Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Show and tell: Bumper Stickers!

Thursday's assignment: a picture of a bumper sticker. Or more than one. See you then!

God in every portion of my life...

True confessions?

I am addicted to email. I crave comments. I often will come to the computer first in the morning.
I am trying to break that. This morning I read from God Calling, which is a unique devotional. Two women in England worked together to hear God's will and from it came this devotional. From the Introduction, written by Two Listeners (who choose to remain anonymous), "To this day, I cannot get guidance in this way alone. But with my friend a very wonderful thing happened. From the first, beautiful messages were given to her by our Lord Himself, and every day from then, these messages have never failed us."

Now, I have another admission. I thought today was January 29. So I read that passage, where it says "Never fear, whatever may happen. You are both being led. Do not try to plan. I have planned. You are the builder, not the Architect. (it continues on...) All is well."

Then I spent some time in the Psalms and in Acts, then back to Psalms, where I found a post-it I had written myself on December 4th of last year. And since I have a few minutes, I want to share with you something I have seen happen in my life, in hopes that it might help you too.

The post-it urged me to write in my blog about what I call "ex-boyfriend days." I have in my life had at least three of them. Days where I had to face the boogeyman and I felt I couldn't bear it but I did. I have not always been wise in relationships, but I have relied on the little wisdom I could, and guidance from God.

The most vivid time in my remembrance was about this time of year, many years ago. At the time, I worked at Fox Books, and a man I had dated previously came into the store with his father. I was shook up, understandably, because I had no desire for this man to be in my life again. I went back to the break room for my break and a friend and co-worker was eating a piece of banana cream pie. He could see I was shook up and though I don't remember what I told him regarding my being shook up, he offered me a bite of his banana cream pie. I remember that act of kindness more than all the other things this man did before and after to woo me, as we did eventually become a couple, for the course of a year. It was a relationship that taught me many things and broke me, too.

As a result of that break-up (from the man with the banana cream pie) I went into a dark time. It was the spring I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I couldn't eat, sleep, work--because I had wanted for months to break up with this man, as I felt our purposes were opposite. He did not want to be a Christian, nor was he, and that tore me up. But he wouldn't let me break up with him. So we stumbled, for months, and I got worse. Finally, he broke up with me because "I had changed." So in the darkest hour, when I needed someone most, he let me go. I was devastated and angry, because I had been trying to break up with HIM, and now he was claiming what I thought had been rightfully mine, the choice of whether or not to be in this relationship.

The depression turned out to be the beginning of my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. My parents took me back to Virginia temporarily and then quasi-permanently. I stayed in Virginia for three years. I know that those years, trying as they were, saved the precarious relationship I had with my parents.

I say it flippantly, because I've passed that, but I had felt in my life that they had abandoned me. This is the phrase I can now say with a smile, jokingly, "When I graduated from high school, I moved to Pittsburgh, and my parents moved to Poland. When I graduated from college, I moved back to Pittsburgh, and my parents moved to Brazil. When I went to graduate school, I moved to Pittsburgh. When I graduated, I wondered if they would move again. Instead, they took me to Canada." I have loved Niagara Falls ever since, though I've only been once. It was the happy ending--I could graduate from somewhere and it didn't mean my parents were going to be in a different time zone, thousands of miles away.

But that is another story. Back to Mr. Banana Cream Pie. Almost three years later, after I had been in Virginia a while, and working happily again at Fox Books, he walked into my store. With his wife. I knew he was married. I saw him and I knew it was him. I could have let him walk away. But I felt that I had to face this fear. He had no way of knowing that I would be there. And I trembled. But I knew that this was a chance for me to show courage.

A friend and co-worker happened to be working the cash registers the day that I saw Ted and his wife. I'd had a crush on him for a long time, and it seemed mutual. I felt that he was safe. His presence, knowing that he might never know his presence gave me courage, gave me courage. I said to W, I need to go say hello to someone. I walked over to the Starbucks where Ted stood in line with his wife. We had often addressed each other by last name when we dated, flippantly, so I addressed him this way. "Mr. Cook?" He was so surprised that he used that voice that he only used when he was very surprised and trying to cover up. It was a fake deep voice. I met his wife, wished them both well, and trembling, went back to the cash registers where W was oblivious. But his presence had given me courage to face my boogeyman. For that I am forever grateful. Months later, we started dating, and it didn't work out, as I moved back to Pittsburgh for grad school. We tried the long distance thing, but the truth was I wanted him to be a Christian and he wanted me to live in Virginia.

I haven't dated since. I haven't met anyone who was willing to risk. Who made me laugh. Who, yes, shared my faith, as I did become convicted that that was a clear need in someone I date.

Relationships are hard. They hurt. People are not perfect. I have often idealized my "Prince Charming" only to realize he had feet of clay. But I want him, clay feet and all. Because I know that two are better than one. And that a cord of three strands (an analogy often used in weddings, to signify the couple's relationship with God as the third cord) is strongest.

As I come into this next February of my life, I wonder at the risks I might take. Are they worth it? And are they MY plan, or my Architect's?

I know only this: All is well. All shall be well. All manner of things shall be well, no matter what. My creator said so.

Monday, January 29, 2007

My dad, newspaper reader and general information source...

...cracks me up.

I had to search for an article he recommended to me, because he thought it might be too tacky to email it to his two single daughters. It's from the New York Times Books section, on how text messaging, emails, and blogs have changed dating. (I won't link it because then this post might get linked back to the article--gotta love the Internet.) But you can search it--the title is below. It was in today's paper.

My dad (actually both of my parents) are so careful to not express their desire for us girls (and our brother) to find mates. My mother reprimanded my dad the day he casually mentioned I could get married at the National Cathedral (where he is a tour guide). It's a moot point, as I would only want to get married at Bellefield, since I consider it my home church, but the mere suggestion was out of character for my dad who goes out of his way to not suggest that I might want to find a man.

So the only way I found out about this article was through a conversation he and I had about dating, a topic I brought up. (It is February, after all.) My dad and I also discussed third world debt and the scientist/doctor who revolutionized treatment for ALD (if you've ever seen Lorenzo's Oil, he's the aloof doctor). Hugo Moser died a few days ago. He was actually a good guy but let Hollywood demonize him (and give him a pseudonym) if that would make people outraged and interested in the ALD movement. My dad and I often have conversations like this, where the main thread is all of the articles he's read and/or emailed to me. Right now I have him on a research trip to find out more about third world debt and debt forgiveness. I'm saving up for a post on that topic--you there, in the back row, tell me that wasn't a stifled yawn...

The article, called "Mars and Venus, Coping with the 21st Century" reviews two books, one of which is called...wait for it...


and talks about how long you should wait for a return text message, email message, and that in the interest of not having what you've said via email displayed on someone's blog, you should be careful to not be too provocative. Yikes! What happened to passing notes in class? When I wrote a "I have a crush on you" note to Jason in 10th grade, his friends read it too, (HUMILIATION galore) but it didn't get forwarded through email or posted on the Internet. I might add that you won't likely find me posting any information about my own endeavors in that venue. I feel that the past is the past and so I do feel at liberty to share some details, changing the names, etc. etc. But neither my social life nor any gossipy tidbits are the subject of this blog. (As the creator, I can change those rules, but that is the current modus operandi.) I may be Sarah Louise to you, but there are many who read this that know who I am in "the real world" and I choose to keep some things unsaid.

Though I am dying for some advice right now. I feel a little bit like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail," being so careful to not talk about particulars or specifics.

*******
I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So goodnight, dear void
.

(Nora and Delia Ephron, from You've Got Mail.)

Real book titles and bizarre Dewey Decimal Numbers...

Knitting with balls : a hands-on guide to knitting for the modern man. Cover description reads: "Witty, modern approach to men's knitting, whether you are a seasoned knitter or a new recuit. It's the perfect guide for the female yarn addict in search of a cool gift for her guy, or for members of the growing band of male knitters."

646.3087 Clothing for gifted persons

659.136 Advertising by electric signs

*********

In the meantime, I'm on the sofa. Twister is in the VCR. And I finally got my copy of Ankeny Briefcase!!

mtc (more to come, borrowed from kim and/or bec)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Open Letters

Dear Madison Avenue (and all the advertisers you represent):

I am so sick of hearing about debt-loss, weight-loss, and online dating. Give it a rest. Stop telling us about new cars as we contemplate how to get over our addiction to foreign oil. Stop telling us about how diamonds will make our relationships mean more. Do you think the gaining diamonds and new cars might have something to do with why there are so many commercials for debt-loss and online dating?? Please, we want a great taste test campaign, which is better, Coke or Pepsi (while Pepsi wins on taste tests, Coke wins in the long run!!), or a "Where's the Beef" campaign like Wendy's ran in the mid-eighties. Give us something to laugh about. We'll return the favor by drinking Cokes and going to Wendy's.

Yours,

Sarah Louise

Dear the rest of the world:

Don't tell Madison Ave that I don't need commercials for Coke or Wendy's, since I buy their stuff anyways.

Yours,

Sarah Louise

Dear man at the party the other night:

No, I do not want to date an a--hole or a bastard without guts. I don't think those are my only choices. I think there is another alternative and while he seems to be an endangered species in the wild, I have met the married version: a godly man who balances confidence with humility. I will give you this: when you're dating a jerk, you know he likes you, because he generally treats all other people like crap. When you date and/or are scoping out a nice guy, you have to figure out if he likes you because he's nice to everyone. So while I prefer nice guys, there is less confusion on that particular issue if he's a jerk.

Yours,

Sarah Louise

To the women of the Open Door,

You missed an amazing day at the Women's Gathering. What, honestly, (besides a babysitting job with twin four year olds) was more important than hanging out, chilling with your chicks, hearing someone talk honestly about being a woman, not wanting to lead, but doing it anyways. Hello, I took a vacation day. Katrina took a vacation day. Honeys, I hoard those like GOLD. I will not not work on a Saturday unless it is for GOLD. This was gold, much fine gold, and honey on the comb.

I laughed a lot. If anything, you missed hearing me laugh, all morning. You missed amazing worship. And the food--for $20 bucks, I got all that teaching, hanging out, plus breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea. (Have you been to a restaurant lately? You can drop $20 easily on just drinks and tapas!) The chicken salad was amazing. Bellefield's basement wasn't Mrs. K's, but the company of women made up for that. As women, we need these role models. We need to have the conversations about milk vs. meat. We need to talk about how Sex and the City offers a great example of comraderie with women but a poor example about how to live a dating life. We need to have those conversations where we talk about what our gifts are and how we think they aren't important and have someone say, yes, yes they are. We need all those hugs. We are a young church, ladies, and we need the wisdom of women that have grandchildren. Um, you ain't gonna get that at the Open Door, at least not yet. You missed out, and I mourn that decision of yours.

However, I had a blast. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. I sang out, I searched my soul, I encouraged friends, I met new people. I learned how to talk like a Southerner:
  • "Scared as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs."
I learned that the antithesis of the Proverbs 31 woman is the Proverbs 7 woman. And I was reminded that the Proverbs 31 woman was imagined up by a MOTHER, giving advice to her son on what to look for in a wife. So of course she's perfect!! (Yins with MIL's can talk about that one amongst yourselves...)

I learned that if Jesus says "Go fishing" you should bring tartar sauce, because there's gonna be a feast. And we laughed over a carpenter giving advice to a fisherman, that the paraphrase of vs. 5 was "Man, you are a carpenter and I am a fisherman, I know all about fish and there is nothing there to catch, but if you say so..."

I learned that a great follower is a leader who hasn't accepted the promotion.

I heard poetry, which I'll share with you:
  • "allow poetry to slip in the back door." (William Stafford)
  • "He moves your bones and the way is clear." (Wendell Berry)
  • and one by Kathleen Norris that I didn't write down...
I learned that all women are alike in this: we worry about our hearts and our friends. We get lonely and we get loved. We own lots of shoes. And I re-learned this one: women go to the bathroom together. If you thought going to relieve your bladder was going to give you one second alone, that one second was going down the back stairway. I shed tears. And I remembered, as my tears hit the bathroom floor, that God keeps each one in a bottle.

I re-learned that in Pittsburgh, it's not six degrees of separation, it's one, or 1/2. ("I know your church has 2000 members, but do you know so and so?" "Oh yes!")

And then I re-learned something about myself: if I'm with friends, I can stay out late. (Yes, little miss introvert, after a day with 200 women and some time at home deciding WHAT to wear for a birthday party, went out for tapas at 8 pm and stayed until 11 pm, when she went to the Sharp Edge for a Mystery Brew and some Mediterranean Nachos. We stayed there until 12:20, A.M.!)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Let's break it down, Old Testament style...

This is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Well, the Chron-what-cles of Narnia is pretty funny too...Off to spend my day with possibly 200 women. This is a good way to start it, what do you think?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

And a plate of pommes frites is all I need...

All the way home, in the snow blowing down 279, my tires coated in snow, I had one thought. It was a negative one. How easily we get stuck on that broken record groove.

My dad has a huge record collection. I have never actually seen "My Fair Lady" all the way through, but my favorite part on my dad's record is the song "A Patient Man am I" because the record skips and the guy keeps singing "A patient man am I, A patient man am I," as if repeating it makes it so.

Which it doesn't. Repetition, I mean. The negative thought that I had on the way home may or may not be true. But whether or not it is, it needs not flood my mind as I drive home in the dark, snow billowing around.

I have been struggling with this blog lately. I got rid of the site meter (it was making me crazy!!) and/but now I have no clue how many people and which ones are reading unless they comment. (Or walk up to me at my library and tell me so...) (Thanks!!)

I have been struggling at how private/public to be. There are some things I'd rather share with people in person than via this blog...I don't want this to be a substitute for getting to know me, or that me reading other people's blogs becomes a substitute for getting to know them. Of course, blogging isn't all about becoming friends--that can backfire too.

I have to build boundaries around my life. I want to keep my life fresh, unmarred...and yet, I am broken. I am banged up. We all are, just some of us are more prone to admit it. Sometimes I can't keep it in--I will explode. And this year, with the loss of three close friends, I feel a void of people to share my life with. And yet, this week, I have had many chances on and off line, in person and by email, by cell and regular phone to connect--and I thank you all for that. When I called my mom tonight to let her know I got home safely, I said, it's sometimes so hard to focus on what's good when you have that one negative thought. Wisely, she didn't ask what the thought was, and wisely, I didn't blurt it out. We focused on the good. She told me about this new technology at her school--she was so excited about it (I smile as I write this--my mother is such an amazing person and though I will be glad when she retires, I am grateful that she loves teaching so much--she is so good at it.)

I don't know what else to say, except thanks, to a few people who have made this week worthwhile. I bet you know who you are. And please, let's keep in touch. It's a rough world out there.

I guess I'll also say this: if I'm not reaching out to you, it's because I'm protecting myself in the only way I know how. This blog is anonymous for many reasons, but one of them is that it protects the breathing, heart-beating person that lives in the third floor garret. Maybe you are protecting yourself the only way you know how to as well. Only time will tell.

And this too: tears (the kind you cry) and tears (the kind that's ripped) sometimes make us stronger. I am not afraid of mourning this loss, if it is one, but I am not against stitching up the brokenness, either.

And if you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, that's okay too. Sometimes I just want to be a mysterious woman...who needs to defrost her refrigerator.

In other news, I got a letter from Lorelei today. All is well in the world. (Even if it isn't.)

My mood improves, and laughter ensues at Blackbirds blog...

I know I'm feeling better when I can look out at the snow and say, Oh look it's snowing and the inflection is not of dread. It was more like, oooh, look, snow! What a novelty! What cute white stuff...mayhap I'll even take a walk in it...(we'll see...)

Anyways, as my morning blog habits go, I visited Badger, Babs&Gina, DaysGoBy, and blackbird. blackbird has this fascination with all things Japanese and sometimes the mirth, it just overflows.

You look at the details.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Show and Tell: a drink

See two posts down: the one of the hot chocolate is my s&t for the week! Enjoy!

I might start a secondary blog...

To talk about the Pgh transit crisis.

Here's a link from Progress Pittsburgh.

I'll keep yinz posted.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

FYI

The pictures post (below) is my S&T for this week, so feel free to post yours when you like, attaching coments to it.

I'll probably be posting less in the next little bit. I wish I could say because I'm going to Africa, like my friend Nan and fellow blogger Adrian. I wish I could say, well, we're going to Florida, like MsCell.

Meanwhile, I urge you all to read Eat Cake. (Apparently many of you have read it at my suggestion, but have you ALL read it?)

Some pictures...

My life is awash in ponytail holders. I like the pretty colors... (my car, Melody)

Hot Chocolate at Tazza. I couldn't help but notice how the swirls in my drink looked like the cover of my notebook.

The writing (far right, you can read 1998 and -ark) is my written testimony at the bus hearing yesterday.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Who should you root for? Superbowl XLI tips

Okay, so your team didn't make the cut. Here's a quiz that will help you decide who to root for.

I'm fairly football illiterate, but here's why I'm glad I'm supporting the Bears:

  • The Colts left Baltimore in the middle of the night to go to Indianapolis. Although I was a born Redskins fan (born on a game day, they beat the Buffalo Bills, I think) Baltimore is pretty close to D.C. and we were all apalled.
  • I love Chicago--it is a beautiful city and lots of nice people live there (including Katy).
  • I still remember the year the Bears went to the Superbowl and they had a rap that even played on M-tv (you know, back when M-tv played music--that is the "M" in M-tv.) That was the year they played the Patriots and the Patriots came up with a song, but um, it was sort of lame and clearly reactionary only to the Bears' song (sorry Amy).
I find it interesting (not surprising, just interesting) that I've heard more news about the Steeler's choice of new head coach Mike Tomlin than the fact that Pittsburgh may be losing major bus routes...

10 bus and 2T routes carry 37% of riders (Post-Gazette article, 1/21/07)

Full house expected for first transit hearings (Post-Gazette article 1/21/07) (Bonus feature: a chart of the Top Ten buses)

Port Authority Hearings Scheduled (Post-Gazette article 1/22/07) I have never been to a public hearing, and hello, my apartment is in dire straits, but I think I will try to go to the hearing in Oakland today from 4-8 pm.

I don't currently ride the bus, and the bus routes I would ride are not under the axe, but buses are the lifeblood for a lot of Pittsburghers and I need to learn more about the political process.

I think if anything, as I read what I write here, that I am my own selfish pig, living the posh life in my Highland Park garret.

I imagine I'll take snacks, a water bottle, and possibly a pillow--who knows what kind of chairs they'll offer for sitting for 4 hours...yikes. Stay tuned to see if I chicken out on this one...I think my neighbor on the first floor (a fine upstanding young man who makes his living by teaching piano lessons) went to the hearings this morning...

And, yes, I'll take the bus. C'mon, who drives to Oakland if they don't have to? Parking there is a zoo. And the 71A runs about every ten minutes.

Okay, so that means I better get a move on the rest of the stuff I was planning to do today...

Flip the laundry--then...I seriously need to go to the Post Office. But sitting here, telling you, dear internets, what I'm doing today doesn't help me get any further down the road of getting stuff done...I hereby stop procrasinating.

Insomnia, thy name is "three hour nap."

So I went out Friday night. And I went out Saturday night. And I worked all of Saturday. And so my introvert sirens were on Alert! Alert! So today, when I came home from Tazza, I planned to watch "Joy Luck Club" on video. Um, I took a nap on the sofa and woke up while the credits were rolling. So maybe it was a two hour nap.

Anyways, when I woke up, I was at an EXTREMELY low point.

(If you've seen The Holiday, you might catch the reference:

Iris
: Lowpoint!)

So low that I couldn't even reach out to anyone except to try to call my 'rents, who weren't home. I couldn't believe that anything good was coming of anything I'd been working on. (Of course, forgetting that the things I was most worried about are things OUT OF MY CONTROL.)

And all that sleeping did nothing to the laundry and clutter, which has of course, creeped back to haunt my every move. (Except that it IS Sunday, and my first day off in five days, so I think a little grace is allowed.)

Balance, how badly I need that. But I went to church, heavy as my heart was. And I stood up front and gave an affirmation of faith, which was a paragraph of cobbled together verses on how God looks out for the poor, and we should too.

The Beatitudes really speak to me when I'm at low points, and so does worship. The joy came back as we sang "Days of Elijah," "Oh for a thousand tongues," and one of my favorites, "Did you feel the mountains tremble?"

*************

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (Matthew 5:3-11, King James Version, Public Domain)


I feel like I am the queen of mourning, sometimes, so it thrills me to no end to know that I will be comforted. And that I am comforted. My friends buoy me up and remind me of the goodness of life. I was very discouraged when I got to church. I had to scrape my car and refill my windshield wiper fluid halfway to church (less than a mile from where I live!!). But I got hugs and got to see folks I hadn't seen in a while. And after church we went to the Sharp Edge and talked about books, and teased people and debated what had been discussed in the "Message" portion: not exactly a sermon, but an infomercial for Jubilee, a debt-forgiveness program. It was so good to know that I wasn't the only one that had questions. At 10:20, I left, as Crossing Jordan had started at 10 pm.

And so I've been trolling all y'alls blogs, and finding interesting stuff. Oh, and played a few games of Free Cell. I think I'm tired enough to attempt to go to sleep now. G'nite.

He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love, he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. Zephaniah 3:17-18, RSV.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pittsburgh news: Drink more Iron City!!

Pittsburgh Brewing Acquisition: To save the company, people took a 15% pay cut. (Post-Gazette article) "But if the people of Pittsburgh don't start drinking more of our product, it's all for naught."(quote from TV-11 news)

Mike Tomlin is the Steelers new head coach. (Yes, really) (There was some confusion) (Tribune Review article)

Transportation crisis in da Burgh: talk to the legislators!! (Post-Gazette article.)

Anyways, the season opener of Crossing Jordan did not disappoint. Peace out, yins!

Oh, and it is truly winter.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese,
high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver ~New and Selected Poems

I found this at Maggi's, who found it at Susan's. I have been adding copies of priority DVDs all afternoon and I am soooo ready for a break!!

Upcoming: thoughts on introversion. (Yes, you weren't dreaming if you saw I had something up earlier, but I took it back to the draft-board...)

More snow!

Friday, January 19, 2007

What we are all doing, People of the Year, 2006: A note of gratitude

I just put a thank you note on Paula'a photo blog. Because the beauty she captures enriches me. I don't know if people are thankful for this blog, but I know I am very thankful for other people's blogs. Some, because it connects me to a person I already know. Some, because it connects me to new ideas, or new books (or music). Some, because it helps me get to know a person I someday hope to meet. Most (all) because at one time or other, they've posted something that gave me a wonderful laugh. Most (all) because they make me think about life.

Before blogs, I never knew that graham crackers didn't exist in Australia. I didn't think about other people's insomnia (most blogs have a time stamp). I am learning a lot about having kids and husbands just by reading most blogs and realizing that I'm not the only one who thinks she's perfect but isn't. I am daily introduced to obscure studies and minutia, and I am grateful for it all.

In the moments when I can't face checking another Dewey Decimal number or figuring out if it matters if a publication date is different in the record and in our copy, in moments when the voices of two year olds twenty feet away pierce my (ha!) inner calm, I come to you, dear friends, for a moment of peace, laughter, or thoughts. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

So here's to us, People of the year, 2006! May we continue to egg each other on in this Web 2.0 life. I hope to see you on the flip side.

(I thought about linking this up, since according to Jessamyn it's just a journal not a weblog if you don't have links, but then I thought I'd rather be mysterious.) (Well, I gave it two links, Jess!!) (I guess I should link Paula, too...)

Signed,

Your friend in blogging,

Sarah Louise

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. (Show and Tell: Weather)

(NOT Mark Twain), who did say this about New England but it could easily apply to Pittsburgh:


"If you don't like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes."

Snow is interesting. And some pictures are more fun to take than to look at. So this is the only one that I'm posting. I took it Tuesday after Women's Bible Study, because it was snowing off and on and I wanted to make sure I got some evidence of the snow. Now that I'm not at the chiropractor's 3x week, I can actually resume my morning walks and take more pictures.

Show and Tell: Weather

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fun with blogs...or how Sarah Louise spent her morning until the sun came up...

Okay, so it's clear this love is here to stay (blog love, that is.) Since I fell asleep at who knows what time and woke up at midnight, went back to bed, woke up at six a.m. when it was 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside, I came over here to the computer for some quality blog time because taking a walk in the dark when it's 15 degrees isn't really my idea of fun. And hey, it's now 8:45 and I don't have to be at the chiropractor!! I think writing this post means the walk loses out, but I promise, I'll take one tomorrow.

So a few fun things...



(Thanks Adrian!)

And something I've been mulling over...blog taglines. A few I've had on my blog:

If the shoe fits...
and the Golden Globe for best John Cusack movie goes to...
rum a pum pum (for Christmas)

A few I remember from of olde:

Oh look, a blog! (Pea Soup)

Current ones:

Sometimes Evil drives a minivan. And sometimes Evil is too drunk to drive (Badger)

I also love her profile: Hi! I'm Badger! I enjoy long walks on the beach at sunset, cozy evenings in front of the fire, puppies, and exacting bloody revenge on my enemies. But not you! I like YOU.

I'm always glad that she likes ME--gives me a warm fuzzy Mr. Roger's type feeling. (Badg, that's a compliment, coming from me.)

Dolya is the Slavic goddess of fate; she was said to live behind the family stove. When she was in a fine mood, she was called Dolya, the little old lady who brought good luck; when annoyed, she was Nedolya, the shabbily dressed old hag of bad fortune. (Guess who?)

Hey, I could make this a guessing game, like guess whose blog, but...I won't.

(That was Babelbabe and Gina, btw)

My husband is tired of hearing me rant about nothing all the time. If it doesn't come out, my head might explode. (Carolyn)

This is not my beautiful house.... (Days Go By) THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE ONES!! (It's a Talking Heads reference, from one of my fave TH songs.)

Life is sweet... (Mixed with Sugar)

We’ll have a nice chat. (Meet me on my vast verandah)

Why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie down? Especially with a good book in one hand and a drink in the other. (Only books all the time)

One rung up the ladder from useless and boring, four down from hysterically entertaining, this blog is a feeble attempt to perfect mediocrity. (Eliza Jane)

musing life's mysterys (BJ)

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine. (bobbie)

thoughts::twice baked (Biscotti Brain)

2 years, or so... Writing on this page for more than 2 years Living in Chicago for almost 2 years Finished with school for 2 years Residing in this apartment for less than 2 years. I am 12 times 2 years old. (Katy)

Life is tough, but hope is tougher. (LaMont)

2 American cowboys rustlin’ us up some culture (Nick and Lauren)

an experiment in writing (Urban Saddle)

A community for those whose blogging is decent and in order. (Presbyterian Bloggers)

may contain traces of nuts (Pea Soup)

And you might note that some I name the blog and some the blogger--I don't know the exact logic of that either. So there.

Well, time has passed, and the sun is up, and to work I must go. Ta!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And the Golden Globe for best speech goes to...

Meryl Streep.

(Peering out into the crowd with her glasses on) "I've worked with all of you...(peers) yes, I've worked with everyone in this room." (not the actual quote...I'm doing this while watching the rehash on Today)

She is such a class act. Such a class act. Devil Wears Prada was not the best flick this side of, say, The Holiday, or Monster House, or... but what a service it did to the viewing public when it allowed Meryl to win a(nother?) Golden Globe. LOVE MERYL!!

And they introduced a new category...animation! Cars won, of course. (I mean, c'mon, did you really think Happy Feet was going to win?) (Don't answer that, sis, you know I was rooting for Monster House!!) I haven't seen Cars, although I think I'm 253 on the holds list at the library...

This is a rough post, which I'll clean up later, but I wanted to get this out to announce this week's Show and Tell.

WEATHER. Everyone's got it, and everyone has been talking about it on their blogs. Well, not everyone, but most folks. So show me some weather!!

And in other news, there are now three candidates for Steelers Head Coach.

And, no, I didn't think Clint Eastwood was very funny. I'm sorry, I just don't get him.

That chick from Ugly Betty won, America Ferrara, and my sister could not be torn from the new episode of 24...whatever!! (Yes, I called her when it happened...)

Now, to make my list of movies I haven't seen that I want to...top of the list is that Kate Winslet flick...oh, like you weren't expecting that...

Yeah, so a better post on the Globes later. Right now, I'm still catching Today as they look at the red carpet (at least three times, with three different perspectives...c'mon!), give clips of the speeches, give clips of before the awards, after the awards...

And I missed a large chunk of the awards, as I ferried my car to Sally's (see post on gas spill) and then got her car to my house, realizing that when I gave her my car keys I had also given her my house keys. (When she already actually had a copy of both...) So I got to drive by the UP at least twice and by the looks of things, the MLK event was a hit.

An actual quote from someone from InStyle, "the dresses were so va-va-voom."

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's better to have beer in hand than gas in tank. (Unknown)

Okay, so you know I am a polite person (generally). I rarely name names and I rarely get mad. But this time is different. Please avoid the Sunoco at Duncan Manor in the North Hills. Today I had an incident where a gas pump did not shut off automatically and then spewed gas all over the ground and my shoes. I told the clerk and she said she'd take care of it, but folks, this is a hazardous toxic substance. She was a little too lackadasical for my taste...but, I was in a hurry and more concerned for the next customer and wanted to get out of there.

So then I had to drive 20 minutes to the chiropractor, with the gas on my shoes and smelling up my car. Today was my re-evaluation at the chiropractor (I have graduated to one session a week, WOO HOO), so I was there for more than 20 minutes...And then I had to drive 20 minutes to the Giant Eagle and then I finally got home (around 7 pm, an hour and 45 minutes after the spill) I peeled off my shoes, socks and went upstairs to get a different set of pants.

The key when you have a gas spill is NOT to wash the item, but to let it air out, as gas and water don't mix!!!! So, since my car needs airing out, I am taking it to Sally's overnight (as she has a garage) where my car will air out, with the windows down, so as to not get rain in (it's still misting here) and get burgled. If you don't believe me, about the dangers, read this article.

So don't go for the cheapest price if you don't like the store. I generally buy Sunoco, but never Citgo, since I found out they are owned by a South American goon. I didn't like this station before but I was trolling for the lowest price and $2.26 was it...trust your instincts, shop well and BE SAFE!

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin...

...but by the content of their character. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Happy Martin Luther King Day! This is an excerpt from "The Drum Major Instinct," so turn up your speakers.

And here's the "I have a dream" address.

If yins want to go to a knock out amazing King Day event, the Open Door and the Union Project (click on the UP link for directions) are hosting their second annual King Day event. It's free and it's from 7-9 pm tonight and features step dancing, choirs, and audio of seldom heard audio of MLK speeches. Go early for some soul food. Go early in general--last year it was standing room only...

I'm going to be an introvert and watch the GG's, but I highly recommend the King event!!

Oh, look, here's the blurb from the OD:

Martin Luther King Jr. Event Jan 15th, 6:30pm@ the Union Project
The Open Door and the Union Project welcome the Pittsburgh community for an evening of motivational entertainment on January 15th at 7pm, held to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision of connecting communities, cultures and individuals. The evening will include a community dinner beginning at 6:30pm, step performances, local gospel choirs, readings of Dr. King's selected works and a featured speaker, Rev. B. De Neice Welch.

***********

In other news, I'm at work today. Yes, I know, I never work on Mondays, but my boss is on her way to Seattle for the midwinter American Library Association meeting, so she needed someone to come in. Plus, it being a holiday n'at, two other folks that work in our department on Monday are off.

The biggest thing to happen today: Eragon, the beta fish that is the mascot of the Administration Department lost his home. His bowl (a tall vase) was leaking and when Terry went to pick it up, it exploded. Dear Eragon was on the floor, gasping for dear life. There was a lot of vacuuming, to clean up the water and gravel...but the good news is that Eragon has a new home, and by the time I returned from lunch, he was swimming around again. Hallelujah!

Everyone and their uncle is here at the library, since we are one of the only libraries open today. No trash pick up, and no mail...and flags are still at half staff for the memory of former President Gerald Ford.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It's Golden Globes time!!

The Oscars are generally on ABC, a channel I get in so fuzzyily (is that a word?) that it doesn't bear watching unless it's something like Two and a Half Men (and I work Tuesdays, the night it's generally on, so there you go.) No, I don't know how to use my VCR, leave me alone!! (and hello, the reception would be crappy--who wants to watch crappy video??)

Moving right along, then...The Golden Globes, however, hold a place in my heart. They are this year on NBC, which in past years I thought they were on FOX but I could be dreaming...

They are generally shorter, more fun, and on a Sunday night, but hey, this year they're on a Monday...

Last year, Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix won for Walk the Line. I have no clue who I'm "rooting" for this year, but I know where I'll be on Monday, curled up on the couch in the garret.

Okay, I just breezed through their site and here's who I want to win: Monster House for Best Animated Film, Sarah Paulson for Studio 60, Little Miss Sunshine for Musical or Comedy (the only category where I'd seen more than one of the films, are we surprised?) and Toni Collette for Little Miss Sunshine.

Who/What are your picks?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday night at Sarah Louise's Garett

Well, when I got home there was a message on my machine. Someone trying to sell me something, nothing new there. I watched Just Shoot Me and two episodes of Friends. The one where Ross and Phoebe's boyfriend Paul hang out is hysterical, because they are so uncomfortable. I howled with laughter. That felt good.

I ate dinner somewhere in there and was settled in for a quiet evening at home.

Then my home phone rang and I talked with a friend about not going out. My plans were to stay in and watch The Truman Show. When the phone rang, I had just started reading Vive La Paris!, the new book by Esmee Raji Codell.

So when I got off the phone, I turned on The Truman Show, but gosh, I had forgotten how depressing it is! So I was surprised but pleased when my cell phone rang and it was an old friend from Fox Books, a regular reader of this blog. "Let me turn off the movie," I said. "Was it The Truman Show?" So my friend told me about Philip K. Dick, who was never credited with the idea for the movie, but had a short story that was very similar in a lot of ways to The TS. Old friends are the best kind...my friend now has two daughters who are lovely and is starting Library School on Tuesday. It was nice to shoot the breeze, to talk to someone who has seen me at my best and yes, at my absolute worst. We talked about our Fox Books closing, and he couldn't believe, "Wow, that guy is still there?" and was glad that our former co-workers were getting farmed out to other nearby Fox Bookstores.

And when I got off the phone with my friend, I decided it was too late to get back into The Truman Show, that I needed something a little more upbeat, so I sat on the couch and finished Vive La Paris! which is a beautiful book, one that I would recommend to any fourth or fifth grade girl. It was so beautiful that I cried at the end. Which is a lovely way to end a Saturday evening at home among friends.

I've started typing out one of my old stories--ack! It is so bizarre to think about writing fiction again, but it helps to remember I did it before so I can do it again. And typing it out gives my "fiction fingers" practice. I still have not found the audio tape I made of the story that will be my main piece for the application, so if you've seen it, it's a yellow audio cassette that says "Story" on the label. It's here somewhere...

A few new on the right...

So I've changed Library Shoes to Bookish Shoes and added two links: one for interviews with authors and one that is a blog for Christian authors.

Plans for the evening: I'm holing up in ze garret to watch The Truman Show (which I just bought VHS at the library store for 80 cents!!)

Have a lovely weekend, all!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Inspiration towards health...

Paula is my inspiration in a lot of things bloggy. She is artsy and lovely and well, a very fun blogger. She takes amazing pictures. Paula recently said good-bye to her site meter, which is (to the unschooled) a doo-hickey that counts how many visitors you have total and how many per day, hour, etc. You can go in there and see who reads you (if you know their isp #, or their geographic locale).

If I was running a business, I can understand why it would be important for me to know when people read me, and from what part of the country/world. But this is just little old me, building a community online, and I'm tired of counting nickles and noses. (Well noses, actually, since this blog doesn't cost me any money to run or gain me any income in nickles or any other denomination.)

The whole reason I became Sarah Louise instead of (insert my real name here) was so that I couldn't be googled easily. The anonymity means I can be somewhat sure that crazy ex-boyfriends can't find me in three clicks. (Although that did happen my first year on the blog because someone had me on their blog roll with my real first and last name.) I shut the blog down for two days, but brought it back up because I didn't want to be afraid. That's a whole other story. In the end it was a good experience, as I had another bloggy friend coach me on how to say goodbye to the crazy ex-boyfriend forever. If there's one thing I've learned this past year, it's that saying goodbye with dignity is important.

This is my noodling place, where I doodle my life. It is not meant to be great literature, or a popularity contest. It is not about how many comments I get, or who de-lurks (Happy De-Lurking Week!)

This is for me. I find that it helps to have an audience--my writing improves if I am writing with an audience in mind. It forces me to frame things differently than "well, today I did x and y. Tomorrow I hope to do z." But to build a dynasty, to make the next million, to be a top blogger--nah, I'm just me. That's all I want to be. I want a place that I can visit (my blog) that connects me to my friends and their blogs.

I'm a pretty open book--but the SL element lets me be a little mysterious. (I said "a little.") I'm glad yins read me, and I hope you keep coming back. But just so you know, I'm not counting you anymore. If you want me to know you're reading, you'll have to comment. Or tell me (which you often do--I'm always pleased when I meet a reader in person or hear from someone else that someone I know has been enjoying reading me here.)

There's a saying in recovery circles that we are only as sick as our secrets. Well, my secret was that I was watching closely who was reading my blog. And obsessing about what I found. So, onward to health. I want 2007 to be about full disclosure and being healthy. It won't be FULL disclosure, as I'll still be Sarah Louise, but I hope to blog with a little more sanity.

Isaiah 40:31

Those who trust in the Lord will find their strength renewed.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

They will run and not grow weary,

They will walk and not be faint.

***********

What a relief!

I'm very honest and open--almost too open. I almost say too much most of the time. (Lindsay Lohan)

Or, more bluntly put: Open mouth, insert foot.

To be continued...I've decided to take my own advice and spend the morning looking at books. (Yes, I commented to myself.)

Due to the fact that I'm working on Monday, I worked 3 hrs yesterday and will work 4 today--which meant I got to hear live music last night. Let's see, my friend's boyfriend's sister knew someone in the band...it was AMAZING.

MTC (which I just figured out yesterday--it stands for "more to come")

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I can spend hours in a grocery store. I get so excited when I see food, I go crazy.

I spend hours arranging my baskets so that everything fits in and nothing gets squashed. (Cameron Diaz)

For years, I have been wondering why no one has ever thought of this:

The Giant Eagle at Shakespeare Street!

I mean, as a singleton, I often go in thinking I'm just going to pick up a carton of milk and then I decide midway to pick up some yogurt, and there happens to be a sale and then I'm stuck with a carton of milk and six cups of yogurt, with no cart. Someone was thinking here--it's multi-functional, because not only do you have carts near the tiny cups of yogurt I couldn't carry in my arms alone, you also have a sign reminding you that milk is now around the corner. I remember when this GE had an Iggle Video. Sigh.

And, not being one to usually take pictures in stores, this made me think of Blackbird, who is forever showing us pictures of stores.

Show and Tell: A very useful thing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Memo to me: What's Show and Tell this week?

Ooops! Sarah Louise had a bad hair day yesterday. (It was not pretty) In the midst of all the teasing and hairspray, I forgot to post a show and tell topic!!

So, multiple choice, since you have no real lead time.

a) a very useful thing -- in or outside of your house
b) a very un-useful thing -- in or outside of your house
c) free for all -- I mean, I gave you no lead time!

Rules of engagement: post "I'm up" after I post mine tomorrow morning. I'll visit them by the weekend, and we'll all have fun!

Oh, and it snowed today. Not so as you could tell now, but my car sort of looked like this (well, okay, not really, this is an old picture from December (I think).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This rant has been pre-empted to tell you something you already knew

You are 100% Pittsburgh.

Great job! There's nooooo doubt about it. You're from Da Burgh. You deserve a reward, so go have an Ahrn City or two. And GO STILLERS!

How Pittsburgh Are You
See All Our Quizzes


But hey, it's nice to be recognized.

And the rant--well, I'll leave that to the ranting bloggers. You want to see some cute shoes? Thanks to Colin for this lovely validation of my geographic sensabilty. He got it off I heart Pgh, a wonderful site. I really should get one of their lovely t-shirts.

It's this or the walk. The walk wins.

Catch ya on the flip side.

P.S. If you want an amazing chick flick -- possibly a date movie -- I mean, Jack Black is in it -- and the evil guy from the Illusionist -- I recommend The Holiday. Hey, even a guy commented on imdb.com that he liked it, who doesn't generally like romantic comedies.

Kate Winslet. Need I say more??

The walk. Yes, the walk. But it's grey out there...oh, right, I live in Pittsburgh. Oh, I think it's snowing!!! See ya!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I am a female, I am like a lioness, hear my song!

(paraphrased Helen Reddy)

WOO HOO!

I did it! And I did a few other things too! I'm going to Disneyworld the movies now!

Artists paint pictures of me with cerulean, cobalt and ultramarine (G. Brian Karas) or Sarah Louise's most eclectic post yet


from the picture book, Atlantic.

Today I made it my focus in life to find a beach related book to read to my Mother Goose kids for the winter session, which lasts from the end of January to the end of March. Whilst in the stacks, among chattering children singing "Abiyoyo" and alternating saying "That's not a real word" and the mother of the one group of children showing Abiyoyo the book to the mother of the other children, I found the oevre of works by G. Brian Karas. I remember his earlier work in illustration only, in Car Wash, which uses collage to show what it's like to be in a car while the car goes through the automatic car wash.

Karas also illustrates Beginning Readers (does he write them too?) and so I was familiar with his illustrations right away, his round headed children that are a mix between Charles Schultz's Peanuts characters and Tomie De Paola's people of all sizes.

I fell in love with these three titles: Atlantic, The Windy Day, and The Class Artist.

Atlantic is done in "goache, acrylic and pencil" (from the t.p. verso), is vivid and poetic and a bit chaotic. In first person, the Atlantic Ocean describes him (her?) self to us, talking about fishermen, artists, poets, dolphins, describing its geographic boundaries and its relatives, the Pacific, Indian, Artic and Antartic Oceans. I love the first sentence: "...I begin where the land runs out at the end of yards and streets and hills."

The Windy Day is...windblown. In the statement "About the Art," Karas writes, "The artist worked on the windiest paper he could find. Bits of grass, newspapers, and flowers blow through this breezy book. Pencils, goache, and acrylic paints were also used." The book starts out telling the tale of a breeze blowing through a tidy town. The town is tidy, and rhythmic repetition is used to create a tidy mood. And then WHOOSH! Everything goes topsy-turvy and un-tidy!! Hats, steno pads, cereal and milk, pancakes with pats of butter all go upside down and all over the pages. On the next page, people are depicted yelling at the wind and its chaotic clutter: "My hair?!" cries a man with a toupe. A teacher runs after sheafs of paper, crying, "Come back with my papers!" A yellow paper is centered on the left side of the pages, with the words "wind," "windy," "windier," and "windiest" pencilled in. A boy, Bernard, has a conversation with the wind, which then moves on to another still place, "which was not to be still for very long."

The Class Artist is a typical underdog tale. It reminds me a bit of Tomie DePaola's Oliver Button is a Sissy. I love the honesty on the first page, in both the illustrations and the words:

The first day of school wasn't Fred's best day. "I wish I could draw,' said Fred when he got home. "Everyone says I can't even draw a straight line." "Who's everyone?" asked his sister, Martha. "Frances," said Fred.

Fred sits on his front stoop with his eyebrows furrowed and his backpack open with two scribbly drawings half on the sidewalk, half on the grass. In the next pages, Martha (armed with her jumbo size drawing pad) shows Fred how to draw pilgrims, and Fred is hooked. "Drawing became Fred's favorite thing to do." But then Fred's teacher gives the kids the whole week to work on one project, and as happens often with a large task, Fred is overwhelmed and daunted and spends most of his time worrying about how to position his tipi. Frances, of course, is part of the discouragement process. The days go by, and are depicted in big letters at the top of each page, as different children show each other what they have been drawing. Friday takes up a two page spread and at the bottom of the second page you see Fred in a red spotlight. "It was sharing time, and Fred had nothing to share." It gets bad. Frances is a part of this badness (how easy we are to let one person undermine our creativity) and there is a black page where the words above Fred's head are these: "I give up being an artist."

********

I wrote this post in a creative burst on Friday. I can feel the real Sarah Louise coming out of the fog I've been in for almost a month, but I had three very vivid bad dreams this morning, one of them involving (yes, I'm not kidding) a murderer that targeted his victims by sewing death threats onto their comforters while they slept.

Sometimes I wish I really was Sarah Louise. That I could compartamentalize my life, put it in a box, and go off and be Monana or something. But no, I have to live my life, and that life includes bills, working lunches, and wanting to talk to people that are now dead.

I have accepted fear as a part of life--specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. (Erica Jong)

This is one of those "I would have written a shorter post if I had more time" posts, where I try to fit all my conflicting thoughts into one box and as you can see, I have at least five boxes open. Focus is something I am lacking today. I am wishing for a fairy godmother to say bipidy boppity boo and send me off to the ball. I am wishing for my mother to kiss it and make it all better. I am wishing...but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, so I'll get in the car now and drive to my working lunch.

And the pink shoes (were you wondering the connection?) are for MsCell, who is going through tornado like bursts in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, as she is all out of red ones (you know, like Dorothy's).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Cleaning out the purse (Sarah Louise's random thoughts on a Sunday night)

A new link on the right, under Bohemian Shoes: 3191. These two photobloggers live 3191 miles apart and post a morning picture daily--it is SO COOL.

Have you ever read someone's blog and thought, I want to meet this person, or this person is living the kind of life I want to live? Never? Oh, well, I guess I'm the only one...

Have started reading Reading like a writer by Francine Prose (what a great last name for a prose writer!) and it's the kind of book that makes me want to write. Also, there are two holds on it and it's due on Wednesday...I think I'll be buying a copy soon...but I wish it was in paperback...

Also, the theme for the next month-6 weeks at the OD is gifts. "Gifts" is my main love language (how I express my love to folks) so I'm thrilled! I made a cool box at BJ's beheast, and folks said they liked it. (smile...)

Gifts as in "what's your gift?" (what do you do well?)
Gifts as in "what do you have that was given to you?" (everything--it's all from God)
Gifts as in "what can I give xy and z for Christmas?" (or because they got a promotion or work, or because I saw this and thought of you...)

Eat Cake (yes, that book again!!) is a book about gifts--this book has become my I Ching. I read pieces of it daily. I will sit and read portions aloud because it is a book of wonderful dialogue with a lot of emotion and inflection needed. (An advantage to living alone!) Anyways, during BJ's sermon, I realized it's all about gifts! Ruth discovers that her gift (making cakes) can bring their family out of economic disaster. Her mother and father who have hated each other ever since Ruth can remember reconcile and start playing piano and singing together--using their gifts, AND it's a gift to Ruth to see her parents happy.

Had hot chocolate with the girls at Borders after church. Twas very nice. The Hope/Calvin game is Saturday but I just remembered I said I'd go to Sally's candle party. (I didn't go to Hope or Calvin but it's in my blood as my parents, grandparents and brother all went to Hope.) I've never been to a game, which is broadcast by satellite to bars nationwide, sponsored by alumni. Oh well, there's always next year...

Well, anyways, I spose it's time to get ready for bed...(although since I napped for who knows how long this afternoon I'm not so tired...) Tomorrow (my day OFF!) is a day of:
8:45 Chiropractor
go home, do stuff (like look at bills...)
10:30 drive to NoHills to work for lunch meeting with our Children's District person
until 1:45 pm, drive to Wexford, where I will say adieu to my therapist, a woman I've been seeing for about two years.
go home, do stuff. (like prepare for new Bible Study that starts Tuesday.)
7:15 pm go back to the chiropractor, for a "new patient orientation."

I already checked, Studio 60 isn't on this week--it's 2 more hours of Heroes. Enough already--it was 3 hours last week!!

So even though Carlos says he's done thinking about gifts (the season is over!) I will probably be blogging about it, since I already have one post started.

Upcoming: SL will be looking for a new therapist--sigh. I said to Erin that doing the box for the OD was very therapeutic and she said, maybe you should look into art therapy. Um. So I may do a lot of therapeutic crafts during the month of January.

Oh, and start getting ready to BE A FICTION WRITER.

Calgon, take me away.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...


FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!
Four calling birds,
three French hens,
two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree!

Merry Christmas, one and all. What a year it's been and how I look forward to 2007. I have a good feeling about it already.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Gifts, as in Matthew 25:14-28

So BJ asked me to make a box. A box for gifts. So I've been working on a concept. And I'm working on it. Maybe I'll take a picture when I'm done.

In the meantime, I'm done procrastinating.

**********
First draft is done. Embellishments tomorrow. Time for bed. What a week it's been.

That is all.

(except to say....)

IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

More of the kinds of conversations we have...

Raise your hands if you've seen The Christmas Story. Okay, put them down if you've only seen it once. Twice? Okay, Polly, how many times have you seen it? Wow, that's a lot. Well, let me tell you about me and my mom.

Christmas movies we are familiar with: It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and Home Alone. Yeah. Oh, and Amahl and the Night Visitors. We have it on Beta. Yes, that was way before DVDs, Polly.

I have seen The Christmas Story once. Yes, and it was five years ago, when I was in Library School. So now I know about the pink bunny suit and the tongue on the icy pole and the leg lamp. Ah yes, the leg lamp. Which brings us to my mother and I on the phone the other day. We were talking about the Today show.

Mom: So what do you think of Katie's replacement?
Me: Meredith? I like her. I wasn't sure, but then I saw her on Leno and she has a real strange sense of humor. She used to be on the View, not that I ever watch that show. [I only get NBC and Fox.]
Mom: (hesitates) It was her birthday the other day, and it was also Matt's birthday. She took the day off, but she was in the audience, wearing a black wig. And she gave Matt a plastic leg. (You could tell my mom was puzzled and a little not pleased.)
Me: ah, was it a lamp?
Mom: yeah, I think it was.
Me: Mom, it's from that movie, The Christmas Story. The husband/dad wins the top sales prize and in the mail gets a wooden crate that says FRAGILE and in it is a lamp shaped like a leg. The mom is not too pleased.
Mom: oh, yeah, the lamp came in a wooden crate on the Today show, too. I thought that was a little weird.

See? This is what happens when you don't keep up with popular culture. You don't like Meredith, who is really a funny lady and a sweetheart, to boot.

I've never seen an episode of "Welcome Home, Kotter," either.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.... (Show and Tell)

well, sorry, no drummers drumming. But I do have a few other Christmas-y pictures.


My parent's tree. Which I had no part in decorating. Breaks my heart...

My parent's creche. The barn is German, some of the sheep and shepherds are Honduran, and not in this picture is a water buffalo my father bought for my grandmother's creche, but since my grandmother's death a few years ago, the water buffalo has joined my parent's creche.

A decorated window in Ligonier, PA.


Christmas lights in the parking garage at the new Borders Eastside (I mean 'Sliberty).

Show and tell: leftover Christmas pictures. Now your turn!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Where I shop and why

As I left Whole Foods, with my one paper bag, I mused on why I chose to go there on my way home instead of Giant Eagle, even though I have one item on my list that Whole Foods doesn't carry. (Carnation Instant Breakfast.)

Why did I pull into the Whole Foods parking lot at the last minute? Because life is unpredicable. I didn't know at that moment if Sally would be coming tomorrow morning to help me sort out my life (she is a saint, you know that already). I knew I was tired, bored, and a little listless, all not good places to be when you need to go to the grocery store. But I needed milk or I would have no breakfast tomorrow. And while shopping can be stressful, the atmosphere at Whole Foods feeds me. It even smells good when you walk in! I paid an outrageous $3 for 4 oranges, but I need to eat more fruits and veggies. I don't know what I spent on soy milk, but I had many choices, and I needed that, as I really can't fathom moving away from cow's milk. They didn't have blueberry waffles, but I'll try flax waffles, and I finally got EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) which might crack you up to know I use on popcorn. At the checkout, I did buy a magazine (Paula, you knew this was coming) but it was Harper's, a magazine I used to subscribe to. It was soothing to flip through the pages and not be focused on "15 things you can do in 15 minutes" or "How to slash your food bill" or "Jen is going to be a single mom."

I shop at Walgreens because I have heard the success story of Walgreens in Good to Great by Jim Collins time and again, as I listen to Jim on audio in my car. (Now I have to get it on CD!)

I shop at Borders because their rewards card is free and I get free stuff (I got $30 free the week before Christmas, making a few gifts for other people FREE!)

I shop at Barnes and Noble because it's close by and I know folks there, and because I used to work for the company, I know the general set up.

I shop at Giant Eagle because I spend about $30 on drugs every month and every time you spend $50 you get 10 cents off per gallon of gas. (It adds up!) And because they are on my way home from work, in a manner of speaking. (Although at Walgreens you can transfer prescriptions and it doesn't matter which store you go to...that seems very tempting to me, but then again, I like that I sort of know the people at Giant Eagle.)

I do not have to tell you why I shop at Target (I imagine most of you are also Targ├ęt shoppers), but I will: their products are so beautiful, enticing, and...(mostly) cheap!

I wish I shopped at independent bookstores. But I don't know where they are in Pittsburgh anymore. I wish I shopped at Trader Joes. But they close at 9pm and that's usually when I'm coming back into my 'hood. (Which brings out another great thing about Walgreens--they are open 24/7, even on NYE!) I wish I shopped at Aldi more. They have good stuff at great prices.

So maybe that's my resolution for the year: to do more things in 15 minutes. To slash my food bills. And to not focus so much on Jen being a single mom but reading things like Harper's magazine, which feeds my mind and soul.

Show and Tell is tomorrow morning, your leftover Christmas picture(s). I can't wait to see what you'll post!

When this year is over, I'm burning the calendars! (Marian the Librarian)

Yes, it's the end of the year round up post. Many drafts, but I decided on the meme mode that Days Go By and I do all my own stunts, which is taking the title of the first post of each month...

From LC's Only Books All the Time: "The best thing to get me out of a bad mood...is to write a list. It cheers me up immediately."

I may do a book round up...or a shoe round-up...

**********

January: Happy 2006!

February: Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?

March: To my writing teacher who thinks there is no such thing as a Christian romance novel

April: Show and Tell: Windows!

May: Snippets on a Monday morning...

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

July: Catch up (not Heinz 57)

August: patience is a virtue...

September: We now return you to your regularly scheduled life...

October: I came here to play hockey

November: Is this really my life?

December: My First Laugh of the Morning

****

And in other news, we're on a death watch for one of our fishies in the tank at work...

It's either this or the walk. You win.

I haven't ranted for a while and I don't suppose I'm going to start, but I'd love to.

Things that bug me: the computer thinks it knows what my word verif is. (Does this happen to anyone else? You type a z and the computer comes up with 30 other choices???)

Hello, where did winter go? (I have mixed feelings in this department--I'm glad to not been sliding on ice, but I do like snow...as in "please have snow, and mistletoe...")

Today is my sister's 25th Birthday!! WOO HOO! Happy Birthday, babe! (that was not a rant, in case you thought I was being sarcastic. I adore my sister, who is...here comes the rant--In MIAMI)

My therapist cancelled on me. First off, she called my home phone (she never does this) and then my answering machine is not very conspicuous--the blinking lights are TINY--so I didn't know she called at 10:30 am until 9:30 pm. (I was at home or on a walk at 10:30 am) I've been thinking about changing therapists, for a ton of reasons that I won't--RANT--get into here...

I don't have my page a day calendar up either at home or on the computer (the only reason I get actual page-a-day the brand, from Workman, is so that I can get book recommendations in my email--cause you get an online calendar free with every paper one you buy.)

I don't have my year end post up--I may edit that today though...

Oh, look at the time. I better get going to the chiropractor...RANT!!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Show and tell returns, woo hoo!

So your assignment, should you choose to accept it: leftover Christmas picture(s). I downloaded pix to my computer from my camera yesterday and found pictures of my parent's tree, creche, etc. I bet you have pix like that too, esp. since we didn't have the whole Christmas show and tell frenzy. Besides, it's still Christmas until Saturday, when the [three] wise men show up. Yes, I'm fully aware that we don't know how many wise men it was!

Post them on Thursday and leave a comment when you're up so I (and others) can go a visiting. I will not promise I'll visit everyone on Thursday, but I'll try to get to y'all by Sunday. (Which gives you a grace period in posting...)

Be creative! So you know how the game is played, I'm posting a few of my posts and some of my favorites from other bloggers.

You get the idea. Most items are domestic, but we have been known to S&T our cars, too. I'm open to suggestions. See you Thursday, and thanks again to Blackbird, for starting this wonderful tradition!

Monday, January 01, 2007

HOPE is the thing with feathers

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all... (Emily Dickinson)

On my walk, I said Happy New Year to all, and they to me. It's around 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) and quite nice, although the wind'll hit ya! Everyone was out walking their dogs.

Any day that I see men playing tennis in the park side courts, I have hope. And what a better way to start the new year, than with hope, and joy.

Resolution: to get better at taking pictures of people with my digi camera.

She's a brick house (Lionel Richie) or Sarah Louise live-blogs as she watches morning television on the first day of the new year...

Not the song I would use to send us off into the New Year--I would have chosen something like "Dancing on the Ceiling."

Yes, I'm watching the Today show, can you tell? I fell asleep to Garrison Keillor (on PBS) and woke up to Clifford. Apparently now they have live action people that let you know that the next cartoon show is Dragontales. I suppose I should add the Clifford website to the list I maintain for the library's kids page...

I went to two parties. The guy who has been so helpful with my car and his wife had a party and I like them, so I went there first. I gave them some of the ginger ale my dad (Santa) gave me--a case of Dominion Ginger Ale. (I only took a six pack to B.) Fun was had by all. I wasn't drinking anything stronger than Coke, as I had Tylenol earlier for a monster headache and all my nurse/med student friends will tell me that that's going to kill my liver. (I can't take Advil, folks!) On the way home, I went to the Creasy's and increased the librarian population at the party to two. K said, "when did you come in?" and I said, "I'm a librarian, I'm quiet." Abraham came in just as I was leaving--he's going to Russia in February!! I told him, remember, there's no cow in Moscow.

So far none of my regulars has posted this morning except for Adrian, who posted at 2:48. I think I was asleep by then...he talked about how he dreads NYE (I'd never heard that acronym before) and big parties and the passing of time. He talked about ambition...and it made me realize how much I've mellowed in the past year.

I'm really happy where I am. I know eventually I'll get to the place where I'm no longer renting, living in a third floor walk up, but right now I want to spend the next six months getting ready to tackle the MFA admission application. I'll be taking contributions to the "Send Sarah Louise to grad school" fund in my paypal account...

Oooh, Ellen's on! She's spoofing infomercials today. She just cut a can with a Ginsu knife. Ooh, and Charlie Sheen is up next...drat, he's dating someone named Brooke. Well, I didn't want to move to California anyways...

So for today, I'll be finishing up the year end post (it gets more complex, the longer I work on it) and going to see Night at the Museum. I'll also be unpacking and cleaning, instead of going to IKEA--oh but how I want to...

Oh, and send all your suggestions for Show and Tell...I'll have a topic up tomorrow.

That is all.

I think...

Yes, that is all, for now...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!