Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A new year's resolution? Walk more, write more.

Yes, I see how you might think that those are two separate resolutions but they are not. They are my morning ritual, and I miss them dearly.

Via twitter today, found this post about journaling, which breaks the process into levels, such that if you are timid, you can start with Level 1 first and then expand.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Christmas!

My mother and I spent the day together driving. She drove most of the way, I drove us from Waterworks (where we saw the Voyage of the Dawn Treader) to Trader Joe's. She spent the night, which meant a morning of cleaning and clearing. When she left, I gathered up the magazines I'd gotten out of the library for an article I had to write, and arranged this lovely birthday gift from Lilly.

Also, I learned today that a bloggy friend had a baby ten days ago!! We share a middle name (Louise) but it's because her mother's name is Sarah Louise as well.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hurry Christmas, Hurry fast...

(this is the advent devotional I wrote for our church's advent booklet.)

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Read Isaiah 9:2-7)

Every year while on summer vacation, my night owl sister and I share a room. Inevitably I wake up before she wants to even think about morning, and I need to turn on the light to get dressed. So we share my sleep mask. I wear it at night, so my sister can read with a light on late into the night, and in the morning when I want to turn on the light, or open the drapes, I hand the sleep mask over to a groggy form that groans a thanks.

The darkness that Isaiah describes here is not a literal darkness. Sleepy Israelites aren’t waking up to a literal dawn, handing over sleep masks to those too tired to greet the sun. Instead, Isaiah describes people who have been living in the land of the shadow of death. As we read the verses that follow, we see that light is the first of many improvements. Not only can they see, but the light that dawned on their darkness has opened their lives. Each verse describes something better than the next. And in verse 6, a child is born. The poet Carl Sandburg said “a baby is the God’s opinion that the world should go on.” This child is not just ANY child, this is the Messiah, who carries special names: Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. But none of these improvements could have happened in the dark. The light, first, was the catalyst for changes, after.

God of Light, show us the beginning of your wonderful plan, the plan that started with a baby, your son Jesus.


As far as Christmas preps go, I am SOOOO grateful there is a hockey game on tonight. First intermission: first load of laundry, drop something at Sally's parents' house. 2nd intermission, check on laundry. All the while, I will be listening to Mike Lange and packing for my mini mini vacation down to Virginia. I still have one person to shop for.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To bare or not to bare, that is the question

This blog has always had a transparency, because I have a transparency.

Which might be part of why I haven't been writing as much, because I don't want to be that transparent.

I just sat and wrote about some things that happened a long time ago at Christmas. And I think I'll hold them in and ponder them in my heart some more.

But on this cold cold December day, know that I'm writing, and writing, and writing, and thinking of you as I write, as I spin my tales.

Stay warm, and stay in touch. And for heaven's sake, have a cupcake.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Helen just stopped by to say "hello, long time no see." Well, I'll say hello...

Hi! We'll do bullets, b/c life has been CRA-ZEE ovah heah.

  • I'm writing an article for an academic journal. GAH. It's due Wednesday. I've been spending most spare moments researching/piecing bits of writing
  • Thanksgiving/Birthday (Forty minus one) was wonderful, the fam plus D, my sister's beau, came to visit me in da Burgh. We had turkey on the Gateway Clipper, which is a boat that takes you on all three Pittsburgh rivers. When dinner was over, there was dancing, I did the Electric Slide. My sister got a picture of my parents dancing to "Unforgettable." (Did I mention that this summer they celebrated 41 years of marriage?) I got pictures which maybe I'll post...
  • My sister gave me a "grown-up" watch for my birthday. By that I mean, it has the 12 at the top and dots where the rest of the numbers would be. My parents got me a Penguins Jersey (or the financing for one) which I have to pick out. More details forthcoming.
  • Today was the Children's Department Holiday potluck. There is beautiful snow on the ground everywhere and the way the hostess directed me was just breathtaking, through forests of bare trees with snow, like a picture book.
  • For the potluck, I made quiche. Yes, I'm cooking and baking again. And washing dishes...I've become kind of domestic again, after a 13 year hiatus!! And I'm losing inches ever so slowly. I haven't weighed myself because I don't want to see that I weigh the same. (I gained 30 pounds last year due to stress, not eating well, and not exercising, due to the departure of North Hills Sally who is now Michigan Sally)
  • It is winter here, my favorite season of the year.
  • I LOVE my new church. This past Sunday, we had a U2charist, which is a service that has Eucharist and all the songs are U2 songs. It's our second annual. Here's an article about my church!!
  • For my birthday, my brother got me Season 1 of Boy Meets World. I LOVE IT!! I watched that show on ABC's Friday night line up "TGIF" for just about the entire 7 year run.
This is the busiest weekend of the year, I think: I skipped Bible Study this morning to work on the article (although I have been back since I last wrote), I made quiche this morning for the potluck this afternoon, tomorrow is a neighborhood party (where you walk from house to house for Christmas food goodies), and Saturday after work, Lilly and I are going to the movies. Sunday it might REALLY snow, and if it does, I'll write at home, and if it doesn't I may spend some time at the graduate school looking at articles. I haven't been to a movie since Thanksgiving. I know! And today was the first day in eons that I watched breakfast television...which included old episodes of the Pink, I had no idea it was a cartoon first. (But so very awesome!!)

Hopefully soon I'll have brain cells enough to write something that has wit, but this will get you updated for now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My car passed inspection and other miracles

Yes, it's true. For what is possibly the first time in my car-owning life, about sixteen years, my car didn't need ANY work whatsoever for the yearly inspection that PA requires. Woohoo! (I realize woot is cooler, more hip, but woohoo has more of a party in the pronunciation.)

This vile month is almost over, just FOUR MORE DAYS til my cousin's birthday (on November 1.) Her birthday starts the birthday season as far as I'm concerned. I have friends with birthdays in early November, and then mine is at the end of the month. (Thanksgiving Sunday.) Then my brother's, 5 days before Christmas, then my sister's, 2 days after New Years. And then of course, Christmas. I love the holidays. Not something you'd think you'd hear from a gal who worked Fox Books for 7 retail seasons, but I do. Halloween does NOTHING for me. Case in point: our staff Halloween party was Monday. I was baffled as to why the decorations were still up until I realized that Halloween the holiday is still a few days away. Haven't decided what I'm doing yet...I generally do not stay at home because, well, third floor walk-up?

The U2 tickets arrived the other day. I have put them in a "safe place." HaHaHaHa. I should probably put them in my underwear drawer, that's where I keep things like my passport. The concert isn't until JULY.

Lilly and I are going resale shopping on Sunday--half price at the Designer Days, which is run by the National Jewish Women Organization, or some such. They had a thrift shop in Oakland when I was in college, so I got a lot of my early college clothes there. Later, their thrift shop moved Dahntahn, and I got an elegant tea pot for East End Sally's wedding gift. (We used to drink tea all the time, so for a while, I only got her tea related gifts.) Now their thrift shop is in Swissvale and I've never been. But their resale shop is in Shadyside, and I've many a nice piece from there.

(See? Sunday isn't Halloween, it's the day Lilly and I are going shopping.)

Already I can feel the gloom of October unpeeling its wretched fingers from my life. Soon, my dearies, soon.

Today I wrote cards: one for Marian, a hi, I miss you, and one for Michigan Sally's birthday, which was a few weeks ago. (I talked to her on her birthday.)

Lunch was with the ladies that lunch, to celebrate two birthdays in our department. I had lasagna, yum.

Well, off I go...I'm going to a Grease sing-a-long. It's been ages since I've gone out in the evening, and it sounds super-fun. Laundry can wait till tomorrow morning, which probably means I'll skip Bible Study again. We'll get there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

these posts don't write themselves...

so I have at least 3 posts in "draft." A lot is going on these days. Right now, it's moist outside and sometimes a quick downpour (which I thankfully escaped, by mere moments).

I'm here, I've increased the Zoloft, and I'm spending WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY too much time watching TV, DVDs (SATC, season 4, "My one and only," and bits of CBS last night, even the end of Hawaii 5-0.)

My car is being poked and prodded. Hopefully it passes inspection without any extra work. (Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease).

Update: Anna moves to Moscow tomorrow. (Well, she'll be on a plane for most of tomorrow, with her two children, husband, and cats.) I broke up with Xander via email (yes, I know, despicable, but apparently I cleaned out my colon every time I had a date with this guy.) (Sorry for the TMI.) Talk about bad chemistry.

I will get through this, I ALWAYS ALWAYS do. But if you have any corny jokes or cupcakes, leave them in the comment box.

kisses, SL

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to write a political ad in Pittsburgh

Note: I am not endorsing or maligning any opponent, but merely pointing out how ads are written here in SW PA.

If your opponent is rich, point that out. If he's a millionaire, even better.

If your opponent has been in Washington, and you haven't, point out how corrupt Washington is, and how we don't want to send your opponent back. Mention Washington and corrupt as many times as possible.

Talk about privatizing social security. Talk about Medicare, grandchildren, taxes, and health care.

Highlight a particular failure that your opponent has made. Get negative quotes from newspapers, government officials, especially if that official is in your opponent's party, and if the failure has cost money, compare it to the cost of "BOTH stadiums" (Mentioning sports always helps anything in Pittsburgh.) (When will library fundraisers learn this??)

Use the phrase "back room deals."

If your opponent says something bad in a clip, play the clip twice.

Get the "average voter" to say, "I usually vote for [insert your opponent's here] party, but this year, I'm voting for [insert your name here], because [insert your opponent's name here] just doesn't get it."

Use the phrase "[insert your opponent's name here] just doesn't get it" as much as possible.

Mention Paris Hilton. Mention China. Mention China again. Mention illegal immigrants.

Point out the unemployment numbers that have gotten worse since we sent so and so to Washington. Use pictures of empty streets.

Make sure you vote on Tuesday, November 2. Start now researching who you can vote for. Talk to people you trust. Don't wait until November 1. Plan when you will hit the polls. Before work? After work? On your lunch break? Even if there is no one you want to vote for, show up. Represent. Write in someone that you think could do the job better.

And above all, remember that the more local the vote, the more that person may have an effect on your daily life. So don't forget city council, school board, and other local officials.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

it's like the feet are little psychiatrists...

(Terri Guillemets)

After a decadent lunch at at the Frick Cafe, Lilly and I walked for almost 3 hours through Frick Park. (We stopped twice to sit.) It was nice to just walk and talk. We solved all the world's problems. (I wish.) But as soon as I dropped Lilly off at her apartment, I panicked. Should I go grocery shopping? Should I go home? Should I take a nap?

Tomorrow I have lunch with Anna, who is leaving for Russia in two weeks. And Friday was Sally's (formerly of the North Hills) birthday. I have been crying. For the loss of my friend to Michigan, where she is thriving. For the loss of my friend to half-way around the world and more than six time zones. She'll be on her own adventure and I'll still be here, with the same old me, in the same old apartment, with the same old job. I'm working on thriving, I can see it ahead of me, but I'm not there yet. I called Sally Friday morning to wish her happy birthday and she was chirping like a happy (thriving) bird.

With Marian still not back at work (although two of us at work had dreams that she had returned) and Pat eating in the kitchen with all the brown-baggers, (not out, like she used to always do), I went out alone to lunch on Friday. I have been doing that, for the past month or so, taking a book. Sitting there, in Sally's favorite Chinese restaurant, I felt more alone than I had in a very long time.

I don't know if I'll see Anna again after tomorrow--she's so busy finishing up getting ready for their move. And I will really miss her.

So I think the panic that I felt after dropping Lilly off was that for a few hours I had had a reprieve. Someone to shorten my journey with a story. I wasn't alone. A day where I wasn't thinking about Anna leaving and although we did talk a little bit about Sally in Michigan, Lilly and I talked about other things. We solved other problems.

I'm working through some BIG things right now: being healthy about my eating, being healthy about my money, being healthy about relationships (men and women), still working through energy issues with the subsiding Shingles. (I'm so sick of going to bed early and STILL sleeping until at least 8 almost every morning.) Getting acclimated to a new church. Figuring out my question for my PhD. (So much closer now.)

And guess what? Even though you might think I shouldn't be, I'm hard on myself. I expect nothing less than perfection. And when I fail at that, I coddle myself with TV, or DVDs, or computer time. And all that coddling means that I don't have time to do simple things around the house like dishes, bills, and laundry. It's a vicious, vicious cycle, one that brings on endless shame. (I have kept three geraniums alive since early summer.)

My therapist can't see me tomorrow (she's taking an all day class), and disc 3 of season 6 of SATC is unbalanced, causing whirring noises and sometimes stoppage of play. It's funny what can derail an otherwise wonderful day. Oh, and Catherine is sick, so I haven't stopped by to see her and the twins all week. Writing it down does help to see where I've been unbalanced.

This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. And inside my head, a voice screams, "But WHEN?"

And then I feel ashamed, because I had a really nice day. And the cycle repeats until I'm tired enough to go to bed.

Well, I think I've done enough work here, probably more than I would have in tomorrow's therapy session. Lilly has recommended G. Roth's book, Appetites, and I think I'll get my hands on a copy tomorrow if I can.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

A counter community...

It's one of those days where I have many thoughts swirling, and seeing as this is the place I am right now, I'm going to share the swirl with you.

The title comes from a quote from Inward/outward, which so many of my friends have followed for years and I only recently hooked into. It's a cool quote/passage every day, run by a church in DC.

But they were talking about counter as in opposite, and because words are fun and can be used to mean many things (don't you love that?) I read it differently, because I know of a counter community. A real one.

The place where Marian and I eat lunch (and where I eat often in her absence, which has added up to months now) is a counter community. It is a lunch counter, in the shape of a U, sort of, and we all are aware of each other. It's pretty much the same crowd every day, although, come to think of it, John hasn't been there the past couple of times I've been there, and the other John didn't go for lunch yesterday, just to pick up a newspaper. The cashier saved one for him, she often does that when that day's paper is selling quickly--it was a big day in da Burgh yesterday, 50 years since Maz hit one out of the ballpark. (The Pirates won the pennant in 1960, and people show up every year at the place where there is a tiny piece of the former wall of the former ball field, because it's a very Pittsburgh thing to do.)

Anyways, sometimes the guy who is sometimes my mechanic is there, and sometimes this guy who is the spitting image of John McCain, and there's a loud guy named John, and while Marian knows all of the waitresses names, I know Andrea. And sometimes Doc realizes that there are "library girls" eating, and he gets Andrea to take our bills, so we leave tips for our waitresses but get a free lunch. There are varying degrees of "how we feel about that" from "that's Doc" to "free lunch!" to "how embarrassing." But all this to say, we are a community. A loose one, but a community nonetheless.


The thought I had as I went from my kitchen sink with my breakfast to my bed which is also my couch, my dining area, my computer "table," my TV chair...I know, I need to diversify my life, my furniture, but right now I'm just in "get by until things improve" mode. Anyways, I was thinking about the councilman in Texas who did a "it gets better" speech. (It gets better is now code for if you are a gay teen, don't kill yourself, there's so much life ahead of you.) And I watched it, and cried. And the thing of it is this: I'm not a gay teen, but there was so much that spoke to me. About how we are each different somehow and often teased or feel alone for that different piece and sometimes it feels like an insurmountable mountain, to get past whatever it is. But what this guy was saying was, LIFE is worth it. And I think that's something that everyone can hold onto.

It's been a pretty dark week in Sarah Louise Land. One of my friends has been unreachable for months, one of my friends is moving to Moscow (yes back in the former USSR), and Sally is still in Michigan. Xander is either really clueless or doesn't like me and doesn't know how to tell me, and I haven't seen Lilly in weeks (save for a hi/bye at a conference we both attended last Friday.) I did dream last night that Marian was back at work. She was wearing a zippered hoodie, blue, and there she was, back at work. Almost as if she'd never gone, but the truth is, she's been gone for months. She doesn't even know about Xander! (Who, the next time he contacts me, I'm either sending him a "dear John" email or telling him in person the next time I see him.) I still like him, but I can't be with someone who has no mechanism for telling me he likes me. So, one of two things could happen: he'll back off and that will be the end, or he'll scratch his head and say, oh, that's not what I meant to convey. Then there's always that third option, option x. But if I've learned ANYTHING from SATC, it's that people are so often in different quadrants and then they aren't. And some people move on and some people keep coming back.

I'm just meandering through this...and also playing hooky to Bible Study this morning. I need some hooky time. I work from 1-9, and I need to get some ducks in a row. Instead of laundry last night, I finished the book about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. Instead of doing my pills, I watched the shows I normally watch, Modern Family and Cougar Town. Cougar Town surprised me...I thought it was going to be this dumb show where formerly Monica from Friends sleeps around after her divorce. Which I think it might have been. But by the time I started watching it, middle of last season, it was much more. There's some real depth there. If I try to explain it, it will sound frivolous, but it isn't. So there. This is my blog...and I'll write what I want to.

And when I called my momma this morning, she talked. Which is rare, my mother doesn't just go on and on and tell me about her life. I wanted to tell her about my life, but that's okay, I was glad to listen. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my momma? She's the best. She really really is.

Well, in a minute, the clock will strike ten (literally--the seminary down the street has one of those clocks that rings on the hour) and I need to get some laundry in and find some prescriptions and take them to the drug store. There's the bell now.

mtc, SL

oh, and I didn't even mention the miners. What joy there was watching 20/20 last night, the coverage of the miners being released from the earth.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Judgy-wudgy wuzz a bear...

(Stanford to Carrie, SATC Season #5)

This is the post I wrote in my morning shower...and forgot by the time I got to the laptop.

In my early 20s, I made bad choices. I also had bad boundaries, and this led to friendships where people judged me. So now that I am in my late 30s, making better choices, I am afraid that I'm still going to get judged. And all of a sudden, I have people who are saying, "I see what you're saying and I feel the same way," or, "why don't you look at it this way?" NOT "You are making a huge mistake."

But it takes a long time for that voice, that "You are making a HUGE mistake," to go away. Before I open certain emails, I take a deep breath. I have a guy friend who is good at giving advice. He says it's in his Y chromosome. And because I have chosen well, my friends and my boundaries, the advice he's giving me is the same advice I'm giving myself. (But isn't it nice to have someone else tell you that you're on the right road?) Years ago, my mother said to me, "you are making good decisions." I wrote it down and put it up on my fridge. Maybe I need to find that paper or write up a new one.

Had coffee with Xander. I think we were having an off day. I didn't like him that much. And there was a lot of us not talking. But he is a great listener, and he knows his books and his hockey. And I may have stepped on his toes. Because he may have stepped on mine. But I still think he's cute. When I got to Borders, he was sitting there, reading, wearing a Sidney Crosby #87 t-shirt. I walked up to him and said, "Hey, Crosby."

And the beat goes on.

ten ten ten OR diez diez diez OR zehn zehn zehn

I'm feeling playful this morning. Is it because I woke up and the clock that at first look read 10 a.m. actually read 7:57? (How I adore my old fashioned analog clocks.)

Is it because I showered before I watched CBS Sunday morning? (Which means I have a chance to be on time to church)

Is it because the Chilean miners are almost free? Maybe Wednesday!!

Is it because last night I had the chance to see a movie in a dark room, the chance to laugh and cry with strangers? (Life as we know it, the movie, not the TV show.)

Is it because after the movie, I talked to my mom in the car in the dark parking lot? Like a lot of mother daughter conversations, this one had to do with food and poop.

And after all this, I went to the grocery store, bought myself some flowers from Ecuador, raced to the other grocery store to buy almond milk (which by the way, yuk) and got home in time to putz around online until the first skit for SNL.

Yesterday was one of those days...a morning of too many pink Kleenexes being thrown off the cliff called my bed. Coffee and peppermint patties. A morning of self-medicating with Google searches. In the afternoon, I buckled down and worked on catalog errors. (This is even less and more fun than it sounds, believe me. And requires a lot of gray matter.) And by 4:30, I realized that if I didn't have a movie to go see, bad things might happen. And having spent the morning with too many pink Kleenexes and Google, I decided to search Yahoo movies.

I am grateful, that on the brink of my 39th birthday (a month and a half away) I am remembering what I can do to make me happy. Which includes CBS Sunday morning, chick flicks, feeding myself real food, talking to my mom, and blogging. I get to see Xander at 3 this afternoon. Still working out if we are friends or something more...but he's a great guy and I want to take the time to figure it out.

So...if I want to be on time to church, I better figure out what I'm wearing. Tootles. Enjoy this day, it won't come around for another 100 years. And it won't be on a Sunday for even longer than that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"guest starring Chris Noth"

--my favorite opening credit for either SATC or The Good Wife.

Seeing as SATC is my comfort candy TV, I often crave a particular episode. One time, I needed to cry and so I watched the episode where Miranda's mom dies and Samantha can't cry.

Today I craved the one where Carrie meets Big at the restaurant by the lake and he tries to kiss her and she steps away and they both fall in the lake instead.

For future reference, it's the one called "Cock a doodle do!" where Carrie has "roof chickens," aka roosters.


I was away for the weekend. Somehow the topic of immigrants came up, and my brother said that in a paper he was reading about Honduras, immigrants don't want to let on that they aren't doing so great in the U.S. So they lie. Which perpetuates the myth that everything is great here, and so people emigrate with misconceptions.

Are you away if you go home? And where is home? I leave Pittsburgh to go to Northern Virginia where my parents and siblings live. So I often say I'm going home (to Northern Virginia) and then I'm going home, to Pittsburgh.) I have a fortune from a fortune cookie that says "Home is where the heart is." So, I have two homes; my home with all my stuff, near my job and my friends, my church, and my home where my parents live and I get to see my siblings and attend my parent's church.

I had dinner with Kristina, a woman I knew 28 years ago, when we were girls in Honduras. Her dad was with the Justice Dept, mine was with State. It was not a time when the U.S. was well liked, and we reminisced about things like, remember when terrorists bombed the power plant on July 4th? It's a part of my life that I never really talk about, because there's no one my age to talk to about it. But all of a sudden, I was sitting across from someone who knew who I meant when I said, "I had such a crush on . . ." And I could say things like, "they lived on the street the school was on, do you remember them?"

I spent today mostly sleeping. I have been trying to keep food in...the spicy Thai food I had Saturday night didn't mix well with the minor dehydration I got from being in 95 degree weather on Saturday at the book festival (at least that's my theory.) Then I tried to have raspberry (with seeds) jam on my toast today and I think that was the kicker. I've been eating toast and rice cereal (lunch and dinner).

Oh, look at the time...well anyways, it's been nice chatting with you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath catches in my chest until I hear 3 little words, "You've got mail."

(Meg Ryan in the 1998 film, You've Got Mail.)

I've been involved in an email relationship since the early part of August. It's not quite like the movie You've Got Mail, because I know the guy's name, what he looks like (cute) and I've actually been out in fresh air with him twice. (Also, we do not work in sparring bookstores.) But most of our interaction is via email.

How did I meet this guy, you ask? Through an online dating service. Yes, I went on a second date with a guy with whom I had zero chemistry and thought, well, maybe he's a "nice guy," I hear that happens sometimes. (I know of at least two women who slogged through at least 3 bad dates with the men they ended up marrying.) So I Googled "dating a nice guy" and a quiz came up, "Could you date a nice guy?" Well, yes, it turned out that I could, but in order to find that out, I had to join the dating service that sponsored the quiz. I created a user name and a password and I got my results. I was a "sweetheart" and compatible with "nice guys."

And a few days later, I got an automated email from one of the founders saying you should add a picture, answer some questions. It was a boring Sunday afternoon, so I uploaded the picture of me next to the Stanley Cup and answered some questions. I even looked at the profiles of some guys that the site thought I might match up with.

And a few days after that, I got matched with Xander (not his real name.) We emailed for about a week and then he asked me out for coffee. We share an interest in the author Malcolm Gladwell, the Harry Potter books, and movies. Finally, I have found someone who watches the movie before reading the book.

It's kind of fun and kind of scary. I do not have a lot of great dating experience under my belt, so my neurotic side comes out to taunt me a lot. Fortunately, I have amazing friends who remind me that I'm not dating those men right now, I'm dating THIS one. Who seems incredibly laid back, nice, respectful.

(I probably will not be blogging too much about this because of respect, privacy, and boundaries.)

What I'm discovering is that my encyclopedic knowledge of SATC comes in handy. Anything that could ever happen to me has happened either to one of the girls (Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda) or one of the writers. I'm not alone, this is not new, this has happened to someone else!!

So that's what's new in the life of Sarah Louise. What's new for you?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Ugly Betty therapy...

So...I'm in the week where I bump into things and I'm grumpy and I'm at work but not necessarily getting a lot done. Yes, it's Week 4. (Gabrielle, I love you!!)

Day 23 to the end of cycle
Today’s hormonescope: Week 1 and Week 2 was full of energy and motivation. This week? Not so much. As estrogen and testosterone plunge, they bring down pep and momentum, making it harder to find the inspiration to work, clean or study. You will, however, be able to shop, eat ice cream and watch TV with the greatest of ease.

Today is Thursday, the day I work from 1-9, so I am allowing myself to watch the last two episodes of Ugly Betty.

I'm crying because it's all dramatic, but it's giving me an outlet, I'm getting some catharsis.

(excuse me, I'm having a moment...)

I have a post brewing, but I wanted to write this short bit. I am proud of all of you, dear readers, and I hope you have a moment to take care of yourself too, because you deserve it.

In other news, the house we stayed in on vacation was completely uninspiring, everything was from Ross or TJ Maxx so I hardly have a single photo. (The lake was the same, so even though it was be-gorgeous, I didn't take any new pix.) I'll be relying heavily on FB photos from my dad and siblings.

I have a new phone that I'm going to return. It is too heavy, it doesn't get all my messages, I cannot figure out how to use it, and it's uncomfortable for talking. I have half a mind to return it, get the latest Nokia for show and continue using my pink phone that I adore for the next two years. Yes, texting will still be a bear, but at least I'll have more than 100 characters per message.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have the rest of the last episode of Ugly Betty to watch. Where are my pink Kleenex?

As Kim would say, MTC (more to come)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection..."

Yesterday I went to visit Marian the Librarian. I took her a green pen that I'd purchased at our favorite lunch counter at the local pharmacy. (Yes, just like out of the fifties, we adore it.) This was not just any green pen, it was a green pen with a moppet top and when you jiggled a lever, the moppet top sprung off the end of the pen, tethered by a thin green elastic.

She loved it. As we sat there on her sofa, talking, she played with it, like I knew she would, wondering at the sheer silliness of the mechanics. I love that about Marian, that she has a childlike love for silly things. This is a woman, I recall, who bought clothes for her many WebKinz, back in the day.

I spent almost two hours with her, and she was animated, she talked, I talked, it was like old times. But when I left, I knew it wasn't like old times, she still has far to go, and so do I. She has a lot of crap to work on, and I do too. And she's not coming back to work tomorrow. And Sally isn't moving back from Michigan. I need more people in my life.

Summer is an especially hard time--folks taking vacations, spending time with their families, and oh, yeah, there was that bout of SHINGLES.

This week I peaked on Wednesday. I saw a million Cadillacs everywhere (my secret good luck charm) and I was going out to dinner with the French teacher for the second time, this time to a neighborhood Thai restaurant.

What was it like, Sarah Louise?

It was a bit like having dinner with Larry King on steroids. If I talked about the library, he wanted to know every detail about weeding books. And damaged books. And what? Classics get weeded too? I have no idea if we'll go out again, but I know this: he is a nice guy. And I've never dated one of those. So we're in uncharted territory...

How did I determine he was a nice guy? I used my deductive skills, realized he might be, and then Googled "dating a nice guy." (Ever the librarian.)

This is what I tweeted that night: no clue. not a clue. not a single solitary clue. Well, let's say I've heard stories. #cryptictweet

(The stories are of women who weren't really sure about the guy until at least a month in. One stuck around because the guy had season tickets to the Steelers. Which is not a shallow reason, if you're from Pittsburgh. She's now married and owns a home with said guy.)

And my mother? It took eight years for her to warm up to my dad. Marian said, and you're worrying about two dates?

So who knows? Well, I know one thing. I have laundry that is probably ready to be flipped down in the basement. I need clean clothes BADLY.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you're always a day away....

My heart melted when they showed an archival black and white clip of Paul McCartney singing "Yesterday" a song I knew by heart before I knew what it meant--I was 7.

My therapist has goaded me to get to bed at night, and though I have much to write about and process, I want health more.

So, until the morrow,

Sarah Louise

(who will tell you about this bizarre thing called the non-date with low chemistry.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anger management and pieces of magazines, scotch tape and contact paper

I don't want to admit that I'm angry.

At Shingles for screwing up my summer.
At Sally for moving away (although I'm pretty much over that.)
At my body, for getting sick and gaining weight (two separate events.)
At myself, for so many things.

I don't want to admit that this anger caused my back to spasm yesterday while I was creating floor space in my bedroom.

I don't want to admit that this morning I sobbed (keened?) on the phone to Sally, blew my nose loudly, and somehow my back felt better. Not perfect, but better than "I must lie down with my legs elevated for the rest of the morning" or take large doses of narcotics.

But all these things are true.

What else is true? I am so artistically blocked that I wasn't able to start a collage, after discussing how much I loved making them with Sally and deciding that's what I would spend my morning doing.

I don't want to admit that the only collaging I did today was finding old collages and attaching them to my walls, but I will admit that I like the effect. And maybe, just maybe, seeing old collages will inspire me to do more.

I think I'm having Thai with the French/Russian teacher tomorrow night. Confirmation has not been established. MEN!!! (And seriously, a man at his age, who has never been married? Probably not looking for a relationship. But then again, am I looking for one? I'm looking for a friend, I know that much.)

So much for a Tuesday morning. Enjoy the pictures.

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I remember being sad/mad when I made this one.

I think this one looks like Cuileann, though I didn't know her when I made it.

I made this one a few weeks or months ago.

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The final effect on my white white wall. I like it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Toe stubbing and other events of the day...

When I was in college, the week before graduation, I broke my toe by falling out of bed.

Which meant I had to have two of my toes wrapped around each other so that the broken one could heal, since you can't get a cast for a broken toe any more than you can get a cast when you break your tailbone. (Interesting--I seem to have only broken bones that don't require casts...)

I had to buy slip-on shoes at Roses, the local version of Walmart, a size bigger than my feet. I think I paid five dollars for them. And so in my graduation picture, the one where the Dean of the College hands me my diploma, you also see my feet, wearing hideous white canvas slip-on shoes a size too big. Therefore, I hate my graduation picture. (This was before digital cameras and easy cropping.)

Today I stubbed my toes twice. Both times were while I was a patron at the Edgewood Library, so I couldn't scream, just mutter obscenities under my breath. Right now, I have two ice cubes in a tiny bag sitting on the little toe of my right foot. Something tells me Tylenol would be a good idea too. And I wonder if my toe is broken again.

(After examination, I think probably not, but it is swollen, and the toenail portion HURTS.) Thank God for ice.

But if stubbing my toe was the worst thing that happened to me today, I'd say I'm doing pretty well.

Here are some of the good things:

  • My psychiatrist actually remembered who I was and informed me that one reason why I might have missed the pain portion of Shingles is that I'm currently taking one of the drugs they give people who suffer from Shingles-related pain. Woot! Score one for psych drugs!!
  • I went to Ritters and had fried green tomatoes and a tuna melt. I read On Writing Well, my current "restaurant book" but also eavesdropped. Did you know that the Mortuary school here in Pittsburgh is the best one in the nation? One of the waitresses at Ritters goes there. To describe a Ritter's waitress: a dash of spunk, a dash of grump, and a healthy portion of sweetheart. Sort of like hard candy with goo in its core.
  • After my early bird special, I called my parent's house and got my dad. We talked for a while. How I love that man. He mostly listened. (Sometimes, though, he starts to talk and you cannot get off the phone. It's kind of cute...)
  • I got an email! From a guy I had coffee with a few months ago! He wants to try that Thai place I told him about! That's all I'm saying! But if I wasn't nursing my toe and it wasn't hot hot hot in here, I might dance a jig!
(You realize the exclamations are only because I hardly know the guy so he doesn't really have any flaws yet, any annoying qualities. He's just this cute guy!)
  • I went to the Edgewood Library, one of my favorite libraries (toe stubbing aside). I met Rachel, who graduates from library school next week, and I read magazines, something I always say I'm going to do. It was so nice to BROWSE. Also, Rachel put a book about the steps of Pittsburgh on hold for me, because I was wearing my StepTrek* shirt.
On the way home (sorry, the bullets were getting to me), I thought, I need blueberries for tomorrow's breakfast and a microwave dinner for tomorrow's dinner. I had two options, the Co-op or Trader Joe's. I knew TJ's would have what I needed, and probably cheaper than the Co-op, but it was about to storm so I turned onto Meade Street. Of course a tiny box of organic local blueberries costs a small fortune and the microwave dinner is almost double what I'd pay at TJ's. But as I'm paying, I hear my name, and it's Sheila, a woman I work with at the polls 2x a year. I hadn't seen her in forever, so we sat and talked, waiting out the storm. (Sheets of rain. Buckets of water on the sidewalks.)

She's doing census work, so as I sit down, she collates papers into envelopes. I tell her about Shingles, she tells me about her new car (a used Toyota Corolla). She's going to England for two weeks. (Her husband, after 10 years of marriage, is still a subject of the Queen.) I imagine they'll be there to visit family.

The storm stops, we walk outside to our respective cars, I drive home, take the garbage cans from the curb back to the side of the house, and move my car a little forward so that I can open my passenger's side door. And who pulls up behind me? Max, the man on the first floor (who I dated, eons ago.) Guess where he was for those two weeks we brought in his mail? England and France with the chorus he does accompanying work for.

As I went upstairs, sorted laundry to do a load, I thought, my evening was so well-timed. (Well-timed seems like such a boring word, I want a word like kairos.**) If I hadn't left the library right when I did because of my stubbed toe, if I hadn't turned onto Meade St., if I hadn't taken the time to move the trash cans from the curb, I would have missed talking to Sheila, I would have missed talking to Max.

My English teachers always said I needed help with the conclusions to my essays. I guess not much has changed in twenty years...

*StepTrek is this really cool urban hike that happens in October on the South Side Slopes, which is covered with steps. There's a whole history of steps in Pittsburgh, which, there would have to be, there are so many hills. I've done the StepTrek three times, and today I was wearing the t-shirt for 2006.

**kairos is a Greek word for time. Whereas chronos is chronological time, kairos is a word meaning the opportune time, or the acceptable time. It was a word loved by Madeleine L'Engle so much that she named one of her books An Acceptable Time. She talks about chronos and kairos a lot in her book on art called Walking on Water.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

the one where Sarah Louise goes to Goodwill...

It is a truth universally accepted that if one increases eating and reduces exercise, one will no longer fit in one's favorite clothes.

(It could happen to you...) Yes, it happened to me. I gained approximately 30 lbs this year. It crept up on me, as I wear a lot of dresses (no waist) low cut jeans (doesn't hit the waist) and don't have a reliable full length mirror.

But with summer on the scene, and no shorts that fit, and both jeans that do fit are in dire need of laundering (and I don't really like the one pair that fits) I decided a trip to Goodwill was in order.

It took me three trips to the dressing room, but I came home with some clothes that look nice on me and make me feel pretty. I know I will lose the weight as I get back into my walking routine, but for now, to have something that fits who I am this moment, well, I feel pretty.

What I got:
  • a green plastic bowl to replace the blue plastic bowl I broke trying to break an ice chunk earlier this summer, 99 cents.
  • a diorama of sorts with two blue roses, just pretty, a dollar fifty.
  • a jewelery box, to replace the one I re-purposed when I re-did my bathroom, leaving some of my jewelery in decorative stationery boxes, two dollars.
  • a Melodie Beattie book, two dollars
  • Two pairs of shorts, six dollars
  • a pair of capris (a capri?), three dollars
  • a Liz Claiborne golf shirt, four dollars
  • a pair of jeans that doesn't make me look like a cow, six dollars
  • a dress that made me take my hair down from my hair barrette and admire that girl in the mirror, priceless.
And knowing that I had the energy to work 5 hours and then shop for forty five minutes after driving for almost an hour (I prefer the Cheswick Goodwill), that was worth it, to know that I have energy. My schedule for working next week is more back to normal, but I'm trying to not over load my circuits, so to speak.

Wondering if I have any readers. I need to get a page counter again.

Tomorrow evening, it's off to a free concert with Roseanne Cash. I'm going with a guy from work...I think he's more excited about the prospect of going with me, whereas I'm excited to have someone to go with to the concert. I consulted my father and brother. My brother: you have nothing to worry about. My dad: laughed, knowingly. It was a good excuse to call my brother, though.

Sounds like heat thunder outside my window. I'm getting hungry, time for the evening popcorn fix.

One of these days, I'm going to have to see if the bathing suit still fits...but not tonight.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Calling it a night...

Listening to The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell in the car these days. It is bringing up old wounds from high school, but also helping me to look at them objectively, knowing that someone else (Carrie!) went through some of the same crap (or similar) and lived to tell the tale. I like to think we would have been friends.

Tonight I am melancholy--La Shingles is moving away and what we seem to have left is ennui and a lack of enthusiasm for living life outside my apartment. I want to nest, I want to organize, I want to read, I want to watch Ugly Betty (or the Wednesday ABC line-up). I do not want to face work, where Marian is not (she's on leave), where my one boss is not (husband having surgery), where my other boss is (her house hasn't sold yet.)

This was supposed to be the summer of flea markets and yard sales and farmer's markets. Of changes at work. Instead, it has been the summer of Ugly Betty, Trader Joe's, and sleeping. Now that I'm back at work, I'm working a little every day and yes, even on Saturdays and Sundays so that I don't use up all my vacation time. And I don't have any weekend plans, anyways.

(Listen to me. I am a regular 38-year-old cry baby.) (Or rather, don't listen...there's got to be someone blogging something more positive than this.) I feel like all the Psalms where David cries out to God and says, my flesh is like ashes! (Except that by the end of 18 or 118 verses, he comes out and says, but through it all, I praise the Lord.) I'm not there yet. I trust God that I will be, that somewhere, someday, over the rainbow, there will be lemon drops and I will feel like Sarah Louise again, the one who goes to work 35 hours a week and does fun things too. (So i guess I can do a bit of David coming around at the end of 118 verses.)

Soundtrack for this post:
  • I won't last a day without you (The Carpenters) "when there's no getting over that rainbow, when my smallest of dreams won't come true...I won't last a day without you."
  • Somewhere over the rainbow "if bluebirds can fly over the rainbow, why oh why can't I"
  • Deliver Me: (the David Crowder version) All of my life
    I've been in hiding
    Wishing there was someone just like You
    Now that You're here
    Now that I've found You
    I know that You're the One to pull me through

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"We need to share our stories to discover..."

(Patrice Vecchione, quoted in Inward/Outward)

How wonderful it is to listen and to be listened to. I had dinner last night with a friend, and through cocktails, soup, main dish, dessert, we fed each other with our stories.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

William Zissner--great name, great writer

So I'm working my way through William Zissner's book, On Writing Well. I'm on the chapter where he talks about memoir, which I think is the closest literary style to blogging--taking a corner of one's life, not the whole of it (which would be biography or autobiography) and writing about it.

And once again, I think, that is the kind of writing I want to do. Why am I pursuing this Ph.D. in library science? Especially now that my focus has gone from a literature study of Third Culture Kids to a more sociological study of how school librarians can affect the lives of children.

It's the "gift" of Shingles. I've had time to not move forward on the Ph.D, since getting to work has been the main goal. I do have a GRE prep book on my desk, but I haven't really cracked the binding yet.

I don't know! I feel like I'm going around in circles, AGAIN. But, I have to know that these circles will end up somewhere interesting.

And yes, (as Helen asked a few weeks ago) I am looking into getting a Spiritual Director. The thing is, I have to sell it to my therapist as a good idea. She bristled the last time I discussed it, I'm not sure why, and with everything else, I haven't brought it up. (And I know waiting for the best time is not the best way to go.)

One step. One step. One step.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bossy bosses

So I'm still sleeping AT least a full eight hours every night, twelve if you really tire me out. And I'm not working full days at work yet.

But my boss needs me, so I'm working a full day on Wednesday. Yes, 10-6, which includes the manager's meeting (thrill! I've never been to one!) (yes, I am a geek.)

She didn't say in as many words, but I think Weds might be the day her husband has his heart surgery.

I had a beer last night with dinner, partially b/c I didn't want iced tea (to keep me awake) and partially b/c it was happy hour and so it was half off. I came home and dozed and woke up for my dad's phone call (they are on their way to a family wedding). I fell back asleep, so I guess total sleep for last night is in the 12 hour range.

I work at 1.

I've been hibernating in my bedroom, watching Ugly Betty, instead of moving forward with this day. And I just got the "low battery" balloon, which means I need to finish this quickly, since the power cord is now over by the desk (instead of the bed.) It is better to have my laptop live on my desk than by my bed. It is no longer first thing in the morning, last thing at night. Which feels good.

Oh, and the DVD player just went off, which means I'll have to fast-forward to get back to the scene where Hilda tells Tony that she can't see him anymore, he's married. WOO HOO!

So, on goes life. One step, one step, one step.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Blogging n'at

So I have been following the 5x week, it's just for the past two days I've been over at my health blog: sarah louise, in the pink.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Books that have stayed with me...

...about libraries and education. (I think I'm changing the focus of my dissertation question.)

In the car these days, I'm listening to Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, and realizing that the types of books I like are about education, about how to get from good to great (ah, yes, a book by Jim Collins), how to improve situations and give opportunities to those who may not otherwise get them.

So, I hightailed it over to my account, in the hopes that I can unearth some books whose titles I've forgotten.

Small Victories has stayed with me even though I read it ONCE, 20 years ago.

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children by John Wood. Got to hear him speak at a conference in Minneapolis. WOW. This guy started a program for school libraries all over the world, mostly in South Asia.

Sahara Special by Esme. The author was a teacher who now is an author and advocate for kids reading. In the book, the kid is labeled "special" and the new teacher changes things.

Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (my hero!)

Work Hard, Be Nice. by Jay Mathews. This book really made me think differently about education and creating opportunities for kids that might not otherwise get them. KIPP schools (Knowledge is power program) were started initially by two Teach for America teachers.

Books I think I should read: Stones into Schools by the Three Cups of Tea guy.

Random book I found while looking: The Lady Tasting Tea (about statistics, but it looks really good.)

Random book in my account, tbr (to be read): Stop being your symptoms. Sounds good to me! It's upstairs in Large Print, so I'll have to find it tomorrow. Time to check the kid's section for disasters, we close in 10 minutes.

Buh Bye!

(Wow, three posts in one day? But we're not going for number of posts. We're going for posting 5 days a week.)

Grooving tools...

So, I'm going to pack my bag for getting my groove back. And since this is a blog, my bag is going to be full of inspiring posts by other bloggers.

First up: 10 ways to infuse your work with your personality (it's much more fun than the title sounds) by Keri Smith, who blogs at wish jar journal, a blog I started following as soon as I started blogging, but don't go back to often enough. In this post, Keri talks about a presentation she gave and the first thing she did was take off her shoes! (My kind of gal.) And then she invited others to take off their shoes. Some of her tips are ones we've all heard (but need to hear again: keep a journal, go back to what you loved as a kid.) This one really struck me, though, and is one of those "when the student is ready, the teacher comes."

“Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain.” Ignore what other people are doing. It has no bearing on your existence or vision of the world. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact we are comparing ourselves to others. Most times reading awards annuals, and industry mags only serves to make us feel inadequate. Try cutting it out entirely. Designer Bruce Mau recommends not entering awards competitions. His reasoning, “Just don’t do it, it’s not good for you.”

WOW. YES!! A friend of mine has a saying: "comparison is the thief of all joy." I always feel worse about my life after reading the alumni section of my college magazine. (Which may be why I haven't read any part of the magazine for ages.) And one of the blocks for this blog was jealousy that other bloggers got more comments. Well, I don't care anymore. I am writing this blog for me. You get to read it, you lucky dog, but I'm still going to write it even if I don't get a single comment.

Gotta get my groove back...

I've been miserable.

And one thing I can see is that if I look at my blog entries per year, the first year was 174, well, I started in May, so that's almost half a year lost. The second year, 504, which is more that 1 per day. The third year, 424, which is still more than 1 per day. (It's also the year I dated and got dumped by Max.) The fourth year, (2008) I wrote 235, also the year I discovered Twitter. Today is my 800th day on Twitter! The fifth year, can this be right? I wrote 37 posts. And so far in 2010, I've written 21 posts.

And as I've been trying to figure out why in the h-e-double hockey sticks that I cannot stop getting boils, (recovering from Shingles at home has given me a lot of extra time to THINK) and I think about Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, the folks that lived in the Pennsylvania town but were eating lard, more sedentary than their European forbears, but still only dying of old age. And I've been thinking about Sonny Rollins, (link to a previous post about this topic) who said

You know, if I don't play my horn for a while, I actually get sick. I wonder, "Well, gee, what's the matter with me?" And I realize that I haven't played my horn for a few days.

And I have not been writing, or walking, or taking pictures. I don't think I have the energy for a walk, and I have to show up and work tonight, so I don't want to tire myself, but I can sit and write. Blogging isn't necessarily the most art-y of writing, but darn it, it gets the words out, and I need to do that. Because if there's anything I've learned, infections happen b/c you have toxins that need to get out. And I think some of my toxins are words, molding, decaying, inside my blood veins. So until I figure out something else, I need to make a goal to blog 5x a week. Please, readers, hold me to it.

And now I'm going to take a shower. Because I am gross. I was so down (damn PMS is worse if you are fighting infection) that I didn't take one. And since I forgot to wash my hair Sunday when I *did* shower, my hair looks like dirty greasy shoelaces, a wig worn by a mechanic named Gene for Halloween.

I love you guys. And more, I love writing here. I need this blog. And I need you, dear reader. After my shower, i will be in your blogs reading and commenting. Oh, that makes me want to move forward. Gotta go so I can come BACK.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

"Ten bucks says there's a coat in there made of Dalmatian puppies!"

(Christina to Betty, when they break into Wilhemina's apartment, s.2)

I have a new guilty pleasure.

Hint: it's a show that went off the air earlier this year about a girl from Queens who conquers Manhattan.

You guessed! It's Ugly Betty, starring America Ferrara, who was also beautiful in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Jeans movies.

I just bought season 3 yesterday. My other options were: join Netflix, which might have been cheaper, or wait for the library, which who knows how long that will take? But somehow I knew that I'd want to have these for my home collection, and how right I was!

and...if I had more energy, I'd tell you all about it, but wikipedia does a much better job, of course. And finally, a show that's socially acceptable to like (aka, I can ask for DVDs of Seasons 1 & 2 for birthday and or Christmas) (Good thing I got my full set of SATC when it was half off, and good thing it was only 6 seasons).

I really should go eat breakfast. I woke up exhausted, again. I keep hoping today is the day I want to get up and take a walk and think I actually could do it. Maybe if there were benches all the way at the reservoir! There's a thought!)

Take it from don't want to get shingles. It's for the birds.

But hey, at least I am catching up on years of Ugly Betty...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, "Make me feel important."

(Mary Kay Ash)

While I sit here, feeling sorry for myself, there is a ceramic box on my desk. The top has a poppy with a bee drinking its pollen. Inside the box it says "Today is your day to bloom!"

Sounds like something you'd give to someone to encourage them, right? Confession: I bought it for myself, to encourage me.

There's a book, it's called The Five Love Languages. And in it, it talks about what different ways we receive and give love. Well, gifts are one of my love languages. A card in the mail? A flower? A book I already own (my copy, actually) wrapped and put in a gift bag? I love these things.

My sister's love language (from what I can tell) is time. And when we spend time on the phone, or dinner when she's home, it's great. Another one of her love languages is encouragement.

And all this information is good--but if you don't use it for anything but to say, "My family doesn't understand me, my mother didn't buy me the right wireless mouse" it becomes this grouchy selfish cry at my own tea party. I can't change my mom. I wouldn't want anyone but her. But I can't get everything I need from her. Or from my sister. Or my dad. I need other people in my life.

Now turn that around. Switch it up...and it becomes, other people need me in their lives. Switch it to this: I like encouragement, but I love encouraging others. I like getting gifts but I also love giving things to other people.

This morning I decided not to go to church, because even though I know that you can't get my shingles unless you lick me, shingles is a big word and I'm new at my church and I don't want to have to explain all that. It might have been a mistake...because now I'm feeling incredibly isolated, which is what I've been a lot of this week since I was diagnosed on Monday.

Yesterday I ate breakfast in my special chair. It's a black faux leather chair that I rescued from the curb in Greenfield a few years ago. It faces my bookcases. And on the top shelf of one of the bookcases, I have three devotional books: My Utmost for His Highest, God Calling, and Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much. (Is there one for Women who watch too much Ugly Betty?)

Yesterday, and again today, I read from My Utmost. Yesterday's devo was about how Jesus' first obedience was to the Father, not the needs of man. That if we only worry about humanity, we will get exhausted. "If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon get exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat." (Chambers, 171)

Today's message was stronger. Or maybe just hit me that way. The scripture is "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends." (Job 42:10) The rest of the verse is that then God restored and doubled what Job lost.

But you know what, I just want restoration! I want my captivity turned! But more than that, I want to love my friends. I want to stop this me me me sickness. And so this morning, for the first time in way too long, I prayed for my friends. I've been spending so much time saying, there's not enough for me, I need, I need, I am broken, fix ME.

I'm a work in progress. So is this thought. What do you think? I really want to know. I do.

Monday, June 07, 2010

finding my voice...part deux

So I had a conversation with a friend this afternoon and she kept saying, WHY, Sarah Louise, does it bother you so much? This external validation? That you felt better when the ladies at work all came back from SATC and said, oh, wasn't it so funny?

And I told her about how SATC has fed me in many ways. It is no, not the way I would live my life, but I have made many of the mistakes those four have made, and I have learned more about relationships from the six seasons of SATC than I have from almost 20 years of dating and not dating.

And I told her how the Christian writer I used to follow on Twitter that could only focus on how SATC-TM-2 (Sex and the City, the Movie, 2) was disrespectful of Muslim ways of living. And how I thought maybe the director/writer was trying to say, "look, it's ridiculous that a woman has to lift a veil just to eat a french fry." But if you're only going to look at that part of the movie, it's not a critique of a movie, it's a lambaste, it's not fair.

And again, my friend pushed. But why do you care so much?

Because they are my girls. And I hate for someone to say bad things about them. It's like someone insulting my little sister. I can say, oh, she's a little this or that, but if you say it, I will come after you in your SLEEP. It's the Mama Bear adrenaline rush.

And, yes, it is hard to be a Christian woman who says, my favorite TV show is Sex and the City. That the theme to the show is the ringtone for my cellphone. But here's the thing. I don't think that liking SATC or not liking SATC is a point of salvation. I know enough about the world and about God to know the difference between a good world view and a corrupt one. I know that SATC is built on a corrupt one. But so is just about every other form of entertainment. THIS world is corrupt, and corroding more and more each day. For that matter, I am corrupt. I say one thing and do another. Like Paul in his letter to the Romans,

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:15-20)

I told my friend about how when I worked at Fox Books, a man at my church made it his mission to let me know what books James Dobson thought should be removed. Or that no Christian could ever read/watch Silence of the Lambs. (I enjoyed both the book and the movie, though with all the lights on and taking my time.) That Harry Potter, if written by a Presbyterian woman, should mention that Harry went to church on Sunday. This man hearkened back to the Ford administration, where apparently the press always noted, "and Ford went to church on Sunday." I am no longer friends with a woman who thought that the Narnia books were Satan's work and Harry Potter no better. (Yes, she knew C.S. Lewis professed to be a Christian, and I disagree with foppish beliefs that the Narnia books are allegories...I do not look for a Christ figure in every book I read, he's alive enough in the Bible.) I am no longer friends with that woman, and fortunately only see that man on occasion. But we each in our lives have those people that get under our skin, for whatever reason, can, in my mother's apt words "have power over you." Sally is always getting me on that one. "Why are you letting that person get in your mind, have power over you?"

And I can only reply, when I think to, that I am a work in progress, and I have soft spots. I bruise easily, and I forget that I am beloved.

My father's response to this whole brouhaha was the best. "It's okay to be a fan. People ask me why I'm a Redskin's fan, I guess I like the drama." And in those few words, I got acceptance. That it is okay for me to like the color pink and to like SATC, and I don't have to explain my irrational self to anyone. I am enough. Which at the end of the day, is great to say. (And at the end of many days, impossible to say, true or not.)

I went in to work today, I had to work on some Summer Reading stuff. Yes, today was my day off, but the website goes live on Sunday, and if I don't work the kinks out now, they won't get worked out. "The show must go on" etc.

The great thing, though, about going in to work, was that my one boss, the one who sees me, believes in me, is firm with me, but knows I am capable of great things, encourages me, listened to me whine before I went off to my cubicle to work on the Summer Reading stuff. And then she was there when I'd fixed something or had an idea. And the constant doing something, seeing results there on the screen, followed by my boss saying, oh yes, that looks great, did something for me. And I realized that it's going to be okay, it really is.

So what I won't make Pittsburgh's "Forty under Forty" list. So what, I don't think I'll be presenting at the State Library conference in October. So what, I'm not making anyone a grandmother any time soon or probably ever. So what? I add a lot to a lot of people's lives, personally and professionally. And if I'm a late bloomer, so what?

I got a letter in the mail today. A real on stationery not a bill letter. From my high school friend L. I wrote her one, and she wrote me back. Neither my letter to her or her to mine will ever be published in "Dear Sarah Louise" or "Dear L," thick tomes of letters describing our discovery of the latest children's illustrator, but the letter I wrote mattered to her. And the letter she wrote mattered to me.

And at the end of the day, mattering, one person at a time, that is what makes a life.

finding my voice...

tap, this on?

so, if you've found me here today, you've found me on day 2 of Week 4, which is high season for PMS depression.

but here's the thing. there are two thoughts that have been going around in my mind and if i'm not going to go for a walk, i should at least exercise my fingers.

thought 1: Jeanne Ray's book, Eat Cake, is my cake. (In the book, Ruth, the main character imagines she's inside a cake when she's stressed. When I'm stressed, I read her book. I have a hardcover that lives in my "reading room.") I need to write Jeanne Ray a letter.

thought 2: the sex and the city movie backlash. All the "it's not as good as the show" and by saying that saying that the movie is BAD is the SAME argument that I hate hate hate: "but the book was better." NO. Hollywood is a different game. If you don't like the Hollywood brand, then don't GO to the movies. Stick with your foreign flicks on Netflix. American movies, i.e. Hollywood, is a particular style. And that style is of course going to be DIFFERENT from your favorite book or your favorite HBO TV show.

I love movies. I am in love with the Hollywood brand. I also like art house movies and foreign flicks. But here's the thing. If Hollywood (and let's face it, most things that get re-made get re-made by Hollywood) takes and make a movie out of my favorite book (or favorite show), I'm going to analyze that movie. Okay, why did they change things? What is the worldview of the director? How does this reflect on our society today? I will go back and read the book/watch the show again. I will watch the movie again.

(Which brings me to ask: why do I trust people who have watched the movie they didn't like ONE time? When I like it or it intrigues me, I will watch it at least twice if not 3 times.)

Different does NOT equal WRONG. Different may mean you don't like it. But if you don't, what was that your momma taught you? If you ain't got something nice to say, DON'T SAY IT.

That's all she wrote today.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Books I didn't finish, May 2010

Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace (yes, the Betsy-Tacy lady). Took out b/c Mitali Perkins writes the forward to the new edition. But I couldn't get past the first half of the book where Emily is just so depressed that she isn't going to college with all her friends. Sorry, I don't do books where folks are depressed when I'm barely holding on myself. (Sorry Mitali! The second half looks great, but I can't do it right now.)

Which takes me right into Ranganathan's Library Bill of rights.

Dr. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan (1892–1972) of India was an inventor, educator, librarian, and a philosopher.

These laws are:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every reader his [or her] book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. The library is a growing organism.
(from Wikipedia,, viewed 5/6/10)

So, while someone may LOVE a book, it's perfectly okay that someone else doesn't. I know this, as Babelbabe and I have completely different likes--I cannot read dystopias, for instance. I had a conversation about this with LA, one of my new library friends, who admonished me after I told her I couldn't finish

Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant. Robyn set out to do everything Oprah said to do for one year. At the end of the year, she got a book contract, I guess, because the blog is now a book. When I saw how much money this woman spent each month (it was listed at the start of each chapter) I balked. I don't have that much money to spend on a side project, and I think she was in school when she wrote the book as a blog and her husband was finishing a novel...after a chapter, I ditched it.

All I did was ask by Terry Gross. This one is just really overdue. I hope to procure my own copy, that's how much I loved this book. I read it during the three months (yes, see, overdue!) that I was in the Artist's Way group, and it really educated me on how artists think. One of my favorite quotes from the book is from Sonny Rollins.

Terry Gross: You're a virtuoso performer, but you're known for practicing every day.

Sonny Rollins: Monk said to me one time that if it wasn't for music, life wouldn't be worth living. You know, if I don't play my horn for a while, I actually begin to get sick. I wonder, "well, gee. What's the matter with me?" Then I realize I haven't played my horn for a few days.

WOW. That hit me. As one who has been struggling with all kinds of infections on and off this fall/winter/spring, and as a very blocked writer, I thought, that is something I can take to the bank. That is something that comes to me when I sit down and think, doing my morning pages is so silly. [Morning pages are Julia Cameron's answer to getting the junk out. Artists that are not writers find them very helpful. Artists that are writers find them frustrating. Why do I need to just write, with no purpose in mind?]

the last time i saw you by Elizabeth Berg. GAG ME WITH A SPOON, this book is horrible. It's about a quartet of octogenarians getting ready for their fortieth high school reunion. I remember, this morning, as I sat doing my M.P.s, that I don't trust a writer that doesn't have one bad book, it means they are not trusting to explore. And I love most of what Eliz. Berg writes. But not this one.

Jane's Fame by Claire Harman. I thought maybe this would be about the effect Jane has had on us all, even now, in the year 2010. I haven't actually read any Austen bios, so this was moderately interesting. But not enough to keep me listening for 9.5 hrs. I think I listened to disc 1.

And the audio book I would consider purchasing as audio AND in hardcover: When you reach me, the Newbery Award winning novel by Rebecca Stead.

At first blush, this book seemed too creepy for me, told in first person to an unknown "you." So I couldn't get into the book, even though Marian the Librarian had said I would like it, and the at least 9 librarians on the Newbery committee liked it, and Sara Zarr liked I got the audio. Which is wonderfully read by Cynthia Holloway. This book is written in an experimental style, reminding me of Slumdog Millionaire, A Wrinkle in Time (which is mentioned in the book many times) and The Time Traveler's Wife. The book is not told in chronological time, the chapter headings are "things that..." and the writing is amazing, the timing wonderful. As I listened to the first disc, I thought, how could I have not wanted to read this book? But as things got a little scary (I am, above all, a reading wimp) I wrote a note to one of my Twitter friends, merely plaintively asking, "but does it end well?" She assured me that it did, and that got me through the hard times, kept me listening. I listened to most of it for a second time. Which is helpful to do, and I recommend, as some things become clearer after you know the ending. You note I say most of it I listened to a second time, not all, and here is why: my car CD-player has this horrible quality of gumming up when the heat/humidity changes. In the winter, I can fix it by restarting the car. In the summer, I have to wait for the car to cool down, so I can listen to audio books on the way to work, (in the morning, when it is cool) maybe. On the way home, maybe. When I'm a little more solvent financially, I'll get a new radio/CD player installed.

What books are you reading/not reading this month?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

It's a great day for...a marathon, graduation, AND Hockey

okay, so apparently my "print screen" of the fact that the Pittsburgh marathon is currently the #5 search "medium hotness" isn't working.

I'll mess with it later.

Agenda for today:

Get out of bed (darn laptop)
Eat something
Get on something rain gearish
find umbrella
go find a really cool place to cheer on the Marathoners!!

get some lunch

find a good place to cheer on the Penguins (probably my bed/sofa)

probably go to church at the Open Door (since, see list, church isn't listed. yes, the problems with morning church, a lot of fun things happen on Sunday morning.)

Maybe I'll post more. Maybe I'll write about the marathon. Last year I had high hopes and well...nothing.

Kisses and hugs!! Catch ya later!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Whoever said April was the cruelest month never met June/July 2010...

This is a post I wrote back in April, for blogger Kristin Tennant, (@ktwrites on Twitter) who started the idea of a Love List on her blog a while back. She asked for interviews, and I agreed. This is the post I wrote. I thought I'd publish it now to inject some joie de vivre back into these pink walls.

Kristen: So, Sarah Louise, you're going through a lot of changes these days. New church, new career goals, new friends. How is your life different today than it was a year ago?

Sarah Louise: Well, Kristen, I'm so glad you asked. It is amazing how life can change in such a short time. Last year, this time, I was beginning to mourn the loss of my best friend Sally, who would be moving soon to Michigan (She moved last July.) I was still attending the Open Door Presbyterian Church, a church plant where I was a charter member, and I was seriously considering a Master's of Fine Art in Creative Writing. My life has changed in so many ways since then--instead of talking to Sally once a day, I talk to her once a week. I'm getting to know people at my new church, forming new relationships. Instead of dreaming about an MFA in writing, I'm getting ready to start the application process for a Ph.d in Library Science (with an emphasis in Children's Literature.) I'm excited about growing professionally.

Kristen: How is your life today different than say, ten years ago?

Sarah Louise: Ten years ago, I was 28, living in Northern Virginia, finishing up my stint as a bookseller at Big Box Books. My main focus every day was to make sure my departments were correctly shelved, alphabetized, and well displayed. My "baby" was the cookbook table, which I changed up daily, highlighting the big glossy cookbooks by celebrities and celebrity chefs. I lived with my parents, and I had a monthly subscription to Harper's, which I read, cover to cover. I facilitated a book group that met once a month. I had a wide range of single friends. We often went to lunch or the movies. And I ate dinner with my family almost every night. Writing all that, it sounds like heaven. I had time to read, time for friends, and time for family. But it was a life that had an end in sight--I wasn't moving forward professionally, so I applied and got in to library school, which meant a move back to Pittsburgh.

The past ten years have been really hard. Creating new relationships can be like pulling teeth in a town like Pittsburgh, where everyone knows everybody since before kindergarten. Families stay put, and it is not uncommon to meet people in their early twenties who are married and already starting their families. So, as a single woman in her early to mid to late thirties with no family nearby, I have been swimming against a very strong current. Even though I had lived in Pittsburgh twice before, moving back this time was one of the hardest things I've ever done, though I didn't know it at the time. Only now do I feel that I'm beginning to realize some of the benefits of that golden place where I resided ten years ago.

Kristen: What kinds of things have been showing up on your love list these days?

Sarah Louise: My new church. I've been going there for about two months. The people there have embraced me, and I just want to get to know them better. My new friends. I have been making lunch, dinner and coffee dates in an effort to repopulate my social life. So far, I don't have a movie buddy, but I'm working on it. The Pittsburgh Penguins. We're in playoff season, and I love the energy. All of a sudden, everyone is a hockey fan.

Kristen: Do you have any wisdom or advice to share with others?

Sarah Louise: It is never to late to dream a new dream.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pictures and more pictures...

Parking chairs, circa WINTER 2010.

Valentimes flowers from Dad, circa WINTER 2010.

Sunset, circa, WINTER 2010
Crocuses, circa the lawn is melted, can it be spring? 2010
More crocuses, circa, YES, SPRING HAS SPRUNG, 2010.

I have actually done some weeding on the lawn. The crocuses are long gone, but now we have weeds intermixed with the grass and tulips.

More later, I promise.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Birds in the sky, you know how I feel...


(and by Standard, I mean everyone, from Michael Buble to Stevie Wonder have covered it...)

My mom gave me a CD a while back. It was free from Ann Taylor and it's pink, so I'm sure it has something to do with curing breast cancer.

I always skip over the first song, some depressing Dido song. The third song is "You can't take that away from me."

Which I always thought was a horrible song. Why would I want to remember things about someone I was no longer with? It's taken me at least ten years and many listens to finally figure it out. "We may never meet again on this bumpy road of love." We may not. But I will always remember seeing you come to work in your suit on Saturdays, crossing Grant St. as I sat eating my lunch at Bruegger's Bagels. I will always remember the fun we had just flicking a rubber band at each other at my kitchen table. I will always remember that first kiss.

My mother and my father are such different people--my father will occasionally tell me about girls he dated. My mother has told me three such stories in the 38 years I've known her, and they've all been negative. My parents didn't exactly "date," they were friends over the course of nine years, with patches of "going out." My mother "broke up" with my father at least five times. My father remembers washing dishes over Christmas break and thinking that he missed my mom more than he missed the girl he was dating at the time. Now that's an image you can't take away from me.

But from my mother, I learned that dating was horrible, and I had to make sure I married a Christian man. Since my father was often at work, when I was young and impressionable (17), I haven't learned until the past 12 years of my life that my dad enjoyed dating. That he was in a lot of weddings, so had a lot of garter belts on his rear view mirror. My dad? My mom knows how to have fun, she does. But in the realm of dating, my mother is the killjoy and my father is out there, having fun.

The title of this post? Sometimes you have to listen to a CD many times before you hear all the songs. And I mean that in the sense that some songs go out into the air until your heart and ears are ready for them. That is how it has been with this CD. At first, I needed the message of the first song "Rome wasn't built in a day." And then I really really got the message of "You can't take that away from me." And yesterday, as if for the first time, I heard the words to "Birds in the sky, you know how I feel."

Fish in the sea you know how I feel
River running free you know how I feel
Blossom in the trees you know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

(I just realized I'm doing a song lyrics Saturday. Hi, Badger!!)

So of course, I have to embed it... (and hey, it's Nina Simone, which is the version I have on my CD)

And the freedom...I am getting there. My staycation starts today after 2pm. Not a lot got done yesterday what with getting pansies from our favorite volunteer, talking for a long time with E about books about Germany...

But I am getting up and writing. And I am coming back here. (GRIN.)

I don't know why I stopped, I love this bully pulpit/soap box. Doing my "morning pages" is different, but this too, this writing for you, writing for an audience, I love it. I eat it up. And I need more things to love in this life.

Pictures this week, I promise.