Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What do we do now? The Stillers have one for the thumb and all the gold medals have been distributed...

It's called Post-Superbowl Post-Olympic Withdrawl Sluggishness Syndrome. Insomnia coupled with the fact that the Pens aren't doing any better and I never cared about baseball...which isn't for a coupla months anyways...Erin emailed me to see if I was okay, since I hadn't posted! It's nice to have friends looking out for you!! So, since I must have anticipated that one day I would need a post but not really have the energy to produce one, I offer the following:

Dewey Numbers that will save your life if you have children in a DDC library:

398.2 Fairy and folk tales

567.9 Dinosaurs (they’re all consecutive numbers, which makes them easy to remember)

507.8 Science fair projects

599.773 Wolves

598.9 Eagles and other birds of prey

625.1 Trains

629.224 Trucks

636 Domestic animals (Pets!)
636.7 Dogs
636.8 Cats
639.3 Iguanas

741.5 Comic Books or Graphic Novels (depending on the age of the child...like is he/she 7 or 33?)

745.5 Crafts

791.43 Movies (all your large size Star Wars books will be found here)

Note: the 9th abridged DDC takes up one volume of almost 600 pages. (Yes, I own this volume!--from 1965) The 22nd DDC (unabridged), which is the current version, takes up 4 volumes of 600 pages each. OCLC, a cataloguing clearinghouse, carries an online version called WebDewey, which is also very useful and costs about $500 per year.

Books that will always be popular:

Books about vacuum cleaners, garbage trucks, and Shel Silverstein poetry.


Mazel Tov and Happy Lent--today at work I imagine the same folks that wore beads tomorrow will wear black crosses on their foreheads. Here is a great prayer site, one I found years ago and find it is a good Lenten practice to visit. It's run by some Irish Jesuits.


And how could I forget? Happy Birthday Mom! (I sang into the answering machine, sent her a Virtual Florist card, she sent me one back, and then we talked when I got home from work about 9:50 pm) You're the bestest ever was!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

What would happen if I was hit by a streetcar and you were still buying flowers? I am not a rich man...

(from Enchanted April, one of the greatest movies, ever!!)

I bought tulips last night at Whole Foods. I couldn't help myself.

And it is 8:30 in the morning and I am watching Jerry Maguire. A movie I love for many reasons, but right now because I can deliver the lines along with Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger. And I'm halfway through the breakfast of champions: a box of Samoas.

It's middle of the movie and Renee Zellweger just walked into the chicken salsa meant for Jerry. She has gone off to change her shirt and the boy (Ray) has sneaked into the living room to talk with Jerry.

I'm having a hard time with the Pollyanna bit this morning, so bear with me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm sick of taking out the trash every Sunday night and going up to my garret alone. I so long for community. The Open Door is just a baby community--the people that were my rocks have moved on. And if there was someone else who was sticking around to the end because they didn't want to go home and put the trash on the curb, they were hiding it as well as I was. So I went to Whole Foods and bought myself some tulips.

My hometown is a place that doesn't exist, except in bits and pieces of my memory. Last year for Lent, John had Chad King come to the Arts Council to do a clay demonstration. We each got a piece of clay. Make something that you want to change over Lent. I made a heart. It has healed and broken a thousand times since then. A friend of mine made a New Year's Resolution. Well, it was more like a "thought for the year." She was going to say "I want to be dating someone by the end of 2006." Then she changed it to "I want to think differently about dating this year." She's got a braver heart than mine. Lent starts in two days.

When I was in second grade, we lived in Bonn, Germany. In Germany, they don't celebrate Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) but Rosen Montag (Red Monday). I got to take the day off school (or maybe we didn't have school) and go with my Mom and Dad to my dad's office, where there was a huge party. I dressed up as a ballerina, with a pink tutu and got a prize for prettiest costume. I had a box of candy that I kept under my bed for weeks. I wish I had a picture--but I can still see it in my mind's eye.

About suffering: 1 Peter 4:1-2 (Message); 1 Peter 4:1-2 (CEV).

I really like the line from 1 Peter 4:1: Now you must be ready to suffer as he did, because suffering shows that you have stopped sinning.

Well, I guess that's one thing I have going for me. Oh, and the tulips.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

In this game, there are no losers, but there are winners!

Finland 2, Sweden 3.

What can I say, but that "Passion Lives Here!"

In which Sarah Louise gets snowed in (or not)

Well, we in the 'Burgh are experiencing "lake effect snow bands" which means that it's snowed about an inch here in Highland Park but if I were to cancel my lunch with Marian, she would laugh in my face, b/c there is no snow in the North Hills. Thanks, Channel Eleven news!! When I sat down here, it was snowing, but it seems to have stopped. My skylight is quilted over with snow, and my street is white white white. I don't have to leave the house until 10 am, so I might be able to catch the Men's Hockey game. Wow. I haven't caught any hockey this Olympics!! Wow. Thanks again to my habit of turning on the "box" when I sit down in my chair at the computer. (It pays off sometimes!) Mayhap I should "groom" now, before the game starts...


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Start Spreading the News...

You Are New York

Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.

Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

Sarah Louise's Meme (with credit to Loretta)

So Loretta asked us to make lists (see the last post) and then she said she'd like to steal my outline as a meme. I quickly told her I'd give her some Junior Mints and give her credit for the inspiration but the meme was mine. So here's the meme (oh I am so excited!!)

It's called "[your name here] takes a trip"
Where do you want to go?
Movies to watch to prepare:
People to talk to:
Things to find out about:
(does it require a new language?)
Things to take with:
(must include at least one embarassing item, ie Marvin the Teddy Bear. But keep it PG!)
Songs for Splendid Travel:

Other things to consider: How you'll get there (air, land, water); websites you need to consult (links, baby!)

And (she smiles wickedly) you have to think of who to tag. I can guess who will meme without bidding, so go for it. I am tagging some folks that I don't think otherwise would bite:

  • BJ (and I know you have one moment of fanciful time now that Greek is done. Just try it.)
  • Alyssa (mother of Teah, the cutest girl baby of this generation)
  • Erica (who posts a lot of great pictures, out there on the left coast.)
  • Blackbird (because I know she loves lists, from which this was born, and doesn't love memes, but will bite if she's tagged 'cause she likes being on a team. I promise we'll have cool uniforms. The colors will not be pink and brown. Hmm. What color should they be?)

There's no deadline, folks. This is meant to be fun, and yes, BJ, it generates comments!!

Okay, if I want to hit the bank before work, I gotta boogy! (okay, so you won't find that quote there yet, but I'll submit it...after the closing ceremonies. So glad I'll BE IN A HOTEL ROOM next time--the sleep deprivation of the Olly's has caught up with me.)

Friday, February 24, 2006

The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists of "Ten Best."

(H. Allen Smith)

Well, the folks at Pomegranates and Paper are trying something new: Lists on Friday. The list for this week is "Splendid Necessities for Travel." Hmm. Somehow I can't seem to make my list very interesting.

Okay: where do I want to go? The Vancouver Winter Olympics, 2010.

Movies to watch to prepare:

  • The Cutting Edge
  • The Ice Princess
  • Cool Runnings

People to talk to:

  • Travel Agent (to ballpark cost and logistics)
  • People that live near Vancouver, like in Seattle and stuff (I don't think any of my lurkers are from BC, but this would be the time to de-lurk yourself)
  • myself, so that I remember to start saving money.

Things to find out about:

  • Collecting Olympic pins (I hear this is all the rage when you go to the Olly's)
  • How do you buy the tickets for the events?
  • Learn how to speak Canadian (eh, skates, hoser, take off!!)

Things to take with:

  • digi camera (for when I spot...well, whoever it is that I want to spot. I don't think Emily Hughes will go to the 2010 Olly's, but if she did, that's who I'd want a picture of.)
  • extra batteries (my digi camera has a voracious appetite for these)
  • toiletries (toothbrush, hairdryer, meds, etc.)
  • Marvin, my teddy bear
  • My Bible, many other books and magazines...
  • My Disc-man (no, I do not have an ipod. No, I'm not ready to commit...)
  • CD's (duh!)
  • My cell phone (although I'd have to find out what the Canadian to US rates are)
  • My swimsuit (I love hotel pools!)

You know, it just occurred to me that I *am* going to be traveling splendidly in less that 30 days--to Baaaston! What a great chance to tell yins what I'm taking there.

  • All of the above, minus Marvin.
  • The Easy-Bake Oven Emily gave me for Christmas--I'm giving it to Susan's Sara. She really wants one, and everytime they see one and she squeals, "Mama, I want one," Susan says, "But honey, we *have* a toaster oven."
  • I would LOVE to borrow someone's laptop so I can blog while I'm at the conference, anyone?? (I might beg my dad's.)
  • My pink shoes, of course (ah, but which ones?)
  • Post earrings (I have learned to not travel with danglies--they come off if you fall asleep on the plane, for instance)
  • at least one notebook (preferably this one, which I buy at Barnes & Noble)

sidebar: I have spent at least 22 minutes trying to find the Miquelrius notebooks they sell at B&N, to no avail. I did find this fun site, though. Also this one: Pocketmod.com

You get the idea.

Songs for Splendid Travel:

  • Happy Trails to you, until we meet again...
  • Gentle on my mind
  • She'll be Coming Round the Mountain...
  • King of the Road

I can't think of a great title, so there!

If you want the best thrills and spills of the ice skating, go to Say La Vee. Go. Just come back. Blackbird does it best, what can I say? She is also the diva that sponsors our weekly show and tell. Thanks, darling!

I really need to get some breakfast. Last night, I ate a whole box of Samoas. Well, not the whole box. I had already eaten two cookies a few days earlier, right after I signed my name on the check to Troop # whatever.

Right now, BJ is taking his Greek final. You go, BJ! Earlier, when I remembered to pray for him at 9 am, I pictured him as one of those free style skiiers. Hmm, BJ, have you ever considered an Olympic career? Nah, we like you here at the OD.

Okay, pause, while I go make eggs (I told you it's pretty much all I make).


Okay, I'm back, and I'm beautiful. Really, I am, I'm not just saying that. I finally got around to using the new hairdryer (the one with ions) and my hair is all shiny. I even used "product" (hairstylist speak for goo you put in your hair) and and and I am wearing my new contact lenses!! After not having had them since the summer, It. is. very. weird. And now I'll have to find a decent pair of sunglasses...(yes, in my apartment.)

I think Leon is finally going back, unwatched. I think it's one of those movies I probly won't watch on my own and the last time I checked I was the only one in this garret. So there.

There's of course much more to write, but I work in 1 hr, and I'd like to pay my bills this morning or at least attempt that.

I also washed a ton of dishes, talked to Susan, Mayvis (this dear woman from my church--she's 73 and so wonderful.), left msgs on machines...

Happy Friday! And if you're going to Jubilee, take good notes! We'll have to talk later! (this weekend: working tonight, working tomorrow, babysitting so friends can go to the Jubilee dinner, going to the last sermon on Depression at Fountain Park Sunday morning, then working Sunday afternoon. Then the OD.)


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Women never dine alone. When they dine alone they don't dine.

(Henry James)

Well, I can see Hank's point, because my idea of cooking is either scrambled eggs, quiche, or throwing something in the microwave (yes, usually a meal that was made in a food factory and then frozen so that I could heat and eat.) But Hank doesn't know that I also make it a point to take myself out for meals every once in a while. My favorite place to "dine alone" is an Italian Fish bistro about seven minutes from my house. (Yes, it truly is about seven minutes if you take the highway--I know this because there is also a movie theatre in this shopping center and you dear blog readers probably already know that promptness is not an inherent Sarah Louise trait.) (Yes, I do sometimes drive too fast. Yes, I am very lucky that I haven't gotten a ticket for speeding for over ten years. Yes, I am trying to watch my speed as a February resolution.)

At this bistro, the waiters treat me like a queen. I generally bring a book or a notebook (depends if I've done my homework for my writing class) and just dine. It is very nice to have a handsome youth bring me ice tea refills. I think one of the waiters remembers me, because even if he's not my server, he'll ask if I want something, like butter for my bread, or is everything all right. He's brought me more ranch dressing, for instance.


But last night, I really dined. I wormed my way into an invitation to BJ's house, where every Wednesday they have sumptious meals and invite folks who are new to the OD. It sounded like too much fun to be missed, and it was! I got compliments on my shoes, my blog, and I was able to express my strong opinions on things like the fact that I HATE it when people say a movie is "cute." Why, because then you don't want to see it, asked Garret (yes, I now know a person who shares a name with the type of apartment I live in.) No, because those are generally the movies I love (chick flicks are generally described by the general population as "cute") and I think it's an insult to them to use such a non-descriptive four letter word. This is a conversation I have at the same pitch and fervor as this one: the "book is always better than the movie" comment. No no no! Sometimes, a screenwriter or director will catch the essence of a really bad book or even a mediocre book or even a great book and either a) make it better than the book ever was OR b) take something from the book that I never would have seen which makes me want to then read or re-read the book. For me, it's like different translations of the same text. Most people just read the NIV. But if you read the Jerusalem, the RSV, the KJV, the JB Phillips, you get more out of a verse or passage. It further educates you to the richness. I often will watch the movie first, to see if I want to take the time to read the book. Okay, I can't think of an example. But I love love love the Disney live action Three Musketeers (the one with Donald Sutherland's son). I should own it (why don't I own it?) but finally I got around to reading the book. Which I probably would not have otherwise done. And I discovered that I love Dumas. (Who cares that the book is so different?) A movie is two hours. A movie is a short story. You can't take a full length novel and expect to fit all the nuances into a two hour movie unless you hope to bore them to death with four hours. Okay, since it's my blog, I get to say, it's time to post a picture of one of the things I had at the meal I had last night.

(this is where you would be seeing a picture of amazing apple pie ala mode.)

Yeah. Um. Blogger and I are having a fight right now. It doesn't want to upload pictures while I'm in IE and I am not switching to Foxfire just to make it happy. I have places to be, like!

Update: I thought linking to Garret's blog would be easy, too, but it has eaten up 10 mins (well, maybe 7.5) so just deal. There's a picture of the pie.

(One of my therapists, tomorrow is her last day because the funding for her position got cut.) (Yeah, it sucks. She's a real sweetie.) (So I'm going to have my last appointment with her at 10.) And then I'm going to get fitted for contacts!! (Why, Sarah Louise, have you never had contacts before?) (Well, actually, thanks for asking, I have. And I'm fine with glasses, but when I care for babies or when I have to do "face rhymes" like

Brow Binker -- point at your eyebrows
Eye Winker -- pull on your eyes
Cheeks Cherry -- pull on your cheeeks

my glasses get in the way.)

Yes, I know I still have not blogged about Lauren Winner, but you'll just have to be patient. Alright, I'll give you this: last night, after my sumptious meal and pie, I had coffee at Tazza D'Oro with a new friend, another Marian (but she's not a librarian). We met at the Lauren Winner retreat. We talked about how much we'd like to be Lauren's friend, she's so cool. So I'll leave you with this, an excerpt from my notes from Saturday, and you'll have to trust me that there's more where this came from:

"Lauren and I have the same kind of watch. It makes me feeel we are kindred. I wonder if hers too was a gift. She is wearing black fishnet nylons and even though that doesn't really match the me I am right now, I want to go to Kaufmanns and buy black close knit fishnet stockings and black leather mules like hers."

Yes, I have a monster crush on Lauren Winner. Don't tell her, though!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's a Carnival! Cotton candy all around!

Chicken Spaghetti (one up from the bottom on my blogroll) (with the other kid's lit blogs)

Sidebar: the method to the madness of my blogroll:
  • Babelbabe, I always check first. Next, Joke, next Blackbird (and I'm not on her blog-roll yet, but whatever...). This is the first layer, and some days I stop here. But other days, I'll keep going. The next layer are the Open Door blogs: John Creasy, his lovely wife Alyssa, and Pat Bird. Emergent Pittsburgh is the sandwich before we get to the eclectic blogs: a Brazilian blog, a concert pianist's blog, bobbie's blog (SHE ROCKS, btw), Waiter Rant, and Erin's blog, Biscotti Brain. She's great too. (I love you, Toots!) Then we have two crafty blogs, il bloggi and wish jar journal, followed by three fabulous blogs that focus on kid's books. So that's the grand tour, in case you were wondering...

So, as I was saying, Chicken Spaghetti is sponsoring a blog carnival. I had never heard of this before, but it's sort of like what I just did, except that instead of *me* highlighting the blogs on my blog-roll, a real carnival involves people sending in their favorite posts on a particular subject. CS, being a blog that focuses on children's books, the posts to be sent in are to be (guess!) about children's books. I have submitted Mother Goose on the loose and the Mother & Daughters Book Club. (Which none of you commented on...)

I'll keep you updated. Who knows, maybe I'll host a carnival one of these days! It could be fun...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Give a girl the right shoes and she'll conquer the world.

(Bette Midler)

Blackbird has done it again--wowed us all with her pictures and stuff. I have hardly written about the Olympics, mainly because I've been watching them in snippets and doing what I said I'd do--suffer from "Olympic insomnia." Well, tonight are the women's figure skating short programs. (That's a crazy sentence, but it's 8 am and I don't give a crap) (just keep writing) (okay)

I guess the other reason I haven't been writing about the Olympics is because they're so close to my heart, I don't want to make fun of them, I don't want to explore how I feel about them, I just want to watch them. Last night at writing, Cliff, one of the other students, said, "So is anyone watching the Olympics?" and everyone said "no," except for of course, yours truly, who started to babble about the ice skating. "No, I don't like ice dancing..." I feel like a foreigner to these other people, I mean, it's the Olympics!!!

Every time Google introduces a new "doodle" I save it to "My Pictures." I had a thought to do a post just of those, but then I'd have to wait for the things to download. So here's the link. And, no, Babelbabe, it is not every day.

Babelbabe saved me yesterday, when I learned that my hairdryer was not going to give me one last dry. It worked Sunday and never told me it wasn't feeling well, just died in its sleep sometime on Sunday night/Monday morning. Said hairdryer rests right now in my trash in the bathroom.

Ah, which leads me to another funny story: yesterday was a federal, county, state holiday. It was not, I repeat, not, a city holiday. But there was some confusion on that. I merely forgot to put out the trash and was pleased to see that someone else had. But when I went downstairs to add the second can to the lot (we overflowed into a second can, yes!), I noticed that the Snodgrasses didn't have their trash out. Neither did Mini or Susie. My brain thought, oh, they must be right, and why would that be? Oh, it's President's Day. So, because I didn't want our trash to sit at the corner until Tuesday morning, I took it back to where it lives next to our house. It was around the time that I discovered the death of dear hairdryer that I heard the recycling trucks. Damn.

So anyways, I ran over to Babelbabe's, where I was greeted by Primo and Segundo (how I love those boys!) and I blew my hair dry. Then I watched the baby while she looked for cash since I wouldn't have time to hit the ATM on the way (I was late for an important date.) "Sweet Baby James, do you know that song?" Yes, Primo, I do. My brother's name is James too. "Do you know 'Country Roads'? That's a great song." (The kid is five!) Which, actually, is about when my dad introduced me to the song, but I bet if you take any five five year olds today, in 2006, only Primo will be able to sing "Country Roads" for you. And I know BB is going nuts because she is not crazy about quotation marks. Sorry, dear. But you have the best boys, you really do. (I bet Blackbird's boys knew John Denver songs at the age of five, too, though--I get a sense that they are a very musical family.)

After my important date (I was going to write about Lauren Winner but somehow this post has become What Sarah Louise did on President's Day) I drove to Edgewood Town Center, to K-mart, where I bought my new hairdryer. It has ions. Apparently that's a good thing. I just wanted one that was 1875 volts and didn't look too weird. (The pink one, it was too strange.) (It was just shaped wrong.) Then I went to Giant Eagle, got milk and cash.

Here's a picture of my current shoes:

Here's a picture of my ice skates. They're from Germany, and I always get comments on the fact that they're blue.

I got them for Christmas the first year my parents lived in Poland. We went ice skating in a gymnasium where they had seen the Harlem Globetrotters play. It was huge and wonderful and very Communist (gray, not pretty at all.) I really miss Warsaw. As much as I want to be in Torino, if you gave me a choice of two tickets and I could only use them today, I would take the ticket to Warsaw, because I'd still be able to watch the Olympics in my hotel room. I think the Winter Olympics are in Vancouver coming up. That's a goal I could attain...Yes, it is. 2010--can you hear me now? (Honey, I know you want children, but I really want to go to the Vancouver Winter Olympics and I think we should wait until they're over. It will be easier to travel if it's just us.) (Mr. Right would understand.) (I'd make him understand.) I truly crack myself up. Thank you for indulging me, dear blogosphere.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Old Mother Hubbard (pix)

There are days when you care greatly if your pictures are in focus and in the right order. Today is not one of those days. The first picture we're seeing is the binding of the notebook below.
This was the best and least out of focus picture of Old Mother Hubbard.
The notebook pages we saw above belong to this notebook.
This is my table, with the gifts wrapped. The gifts were to me, a) because I've been good and b) to discourage me from just buying junk.
This is another notebook, showing the binding.

I love blogging--this is it at its amateurish best!!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A childhood item, b/c Blackbird was intrigued....

As you enter the garret, opening the door to the last stretch of stairs, the first thing you see on the landing is an antique side table. It is dark wood, clearly from “yore,” the only period of furniture manufacture that you are familiar with other than “present day.” It has three open shelves: a top shelf, a middle shelf, and a bottom shelf. On it are porcelain figurines, a vase with silk flowers, a painted wooden horse and a statuette of a ballerina; general knick-knacks, your treasures. Two of the porcelain figurines are Royal Doulton, a balloon woman and a shepherdess, and one is a Hummel, a young girl with braids that are flying in the pretend breeze. Up front, so they won’t be dwarfed by the larger items, you see a tiny lady in a red dress who has lost her arm (which lies next to her on the shelf), a miniature cupboard, and a tiny brown and white dog (some sort of Spaniel?). When you pick her up in your hand, you see where she was crudely glued together, possibly by a child using Elmer’s all-purpose school glue. All three pieces fit easily in your adult-size palm. The rhyme comes to mind, “Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard, to fetch her poor dog a bone…” This English woman does not look old—her cheeks are rosy and her hair is brown. She is wearing one of those hats that looks like a white shower cap (the kind Betsy Ross used to wear in the history books). Her dog does not look emaciated. The cupboard is not bare. Instead, it painted green with orange embellishments. The shelves hold plates and bowls, perhaps a fat pitcher on the second shelf. Apparently the maker of this porcelain trio was not hoping for literary accuracy. This woman has traveled with you from Germany to Honduras to Maryland to Pittsburgh. She might have gone to Poland. You can’t remember. Your father does not remember giving it to you, though you know he did, when you were living in Germany. You were five or six. Maybe seven. When you called him earlier today, after your lunch at a nearby bistro, to ask him about it, he said, “That sounds like something I would buy.” Your mother remembered the set. “There’s a little dog?” There is no marking to indicate who made the set, and on closer inspection of the cupboard (the only object large enough to carry a such a marking if one were one) you see that it has been mended too. Only the dog bears no such scars. He was lost for a few years, though. You remember when you moved back to Pittsburgh after college being aghast that you couldn’t find him. Your roommate assured you that finding a miniature porcelain dog couldn’t be too hard. You never got around to looking for a replacement, though, and years later, you were ecstatic when you found him again. You walk towards the kitchen to look for Super Glue, but pause, wondering if the arm will stay attached while the glue is drying, gravity being what it is. You imagine a little bed made of tissue paper, stiff enough to hold the woman on her side while her arm heals.

Apparently you do not have Super Glue. You ransacked your junk drawer, where you used to keep the glue, years ago. You found books and books of matches, a packet of flower preserver powder, plastic spoons and forks and knives encased in plastic with matching napkins. So. Old Mother Hubbard remains armless. It is the arm that would be reaching to open the cupboard door.

The nursery rhyme has fourteen verses. You remember this trivial fact because you did a paper on a chapbook version of it for your History of Children’s Literature class in grad school. You double check in your red copy of “The Annotated Mother Goose.” You tried to incorporate your miniature porcelain set into the text of the paper, but couldn’t make it work. You tried to find that paper this afternoon, as another procrastination (you prefer to call it research) method. You called your best friend in Boston, hoping to read her what you had written so far, but you had forgotten that it was her son’s ninth birthday. You talk for a few minutes, letting her go to finish coordinating her son’s favorite meal for supper. You return to the porcelain set, and the broken arm. With the unbroken arm, which is her right arm, Mother Hubbard is holding her skirt, ostensibly to keep it from dragging on the floor, but it makes her appear as if she is about to dance off somewhere, and instead of her broken arm reaching for the cupboard, she is really reaching to put her arm on Father Hubbard’s shoulder. But Father Hubbard is never mentioned in the verses. Was Mother Hubbard a widow? Children are never mentioned either, only the dog. Was she one of those crazy cat women that call her cats her children except she had dogs and in actuality, only the one? You realize that all this wondering has caused you to creep onto the top of a second page and wonder if you should go back and crop some of the earlier paragraphs, or, continue until you have at least another half side covered, so as to legitimately account for the use of a second side of paper. You wonder if there really is anything interesting about your little figurines to anyone but you. You go back to the top of the screen, re-reading what you have written so far.

You come back to where you left off, and click on the “Print Preview.” You have managed to write another quarter of a page. Can you possibly write enough so that it is a page and a half? That seems like less of a waste of paper than a page and a quarter, although you will be using more ink. Did Dickens think of page inches? His books were long, to be sure, but they were first published in serial format in magazines. You don’t own any Dickens to leaf through to see what length his chapters were. You realize this isn’t really the point, more or less, but does the piece say anything significant? Does it break your heart, for instance, or make you angry, or do you see the woman sitting in the corner nodding off as you read your pages aloud on Monday evening? You sigh, thinking it is almost time to get ready to go to church. You still have time tomorrow to tweak, to edit, to re-write. “All writing is re-writing,” you hear an old writing teacher drone inside your head. You bet you’ve reached the one and one half page mark by now. You wonder how many words that is. You click into “Tools” and find “Word Count.” Hmm. You have written two pages, one thousand one hundred fifty eight words, which translates into five thousand one hundred thirty seven characters, in four paragraphs, taking up seventy-seven lines. You look at the clock and decide that what you really want to do now is get to church early so you can hear the band practicing.

(I got there early enough to have a bowl of pizza soup and pray with the worship team.) (We also had our first congregational meeting. Growing pains for our tiny brand new baby church, lemme tell you! But there's no church I'd rather be a part of, anywhere.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Inspiring Words from other bloggers

From an interview of Alice Bradley, who writes Finslippy.

What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything?
If you think your blog is insignificant, you’re wrong. Every time you write something there’s a chance you’ll make a difference to someone else, or to yourself.

From LeahPeah:
Well, guess what? I’ll write about whatever I want to write about. And there are so many blogs out there in the world that I’m sure you can find something that you might like more. So - go. Or stay. Or do whatever. But if you decide to stick around and hate what I write - don’t tell me. I don’t care. Just wait a few days and I’ll have a new interview up or I’ll write about something cute the kids said or post a new photo. It happens. I swear.


I think a lot of us are at a crisis--c'mon, it's February, it happens! So just hang tight, it's gonna be okay. I have a ton of notes from the conference on Emergent two weeks ago and a ton of notes on the sermons on depression from Terry Mann the past coupla weeks and a ton of notes from yesterday and today with Lauren Winner. So keep reading, coz I'll be blogging. And, I just got a butt load of Antartica pix, so I'll be posting those too. And this week is the women's single's short and long programs, so stay sharp!

A list, for Blackbird, who loves lists (and a tell part of a very old Show and Tell)

The area my computer inhabits is lousy with stuff

On my computer:
A white chicken with black polka dots and yellow legs striped with red bands.
A picture of my siblings making faces at the camera, taken when they were 6 and 7, in front of a gingerbread display at the Warsaw (Poland ) Marriott, which had opened 2 months hence.
A photocopy of my library card barcode.
A few post-its with various web site addresses.

On the desk, in front of my computer screen:
A roll of EZ Start clear packing tape, made in Taiwan.
A solar calculator that has holes on the left edge so that it could be snapped into a ring-binder.
The ticket stub from the Indescribable Tour concert I attended Sunday: “Passion and Six steps Records presents: The Indescribable Tour featuring Chris Tomlin and special guests Louie Giglio and Matt Redman; Welcomed by WORD FM”
A stray paper clip, the kind that is covered with colored plastic: this one is white with green stripes.
A teddy bear figurine, dressed as a ballerina.

On the bookshelf, above my computer screen:
a picture of Teah Creasy, the cutest baby girl since Beppe (my sister).
People magazine Celebrates the 80s.
Strunk and White, Elements of Style
Essentials of Children’s Literature.
Being Digital
, by Nicholas Negroponte, brother of John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras in the early 80s. (When we lived there)
The Annotated Mother Goose.
At least three address books and church directories.
A book of quotations.
One thesaurus, two dictionaries: a large hardcover that may have been a graduation from high school gift and one paperback, a “you’re-going-to-grad-school gift” to myself from myself.
A bunch of other books.

The prompt for this week's writing is make a list of a childhood room, top to bottom, then pick one item, describe it. I am not sure why I'm not looking forward to this. I like being an adult, I guess. I had a great childhood, but I don't think I liked myself very much (so I buried myself in books). Oh well, if I'm going to get to work on time, I gotta gotta go!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Clean Up Spot (with apologies to Jack Bogut) (updated as of 10pm)

I listen to WJAS. It is an AM radio station whose general demographic is my parents. WJAS plays “original hits with the original artists.” They also play a lot of new artists, like Diana Krall and Steve Tyrell. Hi, my name is Sarah Louise, and I’m addicted to the Standards.

I bought a 3 CD set of Johnny Cash at Target (pronounced Tar-jay) around Christmas. Now, if you read this blog often, you’re not surprised to know that it’s been through the Bermuda Triangle a coupla times and today I finally opened the cellophane. Oh, it is so good that I have kept Ellen on “mute” for nine whole minutes. Yes, folks, one of the two mornings a week I get to watch Ellen and J.R. Cash is just captivating me. (Update: I think this collection will have to grow on me--they put one or two great songs on each CD, with lesser known songs.)

The Clean Up Spot is something Jack Boget does every morning at about 8:45. It’s the place where you hear what Gen X-ers recognize as “News of the Weird.” It’s where you hear about stupid criminals, mostly. I work at nine one day a week, and I don’t always listen to WJAS in my car, so The Clean Up Spot never gets old for me.

But this post is not that kind of “clean up spot.” Instead, this is a place for all that stuff that’s been rattling around in my brain and I’m using artistic license with the name. Updates, clarifications, corrections, that’s what you’ll find here.

Updates: Marian got a Room-ba for her birthday. Yep, that’s the vacuum cleaner robot! I gave her pictures of my parent’s flamingo and magnetic frames so she could showcase them at her desk, which she did. Interestingly enough, a true God moment: I had gotten some fizzy bath beads at Target (see pronunciation guide) and needed just one more thing for Marian’s gift, so I added them to the mix. When Emily and I exchanged Valentine’s, wouldn’t you know Emily gave me some fizzy bath beads? She also gave me a chocolate rose. Which segues right into clarifications….

Clarifications: I emailed my dad my Valentine’s Day post. He gave me the real details. It was 1966 when my dad first sent flowers to my mom on Valentine’s Day. It was 1967 when he sent them to Iran. In both cases, he was sending them as a way of “participating in the day,” knowing that my mom was really just a good friend who happened to be a girl (someone he could send flowers to on Valentine’s Day). He likened it to the Jewish folks that sit on the floor in the post office in New York answering letters to Santa as a mitzvah. A way of participating in the beauty of a moment. I love my dear old Dad even more now than before, if that’s possible. Because what Emily and I did Tuesday was not just a consolation prize, let’s do this because we have no men. It was a participation in the day. Which I advocate always. Participation is a great way to live life. You get more laughs, more hugs, and you get great chocolate!

(note: the folks who catalogued the contents for these CDs did not get a MLS in library school.) (Maybe the ones who did the packaging did, but the folks that wrote the stuff that shows up on my Windows Media Player got a lot of titles wrong.) (Example: my computer thinks it’s playing “Sugartime,” when really it’s playing “Busted.”)

Notes on my most recent “Show and Tell:” Joke recently mentioned that in order to keep my meds on a schedule (I had a lapse this week) I need to think of Wallace and Grommit. So when I had to do a close-up, I thought, why not show him part of what I already have in place. Yes, I have Hello Kitty on my key ring. It’s a plastic thing that used to hold Hello Kitty stickers but I, always on the lookout for attractive/utilitarian ways to transport my meds, thought, yes, this would work!!

Ellen update: Betty White is on. I fear I missed the interview, but I’ll get to watch Tyra Banks teach Betty to walk the catwalk (it’s a Super Model thing.) I love Betty White. She has been on TV longer than just about anybody. Bep has rediscovered the Golden Girls (how I envy yins that have cable) and watches it almost daily.

Furthur (Why is it spelled Further?) notes on S&T: the blur that is between the close-up of my keys and my keys is my attempt at Georgia O’Keefe (no one looks at a flower up close). It’s actually a pen that has a rose attached at the end.

And the judges gave Betty White a perfect TEN on the catwalk. She gets the Gold Medal.


And some lady just “won” a Quiznos franchise! WOW!

Things that are rattling around in my brain:

  • The Hedgehog concept (coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great) It’s based on the fable where the fox keeps thinking of new ways to get the hedgehog and the hedgehog has one weapon only, he curls up in a ball with those spikes. The way to go from good to great is to have a Hedgehog concept. It’s really fascinating…
  • Community. I'm actually jealous of my sister, who is living at home at the moment. I am jealous of my brother, who lives three blocks away. He lives with two high school friends and a college buddy who just moved in. I am sick of the Cold War that lives in this house—we just don't communicate! I miss the days when Sally and fam lived downstairs and we didn’t lock doors and I could just kidnap Zach to watch the Muppets when Sally was on the phone. Sally and I watched the TV on 9/11—I heard it first on the radio and she was still downstairs in bed. I woke her up, and we watched the TV all day. Now she lives ten blocks away and I haven’t been to Zach’s birthday party for two years!! (It was Zach’s birthday yesterday. I stopped by on my way home, sans gift. He was watching Zoom and really couldn’t be bothered. Oh it broke my heart.) Luckily, Sally’s husband was just coming home as I left, so I got to say hi to him.

I mean, I love my garret. It’s over ten years I’ve been paying rent on it. It is one of my favorite places in the world. The skylight...all my little decorations, my stairwell...I could quote the whole of The Big Orange Splot and tell you my apartment is me, and I am it, my apartment looks like all my dreams...

But there’s no space for parties unless I stuff everything in the walk-in closet and I wish there was someone who understood VCRs and stuff.

Get Rhythm when you get the blues…I love Johnny Cash!

Dad and I agreed that Walk the Line is really a love story and in some ways the story of how June Carter saved Johnny Cash. I cannot wait to get the book (I requested it yesterday!!)

Do you remember that line from High Fidelity where Rob goes off on books? Let's see if I can get it (thanks to imdb.com)

Rob Gordon: Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I've read books like "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Love in the Time of Cholera", and I think I've understood them. They're about girls, right? Just kidding. But I have to say my all-time favorite book is Johnny Cash's autobiography "Cash" by Johnny Cash.

So it's been a coupla years that I've been waiting for a good reason to read this book. Over and out.

Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot

(Charlie Chaplin)

So apparently a) I have too much time Thursday mornings and b) I have not played with my digi camera enough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Walk the Line (the second time around)

Wow. Double wow. Triple double triple double wow. Must see it for at least one more time in the theatre...and note to self, request a copy of Cash tomorrow at work. My mom actually used it in devotionals for her circle meeting with her church group yesterday.

Hey, did you know chocolate was born in Torino? I am currently not watching Olympic Jay-Walking. It's pretty stupid, but I keep hoping that they'll cut to more late night Olympic coverage.

This weekend I get to go to a day-retreat with Lauren Winner, author of the new book, Real Sex. While tracking a copy down this week, I was speaking with a clerk who said, "can you spell that?" I said, "as opposed to fake." The subtitle of the book is "the naked truth about chastity" and it is the best book about sex, singleness and being a Christian that I've read. (And I've read quite a few.)

If you're not into reading a whole book, take a visit over to Urban Saddle (sixth one down on the blog roll) and read his Valentine's Day post. Included there is a pdf which gives a great vision for Christian singleness and Christian marriage. Caveat: it is 9 pages, so you'll want to print it, but the pages are not numbered. I bet you can figure it out, but once you have, I recommend a stapler or a paper clip at bare minimum.

Paul Reiser is on Leno at the moment. This made staying up late TOTALLY worth it. I love Paul Reiser. He is my favorite favorite comedian. Jay Leno is #2. (The audio of his autobio is great.)

Oh, and Mom is done with the power point on Antartica, cut #1. (I'm not finished, she says, but I sent you a copy.) Email me if you want a copy too.

Continuing coverage just started--12:50, not 12:05. Sleep? Who needs sleep?


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sentimental mush...I love you Daddy!

Okay, I'm crazy about this day, and there's a ton of reasons that have nothing to do with boyfriends.

When I was in kindergarden, I thought "Happy Valentine's Day" was what you said, like "Have a good day." So for weeks, when my dad left the house in the morning, I'd chirp, "Happy Valentine's Day!" So 29 years later, we still keep the tradition alive--in the middle of summer, I'll just say "Happy Valentine's Day" and it's just our inside joke.

Also, one year in the late sixties (was it 68 or 69? 67?) my dad, not knowing who to send flowers to, since he had recently broken up with his girlfriend, decided to send some to my mom. That's a great story, since they've now been married 36 years, but there's more. He was living in Indiana (um, like that's romantic, not!) and she, teaching at a Presbyterian mission school, was living in Tehran, Iran, where the Shah was still in power. So you can already see that this involves FTD, that international format for sending flowers. Well, FTD had a minimum for international orders, and in 196whatever it was $7. (That's like $35 in today's money, maybe more, since I first heard this story in the eighties.) Well, um, even though Iran had a royal ruler, $7 US was a lot of cash in Tehran. And which florist did good old Dad pick? The Imperial Florist. It had a nice ring...um, yeah. It was THE Imperial florist, as in the one to the Shah. Oh, and I forgot one other detail. My mom's address was the school. So I've set the scene. Can you imagine it? A truck from the Shah's own florist shows up at my mom's fourth grade class and starts unloading flowers. And more flowers. And more flowers. "Who are they from, Miss Hill?" (They were not even dating at the time!!)

Ah, young love. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone, from the gal who makes everyday Valentine's day for her dear old dad.

Yours til Niagara Falls,

Sarah Louise

It's official...

It's been that mushy pink day for 16 minutes. Emily & I are celebrating by going to Panera and seeing Walk the Line (2nd time for me). I have mixed feelings about this day, but a lot of good memories too...so whatever you find yourself doing, give someone a hug! And if you see Marian, wish her a happy birthday--she's turning the big 3-0!

An Angry Valentine
If you won't be my Valentine
I'll scream, I'll yell, I'll bite.
I'll cry aloud, I'll start to whine
If you won't be my Valentine.
I'll frown and fret,
I'll mope and pine, and
It will serve you right--
If you won't be my Valentine
I'll scream, I'll Yell, I'll Bite

Myra Cohn Livingston
This one is close to my heart, as I am in the middle of another embroilled fun stuff with a favorite co-worker. (did you catch the sarcasm there?)
He drew a
circle that
shut me out--
Heretic, rebel,
a thing to
But Love and I
had the wit to
We drew a
circle that
took him in!
"Outwitted," by Edwin Markham
Yesterday (well, a few minutes ago, 27 to be exact), WYEP (local independent public radio) had their annual Anti-Valentine show. It was fun listening to all the songs, especially a new favorite, Hackensack, by Fountains of Floyd? (Something like that. Babelbabe will correct me.)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Violet will be a good color for hair at just about the time that brunette becomes a good color for flowers.

(Fran Lebowitz)

Today I treated myself to McD's for breakfast. I listened to Good to Great on the way over. I am SO loving this audio book!! I'll blog on that later. I walk in, and in front of me, no joke, is a woman with Ronald McDonald red hair and those striped tights he wears. I truly thought I was watching a public relations moment, and got a little excited. Ronald visits East Liberty!! (S'Liberty to yins.) Um, no. And I don't think anyone else noticed. I wanted to grab one of the employees and say, "Doesn't she look the spitting image of someone you know?" but I restrained myself. I sat in a booth where I could watch her while I ate my egg and cheese biscuit (bacon and I aren't talking at the moment) and hash browns and my (yes I know it's cold out) ice tea. She got on her cell phone. She had lip piercings--she was like the Post-Modern Ronaldina McDonalds. I so wish I could have gotten a picture!!

And in the category of how do I feel about my life today: I Love it!! Be very jealous--Babelbabe and I are going to make Snickerdoodles this afternoon, when I get back from my therapy appointment. (Because she has a regular size oven.) (And a decent recipe, this was my first question to her: "Do you make snickerdoodles?")

I had a date with a friend who is also a children's librarian (to talk shop) this afternoon, but she cancelled on me, so the timing is Perfect!! And I'm done with my homework for my writing class. I may post that later. (It's an Angry Letter.)

As for the snow, Pittsburgh got passed over. I couldn't even make a snow angel on my front lawn--I can see grass through the powder as it is. I heard Manhattan got 27 inches--well, that's why they call it the BIG Apple--everything is big there. (Susan got 15, Sue's mom got 15, Bep got 15) (That's Boston, Harrisburg, and Falls Church, respectively.) Even Tuvalu got snow--go visit Blackbird at Say la Vee for pictures!! (It's third down on my blogroll, I'm not linking, b/c I'm lazy and I gotta go buy sugar and flour!)

I knew it!

You Are Speed Skating

You're motivated, aggressive, and willing to work hard to win.

You have what it takes to be hell on skates!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Here we come, Steelers! (a photo essay, 1 week after the win)

So I thought I'd take a shot at expressing what this city feels, a week later: Steeler Fever is still alive and well...in case you were wondering.

I drive by at least 4 churches that have "boards" on the way to work. My current favorite (besides this Steeler's one) is "Is your picture on God's refridgerator or on his milk carton?"
My camera thought it was supposed to be in "motion" mode. These are the signs Babelbabe and company had in their window.
This is at a bar on the way to work. It refers to the "Bus" Jerome Bettis, who retired after the game. He is originally from Detroit, so it was especially sweet to win there.
This is a sign at an Insurance Agency.
This is in a window. Okay, my descriptive language isn't top shelf today. So sue me! Later, some black and gold that is always around. Time at the moment to figure out the VCR...

Michelle Kwan pulls out of the Olympics!!!!!

And guess who is the alternate? Emily Hughes, the sister of the winner of the Gold in ladies singles figure skating last Olympics. How sweet is that?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Insomnia, thy name is Olympic

I can't help it. For the next two weeks, I will be experiencing the following:
  • strange sleep patterns, such as falling asleep in front of the TV and waking up only to find that Michelle Kwan is being interviewed at 3 am (oh I do not like her).
  • the Olympic anthem playing in my ears non-stop, da da da, DA, da da da. I hate that SUV commercial, but it's got the theme down....
  • attempting to learn how to use my VCR, for which I have no owner's manual. Bep figured it out when she was here for U2, but we didn't have time to really play around with it...
  • buying newspapers when key folks win. Last time my favorite was that girl from Hackensack, wait, it will come...Sarah Hughes.

Yes, it's been diagnosed, and it is incurable--I have Olympic fever. It happens about this time of year, every four years. No, I hear you saying "but the Olympics are every two, now that they stagger the Summer and Winter Games..." and that's where I cut you off: I do not watch the Summer Olympics. If I want to go to a swim meet, I want to be there, smelling all that chlorine and getting a little splashed, maybe. Watching it on TV does nothing...well, almost nothing. And gymnastics...maybe I'll watch for a little while, but it has not the iron grip hold that ice skating does. Any type of skating--speed, figure, pairs, singles....the ice dancing, not so much. Oh, and of course, hockey. That is a given. Hockey and more hockey. Yes, I would pay dollars to have all the NBC networks right now, so that I could take two weeks off work and sit on the couch as a potato, watching the games, non-stop. Skeleton? Love it. Bobsled? Ditto. Skiing...not so much. But I'll watch it, if it's on.

Last night Bep and I did one of those things only sisters and close female friends do--we watched TV on the phone. That is to say, we watched all the crap choreography of the Opening Ceremonies that culminates in that one moment of glory--the lighting of the Olympic flame. When did I turn on the TV? When she yelled "Poland!" We hung up before the opera guy sang, but I watched it, and then at some point fell asleep, clutching my cell phone. It is nestled in its charger in the other room, by the bed, and I am back in the TV room, writing this. I may just have to resort to the only sleeping pill that I know will work to at least get me to lie down and attempt to dream of gold, silver, and bronze medals, dancing in my head like sugar plums...yes, play The Cutting Edge on the VCR.

Bep wants to be an Olympian. I just want to go someday, be there in the stands, watch the events in real time and sleep in the same time zone as the TV people! (It comes down to one thing: sleep patterns, baby!)

Wow...for a moment there, it was like "Houston, we have a problem." I could not find the flick! But as I told you, the Bermuda Triangle effect is reversing and I am finding things at a faster rate than I am losing them, so I did not lose heart. And heart did not get lost, and I found the movie. It now resides inside the womb of the VCR, where it is creating pictures on my TV screen. It's the previews right now. Soon, it will be showing the best movie about the Olympics that I know. Why, Sarah Louise, is The Cutting Edge the best movie about the Olympics? Oh, I'm glad you asked. The reasons are three-fold:

  1. It is about the Winter Olympics; it features a former hockey player and a prima donna figure skater.
  2. That's three reasons all wrapped in the first reason if you can't count.
  3. It has the best opening scene, which features brilliant dialogue that features the confusion between the English and German language and the word nein, which in German means no and in English, the homophone (the word that sounds exactly alike while meaning something different) is the number nine.

"You said nein, das ist nicht richtig?"

"Nine, that's right, nine o'clock!"

(They're fighting about the alarm. He said nine and she heard nein, so she didn't set one. He overslept and is almost late for the first hockey game of the Olympics.) Then there's this wonderful scene where he's trying to get all his stuff together and remember her name, getting it wrong at least three times. I know, the movie has just started with a one night stand and that doesn't sound like a movie for Sarah Louise, but the German/English humor just has got to be experienced. My dad has a great story/shaggy dog joke involving his German secretary, and while sharing a story about that joke is how I heard about this movie in the first place, from who else? Marian the Librarian. I took her copy home, watched it gazillion times, ordered my own copy from Amazon, and the rest is cinematic history.

It has some of the best lines in film. Unfortunately, imdb.com does not have them listed. Fortunately, I became a member when I wanted to read all the fuss in the discussion boards about The End of the Spear. So for the next two weeks, I may be adding quotes...

Skating Coach: "I am not hockey coach."

Doug Dorsey: "What is this?"

Skating Coach: "Maybe nothing." (hands Doug Dorsey black ice skates)

Doug Dorsey: "Those are figure skates, pal."


Kate: "What is this, final stages of Ukranian alcohol psychosis?"


Kate: "Get him out of my building."

Doug Dorsey: "Tempermental? I could think of a few other words..."

Kate: "Is that what you told him?"

Doug Dorsey: "Man, I'm outta here. I wouldn't wish this on a snake."


Doug Dorsey: "What's the deal with the claws up front?"

Skating Coach: "It's toe pick."

Doug Dorsey: "Let me guess, it has something to do with personal hygiene."

Kate: "I wouldn't let that get in your way."

Doug Dorsey: "I don't let anything get in my way, sweetheart."


He falls.

She taunts, "Toe pick."


My favorite scene is when they play hockey before practice. Oh, I could go on forever. But you know what? It really is 4:15 am and I have to work tomorrow. At nine in the morning. Not nein alarm, NINE ANTE MERIDIAN.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The world is fairly studded and strewn with unwrapped gifts and free surprises...cast broadside from a generous hand.

(Annie Dillard)

This is not, I repeat, not, Pollyanna here: Yesterday was WONDERFUL! Not only did I pay $2.75 for lunch (which consisted of a slice of pizza, a piece of bread, a piece of pie, AND a Coke) and then have Thai food provided by the Pittsburgh something something (thank you John Stahl-Wert) for dinner, but I got to see John & Alyssa & Nate (and those other guys) on stage at Club Cafe, I got my brain twisted around by a really smart theologian, and I got to hear about the birth of the Open Door. Wow! Way too much to blog about unless I got that job where I get paid to read and write blogs. So a few shining moments:

  • Sitting with Marlaena at Club Cafe (who is going to Mississippi for a week to help rebuild from Katrina) and just chatting. M is one of my favorite folks and she lives in the South Hills so I don't see her a lot and I totally wasn't thinking that she'd be at the TSE concert. What a bonus!
  • Sitting with Erica at the Union Project--another one of my favorite folks. She is a quiet, unassuming, wonderful woman. She is also the keeper of the OD's tea lights. She and her hubby went to the South Side for the "Big Game" aka the Super Bowl. You can read about the mayhem from Pat's blog, here.
  • Chatting with Cara at the lecture and realizing that some people, though they will be friendly, don't really want to take the time to be your friends. And then having someone come from behind and intentionally say, "Hi, I'm X, I go to the OD too, surprised I haven't seen you there."
  • BJ winking at me as I left the UP to go to the TSE concert (oh how I hated to leave such a juicy talk on the EC, but I told two people I'd be there, and as you read above, it was worth it.) It is weird for me to realize that BJ and I only have one year difference, but it's also cool. (I only realized we were so close in age this year, and I've known the man at least ten years.) Katrina, his wife, is older, so that's probly the vibe I was picking up.
  • John Franke (pronounced Frank-ey) did not say a single thing that made me sad to be in this Emergent/Missional journey that the OD is on. The main thesis statement: CONTEXT! Be the church where you are, to the people you got. Focus on Christ, of course, but a church in the burbs is going to be doing things differently from a church on the South Side. I'll blog on this later in more depth. Terry Mann was there, another one of my favorite folks. His comment was this: "We had to figure out where people's third place was. And in Cranberry, it's kid's sports. So I coached 9 year old girls soccer. My children are grown. I do not have a 9 year old girl. But I did it to be out there in the community, where people were." (Not an exact quote, left my reporter's recorder at home...but that was the gist.)

And wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles, what did I find this morning, while sitting here blogging? The NEW TSE CD (wow that's a lot of caps) "can't make out the stars." I know soon I will be finding my regular watch. (But the one I got for Christmas *is* very nice.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

In which Sarah Louise watches Ellen...

Okay, so today, later, I'm going to be rubbing shoulders with theologians and seminarians. You'd think I'd be meditating, or taking a walk, or something...but no! I had to turn on Ellen and she's doing a Grammy show. WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME IT WAS THE GRAMMYS YESTERDAY? (Um, yes, I am a librarian. Um, yes, I occasionally read the newspaper...but to find out that U2 won while I was checking my Google mail...it's just wrong. Bep, we clearly need to find another way to communicate...)

And I went to bed early last night....


But I did get to see Bono and the Edge (what kind of name is that?) talk to Ellen.

And I have determined that the Opening Ceremonies (the Olympics, what else?) are tomorrow night. So, I have to either convince the children I'm babysitting that that's what we're watching or I have to figure out my VCR (or get Babelbabe to tape it for me...)

Bep will be glad to know I have finally removed my non-working VCR from the TV area. But my working one doesn't have a visible clock!! (Yes, I'm one of those people that NEEDS to know what time it is) (and yet I'm perennially late, go figure...)

Ellen's big news: Madonna is going on tour. Yeah, that was pretty underwhelming for me, the whole Madonna interview thing. Like what is that hair?

Now, if only I could find a blank tape...but the good news is this: The Bermuda Triangle effect is reversing, if slowly. I am finding things at a quicker rate than I am losing them. Found this week: stamps, a watch (missing since Christmas), and, um, other stuff!

A big plug for This Side of Eve, which has two shows this week: tonight at Club Cafe and tomorrow somewhere else. Check out the link. Their first album, "Aching from Wanting More" has been spinning on my CD player the past 24 hours. Maybe one of the things I'll find this week will be their latest album. (It's here...somewhere.)

Time to move on--Sarah Louise does not (I repeat does not) watch Montel.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

This little light of mine...(show and tell)

I keep hoping to somehow fix that stain on Hello Kitty's forehead, but if I procrastinated on my blog like I procrastinate in my life, you'd never have new stuff to read or look at!
I really like the base, which has pink hearts on it, or more closely in the picture below.
I bought this lamp at a Red White and Blue (an independent thrift store that has at least two stores in Pittsburgh.)

In which Sarah Louise looks at theology...

Well, dear Internet, tomorrow I'm going to a day conference at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary on the Emergent Church. The key note speaker is John Franke, and I've spent the earlier part of the evening reading a six-part synopsis of Franke's latest book, The Character of Theology, as blogged by Scot McKnight.

It's fascinating stuff. A few highlights:
  • Theology, which is often the conversation about God and his/her attributes, can be as flawed as the person spouting it.
  • Dictionary definition of theology: the study of the nature of God and religious truth; a system or school of opinions concerning God and religious questions.
  • Franke writes great goop: "God unveils (reveals) himself in and through creaturely veils and that these veils, although they may be used by God for the purposes of unveiling himself, remain veils" (76).
  • Scot so endorses this book that he says if he was the Prez of an Emergent Church Seminary (what would that look like?) he'd make everyone buy a copy and have Franke come and teach a whole semester on the book.
  • Franke talks about context, how there is no "pure gospel" (my brother would dig this) because the gospel is historical and therefore has cultural biases. Side note: here's something I learned while studying Luke this week: did you know that in Jesus' time a man could divorce his wife (and it was acceptable practice) for cooking a bad meal or talking too loud? Women were refusing to get married, causing a breakdown of family structure, and so that's where Jesus' polemic on adultery and divorce comes from in the Sermon on the Mount.
  • Scot talks about his own issues concerning the school of thought that the Bible has "authority." His take is that "Scripture is divine communication with humans, the covenanted people." He goes on to say that "Authority comes in when the genuine relationship is under threat. Instead, I'd prefer to see Word as divine communication to which I listen and which I follow, not because it is authoritative but because I'm in love with the God who is speaking in that Word." Wow. I love the poetry there. That's the way I see the Bible--I was drawn to it by the poetry. While some came to Christ through a study on Romans, I came to Christ through Psalm 139:9-10 ("If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.") and a study on the Old Testament names of God (Jehovah Jireah, Jehovah Rophe, Adonai, Elohim...) Rules and authority do not speak to who I am. I go where the poetry feeds my soul. (Which is where I can get into trouble, big time!) I am, and ever will be, the square peg that does not fit into the round hole.

There's a lot more there, but that's the gist. And this gist is only based on blog entries on the book, not on the book itself. So hopefully tomorrow I will have more clarity--I so hope that Franke speaks in layman's terms, although most folks at the conference will be seminarians or practicing clergy.

What I'm hoping to come out of tomorrow with is a sense that the Emergent Church believes strongly in the truth of the Bible and the poetry of tradition.

Stay tuned...

Scrabble happy!!

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 25.
What is your score? Get it here.

Deep down, I'm pretty superficial

(Ava Gardner)

Somedays you just want to phone it in. I don't have my regular program room for Mother Goose. It's 24 and holding outside (no Florida comments, Joke!). I had to clear the snow off my car.

Apparently, February is the #1 month for diagnoses of depression (oh, and one of my therapists is getting cut due to funding).

So if you're having a bad day, go find a book of Knock Knock jokes. I'll try to remember to post my favorites later.

Good things: I filled my tank at $2.36. Oh, when did that become a GOOD thing? I still remember when I could buy gas for $.99!! (In 1993!!)

Oh well--in 5 minutes I get to rattle off my repetoire of Mother Goose rhymes, sing to children, and pretend I'm having a good day.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Here we go...Steeler madness continues

Dear Internet,

So I drove to work, avoiding Dahntahn as is my normal MO, listening to the likes of Palamalu (it's Polamalu), Footloose, Redneck Girl, and thinking about an upcoming post that will showcase how crazy this town is for the Black and Gold (btw, we are the only town that has the same color for all three sports: the Pirates, the Pens, and the Steelers all are Black and Gold, which traces back to the family crest of William Pitt). I arrive ON TIME (yes, thank you) and Lana is sitting at my desk, watching the Stillers Parade. Well, my computer is the only one that has speakers. It was on the Internet, of course. I love this town. Our boss called at 10 to tell us to use Tech Serv time to watch the parade. She taped it. And, there are pink slippers on my desk, a gift from Sally up in the Computer Center.

Life is good, here in Sarah Louise Land. Over and out.

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

(Georgia O'Keefe)

It's been a good coupla days in Sarah Louise Land. Sunday I visited a friend's church, Sunday the Steelers WON THE SUPERBOWL, yesterday I visited with Babelbabe a bit, emailed with Blackbird a bit, emailed with Erin a bit, and then babysat for Frank and Zach. I was too braindead to actually play with them, so I was the bump on the sofa that kept saying "25 minutes" "10 minutes" "2 minutes." I actually told them they had brushed their teeth enough already, and prayed with them, then shut the door to their endless conversation with each other. It is so lovely to see siblings that like each other. Then Sally came home, we chatted a bit. She, btw, looks FABULOUS as she has joined a group that deals with eating issues and has lost a lot of weight. Plus, she is like a changed woman. Before, sometimes being friends was like walking on eggshells (all friendships have *those* moments) but now she is so laidback and PLEASANT. Now I have spent 15 minutes that I could have been taking a walk in the Winter Wonderland that is Blitzburgh...but I'm gonna go walk anyways.

Oh, and on Sunday, I had a great talk with Bep, Dad, and a great friend who lives in Charleston, SC and reads every day! Hey there, Charleston! (Um, when I left the SB at half time, I left the crock pot at the Union Project, so I'll have to retrieve it on the way to Bible Study...)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Here we go Stillers, Here we go!

In my defense, I have to admit that it was not the first time I fell asleep during the Super Bowl. But when I dozed off, at about nine-ish, I was not watching the Super Bowl. I was tired at half-time, decided to go home and throw a load of wash and watch "Mad Hot Ballroom" for the 45 minutes it would take Mick Jagger to sing "I can't get no..." and all the rest. I fully intended to then rejoin the loyal Steeler's fans that were assembled at the Union Project. (When I say loyal, I mean crazy. At least one guy had his face painted black on one side, gold on the other. He painted several children's faces, writing "Steelers" on their foreheads, and "7" and "36" on their cheeks.)

So here's a story from the Post-Gazette that tells you about all the plays I missed as I sawed logs on my sofa. Note to self: do not attempt to watch documentary about New York youngsters learning ballroom dancing if you want to see the second half of the Big Game.

I did see the first touchdown happen, though, and baby, that was a sweet move. If you didn't see it, tough. Google it. I'm sure you can find video.

(The first time I fell asleep during the Super Bowl? When Janet Jackson had her, um, wardrobe malfunction. I missed the whole thing!)

I'm not proud of my actions, but the Steelers pulled through without me, so the end of the story is WE WON ONE FOR THE THUMB!

(And I have to be awake at 9 a.m. for a four hour meeting on Summer Reading Club, etc. I think having the mid-game nap will help my wake-up time in the morning.)

Right now I'm drying my laundry...I'll stay up a little longer to "take out of the dryer promptly" my Old Navy khaki's.


(Oh, and my favorite commercial? The Bud light commercial with the "amazing hideaway wall")

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's not black, it's not gold, it's a meme!

Four jobs I've had:
  1. Mail clerk at Washington College, Chestertown, MD. Loved that job!
  2. Assistant to the Editor at a small press that published translations of Latin American (but mostly Chilean) literature
  3. Waitress
  4. Bookseller (seven years in retail, baby, count 'em!)
Four movies I watch over and over: (but 4 movies is really is not enough--and I've seen each of the ones listed over four times)
  1. You've Got Mail (um, but you knew that already)
  2. Picture Perfect (yes, I am obsessed with Jen A., I admit it.)
  3. The Man with the Iron Mask (um, obsessed with Leonardo too.)
  4. The Three Musketeers (the one with Charlie Sheen, no obsession.)
Four places I've lived: (I define living as "your clothes lived in drawers three weeks or more")
  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Warsaw, Poland
  3. Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  4. Belem du Para, Brazil

(pretty much the only) Four TV shows I watch:
  1. Friends (yes, the re-runs)
  2. Sex and the City (yes, the re-runs)
  3. The Today Show
  4. Ellen (the talk show)

Four places I've vacationed:
  1. Zakopane, Poland
  2. Roatan, the Cay Islands, Honduras
  3. Niagara Falls, Canada
  4. Disney World, Florida, US

Four websites I visit daily:
  1. Google
  2. bn.com
  3. clpgh.org (the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh's site)
  4. Yahoo

Four of my favorite foods: (but this is not exhaustive a list either)
  1. Papaya
  2. Maracuja juice (but you have to really add the sugar--yins know it as Passion Fruit)
  3. Quiche
  4. Chocolate

Four places I'd like to be right now:
  1. Tela, a beach town on the east of Honduras. (read: someplace warm!!)
  2. Warsaw, Poland (It's grayer than Pittsburgh, but it has great museums and a wonderful little French restaurant in the Old City called Le Petit Trianon.)
  3. Hawaii (never been there) (and it's warm, I'm thinking.) (and they have beaches!!)
  4. Italy, um, like, oh! Lake Maggiore (outside Milan)
I don't know too many folks that haven't already done this particular meme, so if you haven't and you wanna, consider yourself tagged! Just put a note in the comments.

And what the heck, I'll just say it: Go Black and Gold! Win one for the Gipper!

Friday, February 03, 2006

It's another Friday night in Black and Gold Country...

Go home. Cut your losses.
Stay. Go for it.
You are a republic of voices tonight. Unfortunately, that republic is Italy. All these voices waving their arms and screaming at one another. There’s an ex cathedra riff coming from the Vatican: Repent. Your body is the temple of the Lord and you have defiled it. It is, after all, Sunday morning, and as long as you hdave any brain cells left there will be a resonant patriarchal basso echoieng down the marble vaults of your churchgoing childhood childhood to remind you that this is the Lord’s day. What you need is another overpriced drink to drown it out. But a search of pockets yields only a dollar bill and change. You paid twenty to get in here. Panic gains.

This is one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite books, Bright Lights, Big City. Jay McInerney wrote the entire blessed book in second person, as in “You are walking down the street, you slip on a banana peel.” I have just finished Meggin Cabot’s first adult contemporary book (which in publisher speak means a romance that doesn’t have smut on every other page.) Which is now called “chick lit” by everyone else. It is a book written entirely in emails, The Boy Next Door. I got it at the library store for a song. I’ve read it before but had forgotten how it ended so it was a delightful diversion for the evening. The only wrong wrong wrong thing about the book is that the cover is a “Reading with Ripa” release. I think that’s a curse worse than Oprah. I may have to do something to the cover, like decoupage. Meggin Cabot, as in Meg Cabot, who writes all the Princess books that Disney made into two movies, The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2. The first one is wonderful, the second one is disastrous.

Have I done any dishes? No. But I have laundry spinning in the dryer—don’t you love that right out of the dryer smell? Babelb, my mom’s version of “get that hair out of your eyes” is “how’s your sink?”

I had dinner at my favorite Italian seafood restaurant. I sat in the smoking section, as the entire city of Pittsburgh had decided to eat out tonight and I just wanted a quiet place to sit and read my book. I had ravioli with tomatoes and mushrooms. My waiter was wonderful.

February is an odd month. It is the shortest month. For the past couple of years, it has been the month of the Super Bowl. As if the month that carries Groundhog Day, Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, my grandmother’s birthdays (yes on both sides, yes on the same day), my mom’s birthday, my aunt’s birthday (I think…) needs more fanfare. I don’t want to talk about it. I will be glad for Tuesday, when life will be back to normal, win or lose.

I have a new favorite radio station. It’s called BOB-FM. “We play anything” is their tagline. And they do. What radio station plays “F/X” (from Beverly Hills Cop), “I’m walking on Sunshine” (Katrina and the Waves), and Santana? In between songs, one of the announcers gives little factoids about Bob. “Bob remembers Super Bowl Ten.” “Bob will be spending Valentine’s Day with a pizza and ‘When Harry Met Sally.’” I’d really like to find out the back story on Bob—I mean, it’s a very creative way to run a radio station. But I do draw the line at “Unchained Melody.” When that came on, I switched to one of my other pre-programmed buttons, which are: both country stations, Y108 and Froggy; 3WS, the Oldies station; WYEP “where the music matters”—independent public radio; Word-FM, Christian talk but also a place holder for the next station down, 100.7 Variety something something. I only have one programmed button on the AM frequency, 1320 WJAS, “all the original hits” which is mostly Standards sung by Old Blue Eyes or Dean Martin with a few new arrangements with Diana Krall and Steve Tyrell. I consider myself lucky to hear “Pocket full of Miracles” at least twice a week.

It is past Wee Willie Winkie's hour, so I'll turn in. I will be cataloguing my heart out tomorrow in my black turtleneck and "Road to Detroit" t-shirt.


Fatigue is the best pillow. --Benjamin Franklin

purse: A woman's bag for carrying personal items; a handbag.

One of my favorite pink things right now, this pink purse. I like it because it is small. (And pink.)
This is my dressy purse. I took it to see Miss Saigon. It is just the right size for a wallet, a mirror, and a tube of lipstick.
My dad brought this back from Colombia. Nice, huh?
Got this at Payless, back when I thought I was going to launch a website called pinkpumps.com that was going to be all about chick lit.
I think this was a Mary Kay hostess gift, back in my former life. It has been to see such operas as the Magic Flute and Carmen.
This is a purse from Poland. My friend Valerie had one, so I had to get one too. It's the purse I'm currently using. I've had it since 1989 or 1990.
This is from Walmart but it looks like the ones that you pay beaucoup d'argent for...I paid 5.95!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Does this happen to you?

Okay, it gets light earlier, so the sun wakes me up. I've been making a habit of reading a Psalm out loud (because I learned from Beth Moore that the spoken word has more power) as my first thing, so I keep my NIV by the bed.

This morning's Psalm was #33. I sat there, read it out loud. I was moved to read it in the RSV, which is the Bible I've owned since my confirmation back in 7th grade, which has notes, underlinings, dates, etc, and of course, the required multiple pieces of paper, old church bullitens, etc. Oh, and it's got clear tape down the side where it was falling apart five years ago. I've heard some people send their Bibles to get re-bound.

Anyways, I looked at it in the RSV and thought, "Did I just read that?" The RSV has more poetry, and of course I had circled a few verses. (Apparently it is also called the English Standard Version.)

Psalm 33 in the RSV (note circled text: vs 19, vs 20-22). Props to the good folks at Biblegateway.com who know how to lay out the text the way I want it and give me the option of a commentary!

The stuff that lives in my Bible: top, my transcription of Joel 2:25 on the envelope of a letter from my friend Kelly. (I think I collect them: I have at least 3 Kelly's in my life, all Godly women.)
Beauty shot of Isaiah 54-Isaiah 56. Highlighted are 54:17, 55:11, and 55:8 (I am God and you are not!) Most dated verse (8 references) is 54:11: "O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires."
A little humor: "Mr T.: I pity the plant..." (notes on verse Jonah 4:10: "And the LORD said, "You pity the plant; for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night, and perished in a night.") I never ever saw even one episode of the A-Team but all my Mr. T. "I pity the fool" references come from Chandler Bing, most notably where Joey gave him a bracelet as a gift.