Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dancing: the Trinity and us

We just had an OD Community Meeting. Generally I come home from these and want to cry myself to sleep because although we are the coolest church I know and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, they generally happen (coincidence?) at times when I'm already washed out emotionally. And so I have to leave my community to go home, watching them all talk but I have to go home because I am spent.

Home to the answering machine blinking--not that I have a message, but a new number. Someone called, probably a telemarketer, and didn't leave a message.

I feel a little bit less like crying because Sandy asked me for my phone number because she and a friend were looking to hang out with me last night.

I love the community we are becoming, but that's the rub. We are still becoming a community. I often feel like an outsider. Which is, in fact, the story of my life.

Shawn Colvin has a song called "The Story" in which she sings,
"I will always be telling this story...
Sometimes I feel so reckless and wild
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
I gave nobody life, I am nobody's wife
And I seem to be nobody's daughter
So red is the color that I like the best
It's your Indian skin and the badge
on my chest..."

This is a song that I clung to the summer I spent three weeks in Vienna, Austria. I was an outsider, not a Hope College student on this Hope College Vienna Summer School program. I was actually in between schools, leaving Pittsburgh and Carlow College and going to Chestertown where Washington College is located. In a letter, a friend wrote later that year that he thought that summer I always seemed on the fringes, on the outside.

In our discussion group we talked about para-something, the Greek word for the dance of the Trinity. We talked about how in dancing, there is no verbal communication, just the feet, the body moving, together, the next step and the next.

You can't be on the outside in a dance. Which is probably why I don't dance very much--I am afraid of being that close to someone I don't know well. I want to dance with someone I know, someone I trust. Someone that may step on my feet every once in a while but it won't matter because he'll know me well enough to know that his apology will be accepted. And he'll know that I'll step on his feet occasionally too.

We talked about acceptance, and the break down of denominational walls and unity. It was great. We could have talked all night, but we had to put the chairs back and clean up the wine glasses (yes, we had wine and cheese at our church meeting.)

So now I'm home (sweet home) and I think I'll go to bed. A co-worker's grandmother died today and I just want to cry.

We live in such a broken world and we are all broken pieces. I don't feel like I can write the joy into this, but God can. Because though weeping tarries for the night, joy comes in the morning.

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strenghten thine heart; wait, I say on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)

Grace upon grace: All of his fullness have we recieved, and grace for grace. (John 1:16)

My sister's name was Joy. She would be 30 sometime around now. But she was a premie when premies didn't live, and so I have only seen her grave marker--five year olds weren't allowed into the NicU thirty years ago. I don't know why I've been thinking about her--the soap at my aunt's was Joy dishwashing soap. One of my birthday cards had "Joy by Joy" on it. The verse above, joy comes in the morning.

Last night I tried to encourage Kelly through her broken heart, which is a really hard thing to do well. What I tried (and did pretty badly) to tell her was that her broken heart is what makes her more in tune with the human condition. We are all broken and this brokenness that has rocked her world will make her a more understanding person. A little Nietchze, maybe, that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Stronger in love, if we can get past the tears.

So, as I prepare to crawl under the covers, I offer you this: Cry. It clears out the dust in your soul, and it connects you to people everywhere who are also crying. My mother was fond of saying, "laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone." I have not found this to be true. I often am the only one laughing at a particularly dry joke, and when I cry, I know there are many more people crying, even if they are not here in my garret.

My bed calls me by first name..."Sarah Louise, Sarah Louise..." and I must answer its call.

But I'll turn up the radio first, to hear John Denver sing about country roads. Sleep tight.

More new stuff on the right, folks...

First off, we have Amy's blog, Eliza Jane. Amy just completed NaNoWriMo!! 50,000 words is an accomplishment, especially in one of the busiest months of the year (oh, you mean the rest of the world doesn't celebrate it as the month of SL's birthday?).

Then, not to be confused, we have Amy A. She writes Pretty Shiny, and I have linked my favorite post as of yet. Click on the right to get her latest, which includes a link to a contest for a memoir in six words. Kind of the opposite of NaNoWriMo--the contest ends Christmas Day.

They will both be in the "Church Shoes" area, and you'll have to learn how to tell them apart from each other on your own, just like the rest of us.

Charlie Brown and Outkast? It works!

Well, true to my fashion, I rolled out of bed, checked emails and then blogs. This made my day. I hope it makes yours. You need the volume turned up on your speakers, n'at.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Maybe all of today's posts will make up for the day I missed?

As if NaBloPoMo rules my blogging...

So. Today was a surprise in many ways. Good ones, though:

  • Got an email from a friend far far away.
  • Saw Sally too briefly as I was running late, but boy is Zack huge! He's three, now?
  • Had a glowing end of the year review from my boss in Children's. And the go-ahead for the secret mission--more on that later...
  • Made plans to see Babette's Feast Saturday BEFORE I got the email announcing a huge event at the UP. I need just a quiet night, which the UP event will not be.
  • Kelly is still nursing her broken heart (they dated for two years and they still work together--she was not a happy camper.) But we had cheap good food at IKEA (lingonberry juice, YUM) and she had a coupon for buy one get one free at Cold Stone.
  • My parents (go figure!) sent me a birthday card with a check for thirty five dollars and thirty five cents. The kooks! I don't think I've gotten birthday money from them for a long long time.
  • Put in the CD-ROM order. If you caught the drama, I thought the money was spent but it was just encumbered--an accounting term I do not understand. Anyways, I spent about $1200 in electronic reasources for the library's juvenile CD-ROM collection, WOO HOO!
And that is all. My bed is calling my name--yes, I've moved from the sofa to the bed, another happy transition.

Julius Lester Blogs!!

Yes, you read right. Julius Lester, author of Sam and the tigers, many re-illustrations of Uncle Remus tales... is now a blogger. And it's not about kid's books. Oh how very cool.

OCLC: Oh, Can Libraries Catalog?

Okay, by now, if you've been reading here awhile, you understand me to be a special kind of geek: the librarian geek.

So I just found the coolest thing that had me mesmerized until I realized I must share it, because surely there is at least one other librarian geek who will think this is the cat's meow or the cat's pajamas, or better than sliced bread...

It's called "Watch Worldcat Grow." OCLC is the largest cataloguing cooperative in the world. They have something called WorldCat, which is online access to their catalog records and often a way for you to find a book in a nearby library through the magic that is Google. (Reserve your anti-Google sentiments for another post--no one's perfect!)

The tale of five friends

Writer's note: This is an example of not writing what you woke up thinking about because you didn't really want to write about it even though you really did.

Pat's tagline for his blog, Urban Saddle, is "An experiment in writing." I like that, because blogging sure is a different medium. I give you, then, the tale of five friends, which is truly an experiment in writing.


Don't walk in front of me

I may not follow
Don't walk behind
I may not lead
Walk beside me
And just be my friend.

(Albert Camus)

So...this morning and this evening I'll be seeing two women. I thought our friendships were irreparable, dead, and yet these two women are dearer to me than they were in the first blush of friendship--they are women that I celebrate and that celebrate me. I'm having dinner with Kelly (yes, there are a lot of Kellys) and I'm seeing Sally before work (yes, there are a lot of Sallys, too.)

Writer's note: Sally is a specific alias (all the Sallys have the same root name), Kelly is an alias that applies to most friends with the letter K at the beginning. Assume that most names in my blog are aliases.

Kelly is a woman I met when I was exploring being Catholic. I was a true blue Catholic, confession and Eucharist for about one year. I attended daily mass for about three years, while I was in Virginia, started the RCIA (adult class to become a Catholic) class there, and returned to Pittsburgh, where my Presbyterian church had a new minister. For the year I was in grad school, I floundered. I basically got to church at the tail end of the sermon every week. I was thankfully back with the women at my Tuesday morning Bible Study, women that have sustained me on and off since my sophomore year of college. So I was getting fed on Tuesday but not so much on Sunday. This post is clearly becoming about my spiritual walk, not about my four friends and I, so let's get back on track.

Kelly and I followed similar paths: she was raised Catholic, "became" Protestant during college, through Campus Crusade for Christ. After college, she attempted to raise support so that she could go into ministry with CCC and her Catholic friends and family would not support her. They encouraged her to reexamine her Catholic roots, which she did, and she is now a stronger Christian and Catholic as a result. I had a similar, but opposite path: I was raised Protestant and when I went to Virginia to learn how to be a functioning bipolar as opposed to a non-functioning one, I started attending daily Mass at the local Catholic church. I still went to church at the local Baptist church most Sundays, and attended a fellowship for young adults at a nearby Episcopal church (actually, The Falls Church, which is what named the town in which my parents reside.)

When I returned to Pittsburgh, I met a young man in my evening Bible Study who was Catholic and a student at CMU. At the time, there was Sunday evening mass at CMU and since (see above) I was not getting fed Sunday mornings, I decided to attend Mass again. I did not take communion, as I was still Protestant, but I started thinking--if this is where I'm spiritually fed, I should be able to take communion. So, the short story is that I contacted the Newman Center, worked with a nun to prepare for becoming a Catholic on Easter. Which I did. So I broke ties (not completely) with my Protestant church and moved forward, now, as a Catholic. At the time, my therapist was trying to get me to date someone, anyone. So when another client of hers told her how he had met his future wife through Catholic Alumni Club, she recommended it to me. Which is how I met Kelly.

Catholics have wonderful traditions and one of them is that Mass on the first Friday of a month is particularly sacred. So CAC had a tradition of picking a parish, meeting there, and having dinner afterwards. On that fateful Friday, I decided to try this tradition out and hopefully also meet some folks. Kelly and her friends also decided to check out CAC. After Mass, we all went out to an Italian restaurant and Kelly and I sat next to each other and just clicked. She and her friends decided that they would meet me at the CAC dance in a few weeks. Kelly and I started emailing. All of us were disappointed by the dance and became sort of disenchanted with CAC. I went to a few picnics but didn't meet anyone male or female that seemed interested in widening their circle of friends to include me. Kelly and I stayed in touch and I went out to visit her for a weekend. (She lives in Ohio.)

Can you see that I still am not really writing what the title purports, not really?

Anyways, our friendship was pretty strongly based on the fact that we were two Catholic girls. So when I started attending the OD Sunday evenings in addition to Sunday Mass (where, guess what? I wasn't getting fed) and eventually just went back to my Protestant church and did Sunday morning and Sunday evening and eventually just Sunday evening, Kelly was not thrilled. Rather, she felt that I was going back on the entire basis of our friendship. So last year, we met for dinner for my birthday and I wrote about the anticipation here.

We stayed in contact, but it wasn't the same.

Okay, it is almost 8:30 and I still haven't gotten to why I'm writing "the tale of five friends."

Fast forward: Kelly and I are now stronger friends and accepting of each other's denominational differences. We're having dinner at IKEA tonight.

Sally and I went through years of not talking, mostly because of geography (she moved ten blocks away) and children (she now has two.) We have overcome both of those hurdles.

Alleluia, Amen!

But I have two friendships that are frozen. I don't feel like talking to them and it seems it's mutual since we've subsisted to email or text messaging. Yesterday at women's Bible study, Beth Moore talked to us about Joseph and Jacob/Israel and the boyz and reconciling with folks.

After all this writing, I see that I may just need to give up trying to fix my life and these friendships and wait for organic opportunities. (Organic is Babelbabe's word for just let life happen.)

'Cause here's the thing: sometimes you know why you don't seem to have a common ground for conversation and sometimes you do. And sometimes time is all you need. And sometimes you need an intervention. But it ain't gonna happen overnight. And as my hero Jim Collins says about business: inside that black box is another black box. There are no easy formulas.

So that's the tale of five friends. It's 8:30. I'm getting breakfast and getting ready for work.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I was thirty five and my life had just begun.

(Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.)

A walk down mem'ry lane...

It looks like a book--I was about two or so, in Recife, Brazil.

The view from our porch, my tenth birthday, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. You can't see the new watch from Granny in this picture...

One of the proudest days of my life--I taught myself (again for the third time?) to ride a bike. It was a one day field trip that involved biking in the countryside in Austria. The summer I was 19.

Blowing the candles out on my 21st birthday party, Rye, NY. This was the only college birthday I spent with my siblings and parents (as they were in Warsaw, Poland for my 18th, 19th, and 20th birthdays--I only saw them at Christmas and in the summers.)

I am very excited to embark upon this next year. I hope yins tag along.

The story about the time stamp--I was born around 4 in the afternoon on a Sunday. The Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills while I was coming into this world at Columbia Women's Hospital, Washington, D.C. There was much rejoicing...

Happy Birthday to me! (updated, with more links!)

My mama loves me! I was in that "I had a bad dream I don't want to get up" place, forgetting completely what today is (today is the one day I'm not having lunch with anyone) and the phone rings. My mama loves me so much that even though she hates people using the phone when they're driving, she did, so that she could wish me a happy day. (Smile.)

I also got e-cards from BJ and Lauren. Lauren's had a hippo and two frogs singing, which is appropriate, since in our family a full birthday sing is in three languages (at least): English, Portuguese and Polish.

Sto Lat, Sto Lat... (It means 100 years in Polish and is sung at any happy occasion--like when they brought Lech Walesa in as president.)

8:11 am--my father just emailed me (so typical!) a link to the wikipedia entry for today. Apparently November 28, 1959 is a pretty big day for the town in Argentina named Veintiocho de Noviembre.

2:16 pm--The entire SL clan has now wished me a happy day. Also, instead of Thursday, Sally and I went to lunch TODAY at Mad Mex. At work, I've gotten all kinds of cards. And a mystery: I Inter-Library-Loaned a book that is a Junior League Cookbook from Atlanta? I have no recollection of requesting this book...

Also, Happy Birthday to Jon Stewart, Nancy Reagan, and Gary Hart, among others.

Enjoy the pics.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bah humbug!

There will be no posts concerning the birth of Jesus until AFTER my own birthday, thank you very much.

That is all.

The day that...

I had such plans for today. My list was a mile long. I got a lot done, and most of it before noon, even! But then I got to Chili's and my favorite waitress's section was full. I did get to say hi, though. I went to Oakland on a secret mission and foiled, the place was CLOSED! I mean, I realize it's huntin' season, but...

Then I went over to Bellefield and chatted with my favorite church secretary, Jenny. She and I go WAY back. We caught up, but I overshot the time on my parking ticket for the garage and ended up paying $5.00 instead of $4.00 because I went three minutes over!!

I went to the new Borders, WOO HOO, looking for a Page-a-day calendar, but instead found lovely magazines. I went to Goodwill, and found some inspiration. I decided that $1.49 was too much for a quart of skim milk and left Walgreens emptyhanded, but ran into a neighbor who goes to Bellefield and a co-worker from Fox Books whose name I forgot. Of course he remembered mine, and introduced me to his daughter, who looked to be five!

So I drove to the new Trader Joes--you walk in and it smells delicious!! and paid $1.49 for a half gallon of skim milk. I didn't buy anything else because it was sensory overload. I came home and there was a message that I need to return, but I need to shore my courage back up. What better way than with leftovers from lunch and Frasier? Catch ya later. Oh--it is exactly six and I can hear the bells faintly from the seminary bell tower.

bing. bing. bing. bing. bing. bing.

oh help!

DaysGoBy did this (yes, it's a Talking Heads reference) and I just had to. I have been up since 6:44 (when you wake up from a dream that your car was towed, you tend to not want to snuggle back in...) Today is one of those days with a to do list a mile long...yikes!

Synthetic Artificial Replicant Yearning for Logical Observation and Utility

Get Your Cyborg Name's always ourselves we find in the sea

(e.e. cummings, "maggie and milly and molly and may")

My dad called this a three bit dollar. I've as of yet not found a whole dollar on the beach, though my aunt has.

"She's his lobster..." (my sister will maybe be the only person that understands this inside joke)

The ocean at sunrise, near Pawley's Island, South Carolina.

I'm still learning how to use different settings on this camera, but small you can't see how out of focus it is (I hope.) Waves.

Another sunrise picture.

We went kayaking. I did not take my camera along. I ended up in the reeds, a lot!

The Marsh. I asked two guys at church last night if they'd seen Dawson's Creek, ever, and they both said, never! (Not sure I believe them...) Anyways, if you've seen that show, that's what my aunt's marsh looks like. I like the houses in the distance--I do not like being in the middle of nowhere. But for my mother, nature lover, it took awhile to get over the houses in the distance.

We love sea turtles in the SL household. Someday I'll tell you the story about why.

Happy Online Shopping Monday! (click on the link--you won't be disappointed!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pictures, more and more pictures... (updated)

At last, the birthday pictures. I didn't take any at the party, but these were taken the day after.

The vase from Kristen. Isn't it gorgeous? The flowers are from another guest.

More flowers.

A close-up on the gerbera daisies, one of my favorite flowers.

The cards!

Ribbons, I love ribbons!

The cake. My piece fell off my plate and onto my beautiful green nylons...giggle! And yes, there was no icing for a "Happy Birthday Sarah Louise" so my ingenious guests used magnetic letters (courtesy Babs and her boys) to spell out my name on the cake.

So, this is so that tomorrow I can give you the beach pix. NaBloPoMo is almost over...I missed one day, but hey, it's been fun!

Think about it. If you are single, after graduation there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you ...

... Hallmark doesn't make a "congratulations, you didn't marry the wrong guy" card. And where's the flatware for going on vacation alone? (Sarah Jessica Parker, as Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City)

My mother announced at lunch yesterday (the second lunch we were having in my birthday's honor) that she doesn't know another person that milks their birthday more than I do. Well, hey. I believe in having fun, what's wrong with that? I haven't had a wedding, or a shower. I haven't had a baby, or a shower. It's just me. I haven't had a Valentine from someone besides a girlfriend or my dad for many years. I'm not complaining--just stating the facts. So if folks are going to humor me with celebration when I turn the years, I'll let them!

So this week: Tuesday is the day. Wednesday I have dinner with Kelly at IKEA (she lives in Steubenville, Ohio, so Robinson is half way for both of us.) Thursday, Sally and I will take my Mad Mex coupon (free entree for the birthday person!) for lunch. Friday, the Tech Serv dept at work will join me for lunch at Chili's.

This will be the first birthday without Susan. Our birthdays are five days apart, so she'd call me on my day and I'd call her on hers.

Amy Grant turned 46 yesterday--Happy Birthday!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What day is it?? (and other vacation thoughts)

Even my aunt can't keep straight that yesterday was Friday, not Thursday. I walked the beach twice today--once at sunrise with my dad, and a second time around 11 a.m. with my sister. I picked up some shells--mostly shards.

I'm at Litchfield Lattes, enjoying a small decaf. (And Internet access.)

We had lunch at a sweet place on the marsh. Yesterday I had crab cakes and today, fried grouper.

Yesterday after lunch Sis and I went to a used bookstore appropriately called (when you go with your sister) "My Sister's Bookstore."

Today after lunch, the rest of the SL clan started the long drive back to Northern Virginia. I leave tomorrow, early. One of the great things about church in the evening is that I won't miss it tomorrow!! I'll be back in da Burgh noonish.

I got birthday presents: two turtlenecks from Eddie Bauer, yay!, a calendar featuring verses from the Psalms, and hair stuff from my sister. Ralph and Sylvia, my aunt's neighbors from Eastern PA, who are down for a few days, gave me a crocheted and starched Christmas ornament (you'd be surprised how many ornaments I've gotten for my birthday over the years), and my aunt gave me a check which covered the books I bought at "My Sister's Bookstore": Blue Like Jazz, Pushing 30, and a few others.

I read Goodbye Nobody on Wednesday: I bought it at one of TWO Border's Books at that airport and by the time we had hit ground in Myrtle Beach all I had left was to finish the interview with Jennifer Weiner in the back of the book. I highly recommend Weiner's latest, which is a murder-mystery. The cover says "Hilarious, begs to be read in one sitting" and while I agree with the begs to be read...part, I wouldn't call the book hilarious. It is very good, though, and I think there will be a sequel. Unlike most of Weiner's books, which are set in or near Philadephia, this novel takes place in suburban Connecticut, one of those New York bedroom towns where all the women have given up their careers to raise their perfect 2.5 children.

This morning I finished I feel bad about my neck and other thoughts on being a woman by Nora Ephron (the lady who wrote When Harry Met Sally and co-wrote You've Got Mail.) It was a little bizarre reading the chapter about parenting while my aunt and parents were preparing breakfast. There were a ton of read aloud moments, but it was the wrong audience...One chapter is about her love affair with a particular apartment. Now she lives elsewhere, and she likes it, but it is where she lives--she does not have nightmares about losing it (as she did about the previous domicile.) This is a book I'll probably buy in paperback. The back cover is an author photo showing Nora pulling a turtleck up her neck (the title, the title!).

This morning my dad and I were talking about a friend of his who went to Collegiate and I thought, who do I know that went there? It took awhile to realize that it was one of the school choices for Grove, the four year old in The Nanny Diaries.

I'm a little subdued--I've been taking naps every day and having bad dreams--this too shall pass!! It's bizarre to label it as depression as I am fairly happy right now, but depression is not necessarily just the emotion of sadness but also the symptoms. Luckily, I am able to regulate my meds a little and so this morning I increased my Zoloft by 50 mg.

Tonight dinner is leftovers: last night we had Chinese carryout with candles on the pumpkin pie. Tonight I think we'll only be four at dinner--my aunt, myself, and my two not by blood cousins (they are my cousin's cousins on their dad's side) who have been working on their grandmother's beach house, tearing out baseboard heating, leaky skylights, and myriad of other items...their aunt Lilly died a few months ago.

Well, I think I'll go see if yins have posted anything of note...tomorrow I'll be back in the garret!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Internet link established!

Thankful doesn't begin to describe this oasis of time and place. Yesterday's meal was the best I'd eaten. This morning we went kayaking, with myself in the reeds more than five times. As Sis recounted it to the neighbors, "You'd just hear laughing, and you'd know she was stuck again."

I have pix (of course) but they'll have to wait til I return to da Burgh.

Last night Sis and I watched Pretty in Pink. She was the one who figured out the DVD player...

Today we're doing seafood for lunch and Chinese takeout for dinner--with candles on the punkin pie, as my birthday is approaching...

It is gorgeous out here. I don't think I'll want to aunt's house backs up on a gorgeous salt water marsh. If you've ever seen Dawson's Creek, it's like that. We've seen merganzers, egrets, kingfishers...

Tomorrow I hope to join my dad at the beach for the sunrise--and get some seashells!!

Oh, and this is being written from the "internet cafe" at the Egg Place. We walked--it's less than half a mile but you know, no one walks anywhere's all highway...


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Are there actually people awake?

Well, internets, this is it. In 20 minutes, I'll be off to the airport. What's that Peter Paul and Mary song? Leaving, on a jet plane....but I do know--I'll be back Sunday noonish!

Since I asked her to not vacuum after 9pm my neighbor has stopped talking to me--so I'm leaving her a Thanksgiving card and some of my birthday flowers. I can't believe they're still good!

I may be able to blog at the beach--my dad just bought an Mac laptop.

Yawn...okay, gotta go!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Just because I feel I need to be positive to offset the last post....

So, it's that time again. I've added two new links to the right.

(Poppy is sure to remember when I posted and said they were on the left--I still use my left hand to make the L and "the other left" would be a common phrase in the SL household if I didn't live by myself, n'at.)

I added Katy and Sandy to my "church shoes" section. I hope they don't mind...since my blogroll is set up for me to navigate to my favorite blogs easily, that's where I put them, since they do go to church. Katy lives in Chicago, though.

Badger and Behind the Stove are smart to be in the B's, you see, as they are also blogs I visit too often.

I'd link this up n'at but this is the moment where if I don't get moving, I won't get a walk. And since tomorrow morning will be spent with those charming TSA guys, I think I'll catch yins later.

This is a public service announcement...

I hate stuff like this. But as women, we all have probably done this at one time or another and thought we were completely safe.

Have you ever gone on a walk (in Pittsburgh, we go to the Reservoir a lot) and put your purse in the trunk?

Well, here in Highland Park, there are guys that hide in the woods, waiting for you to do just that, and then they steal your purse. So far the police can't figure out how they got into the trunks, there are no signs of entry except, of course, that your purse is gone. The one woman who reported it to our neighborhood list serv didn't check her purse until she was in Monroeville (10 miles away) and at the mall, where she'd hoped to return some stuff. Instead, she found that thieves had racked up her credit cards on gas and groceries.

This stuff happens every day, but as we get closer to the holidays, it gets worse.

My dear internets, be safe!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pretty soon, you'll have to get by on the archives....

...cuz I got no clue if I'll have internet at the beach. So I probably won't be winning any "I finished NaBloPoMo successfully" awards. And frankly, I probably won't care.

But if I leave you with one thing (I'll post at least once tomorrow...) it's this book: I feel bad about my neck and other thoughts about being a woman. Nora Ephron is the writer of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. She is a funny lady. And while I sat on the sofa, emptying out purses and finding all kinds of crap, I also came across this book, which had been hiding in my second bag (you know I'm stressed when I'm carrying a purse AND a bag.) Ephron's second essay is about how she hates purses, because they inevitably become littered with loose change and tic tacs and tissues that look used even if they never have been.

If I didn't need to sleep tonight, or check the laundry's progress, or finish packing, I'd finish this book right now, in a huge bite. So instead I'll spend four minutes telling you to read it.

Oh, and take your Vitamin C. You don't want to have a cold for Thanksgiving. So far the zinc and staying on the sofa most of today probably means I'll be okay for the duration, but be careful out there! I can't afford to lose any of my good and faithful readers and lurkers to airborne germs.

Goodnight, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

(If they do, hit them with a shoe.)

This is what passes for a post...I think I'm getting a cold...

These are the rules. You bold everything you've done. I just through the NaBloPo randomizer found someone who added comments for each one she'd done. Which I thought was interesting, but I'm not going to do that. I might comment at the end.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk.
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe.
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

I think that was 44, if I counted correctly. I might take a few of these and use them as post topics. If you're interested in a particular one, comment and maybe I'll write about it! If I highlighted the number as opposed to the item, it means I did something similar or I know someone who did or I just want to remember it for some reason.

Off to do something about this burgeoning cold...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

If you don't want what you want, then you're not going to get it.


Went to the Sharp Edge after church. (Yes, you gotta love a church who considers a bar the best place to hang out afterwards.) At one end of the table, a guy was pouring his heart out to two other women about this girl he's not sure if he's interested in. "But what if I spend more time with her and she likes me but as I spend more time with her I become less interested? I don't want to hurt her."

I was not a part of this conversation but my advice would have been, "you'll never know until you try, and eventually if she's smart, she'll figure out when you're not into her."

You know, a date is a date. And it accomplishes something--you learn more about that person. And more, you learn how that person acts with you, something you will not get if you only spend time in group settings with that person--people tend to show different colors in the one on one situation. I think it's much kinder to go on a date and discover you have nothing in common and just don't go on more dates with that person!! than to "hang out" and create a false sense of security. It's cowardly, actually. Believe me, it hurts more.

And a lot women won't outright ask for a date. They may ask you to "hang out" but as far as a meal or a movie, they'll leave that to your department.

So, for all my male readers, (all three?) go for it. Just ask her out. Even if you have a disastrous first date and discover you have nothing in common, you will be able to move on. All this analyzing with your female friends will get you nowhere. Except that you'll order more beers.

I've been on a lot of first dates. And by the end of the evening, one or both of us realized there would probably not be a second one. Totally fine. If you want a second date, go for it. If not, move on. Believe me, you'll be happier in the end.

A good library is a place, a palace where the lofty spirits of all nations and generations meet.

(Samuel Niger)

There was no fanfare, no celebratory cards, but woo hoo, yesterday was the fourth anniversary of me working at my library!! Although I worked for Fox Books, the company, for seven years, it was one, one, three and three in three different locations. So for me, this is a milestone. I didn't even go to college in the same place for four years!

Our library is huge (we have about 100 employees, counting the folks that only work weekends and/or nights). We serve five municipalities and we are blessed at the moment with a decent budget. We definately have an upstairs/downstairs culture, since I have no reason to go upstairs unless to buy pop in the library store or browse through the stacks. (Circulation used to be upstairs but now it's downstairs since the renovation.) Upstairs is Adult Services, so that's 90% Librarians except for a few folks in the computer center that are Library Assistants. Downstairs is more of a mix: Children's, Circulation, Administration, and Tech Serv (i.e. the rest of us, a hodge podge of Clerks, Library Assistants, Librarians, and what have you.)

Librarians and support staff are 98% women (we have 3 men on full time staff, one man who works nights and weekends, and some teenage boy shelvers) and so I've learned how to work with women. It's different--the bookselling world at least in Pittsburgh was male dominated. In Virginia it was more balanced, probably due to the fact that the job market is completely different! (There are real jobs for smart men in Virginia. In Pittsburgh, well, we're working on it, I guess.) (Sorry, let me rephrase that: men who graduated with a liberal arts not engineering degree.)

It's cool, though. We have women in every stage of life. When I broke my tailbone last year, everyone had their own "I broke mine too" story. We have many cancer survivors. We have moms and grandmas and five single childless women. Divorcees, widows, we have it all! Two moms have kids with special needs and we even have one mom and daughter that both work at our library.

I've been to one funeral (for a co-worker's husband). The woman that held the position in Tech Serv that I now hold died right after I took the job, and recently there was a funeral for a woman who worked at the library over four years ago. A lot of folks went. I just missed working with her--she retired right before I started.

People change departments, job descriptions--at least two librarians started as clerks in Circulation. Two librarians that now work in adult services used to work in Children's. Hiring from within is definately part of our culture. When I was having problems two years ago and Gabrielle was leaving to spend more time with her kids, my boss boss and my boss in the Children's dept thought I might like splitting my job between Kid's and Tech Serv. Me, who had never taken a cataloguing class in Library School, except for the core class which is now called "Organizing Information." I don't have the heart of a cataloguer and the detail oriented-ness sometimes drives me up a wall, but I do alright. The fact that I was basically handed the job means the world to me. My boss in Tech Serv has a heart of gold. (She is not universally well liked by all as she is rather talkative in meetings and stands up for her beliefs, but we in Tech Serv stand by her.)

Most folks live in the vicinity and laugh that I drive a half hour to get to work. But I like my commute, it gives me a chance in the morning to prepare myself and in the evening to decompress. When gas prices skyrocketed a year or so ago, everyone teased that I'd need to find a place closer to work. So far (thankfully) it hasn't come to that. My mom, as an elementary teacher, talks about not going to the same swimming pool as her students, not seeing them in the grocery store. I like that separation of work and where I live. Besides, my church is here in the city, where I live. I like that it's less than a mile away and if I wasn't a white woman and my church didn't meet at night I'd probably walk to church. But this post is about my library, so I digress.

I have never felt about a place that "This is the place I could retire from" and for me, retirement will be in 25 years or more, but I feel that about this library. It's a place that I know will support and encourage me when I go back to school and if marriage and a family become a part of the mix, I know that I'll be able to work my schedule around those events too. Plus, I have a host of women to celebrate each moment along the way.

And next year, when it's five years, I'll get a special certificate and a pin at the Staff In-Service Day! Woo hoo!

(No, I won't tell you where I work. It's a library in the North Hills of Pittsburgh but it shall remain nameless for the sake of this blog.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Things we do around heah (new meme!)


  • especially Eat Cake, Dicey's Song, and Girl's Poker Night
  • Audio books in the car
  • Wendy's for lunch--ice tea, please!
  • Drive used cars
  • Buy cut flowers
  • Listen to a myriad of radio stations ranging from nostalgia to "variety" and including country
  • Church on Sunday evening
  • Morning walks
  • Taking lotsa digi pix
  • Staying in touch, whether by email, cell, or telephone. (In person trumps all these, though.)
  • Tea or coffee at Tazza
  • Cinnabons on occasion (for Miz S)
  • Movies in the theatre, reading all the credits.
  • Movies at home, again and again and again.
  • Friends, Sex and the City, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Crossing Jordan (once they bring out the new season...)
  • Sandcastle, at least once every summer
  • Ice Skating

Sarah Louise's Traveling Tips for Air Travel

Well, the first stop is of course a google search.

I have my quart size bags, but what to do with my contact solution...which is not packaged in a 3 oz. bottle.

A few things I found:

Article from the San Diego paper

TSA Blog--the fact that they have one tells me we are not in Kansas anymore, baby. There's a new catchphrase that has to do with security: 311:
  • 3 oz bottles
  • 1 quart size bag
  • 1 per passenger

An interesting website:, which offers free info and also sells toiletries with a free ziploc bag!

Hefty's website leads me to believe that quart size is not enough, the requirement is also zip-top.

More later....

"Well I guess if the van breaks down..."

(Michelle Trachtenburg, in Ice Princess)

Somehow, Miss "I never miss the credits" missed that the story was written by Meg Cabot aka Meggin Cabot, Chick-lit goddess. (It's because I don't read credits when I watch videos and I never saw this in the theatres.)

This is a silly chick flick but it makes me happy. I don't need to apologize for that, actually. I happen to be a silly chick.

The main elements: ice skating, two girls rebelling against their moms, Joan Cusack in a serious role, Kim Cattrall in a character role, and well, lots of ice skating. Oh, and a teeny tiny romance.

It's actually very feminist: Michelle's character wants to be an ice skater but her mom is opposed to it because it's a fantasy with girls wearing tiny costumes.

My favorite quote: "What's wrong with wanting to feel strong and graceful and beautiful for once in my life?" (Michelle Trachtenburg)

Kim Cattrall shines in this. It is such a crime that there are not more actual (as opposed to character) roles for women her age.

Well, the movie's about to end, and maybe I'll get a morning walk in. Have a great Saturday!

Update: I'm currently cataloguing a book called Zamboni: the Coolest Machines on Ice. My brother when he was 8 or 9 decreed that I would marry a Zamboni. Not the driver, mind you, but the machine itself. I think this is back when he was planning his own wedding at Pizza Hut.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What I should be doing right now... preparing for tomorrow's Mother Daughter Bk Club on Charlotte's Web.

But my brain seems to have slowed down to the opposite of warp speed.

It might have something to do with the fact that this week I have been going a little too fast. And doing a little too much. (Or, actually, a lot. Let's see: a birthday party, a poster session for a conference, a major order for the cd-rom collection, plus working extra hours to get things done...) Oh and emotionally: a fight with a friend, the reemergence of another one, and the spectre of getting ready to fly to the beach. (Oh, I'm sorry, have I been rubbing that in?)

So...Light Up Night happens every single year. So do bagpipes. What I need is a quiet evening AT HOME! (Although **update** I just got a call from a friend who might be interested in going...I'll keep you posted)

Of course, it helps that Home to Big Stone Gap has come in--I can sit on the sofa and read!!!

I love the cover, but I'm not sure who that's supposed to be...It looks like a girl with her hair up, wearing a blue coat over her wedding dress and white fur covered boots.

Oh, and here's the link to the Tribune-Review article about the dahntahn Fox Books closing. Here's the Post-Gazette editorial on the same theme.

53 minutes to FREEDOM!


So, I'm 99% sure that I'm going to Light Up Night. On my ride to work I chatted with Dana, a family friend, who has a gingerbread house in the gingerbread house competiton. It's a Victorian house with a turret and a two story porch.

Dana brought me up to speed on her family news and my family news (she and my cousin were best friends in high school) and her son Cameron made chatter in the background.

She has caller ID, so when she picked up the phone, she said, "Hey girlfriend" and Cameron said, "Who is it?"

I had a long walk today. I did not do the stairs. There is a house for sale by owner...I might call to see what they're asking...AFTER Thanksgiving.

Already I have way too much just in the next three days:
  • Tonight: Light Up Night
  • Tomorrow after work: catch up on homework for Beth Moore and Stewardship classes...
  • Sunday: either go to Stewardship class or go see bagpipes at Bab's church...
  • Monday: still don't know if my therapist has decided to work next week...

Plus, I have to pack for the BEACH (I have my quart size baggies--now I have to see what toiletriese are permissable for carrry-on for my flight from Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach.)

Oh, and I have to figure out if I'm going to have my mail held at the post office while I'm gone and whether I'm driving to the airport....

But did I mention, IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For lunch, I'm doing Chinese (it means I'll have Chinese for dinner). And I need to start pushing paper on the CD-ROM order now that I have made my selections...

Oh, and I saw a very fat cardinal just as I pulled into the parking lot. I almost missed it because it was the same color as the leaves on the bush. Oh, and I saw three blue jays on my walk.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

An Introverts guide to Exhaustion: or When it rains, it pours!

7:45 a.m. phone call from friend as she's driving to work. Get cut off for about ten minutes.

8:05 continued phone call. It doesn't go well. I tell her she's going to be late for work, and we hang up.

8:15 send a few emails, call dad. Refreshed and ready to face the world I prepare to...

9:15 go to grocery store. Agonize over Thanksgiving cards. Who sends these? I bought three. (I may be sending them? this year...) Oh, and I couldn't resist a magazine with Jennifer Aniston on the cover...

9:50 get home, phone rings, talk to different friend, in response to one of my emails.

10:00 cell phone rings. Put home phone down, it is Sally, wanting to know where she should park. It's not street cleaning, oh, yes, (looking at calendar) it is the 3rd Thursday...hang up cell phone.

10:01 hang up with first friend, rush down to move car.

10:05 (I had to parallel park!) Sally and I go inside.

Are you tired yet?

Fast forward: I run into guy from first floor, who wants his container back (he brought popcorn to the party Saturday). He also wants to talk, which I do not, as I have company upstairs! I discover that my landlord will be coming over soon, so I stress about the fact that the foyer still has some clutter, which landlord asked me to remove LAST week. Laundry and cleaning ensues while Sally helps me cope with my chaos.

noonish: Lunch with Sally at Chili's, where a friend from the OD is a waitress.

one-ish: Drive to work, where I work on the CD-ROM order. A few phone calls to my distributor and I discover that she DID send me a fax.

I go in search of fax, track it down where it had almost been entered as a bill even though it clearly says Quotation. (That involved two people--but it could have involved three, so I consider myself lucky.)

I call distributor back, explain that she needs to send the next fax with a cover letter. Yes, I know you circled quotation on the fax.

It is not yet 3 pm!!

Satisfied that I've done enough on the CD-ROM order, I go over to Tech Serv, where people haven't seen me for days so they want to know how went the poster session, and the party...

About 3:45 my cell phone rings. It's Marian! She needs a ride to the car shop to pick up her car. I announce that I have an errand and I'll be back in about 15 minutes.

At 4, I call the library and talk to Nan, saying I'm taking my dinner early and I'll be back at five.

Marian and I go to Wendy's for an early bird dinner.

Around 5, she and I enter the library and meet up with lots of people that haven't seen Marian in ages.

No, the day is not done yet!!!

From 5-9, I do myriad tasks, including bringing co-workers up to speed and being brought up to speed (my boss had to go out of town last weekend to take care of an ailing relative.)

At 9, I leave the library, sit in my car and call my parent's house. Nobody's home, well, except for the rodents, and they can't answer the phone. I leave a message.

I commence to drive home. At about Siebert Ave, I experience what I call the screaming mimis, which is when I just want to scratch someone's eyes out. After much agonizing, I call a friend who reminds me that eye scratching is not the best method of conflict resolution. She says she'll pray for me.

I cross the Allegheny River, finish my ride home, listening to Eric Clapton's 1999 album, Pilgrim.

At about 9:45, home at last. And now you're up to speed too.

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to Light Up Night. I love the fireworks and the whole Christmasness of it...I'll have to play it by ear, I think. Plus, I take the bus down--it's the one time I definately take the Martin Luther King Jr. Busway, which I adore. (Buses go really fast.)

Number of people talked to: At least 5 friends, 1 family member, many co-workers. (round it up to 15)
Number of topics: Myriad. Topics ranged from hair color to fax cover sheets to finding my umbrella (yes, it is still lost!).
Number of people I talked to more than once on the phone: Three.
Number of people I communicated with by more than one type of technology (phone, email, fax): At least 2
Number of people I communicated with by cell phone and then in person:Two.

Being at home, listening to the rain fall on the roof: Priceless!

Oh, and did I mention that our spam blocker at work is down again? So that I had to delete more than the usual "Hey, it's Pam, about the password" or "Meet Pittsburgh Singles!" I even had a few emails that were spam pretending to be from our Computer Administrator.

Happy Valentine's Day...

It is raining cats and dogs and "The girl from Impanema" is on the radio.

Yeah, there aren't really words. But just this: I'm learning more about my father than I am about friendship these days. And, that ain't bad.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both. --E.B. White

How I love the book Charlotte's Web. I had forgotten what a delight it was until I sat on the sofa this evening and polished it off.


So as I'm puzzling through this friendship thing (I wrote pages and pages yesterday as I sat in the class on mediation) I had to continue living my life.

It happens. (Life, I mean.)

And I sat in the hotel lobby and talked on my cell phone to my dad, who is my hero of friendship and mediation but probably wouldn't understand this situation at all because it's a girl thing. But then again, he would probably have a different outlook than the two women who have actually heard the details. Nope, I'm not repeating them here. The woman who didn't hear the details but just that I was very disappointed and hurt said that I should speak the truth in love and remember grace. And that I should stand in my friend's shoes for at least a minute. Then she said she'd pray for me and that I could call her before I call my friend to talk about what happened and that she'd pray while I was talking to my friend. Wow. I didn't know I had someone that would walk that mile with me.

Tonight, I'll come home, flop on the sofa and watch the first DVD on stewardship (I missed the first class.) The guy who does the DVDs is a bit eccentric but a good teacher. I think this might finally get me on how to manage my money, especially since Sally and I are going to use this opportunity to use the forms in the book to look at my money, which is why she started helping me on Thursdays to begin with--the original concept was a barter: I'd babysit for her so she and her husband could have a date, and she'd help me untangle my money. But then she came over one day and the bigger problem, the mess of my apartment was more immediate and so she helped me with that.

I think I have a few gold ones I didn't realize I had (make new friends...some are silver and the others gold).

Marian is still not working--if you're the praying kind, say a prayer for her. She's not responding to us reaching out and we kind of don't know what else to do. (And I, of all people, should understand the isolation of depression.)

Yesterday it was very interesting riding the bus back to the hotel (the Rachel Simon talk was at Heinz Field--y'know, where the Stillers play!!). You could tell which women (we're librarians--we're 95% women) understood Rachel's message and which women hadn't had a situation where they were faced with a disability in someone they loved.

Bipolar isn't labeled a disability, it's a disorder. And I pretty much function like anyone else. I have an exuberent loud laugh, I enjoy life, and sometimes I get deep into the pit of the muck of my life. On the surface, I'm fine. And yet, those that know me, know that my life is hard. Harder because I have to take meds four times a day. Harder because I need to see my therapist every week. Harder because I have to deal with these inner mood swings. Harder because when I see someone who is hurting, I want to help them so badly because I know what it's like.

Rachel talked about "curism" and how a lot of folks in the disabled world hated Christopher Reeves before his death because he was so hooked on getting a cure. (They didn't so much hate him after he died.) But how his relentless search for a cure--well, some of us know that we are better people for the broken places. We are more sensitive to others with disabilities or disorders. We understand the human condition just a little differently than someone who doesn't have a disability or disorder. If someone could cure me of bipolar disorder, I'm not sure I'd take that cure. I have developed a social network because I am one of those lucky people that need people. When I hit my hard roads when the future is bleak, I have to look at my life and see where the patchwork has unravelled. I don't know that I would work that hard at my life if I didn't have the mood swings to manage. Rachel shared a wonderful phrase that I'll share with you: she is a woman who happens to if it was one of a myriad of qualities. Which it is. I am a woman who happens to love pink. I am a woman who happens to love country music. I am a woman who happens to love the city of Pittsburgh. I am also a woman who happens to have bipolar disorder.

Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms

(Rascal Flatts, God Bless the Broken Road)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sarah Louise Goes Dahntahn, Part 1

Oh my goodness! I left my house at 9 am and I only just now got home. ACK! and I have nothing for breakfast in the house...

The poster session went great. Even though I dislike the word cute, I have to agree that that it is the key word for the SAS (Stuffed Animal Sleepover) so I just agreed cheerfully as each AND EVERY person said, what a cute idea!

I think it was one of the pinacles of my professional career. I even wore lipstick, and foundation, and blush and mascara today. And matching shoes with matching stockings (both black).

THEN this evening, I got to go hear Rachel Simon speak on her book Riding the bus with my sister, which you all must have to go read, NOW. (Well, I guess it can wait til morning.) More on that when I have more than one brain cell to rub together...

Let's see, I went to the dahntahn Fox Books, which is closing on Dec 30. I got to see Matt, Joe, and Gary. How bittersweet to see them--just as they are a little more than a month from losing the store...I wandered around the store and there are so many memories...

Oh, and I got to ride public transit, one of my favorite things!! Traveling while reading--how I love mass transit! (Yes, still Little Earthquakes...loving it!)

Well, I'd be more poetic n'at but I have to get up in the morning and do Mother Goose back to back tomorrow which means I gotta go to bed, like NOW. Exhaustion, thy name is Sary Lou.

So...part of what yesterday's cryptic post was about is a friend and something that happened that could really jeopardize our continuing to be friends. So I have to talk to her later this week. Since y'all were so kind in wishing me luck on the poster session, wish me luck as I muddle throught this one. UGH. Luckily, the session I attended this morning was on mediation and active listening and having difficult conversations, either with strangers, co-workers, etc.

How's that go? When the student is ready, the teacher appears?

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (oh sorry. I'll wait to sleep until after I hit publish!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Skate at your own risk

I have lost friends, some by death...others by the sheer inability to cross the street.

--Virginia Woolf

Grateful am I to those that do cross the street to embrace me. Grateful am I to those that let me shower them with moments and flowers and time. There are many strong women in my life. May I be able to grow stronger too.

In other news, I have the new audio for the new Adriana Trigliani book, At Home in Stone Gap. It is wonderful, but only on CD, so I can't listen to it in the car. (DRAT!)

Wish me luck--tomorrow is the library conference and the poster session on the Stuffed Animal Sleepover.

Handle me with care

Been beat up and battered 'round
Been sent up, and I've been shot down
You're the best thing that I've ever found
Handle me with care

(lyrics by Roy Orbison, sung by an 80s band, the Travelling Willburys)'s this whole NaBloPoMo thing. Badger's been doing lyrics, I've been procrastinating on adding the do-hickey to my blog (I know how to do it, it's just not my favorite thing to mess with, I'd rather write.) I've been getting some new visitors and new commenters (YAY for de-lurking!) and so last night I tried the NaBloPoMo randomizer. I found five blogs I'll probably return to, and I've found a new favorite blog because it has this amazing soundtrack. The Turning Point, written by Carol (another Pittsburgher) has this amazing thing where you can listen to music. I haven't figured the technical part yet (see above) but I'm listening right now.

So this is a hodge podge post as I wait for my coffee call from Babs. (Coffee, yay!)

Yesterday I mentioned the Paul McCarthy/Wings/Beatles joke. I guess my version would be, oh yeah, I loved Tom Petty's work in the TW. That's when you get blank stares from the eighties babies who know ALL about the Talking Heads and think they're SO into music. (Yes, I'm referring to my baby brother here. Although he might know of the TW's cause he IS that hip.) I mean, I was never into what is that band, the one that sings the Rhapsody song...wait for it...Queen! But my sibs (both born in 1982) are so into Queen and my cousin and I (late 60s and early 70s, respectively born) are like, we were never into them. Well, we were like YOUNG when they were in their hey-dey that's why.

Oh yeah, this is so hodge podge but hey, you'll get that.

So back to Carol. One of the songs on her playlist is Trisha Yearwood's "I would have loved you anyways" which is very much like Garth Brooks' song "The Dance," basically, even though we broke each other's heart, it was worth it. And as a woman who has broken and been broken, I wonder about this. Would I? And am I stupid enough to do it again?

I'm listening to the audio version of Good to Great. Jim Collins is my hero. And one of the things he talks about is how if a company has their ducks in a row (he calls them Hedgehog Concepts) they will ruin themselves from indigestion of good ideas rather than die of starvation. He repeats it. A great company will kill itself from indigestion of good ideas rather than die of starvation. I need to get a paper copy of this book so that I can ACTUALLY quote the guy. So I've thought about this, and how many good ideas are in my life and what would happen if I pursued them all. I would go crazy, that's what!

There is this one idea, though, that is just so tempting...I keep it in the closet of my mind, like a pretty dress that you take out every once in a while--if only you had a place to wear it. But it's too fancy for work, or coffee, or your life. But it was too pretty to leave at the store. I try to justify this idea and I can't reconcile it. I discuss it with friends and they can't justify it either. But it's such a pretty dress, so I put it back in the closet and wait for the right time to bring it out, may that day come.

(Actually, now that I've put it down on paper I see that there are at least three ideas like this in my mind right now, which makes me feel better. And it makes me so glad that I don't have to make any decisions today.)

I'm really digging Carol's playlist. Leonard Cohen is singing "Suzanne" right now and in the time that it took me to find that link now it's Bob Dylan. My brother saw BD in concert recently and said it was the best concert he'd been to. Or the best concert he'd been to in a while? Anyways, he liked it. And to boot, he ran into a girl he went to college with.

Pause...the music stopped, now it is...the Allman Brothers.

And that, dear friends, is not the music, but the tinkling of my cell phone, so I must bid you adieu!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. (updated)

(Daphne du Maurier)

Last night I dreamed of death. Our library was doing a program with a woman who was dying. It bothered me greatly and I was reading her book. (It's a dream, I can't really explain it more than that.) I dreamed that my boss was related to Bobby Kennedy and he and his kids visited us and then they went on a plane that blew up. So then our library was writing a memoir for each child (he had eleven.)

So...luckily, Paula informed me a while back that dreams about death are about change, not about death. Phew!

I also dreamed about refridgerators, and going to night school, riding the bus...

I had two beers last night and some root beer and some lovely sodas from Trader Joes. (YES, we have one in Pittsburgh now.) One of my guests brought hard lemonade and Smirnoff, which was all gone by the end of the evening. I didn't try any of the sparkling apple cider, but my guests enjoyed it as it is now gone. My next to last (or my last?) guest to arrive brought me a bottle of wine. And three folks brought me flowers. Kristin brought a vase (which I normally pronounce as if it rhymes with case, but in this instance, as it is all kinds of gorgeous, it has the ahhh in the middle and rhymes with Roz.) Brie, jelly beans, mango chicken, ice cream, cake were all eaten. I have pictures which I'll post later. Other bloggers present included Eileen, with hubby, Pat and John!

I was sad to see my last guests go, but tired enough to not coax them to stay just a little bit longer. Em stayed and cleaned up and washed my dishes (though as is the case with any good party, I found a plate and a bowl this morning that had been hiding.)

And no one made an issue of my age. Tuesday, working the polls, I lamented that I didn't really want to broadcast my age, as I'm pretty sure I was the oldest person I invited (I think Katie's boyfriend is actually older, but I didn't directly invite him.) (But so glad he came!) Where did that thought go? Oh, and Jerome said, but these are your friends, isn't honesty a cornerstone of friendship? And I did the whole bit about how most of my friends are either 5-10 years younger or 5-10 years older and I don't think most people realize I'm about to be 35. It's like having that conversation (this was a joke when I was a girl) at a date about Paul McCarthy and the other person says "Paul McCarthy was in another band before the Wings?" Now, the joke would be, Paul McCartney was in a band called the Wings? I don't care how old or young my friends are! But I don't like having that part of the conversation where a person tells me they were three when I was in seventh grade. (Yes, I've been in this conversation.)

As I was preparing for my party and I called Sally (not the one I went to the urban craft sale with) and told her I'd just washed four loads of dishes and that I needed to get ice and a cake and beer and she said, can't you call someone and ask them to pick those things up?

And here's the thing. The folks I invited to my party...are pre-friends. [Or, as in the song, make new friends, keep the old, some are silver, others gold--these are silver ones.] We're still in the "getting to know you phase" (even though I've known some of them for five years) and I invited them because I want them to be closer friends. So I didn't feel comfortable calling anyone and saying, can you pick up a cake? Can you pick up some ice? So I called Em, who had said, call me if you need anything. And when I reached her, she was having a DAY. So I got in the car, got the ice, the cake, the ice cream, and the beer. (Did I mention it was raining and I couldn't find my umbrella?)

After I'd bought these, Em called, as I was bringing the beer from the trunk (I got a box of beer bottles--it was my first time buying beer at the distributor--a new milestone!) and said, "Isn't the weather crappy?" and I dropped the beer. Yes, you read that right, I bought a box of beer bottles. The sidewalk got a nice drink and I rescued the bottles that didn't break (I think only four or five did) from the sidewalk broken box as the rain came down.

But I had fun. When Em finally arrived, she said, is there anything else that needs to happen and I said, a lobotomy? because at the point when she arrived I'd just been cramming every last thing that was out into a drawer, or a closet and I was going loony!

Then her cell phone rang and I thought, I just want my mommy and she wasn't home and the other person I call when I have a crisis IS Em, so I wanted to cry. But Em was tidying whilst she talked to her friend about her horrific day so I just chilled. I think I might have poured myself a drink of water at that point. Oh, I know, I made a quick microwave quesadilla (two slices of cheese and two tortillas for about a minute) just in case no one brought dinner food. And the first guest was Kristin, who arrived promptly at seven.

Okay, I have to go eat some breakfast--I'm joining Sally at Sunday School at Bellefield--it's a class on stewardship (read=how to be good with your money).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

An East End Experience...

Sally (the one who used to live downstairs from me, not the one who has been helping me clean ze apartment) and I have established a new "birthday" tradition. She started it. In August, on her birthday, we had lunch on Ellesworth at the Elbow Room and then window shopped in all the cute shops there. The shops are gallery-like and though the prices are out of our range, the items there are tons of fun to just look at.

So for my birthday, since she couldn't come to the party (her husband runs a games night every month and it just so happens tonight is that night) she and I made a "girl date." We went to the Handmade Arcade which has been running for three years now--it's an urban craft show. So, imagine the craft shows you go to with grannies and tea cozies and then put it in a warehouse in Pittsburgh, with young (cute!) men and women as the vendors, selling everything handmade from greeting cards, bracelets, skeins of yarn, was wonderfully exhausting.

I also ran into some people I knew, which is always fun. I ran into a guy I haven't seen in probably nine years, who worked at Fox Books in Squirrel Hill in the back room. I almost didn't recognize him. It was fun catching up. He was able to fill me in on where some folks we used to work with are these days.

To complete the East End experience, we went to the co-op for lunch, which was perfect, as it was buffet (I was at that point STARVING) and salad bar-ish, good for Sally as she is one of those unusual food needs types. Sally is I guess now my oldest friend. I told her my memory of eating lunch at the co-op almost ten years ago, when I was crushing on a French Horn player who later moved to Texas.

It was all kinds of fun, and I am beat! So I'm spending the rest of this rainy day (how nice to be at home on one of those) puttering around the garret. Right now the next task is the mountain of dishes.

We both agreed that the experience was so...Pittsburgh. An urban craft fair, at Construction Junction. Exactly why we both love living in the city so much.

A Hello Kitty hat--I couldn't resist.

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's 10:50, do you know where your brains are?

Okay, you know I RARELY if ever mention Britney on this blog, but this headline had me cackling: Britney's First Husband Calls Kevin an Idiot. First husband? Y'mean the one she was married to for 2 days?

Oh, and at the grocery store...Did Katie Couric get fired? And aren't the Witherspoon-Phillips getting mudslingy? The cover of one magazine: Reese, my story. The cover of some other magazine: Ryan, my story. Egads. Can we go back to worrying about Tom Cruise's baby and whether or not Jen and Vince are engaged, PLEASE????

In order so's to not have to TOUCH the poster until Monday, I stayed at work until the library closed at nine. (I had dinner at Taco Bell around 6:45, continuing to read Little Earthquakes, which I quite like.) I still wanted to clock certain people on sight, but I was able to control these impulses and drive safely to Walgreens in East Lib to purchase contact solution and lots of pop for ze part-ay!

Oh, also at Walgreens, I bought quart size bags (dude--you gotta have them if you're going to fly!) and orange nail polish that I'm pretty sure matches these lovely shoes....

Fun, no? I can't wait for summer (and you almost never hear ME say that!)

party central update--the vinyl is spinning...

The sound is not the best, but I can play records...

(yes, I'm home, remember I had to drive home for the pills?)

Okay, gotta eat ze lunch and motor back to the No. Hills....

NaBloPoMo...all the coolest bloggers are doin' it!

So what is NaBlo...

It's this cool thing that's getting me visitors from all over, that's what! Basically, instead of writing a novel in November (that's NaWriMo) we are all saying we will either post every day or de-lurk every day. How's that de-lurking workin for you? Well, I have had three new folks this week, so I can't really complain (but I'd love to, because I'm in a choice mood...)

Since I already have 401 posts for 2006 and there are only 365 days in the year, it's pretty obvious that I didn't need this to keep me blogging. But I do feel a little more responsible, esp. since this has been the BUSIEST week ever!!

I'll try to post the NaBloPoMo participant thing-y later, when I'm at home. Yes, I'm blogging on library time, but I'm watching the desk at the moment and the most strenuous question I had so far was, "Can you confirm that this is the #4 Harry Potter book?" which I did.

Procrastinating? You betcha!

Let's see, do I want to procrastinate searching for reviews for CD-ROMs or do I want to procrastinate prepping for the poster session at PALA (Pennsylvania Library Association Conference) on Tuesday? Neither. I just want to be. For one minute, if that is possible.

I woke up in time to have a lovely walk, I ran into a woman that I haven't seen in person for at least a year, but who has networked me to find my writing coach for when I prep for the Carlow M.F.A application. Belinda is a great gal who has a business helping businesses with their writing and she used to go to Bellefield. Her daughter is now 12! Which is amazing, since I remember knowing her before she had a child!!

But then I got stuck in the foyer cleaning up the mess of mail and then it was 9 when my lovely Mary Kay consultant was due to bring my stuff. So I ran upstairs, changed my shirt and shoes, and proceeded to wash my face and yes, apply foundation and powder! Jordan showed up at 9:20 because she had forgotten which block I lived on and I gave her a hug and showed her the rejected photos. But in the chaos of her being late, I forgot to pack my pills and give her the box of Rena Tarbet tapes (VHS and audio). Which means I'll
a) have to drive home for lunch (30 min each way, yum) and
b) contact Jordan to get the box of tapes to her. I do NOT want to take the box back to the basement, as my landlord suggested yesterday when he said the foyer is getting junky again.

(lalalala, I can't hear you!!!)

Last night instead of taking a half hour lunch (linner, since it was 5:30 pm) I took about an hour or more because I detoured--I dropped off stuff at Goodwill and then went in. I know. It's counterintuitive but I was so stressed I NEEDED some retail therapy. I got the best orange sandals which I'll photograph and show you later, lovely internets. They are SO CUTE!

I mean, I am like Oscar Junior--I want to bite EVERYONE's head off. I feel like I'm in this vice and I can't get out. Yuk. Maybe actually starting some work instead of procrastinating will help. One hopes.

Later, dudes and dudettes (I know, so five years ago!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In which Sarah Louise figures out one more thing on Blogger... to have my yahoo! email on my profile not my gmail account. I rarely read my gmail accounts (I now have two.) So ALWAYS if you want me to read it (and I check email pretty regularly as I work on them all day) make sure the address is a yahoo! one!


(btw, this was not an intuitive thing to fix.)

This, on the day when my work email gave me a message on Monday, Tuesday and today saying "Your email is closed." And I had three people: my immediate boss (wrote a note), my boss boss (library director, stopped by to tell me), and my district representative (called me on the phone) tell me my email was closed. Thanks, I knew that, and am working on it right now. Oh, internets, I need food. Otherwise I may bite someone's head off!!

My hissy fit is over now...

Thanks guys. Actually it's those 363 readers that lurk every week that I was mad at. Whatever. Although I've had at least two nice de-lurks this week--grace and gratefulness are clearly things I need to work on...

Also, now that I have a gmail account for my blog different from my gmail account for work list servs, today I found 3 emails--ack! So if you want to email me, don't just randomly click. Go to my profile where my YAHOO! mail address is listed. (Sorry V, I didn't get those emails from October!) Update: crap, my profile email is the gmail--I'll fiddle with that later--egads!!

And my apartment now has places for folks to sit and put down their drinks. The closets will be full with doors closed and the bathtub might have a few items (Sally said, no one will be looking in your bathtub--well, unless they read it here...)

All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well (Dame Julian of Norwich)

Oh, and Sally (another one--I collect them, remember?) and I are going to the Handmade Arcade Saturday since I'm not working on a Saturday, woo hoo!!

Buh-bye, gotta go sit in a CYAS meeting (that would be Children and Young Adult Services...)

Yer pal, SL