny she spent and reported back to her investors, I mean parents, quarterly.)
- NOT BURNING OUT. This is key. For about three weeks, both Marian and I were down, and it was not pretty. Besides, we are two of the best young librarians at the darn place.
- Keeping in touch with bosses: especially my boss in Children's, who knows all about depression and sometimes I just flop on her chair and tell her all about Marian. I also keep Marian's boss updated, either by email or in person. This is key, because Jenny hasn't a clue on how to handle Marian. I'm teaching her.
- Watching movies. With Marian, by myself. Laughter is key. Laughter is one of the best medicines out there. And it's free!! And you don't need a prescription!!
- Going on walks. Which now that it is light enough outside, I'm going to do.
And, as I always say to my dad, Happy Valentine's Day!
Friday, September 22, 2006
When I worked at Fox books dahntahn in the Gimbel's building, the lunch hour was our busiest time. Employee lunches were spaced so that no one had lunch between 11:30 and 1:30. During that time, it was standing room only in the aisles, and two of the popular standing and browsing areas were the house plan books and the collectibles books. This was where I learned about Fiesta ware, because there were books with pictures of dishes and how much they were worth.
I have a soft spot for day lilies. I bought this for a dollar at a yard sale the day my cousin Hannah turned one. She's eight now! It was a road trip just Mom and me. When I lived in my parent's guest room, this picture was one of the main focal pieces. But then my mother redecorated and took it down. I recently brought it to Pittsburgh and relocated it in the foyer.
Another vacation photo. This was taken at Lacawac, a nature reserve. I loved the way the grass came up through the spaces between the stones. Sis, Dad, and my brother are looking at the water bugs. I don't know where my mom was...
These are what I would call "Blackbird pictures." I was at the Weis Markets in Hamlin, PA, and I thought the packaging for these fresh herbs was unlike any I'd ever seen.
I think they're going for a French countryside feel...
The picture for Italian parsley looks very American, and what's the deal with this Tarragon...
and this Tarragon? And did they run out of pictures so they used the same picture, only larger, for Lemon Thyme? And who is this man? Father Thyme?
Alright, if I'm going to get a walk in before work, I gotta boogie. Next week, it's back to Thursday Show and Tell! Woo hoo!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Me: Shoot, I just priced this donated video at $1,200 instead of $12.99!
Me: Blue's Clues, let's see, the cutter is B62--oh look this is with the old Steve. I like him better than the new guy.
Her: Yeah, this afternoon before I picked up my 6 year old from the busstop my four year old and I were watching Blue's Clues and Steve was on and I kept looking at him, thinking, he doesn't look like the type to abuse drugs...I kept looking at his eyes, wondering if he was using drugs then, on the show...
So I googled and came up with this, which clears Steve's name: he went into music! His band, get this, is called the Flaming Lips. A far cry from "What's New, Blue?"
We were both very relieved. Ah, the power of the information. Thanks, Google!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I sometimes feel like my walk is like that. Even though I only go out for 15-30-60 minutes, and my route is out and back on the same sidewalks, the landscape hits me differently whether I'm going out or coming back.
I have discovered more spiderwebs and today saw three bikers--one was a man who just was toodling around for fun--the other two were "serious" in their uniforms and helmets. I also attempted to take photos of some spider webs--but I think I need to go earlier in the morning or on foggy wet mornings to get the full effect. (The sun does not bode well for catching the thin webs.)
I am just grooving on my digi camera--instant gratification!! Although my camera is not good at nature close-ups: zooming in on spiders or white fuzzy caterpillars, I feel like just taking the pictures is a rough art form--and it forces me to pay attention, which is drawing me closer to God, as I am awestruck by His creation. I am grateful for the park--I am such a city girl and am so grateful to return to my residential street after spending time out, looking at spiders and such, but I am enjoying my nature walks more and more, and my eyes are becoming keener to details.
Maybe I'll post some of my rough pictures...I wonder if Blackbird is going to reinstate Show and Tell anytime soon?
Oh, and I saw Little Miss Sunshine--Do not stop go, do not collect your $200, GO SEE IT! It puts the FUN back in dysfunctional. I laughed, I almost cried, it was better than Cats (but don't tell Sis!!)
Monday, September 18, 2006
7:30 PM Sep. 23
101.5 WORD·FM Night at Bethel Park Blade Runners
Join 101.5 WORD·FM's Kenny Woods for a family skate night at Blade Runners Ice Complex in Bethel Park, 7:30 - 9:30 pm. WORD·FM listeners can skate to your favorite Christian music for just $5 per person (includes skate rental); there'll be fun, prizes (no purchase necessary) and more. For an additional $5, try out the bumper cars on ice! Call for more information: 412-833-8500.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I’m in love. No, not that. I’m still figuring out how to separate my public life from my blog—even with a pseudonym, a lot of yins know who I am…
I have discovered something: I like foggy mornings. I even like driving in the fog (it forces me to pay attention.) I have chosen (YES) to live in Pittsburgh for over ten years. When I tell people I like winter, they look at me like I’m nuts. When I tell them I get depressed in the summer, they don’t get it. Yinzers know there’s a term for what we get this time of year in these parts: Pittsburgh gray. I love it. I do.
This morning I looked out and yes, it was gray. I bounced out for my walk and couldn’t wait to check the chain link fences along the Forestry Office to check for spider webs. Yes, I am in love with spider webs. And on foggy mornings like this one, they are like crystal necklaces left behind by some aristocratic lady. My brain catches over thoughts of Guy de Maupassant’s story about the necklace and I think, these are the real treasures. Men created necklaces and chandeliers because they studied spider webs. I don’t dare yet to bring my camera out there—I know I would be disappointed by the results. And after a week of dry mornings, I needed the surprise of dew studded necklaces on the chain link fence, on the trees, on…I must have seen ten sunburst style (I need to get a book to learn the terminology) and four or five partials. I even saw one spider. I blew, I touched the edge of the web, he didn’t budge. Do spiders sleep?
Now, I don’t know how I’d react if I found one inside, so don’t think I’m getting all brave. But outside, in my Father’s world, I love them.
I’m training for something: I couldn’t wait to get back here to write about this, so I ran part of the way home. It’s a trick I learned while training for my trek over the Teton mountains: run, walk. Run, walk. So my mind is training for more writing, and my body is training for…I really want to get a bike.
Yes. Me, the girl who never learned how in second grade—how I remember that failed lesson with my mom. She allowed it. (I still see that day as a picture in my mind--one of the few clear memories I have from that year.) And while the lowlands of Bonn, Germany are perfect for biking, where we moved in third grade, Tegucigalpa, Honduras is hilly like the slopes of Sou’ Side. (um, I'll have to take some pictures--Google images wasn't real helpful...) I learned briefly in high school, but like most people with high school French, it didn’t stick. So every time I get on a bike, I have to re-learn all the tricks.
I live in Pittsburgh. I can’t change my oil on my street because of the slope. But I have found some flat land, and today I watched the bikers glide past me in the other direction, talking as they rode about getting hotels in Germany and Seville.
That’s where writing takes you, my friends. It takes you from a color, gray, to a natural phenomenon, spider webs, to a childhood dream: I wanted to live in New York and be a ballerina and not own a car but bike everywhere.
Well, Pittsburgh will have to do until I have a chunk of change, I think I’d rather learn swing (but not until I have a partner—I do NOT like dancing with strange men), and I’ve not had a car for a good chunk of my adult life. I know what it is to take the bus to the grocery store and come home in the rain, walking five blocks with plastic bags, thinking I will never forget that it has gotten this bad.
I do not feel safe walking in certain parts of my neighborhood, but a bike gives you a little speed. Stay tuned…
I remember biking in Austria—I’ll tell yins about that later.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
It took too long to replace this, but here it is. (to no avail could I find the post where I explained the first installment of my "window above the sink." I'll keep looking...) (Here it is.)
I had to just put it up. It will grow, but I needed it up, my "window above the sink." I wanted it to be what the old one was, which I made ten years ago, but I am a different person, so the old rules don't apply.
This is from the foreword to Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg: the foreword is by Judith Guest, writer of Ordinary People. If you haven't read that book, run, do not walk, to your local book procurement (bookstore, library, sister) outlet.
"I had written a first novel and it had achieved phenomonel success. I had stumbled upon the secret path and uncovered the rules and been rewarded with much praise. Unfortunately, all of this was proving to be of little use to me in the writing of the next novel. I was having a terrible time of it. How could I have forgotten everything so quickly? For six painful years I struggled until I figured out the rules for Ordinary People simply didn't apply to the next situation. It was natural and understandable that I was having difficulty. I was writing a different novel; I was exploring a new path.
It is easy to lose sight of the fact that writers do not write to impart knowledge to others; rather, they write to inform themselves."
Go and do likewise!
Friday, September 15, 2006
Hi~Maybe you used to respond to this site, but got away from it. Well, it's time to get back. Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising. Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.
AGAIN , PLEASE TELL 10 FRIENDS TO TELL 10 TODAY
Please do this. Thanks.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
|You Are 25 Years Old|
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
|You Communicate With Your Ears|
So today I'll be mysterious, enigmatic...ha!
I am a woman who loves her friends, and right now I have at least three friends with broken or breaking hearts. And it breaks my heart. Why must we all at one time have boring jobs, or bosses we fear, or general and specific people in our lives that break our hearts into shreds?
On my walk, I just walked and cried and sang. It was all I could do. Somehow I must have thought the walk would magically make everything all better.
So I sat in the car for a bit, as I am listening to Adriana Trigiani’s book, Milk Glass Moon. It's the third book (there should be a name for the third book in a trilogy) in the Big Stone Gap trilogy. I just finished listening to the second book, Big Cherry Holler. (Is it still called a sequel if it's the second book in a trilogy?) I am re-reading the first book, Big Stone Gap. Ave Maria, the protagonist, is wonderful. I read Big Stone Gap years ago, when I was reading all the chick lit I could muster as I was thinking to start a web-bookstore featuring Chick Lit. Re-reading it now, as I flutter the calendar pages til my 35th birthday, my heart is pierced. Ave Maria, in the first book, at 35 has defined herself as the town spinster. Then someone familiar comes around the corner and sweeps her away.
So the first book is: frozen heart, wakes up to love. The second book: married now, frozen heart, wakes up to love. The third book: you guessed it. Why do we have to keep learning that lesson over and over again? I guess I'll be learning it until the day I die.
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody. May someone break your frozen heart today, too.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Um, this made me howl hysterically. Well, at least chuckle. Someone has written a wiki-How article on "How to dissuade yourself from becoming a Blogger." It's priceless, it really is. But it's too late. I'm hooked on writing my words and self-publishing them on the Web for free.
How did I find this gem? My gmail homepage! It is very cool. Every time I hook up to the 'net at home, I get all sorts of quotes and fun things including the temperature in Pittsburgh!
Yes, with brilliant verbiage like "very" and "cool" and "temperature in Pittsburgh" you too could start your own blog!
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
That's how I see September. You know, bouquets of sharpened pencils...I don't think it's a mistake that the Jewish calendar puts New Year's at this time of year.
But today was rainy, buckets, and all I had was my slicker. I have once again lost my pink umbrella in my tiny garret. My slicker is yellow, like my momma's, and I got it at the LLBean outlet in March. This morning I had the Bellefield Women's Bible Study Breakfast, which was over around noon. I had a doctor's appt at 1:30. My doctor's office was around the corner, so after I ate lunch, I hung out in the University of Pittsburgh bookstore. I spent most of the time sitting on the floor, poring through travel books for Poland, well, Warsaw, specifically. I had forgotten the names of streets and I had the best fun looking at maps, reading about the history, the sights, the city that for me is Paris on the Vistula.
(Background: when I graduated high school, my parents moved to Warsaw, Poland for three years. They just happened to be the most exciting three years you could pick: 1989-1992, when communism fell and the economy went private. Lucky duck for my dad that he was the head of Economics Dept. at the US Embassy--he worked 24/7 those three years. I visited them seven times: every summer and every Christmas. Um, and if you clicked on the Warsaw link: they've come a long way, baby, in fifteen years.)
When I was in college, my roommate Andi made a point to get to know the Eastern Shore of Maryland where we were situated. She knew the locals (and dated more than one townie) and drove her red pick-up from Chestertown to Rock Hall to Delaware, where there was no sales tax. "Wouldn't it be great," she'd say, "To be able to say, I lived here for a little bit but I got to know it, really know it." I thought of her saying that, yesterday when as I walked on paths I'd not yet walked in the Highland Park. I know that park like the back of my hand--I've been walking it for a good eight years or so. But there are still surprises.
So for me, I want to get to know Pittsburgh, and the East End particularly, like the back of my hand. I don't care if I never get to Paris, but I want to roam the streets of Warsaw again, walking the places I've walked before, and discovering new paths in the parks. I want to see the peacocks at Wazenki Park and hear Chopin played on a pianon outside on a Sunday afternoon in front of a huge sculpture of the Polish composer. The first Andy Warhol exhibit I saw was one that traveled to the National Museum. I remember shoes and shoes and shoes and Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor...
I recently found a letter from an old college friend. He and I were in a summer school program in Vienna, Austria. In the letter he was responding to, I'd written, "and I only want to be in Warsaw, riding the trams late at night." He wrote "I've never been there but I hear you sister loud and distant." He goes on to reminisce about times we spent at Upper Belvidere, a palace near where we lived for three short weeks in Vienna.
Not to paint a rosy picture of my past: my summers in Poland while I was in college were long and boring. The library at the Embassy was abyssmal. TV was in Polish. Mail from the US took weeks. This was before email.
I didn't really speak the language,
I held some currency,
and I saw angels in the architecture. (with apologies to Paul Simon)
Monday, September 11, 2006
Five years ago, at 7:57, I was sleeping. It was a Tuesday morning and I had decided to skip Women's Bible Study. I had a school project to finish, my first big project of library school. It was a survey of the journals in the school's collection. So I awoke to the radio telling me something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. It didn't make sense to anyone, but eventually I caught on that this was too weird to stay in bed listening to the radio. I got up and turned on the TV. After being transfixed by what I was watching for a few minutes, I knocked on Sally's door. She was still asleep, so I let myself in (yes, at that time we all kept our doors unlocked.) I shook her gently and told her what was going on. She told me on our road trip last week that she will never forget me doing that. We turned on the TV and must have eaten breakfast. I honestly don't remember much of the details. What I remember is that downtown Pittsburgh was evacuated because there was news of a plane heading for Pennsylvania. Well, there are a lot of tall buildings in Pittsburgh. So we watched on TV, all the people going home. Everyone was given permission to do so. School was cancelled because there is one very tall building in Oakland, where the University of Pittsburgh has its main campus.
I remember reading in a book about how when John F. Kennedy died, people couldn't get through by phone for three days because everybody else was on the phone.
I knew someone who worked in a building near the Pentagon. I couldn't get through to her. I couldn't get through to my parents.
So Sally and I sat, with her son, A, and watched TV.
Later in the day, I walked down to the newspaper vending box and bought the afternoon edition, the first time in my memory that there had been such a thing.
I don't have any more personal stories. I don't know anyone who died. I have since met people while traveling that were meant to be there on that Tuesday and for whatever reason changed their plans.
I couldn't listen to Christmas music that year.
The image at the top of this post is of a wonderful children's book that won the prestigious Caldecott award for illustration. It's called The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
by Mordicai Gerstein. I've seen the videorecording of the book done by Weston Woods and it is phenomenal. It is the story of a daring man who tightroped between the Twin Towers soon after it was built.
Jessamyn put together a great list of links re: 9-ll. They are here.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
"I see the moon and the moon sees me, the moon sees somebody that I want to see.
God bless the moon and God bless me, and God bless the somebody that I want to see."
Babs and I were at Tazza earlier this week and I was telling her about a dream I'd had two nights before, so I started this rhyme:
Not last night, but the night before, twenty-four robbers came knockin' at my door. As I ran out, they ran in, hit me on the head with a rollin' pin.
Which of course, reminds me of this one:
Cinderella, dressed in yella, went upstairs to kiss a fella.
Made a mistake - kissed a snake!
How may doctors did it take?1,2,3,4, ...
It's cool outside, what they call "good sleeping weather" here in da 'Burgh. I think I'll cut the a/c and open the window...
Friday, September 08, 2006
International Literacy Day is sponsored by UNESCO, which is the Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization of the United Nations.
Their theme this year is "Literacy Sustains Development." You can download a pdf color poster in English here (the poster is also available in Spanish and French). It shows a young girl doing homework in a very humble room.
My favorite book on literacy is The Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry. It really captures the glee a child has when they have decoded what those letters mean. Here is a Google Book Search page highlighting Parry's book.
I just asked a collegue if she knew today was International Literacy Day and she said, "No, but we should have had a cake or something!" Ah, next year!
Go read something!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Restless, yes, I'm restless.
Good news--the depression has broken through chemically--which means that yesterday I had an extra zing! of energy and thus was awake until 3 AM. Doing what? Not dishes, or cleaning...
No, instead I googled everyone I knew (including yours truly) and I played umpteem games of free cell and a few games of Bookworm. I also listened to the soundtrack to Wedding Bell Blues, which movie I have seem to have misplaced in my apartment, so I spent a good half hour ransacking the piles of my wreckage and then consoling myself that I can get a factory sealed copy cheap on Amazon.com. I printed the Amazon pages--I'm not ready to admit defeat, but WHERE IS IT?
So we took down the Zoloft a notch. Today I was exhausted, so I used that comp. time and left work two hours early.
I'm at the beginning and at the end of things: in a week I'll be back at Tuesday morning Women's Bible Study, doing Beth Moore's study on the Patriarchs, which means homework every night. The following week, I start a writing class on "The Novel" to prepare for applying to the MFA program at Carlow
So right now I'm in between: not reading anything cataclysmic, not really making progress on stuff around the apartment. I started reading a fluff teen romance on Tuesday and finished it today at dinner.
But I have been thinking about a lot of things, and I've made a few decisions:
- The surgery I've been making a fuss about: is ELECTIVE. And I don't want to elect to take it this fall, just as I'm coming off the depression. Day Two this cycle wasn't as bad as usual, so I want to watch this and do more research.
- The decision to move forward about the MFA--this is huge.
The rest, I guess, aren't really decisions, but there is a lot to think about: how much I love my neighborhood, my job, and more than my job, my place of work. How I see things changing philosophically, per se, but I sure want to be in this particular geography for a long time.
Today was the funeral mass for Mayor O'Connor. I made a "date" with Mini, the little Italian lady that lives across the street. I knew I wanted to watch it, I knew she'd be watching it, and I figured, why not watch it together? I made her day, and she made mine. It was a beautiful mass, and they played two of my favorite Catholic songs, "On Eagle's Wings" and I've already forgotten the title of the other one. But it was neat to be sitting in Mini's living room as we mumbled along with the celebrants and congregants gathered at St. Paul's Cathedral. How cool, too, that the mayor's son was one of the officiating priests? He gave the homily.
Just got off the phone with Em. She and I are in similar places--there's stuff going on that's too big to talk about so we're just talking philosophy. I wonder at her--she seems to be so strong in her faith and then she surprises me with her fears, the ones she won't name. And all of a sudden I'm the strong one. (Although, I'll admit I'm quaking in my shoes.) My early morning walks are what keep me grounded. They are right now perhaps the only thing that keeps me sane. This website has been an inspiration: I print out the prayers and take them with me on my walks.
I'm laying a few fields fallow, I guess, as I prepare for a rigorous autumn schedule. So yes, I'm restless, waiting, for what I know not...
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
- Flags at half staff for the death of Mayor Bob O'Connor. O'Connor worked for the Gov'ner for two years before he was mayor, so the Gov'nr decreed half staff flags 'til his funeral on Thursday.
- Huge yard sales. I mean, my yard isn't even that big. We didn't stop. (I think my mother would sense I had bought something and fall over.)
- Gas at $2.64, which is the price Sally paid. Tonight, after work in Pittsburgh, I paid $2.67.
- For the first hour: fog and fog and more, yes, fog.
- The Drink Milk farm, which reminded Sally of a guy she used to have a crush on, who is now happily married (as is she). We shared so many stories (what else do you do for 10 hours in the car??)
What we talked about:
- Children, and how nice to not have them along on our GIRL TIME outing. They're maybe thinking about a girl if they try again. I talked about how I'm not sure I want to get pregnant--not sure I'd want to be off my meds for 9 mos and the chance of passing the bipolar on to my children...I would be totally fine with adopting, I think (and as a woman, I have the total ability to change my opinion at will!)
- Husbands (well, hers--how marriage isn't easy, and she's changing and that's changing their marriage.)
- Memories. Sally and I have been friends since 1994. There are so many memories...
- Friendship, and how it is this beautiful fragile thing. We agreed that each other was so less high maintenance than when we were likethis ten years ago, selling Mary Kay.
- God. Which is something important to the very heart of us but not something we've discussed for a long time (it's not the sort of thing you talk about when one of you has children a foot on one end of the phone call.)
We pretty much talked non-stop, except for the obligatory rest stops along the turnpike. It is so good to have a friend. I am so incredibly blessed in all of my friends, and yesterday was just gravy. Icing on the cake. It was girl time, and I needed it so badly.
Today: Sally II (who lives near my library) stopped by: she had gotten me a "Happy September gift," which was a homemade card and two t-shirts good for a Children's librarian: one has the pink panther on it and the other has one fish two fish red fish blue fish...I'll post pictures soon.
Here's a memory: in February 2001, I was so excited to be visiting Pittsburgh for the baby shower. I was leaving Friday after work. Friday, at work, I get a call from my dad: Charlie just called, they had the baby. (Yes, early, a premie.) I was so bummed! No shower? (Working retail, I have been to maybe one baby shower and two wedding showers my entire girl lifetime.) But it was very cool to visit Sally at the hospital and hold Zack in the neo-natal unit. I got to see him when he was two days old!! I drive by "his hospital" sometimes on the way to work.
Sally is an inspiration to me. Truly. A month ago, when I was getting ready to take time off of work, and be smart about it--one pay period, then vacation, then back to work, she cheered me on. She said it was a mark of an adult to know what you needed and ask for it. And wouldn't you know, I was able to hold my word to my employer and just take one pay period and a week of vacation. It is so empowering to know that I was able to say, I need this, and follow through.
Yesterday, we road-tripped to Eastern PA, just us girls, to wish her grandma a happy 89th. We spent five hours each way in the car for a four hour visit. After lunch, I was exhausted, and asked the hostess, Candy, if I could excuse myself and take a nap. Sally was so thrilled that I was able to know what I needed and ask for it. This being a grown-up, and having your friends notice, it feels amazing!
Being an adult is also doing the yucky thing you don't want to do when it has to be done. (Like paying bills, doing dishes, laundry...)
Working on that.
But what I really want to say is...um, I'm going to be 35 in November, and up until last week, I was really scared to admit that to the world at large, as I often hang with a much younger crowd. Most of the folks I hang with at the Open Door were born in the 80s!! And I love them. And I don't think of them as a "them" but as my peers, who happen to be chronologically-differently abled. (That was a joke...) Sometimes I have more in common with twentysomethings than I do with men and women my age, because as a single woman, I haven't marked a lot of the milestones that many thirtysomethings have marked: a marriage, children, divorce. (That last one is unfortunate, but a reality.)
And I may seem younger or more youthful, so I can get away with it, or whatever, but I've come to a place where I have to be 35. I want to shout it from the rooftops, wear it like a badge of honor--hey world, I made it!! (We can wait til November, though...)
I guess I've been scared because 35 for so long has been like the old maid cut off. You know, there was that whole Newsweek study twenty years ago:
"According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, NEWSWEEK reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry." (Marriage by the Numbers, Newsweek online article.) Recently, they retracted that quote, said it was a bad choice of words and irresponsible reporting. Women ARE marrying later.
There are actual books at my library called "How to get married after 35."
Yesterday at Sally's grandma's 89th birthday, her grandma asked me, "Do you have a family?"
I was totally blindsighted, didn't realize she was tactfully asking me if I was married with children, and I said, I have a brother and sister. She said, oh where do they live? It was easier to just say Virginia, even tho the young one is moving to Austin as we speak. And what brought you to Pittsburgh? School.
Later in the car, Sally brought this up and I bust out laughing--I had no clue at the moment the question was being asked what the subtext was. She said, I heard Grandma ask you that out of the corner of my ear and I waited to see what you would say.
I've had actual conversations with guys, discussing the age thing, and them being surprised that I was that old, and me thinking, egad, could we have avoided that discussion? Because I'm meeting mainly younger guys and you know, the trend in May/December, the GUY is older. For a while, if I made reference to the early nineties, when I was going dancing at clubs in Pittsburgh, Pete would say, oh, yeah, when I was 13 or so and I'd snap back, I know how old you are.
But this week especially, I've come to a place where I need to be 35 in November. All the crap I've been through couldn't fit in someone in a younger package. It's been predicted that I will marry younger, and personally, I would be fine with that. I have met men that are 26 that are more mature than men I know that are 37.
So, let it rip! Sarah Louise will be 35 in November, and God willing, I'm throwing a big party. I wish I could pay for plane tickets from Australia for some of yins to come...
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12, NIV)
It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. (Colossians 3:11, CEV)
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:30-31, NIV)
May these words be true in my life as I move and breathe in my life.
Time to get ready for work...y'know, like a grown-up.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Professional Reading...or "Sarah Louise is having too much fun reading her American Libraries emails"
What babies love about books: "Open. Shut. Open. Shut. Openshut." What preschoolers love about books: "They can be propped open on the floor to be like a tunnel for a toy car...or a tent for a doll." What Kindergarten and beyond-ers love about books: "If you read every single book in a series you'll feel really cool." And of course, we in the industry love it when an article says go to your library!! (Parenting Magazine article.)
Google is offering pdfs of some of its Google Book Search items, ones that are in public domain. "Starting today, readers can find new, and free, downloadable versions of some of the world's greatest books on Google Book Search (http://books.google.com/)." Dante, Goethe, Hugo are some of the available authors. (Google Press Release.) (Note: while discovering new blogs via Walt Crawford, learning that a lot of library bloggers don't think this is the cat's meow.)
And you can also get public domain audio books for free if you have the right software!! A New York Times article talks about LibriVox, a program where volunteers submit readings of public domain books. As an audio book lover that still hasn't jumped on the MP3/ipod bandwagon, this may be what I've been waiting for...
An amazing article in the Decatur, IL Herald & Review talks about a librarian who received a note in her hotel room from a member of the cleaning staff. This particular librarian had a "treasure trove" of books from the vendor's tables in the exhibit halls.
"But on one evening, she returned to the room to find a note on the coffeepot:
'Are you selling books? If so, I'd like to buy some. Please call me at home. This is not my regular floor.'
So Popit called and the following morning, a woman in her early 20s came, saying, 'I cannot tell you how scared I was to write that note. I don't have any books any more. I used to read all the time.'
'At this point,' said Popit, 'I was in tears.'
Popit not only gave the woman some books but wrote a note to go with them saying the books hadn't been stolen."
WOW! I think if we are learning anything from Katrina, it is how much people want to be able to read and congregate around books. Kudos to any and all who have helped in the post-Katrina restoration projects.
An Onion article on the Dewey Committee flummoxed at how to categorize the new Jim Belushi book..."Real Men Don’t Apologize. "With all due respect to the author, we remain unsure how to categorize this particular work," said committee chair Leslie Buncombe, who, despite repeated readings, still wasn’t sure if Real Men was "an actual book." "What is it? Autobiography? Self-help? We can’t even tell if it’s fiction or nonfiction." Here's a post from the Dewey Blog on the subject.
If you're in the library world at all, you've heard the phrase "Library 2.0." You may not know what it is (it's, um, yeah.) This link is the funniest thing I have seen in a very long time. Warning: you may get addicted to the "Library 2.0 Idea Generator." Oh, it is precious. It is laugh out loud, if you are a library geek like me. (Hey, if non-librarians find it funny, tell me in the comment box!!)
A scary article about how searches are being cached...you might not want to do a personal search on say "sarah louise" and right after start researching your novel on bank robberies. (e.week.com article.)Pop-psychology on browsers: what your browser says about you: a blog post from Terminally Incoherent.
Those Charlotte-Mecklenburg librarians are learning about Library 2.0 and winning prizes! You can learn along with them but not win prizes...
To justify writing this at work (yes, Eileen has inspired me to virtue) I'm going to write about library stuff. I get emails from the ALA every week on Weds or Thurs, called "American Libraries." They are the bomb. I love them so much. Since I was out for 3 weeks, I had 3 to catch up on!! Also, every day or so I get LIS News.
So today, I learned about technolust (like your director goes to a conference and comes back saying "we must get the newest xy or z" even though it doesn't really match your demographic, it's just KEWL.) So instead, you should have a technoplan. (Library Journal article)
I found a list of "quality web resources providing free full-text article content" (say that five times fast--I'll wait.) (Multimedia and Internet at Schools article.)
Then I found the motherlode: the Judges Report for the Children's Book Council of Australia, 2006. I wonder if any of these books are available in the US...It was a pdf, and I deleted the AL email it was in, I'll try to look up a link...found it! But, it is 21 pages long. If you just want a list of the books, go here. There is a link for a printer friendly pdf if you want something to carry to the library...
The juiciest, though, is Walt Crawford's Cites and Insights. This guy writes a 30 page PDF every month. I used to get it via email but I couldn't keep up. Now I rely on the good folks at ALA to let me know when there's a good one: this one is perspectives on library blogs. Mmmmm...Again, it's a pdf, so I'll hunt up the link. (Note: I've finished reading the report and am discovering some new blogs--stay posted!) This post is being written over two days: and I got a new AL email today!!
And finally, a romantic find: a story about an old Harlequin, called Hospital Librarian, on the Canadian Health Libraries Association website. T-shirts of the cover image are available...
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Yesterday I bought three papers: the Sunday Post-Gazette, and the Saturday Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review. When something happens (like 9/11, or the death of a mayor) I like to read all about it. I haven't read them yet, but in a bit I'll go to Tazza for my tomato sandwich and I'll take something with me to read...I have less than 75 pages left in East of Eden.
I had a notebook (or rather, still have it) that is based on the Sue Bender book Plain and Simple. I couldn't find it. But a few weeks ago, it surfaced, and this morning I read through it. Inside I found the 24 year old me--wow, ten years! and lots of annotations since then.
I also found this poem, which I wrote on July 7, 1996. Yeah, that was a crazy summer, ten years ago.
Who are they kidding?
No 3 oz. bottle is going to get me
through the next "and it came to pass."
My baby brother is moving to Austin this week. I don't often think of him as my "baby brother" but this move has got me all confused--he's moving, and it's not for college, it's not to any place the Louise family has ever been...he's all growed up! (But not quite...) Traveling mercies, m'dear!
A mini-mystery: the website "I heart Pittsburgh" which has been a source of local information since I read about the Beleza coffeehouse on the North Side, has been swallowed by the web. If you click on it (under "local shoes," on the sidebar) you get some random advertising thing with a message that the domain name has expired.
So, one thing found, one thing lost.
Friday, September 01, 2006
At 8:55 pm, Bob O'Connor, Pittsburgh's mayor, breathed his last. (Post Gazette article)
I've never seen a Wikipedia article that had "This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses." It already shows that he's been succeeded by Luke Ravenstahl, who is City Council President, and at 26, the youngest mayor of Pittsburgh. There will be a swearing in at 10:30 pm.
The only TV channel I barely get that is following the story is KDKA, and it is snowy and staticy. Oh to have cable at a time like this...
Okay, it's 10pm and the Channel 53 news is on.
It was his dream to be the mayor of Pittsburgh.
In other news, Abaté, my favorite gasthaus, has closed its doors after 23 years.
The only snag is that it is a 703 area code (Virginia) and I live in Pittsburgh, but for two more years on the family plan at ~$17, I'll take it.