Wednesday, April 30, 2008

happy birthday to Princess Julianna and Queen Beatrix!

Can you tell I'm Dutch? I called my folks because I needed someone to tell me to go for a walk and my mother said, of course you should it's a beautiful day and the last day of April. and my dad said something about Queen Beatrix that my mother didn't get, so she handed him the phone. Go google it. I have to take a quick shower and run off to sing to babies.

So, I think I forgot to post yesterday. Well, so I won't be winning a prize for napoblomo. oh well. Tomorrow is May 1st!!

okay, gotta go.

I'm thinking I want an ipod. Because I don't think I've EVER heard the last song on the Wedding Bell Blues soundtrack and it's really a nice one. (You know, b/c a CD starts back on the first song if you're using a Discman or somesuch.) Rambling, gotta go.

okay, really going now.

Monday, April 28, 2008

um, is it a sign that this movie is SET in Queens?

just wondering...

doors, mystery writers, and staying in...

So I'm staying in tonight. I could go to a book signing and movie about East Lib (an adjacent neighborhood) (and I really do want to go, am a little sad that I'm not going) but I am exhausted. (And I need to pay bills and think about laundry and be an introvert.) On today, my day off, I went to the chiro, came home, worked on resume, went (late) to the treadmill lady (exercise study), missed appointment with potential new therapist (GAH), went to Ritters for lunch, let the waitress talk me into apple pie a la mode, ran (well, drove) home, changed, drove to the Oakmont Library for a reception for mystery writers (there is some festival in town and this "tea/reception" was for librarians.) I met many people, whose names are on bookmarks and postcards in my purse, but most notably Nancy Martin, who writes the Blackbird Sisters series. Which I can't remember if I wanted to continue reading (I read the first two.) Anyways, it was very cool conversing with her, and with the other writers and librarians there.

Talked to dad, drove to Squirrel Hill to buy bras, had a bus man's holiday in their local branch of the Carnegie, and in their books for sale found a book on women in therapy, where I found this wonderful poem:

Prospective Immigrants Please Note (by Adrienne Rich)

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.

Oh how I needed this poem, at the end of a busy day,
when I feel beleaguered
and exhausted and scared to death of transition.

But at the Oakmont Library, I picked up a copy of Raising Helen,
which I think
will raise my spirits. How I love Kate Hudson and John Corbett,
let me count
the ways...

Oh, and my printer, which was working on Friday, now is offline.
Nice. One
Kate Hudson movie, coming up.

I love that last bit. The door itself makes no promises. It is only a door.

Sorry if your RSS got three copies, adding the poem made for wierd space things...which I'm not fixing anymore if this has all the words visible.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New things...

So I joined the twittering ranks...

And I just sent to draft a political post...I'm not ready to commit to that kind of writing. (Which was really just stringing a couple of quotes from newspaper columnists, and you deserve more than my uneducated rants...but GAH!!!!!!!!! Sally has a bumper sticker on her minivan: Where are we going? And why are we in this hand basket?)

The sumac tree has more foliage now than it did when I woke up this morning, I'm not kidding. And the maples are really full, WHEN did that happen?

I'm reading a biography of Helen Clay Frick, fascinating. (She was the daughter of Henry Clay Frick, one of the Pittsburgh multi-millionaires in the ranks with Carnegie, Mellon, etc.) The author is Helen's great granddaughter.

Lawn mowing noises fill the air...

It occurs to me, as I finally start to get rid of the flotsam and jetsam, that I've been hibernating. More on that later.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

so I'm posting...

So, letters...

Oh guess what! My printer works!

In other news, the depression is creeping back. Maybe because I'm trying to:

  • recoup my life from the lost day, Tuesday at the polls.
  • find a new therapist--Monday may be the day!
  • work on getting a car to replace Lucy (and she can tell--I can't play tapes, now, they overheat.) The car doesn't have a/c...
  • getting stuff out of the apartment--We're up to 7 bags of recycling.
  • wait for landlord to install a/c in front room
  • get rid of sofa-bed, which will be a logistical challenge (challenge is a more cheerful way of saying NIGHTMARE.)
  • And being bored with cataloging (read: more than half of my job at work) doesn't help things...
  • plus, planning Summer Reading, including booking my mother for her Monarch talk (butterflies, not queens.)
As Time Goes By was quite funny tonight, Lionel and whats-her-name Dame Judi Dench are reaquainting and the humor is bitingly funny. WONDERFUL, actually.

To bed (or sofa, rather.)

tomorrow is another day. Oh, and go vote for Middle.

Oh, and I've been meaning to answer some comments and never get there:

Super Pokes are just a fun way to connect on FB. And when you throw a sheep, it makes a noise. It's the only one I know that does that (sheep=noise, I mean.)


Friday, April 25, 2008

I need a vacation or something...

So the resume/cover letter will hopefully go in the mail next week, before it is the month of May.

Last night I left my purse at work. (My car key was in my pocket and I had my bag with me, in which I thought my purse was located...) But of course I didn't realize that was probably what had happened until I'd called my bank and Target, woo hoo for only having two kinds of cards in my wallet. Mr. FF had to let me in, wearing the t-shirt for the walk we did on the South Side steps last fall. I jimmied the lock on my apartment in about ten minutes.

A new friend on FB--someone I went to kindergarten and then jr. high, high school. Woo hoo! I don't know her well, but I'm always looking for people from high school, as I really only keep in touch with two wonderful women.

Clarification from yesterday: I'm still a Steelers fan, just not one on FB. Marian made me promise that if I move I can't change my sports affiliation and that is one thing I am dead certain of. If I ever go to a Rangers game, I'll be one of the "angry Pittsburgh fans" which if you've seen Season One of Friends as many times as I have, it's from the one where Ross gets hit with a hockey puck.

Tonight in sports: Pens vs. Rangers, home ice, playoff game.

My landlord came up with a/c #1 yesterday. I got new windows last fall, so a/c for the front windows is still to be found. It was strange to think I could be moving on--he's been my landlord since 1995! I'll definitely give him notice as soon as I know anything.

But not that I'm counting my chickens 'fore they're hatched...

Well, off eat something and then to work to reunite myself with my purse.

And, no I won't be winning any NaMoPoBlo prizes for my literary skills, writing eloquently about letters, but hey, I bet I've used the entire alphabet many times over and the month is nearing its end.

Just in case: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. (Interesting Wikipedia article.)


Thursday, April 24, 2008

making it stop...

This post is all about using letters. See? I've already typed two, almost three sentences using them.

So I'm having a Facebook clean out. Yes, I am no longer a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. (Sorry Alyssa.) Yes, I have gotten rid of Hatching eggs, Cute gifts, Circles of friends, and FB house. Yes, I even got rid of LeapTag, after recommending it to all my friends.

I even got rid of "Pieces of flair" right after accepting one.


Because, folks, if it doesn't make me smile or giggle (throwing a sheep? Hysterical!) or if I only have three or fewer friends's just not worth it!

I remember a presenter from the Web 2.0 seminar at PLA (that's Public Library Association for you non-library folks) saying: "Lonely is bad." What she meant: try a few Web 2.0 things. If they don't catch on, take them down, try something else. again. and again.

I am not a furry pet person. Sorry, I'm just not. They do not make me smile. My sister playing with her rabbit, that makes me smile, because I love my sister. I love flowers. But don't send me one every-single-day.

Which brings me to this blog. Oh my goodness I need to make it more fun or something. Because I need something on this doggone Web 2.0 that makes turning on the computer in the morning worth the electricity it takes...

I have started a "librarian" blog using my real name (email me if you know me, I'll give you the link.) Oh my goodness. It is so boring, it puts me to sleep. But I plan to persevere...even if I need spell check to tell me I misspelled persevere. Twice now!

Oh, I even got rid of the "books" application on FB. Which is probably a good thing, as I belong to LibraryThing, WorldCat, and some one that all my church friends belong to. I might ditch that one. Because it's lonely, my friends, and it doesn't make me giggle. But I don't even remember what it's called, so I don't think it's at the top of my list of things to do. (Neither is laundry, come to think.) I think it begins with an S...

Maybe I'll go throw a sheep at someone. Oh, the noise they makes me smile and giggle. And that's why I pay for broadband, after all.

(Somebody shoot me now!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Bard Day!

Dear William,

Just received your letter about your new play. Something about ham? And you want to know if Pittsburgh would be a good setting? Well, Pittsburghers do love a cold cut called "chipped ham," but I must say if your main soliloquy is that "to be or not to be," you have picked the wrong town. This is the town that invented "that shirt needs washed." Even migrants like myself often forget to use the words "to be" in conversation.

I recommend Denmark.


Sarah Louise

Happy Birthday Sweet William!

Ah, my mistresses eyes... (Sonnet 130)

And does anyone else remember the Northern Exposure episode where Maggie reads Sonnet 116 at a funeral and the blonde chick says, wow, I didn't know Maggie wrote poetry!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Open letters

Dear voters at District X:

You rock! Thanks for coming out in big numbers and showing your pride. Sorry I was such a total space cadet from sun-up to sun-down. Whatever the outcome, we all worked hard, voters and workers.

Your tired poll worker,


PS: almost 50% voter turnout is great--do you think we could bump it to 70 by November???

Dear Decision Makers in terms of elections:

There were too many people that got lost, folks that voted recently enough that they should have been on our rolls but were not. Let's be more organized next time...

Frustrated poll worker, who saw at least 15 people not be able to vote.

Dear Woman who went downtown for a court order so she could vote:

Our applause was not enough. We should have given you a standing ovation, YOU ROCK! Thank you for having the flexibility to make voting today a priority.

Honored to have worked in the polling place you traversed, even if you were in the other district...

Dear Man who was registered Republican because you forgot to change your registration to Democratic:

What can I say, Murphy is alive and well. Thank you for being fairly un-angry with us, who could do nothing to rectify the system.

Just a poll worker....

To the voters in Pennsylvania,

WOO HOO! We did it! We came out in record numbers. I am not watching the news tonight, I am going to bed, because at this point it didn't matter if we won or lost, it mattered how we looked in our candidate t-shirts. (I stole that from Kiki, who says "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, but how you look in your tennis shorts.")

SL, ready to sleep.


The great thing about today is that I didn't have to be in my life. I don't see the other election workers any time but on election/primary days, so I didn't talk about work, relationships, plans. I read the Post-Gazette pretty much cover to cover, Good Housekeeping, ditto, skimmed the end of a Katrina Hurricane memoir (eh...) and almost finished the Quick crossword. And all day repeated these words: "Have you used these machines before? There are two pages, one with the candidates and one with the delegates. Don't leave until the blue screen comes up and the machine thanks you." My motor skills and verbal skills were at an all time low, but I made it through. My proudest moment was the organization and counting of the 13 absentee ballots.

I'm outta heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!

Monday, April 21, 2008

So I woke up and got right on to the computer...

Big mistake...or not? Well, I knew (just knew) that yins would love this skit (or think I'm a country music crazy) but either way, I've been meaning to post this YouTube for almost 7 days. So here you go.

Today is my day off. As if! I'll go walk the treadmill, pick up Sally's shark (vacuum, not fish), start a tally of bags leaving this apartment: Goodwill: 5, recycling, 4.

Then it will be phone calls phone calls: to find a therapist, make a dentist appt, etc. Then it will be work on that cover letter, resume, ACK!

Off to do my Beth Moore homework before I start to freak out...

OH, and I might not post until tomorrow night, so don't forget to vote if you are a registered Democrat or Republican in the state of PA. If you are registered independent, wait till November. (Hey, I didn't write the rules, I'll just be enforcing them tomorrow.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Missed a day--gah!

All this purging of my stuff and I forgot to blog yesterday.

I participated in the East Liberty clean up. The most bizarre thing I found: swim goggles.

The most bizarre thing to happen to my computer? First, the bottom toolbar is on the side, and wider than I want it to be. Next, I somehow installed Google desktop? And so my Picasa pictures are scrolling, I have the BBC news, Reuters, and the San Fran weather. Not sure how I feel about all this...

Oh, I just figured out how to minimize the Google desktop.

So, letters. My organizational style (ha!) is eclectic. Which means that when I de-clutter, every day is Christmas...sort of. I found a thank you note from my mom (at least two years old), the Christmas and birthday cards from a few years ago, and the 2008 Ikea catalog.


Open Letter:

Dear Max,

It's okay if you don't want to be my friend. I cherish the time we had together, the companionship, the fun. I will never forget our day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and driving Rte 14 home. You are...well, you. Thank you for the time we had together. I wouldn't have traded it for a gross of Dove bars.

Sarah Louise


It's strange, this in between. Not knowing if I will be moving, but preparing for it. Preparing for something. It is somehow easier to get rid of shoes I never wear, books I haven't read, paper, paper, paper. There are things that I know won't come with me if I leave. As it should be. I've been here six years. That's twice the amount of time of a normal "tour of duty" in the U.S. Foreign Service. My mom always said, "one year to get settled, one year to get to know the place, one year to get ready to leave."


I know I'm writing all over the place, but I don't know where to go with the flood of conflicting emotions.

One thing about politics: I haven't dreamed of something wonderful since the first Clinton administration and my English professor told us she'd been to a rally and that William had a thesis statement, "It's the economy, Stupid!" So at 36, I am daring to dream an impossible dream. And I am allowed that, dammit. It may not be practical, but it is my one vote, and I am daring to dream of a change. Yesterday I had a conversation with a woman I respect, who knows far more about politics (and cares more about them) than I ever will. And she is being practical. Which is her right, to be. And I respect her reasons. And I may be totally disappointed. And yet, I dare to dream. Because all of a sudden, this cynical me is reminded that I am not cynical by nature--it is years of the same-old, same-old, that has made me this way, and now I'm not talking politics.

Now I'm talking about this apartment, this job, this life. Doing the same thing and hoping for different results--the definition of crazy-making.

And one more thing: I think I'm cancelling my subscription to LHJ* and switching over to Good Housekeeping (which on the back page has an essay by a woman who writes about being 35, single, and deciding to have her breasts removed because of genetic preponderence to breast cancer.) Oh, and get a subscription to Victoria. And, yes, cancel my subscription to Today's Christian Woman, because I get most of their content online.

Gotta go.

This post brought to you by the letter X--the unknown quantity.

*I, ever unmarried (so far), need to stop reading "Can this marriage be saved?" every month.

Friday, April 18, 2008

GAH! (three letters--say it with feeling)

So I'm trying to juggle a million and one things:

  • de-clutter so as to make it easier to get the sofa out
  • talk the talk, walk the walk
  • work on getting the day bed--with the weather changing, it is not good for the twin set to live in the basement for very much longer.
  • work on getting it de-cluttered so landlord can put in a/c units.
  • (and that's not even half my list...)
  • Three bags of books/records/shoes, ready for Goodwill
  • talked to Marian, she gave me her blessing with one condition: I can't change my sports affiliations (as if! Go Pens!)
  • went for a 45 min walk after work
  • did my Beth Moore homework before work
Can't tell if Mr. FF is practicing and talking to himself or giving a lesson. Either way, it sounds like he might have gotten a real piano and sounds lovely, as I hung my wet laundry on the clotheslines (the basement/laundry area is right up against the first floor.)

This post brought to you by the letter H: I feel like I must Hurry hurry hurry. HELP!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Letters of reference will be provided upon request...

So, since I cooked up the Big Apple idea a few days ago, I have done nothing (except add "non-shared" links to my page and look at an old resume.) Part depression, part PMS, part inertia (an object at rest...)

So today I found myself in my boss's office chatting about this and that and somehow we were able to get to that I'm getting antsy. And I was able to open up all the way (slowly, strategically) and let her know that I'm looking and she encouraged me in that, blessed me, and said, if you leave you can get the word out about our summer festival, so leave! Now! (She said this laughing.)

Oh, internets, I have not told Marian (hopefully I'll get to tell here before she reads it here...) or Sally (NOT looking forward to), but to have such a positive conversation with my boss just really boosted me. And, she actually might still know someone who works at the library system I'm looking at.

Oh, internets, this is getting good! Plus, I got to talk to Bird, my dear sister, today (who also sent me a long email today) and it was good. And although I know food is not necessarily to be coupled with celebrations (emo eating) I went to Giant Eagle and got a pint of Chubby Hubby.

I also bought a newspaper. It's been very interesting having conversations with co-workers, listening to their thoughts and concerns about the candidates. I fell asleep after the debates last night...on the sofa, in my clothes.

This post brought to you by the letters N, Y, C, and Q.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'll mow your lawn...

So I went for an evening walk with the twins. Well, their parents and grandmother did the walking, but they came too. I upped my paltry step count of the low 4000's to the low 7000s. (As a part of the study, I now wear a pedometer. I'm supposed to walk 9000 steps a day.

As we walked, we watched a man mow his postage stamp front lawn, and the twin's mom told me about signs they'd seen around the neighborhood, "I'll mow your lawn for $10." The best part, she said, is that the signs are printed on the back of printed sheets, like from drafts of a research paper.

We saw three on our walk tonight. We determined that the person who will mow your lawn for $10 is a seminary student who got an A. (One of the signs is printed on the back of the grading sheet, which at the bottom has A, A-, and A, presumably for varying components of the paper.) Another sign was printed on the back of an annotated bibliography. Yet another had actual parts of the paper, with comments. (This was the sheet that led us to our conclusion that he is a seminary student.) The twin's dad, a seminary grad, said, I wish I could map out where all the signs are and determine which order he posted them in so that I could read the paper. It was amusing, to say the least.

And now I'm back, in my dark third floor walk up, as I haven't turned the lights on yet. The very last bit of the sunset is disappearing between the roofs of houses outside my west window, and the noise of children on their big wheels, squealing as if they were on a ride at Kennywood.

Gee, I feel so good, I think I'm gonna break somebody's heart tonight (no, not really, that's a lyric from a Richard Thompson song.) But I might do some dishes...

This post is brought to you by the letter W, which is a V, twinned.

As I tweaked the prose, the sun has almost completely set and the children are presumably in their homes, as all noise from children has ceased. The birds are pretty loud though...

insomnia, thy name is...New York?

So, um, yins might have found that I have a fascination with the Big Apple.

And you might remember last year I wanted to move closer to my family, partly due to the fact that Pittsburgh keeps slamming its brown gray doors in my face (or so it seems.)

I dunno.

I'll keep you posted.

(A certain large library in NYC is hiring)

Just finished Sara Zarr's Sweethearts, omg, this book is AMAZING. So raw, so real, so exactly the kind of book I've always wanted to read, therefore write.

And when I came online, trying to quell the last bit of book sobs, a college friend had "friended" me on FB, a woman that I lost touch with eons ago.

Emo? Me? Nah!

Anyways, sleep tight!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Whoa-O, cause I'm the taxman...

Dear lovelies,

So my IRA deposit got mailed in the dark of night last night, my city taxes got filed online a few minutes ago (a paltry 4 cents means no payment or credit), and I have to stop by the P.O. on the way to WBS. Which I should be leaving for in 2 minutes.

Broke up with latest therapist last night, went over to Sally's and said, "do you have wine?" To which she replied, "Is the pope Catholic? Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?" I had two small glasses as I attempted to deposit the money from the sale of stocks that would be the money to fund my IRA. I cursed everything, saying NEXT YEAR I will NOT be doing this the night before. It was lovely when the bank "refused" my online (scanned) deposit. We re-jiggered the check and it worked, woo-hoo!

Drove to the grocery store, did a mini-shop.

Came home, finished the little bit of rum that remained in the bottle, and off to dreamland.

Now, readers here know that I don't often drink two glasses of wine and have a little bit of rum, but the whole break-up with the therapist was not fun, even though it took like five minutes. As I was telling her "this isn't going to work" I could tell I had made the right decision. But it still sucks. And I thought I had another therapist lined up, but it turns out she is also the shrink to someone I have a complex relationship with, and I think for all parties it would be better if I didn't share a shrink with someone I might be talking about...

In other news, today is the release of the Juno DVD! And Blu-ray, which our library now carries! Someone can send me some Juno mints on FB (hint, hint). I sent some to Katy, since she loved the movie as much as me. (Grammar...) Oh, and there's some SATC "girl's night" at South Side Works, the night the movie opens, so I'm going to call to find out more info about that. But in the meantime, I must wash my hair and get my tush off to WBS or I'll be late and all the parking spots will be taken.


Yours til niagara falls, n'at!

If I had more time I would have posted: video of Trace Atkins trying to get into the CMA awards. Maybe tomorrow. There was something else, but I can't remember.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Postcard from Greensburg, PA...

Wow! So, never again will I trust Google maps for the whole trip. I may look at them, but the way they take me east, it is SO easy to get lost. And you don't want to get lost in those neighborhoods. So I went all the way to Penn Hills, got gas at $3.31 (then saw it at 3.27, oh snap!) but the rest of the day it only saw it at 3.34 and up.

The folks at the Rite Aid in Penn Hills directed me. Thankfully I sort of know Rodi Road, as there was NO SIGN saying it WAS Rodi Road. So then I abandoned the Google directions, took the directions I'd printed from the museum's site, and there was construction. I took the Turnpike all the way home, baby! Part of 66 is a toll where you pay $1.00 in coins...haven't done that in a while, throw the coins in...woo hoo!

The museum itself was wonderful. If I lived closer...their permanent collection is solid,* but the John Sloan exhibit was stunning. AND AND AND John Sloan illustrated his letters. So there were a few in the exhibit, my favorite is one he wrote to his wife, who often traveled to Philly and took a ferry. He drew himself at the ferry, waiting and it is SO CUTE.

Then in the gift shop, a guy I know from da Burgh, Justin Rothshank, some of his pottery was in the gift shop! I said to the guy at the counter, I know this guy! He was not impressed. "All of our artists are local." I continued to gush, but anyways.

Okay, this is a Smithsonian site that has some of Sloan's sketches...

*they even have a Tiffany window...sigh.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'll send you a postcard...

Now, how it became 10:00 in the morning, is what I'd like to know!

I'm off to Greensburg today to the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. Pre-Max, I thought, oh, it would be so great to have someone to go to museums with, to talk with about pictures, etc. And the one time we went to the Frick was great, for me. But he adamantly never wanted to go again. (He seemed to enjoy it, but you know, a guy will do a lot of things to impress a girl...)

It's gotten cold again here, so I woke up cold, as with the 70 degree weather I had turned the thermostat waaayyy down...

Went to a super-fun going away party last night. Came home, called the folks, left a message and went to bed with "The Undecided Voter's Guide to the next President." It was a lot easier to read now that there are pretty much just three choices...I read about Hillary, half of Obama, and went to bed. This morning, I finished reading about Obama, tried to read about McCain (well, I did read most of it.) My mind is set. They all sound like fine people. The book is set up to "why x will win," "why x will lose," and mini-biographies, quotes from them, quotes from other people. If you are undecided, it is written to give you information, not to sway you. (I was a little worried, since Mark Helprin, the writer, was a speechwriter for Bob Dole. I'm sure he was for some other Republicans, but I want to be factual and Wikipedia only gave me Bob Dole.)

I'm not ready to be political. But I'll post this fascinating article that Kiki posted a while back from Slate, on Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck.

I am, however, getting ready to write more about being a TCK, and will tell you that Obama, McCain, and Helprin are all TCK's too.

But for now, I'm getting dressed and on the road to see some pictures. And am I ever STARVED!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

letters, scrambled, with a side of toast

So my latest addiction is Scramble, a FB game. It's sort of like Bookworm, the Yahoo! game, except you only have three minutes and you don't get new letters.

I'm in the place where I beat some people and some people ALWAYS beat me. I had 82 points the other day--woo hoo (I generally score between 10 and 40 points.)

I'm exhausted. It's the end of an exhausting stretch at work, but then again, it's not slowing down any--next week is National Library Week!

So here's a letter for you: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, April 11, 2008

This is not a letter but my arms around you for a brief moment.*

Dear readers,

Here's a hug. (I think Katherine's words are more eloquent...)

Okay, so the first try did not work. When my dad emailed this to me and I then emailed it to my favorite folks, it was not a static image but it moved. I think this is a static image. But you get the idea. I'm off to try my hand at mall-walking, as it is raining a little here and I really want to go to the Westmoreland Museum's display of New York paintings--my reward if I walk five days this week.

Yours til Niagara falls,


*Katherine Mansfield

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dear dear readers (updated)

Dear readers (especially Culiann, Amy A., Sarah O., and Katrina),

Thank you for always reminding me (but especially yesterday) that giving birth is not the only pedigree for entrance to the "women's club." I had lunch yesterday with Sally, and on the way to Mad Mex (this really fun Mexican rest'raunt here in da Burgh) I said, (about Tuesday at Bible Study) "sitting there, I thought I need to get new friends." And she said, "Nah."

Having lunch with her and your comments have restored my faith in women--what is it they say? I hate people in a group, but one by one they are manageable. I needed to hear about the angst of soccer practice, T-ball practice, grumpy family members. And I needed to share the bizarre fact that two nights in a row I had dreams about Max. Dreams where we were just friends.

The bizarre thing about my schedule (I work two nights, every Saturday) is that I can attend this Bible Study peopled by married women (it meets Tuesday mornings.) I have attended it on and off since 1991 (when I was a sophomore in college) and I've almost always been the only single/childless woman but the difference between how that feels at 19 and how that feels at 36 are huge.

Amy's comment really was wonderful:

I hate that circle thing. When I run things I make people say who they are, where they are from and what their favorite 'whatever' is... perfume, food, color, etc. That way it really is about us and not about how many times we have or haven't given birth.

I love my kids and my family, but sometimes it's not all about them.

I have found this (and everyone else's comments) to be true--I'm friends with a lot of married women, I get their "it's not about the kids/the husband" vibe, but I guess I needed it extra much* after Tuesday's overwhelming event.

But I still do think I need a single friend and/or mentor, preferably someone who hasn't given birth. I have one woman in mind actually--she also went to the women's college I went to, but years before. Hmm.

Of course, I need to remember to not put a certain lifestyle choice on a pedestal or in the trash (which I think I'm pretty good about except when I'm slammed...)

Which brings me to the segue, this book I'm reading in the loo: Body Drama.

This is the book we all wish we had when we were 13-17. Put it on hold at your public library, purchase it from Amazon, go to your favorite independent or big box bookstore. It won't make up for the years of agony we had back then, but it will make you say, "really?" and "oh..." and "Why didn't I have this book???"

Nancy Amanda Redd, who was a Miss America swimsuit winner, a Harvard grad, etc. knocks down all the myths about our bodies, with chapter headings that include:

  • I fried my hair
  • I sweat more than other girls do
  • I'm harming my body
(and tons of other body dramas--I'd give you the entire TOC (table of contents) but I have an allergist appt. in 20 minutes.)

You MUST at least go look at the Amazon page on this book. Some of us might still benefit from some of the topics discussed, and we all know a young woman who would benefit from some "get real" talk. I remember being the last one of my friends to get my period, not knowing a thing about shaving my legs...

Yours til Niagara falls,


PS I'd do the linky thing, but hello, allergist appt!!

PPS: Moms, read the book first. I know yins to be discerning, but believe me, as great as this book is, it lets EVERYthing hang out. It assumes the national averages about teenage sex. Sorry I forgot to mention that yesterday.
*it's my blog, I'll make up non-grammatical superlatives if I want to.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

D-liver D-letter, D-sooner, D-better (random thoughts on lefters and a bit of angst)

One of the advantages to postal mail is that if you're waiting for something, you can blame the weather, or the post office. With email, you know there's a person on the other side that hasn't sent a reply yet.

This morning I thought I would have a couple replies, so I made sure to give myself sufficient "online time" to work on that and check FB and blog...alas, nothing.

Ah me.


I bought stamps on Monday. They're of pollination. The link is to a USPS press release, which I skim-read and is actually pretty interesting.


Mail yesterday: Ladies Home Journal, a flyer from Obama, and junk. Reading LHJ, I realized again what I realized yesterday as I went to Bible Study for the first time in months: women often relate to each other based on their children. Which is probably why I every once and a while think, oh, I want one. Because I want to be in that "club." After the third woman had introduced herself saying, I have three children, one's in junior high, etc., I introduced myself (almost on the verge of tears) saying, I'm an outsider here: no husband, no kids, I don't even attend this church on Sundays...I got a laugh and a "no you're not" (an outsider). Which is what I needed to get me through the remainder of the room, there might have been a total of twenty women. There were only two other unmarried women, but those women had children AND grandchildren. They were all pleased as punch to just gab about their progeny, nothing wrong with that. But as they went around the room, I thought, I need to get new friends.

Not that I would get rid of these, no, never, these women enrich my life, as do their children, the ones that I know. (I adore the fact that Sally's kids accept me as a piece of the furniture at their house.) But I need some women that are successful not because they have children and grandchildren, but because they've worked hard at a profession. I need women who are successfully single and childless. Where are the "Fabulous Four" when I need them? Yesterday my page got beefed up with a few new websites and items on singleness. Cause here's the thing: I don't want a man right now, or children. And that's got to be okay, but dammit, the only woman I know here, that I communicate with, that I know, that reflects that, is the one I see in the mirror.

Whew! Didn't think that's where I'd go when I started this post, and ding! my little chicky time clock just told me it's time to hop over to the bathroom. So more single lady angst another day.

And if you are a grandma or a momma (or a wanna-be) reading this, please know that that is fabulous, that I think you are fabulous. I don't knock your experience, it's just not my experience.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008 I love thee, let me not count the ways

Bwah ha ha!! This is my reaction to the men who think I should hold onto my dying car. They seem to have not remembered any of my earlier complaints...

(The minor ones at the moment: rear panel has started rust out and a portion of car is attached to...air; the glove compartment won't open.)

Dear men who sold me this car,

You are rotten.

Signed, Sarah Louise

Monday, April 07, 2008

This post brought to you by the letter M...

M is for Moses...RIP to Charlton Heston, died yesterday at home. He was married for 64 years, and little tidbit, the baby Moses in the Ten Commandments was HIS son, 3 mos. old.

M is for Monday...I have been screaming at my Avast! virus thingy...OMG. How geeky can you get?? (It requires more than 4 steps...) (but it's free, so...) (but still!) (yes, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed...)

M is for Michigan, as in friend Wren writes about the Holy Spirt (misspelled on purpose by us, read more for explanation.)

M is for money--today I finally do my taxes!

M is for mail--today I will mail that package.

M is upside down W--today I will go for a walk. (I went for a 15 min one yesterday.)

M is for Mediterranean Nachos. Lately they've been making them with less cheese, so I asked for lots of cheese and got WAY too much. (Sharp Edge, how I love thee, let me count the ways)

M is for many babies. I got to meet L last night, one of the few baby girls in our extended community. What a cutie! Drool city...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Sunday afternoon letter

Dear readers,

How are you? I am fine. The weather in Pittsburgh is warm--in the upper 50s. I haven't gone for a walk yet, but I did go to Mickey D's and got some food. I read a great book, A Crooked Kind of Perfect,* by Linda Urban, which is WONDERFUL. I read it in one sitting and on my brand new stationery from Walgreens, I'm going to write a by hand to the author letter. Having my own private mental health meltdown, it was a relief to read about a father who had agoraphobia and a mom who worked too much and a girl who like me, dreams of playing piano at Carnegie Hall, like Horowitz.

At Walgreens, I also got more Boost and some Michelena's frozen macaroni and cheese. And two magazines. Martha Stewart's Weddings (it's been years since I've bought one, it was a weak moment) and a magazine with Britney Spears on the cover. Who knew that me and Britney would ever have anything in common? I don't know if she's I or II, but she's been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Well, if I thought that she'd get the letter I'd write her on my Walgreens stationery, I might write this:

Dear Britney,

You will make it through. It will be a very bumpy road, but you will make it through.

Yours til Niagara Falls,

Sarah Louise, Bipolar II, diagnosed in 1998.

I had a coupon for $1 off Boost, so my total "retail therapy" session was under $40. And no, I didn't need the $8 pink pajama pants, but the clear container is a way to start a dent on my dishes (they didn't have dishpans at Walgreens.) Well, no time like the present, I'm going to go take a walk. For real.

Yours til the side walks,

Sarah Louise

P.S. I have a new blog wherein I'm me, not SL. I'll link it up soon. It's sort of bizarre to think that I'm "coming out of the closet," and what that means...but the other blog is my "professional" blog, wherein I talk about writing and librarianship, not the fact that I had a Big Mac for brunch.
*Link includes an "anonymous" comment from Linda herself.

Sunday morning letters...

Years ago, I went to church on Sunday mornings. I'm grateful that my church of choice has evening services (at the moment, exclusively) as Sunday is the only day I get to lollygag in the morning, stay in bed until I wake up, get on the computer and catch up on my blog-reading...

When my grandmother was alive, Sunday before church would be when I wrote her letters. The "Sunday letters" became a ritual. I remember reading once in a magazine short story about a woman reading a letter from her sister. It arrived every Thursday, as her sister wrote her a letter every Tuesday. I remember thinking that was the way things should be. I have retained that bit in my mind for over twenty years. (Ah, those were the days, when women's magazines published short fiction.)

My life at the moment doesn't have that kind of discipline. Living alone, working odd hours, coddling my "inner child"-- all of these have ruined any kind of ritual, and I apparently can't even trust myself to take a walk five out of seven days. Depression doesn't help. Social isolation, which happens slowly and all at once, doesn't help.

But I do, for this one month, have this discipline: to write a "letter" to you, my readers, every day. Maybe with this small step, other small steps will follow. I won't fool myself that blogging every day in the month of April will solve all the ills in my life, or bring world peace, but it is a small step. It is one step.

One of my favorite singer-songwriters, Carrie Newcomer, is coming to Pittsburgh next Thursday. I work that night, so I'll miss it. Her song, "Take one step," is a reminder to me to just take the first one. (I looked, there are no online lyrics. Sorry. But her 1994 album, Angel at my shoulder is a great investment.)

As a diehard perfectionist (it's true), I often don't do things because I won't get it right. Reasons I've stayed home instead of gone for a walk: what if I don't get it right? This may sound silly, but it's true. For a walk to "count" in this study that I'm in, it has to be 25 minutes. Twenty five minutes of hard walking with a cool down of two minutes. Well, I could walk to get my brunch at Tazza (though they've stopped carrying my favorite tomato and cheddar on a croissant sandwich) but it wouldn't "count." So it's easier to stay here in front of the computer screen and starve. It looks silly in black and white (or black on pink) but this rule-ism is what rules my riddled mind.

My eyes are stinging with tears, Jewel is singing in the backround, and I think I might just have to take one step.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Tomorrow is the day after today...

So I was supposed to go for a walk after work. Yeah, that didn't happen. It was a long day. I had lunch with Marian and her beau, who is visiting from upstate New York. We went to Wendy's. And in between, I got a lot done, I did. But there was enough other stuff and negative energy in me (it's too easy to manufacture) that the good parts didn't make a dent. It's a shame.

Instead, I came home, watched Second Hand Lions (which might be a good movie when you're not in a rotten mood.) (C'mon, Haley Joel's hair was too well cut. He was living with those uncles long enough to grow corn, and they did not seem like the type to care about barbers.)

But right now, I'm sitting at my computer, watching the most brilliant sunset paint the sky pink, and writing to you, my dear readers. I'm eating a bowl of popcorn (because I was supposed to go to the grocery store.) (Let's not go there.) (Tomorrow I'll do dishes...)

The whole letter thing, I thought, well, I could give you another kind of letter. So here's one of my favorite blue monsters...

So now I think I'll put in the other movie I got from the library, Tea for Mussolini and hope the hairdressers have a little more reality.

The last bits of pink are peeking through the houses and trees. Thanks for sharing this moment. Depression sucks, but sunsets, popcorn, blue monsters, and readers make it worthwhile to get through to the next day. I don't have to feel better today. (But I am smiling as I write, because this is a really wonderful sunset.) And the popcorn tastes good, and I do like writing to you.

I just have to wake up tomorrow. And tomorrow is my day off.

The sunset is gone now. But I'm smiling, so that's worth it. I'll go for a walk tomorrow.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Letters mingle souls...

Dear Readers,

How are you? I am fine. I'm in the middle of my morning blog fix...

This is off in a rush, which I know one should never do. And one should never write something for publish when one is irked.

So, [deep breath] [deep breath].

On March 31st, in preparation for this month, I searched hither and yon for quotes that might be useful (about letters.) (see title, for which I don't have time to look up author...)

One of the things I love about letters is the stationery. Now, I am a sucker for good stationery. And pens.

I remember once telling someone that I had re-written a letter five times before I sent it. And that person said, wow, you must not know that person [getting the letter] really well. Which was in fact true. I thought I did, but the fact that I had to self-censor and be sure the letter wouldn't offend was telling. While I'm no longer in contact with either party, I am grateful for the insight I gained both from the exercise and the conversation.

I often find with email that if someone writes in red (to me it feels like the English teacher correcting me) or in all bold, I get tense. And while email is short, quick, there is no way to get tone of voice. So the only way to get sense is from the words themselves--so if someone is flip, you have no idea if they're

a) being flip
b) mad at you but not saying it aloud
c) rushed and trying to get this email out.

At least with a letter, you get a sense of penmanship or stationery. There are none of those buffers with email. Which makes it hard to email with someone you don't know if you are emailing about time-sensitive issues--often the person's quick reply comes off as a rebuff when they honestly just had three seconds to dash off an answer to your email. And I generally answer time-sensitive email right away, as I know it will get buried in the onslaught of the next day's email.

So I try to remember to address the person I'm writing to. And to "sign" my name at the end. Those two things at least personalize an email that might just be, "I need a meeting room for x day." ("Try" is in bold because I often forget.)

The fact that it is so easy to send email makes it more dangerous. And the fact that you can send it to multiple people, even adding blind carbon of my bosses actually writes: Dear Marian (cc to Julie, Ann, "x" dept. staff.) So right away, the person knows who the email is going to--there's no confusion that this is a private memo, or who the other recipients are.

I have been at the butt end of too many emails--and even though I've received many more "nice" emails, the memory of the bad ones sometimes makes me flinch when I get an email from someone that doesn't often send me emails--I'm afraid I've said something and they're about to lambast me. Which makes me ever more grateful for nice emails that are like mini-letters -- recently on our neighborhood list-serv, someone said, reminder: street cleaning starts this week. And at the end, he added something about how he liked to move his truck and sweep the street on the days the street cleaners came--and the way he said it, it was like a little window into his life. It had gone beyond mere information to a moment shared among friends, a moment that stayed with me yesterday, as I walked to my car that was parked on the other side of the street and half way down (because of street cleaning).

Ah, the foibles we get into electronically. Yes, I am self-censoring--because, dear reader, I don't know you THAT well. And, because this has a million "blind cc's" -- it's called the world wide web.

Oh look at at the time. I'm off to the last Summer Reading Club training--this summer our theme is "Catch the Reading Bug!"

Have a great day, and tomorrow meet me here, we'll talk some more about my favorite things: letters!

yours til Niagara falls,


Thursday, April 03, 2008

I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake-up letter.*

After reading Katrina's comment on my last post, I want to make it my goal to have a non-letter writing reader (just one) write an actual on paper with a stamp letter. (Sorry, you'll never hear me call it "snail mail.")

But first, this awesome video from Wonder How To:

Emergency Lamp Made From A Can Of Tuna - video powered by Metacafe

Of course, I have a package that needs mailed (yes, that's Pittsburghese grammar there) and has needed mailed for MONTHS, so I better not preach what I cannot do. Hmmm, I wonder if it's a ten minute walk to the P.O. (I am in this study where I should be walking 25 minutes 5 days a week. I walked 20 minutes yesterday at the end of lunch and the endorphins all afternoon were AMAZING.) (Looking at that sentence, I think, wow, what a bizarre person I am. Partially because XP does not recognize the word endorphins as I have spelled it.) Ah, but Blogger does!!

And yet, I continue to sit here...

Street cleaning started this week, which means my car is parked halfway down on the other side of the street. Which has nothing to do with letters or getting off my rear.

Email has sort of replaced writing letters...but Lorelei refuses to correspond that way, so our once every three months (if we're lucky) letter or once every two years (if we're lucky) phone calls are how we keep in touch. I am grateful for email, as I know I'd never get an actual letter from my sister. Also, email can be two lines. Are we really going to spend 40 cents (how much is first class?) to say "Thanks for getting the notebooks"?

However, I currently have two emails (maybe three) from authors, and part of me wants to write them an email to say, can I have your address so I can send you a letter and you'll send me one back? Because yes, it's true, I have a file folder (or a very large envelope) somewhere in my abyss (the walk-in closet that is now tidier now that Sally and I decluttered it, looking for a library book that still remains on the lam) with actual correspondence from authors.

Okay, I think I need to do something about breakfast. I have two hours til lunch, some pre-tax research to do, and I'm still here talking to yins? (Granted, I slept late--I have had a persistant sore throat all week that I think must be allergies b/c it isn't acting like a cold or strep...)

You see how I can't stop writing?

Oh, well, since I'm still here, let me tell you about the books I've recently finished:
  • Skinny Dipping by Connie Brockway. Oh wow! Wonderful!! I wasn't able to really "get into" her first foray into the "contemporary romance," Hot Dish, but I eagerly await her next one.
  • Things I've learned from women who've dumped me. Fascinating. Yeah, I can tell my verbal skills are at their all time high this favorite one was about a guy wrote about how getting a dog didn't save the relationship. He's in some band. Sorry, the book is in the other room and I apparently refuse to get off my duff. Nick Hornby wrote the intro.
  • Riding the bus with my sister (again.) I love this book. And am grateful that Babs did not, as I got the copy she had. Woo! Apparently that is the extent of my review.
Okay, exactly two hours and three minutes til lunch, so I am getting off this chair and starting my day. Watch me start. Yes, I am really... (cane reaches out from the curtains and SL disappears...)
*Steven Wright

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Mail from my dad...

Dear Caroline,

How are you? I am fine. The weather in Pittsburgh...

These days, mail from my dad is generally the electronic kind. He most recently sent me a NYT article about book tastes being a dealbreaker in romantic entanglements. Since I dated many a sci-fi reading male and am friends with Babs who reads books I can't stand and I read books she can't stand and we're still friends, I don't think I would break up with someone based ONLY on their book taste.

But I was talking about letters. Pre-e, that is, before I had email, my father would cut out the Metropolitan Diary from the New York Times, print out a sermon from Craig Barnes, and send them to me in a number ten business size envelope, with a "Love, Dad" on a Post-it.

My dad generally uses cool stamps, so often I will save the envelopes he mails checks in, just because I like the stamp. This astounds Sally, when she is helping me rid my apartment of its detritus, but she allows me a few quirks.

I'm kind of exited that April is "letters" as so much of my life has been about writing and receiving mail of the personal sort. Oh, I meant excited. That was one of the words my maternal grandmother would correct my spelling on in our correspondence. Later in her years, her spelling and typing got worse, so it evened out. I have a card from her on my refrigerator--she used the same manual typewriter for over 20 years.

Lorelei and I had a long correspondence that is still going, although these days the gaps between letters yawn long. When we were just getting to be close, at the end of my senior year of high school, I moved and she went on vacation, and we wrote and wrote and wrote. This was pre-email, pre-cell phones--we often would write 3 letters in one day, numbering the envelopes. We were crazy, but it meant that I had mail every day my freshman year of college. I've pulled some of those letters out and I don't know if I'll quote them, but they will at least give me things to write about when I write about letters.


In other news, the second therapist that was recommended only works on Tues-Wed, which are crazy days for me. So I've put in a voice mail to the third therapist on the list. The lady I saw Monday seems like she will do nicely, but since this next therapist (step right up!) will be #4 in 5 years, I'd like to do a good look around before I settle. And Ms. Monday night is fine with that.

I'm pooped! I may just turn on the TV and watch American Idol...tomorrow is soon enough to play games of Scramble, bring up my laundry, and start doing research for my taxes.

Yours til Niagara Falls,

Sarah Louise

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Google's April Fools...

As I checked my morning email, there it was, in red, just asking for me to click on it. And sure enough, though it looked all official n'at, I soon could tell that this was another April Fool's prank.