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...