Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Every mind is a room packed with archaic furniture. (Dee Hock)

Poppy wants to see our most hideous piece of furniture. (Or was it least favorite?)

I am a bachlorette. Every piece in my apartment was purchased by or given to me. For better or worse. And they are all functional. I cram them into my garret until my mother says, "You fit anther bookcase in there?"

And what? I don't have the cash to upgrade, and even if I did, did I mention I live in a third floor WALK-UP? Most of my furniture is IKEA, handed down from my Aunt Margaret, picked up on the side of the road, Goodwill, or yard sale.

So. I took a picture of my hideous sofa. Which I adore. Which I have spent many memorable and not-so-memorable and oh-I-wish-I-could forget moments and nights. I generally have it covered, but that blanket is MIA at the moment, so you get to see its absolute plaid hideousnesss. When I leave this garret, it will stay, as it took two men at least a half hour to maneuver it up to the last flight of stairs. And they were engineers! It's a hide-a-bed that I inherited from my old roommate's fiance, now husband. It was free. All I had to do was borrow my girlfriend's boyfriend and his truck. I know it's butt-ugly, but I love it.

A tour? From bottom left, my newest pillow. I think I got it at Burlington Coat Factory. Bottom middle, if you squint, you can see the blue and white comforter my mother made for me when I was a girl. Bottom right, the comforter that used to belong to my grandmother. Moving up, top right, a collage that needs to be pinned up. And a Barbie dream car, with Barbie inside. A purse, a magazine ad I liked, and top left, the certificate that says a sea turtle has been adopted in my name. He's probably ten now!

A little trick, now that I've resigned myself to "small" pictures so as to not screw up my template, if you want a closer look, click on the photo and you get a larger size. The things you learn...

Show and tell, courtesy of Blackbird.

Good news from Gail Sheehy

Ah yes, Sarah Louise continues on her quest to discover.... this is a bit more snippet-y than the last post...

I don't know. I was up for about three hours last night/early morning, probably because I initially went to bed at nine. I visited my favorite blogs and left my comments (as I always do.) That Sarah Louise. She's a little crazy, you know. a fox.

Gail Sheehy was on the Today show yesterday. This was huge, as a friend recently told me that in her 1995 book, New Passages, Sheehy talks about how my generation continues in adolescence until mid to late thirties.

It reminds me of the Kristin Davis (Charlotte) quote: "I've been dating since I was 15, where is he? My hair hurts!" I mean, I've had crushes since I was in third grade!

But Gail's stance is that it's okay to be a late bloomer, and that my generation sort of is. What she said on the Today show yesterday was that the later you get married, the more likely it is to stick. Whew!

And this bit I loved. She talked about how women can get "off the ramp"(of career) to raise their children and then get "back on the ramp," because women are living longer. This is actually what my mother did. She was the wife of a diplomat, mother of three, and home when I got home from school. When my father started working long hours in the economic turnaround in Poland, my mother decided she couldn't stay home if he never came home. So she went back to teaching. Which she continues today. (Well, except that she took this past year off to have a chance to travel with my dad, who has been retired for five years.) My mother has been my role model in this whole thing.

It's part of the reason I became a Mary Kay consultant--as a young college graduate, it was appealing to me to have a career that would allow me to be home when my children came home. My mother was able to do that, and I want that for my children. Now, as a librarian, I see that my schedule can flex to fit family into the equation. Almost all the women I work with have children or grandchildren, and they are able to flex their work schedules around their family lives.

I always wanted to grow up to be my mom--but I'm learning that I can't. I have my own path to walk. I am grateful for the people that allow me to be me, a fox.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sarah Louise and the city...

Well, we've already established that I only get 4 channels. (Well, sometimes five...) So I never caught Sex and the City when it was on HBO. I've only had my DVD player since March, so I hadn't checked out the DVDs. No, my introduction was a few episodes when it aired on TBS while staying at my parents. My Monday through Friday routine is: if I'm home at six and/or seven, I watch Friends. Saturdays at six, FOX showed two episodes of that show with David Spade...Just Shoot Me! which at first I hated but it grew on me. At seven, I would watch Friends. One week, I came home, turned on the TV, and David Spade was gone, and in his place was Sarah Jessica Parker and ensemble. So I became more entrenched in the lives of Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. They show two episodes, from the same season, back to back, so you get a continuity of story. So now I really want to watch Season Six to see how it all works out.

So yesterday, feeling sorry for myself that I wouldn't be attending the Memorial Day picnic at the Creasy's new digs, I went to Giant Eagle and straight to Iggle Video, their video store inside the grocery store. I rented Sex and the City Season One, Season Two, Down with Love, and Mean Girls. So far, I've watched Season One, Disc One.

I like Carrie Bradshaw. She's a writer, and while she has an alarming addiction to expensive footwear, she seems like someone I wouldn't mind meeting for coffee.

When I was in high school, I had my first boyfriend the second semester of my senior year. This is my prom date!, I thought. No, I was his secret fling. He had at least four other secret flings that semester, all at the same time. So you can imagine that a girl might go to Cosmo for advice, if she couldn't talk to her mother. And I was scared. That I'd meet someone, and we'd have all those icky conversations about "Your place or mine," and I'd have to worry about diseases and pregnancy and...I was very relieved second semester of my freshman year of college when I became a Christian. Now I don't have to worry about all that! I just have to save myself...

Famous last words. I didn't date through college. My first boyfriend in Pittsburgh, a year after I'd graduated with my bachelor's degree in English, was bisexual. As in, not really interested in me. That was fine with me--I just wanted companionship. Which worked until he fell in love with me. It was a disaster. I had a few more disastrous relationships, until about eight years ago, when I had *the* disaster. I as good as had a ring on my finger when it became apparent that we wanted very different things out of life. I thought he enjoyed attending church with me. He was doing it merely to rack up points, which he would then later redeem. He required less sleep than I did, so he wanted to go out every night, or stay in. I unraveled. At first, slowly and then with more and more speed, until I was doing what is called in the mental health field as "rapid cycling." I was staying up all night and going to work the next day ENERGIZED. I was talking fast and then I was down in the dumps. After months of my saying "I think we want different things, I don't think this is going to work," he dumped me, when I was already in a trough. Luckily, my mother was already on her way to visit me from Virginia when I hung up the phone with Mr. X. I never got dressed, and answered the door wearing my nightgown. She had never seen me this way. I had never seen me this way. It was the beginning of my long road to an eventual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.

My mother and I went out for dinner. We went to see "Good Will Hunting." As we waited for the movie to start, my mom told me about how offended she was when my dad took her to see "Raging Bull," because the language was so foul. Um, we laughed about that later. But the profanity in "Good Will Hunting" wasn't gratuitous, it was just the way those guys talked.

I haven't been in a relationship of that ilk for eight years. When I mentioned that on the phone the other day to Sally, she couldn't believe it. "And how many years since you graduated from Library School?" Four. She's the one with a five year old, which makes the counting easy for me...

As I watch Carrie, and Charlotte, and Miranda, and Samantha, shoe shopping, drinking their Cosmos (which aren't very established in the first six episodes), and dishing about men, I remember who I was when I dated those men. I didn't like what I became when I was with them: I didn't have a life, I had a boyfriend. I became consumed. It wasn't love, it was addiction. I am afraid of that happening again. I have a nice life. I have a garret that I adore, albeit dusty and cluttered. I have a job I like most of the time, albeit not at the top of the salary ladder. I have friends that I enjoy meeting for coffee, or for a morning of baking. Where would a man fit into this lifestyle? The old Sarah Louise would have dropped it all for that knight in shining armor. But the new me, the wiser me? I'm not so sure.

Where am I going with this? I don't know. But all this time in my apartment, drinking liquids, taking sauna showers, taking naps, has made me more contemplative. My English teachers were forever saying I was weak on conclusion paragraphs. So sue me, I still am.

Tomorrow on Today...

It will be Katie's last day. I can't believe it! But unless I do a 180 degree turn, I think I'll be here on my sofa to watch the whole thing. (Um, yes, still sick.)

Katie who? (Click on the title!)

Well, I sleep on my sofa a lot. If I have insomnia, I shove "You've Got Mail" into the VCR. Which means I often click on the Today show as I'm wiping my eyes of sleep. So Katie Couric, and Matt Laurer, and the rest of the gang, are frequent guests in my living room.

More later. **cough, cough**

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day!

Ellen is a repeat, I think. If any channel is showing our President at Arlington National Cemetary, it's not one of the four I get (NBC, ABC or CBS (never sure), and PBS) .

I don't have any particular Memorial Day traditions, but here are a few things I've done, over the years:

  • Last year: the Don Beyer walk in Falls Church, Virginia. I got a pink t-shirt.
  • The two years I worked at Fox Books in Falls Church, I worked for time and a half.
  • Picnics, picnics, picnics.
  • Watched the movie Twister for the first time (significant, the first time, since I saw it over ten times in the theatre.) Don't ask. It was a long time ago.
  • Had a very bad yard sale.
  • Watched the movie Volcano (the next year) (I felt the need to watch a disaster movie on Memorial Day as a tradition, but it didn't stick).
  • Accepted a ride home from one of those picnics from an ex-boyfriend. We were back together by July 4th. In unison, now, Awww. We were ancient history by the following Easter. Oh well.
  • And today: I got up early and took some pictures of flowers. I hope you like them.

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)

I went for a walk in the park this morning. It's 72 degrees now, at 10 of 10 am. It may get up to 91 (Fahrenheit, for you metric folks).

Overheard in McDonalds
Man dressed in uniform: "This isn't my army uniform, it's a Halloween costume."
Other guy: "Yeah, it looks like it."

Google is apparently not celebrating Memorial Day. Interesting. Is this like a political statement?

I'm ready for my nap...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Poetry, circa 1990

I have a cold named Harry

I have a cold named Harry
He’s as mean as mean can be
He makes me blow my nose
And sometimes makes me sneeze

Mommy says if I stay in bed
And drink lots and lots of tea
Pretty soon I’ll be all better
Back to normal, I’ll be silly, silly me.

I have a cold named Harry,
But sniffles don’t scare me.
I’ll sleep all day and drink hot chocolate
Until he’s history!

September 1990

I think I'll be catching up on all my reading and re-reading (SisterChicks do the Hula) and all y'alls blogs. It's worse on a holiday weekend, because I know y'all are out there having fun without me!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The one about memes (for Memorial Day)

Now, who can see the mistake in that title? Raise your hand...yes, Babs? Meme rhymes with cream? Thank you! I can see you use your dictionary. Six? Well, that's wonderful. No, I only have two, plus a paperback Roget's.

Meme is a word that was coined by Richard Dawkins, who writes about genes. He coined it in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, shortening the Greek work mimeme, "something imitated."

Traveling hither and yon on the World Wide Web, (triple dub never quite caught on), I've found the word meme defined as innocuously as:

"A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." (from the American Heritage Dictionary, linked on

and as viciously as:

"a mind virus that lives in the minds of people and is spread through proselytization and other means. " (from The Christianity Meme Web Site)

Holy Toledo, Batman! I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!

So all this time, I thought a meme was something bloggers created. Turns out, memes are big!

But now that I've gotten all that research out of the way, I'd like to talk about memes in the blogging sense. A meme on a blog could be "13 on Thursday" where people list (how clever!) thirteen things on Thursday. Um. Or it could be "Show and Tell," where people post pictures on a theme (But don't tell Blackbird, she doesn't like to think she does memes.) Another popular meme at Pink Sneakers N'at is Loretta's List Friday.

Some of my favorite memes:

My own, which I made when I played fast and loose with Loretta's first List Friday.

Joke's first Meme. It's the "things you'd have to -- to understand me better) Joke's, Gina's, and Badger's and Babelbabe's.

Joke's second Meme. (He often has a lot of free time.) Go to his March archives. Scroll down to March 12. I can't find a direct link. But here are Babelbabe's and Gina's.

Memes are everywhere--it's the attack of the meme! (And I still can't make it pronounce right in my brain...) Before we looked it up on the 'net, Babs and I conjectured on what it could mean: Me-me (as in ME!). If you pronounce it wrong, it sounds like the beginning of "memory." (And a lot of memes are about reminiscing...)

So go be creative! Make up your own meme! Or find one at The Daily Meme.

Now you know.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The broken record returns

There are so many things I've said I'd write to you about: Patricia MacLachlan, more of Kathleen Norris, memes...

...and there are so many things I cannot or will not write to you about, secrets I will not betray, boring details of my life, the feelings closest to my heart.

Which brings me back to something I always find a place on the soapbox for. I hope someday to have at least one convert: that books and movies can live in harmony, one can be wonderful as well as the other.

Finally, after all these years, I've watched Howard's End. I must now read the book, for it was only a taste. What a wonderful taste, with views of the English countryside and excellent acting by Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and my personal favorite, Helena Bonham Carter. I often watch the movie first, because I prefer contemporary novels and so I find it hard to read a "classic" as it were, cold. I need to be introduced to the characters, the setting, to know that there is a good story, not just something my English teachers would have urged on me. Unfortunately for me, Freshman English ruined Great Expectations for me, as it also ruined The Odyssey. No matter, I imagine that if they are good enough books, they'll be redeemed--I am still quite young and I do find Penelope quite a fetching character. An old maid at 34, perhaps it is time again for me to read about Miss Havisham. But it was not time for me to read about chain gangs when I was 14. Or to read the Odyssey one chapter in verse and the next in prose. So I have a dislike for classics. I want to like them, which is why I watch the films. And more often than not, the films are a good introduction; I eventually get to the books.

The Three Musketeers, for instance. Disney came out with a swashbuckling rendition in 1993, the year I graduated college. I went again and again to the theatre and laughed and laughed (I was trying to get rid of a cold.) Years later, whenever I had use of someone's VCR, I rented it and laughed some more. In 1996, I went to Brasilia on Christmas holiday to visit my parents, who lived there. I had a sinus infection, so I sat in the warm backyard every afternoon and read the suitcase of books I'd brought. Some books, The Wizard of Oz, I finished in an afternoon. Others, The Three Musketeers, took all week.

My favorite Jane Austen is Persuasion. I saw the movie before I had even heard of the novel. I never really liked Pride and Prejudice (another English class disaster.) But Persuasion I could sink my teeth into. I suppose it appealed to me because I considered myself a bit an old maid at 26, when I first imbibed Anne Elliot's tale. But it is also a more mature story. Pride and Prejudice is silly. Persuasion has depth. But this is not a post about Anne Elliot or Jane Austen or foolish English literature education.

It is merely this: a movie brings something a book cannot. Color, and sound, and scenery. And a book brings much that a movie cannot: pages and pages and pages. Just today I was conversing with a co-worker who isn't sure whether or not to go see the Da Vinci Code. I myself have not yet made up my mind. I've heard the critics hated it, but an acquaintance who hadn't read the book told me Sunday past that it wasn't bad. I'd rather go see that movie with the teenage gymnasts. I go to the movies for a laugh or a cry. I rarely go for an intellectual or religious experience. So I brought out my soapbox for her--it wasn't a new conversation piece. She always likes the one she meets up with first. And while I can see how that might happen, I love the two mediums so robustly that I wouldn't want to have that mindset. Hoot, for instance, wasn't the best movie from a book, but it had its moments, and there were some rather clever additions that would have not worked in the book.

Perhaps it could go along with my love for different translations. Once I find a verse I like, in the Bible, that is, I check to see how others have translated it. I live in the varied verbiage. I like the chatter. Some Psalms read better in the King James. Some minor prophets sound glorious in the New Living Translation. Some verses only read well in one translation. Some read well in all, and you see different facets because of the different words used in each one.

Night has fallen here in Highland Park. Tonight I was supposed to watch another great adaptation, Freaky Friday (the one with Lindsay Lohan) but I came home from work early not feeling well. I napped for two hours. I had yogurt and rice for dinner.

I'm almost done listening to Elizabeth Berg's book that has Welcome in the title. I was astonished to learn that E.B. is the reader! She does an amazing job at all the voices, missing the mark only a few times.

Well, dear ones, I think I'll see if sleep will cover me once again.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

List Friday: Summer Fifteen!

Well, this week, Loretta wants us to talk 'bout summer.

Her desire is 5/5/5: five drinks, five foods, five activities that usher in the season that is all about SUNSHINE (unless you live in Bonn, Germany, where summer means rain) (as Badger would say, ask me how I know.)

Well, y'all know by all I don't always follow directions, so I'm just going to go for what I get.

5 Drinks Songs: (I drink Iced Tea year round.....)

1. In the cool cool of the evening (HOW I LOVE THIS SONG!!!) (and being so young, I only just discovered it a year ago.)
2. Summertime (and the living is easy) (from Porgy and Bess)
3. Low Rider (featured in A Knight's Tale) (again, showing my youth...)
4. Summer Nights (from Grease)
5. Wipeout

5 Foods: (and these are all summer.) Fresh tomatoes are assumed.

1. Fresh corn on the cob
2. Watermelon (spit them pits!)
3. Italian Ice (in the category of "things I forgot to tell you," our Italian Ice guy died. So he won't be coming out this year, or ever again. *moment of silence*)
4. Chocolate: (which has its proper season: "any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate"--Sandra Boynton.)
5. Potato Salad (Yes, I'll post my recipe at some point.)

5 Activities: (and these are all summer)

1. Movies at Flagstaff Hill.
2. Concerts at Hartwood Acres.
3. Summer Reading Club at the library (can you say it with me: I cannot wait until it is August and over!)
4. A visit to Sandcastle
5. A trip to the Lake (in the Poconos, with the fam.)
(6.) A graduation or a wedding. These tend to happen in the summertime...

Oh, and something to be sure to happen in the summer in Pittsburgh: in June, when we have the 3 Rivers Arts Festival, it will rain 75% of the time (or more).

(Which it is doing right now.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I like to go rock scrambling.

(Moira Kelly)

Also-rans for the enviable "rock quote" were the Google Finance page on the Buffalo firm, Gibraltor and a Tad Hunter quote about Rock Hudson. The title is clickable. Still working on getting the underline-y thing so that you KNOW the title is clickable.

I saw this rock outside one of my favorite galleries in Fort Ligonier. Isn't it lovely?

This rock is imbedded in the walls of the National Cathedral in Washington. It is a rock from Mt. Sinai. There are a lot of foriegn rocks imbedded in the walls of the National Cathedral. Did you know that's where Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan are buried? Downstairs in the crypt!

Show and Tell, courtesy of the lovely Blackbird.

Waiting for the images to download...

My parents are in town, on their way to a wedding in Michigan of folks they went to college with.

Ach! Downloaded one wrong picture!

We went to dinner at a former Catholic Church that is now a Brewery and Restaurant. It's called The Church Brew Works and is on Liberty Avenue. When I worked downtown, the bus passed it daily, so I saw it being transformed from vacant church to thriving restaurant. Their logos are a little tongue in cheek: on the water glasses, "And on the eighth day, man made beer." The food was fabulous!! I did not have beer, since I imbibed two Coronas this afternoon due to blinding cramps. (Tylenol is my only pain recourse and it doesn't really work for cramps.)

So, luckily, my parents have a key to my apartment and let themselves in, since I was sound asleep when they arrived. I hope to return to that state in the next half hour.

Oh, and if the text at the top is doing that disappearing thing, just run your mouse over the area and it's like magic. Because there *is* text above the first photo. Gotta love Blogger.

And I do!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I really don't wanna work, just wanna bang on the drums all day

Ugh. But I must. I have a pile of work before me, behind me, and around the corner. And Pandora is giving me the weirdest music so I'm going to have to put a CD in I think. Patsy Cline would fit this mood, methinks.

Yesterday I baked a cake.

Today I gardened.

Tomorrow, I will entertain my parents for an afternoon and a morning.

Am I turning into Susie Homemaker or what?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Babelbabe makes good on the offer of a cake--UPDATED with picture

Oh my. Pistachio cake is wonderful! And I learned how to make the title of a post a link--it was in the "Settings." (What things you learn when you watch BB post) (We made fun of Joe, the new dude on Blues Clues, too.)

Upcoming: a post on memes.

This is one of those testing 123 posts b/c I am going to BED! More later, though this is a busy week...

So, in case you were keeping track: The title of this post is a link to Babelbabe's promise to bake me a cake. (I don't know why it doesn't underline to let you know it's clickable.) I updated the "kinds of shoes" ie blogs that I link to, and I successfully changed the format of my archives. It was as easy as Badger said, I just wasn't paying attention.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Coming attractions...

Babs and I are making cake tomorrow! Pistachio cake to be exact. (B--we need 3/4 c. pistachios.) It's one of the cakes from Eat Cake. I promise to take pictures and post them. I am so excited!!

Bloggers Anonymous

(Warning: this is *one* of those posts, where SL takes it to the bone and the marrow.)

So now that I'm one, I'm all into, maybe I should be more defined or something. (No, actually, I think that about every third day.)

(I have got to get some breakfast--hold on!) Okay, raise your hand if you've had linguini Alfredo with broccoli for breakfast! (It's in a box in the kitchen, warming up.) So sue me, I really want to write and I don't want a cold breakfast.

So, some mornings I am disciplined and stuff and I read the Bible or listen to some praise music or look at my list of people I need to keep in touch with before I ever turn on the computer. Other mornings, I roll out of bed when my "gotta take that pill, NOW" alarm goes off on my cell phone, crawl back in bed, think better of it, and troll over to the computer. Yes, this is my life.

Sorry, it's "Lasagna Alfredo," and it has a minute thirty more. Patience is not necessarily a virtue I hold. Well, for some things....

Today was one of those troll to the computer right away mornings. I am not proud of it, and especially on a Sunday. But I have no real reason to go to church this morning (my church meets in the evening) (except that maybe I have a low grade depression thing going on and being around people would be a good thing...) Maybe I'll call Babs.

Sorry. Had to go see if that was my neighbor leaving (slam, slam go the doors) to discover that his sun roof was open overnight. (In Pittsburgh, it's raining.) Only to discover that the purple car sped off. Did a new tenant move into the first floor without my knowing? Gah! And where was s/he speeding off so rushy on a Sunday morning? (Yes, I know rushy isn't a word.) Church or a job? (We vote for #1, please let it be #1.)


Okay, tailspin over, back now, with my lasagna Alfredo. Yesterday I had book group with Abraham. (If you've been keeping track, that means I had *two* book group meetings yesterday.) (Mother Daughter was in the afternoon--and I actually had 3 moms and 3 girls--it was such a proud moment...) Oh yes, book group with Abraham. I never know if I should give people aliases or not. I mean BJ and John are BJ and John, but my real name is not Sarah Louise. Anyways, until further notice, I had book group with Abraham, who is the OD's intern. He is one of my favorite people and 24, just like my sister. He sort of has a blog that he maintains on a seasonal basis (spring, fall, winter...not that often). Enough backstory. Yesterday I had book group with Abraham. I was late, I fell on the stairs of the UP (Union Project) cafe and spilled my breakfast. He hadn't re-read the chapters since his first reading as he is in the throes of moving and life in general. Um, finals? (He goes to the local Seminary.)

So, Abraham. We actually spent more time talking about the OD and life in general than the book in question, which I found perfectly okay, since my motto these days is "Only connect." Besides, the book is sheer science fiction, about people who spend an hour in silent prayer daily and share living spaces with non-family and sell all their possessions to feed the poor... it is not the sort of book you would EVER read on your own unless you already did all those things. The only thing that keeps me reading is that I know I'm responsible for saying something witty when we meet. Yes, like "This is Science Fiction!" (Except that it's not.) Tailspin.

The point? So Abe and I got to talking about other stuff and I told him about my blogiversary and he said, "You know, I think you are the only person I know that would celebrate that." He meant it kindly. We got to talking about how the OD has this split personality where we are all about doing stuff together in person and then we have this website that is hard to navigate and doesn't really represent who we are and this forum that no one really reads or goes to. And Abe's like, but I don't think we should be an online community. And I said, but we are! We are a white church with highly educated people that sit in front of the computer all day. (And, people are coming, black and white, to the OD because they found our website.) It would be lovely if I could just pop into the office and say "hey there" to John and BJ, but my job is thirty minutes away and I work odd hours. So I'm not always available to be there "in person." He conceded I was right. But neither of us knew what to do about it. About us doing more stuff in person and online. Because, we have to do both. But we have to get better at both. Because (and Abe wrote this down) we are really good as a church at "packing our bags" but not so good at unpacking them. And why are Abe and I at the OD? Because we are sick and tired of moving and we've found a place we want to settle, so let's settle!

We discussed having a "Story day" where everyone tells their story. Because the only way I got Abe out of his particular tailspin was to ask him how many times he had moved as a child. It was a lot. And I never knew that. And though some of us have been with the OD since it met in the basement of Bellefield, I don't really know the people at my church.

I have this Bible verse on my desk in front of the computer. I got it off some blog. I have no clue what translation it is, but I like it: "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin." (Zechariah 4:10)

We are *such* a young church and we have so much potential, but are we going to be [unnamed country] (which my father says is the country of the future, and has been for the past fifty years). Are we going to try to be something we're not just so we can feed the needs in our community? And what is our community?

A quote from our book, "The N[ew] M[onasticism] serves itself not by concentrating on its own survival but by devoting its life to the eschaton revealed, established, and consummated by Jesus Christ." (p. 7)

In other words, we are not a social service. We are not here to save the world by bringing blankets. We are here to save souls. And anytime we think that giving away blankets is more important than the souls of the people who get the blankets, we are wrong. (And that is not my thought, but I can't find whose it is at the moment.) We can still give away blankets, don't get me wrong. But Jesus is the only person who can change someone else's life through and through. I am merely a conduit. And a very broken one, at that. (YES, I am a hypocrite.)

I didn't move with the OD to the East End because I believe in social justice or that we can "save" this neighborhood. I already live in this neighborhood, and have for over ten years. I continued going to the OD when it moved to the East End because it is the first church I've been to that is peopled by rebels. I never fit in before and I'm not sure I do now, but none of us do! I pick up trash with the best of them, but I am about relationships. And we are good, at the OD, about starting them. Not so good on the follow up.

My cell phone? Is always on my person or in my purse. I have 24 numbers that belong to people I have met through or at the OD. Of those, I keep in touch mostly with two women who used to attend the OD. None of the people in my cell phone from the OD are folks I'd call up just to chat. No, I call if I'm somewhere and I want to know why they're late or I'm late and I want to let them know.

I am a single woman, hungry for community. And where have I found it? Here, at Bloggers Anonymous. Babs lives walking distance (not that I've ever walked to her house) (Update--I did, today! It is no longer raining!) and I correspond regularly via email with Joke, occasionally with Blackbird, Badger, and others (I love you all!).

As for the OD, I am sanguine, and I live by the end verses in Habukkah.

Habakkuk 3:17-18:
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

As Joke would say, solo Dei gloria.

And in the category of "Easily Amused," the Oscar goes to...

There must be text here or Blogger does weird things with the post title...

I didn't know what a clapboard was, but I could not resist. Really, now that I have won three games of free cell (don't ask how many I played or replayed) and created two silly blog-things, I think I'll turn in...

Umm...Jan De Bont was the director for Speed and Twister. Just checking to see if you're awake! Of course, Blackbird can tell us if this is actually what they use...

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

You've seen it on Blackbird's blog, you found it Behind the stove, and now, at last, it has come to Pink Sneakers N'at. It's the Newspaper Clipping Generator.

Yes, some people are very easily amused. Other things you can create on this site include talking tomatoes and ninja text. Have at it!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blogiversary (Saturday)

Happy One Year, Pink Sneakers!

This week I'll post on different components of Blogger, so watch for some pretty cheesy post titles (I think my cheesiest so far is "Setting the table with Settings.") So far I've only written the one on comments but I have works in progress on the Dashboard, the Template, and yes, Settings.

I may link to some favorite moments and photos...

Comments on Comments

I love commenting on other people's blogs. If I see a post that doesn't have comments, I feel like it must be lonely, like not having gotten a valentine in the decorated shoebox in 4th grade. I want that post to be loved, to feel included.

Because to me, the whole idea of having a blog is comments. I mean, if I wanted a website where I just put up content, that would be one thing. But blogs become a conversation when people comment. You learn all sorts of things from people's comments.

In Blogger, people's comments can have an icon to show who they are. I love this! I have seen actual photos of Joke but I love to imagine him as the dapper Esquire man. Blackbird's is (shocking, isn't it) a blackbird! Babelbabe's is that girl from Scooby Doo. Not the one with the long hair, the other one. Gina's is a Lego person. Some people use their dogs (Lazy Cow) or childhood photos (Andrea, PJ). Mine is the pink shoes--which is a picture I took with a disposable camera on Memorial Day, 200? I have always liked taking pictures of my feet and I have to say, this is one of my favorite pictures, ever. I love the yellow lines on the parking lot... (It's the Wendy's in Harmar, on the way to the Penna Turnpike. I just had to share that because I'm obsessed with geography.)

People have different comment styles. Some people write a mini-novel (that would be me) on how that post reminded them of "that time, in band camp"... some people just say, "Wow, that's so cool." Some people (who shall remain nameless) shriek "Gah! I forgot to vote!" if your post is about how you're going off to vote, now. Some people don't comment, but tell you at a party that they've been reading your blog and they like it.

Comments are also a way to get to other people's blogs. In Blogger, most people's comments link back to their profiles and then back to their blogs. So if Blackbird is hosting a show and tell, she posts hers and then everyone comments, saying "I'm up!" and then you dutifully (well I do) go and visit them, and comment. To me, it's the modern day equivalent of having calling cards. If you comment on someone's blog and then they visit your blog and comment, well, you might have the potential for a blog friend! If they email you and it's not the email equivelant of hate mail, you're in! I have a bunch of regular and not so regular correspondents and some true kindred spirit friends that I've gained this way.

Then, of course, there are spam comments. They suck, which is why most people have word verification on their comment pages. And then there are ranting lunatics, who use the comment box as their soap box. John had a very interesting comment recently. He actually moderates his comments, which means that you see who commented and then you publish them at your discretion. I like the immediacy of people publishing their own comments. They or I can later delete comments. So, yes, if you commented at 4 am when you were feeling cranky, you can usually go back and delete your comment on your friend's blog. But most folks have their comments emailed to them (although this seems to be working sluggishly this week) so if your intent was to not offend the blogger whose blog you posted on at 4 am, you might want to send them an email too. (I speak from experience, of having regretted later the comment I left.) (And I was absolved.) (Thank you!)

Commenting has given me a new voice, as has blogging in general. Before, I was always careful to agree or not say anything. But Babelbabe and I disagree on some things and she has empowered me to disagree, in the comments. Joke is amazing at commenting on a controversial subject and deflecting it by making it humorous. (He's not called Joke for nothin') Back in December Babs and Gina posted about a big controversy about Target and their policy on dispensing contraception, emergency and otherwise. The posts are interesting enough, but if you didn't read the comments, you missed the iceberg under the water (and only got the tip).

I adore it when people comment and hate it when they don't. It's like that Sally Fields moment at the Oscars "You like me, you really like me!" I realize blogging is not a popularity contest but I never won those either. Whenever I discuss blogs with BJ, his blog-envy is that I get comments. And my blog-envy is that Babs gets them in the double digits. (The grass is always greener, my friends...)

Back in March, I had a hissy fit and begged for comments. I got 24! Which is where I'd like to be, because any more than that and it would be out of control. But when you have 24, you usually have a couple of folks that have come back to see what other people commented on *their* comment and then they comment again.

So, for the record, my stance on comments: they are a way of saying, hi, I was here, I read what you wrote. I hated/loved/feel indifferent about it. Monosyllabic comments are cool, as are novelettes. E.M. Forster has a quote (and no, I don't know which book it's from--but if you do, please comment!) that goes like this: "Only connect." And that is how I feel about comments.

Now, I know that many of my readers have children on their laps or are on their way to somewhere else, but hey, come up for air every once in a while. (And they do. For which I love them dearly!) One time Babs dear left four comments on one day. One of them was "I may not always comment but I'm commenting now!" (I love you, Babs!)

My favorite comment of all time is one that Blackbird left on one of Gina's posts. It was highly emotional, and Blackbird commented thusly, "I think I'm just going to stand over here and not say much of anything. Okay?" It was the kindest comment I'd ever read, because it said it all there: I'm here, but I don't know what to say, but I'm here!

My most drop my jaw comment was one (that same week) by Brenda Coulter, a true blue author, who found my post on Christian Romance novels via Technorati. I was BLOWN away.

Some fun facts about comments on my blog
(stats start on Dec 11, when I switched my comments email to hit my yahoo account.)

My first, second, (and third and fourth...) comments were from Babelbabe, who in all (since December has commented on my blog 32 times. (Her numbers are higher, I promise, but this is since December.)

My first comment that wasn't from Babelbabe: from Katy, who found me on Behind the Stove and was curious b/c her mom's name is Sarah Louise and she wanted to make sure it wasn't her mom.

Number of comments, in ascending order:

Erin, 30 times.

--erica, 39 times.

Blackbird has commented 73 times.

Joke, 151!! (are we surprised? No, I didn't think so.)

A short history of comments on my blog:

My first post that had 2 comments from two unique people was also my first spam, back on August 15, 2005.

My second third post that had 2 unique commenters was September 18. BJ posted two comments, John posted a comment, and I responded: so it was my highest commented post to date, 4!

My third second post that had 2 unique comments was on September 2--oh, I see, blogs are upside down in the archives too. Anyways, my good friend (we met through our blogs) Marlaena was noting that we were listening to the same album at the same time. (Cutless, Strong Tower.)

October 10: 5 unique comments!

October 23 marked my first comment total of 9! (a blogversattion)

Sunday November 13: I fall on my a$$ and get 11 comments: a blogversation between moi, Joke, and Babs!

Dec 9: my first REAL show and tell with my digi camera (happy birthday!) and 7 unique comments, some from folks I'd never heard of before!!

Dec 11: Babs shows me how to be confrontational in a blogversation.

Now, if you're new, you're like, who are all these people. I may or may not link up later. But now I am going to bed, because it is after midnight. It is so easy to lose track of time while composing and messing around in your archives...

(oh, and help! I want the archives to say Month Year, not the bizarre numbers like it is now.) (Advice?) (Appreciated, thank you.)

And my favorite song just came on (one of my favorites) "King of the Road."

Friday, May 19, 2006

List Friday graduates from college!

Well, Mrs. Pom asked for "advice for the graduate." Being my own creative self, I'm giving more than one list.

Advice/Things to avoid/Things to Do once you graduate:
  1. Hug your parents. Whether you got loans or paid for it yourself or they paid, you are a product of their hard work and encouragement. Go ahead, I'll wait.
  2. Back so soon? Hug them again.
  3. Stay in touch with your parents. A story? So, when I graduated high school, my parents moved to Poland (yes, that country that used to be communist.) When I graduated from college, they moved to Brazil (yes, not the movie, but the place on the other side of the equator.) I didn't take it personally, but it was a little hard to keep in touch. (Time differences, costly phone bills--which they paid for or #3 would have been toast.) My dad reads at least three newspapers a day, easier now in the e-era. He would mail me articles. I would read them on the bus and think of him. I never ever thought I would be the kind of daugther that called her parents every day. And that doesn't happen overnight and not everyone is like that. But I thought at some point my parents would be irrelevant, I'd start going to Vail or the Bahamas when I got some time off, and we'd see each other at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  4. If your parents aren't around (geographically or otherwise) find some wise adults. I have so many mothers it's not even funny. The church secretary and I did Mary Kay together, ages ago and she is dear dear dear to me. We've been in Bible Studies together....anyways, a lot of stuff. I know if I need a hug before work, I can drive through Oakland and get one or two.
  5. Which I guess brings me to the one that truly has saved my life: join a church. I know, you're on your own now, you want to sleep in on Sundays... Well, for me, there's a number one reason (Jesus) but even if that's not one of yours, here are the benefits: you will find those wise adults that can stand in for your parents. And if you're lucky, you'll find a priest or preacher who makes you laugh, and everyone knows that laughter is healthy, so there you go. Plus, singing. It's good for you.

Advice for the parents (SL, that list maker...)

1. If you say you'll pay for something (i.e. phone bills home or car insurance) warn them once you think they're ready to pay their way. My first job barely paid the bills and my father was in Brazil so he couldn't really understand that the only way I *was* paying my bills was that he was paying my car insurance. So after six months, he stopped. We didn't have a conversation--he just stopped. I did a major financial tailspin. TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT MONEY!!!

2. Hug your kids (this is a corrollary of 1, 2, and 3, above). I mean, I didn't exactly take it personally that they moved far far away when I graduated, but graduation and re-entrance into the non-academic world (Sorry, graduates, don't read this part.) JEST AIN'T A PIECE OF PIE. It took me 2 years to find a job I liked enough to stay at longer than a year and it took a Master's Degree and a diagnosis of bipolar and three years back in the nest (yes, I know, you thought they flew the coop permanently, but life happens) for me to find a job I loved at a living wage.

3. TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT CREDIT CARDS! Oh, this is crucial. They may have to learn the lesson on their own, but they will remember the conversation. It's like those commercials where they show kids and parents fishing and they say, "Talk to your kids about smoking." JUST DO IT.

4. Did I mention hug your kids? Even if you are not geographically close, send them a letter. Or an email. KEEP IN TOUCH. And connect them with extended family, if those happen to be geographically closer than you are. Heck, connect them with extended family, period. Family can save a life.

Graduates, you can open your eyes again.

A few closing thoughts:

It took me a long time to get a job I liked at a wage that didn't have me dependent on my credit cards. It took me a long time to figure out if I was still dating guys that looked like my first loser boyfriend, I might want to look into why he had such a grip hold on my heart. It took me a long time to realize that my parents sacrificed a lot for me. Be patient.

When I think back, I know that friends and family saved me. I owe a huge debt to my friends that I'll probably never be able to repay.

I hope that helps.

Oh, and one last thing: figure out early how to get to work on time. If you have to eat your breakfast in the breakroom, do it. This will pay dividends later. I gotta go wash my hair or I will be late for the staff in-service day.

Coming tomorrow: SL celebrates her blogiversary: one full year on the web, woo hoo!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Show and tell goes Organic: It's a graduation party!

Roses! We love roses!

Organic, as in naturally occurring, not planned out. (And after blogging for almost a full year--this weekend is my first anniversary--I just discovered the spell check!) (And, don'tcha think that blogging might be a word in the spell check for a blogging software? No--it recommended "flogging." Egad!)

Today I lay out photos from the party we had over the weekend. It was, I thought, a party to celebrate my sister's graduation from college. But, as my sister and I pulled up to my parent's house and I said, "Well, the party can start now, the honored guest is here," she replied, "Two of the honored guests." What?!?

Well, I love a surprise party, so I was thrilled and surprised that this party was not just for Beps but for moi, (I got my Master's in Library Science in 2002) and for Terzo (who got his B.A. in 2004). The invitation reads:

"We invite you to share our pride and joy...
(names and dates of us, the grads)
We never celebrated any of these accomplishments with family or friends.
So we invite you to come on Saturday, May 13 at 5 pm."

It was so much fun to see people I hadn't seen in decades. There were two couples my parents served with in Bonn, Germany (It used to be the capital of that great country...), a couple we knew from Warsaw, Poland, one of my dad's friends from college and his wife, neighbors...33 guests crossed the threshold at Walnut Street.

I felt like I was back overseas, at one of my parent's cocktail parties. It's my favorite kind--you talk to someone until you realize the food is ready and then you go get food and talk to someone else. People were the living room, the den, the porch...there was even a badmitten game going on in the yard. I didn't get to talk to everyone as much as I'd like, but all in all, it was lovely!

The cake, which was for all three--I didn't get a picture of the cake when it was whole, but I thought, perfect for the blog!

There was a rolled up "diploma" for each graduate.

Hysterical moments on the mini-road trip between Beps and moi from Winchester to NOVA:

Me: This was the first Madonna album I bought.
Bep: The Immaculate Collection?
Me: Like a Virgin.

(yes, we were listening to my sister's ipod which was playing through the van's stereo system through the magic of stereophonics) Do you see the generation gap, already?

(My sister is 24. I'm 34.)

That is all. Because I need to get some food and finish enjoying ELLEN'S 500TH SHOW!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More new stuff on the right!

My template and I are fair weather friends. Like right now, all the stuff (my profile, my links, etc.) are at the bottom of the blog for no explainable reason. I think it has something to do with amount of posts per page and length of post, etc. Someday I'll get the book Babs keeps recommending me and I'll go under the hood with my template. Right around the year 2010, when Babs gets a full night of sleep. (Maybe sooner, for both of us--we can only hope!)

So anyways, all that to say, I don't mess with my template daily. So I have a file on my desktop of links I want to add and when I get a list or I find a blog I absolutely have to add to my blogroll right this instant, I add them all.

What blogs are you adding today, SL?

Funny you should ask, dear reader! The blog I discovered today brings my geek meter up, waaayy up! If you use the DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification) you may squeal with glee. But it's my blog, so I'm adding it. This is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time (I live a quiet life.) If 398.2 doesn't look like a very exact cooking temperature, or seeing 974.71 makes you want to "start spreading the news..." this might be the blog for you. So, I present for your enjoyment, 025.431 The Dewey Blog.

I'm also adding Vickee's World. Vickee blogs from the Rockies and is very sweet. She's like me in that we have the same comment style (a little story of our own about the post that's up), so I feel I've found a kindred spirit. She won my heart when she praised my post on dream jobs, which I linked up. She loved my links...bless her! I recommend her blog. She's a fun one.

Jeanne is another new add-ee. She's a knitter and a librarian. She posts pictures of knitting (yes, really!) and art (very cool) and has a regular feature that I still don't understand called "Swing Jacket Monday." Her blog is called A Bluestocking Knits and I think it is very cool.

Another newcomer to Pink Sneakers N'at is I heart Pittsburgh, which is, you guessed it, all about our fair city. It was the first link that came up on Google when I searched for Hope College coffee Beleza. (A new coffee shop on the No. Side run by some kids my bro Terzo went to school with!) (More on that, later on!)

That's all for I must go under the hood with my template. Wish me luck!

*398.2 is the number for folk and fairy tales. 974.71 is the number for history of New York City.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Home is the sailor, home from sea, and the hunter home from the hill. (Updated)

(Robert Louis Stevenson)

Back in the garret!! I had 5 phone messages, and every single one was a politician telling me who to vote for in the primaries tomorrow. Ugh.
(Tuesday noon) On the way home yesterday, stopped in one of my favorite historical towns, Fort Ligonier. They have the best shops! I picked up a k.d. lang cassette for a buck fifty at a resale shop (a God-send as my car radio is dying and less able to pick up the barely pickupable stations across Pennsylvania.)

These tulips were begging for their picture to be taken--aren't they lovely? I'll write more about my trek northwest to Southwestern PA in the days to come.

Lunch, and then vote. Then off to ze job.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

My mother:
  • looks 10 years younger than other women her age.
  • went to Antartica this year with my dad.
  • when asked by my sister what she wanted for Mother's day, said, ''help me with the rain garden" (translated: help me pile dirt into this hole in the backyard.) My sister was thrilled...not!
  • Nicknames: Aunt Chirp; Ever Crabby Aunt Chirp (by my cousins on my mom's side.)
  • Was a camp counselor, so taught us all the songs, including this one about a cannibal king with a big nose ring who fell in love with the dusting maid, and every night by the pale moonlight, it sounded like this to me-eee...
  • Loves the outdoors. Loves her garden. Loves tomatoes. Is very environmentally conscious.
  • Does not like (but secretly loves) my sister's rabbit. Love in this context is in the sense of taking care of something's welfare even when it pees on your carpet.
  • Does not like adultery or sex on TV or in movies.
  • Forbade me to watch soap operas as a girl.
  • Would give me a toothbrush with dish soap if she heard me using "the Lord's name" in vain with my girlfriends on the phone
  • People always say we look alike. We had the same haircut for awhile. People always mistake us for each other on the phone.
  • Hospitality is in her blood. The party we had yesterday was not just for my sister, but for *my* master's degree 4 years ago and for my brother's B.A. last year. We had people we knew from Warsaw (Poland), Bonn (Germany), Hope College (my parent's friends and my brother's friend), neighbors from the street, people we knew from Brazil...
  • Forever finds me a shirt or something at yard sales.
  • Hates clutter. She used to pay me 50 cents a trash can when I was younger. "Get rid of it, get rid of it!"
  • Always asks me if my dishes are clean when we talk on the phone.
  • Is not one of those moms who most greeting cards are written for.
  • Can be exceedingly silly.
  • Is one of my favorite people in the world.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.

(Song of Solomon 2:1) I love thee, let me count the ways. A memorable scene from the movie Enchanted April (it's a crime the quote isn't on their memorable quotes page on!) (a crime, I tell you!) is where Mr. Wilkins says to his wife, Lottie, (not a direct quote):

"Flowers are the worst extravagance--they just die! Lottie, I am not a rich man. I own no bonds. What would happen if I was hit by a streetcar and you were still buying flowers?"

My favorite flowers (List Friday, courtesy of Mrs. Pom):
  • Tulips. Red, then pink, then the ones that are all swirly colored.
  • Roses. Red, but I'll take chocolate ones any day...
  • All other flowers.

Yes, I'm that discriminating!! I have silk flowers of all types all over my apartment and when tulips are 6.99 at Whole Foods or Giant Eagle, I generally splurge. I'm partial to brown eyed Susans, which are the state flower of Maryland. So "scenic overlooks" and such are all marked by brown eyed Susans... (I refuse to call them black eyed Susans, it sounds so violent!)

Someday I hope to go to Tulip Time, which takes place in Holland, Michigan, where my parents, grandparents, and baby brother all went for college, at Hope College. (Actually, I think both my aunts started there and then transferred out.) I almost went there (who couldn't love a school whose motto is "Hope in God" from Psalm 42:5, which is a pretty depressing Psalm until you get to the end) but ended up here in da Burgh.

Gotta go (um, I'm sposed to be packing, for my weekend away, but I'll take any excuse to go shopping with Babs!) to Fox Books.


'mback--I got Babs to buy my favorite book (at the moment) Eat Cake. You should read it too!

I promise next week to take time with you--I've been writing on the quick this past week...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

We three Kings of Orient are (Bearing Gifts, we traverse afar)

Today's show and tell is tee shirts. I have many favorites, but after all the picture posting I did yesterday--go, now, admire, comment! (I'll wait.) I decided to just take pics of one tee shirt. (Which is correct, tee shirt or t-shirt?)

But I also had to fulfill an earlier obligation, of showing you what Blackbird and Babelbabe picked out for me in Bethlehem. And last night, I had visitors from Thailand.

From the left: (from Thailand) Masman Curry Paste (which you make with potatoes, chicken, and peanuts) and has directions in English AND Thai. I'll be using the English directions. The cutest salt and pepper shaker set I've ever seen! They're two people hugging! The holes for the salt and pepper to come out are their eyes and noses! (Well, only the pepper has a nose--is that for sneezing?) (from Bethlehem, PA) Pink feet!! (they're bath oil!) They didn't have pink sneakers, but I love them!!! Thank you, dolls!!

So it's a catchall show and tell. I had to travel all the way to Boston to get my tee (t-) shirt.

It's from the folks at Unshelved, a hilarious comic strip about a library.

Blogger takes its own darn time posting those pictures...

Show and tell, courtesy of Blackbird.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If you like pictures, just keep scrolling.

Just read the post that seemed BRILLIANT at 7:53 when I started, but hey, the pictures are great.

Sarah Louise writes about Kathleen Norris, Pt. 2

I own every book of Kathleen Norris' that I've read in hardcover. I have not read Dakota, or Little Girls in Church, so I own them in paperback.

I have given Dakota as a gift, which is rare for me (that I would give a gift of a book I've not read.) I have given Cloister Walk as a gift, I'm pretty sure.

The Cloister Walk, which was Kathleen's second memoir (Dakota being the first) was recommended to me by a co-worker at Fox Books, Gene. I think in an earlier life Gene was a pilot. He was a very thoughtful man, when I knew him, and I imagine he still is. He read a lot of great books, and he was good at recommending the right books to the right person. (Pretty important in retail books, as in librarianship.)

In my copy of CW, I just discovered a letter I started to Kathleen. It is in pencil, on the back side of drafts of my mother's kindergarten worksheets. "Thank you for sharing your words with the rest of us. A Catholic co-worker admonished me for months to read CW. I started and soon went out and got my own copy of the hardcover. When Amazing Grace was released, I bought it in the first week." (Aside: now, remember that I am a book slave--um, when I worked in retail I really couldn't afford those hardcovers.) (So this is a high compliment of KN's writing.)

I remember that week that I bought AG--I was depressed after an exhausting relationship. My copy of AG is water marked and missing its dust jacket because I read it in the bath. In it, I have a bookmark that I made of a quote by Father William McNamara. "We must be overwhelmed by the leonine surprise of his personal passionate prescence." I also have a folded up copy of the brochure that advertised that KN was coming to the Seminary, where I saw her recently.

I am exhausted like that now. The retreat was a battle of prayer. It was heart surgery. It was letting go of crap that, personally, was very hard to give up. At one point, on Saturday, I had a fight with Emily and I ran to the comfort of my car, where I found my headphones and listened to some praise music, and read Lamentations 3:22-24, "great is thy faithfulness." At another point, later that afternoon, I so wanted to just grab my car keys and run. Instead, I fell asleep. But I stuck it out, and at the end, Emily and I were dancing with glee for the work that had been done.

I am going in to work late today and Friday, as my life has expanded beyond the time I had. Ever grateful am I that I have that kind of flexibility. Tonight I'm hosting friends who are missionaries in Thailand. The group will be small. (But it will include their two sons!) I invited many people that I knew would not be able to come, as I knew they had Wednesday obligations. But this is an important event for me and I would rather invite them and have them RSVP "non" than have them hear from someone else I had the event and didn't invite them--and I wanted them to know they were important to me--because sharing food is one of the most intimate things we can do. Asking someone into your house, to share food with you, is intimate. So, I know that when these folks RSPD'd "non" it is not personal, but it still hurts. Ach, any rejection does, if our hearts are tender.

I have some pictures, wanna see?

It takes awhile (a while?) for them to download. These are pics from Sunday, when I went for the second week in a row to the Southside Works. I went again to the Cheesecake Factory. I had their baked potato soup. Last week, my movie started at 1:51. This week, it started at 1:15, so as soon as my food came, I asked for the check.

(Um, I just deleted all my pictures. Note to my fellow bloggers: "Recover post" LIES! Like a big dog.) Scuse me while I SCREAM! (Save, save, save. Whenever you add something, save!)

Okay, I'm back. Did I mention that I took this morning off so that I could continue cleaning house, not so that I could blog? But I made a lot of progress while the photos downloaded last time, so let's TRY. THIS. AGAIN. (As you were, smiling...)

Hey, it's not called Pink Sneakers for nothin'--and I am wearing jeans on both legs. D'ya see the mark on the right ankle strap? That's from when I kissed the pavement (yes, flat on my face) at Auto Advantage (that'll teach me to recycle my oil!) and tore my favorite brown pants. Tar-get fixed all, though.
This is my "view," the picture I must take again and again, just like Suse. I still think she wins, though. But notice the pink pavement...
Flowers by where I park my car in the summer at work (in the shade!). Mama would be proud.
More Southside Works. The captions were funny, before, but oh well.
More of my favorite fountain...
...makes the world go round (which is a song from my favorite musical, Carnival, which few folks have heard of. I wonder if Babs and Andrea know it?) (Sorry, couldn't find a link for Andrea. But all her post titles are songs from musicals. I think it's a brilliant technique and am quite jealous.)
Why did Arnold S. have to marry Maria Shriver?
So there would be a bullet-proof Kennedy. I wonder if Babs' cell phone still rings to the theme of the Godfather?

The date stamp tells me I've been working (on and off, you understand, and I can see large pieces of carpet now) on this post since 7:53 am. Ay, caramba!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sarah Louise writes (ack) about a book she's never read!

Okay, so I haven't decided yet if I'm gonna read the Da Vinci Code. I mean, all my friends have, so I figure, they've read for my quota. (Which is basically what I said about Harry Potter 3 years ago.) (Which, if you haven't met me, I adore.)

But the Da Vinci Code, well, I don't know. But, I've been wanting to introduce you to my friend (actuallly we've never met, but he emails me every day) John Fisher.

An intro: John Fisher is a coffee drinking Christian who shoots straight. If you read no other essay on the Da Vinci code, read his. What does he say? "The last time I mentioned The Da Vinci Code, I was on page 234. Well I have finished the book now, and as an author of three novels, I think I understand what is happening here. Let me explain." IT'S FICTION! But, friends, he goes on to say, it's fiction about some pretty important stuff, so don't take this lightly. (Hey, and unlike Salon, you don't have to watch a commercial before you get to the article) (Sorry, Babs!)

The link is also a link to The Purpose Driven Cafe

(Joke, what is the alt-### for the accent?)
(Bite me!)

which is new, due to Starbucks putting a Rick Warren quote on Starbucks cups. If you are rolling your eyes now, (I saw that! You know who you are!) know this: Rick Warren backwards tithes.

Um, what does that mean, SL?

That means that all the cash he made and is still making off his runaway bestsellers, The Purpose Driven Life, and so on, instead of giving a regular tithe (10%) he gives 90%.

Yes, you read that right.

Whatever else you might think or know about Rick Warren (link to a Christianity Today article), he and his wife give away 90% of what they make to God's work. And they are serious about AIDS in Africa. (Stopping it, that is, and helping those that have it or are orphaned as a result.)

And yes, I will blog more about Patricia M, Kathleen N, and, yes, my weekend at Cleansing Stream. Patience is a virtue, folks. And I gotta go. Ciao!

Oh, and other coming attractions:
  • the cunningly wrapped item that Babs and blackbird picked out from me in Bethlehem.
  • more pictures of the Southside Works and a short review of Hoot: see it!

And this just heard: the Dormont pool WILL open! Google it yourself, I really must run.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sarah Louise writes about Kathleen Norris, Pt. 1

Kathleen Norris has short hair. Short short. In all her publicity photos, her hair is at least shoulder-length, framing her face, so you are surprised when this ordinary woman (who has been sitting in a chair on the stage) gets up and introduces herself as Kathleen. You thought she might look less...well, she's wearing drab colors, but she has these silver shoes. They don't match her hose, which is dark. When you hear she lives half the year in one of the Dakotas (North? South?) and the other half in Hawaii, you somehow think of Kansas and Dorothy--are Kathleen's shoes magic too? If she clicks her heels three times and says "There's no place like home" would she land in Hawaii or in the Dakotas? Kathleen surely has some sort of magic, because she has the audience in the palm of her hand. When she reads her poetry or the poetry of other great poets in the American oevre, the audience humms in approval as she finishes. It reminds you of the crickets in Mouse Soup. She talked twice: at 2, she talked about words and how they matter. At 4, she reads her poetry and the poetry of other Americans.

....stay tuned for "Sarah Louise writes about Patricia Maclachlan" (author of Sarah Plain and Tall.)

A few scraps:
  • The retreat was AMAZING! Not really sure how I'd begin to write about it...
  • The conference was too: for you Pghers, Dave Crawley sat at my lunch table! "Hi, can I sit here?" he asked. "My name is Dave." (We know who you are...)
  • Am exhausted and bed must be gotten into. Tomorrow is a full day, including a Mary Kay facial at 4!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The other night I came home late, and tried to unlock my house with my car keys. I started the house up.

(Steven Wright)

Whenever I walk from the car to the house, in my hand, I single out the car key, as if that is going to open my door, and I think of this Steven Wright quote, which I must have heard when I was in college.

I've locked myself out once. It's how I met Minnie, the Italian lady that lives across the street. I pulled the door shut and something in that sound said goodbye. (Actually, that's a Garrison Keillor line.) My neighbor downstairs used to lock himself out a lot.

But the best locked out of the house story is one where I was the locker outer, not the locked out. Rather, my friend was locked in...just read. It makes sense. I had just moved to the house where I currently live, and was on my way out the door to work. But first I went down to get something in the laundry room. Sally was down there, in her house coat, and we chatted. I came up the stairs, instinctively shut out the light, and put the little hook in the eye. Yes, with Sally down there still. I went off to work. I read a story to the children about sea turtles. After I was done with the story, my manager Doug said I had a phone call, and that it was okay for me to go home. I took the phone call, which was Sally, whom I'd locked in the basement. Fortunately for both of us, there was a side door to the basement that opened to the outside. So, in her house coat, she left the basement, went to the neighbor's, and called me at the store. (This is when I worked for Fox Books.) I immediately drove home and let Sally into the house. Thankfully, we laugh about this story to this day. And we are still friends! Suffice to say, the hook and eye got taken off the basement door, which means that it is always ajar. Sally has since moved into her own home with her lovely husband and two boys. We each have keys to each other's house, in case we're ever locked out, but actually, we use them more to get into each other's houses when we're out of town. (I'll feed their frogs, for instance.)

My keys. I have a lot. I have my own house keys, house keys to Sally's house, office keys for work, my car keys, a flashlight that emits a blue light, and yes, what's that? A Hello Kitty Sticker Holder? Well, it did hold stickers, yes, once upon a time, but I use it for pills. It is perfect as it has 5 different slots, which is as many times a day as I take pills. I own three and rotate them. This is especially helpful when I travel, because I can fill them up to three days in advance!

Oh, and my father wishes all of you a happy Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you...) I didn't say *I* wished you that--I have a feeling my dad and Joke would get on real well.

Show and tell, courtesy of Blackbird.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

For Erin, because I said I would.

There are some stories we tell again and again, because we like them, and they feed us. The story of my sister's arriving day is one. The story of how Hosea 10:12 came to be *my* verse is another.

Some background: the weekend that hosts the Golden Globes is an emotional one for me. On that weekend, I broke up with a boyfriend, and the Fox Books I worked at flooded two years in a row (yes, on the same weekend...I thought it quite odd...) So last year, in January, on the weekend of the Golden Globes, I was having dinner with some friends (Emily being one). And I was really struggling, because the painful memories were clinging to me. So after everyone had left and it was just Emily, Diana, and myself, I asked if they would pray for me. Now Diana is one of those people that when she prays, she sees pictures. And she gets verses. And I just wanted so much to be like her. She got a picture of me ice skating gleefully.

The next morning, I woke up and I said to God, I want a verse. Give me a verse. Now, I don't often hear God speaking to me, and this was more of a silent thought, but it came through, Hosea 10:12. "There's no Hosea 10:12," I said. But I got up, out of my bed, and went found a Bible, and sure enough, there was a Hosea 10:12, and it was a verse that really fit where I was, where I still am.

The NLT translates it this way:
"I said, `Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you."

I cling to this verse, because I know I have hard ground in my heart that needs to be rototilled. I know that I need righteousness showered upon me. And I want to seek the Lord.

This weekend, I'm going to a Cleansing Stream retreat. I went last year, and at one point, Emily and I were talking and she said, "You know, SL, you need to work the soil in your life, get the weeds out." "THAT'S LIKE MY VERSE!" (Which I hadn't told her about yet.) So at dinner, I regaled them all with the story of how Hosea 10:12 became my verse. Unfortunately for them, I talk with my hands and I was the one scooping ice cream, so every time I came to a point in the story... (well, the ice cream was melting...)

I think this year I'll bring the ice cream and let some one else do the scooping while I talk with my hands...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I don't wanna work, I just want to bang on the drums all day...

It's a dangerous thing when I'm the only one at work on a Tuesday night. But I have my work cut out for me, and I've just put my music on, so here goes. Let's see how many things we can get through in the next hour.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sarah Louise spends Sunday on the South Side (can you say that 5 times fast?)

The South Side Works is the newest "mall" in Pittsburgh. It's a shopping area, there's not any inside stores like a mall, but it's not a shopping center. They have a Cheesecake Factory. I had a lovely lunch there. They had other signs like this one, that said "work" or "create."
Proof that just about anywhere in Pittsburgh you can see the Cathedral of Learning. And how apropos, it was graduation day! (The Cathedral is a classroom for the University of Pittsburgh.)
Cool fountains! (At a moment when there weren't any children playing in it--temps here are in the 70s.) (that's Fahrenheit.)
Why thank you! There were signs like this one all over too, with quotes from movies, like "I want some more, please" (actually did they make Oliver! into a movie? It's from the play, anyways.) and other cool stuff. (and things) (Because I'm feeling so articulate...)

Anyways, I forgot to take pics of my new shoes. Next time!

Snippets on a Monday morning...

sign at Labriola's Italian market: children who are left unattended will be SOLD.

our bagger at Giant Eagle uses a cane. 'Nuff said.

when Babelbabe wins the lottery, she owes part to the fish man. You read it here first, folks!

songs I've been hearing, that have been triggering memories of my thesis in college:

"Somewhere over the rainbow", sung at the senior luncheon by a friend who I had a bad fight with earlier that year.

"When there's no getting over the rainbow," sung by the Carpenters--in my mind, the only friend (steel yourself, my dear pagan friends) I couldn't live without is Jesus. I'm sure I have a ton of eye-rollers at the moment, but this is snippets, not the Bible hour, so moving right along...

My retirement locale was featured in the New York Times (great--push real estate prices up up up--and you're crazy if you think I'm going to broadcast the locale over the 'net)

My thesis in college is a piece I have been re-working since (um, I graduated in 1993, you do the math). It was written about a girl whose love wants to propose but first he asks the question, "Have you ever loved someone?" a question she is afraid to answer. She tells him a story about a friendship she had that was ruined when the other girl got a beau. At the end, there's a dream scene and darned if I don't have it saved on Word somewhere (nor can I find the hard copy!). The dream scene involves two dancers, one tap dancing, one ballet dancing. The storyteller comes on stage and says, "I have no words for you, for I have wasted them all. But I'll read these to you, upside down and backwards:
'Here in the frontier, there are falling leaves
Although my neighbors are all barbarians
And you, you are
a thousand miles away,
there are always
on my table'"

(i didn't write that last bit: it's from the T'ang Dynasty)

I have pictures. I'll post them later. Now I must off to work to finish moving some records--ah the glam job of a catalog librarian!!

Lunch: rolled eggplant from Labriola's. Yes, I ate it all. It was very good.

Oh, and run, do not walk, to your local movie theatre: and yes, you can take your kids: Akeelah and the Bee. Amazing does not begin to describe it.

Sorry no links, I really need to drive off to work. (On my day off, no less.)

Can you see the procrastination?

It's called one more line.

Just one more.

One more.


more....okay, I'm going.