Friday, November 30, 2007

We've only just begun...

BUT IT IS THE END!!! Goodbye NaPoBloPo.

If I thought October was bad, November had fangs. I will be glad to start a new month tomorrow and sometime this weekend call an old friend (she's a long time friend who IS older than me) whose birthday is Sunday.

Tonight Marian (the Librarian) and I went to see Max play (oh, and some teenagers sang Christmas carols to his playing) and then to the mall, because it has a food court and our dinner pre-concert had been half a breakfast sandwich each. (It was all we had time for pre-concert.)

***********

I am so so tired. Nay, exhausted.

***********

Oh, the latest on the car--the key doesn't like to come out of the ignition. The lady at the auto parts shop said for a car my age, a new ignition costs $15. Okay, I'll add that to the list I'm making for the dealership. I'm looking for a bouncer type man to go with me when I read them the riot act and say, here, take my car for a while and FIX SOME THINGS!

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

NH Sally and I decided we're going to start a new greeting card line for cards like:

*You're dealing with this as well as a person without bipolar would
*Congratulations, honey, on your first period.

There should be at least three, but I'm too tired to come up with a third. Hey, that's what the comment box is for! For one last time in November, or if you're reading this on Saturday, for the first time in December, let's be interactive in the comment box!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A good friend knows how you like your coffee. A great friend will add booze. Happy Birthday!!

(This was my favorite card so far.)

My mom called while I was talking to my Dad. Now I really really have to get ready for the day, the quickest shower ever...more later.

I feel weird about posting, hey, it's my birthday!! (Which, if you know me, and how much into birthdays I am, is weird in and of itself.)

Max and I will celebrate tomorrow, as he is booked with work stuff today. And I'm cool with that, b/c he is BUSY and that's good. Also, his voice sounded MUCH better on the phone last night. That man makes me smile. What can I say?

My checks came, so I can pay my rent!! (It took them forever to come. And they cost a fortune. I need to go back to ordering them from the coupons that come in the Sunday paper.)

I have gottten lots of nice cards, and even one that talks!

This morning on facebook I saw the most bizarre ad: paint your grass (so that you have a greener lawn!) I think I would be embarrassed if my neighbors saw me do that, tho. Plus, c'mon! I'd rather spend however much they cost on something else.

Also, BOB-FM and Borders have both wished me a happy birthday. Mad Mex somehow has forgotten me...I'll need to make a phone call on that one (I get a free entree for the week around my birthday--and I know I didn't get the postcard this year...) (Unless the mailman stuck it in with the junk mail and it's in my recycling...) (But I'm not digging.)

So hey, I'm 36. Officially, it's at 4pm--someone in my family will correct me on the minutes...I was born during a Redskins game and the Redskins won. Against the Browns who are now officially the Ravens. Now there are new Browns in Cleveland. The hospital where I was born, Columbia Hospital for Women, no longer exists. It's almost poetic justice for this girl without a hometown.

Happy birthday to me...I can't believe my mother hasn't called yet.

(I am such a whiner!!)

Oh, and in our family, we sing three songs: Happy Birthday (written by the Hill sisters), Para Bens (which is

[pause as my father is the first family member to call.]

this post will be finished later...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Goobley gook...

I just wanted to say, the day got better. And even if tomorrow we have tornados and locusts and all that, it still is my birthday, my special day. Marian (the Librarian) and NH Sally are joining me for lunch at the Sesame Inn.

feeling sorry for myself and other futile activities the day before I turn 36

btw, I'm sick of a coupla things:

my car and its nuisances: the defroster is connected to the heater. (Not to mention the driver's door not opening, etc.)

being the strong one

facing financial facts (loved the conversation with my mom yesterday, as she bluntly asked, how did you get back into debt again? You want the short answer or the long one? The short one: I have a problem with money. I like to spend it. The long one: she didn't want to hear it, and it's a lot of rationalizing, really.)

realizing I'm pretty frivolous

crying my eyes out.

But apparently I'm doing really well at keeping up appearances b/c everyone tells me I'm doing really well. (Well, and I am handling things well. But can I have less things to handle please?)

I think the lady downstairs is GONE. Without even goodbye. We weren't friends per se, but she was THERE. and now she's not. Sort of (but not entirely) reminds me of the first bit in the book About a Boy, which I can't find right now. (The mom breaks up with the current bloke and the boy is like, "but we peed together once, and you'd think you'd sort of stay in touch after that.")

Goodbye Ms. Second Floor, to whom I gave safety pins, rolls of toilet paper, exchanged quarters and stuff when you ran out of change for laundry. I didn't plant the tulip bulbs I bought from your daughter for her school fundraiser, but my mom took them home. I think we could have become buddies if either of us had had more time. Or maybe not. But anyways, I wish you the best. And not that this is the point, at all, but I liked having a black woman neighbor. I live a pretty lily white life, spending most of my time in the North Hills.

I guess the thing I like about the Bible (while we're being random) is that so many of the Psalms are crying my eyes out or really mad at my enemies.* And I know it's not the point that Job got double back what he had before, but there's some bit of comfort in that too.

_____________________
*(this one is both!)

Gifts that could prove embarrassing in mixed company:


  1. Any season of Sex and the City on DVD
  2. The 2008 SATC calendar (but I want it, I do!)
  3. you see where this is going...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. (Twyla Tharp)

I just added this painting to my art gallery on Facebook.

It is much easier to write a solemn book than a funny book. It's harder to make people laugh than to make them cry...

...People are always on the verge of tears. (Fran Lebowitz)

[Note: I am writing this part, so that makes it not a pre-written post. And the quote is new. Because I had a gazillion bad dreams last night and am very close to tears until I realized, ah! I'm awake and none of those bad things really happened!! Also, I changed the labels.]

I'll come back later and do linky stuff.

from Daysgoby from Major Bedhead

Total number of books owned: Who knows? If a bookcase holds around 40 books then I have maybe around 240.

Last book bought: Mary Poppins she wrote: the life of P.L. Travers.

Last book read: Am re-reading A long way down by Nick Hornby. I lurve this book.

Ten (Five times two) Books that Mean a Lot to You:

  1. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle
  2. Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  3. Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
  4. Eat Cake
  5. Good in Bed by Jen Weiner
  6. Girl's Poker Night
  7. A Bargain for Frances
  8. Julian, baby of the world
  9. The Bible
  10. Home girls: a black femenist anthology

(Jess at DGB added this one)

Five Books That You Just Don't Get:
  1. A prayer for Owen Meany: I have tried three times (at different ages of my life) to read this book. It just isn't for me.
  2. The Giving Tree. I have heard all the arguments that the tree is a Christ figure but I still don't like it.
  3. The Lord of the rings books. (I don't like the movies either.)
  4. Catherine called Birdy (UGH, the diary format was horrible!!)
  5. The Brothers Karamazov.
Five books you have read or re-read this year:
  1. A long way down by Nick Hornby
  2. It's called a breakup because it's broken
  3. Dairy Queen
  4. Off Season
  5. Walter the Farting Dog

If you haven't, and want to, I TAG YOU.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What have I done?????

I succumbed to peer pressure and joined Facebook. I'm in there under my real name, so you won't find me unless you know me. Somehow I didn't understand the "we'll be importing your yahoo! address book now" and so I have all kinds of friends that yes, I am "friends" with, but I might not have chosen seek them out. But it's cool.

and addicting.

very very addicting.

But on the one hand, it overwhelms me quick and I'm like oh, gotta get offline. Which forced me to go to Tazza for breakfast this morning--I walked.

Okay, time to get ready for the rest of the day. I may turn the computer OFF completely so that it doesn't call my sweet name. Cuz I'd like to putter around the garret today...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Who can it be now?*

I think it was Wednesday I found out about "phantom vibrations," which is when you feel your phone vibrating but it really isn't. Hmm, that must happen to only hard core folks, I thought.

Well, today, I felt one. My phone wasn't even IN my pocket. Fascinating.

________________
*Men at Work, the only Australian artists to reach the Number 1 position in album and singles charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Being alive...

Someone to hold you too close,
Someone to hurt you too deep,
Someone to sit in your chair,
To ruin your sleep.

Someone to need you too much,
Someone to know you too well,
Someone to pull you up short
And put you through hell.

Someone you have to let in,
Someone whose feelings you spare,
Someone who, like it or not,
Will want you to share
A little, a lot.

Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care,
Someone to make you come through,
Who'll always be there,
As frightened as you
Of being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody, hold me too close,
Somebody, hurt me too deep,
Somebody, sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody, need me too much,
Somebody, know me too well,
Somebody, pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive,
Make me alive.

Make me confused,
Mock me with praise,
Let me be used,
Vary my days.
But alone is alone, not alive.

Somebody, crowd me with love,
Somebody, force me to care,
Somebody, make me come through,
I'll always be there,
As frightened as you,
To help us survive
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!

(lyrics from the musical Company)

In high school I belonged to the Columbia tape club. You ordered stuff every month from their little booklet? (High school for me was a time of babysitting and lawn-mowing money. I had no car, so my money was disposable income burning a dainty hole in my pocket. I was the queen of earrings, and I belonged to a paperback book club and a music club. I went to the movies almost every weekend. Oh, if I could write a letter to my 16 year old self...)

Anyways. So one of the albums that I listened to ad naseum my senior year of high school was Barbara Streisand's Broadway Album. I haven't seen most of the musicals she sings from, but the songs became my soundtrack. The words, the music, became a part of my memory. This song has always reminded me of what a relationship is:

Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care,
Someone to make you come through,
Who'll always be there,
As frightened as you
Of being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive.

Mr. More than Ten Years Ago (different from Mr. Ten Years Ago) and I were very aware of how strangely matched we were. And so I coined a phrase: "Scared is sacred with two of the letter switched." We wouldn't be so scared if this wasn't something sacred.

One week from today marks six months to the day of my first date with Max. I had no idea that in those six months we would go through so much: two car accidents, one surgery, many colds, time together, time apart. The twinkly stage, where women at work said, "I thought so" when I told them I was dating someone. The not-so-twinkly stage(s), when it seemed all I could do was worry about his safety, his health, his well-being. The times in between fights, when I wondered, what is this I'm doing with my life?? And yet, when we said goodbye Wednesday morning, before I went off to work, we just beheld each other with our eyes. And it was good.

Some people figure out in six months that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. In my twenties, I dated two men who by or before the fourth date said I love you and by or before the fourth month we were planning "the rest of our lives." (One of those relationships only lasted three months.)

Those relationships seem like "playing house" to me now. And this one is "real." But the future? I have no idea. Which also seems more real. We don't know. Which is fine. You might think that as a woman who will be 36 on Wednesday that my biological clock would be ticking. Well, if it is, it's being kind to not pressure me. Because I won't be pressured.

Somebody, hold me too close,
Somebody, hurt me too deep,
Somebody, sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive,
Being alive.

I smile at the lyric "ruin my sleep." There have been so many times that Max has come home late and called me and I have feigned that I was awake, that he had NOT woken me up. Because I wanted so much to see him or just hear his voice on the telephone, so I let all the lights blaze in my apartment so that he wouldn't think I'd gone to bed when he pulled up in front of the house. (Because he lives on the FIRST floor.) (And I live on the THIRD floor.)

Yes. I am aware of being alive. The ups and the downs. The ins and the outs. Would I sacrifice the rest of my life for this man? I don't know. For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health? I don't have to think about that today, or tomorrow. I am grateful. In some ways, I think I have lived my life backwards--in my twenties I wanted so much to be married. I guess having lived that screech, that fingers on the blackboard of a relationship so wrong, why did we stay together those last six months, I am in no rush to make promises in this one. I just want to enjoy him sitting in my chair, most days.

**********

And I feel the need to give this an aside: I have learned, in this relationship, that dating is NOT the be all end all. My married friends are quick to tell me that marriage is HARDER than dating. Having my family here (we had a wonderful Thanksgiving) I realize how rich my life is--and that it still would be, were he not in it.

**********

But he IS in it, so I'll gladly greet him when he returns to da Burgh tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in Krakow...n'at

One year, my parents and brother and sister took a train to Krakow on Thanksgiving. It was raining. They went to a restaurant. It cemented in their mind as a memory.

So much so, that when I was screaming, a little over a week before the holiday, you want me to get a reservation for a restaurant on Thanksgiving, and my mother said, oh, I'm sure it won't be a problem...I remembered that the day previous, my father had waxed eloquently about that day and I said, to my mother, your memory, your imagining of a restaurant Thanksgiving, is in Krakow.

Um, last time I checked, Polish folks don't celebrate the AMERICAN holiday called Thanksgiving.


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

I am going to bed at 9:45 pm. I am EXHAUSTED. I almost forgot to post!!

Today at work felt like Saturday. You mean tomorrow IS Saturday? And I have to go to work?

Oh, right, I'm the girl that got two summer vacations this year, one to Montana and one to the Poconos. I'll shut up right now.

G'nite.

oh, and go see Enchanted. It is MARVELOUS. But PG--so more a Princess Bride than, say, Aladdin.

Rememberings: a visit down Memory Lane, Thanksgiving 2007

(Official Thanksgiving soundtrack: The Macy*s Parade on NBC)

My life is one of many doors, many floors, and scores of places. I cannot claim that I spent summer at the same camp every summer. Or that I went to the same school six years in a row. Or that I spent Thanksgiving with the same people every year, at the same place, in the same country.

Actually, the only Thanksgivings I remember are the ones I've spent in this country. I'm sure we celebrated Thanksgiving the four years we lived in Honduras, or the two Thanksgivings we were in Germany, but I don't remember them.*

My birthday is near to Thanksgiving, and every once in a while, on Thanksgiving, so I remember driving home from Thanksgiving in 7th grade with crimson red mittens from someone.

In college, my parents were in Poland. I spent Thanksgiving with aunts and uncles. So I never did see high school friends over Christmas or Thanksgiving. What's funny about this is that while I am a big person for reunions and tradition, I generally end up being friends with people who aren't into reunions and such. When I recently met up with a high school friend on a visit to New England, she said, "Oh, I never got together with anyone over the holidays."

My freshman year of college, my cousin Mark died. So my aunt drove to Pittsburgh to pick me up and then we drove to New Jersey. Even though my dad and Mark had been like brothers when they were boys, I alone was the representative for our family. A similar but opposite event was at the end of my sophomore year of college when my cousin Kate got married, my mother's sister's daughter.

My memories of Thanksgiving are of 311 Washington, at my aunt's house. Or of sitting on the floor at my grandparent's, watching the Macy*s parade. Or of going to the movies with my other aunt and uncle. I now have one aunt (my mom's sister) and one uncle (my dad's brother-in-law.) My uncle recently remarried, so I guess I have a step-aunt? But no one lives in the same house anymore. We don't have anyone in Washington, NJ anymore. My uncle still lives in State College, PA, but not in the house that my cousins moved to in the late eighties.

I think (I guess I'll find out over turkey today) that my parents are selling the house I grew up in. Welll, when I say I grew up in that house, I mean it was the house I lived in for the all important preschool and high school years. (Well, include two years of junior high--or was it intermediate school?) They currently live in a lovely house in Northern Virginia, probably not the house they'll stay in once my mother retires. (My sister and I, traditionalists at heart, are in denial on this one.) But my dad LOVES Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania doesn't tax pensions...a girl can hope.

Let's see...other years? Well, for about three or so years my mom's side of the family gathered at a golf club for a buffet. It might have been in New Jersey, but was probably in Pennsylvania, in the Easton/Allentown-ish area. My grandmother would be there, with her health aide, a woman from Ghana. Often we would be joined by the former health aides of my great aunt Margaret, who died in 1995. All these women have become a part of our extended family. I don't think they've been to any family weddings, but they've been present at all the funerals: my aunt Margaret, my grandmother, my Uncle Klaus.

My most treasured part of this trip was the stop we would make at a canal near Easton, PA. We would walk along the canal. One year my mother and I made this trip--I honestly couldn't tell you where the rest of my family was--and on the way home I needed supper (I always need supper, even on Thanksgiving) and we stopped at a truck stop.

The years I lived in Pittsburgh and worked retail, my family would sometimes come to Pittsburgh and we'd have turkey in my tiny garret. (They came to me because I'd have to work on Black Friday.)

This year was a mystery. I had a snafu with my vacation days and this year has been a catch-up with my negative comp time. So I have Thanksgiving off, that's it. I have Christmas off, that's it. (Fortunately because the library is closed for Christmas eve, I can make it into a four day weekend.) I was thrilled when my parents said they'd be coming up.

[Did you notice the change in soundtrack? For the first time this morning, I muted the Macy*s parade--someone is doing a really bad version of "Give my Regards to Broadway" on the M&M float.]

And, yes, as a single person who lives in two small rooms in a third floor walk up, I was thrilled when I successfully made--wait for it--reservations. We are dining at the Sheraton Station Square. I'm hoping we have a river view--Station Square is up against the Monongahela River, or "the Mon" for short. My parents and sister are going to be staying at the Sheraton, which marks a new hotel experience for us all. (The tradition has been to stay at the Ramada which became a Doubletree a few years ago.)

Well, thanks for walking along side me down Mem'ry Ln. Happy Thanksgiving!!

____________________
*stay tuned tomorrow for my parent's memory of Thanksgiving in Krakow, Poland.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

another in a series...

...so I got pulled over for speeding in a school zone. I did NOT get a ticket. I was however sobbing from the adrenoline rush by the time I reached NH Sally's house to pick up yesterday's lunch leftovers for my breakfast.

Let's talk about something else, shall we? Something not related to anything automotive...which, I am taking the next coupla days OFF of thinking about anything car related. I am not taking my car to shops for bids, I am not calling the warranty company to find out about getting my door fixed, I am not stewing over the fact that I'm missing some tail lights. All that can wait until MONDAY thankyouverymuch. I may have to work my regular job every day except for Thanksgiving and Sunday, but I see no need to get in a tizzy over the hunk of steel that gets me to and fro. And c'mon, no one will be around anyways.

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

Max's parents have been around as he has been recuperating. I swear, I feel like a fourteen year old as Max and I hold hands and converse quietly as his dad sits on the other side of the room, reading.

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

Oh, this is funny. (Which according to Deborah Tannen, is how women start all jokes.)

Five tips for a woman
  1. It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
  2. It is important that a man makes you laugh.
  3. It is important to find a man you can count on and doesn't lie to you.
  4. It is important that a man loves you and spoils you.

and the most important tip of all:

5. It is important that these four men don't know each other.

*********

I think we are going to see Bella over the weekend (we being the Louise family minus my brother. The 'rents and Bird arrive sometime tomorrow before our 1pm buffet lunch at the Sheraton Station Square.)

**********

Can you tell I'm totally not focused on the fact that tomorrow is Thanksgiving?

But I am thankful. For so many things. Let's just leave it at that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sarah Louise's not completely horrible day...

Gritting my teeth, things I am thankful for about today:

  • We had a hymn sing at Women's Bible Study. I love me some old tyme hymns...
  • On the way back to work from picking up my car (no the door is not fixed but this is a THANKFUL list) I went to the grocery store...
  • ....where I bought a box of Luigi's Real Italian Ice. YUM!
  • and I couldn't not buy the red and white Woman's Day, subtitled "Live Well every day" and with JOY written in a Christmas script green. Somehow I believe them when they claim that my life will be cheerier...
  • I seem to have the office to myself this evening. And my in-box is crammed with books--YAY!
  • did I mention the yummy Italian Ice?
  • In less than 48 hrs I get to see my Bird and my parents. (Bird is my sister.)
  • I mentioned the Italian ice? I have like one bite left...and 5 more cups in the freezer!
  • I get to sleep in my own bed tonight (we weren't sure if the car would be ready. Well, we're not talking about that, but I can drive it home.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

heard this on my radio while driving through the McDonald's drive thru

It's raining. And I feel jerked around by all the changes in plans, it seems like each day we have another version of "what's going to happen tomorrow." I don't deal well with that sort of thing...

So here's a Jo Dee Messina song. What she liked about these lyrics is that they could fit any situation. It's not about losing your dog, or your job, or that you have to be crawling into your car from the passenger side door, or that your boyfriend's plans change on a day by day basis depending on how well he feels. There is so much out of my control right now. I have a meltdown at least once a day, whether it be actual tears or a nap from emotional exhaustion.

But in a few days, we celebrate Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for? So many things. But right now, just bring on the rain.

Another day has almost come and gone
Can’t imagine what else could wrong
Sometimes I’d like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war (‘cause)

Tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

It’s almost like the hard times circle ‘round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing - but I’m not dead

Tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

I’m not gonna let it get me down
I’m not gonna cry
And I’m not gonna lose any sleep tonight

Off to get ready for tomorrow...

infomercials confessions...

Has anyone else seen the infomercial for the H20 Mop? I so want one...

but I'm afraid that everyone in my real life (Mom, NH Sally) (it's amazing how two people can occupy "everyone" in one's brain) will LAUGH and LAUGH.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I cannot live without books. (Thomas Jefferson)

Just finished Story of a Girl, by Sara Zarr. Wowza. Very similar in edginess, healingness of My life as a girl by Elizabeth Mosier. Books like these make me think, yeah, I could write one of those. And I'd like to correct some reviews: even though Sara Z. grew up in the town that is portrayed in SOAG, she clearly says it is not autobiographical. (I'll link that up later.)

I took a nap this afternoon, which is why I'm up now. I suppose this could count for my Sunday post, and it might just.

For now, it's off to brush the teeth again (I got the munchies and had some pretzels and pistacios). Midnight munchies brought to you by the letter P.

I might go to the movies tomorrow afternoon. Or not. I have videos from the library. Prime was a real Kleenex-by-the sofa movie, I'm hoping Birdcage is as funny as everyone says it is.

Ciao!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday's child has to work for his living...

...but the child that was born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blythe, good and gay. (Anon.)

That Anon. sure has written a lot!

Today marks the first Saturday I've had off in a squillion years! Because even when I went to DC for the Book Festival in September, that was "work related." Yes, listening to Diane Ackerman, author of The zookeeper's wife speak, was work! I love my job!

But today I am going on a day long retreat. And lemme tell you, the woman who has no vacation time is working Mondays for a month (a few hours here, a few hours there, etc.) to have today off. [Venting is an important part of good mental health, and I've had to get that off my chest for a month now.] [Because I know there will be people tomorrow at church who didn't go and they'll say, oh, {insert excuse here.} And now that I've vented to you, dear internets, I will just smile sweetly.]

And if ever there was someone who needed a day of rest and retreat and to be driven in someone else's car, it would be this chick, the chick who

  • Yesterday morning met with the husband of the woman who hit my car's passenger door. He'll pay for it, I just have to go around and get two estimates. My father says, get three, get one from a shop your insurance works with.
  • Spoke with my insurance company twice--I'm really getting to know them well. I loved it when they called me and didn't say, "Can you talk" (which I generally say to folks) as I was at the children's reference desk, and yes, did want to talk, but had to get another librarian when the children's reference desk phone started ringing.
And I can hear you, gee, that's rough, but hey, that's life.

No, no, there's more!!

I left my lights on (this car doesn't have a ding ding reminder like my old car, Melody, may she rest in peace). Yes, and I didn't go out to lunch. (Can you see where this is going?) My car, when I unlocked the passenger side (remember the driver side door is caput?) had no door light. Um, that's odd. I don't even crawl in completely, turn the key, NOTHING.

Yes, my battery was dead. Dead as a doornail. (Where did that expression come from?)

Another librarian was leaving at the same time and bless her she had bumper cables. But it didn't work, either we had no idea what we were doing or my battery was really dead. But AAA came pretty quickly after I called them. It was a miracle when Lucy returned to life. I will have to reset the clock and (huh?) all the radio stations, BUT WHO CARES? I didn't need a tow, and that was golden, esp. since the guy didn't show up in a tow truck.

Then I went over to Auto Advantage, because I'd been smelling an oil smell. The guy there said, geesh, you need a new oil gasket cover. Which is so much better news than he could have given me.

(You got that, right? This all happened on FRIDAY.)

I then went to the Etna Pizza Hut, which has notoriously slow and inefficient service. But since I'd ordered my pizza at 6:15 and it was now almost 7:30, I knew mine was one of the ones in the case, if only I could get someone to help me????

I made conversation with the guy next to me, who hadn't ordered yet. (In situations like this, it helps make me less stressed if I can talk about anything else, even football.)

There was a "GO STEELERS" sign that had Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Kaufmanns as the two advertisers. Um, Kaufmanns is no longer. So you know that's gotta be an old sign. (This is an example of small talk.)

When finally I got my pizza and a bottle of water, I sat right down on one of their benches and ate a piece and took my dinner meds. Ah, much better. I even offered Mr. Who-now-had-ordered a piece. He declined. I was serious, but hey, more for me.

Then I made sure my box was tightly shut (I've had the experience of a not tightly shut box and making a turn and the pizza went all over the car floor.) This day had had enough drama, spilled pizza was NOT going to be a part of it.

Oh, then I realized I needed gas. So I drove home, knowing that my nearest to home Sunoco usually has the highest prices. I gaped when I saw the LOW LOW price of $3.07 per gallon. WHEN DID THREE DOLLARS AND SEVEN CENTS BECOME A LOW PRICE??? But hey, I was EXPECTING $3.11, so it was the first pure good news of that hour. (We were still in the 7 o'clock hour.) I filled my tank, and guess how much?

I'll tell you. My 13+ gallon tank fill-'er-up cost me FORTY BUCKS!! I did NOT print a reciept, thankyouverymuch.

But hey, the gas tank is on the same side as Melody, that is a good thing.

Did I mention that my sweet man of a boyfriend gave me keys to his apartment? So with my pizza in hand, I did NOT climb up to my third floor walk up. I opened his apartment, which was warm, and sat at the cleaned off table (because his mom was just here) and while eating my pizza (which was still warm) I read from a Calvin and Hobbes collection he had lying there.

Then, because we never spend time in his apartment, I looked at his books (mostly textbooks) and music (mostly classical).

I did not, I repeat not, lick his spoons (the link will take you to a vintage Friends episode, "The one where Joey moves out.")

Then I came upstairs, discovered that the one moment my phone was NOT in my hip pocket, my mom called (the phone was on "vibrate" all day) so we shopped online a bit, since she knows if I don't like something I won't wear it. We looked at nightgowns and slippers.

Also, she told me how proud she was of me. Which was nicer than Kelly, who said, you must win the prize for girl with the worst car luck in one week. (Although it is true.) (What do I win?) (Is it chocolate or cash? Cuz I'll take either.)

Off to ready myself for a retreat. Tomorrow I'll take a walk, I wrote it on the calendar.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday I'm in love

...or not.

I was going to post pictures, but there's been some sort of glitch and the software that brings in my photos is somehow not on my computer anymore.

And I'm NOT in the mood to fix it now.

Max is out of town til after Thanksgiving, but he did leave me a key for his apartment. I miss him so. Ah, he is a sweet man. I might go sit in his living room just to channel him or something.

This morning I get to talk to the husband of the woman who hit my car. Yes, the woman who hit my car is still just a voice on the phone, I may never even meet her...he'll meet me at work before work. So I'll go to the chiropractor a little earlier. Yum.

***********

Let's change it up, shall we? I haven't gone for a walk for ages and today is not going to be the first. I'll put it on my calendar for Sunday, okay?

I was going to change it up to a better mood, a more thankful position. Let's try again.

***********

I'm thankful that I can take a shower. Which I'm going to do, right now.

Tonight: Light up Night. I'll probably go, it's my favorite holiday traditon.

Tomorrow: a day of Rest and Renewal with the OD folks--oh how I need this!!

**********

Oksanna Bauil is thirty today--oh wow. I AM getting old.

**********

I'm thankful that librarians don't have to wear ice skates to work. It would be sort of difficult unless the floor became an ice rink...

This being thankful thing isn't going so well. Off to get that shower...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

and if you don't have time to write content, post someone else's list...

[Note: I am playing by the NaMoPoBlo rules. I worked on this last night, so that's why I also posted something written this morning. --ed.]


From: The Oprah Winfrey Show: "What Should I Do with My Life?"


The one big question most of us ask ourselves is "What should I do with my life?" For most people, it's very difficult to answer. Use these simple suggestions from people who have successfully answered this question and are now living the life of their dreams. Be inspired to pursue your dreams and discover the impact you are meant to have on the world!


Ten Steps to Discovering Your Passion


1. Listen to your inner voice. It takes practice to hear your true desires. Your passion will often come as a whisper or serendipitous event that reminds you of what's important and what makes you happy. (My inner voice says I want coffee and a chocolate covered biscotti.)


2. Recognize crisis. Does your job feel like a grind? Are you spending your free time on something you love? Take an opportunity to appraise your happiness. One of the keys to living a purposeful life is seeing that you feel unfulfilled. (Eating chocolate in my free time is fulfulling...)


3. Dwell in possibilities. Your passions could lead you in a lot of different directions to find fulfillment. Explore your life and unearth all of the things that bring you joy. (My consuming passion for chocolate should take me to farflung places like...Hershey, PA.)


4. Tune out the voice of the world. Make the strongest voice in your life your own. Finding your purpose could mean going against the advice of close friends and family. Take a leap of faith and trust in your dreams. (Does that mean I should take a leap of faith and take the next week off work and go to Hershey, PA?)


5. Decide what kind of person you want to be. Rather than concentrating on what you want to do, think in terms of what kind of person you want to be. Let that guide your choices. (I want to be a person who eats dark chocolate and truffle Hershey kisses.)


6. Bring your heart to your work. It takes passion and courage to find a profession that you love. Spending the time to discover that job is time well spent—it could make all the difference in your life! (I like books. I read books to children. I help people find books. I catalog books so people can find them...I think my heart is pretty near to where I work--the only thing missing is DARK CHOCOLATE and truffle Hershey kisses--but my co-workers are pretty good at providing chocolate for special occasions...)


7. Trust transformation. Hard times are a natural part of life. Don't be afraid to change because of your experiences. Instead, let them shape and steer your course. (I am not afraid of transforming into a person who considers chocolate a priority and Hershey my personal Mecca.)


8. Have no regrets. According to the experts, it's easy to regret the time you've spent being unhappy or unfulfilled. Realize that during that time, you developed the skills you need to succeed! (I have no regrets concerning chocolate.)


9. Take the first step. Destiny can't help you until you are willing to step out of your comfort zone. Get prepared to make changes in your life … and start making them! (Changes I need to make in my life--planning a trip to Hershey, PA.)


10. Be patient. Finding your life purpose won't happen overnight. In every life, there's a fast road and a slow road. Most of us take the slow road! Keep your commitment and take small steps to make it happen. (Patience might mean I have to wait, since next week includes a family holiday and I probably should stay in Pittsburgh since my family is planning to visit me here. If I went to Hershey, they'd be pretty confused. Plus, I have no vacation time left over for the year 2007.)


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


Now, I am not REALLY this chocolate obsessed, but it was fun to pretend. That's what I love about blogging. I can pretend to be someone else, if only for 10 paragraphs...

Wish List (things I'd blog about if I had time...)

...the difference between the kind of self improvement that is visual and the kind that doesn't meet the naked eye (while I am grateful I have never had real weight problems, getting saner isn't something you can measure tangibly. No one ever says, "wow, you lost a lot of emotional baggage, didn't you?") Please don't send hate mail!!

...seasons, folks, seasons. So what if last year I posted more pictures? I don't see blogging as a stand up routine, a performance. I see it as a relationship I keep building with myself and my 2.5 readers. Comparison, even with my own past stuff, is death.

...I'd post more pictures. I did take a picture of Lucy (from her good side) today while on an errand.

...the books I'm reading, have read, want to read. The Camel Bookmobile looked good but hasn't caught me yet. Consumer Reports Used Cars 2003 and 2006 aren't really what I consider thrilling, but very helpful. I've been rereading Unclaimed Treasures by Patty MacLachlan. I remember hearing her say that she'd write everything in italics if she could, because italics make the writing seem more important.

...I have started making collages again. I keep wanting to write about the art piece I did for Lent (um, that was in the Spring) on Simon of Cyrene, the stations of the cross.

Off to eat dinner.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You know...

...you've been blogging too long when your computer guesses three letters into the vw for you.

...you've been doing Mother Goose too long when you forget half your program including the verse "if you're angry and you know it stomp your feet" to your closing song.

*******

This is a CRAZY week. It just is. Today is the last Mother Goose until February--"the day before Valentine's Day, so bring chocolate!" Last night I fell asleep in my clothes, woke up at 4 am, put on my nightgown, and slept through til 8:14. I called the chiropractor, got on the schedule for 8:30, pulled some clothes on, drove to Etna, and waited through til 8:45 before I was seen. Sitting in the reception area, we had lots of fun, there is another Sarah Louise that two weeks in a row has had her Wednesday appt. same time as me and we were giving the one guy in there a hard time, just talking about "men." He took our bait and it was a regular comedy routine. At 9:05, I called work, drove over to Burger King for drive thru, parked, doctored up my coffee, and drove to work.

Before Mother Goose, I told Sally I was going to observe her "Kangaroo" Storytime tomorrow (I never have watched her and I need to make up hours.) We penciled in a Snowman party for Dec 19, and then I went to "meet my public." We had at least 45 folks (grandmas, grandpas, moms, kids, and two boys who could not stop laughing.)

Daysgoby asked if I'd share my apples and kielbasi recipe. So here ya go.

Sarah Louise's Kielbasi and Apples

6 apples (or whatever you have--I made it this time with three)
3/4 cup brown sugar (or 4 shot glasses if your measuring cup is dirty)
2 kielbasi (they come that way)

Peel and cut the apples into 16ths. Set aside.
Cut the kielbasi in half longways and then into strips. Fry them a little bit until they get a little brown in a fry pan.
Put the kielbasi and the apples in a pan (11 by whatever), spread on the brown sugar, and bake for about 30-45 minutes. (You're trying to cook the apples, b/c the kielbasi is already cooked.)

This can be improvised, which I did this time by nuking the apples the night before and then putting them all together in a bowl in the fridge so they'd be ready for the crock pot to sit during the memorial service until they came back for the luncheon/wake. So they were in the crock pot on Low for 2 hours? I have no idea how they turned out, but I'm guessing good.

(This is based on a Joy of Cooking recipe called "Sausages and Apples".)

Somebody go have a drink for me (Badger?) ...today over my lunch I go to the dealership to see if they can get my driver's side door to work. I'm tired of playing Bo Duke. (Actually I just crawl over the passenger's side.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

another tsunami Tuesday, I wish it was Sunday...*

Well, today is a big day. People (me or someone close to me) are doing these kinds of things:

  • going to a funeral, wondering how week-day parking is going to work at the teeny tiny parking lot at Bellefield. on the way, I'll get quarters at the laundromat so I can park in the nearby Pitt-owned parking lot.
  • (censored)
  • traveling to far off locales such as Holland (oh, Michigan, not the country.)
  • working a regular day (me and my mom and my sister.)
  • being thankful that Thanksgiving dinner has been found, reservations have been made--I knew my chiropractor's receptionist would know a place and she did!!
***************

Friday is one of my favorite Pittsburgh traditions, Light Up Night. I'll have to play it by ear about actually going, though. They have fireworks, and ice skating, and, oh it is just the kind of thing I love. Lots of people trolling the streets...gingerbread house contests...

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

Oh, and for a wonderful post on Thanksgiving and a heart warming story about a boy, click here. (Dear Reader column, plus a link to pictures of crafts made by the boy.)

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

I dreamt last night that the friend who used to work at Fox books whose daughter is named Lucy was in Pittsburgh and we got to chat in a parking garage for a bit. It was so real that I forgot it was a dream until now. So hi, T, if you are reading!

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

Still listening to WOW Hymns. Music is such a healing force. Here's a link to the story behind "It is well with my soul."

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

The playlist for my birthday fĂȘte:

  • Bob James, Touchdown (the theme to the show Taxi is the first cut)
  • Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Harvest Home
  • Steve Tyrell, A New Standard. (Everyone asked about this one, Tyrell is WONDERFUL. I think this album is how I got into listening to standards.)

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

I just realized something. I blog the way some people smoke. It helps me relax. So take this as an episode of me nervously chain-blogging as I deal with the stimuli around me.

_______________
*paraphrase of Manic Monday, which I had forgotten Prince wrote for the Bangles.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I don't believe in jinxes....

...but if I did, today would prove them:

All excited for breakfast -- nope, that's not going to happen!
Day has improved (see last post) -- my car got sideswiped while parked at NH Sally's. The good news: IT WASN'T MY FAULT!

Finally getting home to Max and getting a hug...priceless.

I'm off to peel apples for a dish I make with apples and kielbasa and brown sugar for a funeral tomorrow.

It's time to cue Jimmy Buffet: "If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."

Topsy turvy is back on track...

What a day it has been! No details, sorry, but things are looking up. The best advice I got (well, the only advice, since no one was home except EE Sally) was "why don't you make a collage?" Which I did. A few more phone calls, I'll be off to therapy...

take thou our minds, dear LORD...

oh this day is already upside down and it's not even 11 am. I'll be withholding details, you'll forgive me I know. I am sitting here with WOW Hymns on the boom box sitting next to the computer and trying to figure out what to do first and all I can think of is just sit. And listen to these people sing about how God has it figured out.

About the post title: I don't really know this hymn, but the title always makes me laugh, and I need that right now.

I feel like a lost sheep right now, so the song "Saviour, like a Shepherd lead us" fits the bill.

BAAAAAAAA...

This is another one, and for some reason not in my hymnal, but the Internet solves that: Great is thy faithfulness...

Because if I wasn't bleeting like a sheep, I would be complaining like a four year old. "It's NOT fair!"

BAAAAAAAAA...

Best/worst

Best: I have a new (to me) car that is really cute and zippy.
Worst: Last night I had to crawl across to the passenger side as the driver's door won't open. I do not have time for this folks!!
Best: I DO have a "bumper to bumper" warranty.

Best: Today is Max's birthday and we're going out for breakfast
Worst: I hope he likes what I got him...

Best: My folks are coming to town for Thanksgiving
Worst: I have to find a restaurant that isn't "booked solid."
Best: My parents are too cute, their image of a "restaurant Thanksgiving" is when they took the train to Krakow (as in POLAND) and had a great meal. Um, the last time I checked, Poles don't celebrate the American holiday Thanksgiving. When was the last time they lived overseas? Um, like ten years or more ago? I'm grateful (which is why it's a best) that this makes me grin.
Worst: I have to find a restaurant that isn't "booked solid."

Best: I had an intimate birthday party. Last year was wonderful, but I didn't really have any conversations, well, except for with Max.
Best: I thanked him for coming to my birthday party last year (i.e. six months before I considered him dateable) and he said, "Well, it's about time." He makes me smile. And laugh.
and that is a best best best best.

Today is SUPER-busy. So I better get on it. I have to wrap gifts before I go off to the chiropractor. Oh, and figure out what to wear, and...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What's in a name?

for this one post, the names HAVE NOT been changed. You'll see why.

Last night, the first two guests to the party of a woman named Susie were Susan and Erica. The second guest was a man named Andrew. So far, so good.

The next guests were Sue and Eric. Already we have three Susan-derived names, now two men, and two Eric-derived names.

The next guests were Ross and Laura. Another man, two new names.

Next was Mayvis. An old fashioned name, and unique to this party.

Then we had Roland and Laura. Another Laura, another R name for the male contingent.

A lull in the doorbells and then we get Sandy and Russ. Another R name for the male contingent, and the Russ/Ross similarity gets some titters from the peanut gallery.

(It also reminds me of an episode of Friends, but what else is new?) (I linked the script. If you want a synopsis, google "Friends the one with Russ" (just linked to Wikipedia article.)

Then Renee came, our first woman with an R name.

Fun was had by all. I'd post pictures but I'm not as tech savvy as blackbird. (Who rocks, in case you were wondering.)

If I was as much a geek as some of the (unnamed heretofore) members of the party, I'd do a bunch of Venn diagrams for you. When I say unnamed heretofore, I mean I hadn't mentioned they were geeks, or pointed out which ones. That would require an entire list again, by level of geek degree.

As it was, we had five men, nine women, three serious piano players, three moms, one grandma, two married couples, six people who had said "I do," (two husbands in absentia), and a partridge in a pear tree. It was wonderful.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

How I named my car (pictures forthcoming I promise)

A. "the germ of an idea"
Mary Chapin Carpenter is one of my favorite singer/songwriters.

B. "how we got there, part I"
My new car has a cassette not CD player. (I only just got a CD player in my car last year for Christmas, and it increased the value of the car when I got the insurance settlement...)

C. "how we got there, part II"
So this morning on the way out the door, I fortuitously grabbed one of my favorite tapes, MCC's album, "Come on, come on." The first song is "The Hard Way" which summarizes my life, getting my Master's degree in Hard Knocks.

The last stanza goes like this:

Caught up in our little lives, there's not a lot left over
I see what's missing in your eyes; you're searching for that field of clover
So show a little inspiration, show a little spark
Show the world a little light when you show it your heart
We've got two lives, one we're given and the other one we make
And the world won't stop, and actions speak louder
Listen to your heart, and your heart might say
Everything we got, we got the hard (everything we got, we got the hard way)
Everything we got, we got the hard way
(Because the world won't stop) hang on, baby...

Complete lyrics here, at cowboylyrics.com.

Well, I thought, this album is what this journey to this car has been. (Another song on the album is "The Bug:"

Because sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug
Sometimes it all falls together baby, sometimes you're a fool in love
Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger baby, sometimes you're the ball
Sometimes it all comes together baby, sometimes you're gonna lose it all

D. "The name."
And on the flip side, the first track is "Passionate Kisses," which I first heard sung by (also the writer of said song) Lucinda Williams back in 1989. Which is also around the time this car was being put together. "Passionate Kisses" also sums up my current journey:

Is it too much to ask?
I want a comfortable bed that won't hurt my back
Food to fill me up
And warm clothes and all that stuff

Shouldn't I have this,
Shouldn't I have this?
Shouldn't I have all of this, and

Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you

Is it too much to demand...
Pens that won't run out of ink
And cool quiet and time to think

So as I meandered down Rte. 8, listening to MCC, and thinking I didn't want to name my car Mary, I thought, Lucinda is a nice name, and Lucy is a good nickname. Plus, Lucy is a name full of connotations, including the Charles Schultz Peanuts character. And a dear friend from when I worked at Fox Books has a daughter named Lucy.

E. "Google confirmation."
And having chosen the name, I had to Google its meaning. Lucy means light, so that's a good name. Lucinda has something to do with the Roman goddess that brings light to newborns, I'm not touching THAT with a ten foot pole.

Happy Arriving Day, Lucinda dear!

Friday, November 09, 2007

On not expecting stones and snakes...

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-10) [from the Sermon on the Mount, so yeah, that's Jesus talking. Why red instead of green, I don't know. But when Jesus talks, his words come out in red. Maybe it's the whole blood thing. I like to think it's b/c it's one color away from PINK, my favorite color.]

This has been a rollercoaster week. One only has to read my post from earlier this week to see that the vice of worry was pinching me to a point where I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I love Paula's picture...

Now, buying the car did not solve all my problems, but any psych doctor will tell you why you take psych drugs--if you are so depressed that you are crying all the time for no reason, or you have shut down, the drugs will create a buffer or a mini boost so that you can think about why you are depressed and work on talking about and solving those problems.

But if you know what your problems are, more drugs won't help, that's when either your life needs to improve or you need more talk therapy. Thankfully for me, getting the car gave my endorphins the boost they needed so that I could stop being the needy crying clingy woman that I became this week. (Be glad you only know me in cyberspace. I was also a bit of a bitch.)

So now is the time for housekeeping, both in my apartment (after my allergist appointment today I am going to pump myself full of antihistamines) and in my life, my heart.

BUT FIRST, IT IS the time to CELEBRATE!! Tonight will be a cleaning party in my apartment, and tomorrow, the party to celebrate me turning 29 again...I mean 36. A friend told me she starts saying she's whatever age she's going to be a month ahead of time, so that it's not such a shock when she gets there. Well, I need a party to soften the blow, and I NEVER EVER thought I'd say that. I love birthdays, and I love the fact that I get to be alive another year of my life. And I wouldn't want to be 29 again for all the tea in China (or even a million bucks, either in currency or actual antlered ones.) But I have to say, I sure thought that at 36 I'd have a minivan with three tots and a diamond ring with its matching gold band. It is often difficult for me to sit with my single friends who are 25 or 26 who say, oh I wish I was married. Because I get all righteous (hopefully only in my mind) and get the older sister syndrome. You don't get to get married sister until I do!

Which is ridiculous. I have many younger friends who are wonderful moms and wives. At 35, almost 36, I see how much I still have to learn about relationships, and how GRATEFUL I am that I don't have a minivan, etc. because I would be also in divorce court. I am NOT ready. The fine gentleman that I am dating is not ready. (Which makes us perfect for each other, right now.)

Whew! Those are some strong words. Here, go read an article by Camerin, a writer who is also my age and not married. The article is called "Remedial Relationships."

Writing is bizarre. How, in writing about THANKS FOR THE CAR, ABBA DADDY did I get to the heart of my heart ache of a golden band on my left hand?

Oh, look, time to get ready for another jam packed day.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key.*

Today's single step was to drive to the dealership, ask about the car, and BUY IT! NH Sally gets big points for shoving me out of her kitchen, saying just go look at it. If you like it, put down some money. They do this every day. She is worth her weight in gold, that woman.

Pictures will be forthcoming.

Answers to your questions:
1990 Honda Accord, Red.
Yes, the timing belt was changed at 82K miles.
It currently has 131K miles.

I am extremely happy and jazzed that I did the deed all by myself. I had advice galore, but when it came down to buying the car, I did it. ME, by myself. Single woman buys car!

Tomorrow will be the details: dropping off the rental, picking up MY CAR, signing all the paperwork, etc.

________
*Edward Abbey

Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.*

I love Gmail. For many reasons. Today the reason is that it picked up on the "meets world" part of "Badger meets world" and so one of the ads was for a shirt that says "Everything I need to know in life was taught to me by Mr. Feeny." The ad featured this clip (God bless YouTube!).



I also like this t-shirt which says, "I am away from the computer right now." The sales copy reads, "Wear this shirt when you go out and people won't have to check out your away message to see your current status." At $6.95, I think this could be a great Christmas gift. My sister and I could have matching shirts. But I'll not buy it today, today I am "shopping like a Bradshaw" (Well, if you know my real last name, insert it where Bradshaw is now.) My father reminded me of a time when I purchased $200 shoes while shopping with Mr. Ten Years Ago. I DO NOT REMEMBER THAT AT ALL. (There are blessings to not remembering things.)

The point was, go look at the car, then go back. I think my car guru can go with me Saturday. My dad used his full array of quoting skills to preface telling me this. When Ford was elected President, after he said, I'm a Ford, not a Lincoln, he said, "Now we must have a blunt conversation among friends." (Of course, I am not so much in love with Google search at the moment, as I can't find the quote anywhere. But it's a good quote...)

The tears seem to have dried up. I have no guarantee they will stay at bay. I have clean dishes though...in an hour I need to be wearing black at the LAC meeting (Library Advisory Council, which is all the directors.) I'm not presenting, I'm going as moral support for Karen, our fearless leader in all things Children Librarian here in Allegheny County (not the Carnegie Libraries, all the independent or "district" libraries.)

I haven't even eaten the whole of my breakfast, which is a piece of Labriola's pumpkin pie. Shame on me.

On shopping like a Bradshaw, a memory of Kiki's mom. We went shopping at Kaufmann's once, she was preparing to go on a cruise. I had never gone shopping with someone who didn't buy a thing!! This was years ago, and of course Kaufmann's is now Macy's, but I can still see us walking the halls of the downtown store, and me thinking, "Is she going to buy anything?" But my aunt was a shrewd shopper. So, that story makes more sense to me in the "shop like you're a descendant of Wocka-poppa."

I guess I'll go find some black clothes. I may call my therapist to see if she has extra time in the next day or so. (Where I am right now, more drugs won't help, says my psychiatrist.)

Go do good. And laugh a few laughs for me. I think laughter is a sub-set of prayer, which right now just makes me want to cry. Are you sure it's November?

This too shall pass.

_________________
*(William Daniels as Mr. George Feeny in Boy Meets World): Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.
Topanga: Don't you mean "do well"?
Mr. George Feeny: No, I mean "do good".

Refresh, refresh, refresh....

By now you know I get a lot of email newsletters and such. The one I read just now is one from Christianity Today about books.

"Refresh, Refresh" follows two young, rough-and-tumble boys' efforts to make sense of their world after their fathers have been sent to Iraq. They do it in the only way that they know how—boxing to exhaustion in the backyard, playing a hunting prank on football players, and pummeling the recruitment officer before he can declare whose father it is who has died. With their computer mouses, they click refresh, refresh, to see if, possibly—just maybe—their fathers have replied to their emails, so the boys can know their dads are still alive. (Elissa Elliot, Making sense of a broken world, CT book of the week.)

As a woman who is spent beyond her last dollar -- thank goodness for my savings account -- and who is experiencing that moment where people seem shut down, I can totally relate. It seems like I spent an entire day at the computer (drama queen) hitting refresh refresh.

Here's a poem that I found in college. It speaks to where I am and where some people in my life are right now.

Childhood Is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Nobody that matters, that is. Distant relatives of course
Die, whom one never has seen, or has seen for an hour,
And they gave one candy in a pink-and-green striped bag, or a jack-knife,
And went away, and cannot really be said to have lived at all.

And cats die. They lie on the floor and lash their tails,
And their reticent fur is suddenly all in motion
With fleas that one never knew were there,
Polished and brown, knowing all there is to know,
Trekking off into the living world.
You fetch a shoe-box, but it's much too small, because she won't curl up now:
So you find a bigger box, and bury her in the yard, and weep.

But you do not wake up a month from then, two months,
A year from then, two years, in the middle of the night
And weep, with your knuckles in your mouth, and say
Oh God! Oh God!

Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies that matters,
--mothers and fathers don't die.


And if you have ever said, "For heaven's sake, must you always be kissing a person?"
Or, "I do wish to gracious you'd stop tapping on the window with your thimble!"
Tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow if you're busy having fun,
Is plenty of time to say, "I'm sorry, mother."

To be grown up is to sit at the table with people who have died, who neither listen nor speak;
Who do not drink their tea, though they always said
Tea was such a comfort.

Run down into the cellar and bring up the last jar of raspberries; they are not tempted.

Flatter them, ask them what was it they said exactly
That time, to the bishop, or to the overseer, or to Mrs. Mason;
They are not taken in.
Shout at them, get red in the face, rise,
Drag them up out of their chairs by their stiff shoulders and shake them and yell at them;
They are not startled, they are not even embarrassed;
they slide back into their chairs.

Your tea is cold now.
You drink it standing up,
And leave the house.



(Edna St. Vincent Millay, thanks to someone's online Shrine to this particular queen of poetry.)

The colors are self explanatory except to say that when I found this poem, I thought that these would be the colors it would be printed in, if one were to print it graphically.

I wept on and off all day. I'm under a ton of stress and I have to just soldier on. Sleep is NOT God--all the sleep in the world is not going to heal this wound, this brokenness that comes to everyone--it doesn't matter if you're crying because your kitten died, or your car, or your dad is in Iraq. And some people don't cry when they're stressed, they just shut down. That is what this poem is about, the people who are crying and the people that are shut down. (Guess which one I am?)

You're gonna cry, cry, cry and you'll cry alone,
When everyone's forgotten and you're left on your own.
You're gonna cry, cry, cry.

(Johnny Cash, "Cry, Cry Cry")


All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. No matter what. (Dame Julian of Norwich. Madeleine L'Engle coined the "no matter what.")

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Busted! (and some cute shoes)

Who do I do stuff for? I blog for comments, I work the polls b/c it's a fun way to get paid to help folks vote, I don't clean my apartment thoroughly until I have a party. (Some major dusting, coming right up.)

So today's WOH devo got me right where it hurts. Two passages, Colossians 3:12-17 and Colossians 3:23-24 express that we should be doing things with all our heart for the Lord. Food for thought, in a big way, as I go forth, remembering that God has put me in my life, where I am a librarian, a car shopper, an early riser, a chiropractic patient. May I do everything today and every day to glorify Him, and in a manner that is a fragrance from life to life. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

(And in that manner, I will NOT be car shopping tonight but will be taking the evening off, as today I will be in recovery of yesterday. I have secured flex-time from work on Thursday and Friday, so if you are a praying sort, please pray for THE car to be there and for me to go through the hoops of having someone look at it, financing, and all that jazz.)

But I maintain that part of my "mission" as it were at this blog is to make you, dear reader, smile. And doggone if I get the most comments (and I believe smiles) when I post pictures of shoes.

Sheila even asked me if these socks came as a pair. No, but I knew I could wear them together because the green stripe in the striped sock matched the green of the solid sock. I was the talk of our polling station, such a trendsetter.

That Sarah Louise...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

See you in May...(2nd edition, with links)

...we all said to one another, as we closed up the polls. The race we were all watching closely, Mayor of Pittsburgh, was a close one in our two polls (our polling location houses two polls.) [The incumbent won. But the "new guy on the block" gave him a run for his money.]

When I was in high school, I loved the quarterly croissant sales. For a week, you sat at a table, every day at lunch and the buzz you got off selling that many croissants for the greater good of the literary magazine--that is the kind of buzz I get off helping people vote.

"What's your name? What street do you live on? He's voter number 144. Here, hold onto this, Sheila will take you over to a machine. Have you used the machines before?" And after they've voted, "Did the machine thank you?" People cracking jokes, "The machine was very polite."

Reading material: Tuesday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. : All you need to know: the Steelers won, the Pens won (Monday night, both were blowouts.) (38-7, 5-0); The Promise (the book about the woman who was a real estate broker who sent a class of first graders to college) (Tina finished it by the end of the day); A Julie Garwood book (Liz was at the end of the table, so I don't know which one, except that she liked it and can't really get into Nora Roberts' books.); Eat Cake in the early part of the day (me, for the umpteenth time, it's my 'crisis book'*); Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (me, which I brought back after my evening break, and finished. It was a time travel that really needed a little more explanation, like an envelope at the end.); yesterday's Trib Extra, a free afternoon paper put out by the Tribune Review. Sheila tried to show me how to do a Soduku. Oh, and Sheila is a Silpada dealer,** so we all pawed through the latest catalog. I promised to have a party in January.

____________
*Crisis book: a book that comforts me in a time of overwhelmedness, generally b/c the hero or heroine is going through more crap than I am at the moment, and suceeding at making lemonade out of lemons.

**Silpada: silver jewelery, very gorgeous.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A trip back in time: the 1977 JCPenny Catalog (or how to get 250+ comments on your blog post)

This. is. hysterical.

Aparently EVERYONE is forwarding this to their best friends and entire email address books. I thought I'd just save myself the trouble and post it here. Thanks to NH Sally's husband, who thinks blogs are "passé."

I remember flipping through the JCPenny catalogs with my BFF in 4th grade, Sally B. (Or was it Sears?) We'd look at the pictures of the men and decide which ones we thought were cute. That was back when I hated Billy Joel's song "Still Rock and Roll to me." Now, for nostalgia, I love it, because it reminds me of playing Barbies in Sally's backyard. The house had an intercom through which you could listen to the radio, even in the backyard.

We also were so in tune with pop music that we had this game, name the song in the first few bars. I used to be pretty good at this game.

Fortunately, I lived overseas for most of the 70s, and wore a school uniform from 1978-1983.

Joy is the most infallible sign of the prescence of God.

Joy, not happiness.

This morning, I awoke as I do most Mondays to the sound of trash trucks. I rolled over. Eventually, though, my curiosity got the better of me and I went to the front room. Rats. Each one of us thought it was someone else's week (which means it was probably my week) to take out the trash. And I've started cleaning out my fridge, so I needed that trash to go out, not to ferment for 7 days. So I put on jeans, a coat, my boots (I need boots that don't need to be laced up!!) I walked down the street and found trash men still loading stuff up, and handed them the two bags that had food trash that I had cleaned out from my fridge. (Oh thank goodness that I use grocery bags which are small.)

**********

I have a friend who is going through some times. And her heart is near to my heart. She has been through trenches and valleys and hilltops as far as relationships go. And she is making some really good (HARD, though) choices. I am very proud of her. But it is not easy.

This morning, I woke up and I thought, Lord, I need something. Give me something. I have gotten back in the mode of grabbing my Bible even before I get out of bed. I paged through the Psalms, and found 131, wandered over to 126 and revelled in 127. Then I paged over to 91. I couldn't even focus on the words. So then I got up, visited the loo and to my general M.O., which is check email. I read your lovely comments on yesterday's post. (Vanity of vanities, when I check email, I always read comments first.) Then I read my other email. Another RSVP for my party Saturday. Oh, how I wish all y'all that are far flung could come too. And what I really should read first, the WOH devotional. Each month they change authors. Last month the author was a missionary in Mexico writing on Colossians. This month it's a husband/wife team writing about the Sudan. So they're not using a particular book of the Bible as their daily text. This morning, I opened the email and Psalm 91 was staring me in the face. Thank you, Lord. I needed that.

Here it is:

Psalm 91

1 She who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 "Because she loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue her;
I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name.

15 She will call upon me, and I will answer her;
I will be with her in trouble,
I will deliver her and honor her.

16 With long life will I satisfy her
and show her my salvation."

(courtesy of Biblegateway.com, NIV translation)

You may notice that I changed the language. I changed the hims to hers and the hes to shes. It's okay to do that, to make a verse read, "with life I will satisfy Sarah Louise and show her my salvation."

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

Hey, tomorrow is Election Day in the U.S. Hey, even if all you're voting for is a school board member, it still is VERY important. We have the choice whether we want to show up at the polls tomorrow or not. Here's an article on voter participation from Wikipedia.

If you live in Pennsylvania, you can visit the spa. Well, doesn't it sound like it? Votespa.com.

Bright and early tomorrow, I'll be over at Fulton School, taking names and helping folks with the newfangled machines PA got a few years ago.

Here's last year's post, which has links which should still be helpful if you need information.

Lecture over. You can go back to your coffee now.

And I gotta run (well, drive) to the chiropractor. Tomorrow's post will either be really early or really late, as the polls are from 7 am to 8 pm and I have to be there at like 6:15 or something.

TTFN!








______________
*Leon Bloy, French novelist and convert to Roman Catholicism.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small. We haven't time - and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time.*

Well, Sunday seems to be my "respond to something on BTS." Babelbabe (whom I often affectionately call Babs) just wrote a post about friends. Which was really a post about introversion. Oh, we introverts. Try being friends with an extrovert--my current BFF is one...GAH!

So this was my comment on BTS:

Hon, I understand. I work two nights a week. So on my nights off, I usually DO not want to be doing something with people. I could write a whole post on this...in fact, since I have to write something every day this month, I just might. Heck, at least you'll come comment...

(KIDDING!!)

It's an introvert thing. I think we think that once we reach a certain age we know how to be friends, as if it's the same thing as learning how to walk, or ice skate. OH, this is becoming a post.

I have a friend. She is a dear woman who I met a few years ago. And she has a busy life, inside her house. And she is the most intelligent friend I have. But she is like a bear. She hibernates. But she is also not like a bear, because at least a bear, you know "hey, it's winter, I bet she's hibernating." When we first met, we got together a lot. We spoke on the phone a lot. We were BFFs (in my mind at least) for a while. Now we talk less, and haven't "had coffee" in a long time. For ages I thought it was me. That I had said/done/not done something. But as time has passed, I've come to cherish this woman, and because we had all that face-time back in the day, I can slip into her life for an evening and her children know who I am, and her husband has no problem inviting me in for soup.

As an introvert, I cherish this kind of friend, and I cherish this woman.

So back to my comment. It's an introvert thing. I think we think that once we reach a certain age we know how to be friends, as if it's the same thing as learning how to walk, or ice skate.

Last night I went ice skating. The local Christian radio occasionally sponsors a night of skating for $5.00 at nearby ice arenas. Last year, I went, by myself. Loved it. This year, I went by myself, loved it. Sure, I had those moments when the guy who was teaching the girl (obviously HIS girl) to skate, but I'd be teaching Max, who point blank told me he won't skate. He's out of town this weekend, so it was a perfect time for me to go. BY MYSELF. There were people I could have emailed "hey, come skating with me," but skating is like taking a walk. You can do it by yourself. It is not like walking in the sense that if you know how to skate and you are an introvert, you don't really want to be skating with people who only came to "get out and see people." (NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!) I only stayed for an hour, but that entire hour, I was pretty much skating, because I wasn't talking on the sidelines, or talking in the middle of the ice on my cell phone. (Kids these days!) I got pretty annoyed by the dad who was trying to take pictures of his kids with his cell phone. But then I found the other rink, the one where the ice wasn't as scuffed up and where there were LESS PEOPLE. And less children. It was divine. Well, until they went and ran the Zamboni on the other rink and my idyllic less crowded rink became the busy one again.

Learning how to ice skate is something we all do or decide not to do. It's not necessary, like walking or talking. If someone doesn't walk by a certain age, the parents worry. If someone doesn't have any friends and they're thirteen and they wear black and write morbid poetry, the parents worry. But when you're thirty five, it's a different story. They don't write books called "Your Thirty-Five Year Old: Nesting and Defiant." (Or for that matter, "Why isn't my Thirty-Five Year Old Ice Skating?")

At thirty five, it's another story. It's not how to make friends, or how to make sure you're friends with the "right" kids, or even how popular you are. It's how to BE friends. Which differs greatly for introverts and extroverts. The woman I am closest to right now is a woman who doesn't have a lot of close women friends. She has a lot of people she does stuff with, and she has those parties, and she has kids, and cats, (one cat?) and a husband. But since she didn't have a lot of "intimates" that weren't in her family, she was learning how to be a female friend by being my friend, I didn't realize she was (an alien) an EXTROVERT. After that, things totally made sense. (Well, no, it never does, being friends is a total mystery after the age of ten--once you have a crush on a guy, friendships are never simple again.) (But that's for another day.)

I'm a hybrid. I am mostly an introvert (like my mother) but often an extrovert (like my father.) My sister is most definately an introvert, I'm not sure about my brother. What is it they say? Opposites attract? I can get on the phone with my dad and talk for HOURS. (Mostly it's him talking, but what can I say, he's an extrovert.) The man remembers EVERYONE'S name. Once, in an airport, as my family was walking with me to my gate, my father stopped to chat (and not just hi, bye) with his barber!! If I call to talk to my mom (whom I adore, in case there was any doubt in your mind), I usually get "oh, I was just sitting down to work, your dad just left." Which I have finally (after years of feeling rejected) unscrambled to mean: "I need to be alone right now." And sometimes I can let her work and sometimes I have to be all up in her face, because, you know, she's my mom. And as much as I love my dad (see above) there are some things that are just in my mom's domain.

Often you can tell introverts or extroverts by the jobs they choose (librarians=generally introverts), or the hours. For instance, I work Tuesday-Saturday. Yes, I work every single Saturday. Part of that is because my cohort in the Cataloging Dept, Janice, also works Saturdays. But part of that is because as an introvert, I used to hate weekends. I never did stuff with people and I felt that that was why you had a weekend. But I liked sitting at home watching stupid movies on FOX. But when I work every Saturday, I get to choose. I can say, "nope, sorry, I can't just hang out, I'm working on Saturday." It protects me as an introvert, it gives me Monday afternoon to sit at home watching stupid movies (although not on FOX, because most people want to watch people fighting over cars and cats on weekday afternoons.) It's my shield. It's my version of "leave me alone, I'm working." But if something comes up, I have the flexibility (how I love the flexibility) to say, I'm going to work on Monday so I can have Saturday off. But it saves me from a lot of needless socializing.

One of the comments on Babelbabe's post was from David, whom I've never met, but he seems like a real swell guy. He also knows Katy. He said, "this realm is definitely a quality not quantity thing. Still, its nice to see nice people occasionally."

Another way to spot if you're dealing with an introvert or an extrovert is to look at their hobbies. Bloggers are often introverts. It's easier to have online friendships with people you'll never run into at the grocery store. It's easier to have an email friendship with someone who lives half a mile away because you don't have to plan when you're going to meet. (A la the plan for invading Normandy, see BTS.)

Oh, and introverts, if you're looking for one, check their desks, they generally have stationery. Because they actually write cards and letters. I'll let Garrison Keillor say it as he says it best:

We shy persons need to write a letter now and then, or else we'll dry up and blow away. It's true. And I speak as one who loves to reach for the phone, dial the number, and talk. I say, "Big Bopper here - what's shakin', babes?" The telephone is to shyness what Hawaii is to February, it's a way out of the woods, and yet: a letter is better.


Email is too easy. I have a friend that gets weekly (sometimes daily) updates on me, she's part of a group of folks I banded together back in the day when I needed a suicide watch. Nowadays it's more like, please pray, I'm overwhelmed, or this is when I'm going to the doctor. Or, I totalled my car. I know she reads the emails, but she never responds. Well, most of the folks never do, unless it seems I'm going off the deep end, which is when I start adding cc's. Again, I thought, she doesn't love me anymore, she doesn't care, I did/didn't do something. Nope. She's just an old fashioned introvert. When we last met for coffee, the next day, she sat down and wrote me a letter. I got a card in the mail, and I thought, oh, it's an invite to her open house, and lo and behold, it was a letter. On a beautiful card that had a picture of a lake on the front.

Again, it's that whole how to BE a friend. Making them is easy. Folks love to make friends. But like Georgia says,

A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower -- the idea of flowers. You put your hand to touch the flower -- lean forward to smell it -- maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking -- or give it to someone to please them. Still -- in a way -- nobody sees a flower -- really -- it is so small -- we haven't time -- and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time. If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.

Which is to say, time in going for coffee or just hanging out at home, but also time in years. One of my dearest friends is a woman I've known since high school. We have had our ups and downs and we had almost a year where we were not talking because of a bad fight. But her birthday is coming up (so is mine, hint hint) and I know we'll talk then.

All this to say, Babs, you are in good company. Just let's make a date to go to the Sharp Edge sometime soon. Like at three in the morning when neither of us has other plans. We'll invade Normandy or something. It will be fun and there will be lots of things to buy like lingerie and Tupperware.
________________

*Georgia O'Keefe, American artist.