Friday, March 31, 2006

The one where there was MUCH REJOICING!!

(Snoopy dance)

I am home! Yes, I am back at my computer in my third floor walk up garret and I am listening to some crooner on the nostalgia station. (They played "Second Hand Rose" earlier, the sweethearts.) Oh, and they are now playing a song that was featured on the only episode of "Are You Being Served?" that I watched til the end of the show--it has a "Rat tat ta" and "J'adore" in it. (It's pretty on the radio, but it was hysterical on AYBS!!)

Tomorrow I'll probably help clean up Highland Park, unpack, and maybe go see "Failure to Launch" again. Oh, and drive to work (once I get my car back) to pick up my Inter Library Loan Holds, especially "Walk the Line" (I've only seen it 2x...this is a movie for the ages...)

And I promise to do a Show and Tell this weekend. Windows, of course, and maybe chocolate (I rewarded myself each leg of today's trip with a square of the Godiva chocolate with raspberry.) Also, I will post on Boston, and airports.

Other things:

But I had a wonderful time away, which with stories I will regale once I get sleep, milk, and unpack, maybe not in that order...


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The one where the answer to the question "Did you sleep?" is YES!!

If you were contacted by me to pray or I bitched incencently to you via email (I cannot spell and I do not care), THANK YOU! Yesterday I had a shower, I went to New Hampshire for breakfast, and I slept! I went to bed after American Idol (no, I did not watch House, I went to bed!) And I slept from 9 something pm to 6 something am.

It is a wonderful thing, sleep. Also showers. I recommend them HIGHLY!

I also recommend going to New Hampshire for breakfast, esp. if it means you get to see how they make maple syrup after you have eaten your pancake, your sausages, half of Princess's hash browns, a half a piece of toast, and drank a glass of water and a glass of ice tea.

Since we're on the topic of shopping (see Poppy and Blackbird), I'll fill you in on my latest spree. I went to a LL Bean factory store. OMG this was dangerous! I bought one of those barn coats and a (of course pink) fleece thing and a parka that has a hood.

Monday morning (where I was awake from at least 3 am to 7 am) I read Maniac Magee. WOW! Now, yes, I know as a librarian, for children, I should have read every Newbery and Caldecott ever written, but I haven't gotten there yet. And I'm not sure it's my goal, as some books are just meant to stay on the shelf gathering dust. But NO ONE TOLD ME how great Maniac Magee was. (So I'm telling YOU!) Why did I read it Monday? b/c my cd player w/headphones was downstairs and I didn't want to wake anyone up and MM was just sitting there on the shelf. Once I started, I could not put it down. Well, no, I put it down twice. But when you have a span of four hours when you have sequestered yourself in a child's room with nothing to do but organize your luggage and its contents, a good book comes in handy.

So. Maniac Magee. What a great book! It is not funny, but it is this great legend about this boy who has no home but...oh I can't describe it. The language sings, the story rocks, and I can't believe that no one told me I had to read this book. I'll try to be more descriptive later...

Yesterday I re-read The Great Gilly Hopkins. I love Katherine Paterson. Duh (have you met me?). But I had forgotten what a great book this is. You would never guess KP is a minister's wife...

Although I think we all have misconceptions there. I know three ministers wifes (I am not fixing the plurals, it is not even 9 am!) and they are all very different. One is in a band (and she rocks!), another teaches yoga, and the third directed the school play.

Can you tell I missed yins and am crazy happy to be blogging again?????

Hopefully today I'll have a chance to download my photos...I had lotsa fun in Baaston.

Tomorrow, the quest to reunite with more high school friends continues. So far, let's recap:
  • I had coffee with L in February (whom I'd not seen since graduation)
  • after my time in Baaston, on Saturday I came to visit with Susan for a week (whom I'd not seen for 6 years).
  • Sunday, I had lunch with Lorelei, (whom I'd not seen for 13 years)
  • and tomorrow, Susan and I have a playdate with K, whom I've not seen since we graduated in 1989. Yes, it's called make your own high school reunion!
  • Why, though, she wonders, did three of my friends from Maryland settle in Massachusets and Maine? (It must have to do with the letter M.) (Says the children's librarian...)

Oh, and the New Englanders, they understand the concept, "Classic Rock." While in DC or even Pittsburgh, you might hear some Guns and Roses on the "klassic" station, here you hear Grand Funk singing a cover of Little Eva's "Locomotion"! (I had never heard this cover before and loved it! It goes on the "when Sarah Louise has a Shin Dig what they'll play list") I hear Grand Funk Railroad in Pittsburgh so rarely that I almost jumped out of the car when I heard them on Frank-FM, which I think is a great name for a radio station.

Okay, time to get links to Poppy and Blackbird and get some grub. Blogging makes me hungry! Besides, as Susan will tell you, from studying for her Chem midterm tonight (pray, y'all!), breathing is work.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New England: Roller skates and Unitarians

(or the one where Sarah Louise posts live for the first time in over a week!)

Okay, Blackbird knows this, but did you know that Unitarians call themselves UU's for short? As in "yew-yew"? It's pretty funny. (Of course, I'm a Presbyterian, one of God's Frozen Chosen, so I can't really poke fun.)

I adored Susan's church. I'm not ready to convert (I love the OD) but I can see why she likes it. And it was started in the mid-1600's!

There is a lot of roller skating going on, and yesterday I contributed to it. Woohoo!

Dunkin Donuts is the region's real religion, though.

And I'm hungry. Time for lunch, methinks. Having a very nice vacation.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wednesday: Finally, Lauren Winner on how not to be a jerk

Notes from Lauren Winner's Sunday School talk at Ascension Episcopal Church, 2/19/06

"...em" (something LW says a lot)

(this is being transcribed from notes that are exactly one month old, so bear with me)

"I can share my story with my computer and then my publisher can figure out how to share it with everyone else" (How she sees writing her books as a sort of cop-out to evangelism)

"I have cool glasses. I went to Ivy League schools. I am a Democrat." (On why she is interviewed by reporters in the regular press more often than many noteable Christians.) (The reporters feel like she's one of them a little bit.) And then, they ask her, off the record, "Do you think I'm going to hell?" and her answer is fabulous!

"The question is so loaded that I can't answer it until I have spent a month with you (this is not a direct quote, but from memory), going to manicures, staying up late, going to the mall...It may not be time to answer that question."

She mentions a book, Miriam's Kitchen, a memoir of a woman who is recording what it is like to cook Kosher.

She talks about her friend Jonathan, who is an outright atheist and very Freudian. When she is going through her "spiral of craziness" she knows he will have something to say that will un-spiral her, something to the tune of "Doesn't your gospel have something to say about this?" Jonathan does not believe in Lauren's belief, but he knows it works for her, so encourages her to excercise it! She finds talking to Jon often more useful than talking to her Christian friends, who are often as helpful as Job's friends when he was going through his crap. She and Jon agree to disagree, which is often more healthy that when friends pretend to understand.

"Go into someone else's house and eat." She talks about when she kept Kosher, it was hard to visit other people--you had to invite them to your house, meet at a Kosher restaurant, or subsist on baggies of food you brought along. But Jesus didn't keep Kosher. He went to the houses of sinners, tax collectors, and this was SCANDALOUS.

"defensive and twitchy" A phrase I clearly liked enough to quote.

She recommended a book, Dare we hope "That all men be saved"? by Hans Urs Von Balthasar which has the basic premise that the Gospel allows us to hope that God may save everyone and that's all we can hope.

And my notes end there. **sigh**

Her point is be friends with people, and live your life. Wait for them to ask questions.

A way to deal with people who ask "are you one of those born again Christians?" from John Fischer.

Okay, this post should have been written a month ago. I'll try not to let it happen again.

Talk amongst yourselves...

Tuesday: Why I love listening to Sunday morning radio

Yes, this is being written on Sunday, as I sit in my pajamas listening to Radio 360.

I just heard an interview with Vim Vendor, the German director. He has a new movie, "Don't come knocking," with Sam Shepherd.

Earlier, I heard an interview with Isabelle Campbell, who is a singer/songwriter living in Seattle.

Before that, I heard Paul Adams talk about cooking eggs with a cell phone.

Today I'll be traveling to Boston.

Right now I'm listening to an article about spam and the really good stuff that you sometimes find at the end of spam. It's to fool the filters. (Does anyone know what I'm talking about?) As an experiment, I go straight to my spam filter in my work email and find these gems.

  • "Esther, dear," she said very quietly, "I am not going home again."A light shone in upon me all at once."
  • try correspond in encephalitis but trunk , wilson it's alexandre some ccny some augustus but western it cosy not migrate ! corpus or mint it newsstand ! bellini or galway it's cyprian on bookplate
  • sway. Garfunkel bowers slung Himmler friendlier Brillouin basked. eked labored outgoing discrepancies equaling terrorizing Nestor. villa forbear maintenances reign rock germinates Niobe. nasally Mexicanize rolled protects chronology bluster escorting. manufactured departmental patterns Liverpool Zimmerman finds congratulatory. Jansenist shenanigan dock unused liberalize ballast Watertown. volleyballs peaked ambush shrinkable Norwegian arouses contaminate.
  • donate you eclat me, biddable coronary ascend . fiduciary you experiential me, hindmost cleft . quinine you viscount me, at moonlit jest what'd .beau you germany me, dewy demoniac hippocratic cricket . lilac you thump me, habitual wretch stratosphere abominate . leper you festival me, frontage flu . gunnery you picofarad me, antagonistic amethystine acetic rototill .

Is this not hysterical?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The one where Sarah Louise Panics and then takes a deep breath, facing reality squarely in the face and denying it!

Okay, deep breath.

One more.


Sally just called. Can we say saved by the bell? Not only did she talk me through (read: she listened as I babbled) my recent angst and woe that I'm still packing when I should be at Women's Bible Study but she is coming in 20-30 minutes to give me a ride to said Study. Is God and are friends not the best inventions since or before sliced bread?


If you are the praying type: pray for this trip. I am angst ridden and am already experiencing computer/blog/email withdrawl and I think this is where I need to start a saving up for a laptop fund...

I must go finish packing. I have no idea if I will be posting while in Boston, except on the plablog, and since the software was doing wierd stuff on Sunday, my show and tell is not on file, so I'll post when I get back to the Burgh.

Traveling mercies go with me....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday: More Required Reading!

Note/disclaimer: Okay, each post this week will feature its "day of the week" as most of them are being composed on Sunday and it will be easier for me to just hit "Publish" when I get the occasional online moment at the PLA conference. I have considered going to the Goodwill Computer Store, getting a flash drive...But I digress. (Update on Monday: Yeah, probly not. I've squandered my time doing useless things like browsing in the Seminary I chatted with a neighbor who has a Katrina survivor dog for like 20 minutes.) Doing two loads of laundry as we speak (one in the washer, one in the dryer).

Oh, and I'll be blogging this week on the plablog. You'll have to figure out which one is me because I'm using my first name (and it's not Sarah Louise, I know you are sooo shocked!)

Found on Library Things blog: (linked from Jean Louis Picard to Stationery Queen to A box full of letters to Library Things blog (Yes, you have just seen my self serving desire to keep a record of how I got there b/c I'm not updating the template until April): Library thing has more JK Rowling books than the total # of books that Thomas Jefferson gave to the Library of Congress after the first fire.

This is the continued required reading from Joke's Blog and clearly shows my obsession, since Joke, Babelbabe, and Gina all finished their lists in one post and I already have committed to two more Mondays beyond this week...

Young Adult (13+)
*Jacob have I loved by Katherine Paterson. (This blog bears the name of the protagonist, Sara Louise) It is a book that brings me great hope and it takes place in the Chesapeake Bay. Um, and it's REQUIRED. If you want to understand the essense of me, you have to read this book. Or listen to the audio, which I highly recommend. I have read/listened to this book over 10 times in the past year. No substitutions will be accepted.

Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt. (and the entire Tillerman cycle) My dad discovered the first book in this series, Homecoming, in the New York Times Book Review. I have loved these books ever since. Part of why I went to my alma mater, Washington College is b/c I fell in love with the Eastern Shore of Md through these books. This book I've read more than the first one, but I've been reading it yearly since I was 13, so you can see how momentum would work.

Jackaroo and its companion book, On Fortune’s Wheel. (also by C. Voigt) Wonderful fantasy without the dragons.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton I HAD (as in, it was required) to read this in library school. It is so wonderful. You must read it. Haven't seen the movie yet.

My Life as a girl by Elizabeth Mosier. This is one of those books I’m not sure I want to share with other people because I like it so much.

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. This is a book about a 23 year old woman. Before chick-lit, there weren’t very many books that were about 23 year olds. Besides that, it takes place partially in Poland and revolves around a fairy tale. Besides, it has amazing quotes of P.L. Travers, the woman responsible for Mary Poppins, who wrote an amazing book on Sleeping Beauty. (and I just made my first correction on Wikipedia!!) (B/c "On the Sleeping Beauty" is non-fiction, not a novel, as it was originally classified.)

The Trouble with Thirteen by Betty Miles. If you ever feel crappy, this is the book. I mean, thirteen is a really bad year. And this is a really good book about that.

*Bloomability by Sharon Creech. This girl has to move overseas and live with her aunt and uncle in Switzerland. It’s really great.

A couple of kooks and other stories about love by Cynthia Rylant These stories are just wonderful. (and when I read it, I sent a postcard to CR and she sent me one back!!)

Okay, I am realize my descriptions are personal anecdotes, not descriptive of the plots…but pressed for time and on my blog, WHY they are required for ME, this is what you get.

And packing has commenced, but waiting somewhat on laundry...I had four hours of sleep last night, AGHGHGH!

And thanks to Joke, Psalm 46:10.

Over and out and back to prep for Baaston-town!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Benovelant Creator

Okay, part of this personality quiz did not include the following question: do you read directions r keep going until you get completely twisted around and then you notice that you need a different HTML script?

But I highly recommend this quiz, if not only b/c it is so cool the way they ask the questions. Each page is a different style. Like one page it's "empty the bucket" and another page it's a grid...anyways, it's very cool. And apparently I'm pretty self aware, b/c it suited me to an absolute "T." I wonder where that phrase came from. Just got a book on words that has gems like "audit ale" which is the drink used for (surprise, surprise!) doing audits. It was stronger. Maybe Joke's TBTHM would like some...

And "Adam's ale" or "Adam's wine" is water! The book is one I got at the Bargain Bin at Borders. I think it's called Word Museum.

I had a two hour nap today. So I'm up, now, at 3 am. It's also b/c I'm going to Boston (I always get nervous when I travel.) I should have had a beer at the Sharp Edge. The iced tea probably had caffeine. In the background, you might hear the voices of Sandra Bullock and company. I'm watching While You Were Sleeping. Key word: You!

Me, that's the one that needs to sleep.

Meg and Tom, coming up, methinks...

the foot of the bed, or sarah louise goes to confession...

From the Friends archive, or how I feel about confessing after reading Joke's:

Joey: Okay, my weirdest place would have to be... the women's room on the second floor of the New York City public library.
Monica: Oh my God! What were you doing in a library?
Phoebe: Oh! Rachel?
Rachel: Oh come on, I already went.
Monica: You did not go!
Everyone: Come on!
Rachel: Oh, alright. The weirdest place would have to be... oh, the foot of the bed.
Ross: Step back!
Joey: We have a winner!

So, it's been two years since my last confession...

  • I never saw Titanic in the theatre, but I now own it on video and love it. I keep thinking there's gotta be some way that Leo could live...
  • I love country music. I have both Pittsburgh stations on my radio "favorites" (What are they called?)
  • I do not follow world politics unless it's about Poland or my dad has emailed it to me from the NYTimes. (This, from a girl who set foot in 22 countries by the age 22)
  • I blog obsessively and constantly check my faves to see if they've updated. I check my email hourly when at work. Um, that's both email accounts. If I'm bored, I check my gmail account, where pubyac emails go to die.
  • I loved 90210 and Dawson's Creek. I would love love love to get the last episode of 90210 on DVD.
  • I actually own books that are the professional equivelant of "fan fiction" for the aforementioned two shows. I actually special ordered the Dawson's Creek ones.
  • I have never finished The Brothers Karamasov. I doubt I ever will.
  • When I'm broke, I think about the yellow diamond (which I've only seen once) that languishes somewhere in my parent's safe deposit box. It was given to me by my Great Aunt Mildred. I think it would pay for some nice things or pay off a debt (which is probably why my mother always evades my questions on the subject of the ring)
  • I thought such heinous thoughts about my Nancy Drew collection, which was built by my aunts' (different aunts) hard toiling at yard sales. (Solution: I donated it to the Pitt's Library's Children's Room)
  • My main motivation for going to library conferences: indoor pools.
  • At my library, staff do not acrue fines. I renew my books to the hilt and currently somewhere in my apartment is a Dean Koontz book I catalogued back in December. (and I haven't gotten past page 5)
  • I have never read the Handmaid's Tale. I have never read Chaucer. I hated the Kite Runner.
  • I google myself about once a month.
  • I am a bit xenophobic. I like Pittsburgh because all the hairdressers speak English.
  • I shop at Walmart. (Forgive me, Babelbabe!)
  • Friends character I am most like: Monica. I am such a people-pleaser that I have censored this b/c I don't want to offend people (people=Babelbabe)
  • The other day, when I told my mom all my dishes were clean, I didn't tell her that I didn't do them.
  • I voted for Clinton twice. I voted for Bush twice.

Oh, that's enough. I cringe as I hit "publish post."

Which is actually not the point.

Psalm 130
A song of ascents.

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
2 O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

I just figured it out: this is not a list of things I'm confessing to purge from my life. These are "dark secrets" that I haven't disclosed and some of them I harbor secretly with pride. Yes, I really am screwed up. Oh well. I refer to the text of a card I purchased in college: "I'm glad you like me. (inside) I'm too weird for anyone else."

One more:

  • I often buy cards that I like and mail them to myself. I just bought some cards for my friend Lorelei who I'll be seeing in a week. I hope she mails me some...

And I obsess about my blog entries. This one, which will probably take you 5 minutes to scan, took me over an hour to write not including my research as I visited Kim, Blackbird, Babelbabe, and Joke. And it would take longer if I linked it up, which I am tempted to do but I am stopping, NOW!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Boston man is the east wind made flesh.

(Thomas Gold Appleton)

Oh, it hurt me to use this quote since there were so many I had to not use (what are potations?) but click on the link if you want to see the ones I bronze and silver medal-ed.

Folks, I have no idea what Baaston will bring me in terms of computer connectivity. So I'll be writing some posts and saving them (like Thursday's S&T, which is windows!!). But I will be bloggging for the conference. I have to think what name to blog under....I had to sign a copyright agreement and stuff!!

And how cool is this? I could take a boat from the airport to town--I'm thinking it would be worth the $10. Sorry, no link yet.

I am panicking a little bit since I have no idea what to take to boss told me slacks are okay but all of mine are in the laundry pile and I'll be gone all of today (oh, but I can do laundry tomorrow!)

I am definately panicking, such that last night I didn't put the clean sheets on the bed, I decided it was time to watch some TV. (Which I haven't done on a Friday in ages!!) And since I only get NBC, PBS, and FOX, I watched the end of some show and then Convictions. Which wasn't half bad. I expected much much worse, from the commercials. See, I can't even write grammatically.

Today I'll be in cataloguing, and it is my last day there for two weeks, so doubtful I'll blog at all on library time today. Panicking!!

Oh, and I'm turning the TV off. (Yes, I fell asleep with it on and had dreams about how I was leery to trust the people who were telling me I could make millions in 15 min a day if I followed their program that had something to do with watching stocks.) (And I was telling the people, but I love my job--which I do, which is brand new to me--I loved working for Fox Books the last year, but I wasn't proud of being a retail slave. But I really do love being a librarian!) Why am I mad at the TV, you ask? Let me tell you: First they tell me there will be non-stop to Boston flights that will be $64 one way IN JUNE. Um, could you have planned it around MY trip, folks? Then they tell me that some airlines might soon be charging $$ for the one Coke you get (unless they serve Pepsi....grrr) and that some airlines already charge more for aisle seats!! (I have long legs folks!)

And when did folks become the most used word in my vocab (although I'm glad I got over my "peeps" stage...that was scary!) (I blame it on this ultra-cute tshirt I saw at Kmart) (Oh, it was SO cute!!)

As my father would say, "Mooving right along..."

Oh, and did you see the comment count for my pity party? 22!! Thank you guys! Oh, I could do one of those Oscar speeches, I'd like to thank...and here is some more reason why, from March's Ladies Home Journal (can you believe they already mailed me April's? panicking!):

Oh--to set up the quote, limbic connections are like contact with people.

And by having more than 6 connections outside the house (well, the only one inside my house is with me, so....) reduces my chances of blocked arteries, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and depression!

"Every single human being on the planet craves limbic connections. We just need to head out the door to build them. The tide of social atrophy--limbic decay--is not that strong. It's just remorsely steady. The ultimate message is swim against the tide, every day. If you work at it steadily, it is almost impossible to fail." (Ladies Home Journal, p. 28.) (So sue me if it's not MLA annotation!) (I already told you it's March!) (and the author is Henry Lodge with Chris Crowley)

Clearly, having the TV on all night makes me downright aggressive!

Oh there is so much I want to write about and yet if I don't go wash my hair now, it will stay dirty and that can't happen b/c I have the Mother Daughter Book Club today AND a reporter is coming to talk to the girls about "what makes a good teacher" and then watch the group. And I wanted to have a good game to get them talking but I couldn't figure one up yesterday...We're reading Wait Till Helen Comes, which I described in an email to the reporter as The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson) for kids, with a happy ending.

And my music is skipping, but it's not the CD player b/c MP3's were skipping yesterday...

Oh, I'm going. Talk among yourselves.

(one of those cane things that yanks performers off the stage appears and SL screams "But I have so much more to say!")

Thursday, March 16, 2006

List Friday: Spring cometh...

(sponsored by Loretta)

Thank you to everyone who commented in on my personal blog pity party.

And now, on to the list!

Spring words



and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around...


Make way for Ducklings (and goslings, and baby lambs)

soon it will be summer, and time to go to Sandcastle!!!

Winter begone:

icecycles (a word I cannot spell!) it's icicyles.

slippy roads (a little Pittsburghese)

gloves and hats and mittens


clunky boots

The things is, though, I love all the seasons and am always sad to see the one we're in go away; I don't transition well into the next one and by the time I've fallen in love with it, the seasons change once more. Like right now, I'd like one more big snow. I loved looking at pictures of ice formations (I can spell that!) on erica's blog today. I think ice can be so pretty. And I like bundling up. I don't have a nice Spring jacket, and if I bought an Easter dress, I'd have nowhere to where it. Last year I bought a pink Easter shirt. I wore it to the OD for Easter (where most people wear jeans year round.) It has already shrunk beyond comfort, so someone will enjoy it at the nearby Goodwill.

Getting to know you...

(standard song)

Part of why I have this blog is to get me to write daily. The other part is to be a part of this huge community on the Internet. So I have to say I'm a little flummoxed when I write a post called "Kill the idea of the lone writer" and say how lonely it can be at the top, or wherever, and NO ONE LEAVES A COMMENT. (Um, you might see there is one, but if you go to read it, you'll see that I left it.)

I had the flu all last week. This meant I did not go to my writing class, my job, a home group that I just got invited to join (it was to be my first time going!), and I left church early. So isolation was a real thing last week. Luckily, I chose to write about things people comment on (costume historical movies, and of course, I showed and told about my eyes.

I'm back at stuff this week, but I'm about to go off to Boston (which the second week will be with Susan, Hallelujah) but the first week I'll be going to seminars with people I've never met. I'll be sharing a room with a woman I talk to once a month (another great librarian, but still, a near stranger to me.)

So if there was ever a time when I needed comments, it's this week. I'm almost ready to NOT show you my butter dish because frankly, (no offense, Blackbird) it says nothing about me except that I don't have issues with Rubbermaid. I do not have cute children. I do not have recipes. I just have me, a lone writer in this lovely (yet messy) garret. I do not read as much as Babelbabe. I do not take as many pictures as Blackbird or watch Survivor. I do almost always get one comment when I post a Bible verse.

So here's the thing--I want to get to know you, my readers. I want to write stuff that touches you enough that you comment on more than "cute butterdish." So what is it you want more of?

Um, and I know you're out there: these are the stats. I have a total of 4,490 visits, Average of 39 per day, 41 Today, and your average visit length is 3 minutes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Kill the idea of the lone, suffering artist.

(Natalie Goldberg)

"It's much better to be a tribal writer, writing for all people and reflecting many voices through us, than to be a cloistered being trying to find one peanut of truth in our own individual mind. Become big and write with the whole world in your arms."

(also Natalie Golberg, writer of Writing down the Bones, an amazing book about writing that I recommend to anyone, writer or no. It is a book about how to embrace life and just happens to focus on writing, just as Good to Great is a book about how to embrace excellence and just happens to focus on business.)

I went to Tazza D'oro yesterday because my writing arm hurt and I hadn't eaten breakfast. Terrys One and Two were there, and I chatted with them a bit, telling them both how priveleged I am to be living in Pittsburgh in this exciting time for the church. I got to tell Terry One how cool I thought it was when he had the praise team at Fountain Park Pres. do the Green Day song "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" to set up his last sermon on depression. And I discovered something else. Terry One has read Walking on Water, one of my ultimate favorite books. It is one of the two books given to me by my friend Lorelei's mom. The first one is quoted above, Writing Down the Bones.

Yesterday was one of those days where the sun shone, the air was great and then the skies opened and it hailed. My personal weather was like that too. Blogging is an interesting art form, because sometimes it's like I'm a columnist, writing my little life story, but then you guys comment on it, so I'm your friend. But most of you have never met me and since this is broadcast over the Internet, I have to exercise some discretion. Which sometimes makes for cryptic posts, because I feel like this is me, writing for me, and then oh, you get to read it. Believe me, that can get you (or me) in trouble. I will not elaborate, except to quote one of my favorite philosophers, Cameron Crowe, in the voice of Jerry Maguire:

"It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about."

But I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I went to a going away party at Dave and Busters last night. I saw people I forgot I knew. I met some new folks. I said goodbye to some good friends and got to say, in my best Portugese, Muito Obrigado, which means Thank you very much.

So, since I'm being cryptic this morning, I'll end with a lyric that I first heard my freshman year in college:

Joy and pain, like sunshine and rain...

and let me tell you, it is like finding a needle in the haystack finding the actual artist/album I'm talking about. It could be Maze on the album Inspiration. I could hum it to you...

That is all. Maybe I'll make it on time to Women's Bible Study...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Why teach drawing to accountants?

Because drawing class doesn't just teach people to draw. It teaches them to be more observant. There's no company on earth that wouldn't benefit from having people become more observant. — Randy S. Nelson (dean of Pixar University)

This one should be called: Sarah Louise talks about blogging and in the process, everything she finds cool about the Internet entire. (But don't be intimidated by the title, folks, it's just me!)

So why blog? Even though *I* think Babelbabe is the closest thing to the homegrown success story, most of my friends at the OD think I'm the "amazing blogger" and ask me how I do it. I am always very modest (duh!) and say, "I'm a writer, it's like breathing for me."

Well, I spent all of yesterday afternoon arranging the "required" post, and it took me an hour to figure out that I couldn't successfully crop Thursday's picture with the photo software I now own. So it's got to be more than "I'm a writer."

See, I've gone off topic again. I do that a lot. Okay, so why do I blog? Some of it is intensely infantile: I want people to like me. I want Babelbabe to think I'm cool. I love comments, because it's like someone read what I wrote and it connected with them. (Um, actually, that's exactly what it is.) I live an altogether too solitary life. Writing is like that. But blogging is communal, so I get to be solitary and then communal. Am I making sense?

Plus, then I google stuff and stumble on other people's blogs, some of which are amazing. I get intimidated again (Gotta stop that!) and then just plain curious. I could spend (and do!) hours just blog-hopping. I mean, aren't you intrigued by what a naked street could be?

Blogging is where I get to practice my digi camera skills, my html (yes, I actually coded some of the "required" post in the "edit" mode), and my writing. It is a respectable hobby for a librarian, and a great way to meet Christians all over the world. (When I first started blogging, John told me that Alyssa said that Christians are the largest population of bloggers.) (Yeah, I haven't been able to find that statistic anywhere yet.) And my brother, a graduate of Hope College, said that some guy from Hope was a pioneer in blogging. (Yeah, haven't found that article from Newsweek or Time? either.)

What was I talking about? Oh right, blogging. Sorry, got distracted--there is major stuff going on in regards to the Pens getting a new arena. (And they WON last night!!!!)

But really, what I need is a bike. (That flight of fancy took about 15 minutes...) There's this bike shop at Construction Junction where you can work towards a bike. That sounds like my kind of plan! (Similar to what the UP is doing to get stained glass--and yes, Dad will be here taking a class while I'm in Baaaaston.) (I'll take the class in June.)

Okay, but I really sat down to talk about blogging (see how I get distracted?). So here are a few sites that I have found helpful when I get blocked. And blogging...should be fun, otherwise why do it?

  • 52 Projects (This site is full of creative whatever.) This contest looks cool...
  • Slacker Manager (this is actually a hint to me to get Marian to teach me about (or however it is spelled) My blog is so self-serving--so sue me!
  • The perfect conference (this list has just changed into "Stuff I find that's cool while I look for stuff on blogs")

Oh, I just got it! Blogging is what I do to procrastinate from everything else in my life! Don't want to do the dishes? Blog a post! Don't want to do Assignment #7 (talk about intimidating)? Blog awhile!

What is your heart’s desire? What is the one thing you want to do but are being blocked from doing? Who or what is blocking you? What would it take to accomplish your desire? Think about having a dialogue with yourself; think about using your ‘weak’ hand to write part of that dialogue. What would happen if you did accomplish your heart’s desire?

Yes, folks, we have come to the root reason Sarah Louise blogs: because it looks better than all the other stuff I have to do.

Hope that helps...

disney pixar.nyt article

How Pixar Adds a New School of Thought to Disney

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Published: January 29, 2006
Correction Appended

SURE, Disney's deal last week to acquire Pixar is about big money — how Steven P. Jobs turned a fledgling outfit that he had bought for $10 million into a juggernaut valued at $7.4 billion. And, yes, it is about a big strategic shift at the Walt Disney Company, as Robert A. Iger, the chief executive, exorcises the ghost of his predecessor, Michael D. Eisner. But it is also about the potential for big changes in how the entertainment business operates — specifically, in how major studios organize talented people to do their best work.

Since 1995, with the release of "Toy Story," Pixar's films have reinvented the art of animation, won 19 Academy Awards and grossed more than $3 billion at the box office. But the secret to the success of Pixar Animation Studios is its utterly distinctive approach to the workplace. The company doesn't just make films that perform better than standard fare. It also makes its films differently — and, in the process, defies many familiar, and dysfunctional, industry conventions. Pixar has become the envy of Hollywood because it never went Hollywood.

More than a few business pundits have drawn parallels between the flat, decentralized "corporation of the future" and the ad-hoc collection of actors, producers and technicians that come together around a film and disband once it is finished. In the Hollywood model, the energy and investment revolves around the big idea — the script — and the fine print of the deal. Highly talented people agree to terms, do their jobs, and move on to the next project. The model allows for maximum flexibility, to be sure, but it inspires minimum loyalty and endless jockeying for advantage.

Turn that model on its head and you get the Pixar version: a tightknit company of long-term collaborators who stick together, learn from one another and strive to improve with every production. Consider the case of Brad Bird, writer and director of "The Incredibles," who spent the first decades of his career shuttling around the business as an ever-promising, never-quite-recognized animator. (He worked on "The Simpsons" and directed one feature, the critically acclaimed but commercial dud, "Iron Giant.") When Pixar recruited him, Mr. Bird went to work immediately on "The Incredibles," which went on to win two Academy Awards and a nomination for best original screenplay.

Unlike a typical Oscar-winning director, however, Mr. Bird is not a free agent with his sights set on the next big-budget negotiation. He is an employee of the studio. Indeed, he is part of a group of directors and technical talents at Pixar — including Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, the creators of "Finding Nemo," and Pete Doctor, the director of "Monsters, Inc." — who have staked their reputations on their work at Pixar. Again, in contrast to convention, these professionals have traded one-time contracts for long-term affiliation and contribute across the studio, rather than to just their pet projects.

According to Randy S. Nelson, who joined the company in 1997 and is dean of Pixar University, a company-run education and training operation, this model reflects "Pixar's specific critique of the industry's standard practice." He explains it this way: "Contracts allow you to be irresponsible as a company. You don't need to worry about keeping people happy and fulfilled. What we have created here — an incredible workspace, opportunities to learn and grow, and, most of all, great co-workers — is better than any contract."

There is a tough-minded business strategy behind Pixar's we're-all-in-this-together workplace. A single animated feature takes four or five years to complete, the last 18 months of which feel like a breathless sprint. In such a high-stakes environment, even the most outrageously talented individuals are bound to suffer creative setbacks. One reason Pixar has produced such a string of hits is that the organization has learned how to hang together under the pressure.

"The problem with the Hollywood model is that it's generally the day you wrap production that you realize you've finally figured out how to work together," Mr. Nelson said. "We've made the leap from an idea-centered business to a people-centered business. Instead of developing ideas, we develop people. Instead of investing in ideas, we invest in people. We're trying to create a culture of learning, filled with lifelong learners. It's no trick for talented people to be interesting, but it's a gift to be interested. We want an organization filled with interested people."

Mr. Nelson, an energetic, colorful, 50-something artist and executive, is himself a wide-ranging talent. He has juggled knives on Broadway as a founder of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, acted in feature films and served alongside Mr. Jobs at Apple Computer and Next Software. But his real talent, and his agenda at Pixar, is coordinating how other talented people express their most creative ideas, collaborate with colleagues and meet deadlines.

Pixar University is at the center of Mr. Nelson's agenda. The operation has more than 110 courses: a complete filmmaking curriculum, classes on painting, drawing, sculpting and creative writing. "We offer the equivalent of an undergraduate education in fine arts and the art of filmmaking," he said. Every employee — whether an animator, technician, production assistant, accountant, marketer or security guard — is encouraged to devote up to four hours a week, every week, to his or her education.

Mr. Nelson is adamant: these classes are not just a break from the office routine. "This is part of everyone's work," he said. "We're all filmmakers here. We all have access to the same curriculum. In class, people from every level sit right next to our directors and the president of the company."

At one class, the sixth session of a nine-week course called "Lighting and Motion Picture Capture," the students represented an intriguing cross-section of Pixar employees: a post-production software engineer, a set dresser, a marketer, even a company chef, Luigi Passalacqua. "I speak the language of food," he said. "Now I'm learning to speak the language of film."

The evening's subject was highly technical — the use of dimmers in the lighting of movies — but the session was spirited. The Pixar employees were also learning to see the company's work (and their colleagues) in a new light. "The skills we develop are skills we need everywhere in the organization," Mr. Nelson said. "Why teach drawing to accountants? Because drawing class doesn't just teach people to draw. It teaches them to be more observant. There's no company on earth that wouldn't benefit from having people become more observant."

THAT helps to explain why the Pixar University crest bears the Latin inscription, Alienus Non Dieutius. Translation: alone no longer. "It's the heart of our model," Mr. Nelson says, "giving people opportunities to fail together and to recover from mistakes together."

It is worth noting that the Pixar University crest has a second Latin inscription, Tempus Pecunia Somnum. Translation: time, money, sleep — three precious commodities in any high-stakes enterprise. That inscription speaks to the next challenge for the company, to sustain the energy of a business that has to keep up its string of blockbusters even as it ramps up its rate of production and adjusts to life with its new owner.

There is no class on mastering that challenge. But so long as Pixar avoids going Hollywood — and Disney learns to appreciate how Pixar works — the company will continue to school the entertainment establishment in a productive and reliable way to get the best out of its creative talent.

William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre are the authors of "Mavericks at Work," to be published this fall by William Morrow.

Correction: Feb. 5, 2006, Sunday:

An article last Sunday about the workplace culture of Pixar Animation Studios misspelled the surname of the director of a Pixar film, "Monsters, Inc." He is Pete Docter, not Doctor. The article also misspelled a word in a Latin inscription, meaning "alone no longer," that appears on the crest of Pixar University, a company-run education and training program. It is Alienus Non Diutius, not Dieutius.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

All great achievements require time...

(Maya Angelou)

Okay, so Joke wanted us to post our required reading. Yeah, my list is long (what? I’m a librarian!). So I’ll post for consecutive Mondays until I get through the lot. I’m finding that my descriptions of the books aren’t necessarily helpful as to why one might read the book, so I’m taking a page from Cricket magazine and posting the first lines of the books, and maybe a personal tidbit if I feel inspired.

(and bear in mind, a lot of these are out of print)

Young Readers (Ages 10 or so)
The high house by Honor Arundel.
Aunt Patsy arrived the morning after the funeral and, as she had always lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, and we had always lived in London, England, and neither of us had had enough money for the fares, we had never met her before.

This book features an aunt that is a commercial artist who doesn’t always wash her dishes right away.

The Crack-a-joke book chosen by children in aid of Oxfam.
What is big grey and mutters?
A mumbo jumbo.

  • This book is falling apart and has been with me since I bought it in Denmark at the ripe age of eight. It has the best jokes. My favorite part is the knock knocks.

Taking care of Terrific by Lois Lowry.
I threw down the book I’d been trying to read, stared out of my bedroom window for a while at the tops of the trees, sighed, and picked up my sketch pad.

  • This book has an amazing proverb at the front: “If you keep a green tree in your heart, perhaps the singing bird will come.” I once made a collage of that proverb. The book is about a girl who watches a kid for the summer. It’s like The Nanny Diaries except not really…
Searching for Shona by Margaret J. Anderson.
Marjorie Malcolm-Scott walked slowly up Willowbrae Road toward the narrow iron gate that opened into Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

  • This is a haunting book about two girls who switch places during WWII.
The treasure is the rose by Julia Cunningham.
To tell about Ariane is to try to grow a rose on paper without the touch of sun and moon, rain and snow that make it real and growing. It is nearer the truth of her to go into her garden and, remain invisible, to look and listen for the little while before darkness comes down upon her and her roses.

  • This is one of those books I took out of the library ever and ever and ever and it has the best pictures and then one day I found it at a used bookstore or Goodwill. It’s medieval and stuff.
It’s like this cat by Emily Neville.
My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat.

  • A boy, his cat, in New York. This book totally rocks. A beach is featured.
The midwife’s apprentice by Karen Cushman.
I once used the last monologue in this book in a job interview. I got the job. It gives a lot away to give you that bit, but it’s more interesting than the first lines: “Jane Sharpe, it is I, Alyce, your apprentice. I have come back. And if you do not want to let me in, I will try again and again. I will do what you tell me and take what you give me, and I know how to try and risk and fail and try again and not give up. I will not go away.”

The six Bullerby children by Astrid Lindgren.
My name is Lisa, and I’m a girl – but of course you can tell that from my name. I’m seven years old, rising eight.

  • When I was in first grade we had a Swedish au pair come live with us. She gave me this book. It’s called the Children of Noisy Village in American publishing.
The voyage of the “Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis.
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

  • I took a class at the church I attended in Virginia that focused on journeys and literature (We also read The Pilgrim’s Progress and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). I loved the scene where Eustace de-dragons. Read it.

*Baby by Patricia MacLachlan.
In the evenings my father danced. All day long he was quiet and stubborn, the editor of the island newspaper. But in the evenings he danced.

Unclaimed Treasures (same)
This is also a spoiler, but it’s my favorite part:
She unwrapped the baby. And Willa nearly cried out with happiness, with joy; the baby was that ugly.
“Her hair,” Willa said at last, “it is all in a an uproar.” I love you, you poor thing. You poor little sister.

  • This book was my favorite book during library school. I must have read it at least ten times. It’s about ten year old fraternal boy and girl twins who are about to have a baby sibling. Beautiful…
The wind in the willows by Kenneth Grahame.
The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.

  • Remember when my mom was in the hospital when I was in first grade? Well, before she went, we had started reading this book. We never finished it. I finally finished reading it when I was 23. It is the most beautiful book on friendships, it is!
Thursday’s Child by Noel Streatfield
Margaret had been discovering all her life that grownups were disappointing conversationalists.

*Skating Shoes (same) One of the “Shoes” books, and my favorite. Figure skating, need I say more? (oh, and it’s mentioned in You’ve Got Mail, and it’s out of print)

The one where Sarah Louise loves Friends

Okay, let's talk about the theme song. Every show has got to have a great theme song. Even the bad shows had good theme songs. I will never forget the theme song, for instance, to WKRP in Cinncinati.

Ross: Hi.
Joey: This guy says hello, I want to kill myself.


Chandler: Sometimes I wish I was a lesbian (looks around) Did I say that out loud?


Ross: I don't want to be single, I just want to be married again.
(enter Rachel, in her wedding dress)
Chandler: And I want a million dollars.

Monica: So do you want to tell us now or are we waiting for four wet bridesmaids?


Chandler: Oh, this is a "Dear Diary" moment!


Phoebe: Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to. (when asked if she wants to help Ross and Chandler and Joey put together Ross's new furniture)


Monica: Welcome to the real world! It sucks. You're going to love it.

I mean, this stuff is great!

It's raining in Pittsburgh. (Big surprise--it's March!) I went to bed last night after watching The Baxter and talking to Emily, who got cut off when her phone died. At least she warned me. I was telling Emily about my myriad of girlfriends who totally intimidate me.

This is why for two years I didn't have girlfriends, I had books. I didn't talk to anyone at recess, lunch, or after school. I didn't do my math homework. I read. I spent time with Jennifer, Hecate, Mandy, Anne, and if I had known Angeline, I would have hung out with her too. I dreamed about hiding my trumpet in the blanket at the end of the bed and sleeping in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Girlfriends can be a really bad scene. Like when they tell your crush you like them and then move to China, (yes, on the same day) where you can't even yell at her! I heard John Lennon's song Imagine that day and have hated it since. I also watched a stupid black and white movie about co-eds and frat parties, dubbed over in Spanish, I think.

But I'm 34, not 10, and I think I'll keep my friends. And my books. So I get to be a grown-up and have friends AND books. But hey, I get to be a librarian and misinform people (like telling them we only have the textbooks through grade 5 and then hanging up on a woman who had been TRANSFERRED to me via my boss, the director, walking over and realizing, oh, look, we do have them until grade 6) (Will they make up their mind? Does middle school begin at 6th grade or 7th?) Junior high, we all know, started at grade 7. But in some instances it ends at 8th grade or in others 9th. I'm rambling. Or babbling. Or both.

It's still raining. Still Pittsburgh. And my girlfriends still intimidate me. So you can guess that I'm thrilled to be attending the first brunch for the women at the Open Door at the Quiet Storm. It'll be fine. They'll still all be married, or med students, and I'll try not to be that little girl whose heart got stomped on by another little girl 23 years ago.

Oh, and Babs, I didn't use quotation marks! I did it for you. I did.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Still reading that book called "Why men hate church"...

[warning: this post is NOT PC]

...and let me tell you, it's fascinating. For instance, I knew (who didn't?) that men have more testosterone. In conflict solving, this allows men to fight it out quickly, sometimes mano a mano, and then shake hands and be friends again. What I did not realize was that women have more seratonin. (Which explains why women "are naturally more self-controlled, less aggressive, and less prone to violence than women. Women get angry, but seratonin allows them to handle conflict differently...Seratonin lets women suppress their anger, allowing it to smolder while they plot their revenge. Men get mad; women get even." p. 83)

I'm sure no one reading this blog has any idea what I'm talking about...

So, why is it so important that churches change so that men love going there?

  • When men go to church, the tithes come out of the main family budget. When women alone attend, the tithe comes out of the grocery budget. (That's a big difference!) (10% of a salary as opposed to 10% of $ do the math) (p. 46)
  • When men go to church, their families go too. If women take their kids, there is this tug of war: If Dad isn't going, why do I have to go? The statistics: when a woman comes to faith in Christ, her family follows 17 % of the time. When a man comes to faith in Christ, his family follows 93% of the time. (p. 47)
  • Men's focus on the outside world promotes church health: when men get involved, ministry changes its focus from the family in here to the world out there. (p. 47)
  • Godly men attract women. A quote from a 28 year old woman from Australia: "There's something sexy about a man who's following after God." Amen! From our author: "Without dynamic, life-giving men, a church will eventually lose its women as well, especially the young ones." (p. 46-7)

Jesus loved the little children. He said, "Let the little ones come unto me." But he spent the majority of his three years on earth with twelve rag tag men. A quote from David Murrow, "If Christ had intended women and children to be the primary focus of church, He would have set up a women's circle and a Sunday school. Instead, he focused like a laser on a ragtag band of twelve men. I think he did this for two reasons. First, Jesus knew that men play an indispensible role in His body. When the men are absent or anemic, the body withers. Second, I suppose Jesus knew his message would resonate with women. It was obviously more feminine than the ruthlessly masculine legalism of the Pharisees." (p. 43)

Which brings in an interesting point: Christianity is centered around the Eucharistic meal, and it encourages meekness, humility, and a certain passivity. "But, while Christian values tend to be perceived as feminine, they must be lived out in an agressive, masculine fashion." (p. 44)

I could go on. I'm pretty much giving you the book word for word, but it is THAT good. This is important stuff.

Why men hate church, by David Murrow. Published by Nelson, 2005

Friday, March 10, 2006

How to get here...from there

(sponsored by Loretta)

Now, you may note that the first list friday I made up my own meme. Last week's I remenisced (is that spelled right?) about my crafty days as a child. This week took me into the nethers of my site meter. I had no idea this stuff was here they are:

Searches (Google, Yahoo, MSN or other) that got you here:

  1. (wow! I'm so honored. I gotta go tell BJ!) (It's an article about U2.)
  2. deep down im superficial (this was a quote i used as a post title)
  3. Paws Claws Scales Tails David Shannon (the name of this year's summer reading club; the name of the illustrator)
  4. The Princess Diaries 2 midi (a movie I hated--ironic that I came up in a search)
  5. alexis glick (I commented on how I liked her outfit one day)
  6. sarah louise children clothing (no clue)
  7. My favorite sneakers. (well, of course!)
  8. last holiday quotes whole life in a box cremated (a movie I loved, a quote I loved...I love Queen Latifah, I do!)
  9. phillis diller daughter (I could explain this but I'm getting hungry)
  10. sneakers
  11. sarah louise young (this one brought in the latest post on Lady Jane--go figure!)

And thanks to BJ and Babelbabe, my two biggest referrers. The Open Door Blog list does its job pretty well too.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I only have eyes for you...

(the Flamingos)

Now, I was so going to cheat. But then yins got all "the eyes are the window to the soul" and I thought, well, if Joke is going to participate, (and he never does) (well, hardly ever) and Lazy Cow considers cheating using her kid's eyes (no fair!) I could get away with cheating, but it would lack...soul.

So what I was going to do was "Eye See, Eye Buy" and do a thing about how I went to Target yesterday and bought with my eyes. So of course, three boxes of pink Kleenex (to me, no other option exists, except the prescribed one box of anti-viral, in a pink box, though), red plastic cups, red plastic bowls, coral pink 100% cotton towels for $2 a piece, thank you very much...but if you really want to see into my soul, here goes...
Now, I'll have you know, I tried to crop the photo. But the flu has messed with my photo cropping skills and then when I did, the files were unreadable by my computer--maybe it's time to download Picassa--but later, after lunch. I may even be ready for such exotic foods as minestrone soup...if not, frozen lasagna will do the job.

So for those who are wondering, the crotch at the far left belongs to Renee Zellweger. See? (Oh how embarrassing)

It's a picture from Interview magazine from when she was in Jerry Maguire. I do not have a thing for her, I just like that picture.

That is all. I have spent an hour (an hour!) on this very simple S&T, so go visit Blackbird, our lovely sponsor.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sarah Louise falls in love with yet another Costume Drama...

Lady Jane Grey, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is delightful. I remember reading the movie review in Seventeen when I was, um, well, young. So imagine my delight when, pawing through the movies at Goodwill today, I found a factory sealed copy of the flick, with Helena BC and Cary Elwes on the cover. And hey, since I'm still nursing my flu/cold/whatever this is, I took the afternoon to watch it. So begins the obssession.

The process is a predictable one, if you've lived through it as many times as I have.
  1. I watch a movie (insert here: Man with the Iron Mask, Lady Jane, --it's not only historical movies, as I unravel it..--Picture Perfect, Titanic, The Cutting Edge)
  2. I go to and read the plot, the memorable quotes, the external reviews.
  3. If it's historical, I visit websites that tell me the accuracy or inaccuracy of the events as portrayed in the film
  4. If it's not, but, say, has a great soundtrack, I track down songs. Picture Perfect didn't have a soundtrack release, but I loved the song that was its theme, "Tell me How to Catch a Fish" by Jane Kelly Phillips. I actually purchased a used copy of her CD, Tapping the Wheel, which as a whole wasn't that great, but the song is really great and works well within the movie.
  5. I watch the movie over and over and over again, to the point where I can quote large portions.
  6. Repeat.

So, if the story of Lady Jane interests you, here are some links:

Lady Jane Grey: An Unhappy Childhood

LJG: The Nine Day Queen (the following two links are actually derived from this link)

LJG: The Bibliography

A list of the historical inaccuracies in the movie

In some ways, (and I know Joke will nail me here) Lady Jane seemed a response to A man for all seasons, which admittedly I saw on stage when I was Catholic for a year. At the time, I believed that the RCC was THE Church, and so I sided with Thomas More. But as a Protestant, watching Lady Jane, I have to say, she had a few good points there.

It is all sooo twisted and so easily man makes God political. That is all.

I respect the work that went into making Lady Jane a Protestant utopian view of what could have happened had Lady Jane loved her husband. It was a historical romance. Some history, some romance. And yes, as many have and will continue to say, a success as a chick flick. So sue me, I'm a chick that likes a chick flick now and then (and again and again.)

Oh, and in case you don't have the patience or desire to wade through the details, the lady who became queen after Jane was Mary, but not Mary Queen of Scots.


Still sneezing. When I woke up this morning, I thought, this is the last day. Now I'm not so sure. But tomorrow IS the last Mother Goose program until April, so I'll have to go in for that.


Oh, and there's nothing wrong with my radiator! The hose was positioned incorrectly and they checked it and it's fine now. WOO HOO!! But my poor car needs a bath, big time!

Happy Birthday Erin!

Just got a comment from hanni, who has set up an entire post for Erin's birthday. Celebrate!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Your ticket to the Carnival is enclosed...

So the Chicken Spaghetti Carnival is on, with swirling Tea Cups and all. Find my post in the Million Dollar Break Dancer section, woo hoo! You'll find tips on writing for kids, mentions of 'arry Potter, and lots of fun rides! That is all, because this cold is still gripping my throat. Go have fun at the carnival!!

A little inspiration from Mother Goose:

This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none
This little piggy went wee wee wee wee all the way home!!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Random thoughts at 4 am, coughing and wheezing...

I love my dad. I told him that watching the new Pink Panther was good as a place holder, something to do so that I wouldn't be tempted to take a nap before I went out to see This Side of Eve and Bill Malonee (which were great, btw). My dad told me about one time when he was in Amsterdam in 1963. He was there on a summer school program that was based in Vienna. It was raining, so he ducked into a movie theatre. A friend of his had had the same idea and was sitting in the (assigned) seat next to him! (This reminds me of my friend Susan's mom telling about going to the movies in the summer to escape the heat and enjoy a few hours of a/c.)

Now, I realize this story has much more significance to me, since I know that Pete Steckedee (the friend my dad mentioned) is one of the main players in encouraging my dad to pursue my mom even in 1966, and still a friend, almost forty years later. But it's my blog and it's 4 am and I am sick of being negative and cough-y, so I just wanted to share something very cool to me. It's my blog and I can!

My dad and I talk about things like movies, the New York Times most emailed list, and particularly last night, about Polish history and how it relates to our last name (my actual, non-blog last name, is also the name of the man who was diplomat to August der Stark (the Strong), in the 1700s. August was king/ruler of Prussia, Poland, and Germany and Krystof was one of his main diplomats.) When my dad worked in Poland (as a diplomat for the U.S.) and folks at the Polish Foriegn Ministry would stumble over the name, he would joke and say, "It's a great name in Polish diplomacy." Our venerated surname means the courageous bearded wielder of the broad axe. BJ said that should be the name of my blog, but I have to say that I am pleased that now you cannot get to my blog by googling my Christian name. I like the bit of anonymity using Sarah Louise offers me.

The writing assignment this week is "your name." Does it fit you, would you change it, etc. Personally, I look forward to the day when I get a shorter name that is hopefully higher in the alphabet. My brother can carry on the family name.

The man who told my dad about Krystof's role in Polish history actually did his dissertation on the role of Krystof in Polish history of the 1700s. How cool is that? And the Cathedral in Dresden that was just re-dedicated (it was bombed in WWII) was renovated using the original blue prints that were approved by Krystof.

What is that quote? "That favorite subject, myself?" It's true. I found yesterday at lunch that if conversation was lagging (we went out for a co-worker's birthday and if I'm with the ladies from work, the talk generally gravitates to grandchildren, children and husbands) I would bring attention to myself by telling a story. I thought later, geez, I am not a good listener. This is the danger of Lent, analyzing everything one does through different eyes.

But the gift of Lent is Easter (can you tell my brain is exhausted, as I segue randomly?) and I've been of late reading a book Lilly gave to me for my birthday, by Brother Lawrence. It reminds me to be gentle to myself. A quote:

That when an occasion of practicing some virtue offered, he addressed himself to God, saying, Lord, I cannot do this unless thou enablest me; and that then he received strength more than sufficient.

That when he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; 'tis You must hinder me from falling, and mend what is amiss. That after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.

That we ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs, just as they happen. That God never failed to grant it, as he had often experienced.

--from The Practice of the Prescence of God by Brother Lawrence

Playing right now on the radio: "Who do that voo-doo that only you can do?" I love the radio!! The other day they played "The Girl from Ipanema," a family favorite. We have long history in Brazil, which I may bore you with later. But now it is almost 5:30 am and I think I'll try a little more shut-eye in the room where the vaporizor lives.


Friday, March 03, 2006

The Devil was a crafty fellow. That's why I don't do crafts.

(Nancy Brom)

I, however, adore crafts!! Loretta has asked us to list childhood craft endeavors (like eating paste.) List Friday, courtesy of Pomegranates and Paper.
  • I remember scraping the sides of crayons with scissors to get crayon bits which my mom and I would then iron between two pieces of wax paper. It gave a sort of stained glass effect.
  • I remember doing the same thing with crayons and putting them in clear plastic cups and putting them in the oven. I have a Christmas ornament made in this manner.

(I think my mom liked scraping crayons and using wax paper--I have very vivid memories of this)

  • In high school, we all would use embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets. It was customary to pin the bracelet you were working on to your jeans while you worked on it.
  • As an avid reader of Mary Norton's series, The Borrowers, I made "dollhouse" furniture for my "dollhouse" (which was really a pine bookcase that had four compartments.) I used a lot of Kleenex boxes...
  • I made some of those potholders that you use a metal square and cloth bands...
  • I had a spiro-graph
  • I took a pottery class. I think my mom still has some of the things I made...

Oh! Once, for Mother's day, I think this was in Sunday School, we made necklaces out of cut potatoes. (Could that be right?) My mom still has hers. It's purple.

There's tons of other stuff--although I don't think I ever ate paste...

Another reason to love the Golden Globes...

They are on FOX, a channel I get. The Oscars are on ABC, a channel I do not.

And that is all. Oh, you want a link? Oh, alright, go to

And it is ridiculous to think of taping the Oscars--I mean I'm sure Jon Stewart will be funny, but why tape it when the results will be on the radio, in the paper, and on the 'net by the next morning (or sooner)?

That is all.

Besides, how can I support an organization that does not think Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire merits a mention except for "Art Direction"? And Walk the Line is not up for Best Picture? Who are these people, the Academy? I like the Hollywood Foreign Press much much better.

And that is all.

Narnia got three nominations: Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and Make-up. C'mon!!

Now, this may be a DC thing (as in the city, our nation's capitol), but when I went to see Harry Potter and when I went to see Narnia, the audience applauded at the end, the movies were THAT good. It reminded me of when you fly from or to Europe with a plane that is mostly not Americans. At touchdown, the passengers applaud. I miss that. I somehow don't think the passengers will applaud when I touch down to Boston in less than 20 days!!!

Movies I want to see eventually:

The Constant Gardener
Murderball (documentary)
Pride and Predudice
Mrs. Henderson Presents (b/c it has Judi Dench--I know nothing else about it.)

I suppose I want to see Brokeback Mountain, since it's been so hyped up, (and I love Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger, who apparently now love each other, aww!) but I still haven't seen Casablanca, The Crying Game, Boys Don't Cry or The African Queen.

So many movies, so little time...tonight I'm finally going to watch Must Love Dogs, which btw, did not get nominated for a single award. There should be an award just for being a John Cusack film. (And the award for the John Cusack film goes to..."Must Love Dogs!" What a complete surprise! Mr. Cusack, are you here?)

That really truly is, all.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

(Charles Dickens)
The month we will complain about when it comes, but some of its heat would be welcome right now...
See, it's like a rubix cube only not really...


Today was one of those days. All week I've been running, running, just trying to catch up to the something elusive that has been eluding me.

And today I was knocking down all those doors--making appointments to have my radiator looked at (no, there's no problem, just that elves seem to be drinking the coolant). My car guru checked my car three times and couldn't find a leak. I'm taking my car in to a real mechanic on Tuesday. Which is actually a half decent day for me to drop off my car b/c I don't work until 1pm--now I just have to arrange for transportation, which isn't hard, just pride-swallowing. I made a dentist appointment, I mailed the check for the parking ticket I got a week ago, and I ordered my new contact lenses.

Erica and I emailed back and forth about the ME calendar (pix above). It was fun b/c up til now we've only blogged, never emailed. :) I had no idea she had a business making clothing...if I had a little girl, I would buy her stuff!!

I haven't talked to Emily for more than a few minutes for way too long, so I was thrilled when my coat started ringing just as I walked towards it in the break room at work as I was getting ready to leave. We talked all the way home (and tearfully prayed.) It was good to just get some of that out. We finally said goodbye and I trudged up to my front porch, wrestled with the mail and my keys, kicked the door open. A package was sitting on the table inside the door. From my cousin Cindy Anne? I mean, I know she has some tax stuff I need, but this was like a cushy package. I came upstairs (to my third floor walk-up, yes) with my groceries, took off my coat, and got scissors to open the package. This is what the card said: "Sarah Louise, I found these gloves at the Rag Shop -- I thought of you -- I hope they're what you wanted. Cindy."

I cut open the bubble wrap and YES!! The gloves that have eluded me all winter!! I felt like the girl in the Amy Grant song, "In a little while." The lyrics are something like I got a ticket coming home, but then I saw your letter and it was to remind me that God loves me." It's pretty sappy, but hey, I'm a sucker for sappy songs, so there!

Okay, you can't see them well enough, but the gloves have grippy things. They're called Men's Grabber Gloves with Non-Stick Palms and I have been looking EVERYWHERE for them this year. They were everywhere last year and I have at least three pairs that all have holes in the fingertips. I feel like I've won the lottery!

My evening snack. And I am so excited, I just took a bunch of "window" pictures b/c that's what S&T is in two weeks, after we do "eyes." There's snow on my skylight and it is amazing the kind of photo you can get in a dark room with a flash. Wow. I had fun!!

And now it's time to turn in...

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.

(Charles Schultz)

Okay, so I totally forgot it was Show and Tell day, but I took a page from Babelbabe's book (which I was already doing anyways--she and I are often on the same page, oh that librarian wit, sometimes I just crack myself up!!) and googled quotes on calendars. The quote that is the title won because I am hoping to get more Australian readers, but it ran a close first to the second choice, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." I really need to read that book again. (But which edition? Likely the one we have at work, for free, no less. Being a librarian is fab-u!)

Okay, so I'm a little punchy this morning. I don't care--I really don't. I have realized that being 34 sucks for one more reason: I am too tired to be one of the last people out. I managed to stay at BJ's until 10:30 last night but then I just had to come home and crawl into bed. (Where I read Today's Christian Woman from cover to cover. )

So, my calendar. I am too tired to switch the pictures. I took them in the opposite order as they appear. I have always had a love/hate relationship with my calendars but I must say that this year it's love/love. I have decided that a PDA is just not for me. I am too much a pen and paper person. I got this one at Borders at half off (it's really the only way to go--why pay full price, but you don't want to wait until they're at 75% or $1.00 because by that time you've been without a calendar too long.)

Why I like my calendar:

  • It continues the shoe pattern (pink sneakers, red boots...I see a trend...)
  • People do not picture that the quiet librarian would have RED high button boots on her calendar.
  • It has an elastic band to keep it closed and a pocket in the back for a removable address book. I used to keep everyone's number with me until I got a cell phone and now I'm lazy, the main peeps are in there. But my address book does have important numbers like Borders North Hills, (where I bought the calendar), Barnes & Noble Waterworks, my landlord's address, the guy whose DVD player I'm buying before he moves to Nottingham, and the library that is on the way to work.)

You can see that I use initials a lot. So CD is my therapist, Kim, is well, Kim, WBS is Women's Bible Study, and yes, I took snack, it was banana walnut pound cake from Whole Foods. Yes, also that day was Mom's birthday. MGOL is Mother Goose on the Loose, the Wednesday storytime I do for 6mos to 24 mos. Yesterday I had the darlingest 4 mos. old, Alyssa. She was SOO CUTE!! UP is Union Project, JF is a co-worker, and TSE is This Side of Eve, who is playing, as you can see, Saturday night, with Bill Malonnee. Be there or be square, 8:30 at the UP! (Yes, I know my calendar says 8:45, but John said 8:30 when he announced it Sunday at the OD,'s always cool to hang out with the peeps anyways.)

And where I got using the word peeps all of a sudden? Blame my sister and a shirt I saw at K-mart last week. I don't remember what it said but it was covered with baby chicks and very cute!

The page-a-day is "Fabulous Broads" and my first source for great quotes. It rarely shows the actual day--if the quote is good, I keep it up until the next day there's a decent one. Yesterday's has been up since Sunday at least: "In the beginning there was nothing. God said, "Let there be light!" and there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a lot better." (Ellen DeGeneres.)

Okay, it's 10:32 and I need to get dressed etc. I had eggplant parmesan with pasta for breakfast (thanks Val and Nate!) and I have (as you can see on my calendar) a eye doctor appointment at 11:15. The contacts are doing well, thanks for asking. I get a lot of "Did you get a hair cut" comments, which I actually did, last week.

Enough procrastination, time to move on out. So go, and live well (I am so full of it this morning.)

Show and Tell, courtesy of Blackbird.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

To my writing teacher who thinks there's no such thing as a Christian romance novel...

While I have to agree that the case of self-publishing you described does sound unprofessional, you might want to know that there is a thriving Christian romance industry. They are not bodice rippers but great stories of love. Francine Rivers is a great contemporary writer, best known for her book Redeeming Love, which takes the Biblical tale of Hosea and Gomer (Hosea was told to marry a prostitute) and puts it in the historical time of the gold rush in California. Well researched and written, it is a book I would recommend even to Islamic friends who enjoyed the historical romance scenario. It actually was written originally as a bodice ripper but has been "cleaned up" as Francine is now one of the main doyennes of Christian Romance writing. Grace Livingston Hill is now dead, but she left a legacy of over one hundred romances, some pedestrian, but some wonderful. White Orchids is one that I read as a teen and returned to as an adult. Spice Box is one that is exceptional as well. Neither of these are historical by design, although since they were written in the middle of the last century they now have a historical feel.

So while I agree that having a slave say to another slave "You go girl" is anacronistic and jarring, I disagree that one does not think of Christian and romance in the same sentence. As a woman who loves chick-lit and romance novels but could really skip the sex scenes found in the bodice rippers, I am glad that there is plenty out there to keep me in books for a good long time.

This link pertains to Kristen Billerbeck, a Christian chick-lit author, and was published in the New York Times.