Monday, August 29, 2005

The Open Door Swings East

Since my return to civilization (ha ha), ie a place where I can access my blog, I have been waking up and doing google searches, checking email, blogging, instead of getting up, going for my walk, going on with my day. Well, is two days a routine? Because I did go for my walk on Saturday, and I did not blog. And today I didn't check my email. It may be raining outside...everyone is afraid of the effects of Katrina. I know someone named Katrina, so it makes me laugh, to think people would be afraid of her effects.

I had a conversation yesterday about Google, and about rankings. Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman graphic novels, is the first Neil (i.e. if you type in "Neil" in Google, his is the first listing). I couldn't remember Gaiman's last name, so I interrupted another friend and said, [friend's name], what is the guy who writes Sandman's last name? It was a great librarian moment, using my wiles to get to the source of the information as quickly as possible.

I'm sorry, this is going to be a pretty lame posting. I want to get out and take my walk. Overnight, my hormones have changed again, and this melancholy I've been feeling could easily overtake my morning and turn it into another love lorn morning at the computer. Ack Ack Ack.

Stay tuned for my "paper blogging" from last week.

If you don't "get" the title, it's the slogan for the Open Door's move from Bellefield to the Union Project. (From Oakland to the East End.) I am not ready to write about it, but I thought it was a pretty good title for a posting. The title is a click-able link. (A trick I got from Babelbabe.)

I'll say this in closing: as love lorn as I feel lately, I have great friends, and a pretty cool life. Time for my walk!!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Vacation rocks

This is a quick post, but I've been gone, so I feel a need to just say "Hiya!" Things that happened on my blog while I was at the lake:
I've been spammed (I didn't know this could happen), visited by friends, and linked. (Check out my mention on the Open Door website!)

When I got back from my week of what my mother called "trapped in the woods with my family" which consisted of no internet access (wow!) I had 1404 messages in my email spam box. I have really got to make some changes 'round here.

Books I read while I was at the lake:

The Historian (good, but confusing)
Must Love Dogs (I think the movie must be better.)
Skating Shoes (a favorite, lemme see if I can find the Meg Ryan quote from You've Got Mail)
Did you know entire movie scripts exist free online? Actually, I think I may read it, there are interesting deletions (the mention of Homer Price and a reference to Krispy Kreme). I can't find an absolute link to the quote, but I have found the quote. Here it is: (forgive me, I just love this movie too much!) (Where is my Joe Fox?)


As Kathleen walks into it.

It's huge, of course. With its reading area, and stage, and
room for displays, and child-size furniture, and so many
books and so many customers.

Kathleen sits down on a little child-size chair, completely


And now we see Joe watching her, from a distance. She doesn't
see him.

A woman browsing, stops a sales person.

Do you have the "Shoe" books?

The "Shoe" books? Who's the author?

I don't know. My friend told me my
daughter has to read the "Shoe" books,
so here I am.

Noel Streatfeild. Noel Streatfeild wrote
Ballet Shoes and Skating Shoes and
Theater Shoes and Movie Shoes...
(she starts crying as she tells
I'd start with Skating Shoes, it's my
favorite, although Ballet Shoes is
completely wonderful.

Streatfeild. How do you spell that?


Thank you.

oops, it doesn't mention that Skating Shoes is out of print. Hold the phone.

KATHLEEN: Noel Streatfeild. Noel Streatfeild wrote Ballet Shoes and Skating Shoes and Theater Shoes and Dancing Shoes and...I'd start with Ballet Shoes first, it's my favorite, although Skating Shoes is completely wonderful (cries). But it's out of print. from:

(okay, while looking for link found great quiz on YGM, here it is.)


book about Bathsheba by Francine Rivers (she rocks!)
The 5 Love Languages for Singles (which my mom started reading and now thinks we all should read)
The Confessor (don't bother--it portrays the Catholic church as a Jew hating spy organization)
the latest issue of Latina


Writing Down the Bones (what a great book on writing!)

What I learned on my summer vacation: my siblings get older, I get younger.

My sister stepped on my glasses (hey if the first time that happened was at 33, I think I'm doing pretty good)
My sister borrowed my nail polish remover (asked) nail polish (didn't)
I borrowed her shoes to go get my brother at the lake for dinner (didn't ask)
She borrowed my shoes to wear at dinner (didn't ask, got permission)
We held hands and jumped in the water
She tried to teach me how to dive (unsuccessfully and humorously).

I love my family. I had a chance to sleep in my old room in Virginia before hopping a Greyhound from Frederick, MD to Pittsburgh, I came home and fell asleep in front of the TV after I called everyone to say I was home.

More later. I "blogged on paper" while I was in the woods.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I am tea! What are you?

What Flavour Are You? Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.

I am a subtle flavour, quiet and polite, gentle, almost ambient. My presence in crowds will often go unnoticed. Best not to spill me on your clothes though, I can leave a nasty stain. What Flavour Are You?

Harry at the Open Door

So here's the 5-7 minutes talk I gave at the Open Door last night. It was well received, and the millions of revisions paid off, because some of my earlier versions would have overlapped too heavily with the actual sermon (which was fabulous.) I'm a real fan of the guy who gave the sermon. He's a seminary student and truly blessed with the gift of preaching.

The scripture is Acts 17:16-34. The version I linked is The Message, a modern paraphrase/translation. So here's my talk:

In the passage we’re about to hear, Paul is connecting with the Athenians on their turf. He comes at them with their literature and points out where their culture has made room for the one true God. So that’s why I thought it was important to bring up Harry Potter. Harry Potter is this huge cultural icon and if you have read any of the books or seen any of the movies, you instantly have something to talk about to most American adults and children. So that is why I suggested to BJ that I could make a pamphlet and he suggested I come up here and give you five minutes.

You know, as a Christian, and a librarian, I shouldn’t say this, but I have not read all seven books in the Narnia series. But I have read all six Harry Potters. Why? Because JK Rowling is a fabulous writer and she’s funny. I love to laugh. If someone had said to me you have got to read Harry Potter, it’s a really funny book, I might have read it in 1997 when it first came out. As it was, I didn’t start reading the books until 2002. Because if you’re going to tell me Harry Potter is about wizards and witches, and all that stuff, I’m not instantly sold. JK Rowling hasn’t read all seven Narnia books either, and halfway through writing the first book, she was appalled to realize she was writing a fantasy book, because she’s not particularly fond of the genre. But JK Rowling can turn a phrase and draw an image in your mind, and she can make you laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I was an English major; I read serious books, but these days, if I’m reading a book for pleasure, it had better have some jokes. For me a book has got to be about relationships and it’s a bonus if it’s funny. Harry Potter has both of those things and more. For one, he is so human: he is just as messed up as the rest of us. He falls in love, he’s got a crush, it doesn’t work out, he fails in class, teachers are mad at him, and I mean this is the everyday sort of stuff. Don’t mistake me—there are scary parts, and Harry Potter isn’t for everyone. I’ve read book six, but I read it quickly, to bypass the unpleasant parts. Right now I’m having a real hard time listening to the last two tapes of the audio book. If art imitates life, we know there are hard times, things we don’t understand and things we have to overcome. I’m not coming here as an expert on why you or anyone should read Harry Potter. I recommend Connie Neal’s book as a resource, What’s A Christian to do with Harry Potter? Her book is an invaluable tool and I would recommend it heartily to anyone who is curious about Harry Potter. I’d like to read the last paragraph of her introduction.

"Not every Christian who will read this book will arrive at the same conclusion. I designed it to help you come to the right decision for you as you seek to please God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life. In keeping with 1 Timothy 1:5, the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. Whatever decidion you come to about Harry Potter, my prayer is that this book will help us all obey Ephesians 4:3: 'Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.'"

As a Christian, I have had to defend my love of Harry Potter to friends that would make JK Rowling out to be an occult writer and the books themselves textbooks for dark magic. So I’ve read articles, and books and I’ve searched the Internet. The truth is, there are a lot of Christians that think Harry Potter is pretty cool, and not only that, his books are great evangelistic vehicles. Rowling has smuggled the gospel, some say, and her books clearly point to Christ. JK Rowling believes in God. She goes to church. (She's even a Presbyterian.) When asked if there is Christian symbolism in her books, she has said, “Well, it’s not like Dumbledore is Jesus or anything.” There are pamphlets in the back that give information about why Christians find these books important. There’s one for adults and one for parents and kids to share, and the one for kids has a booklist. It’s not a typical Harry Potter list, with books like the Narnia series, or even Lord of the Rings. The books on my list are mostly funny books that I have read with kids that have great friendships.
The story of Harry Potter is a story often told, of an orphan who finds that he comes from a great bloodline. Just about the time when kids are really being mean to kids that cry easily, Harry discovers that he is special. That he had a mother and father that loved him; in fact his mother loved him so much that she died so that he, Harry, could live. In book three, Harry discovers something else, that he had a godfather. I didn’t have a godfather, but I had a grandmother. She died this year. She was ninety-nine. We had three great years before she got sick. I was twenty-five and she was ninety-one, and in these three years she was the grandmother I’d always wanted—I called her on the phone and we talked, she wrote me letters and told me family secrets. My grandmother adopted a sea turtle in my name. She was a special person to me; she was family at a time when I didn’t feel really connected to my parents.
Before Harry meets Serius Black, his godfather, Harry longs for family. He now knows his parents loved him, but they’re dead. Sure, his professors dote on him, and are often parental figures, but they don’t give him outrageous gifts or call on him at odd hours or send him letters. Serius did all these things. Unfortunately, Serius was only in Harry’s life for a short time. But for that short time, Harry got to know what it was like to have an adult that cared for him with a fierce love. My relationship with my grandmother was special. She knew more about life than anyone I knew, and had made more mistakes than I had. My grandmother’s wide range of life experiences gave her an honesty that penetrated my life. I will never forget her. The love she expressed for me in those three years before she got really sick was radical. Isn’t that what the Christian life is all about? Radical love? Christ himself knew the pain of loss, knew he would die for all of us, and loved us, taught us how to love. This is the story of our faith, told time and again: Ruth lost a husband, married Boaz. Abraham lost his native land, and gained a nation for us all. David sinned, lost a son, and became the father of King Solomon. Job lost everything and gained it all back, double fold. We have all lost love, yet if we know Christ, we know that we will find love again. And that is why I love Harry Potter. Because he knows what it is like to love someone and lose them. He knows what it is like when the letters and phone calls stop coming. Harry Potter loves and loses, but he always loves again. This is the real magic of Harry Potter: he is the boy who continues to love.

Bibliography: Neal, Connie. What's A Christian to do with Harry Potter?. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2001 (p.9)

Mary's Day

I was Catholic for a few years, so I was surprised to realize today is the day of Mary's Assumption. It's a huge holiday in Poland, you get the day off work, and I think Catholics are required to go to Mass. This is a poem that I found on a prayer site run by some Irish jesuits. When I get around to fixing the links on this blog, it will be one of the links. It's a pretty cool way to just sit at your computer and meditate for a bit. Anyways, I really liked this poem. The poet is Czech.

Forgive me, God, but I console myself
that the beginning and resurrection of all us dead
will simply be announced by the crowing of the cock.
After that we'll remain lying down a while...
The first to get up will be Mother... We'll hear her
quietly laying the fire,
quietly putting the kettle on the stove
and cosily taking the teapot out of the cupboard.
We'll be home once more.

--Vladimir Holan

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Baby on Board!!

The Open Door Baby has been born! Tea Jane--what a lovely name. I'm so excited and I'm not even a blood relative! Now we're just waiting for the Union Project baby, any day now...

Harry Potter talk, brochure, and Parent & Kid brochures are done! So I feel like, umm, what do I do now? I need to get printer paper, I need to make sure my printer is working, minor details...but I'm in a little anti-climax at the moment.

I need to work on getting a focus for this blog...but tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Anna K?

You're Anna Karenina of Anna Karenina by Leo

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I got this from

Nancy Pearl rocks!!

Here's the link from LIS News with an interview of Nancy Pearl, librarian extraordinaire.

Also, I have the final draft of the HP talk I'm giving on Sunday. I'll post it Monday...if you want to see it "live" come to Bellefield Presbyterian Church @ 6:30 on Sunday evening.

Now I have to work on the pamphlets...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

pink is the new black

Well, I've been working on this 5 minute testimony on Harry Potter for the Open Door, and today on my walk, it hit me: I want to give people something they can't get from the Internet or from reading the books: I want to give them my personal story. All the stuff I've been reading online and in books (Invested in a copy of Finding God in Harry Potter)(Fabulous!) I can put in the pamphlets. So I'm going to talk about Serius and the importance he had in Harry's life, and relate it to my life. Sort of.

Finished Every Boy's Got one by Meg Cabot: I love her!!

Watched Washington Square on Saturday with Babelbabe and Gina--I would not have finished watching that movie alone, but it was a beautiful film. There are some pieces of art (film, books) that I need someone to hold me accountable, drag me along, and then I realize I did like it.

Chick lit, for instance, I don't really think is good fodder for a book group discussion. It's WYSWYG literature--what you see is what you get--no major symbols there. But a book like the Time Traveller's Wife, or Morality Play, or A Patchwork Planet--these have more complex issues and characters, and not everyone's going to like the book, but everyone's going to have something to say. Which is why I was so glad I had two friends who really wanted to finish watching Washington Square--I never would have done it alone. I'm babbling--I'm waiting for my lunch pal to show up and I'm a little giddy from sleep disturbance.

Other movies I'd not watch alone (at least for the first viewing):
Bridget Jones at the Edge of Reason (Renee Zellweger)
Philadelphia (Tom Hanks)
Restoration (Meg Ryan)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Be the church

Tonight the Open Door didn't have a service. Instead we helped out and attended an outdoor jazz concert at the Resevoir at Highland Park. It was nice. I got to see some folks I hadn't seen all summer. I got to meet a friend's new girlfriend (aww). I also got a lemon ice from the Italian Ice guy. Joe Negri played (from Mr. Rogers, Handiman Negri) and the music was amazing. So, since I knew I wouldn't have "church" in the evening, I went to church at the Hot Metal Faith Community, which is on the South Side of Pittsburgh, across the Mon river. I had to take the tenth street bridge, which reminded me of when I dated a guy who lived on the South Side and we would walk from where we worked (Barnes and Noble Downtown) to his house, across the bridge. I am a very geographically oriented person when it comes to gets easier to cross the tenth street bridge each time I do it. Actually, speaking of nostalgia, on my morning walk I walked by some community gardens near my house. It reminded me of the community gardens in Warsaw, Poland, where I spent some time when I was in college. And all of a sudden, I was crying, wishing I was at Wasenki park, where the palace is surrounded by water, and peacocks walk the grounds. On Sundays, there are piano concerts at the huge statue of Chopin. They play Chopin, of course. I haven't been in Warsaw for over ten years, but it all flooded back and I wondered when I'd ever get to go back. I'm doing research for a 5 minute talk on why Christians should at least be educated about Harry Potter for the Open Door on Sunday, and so I spent a ton of time doing Internet research yesterday. Not being a child that fancied she was magical, it never occured to me that kids would imagine themselves doing the things Harry does--but for the first time, on my walk this morning, I wished I could apparate to Warsaw. I wished I could use a wand and clean up the litter. And today, when I was snubbed, I wished I could create a weather disturbance (like a rain shower) to cascade on the person who snubbed me.

So I've been thinking about magic and miracles--the sermon I listened to on the way to church was about how in this age we dismiss miracles...a kid was describing the parting of the red sea to his parents and described it as a military exercise--the air force took care of the Egyptians and then Moses got the Israeli's over the sea in a pontoon boat. The parents were like, really? We need to talk to your Sunday school teacher...then the kid said, if I told you what my teacher really told me, you wouldn't believe it! I thought about an episode of Friends, where Ross dresses up as an armadillo (they ran out of Santa costumes...) for his son and said, "I'm the Holiday Armadillo, Santa's part-Jewish friend." Monica says, "Because armadillos also wandered in the desert?" But it was so cool, because Ross told the story of the Maccabees, who had oil only for one night but it lasted eight. So it got me thinking about miracles and magic--do we really believe in them? I mean, was it the wonder of technology and science and engineering that got the nine miners out safely of the mines three years ago, or was it a miracle? Can we explain it away? Augustine once said, If you understand it, it is not God. I was talking with a friend tonight who is in a very "I don't get it!" place and that quote came to mind. But sometimes when we can't do anything, when our hands are tied behind our backs, so to speak, that's when God works. Because we can't explain how it came to be. And I have noticed that God's timing is impeccable.

I started this entry by talking about going to Hot Metal Bridge...then I got sidetracked. So the HMBFC meets in the Goodwill building third floor cafeteria. I have never seen so many pierced and tatooed people at church! It was cool, and I was glad I had eschewed my conservative Old Navy khaki's for a black skirt and a tank top and t-shirt layered over it. I'm all wrote out right now, but maybe later I'll tell you more about the service, which was pretty cool. Hey, comment on whether you are interested in seeing more posts like this. I never know what people's reactions are when I share my faith experiences.

As BJ (my pastor at the Open Door) would say, Peace Out!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Pet peeve

Why is it that pre-teen boys will not request books from our county system? If we don't have it in hand, they are not interested. What gives?

Friday, August 05, 2005

more LIS news stuff

Hey, what's a blogging librarian to do? Nancy Pearl has her own action figure, but what about Barbie as a librarian? We've been voting for years on are the lastest figures.

Bikers into Bookers? read all about it, here! (And no, it's not the prestigious British book award, which is what got me to open the link...)

Speaking of links, here's something I've noticed that has changed my searching habits. When I am looking for a corporate website, Google rarely gives you the link on the first page (if ever). has a great thing called "Clusty" which clumps the results and gives you an index of the sites found. I have found this a much easier way to find corporate websites.

From boing boing, a library worker who is collecting "unfortunate" books. Let me know what you least one of these is a Reading Rainbow book (Tight Times); a few are well known fairy tales/legends...his collection is not exactly uniform...and I'm not sure what his point is. "A First Book on Salt" and "I am a Jew" have the flavor of 100 worst album covers, but others just look like the illustrations are out of style or the titles are humorous. I think there needs to be commentary, as to why he thinks they are unfortunate.

This is kind of cool, too, a tool to see who's linking to you, or how many people are. It's called Tooldigger and it's from Fred...on something.

Well, my time is drawing I must bid you adieu.

More fun with soul baring in blogs...

1. Reply with your name and I'll respond with something random about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle with you in.
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me (maybe/maybe not).
5. I'll tell you my first memory of you.
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of. (David chose to pick us new jobs from ArtSearch instead, so ok...)
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on your blog.

Babelbabe did this for me:
1. I think it’s so cool that you have sayings and Bible verses and such taped all over the inside of your car.
2. Clueless with Alicia Silverstone (not that *you* are clueless, just the general vibe of that movie makes me think of you)
3. Orange or maybe the champagne/grape stuff
4. Do you really not like triple-thick milkshakes, or was it just that one night?
5. Yoga with Nitsa - you were wearing a really cute bright pink sweatsuit and trying to contort yourself into some insane yoga position that was invented for people shorter than people like us!
6. Gazelle or an okapi
7. Does it offend you if I swear in front of you? Because you are a Christian, and a good person, and I am a degenerate who often curses like a sailor…I’m so self-conscious about it, and I wouldn’t want to annoy you.

My notes: 4. I really don't like triple thick milkshakes--I want it thin or I'd ask for a Frosty. Don't give me something in between!! I am still not happy with McDonald's switch to thicker milkshakes...esp when I want a drink and they give you an open top with a spoon, not a straw, and you're in the drive thru...
7. I swear too...I think there are things that would offend me more than you cursing in front of me. I try to be a good person...It's nice to of you to say I am.
6. Gazelle? Really? And of course the few of us that have read the Poisonwood Bible know what an okapi is. Actually, I saw one at the Philadelphia zoo and I was so excited (this from a non-zoo lover!). The best part of the Philly zoo is the paddleboats that look like huge white swans. Ah, it was one of my last weekends with my cousin before she left Philly--the last time we really did a "girls" weekend. She's married in Reading now...alas. Isn't it silly that it is closer for me to visit my parents in DC than it is to visit my cousin in Reading, when Reading is in the same state!!

Sigh...I love sort of brings out the sleepover party back to life...

Meg Cabot rocks

Okay, I did say (was it on Babelbabe's blog) that I was getting tired of Chick Lit (gasp!) but then the newest Meg Cabot book came to my "in" box at work. I love her because her books are not straight text but also include "shots" of store reciepts, airline tickets, emails, faxes...and there are usually 5 characters all talking to each other via email/blackberry/passing notes (on the plane, as you can't use electronic devices). I was reading Every Boy's Got One at lunch and laughed out loud.

I'm listening to Harry Potter and the 1/2 blood Prince in the car...I am retaining so much more than when I breezed through the book last week in 2 days. JKR has such a great sense of humor--and the books seem more like mysteries than straight fantasy/sci-fi. (The kids are always trying to find out who's up to what...kind of like Scooby Doo.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Street Cleaning tomorrow--cars on the other side!

So I finally watched Shop Around the Corner, with Jimmy Stewart. It was rather nice. I was not disappointed, but I am a modern girl, I prefer You've Got Mail. I was amazed at how quickly the ILL went through (Inter Library Loan). I requested it on Monday and got it today! (Wednesday!) Well, it's bedtime, but I did want to pass that on...

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

word to the wise

Okay, I admit it, I am a magazine addict. If you were to visit my third floor walkup (though in August, you'd be pretty daft), you would find issues of InStyle, Interview, Real Simple, Budget Living, Money, und so weita (German for and so on). But I get too much junk mail. (Including magazines I don't read.) So yesterday I attempted to stop these mags (and hopefully get a refund?). Well, I think I have succeeded at a) but failed at b). Don't subscribe to magazines except through the magazine unless you want to talk to a inane electronic woman who has 2 different phone numbers (at least.) I don't even know how all my magazines got the same acct number, because I did not order them at the same time from the same company. (Or so I thought...) Anyways, it was a mini-nightmare, but I think I will be getting less mail. Now I need to tackle the guys who think I live in Apt #33. (As if you could fit even one more apartment in this old house.) I need to send an email or something to the powers that be that run the mail racket. I have to say, getting caller ID has saved me so much agony--I used to be at the beck and call of telemarketers because...ah, the phone ringing! It must be Ed McMahon with my million dollars, or that cute guy down the street wanting a date on Saturday night. Instead, when the phone rings and I'm at home, I pick it up, and if I see "unknown caller," I just wait to see if they leave a message! It is a wonderful thing!! Ugh, it's getting to be 9:20. I better eat something, shower, and off to work. Today when I went on my walk, at the edge of the trees, I came into a field and I felt the heat. Ugh. I was so glad when I reached my air conditioned walk-up oasis. I'm ready for fall..."If I knew your name and where you lived, I would send you a bouquet (bewqay) of sharpened pencils..." (Tom Hanks, You've Got Mail). I'm soon ready to unveil a picture of sorts...I like Gina and BabelBabe's solutions...