Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I forgot what today is!!!

It's the last day of this vile vile month!! WOO HOO!

So, just for you, dear internets, top ten reasons why I am not sad to say goodbye to October:
  1. All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray...
  2. My grandfather and everyone's grandfather died in October the year I was a college senior.
  3. No major holidays/birthdays (I don't count Columbus Day or Hallowe'en)
  4. How sad is it that I can't come up with more than four?
Reasons I'm glad tomorrow will be November:
  1. My cousin's birthday, inagurating the birthday/Christmas season, woo hoo!
  2. Thanksgiving!!
  3. My birthday!! (and I'll be 35!!)
  4. Did I mention how much I LOVE CHRISTMAS??? I'm one of those crazy people that LIKED working Retail Christmas--I loved helping grandmas pick out books for their grandchildren especially.
Okay, is this like the lamest list posting? Don't answer that.

And here's a Hallowe'en joke...

What does a ghoul go shopping for? Grosseries!

This is where the post about how great Studio 60 was would be....

...except that I fell asleep before nine pm on the sofa. See, I was waiting until nine to call Em (when her cell minutes start)...

Whateve. It's that week, so all bets on sleeping, alcohol consumption and actual work done are off. Although, I have got to majorly boogy when it comes to the apartment redd-up for the party--oh, and the heater man didn't come. Fortunately it's not so cold.

Oh, and Happy Hallowe'en! I don't think I've really celebrated/dressed up for like three years (when I dressed up as...wait for it...the color pink!) Marian dressed up as a road--she wore black and had yellow stripes down her middle--it was classic!

Well, off for my walk.

Oh, and the dentist was fine. I mean, as fine as it could be. I get to go back for the right side of my mouth on Thursday--yum!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

(Psalm 33:3, RSV)

Your resident blogger (me) is all tuckered out--I actually slept in this morning. Bizarre dreams about Sandra Bullock and Seinfeld (what is his first name--too lazy to Google it...)

The retreat was awesome. I did a lot of listening--I hope more listening than talking. (Although I always seem to need to make my particular viewpoint known...)

More on that later, as I digest it. Today will be a day of labor in the morning (I had to move stuff so that the heating guy could look at my heater...no news so far...except that my water pump is broken.) It's about 50 degrees Fahrenheit in here (brrrr.)

Also, planning on the birthday party. I started a guest list last night during BJ's sermon (which I had already heard in the morning at the retreat--so I could listen with one hear, honest!!). My mom and I talked about it and she said, you should count on 2/3 or less of the people invited to come. In some ways I'd love to open it up to the Open Door community, but my space is so small. Yet, it feels like holding my hands in a fist...there are certain things in my life that have Bible verses attached, and one of them is parties:

"Then he turned to the host. "The next time you put on a dinner, don't just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You'll be—and experience—a blessing. They won't be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God's people." (Luke 14:12-14, The Message)

So this post was going to just be, hey look, new things going on at PCUSA Blog, "A community for those whose blogging is decent and in order." They now have content for every day of the week and Sunday's post was on the Lectionary, one of the blind men stories.

Well, I better go get some breakfast. Or maybe I should catch a shower, since I have no idea when the heater guy is showing up. Well, anyways, have a great Monday. I'll be sitting in the dentist's chair around 3:30, thinking about my upcoming visit to the beach...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Blogging as a Spiritual Practice, and Listening

So, I've been cleaning out my work email, and came upon this link. It talks about journaling as a spiritual discipline and gives writing prompts.

This blog has become sort of a spiritual practice for me--if I'm writing only for myself, I save it on my PC or in my "drafts," but if I want to share my thoughts, I pen them here. This weekend at the OD retreat we're going to talk about the practices that define our community: listening, learning, eating, encouraging, giving. I said I would be willing to share a story on listening...

Writing is, for me, a way of listening to myself. Often I don't know what I think about something until I get it down on the page. That was certainly the case this past Saturday morning when instead of taking a walk, I wrote and wrote and wrote. And re-wrote--because all good writing is re-writing. I probably went easily throught eight drafts. And I read it out loud. And I timed my readings. And each time, I tightened the writing. And I stayed at my desk, writing, until I found the happy ending. I don't always have that luxury, of course, but it was nice that that morning I did.

My walks are another way I listen. I have a portable CD player that has its own specially decorated purse and it has one of three or four praise music CDs that I rotate on a semi-regular basis. Right now I'm listening to Surrounded, which is a CD produced by a praise team at Hope College. My brother gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. For a few years, I walked the seminary nearby, listening and praying as I walked. But this summer I ventured east and now my standard walk takes me past the tennis courts and between the horses that guard the entrance to Highland Park. There are 17 tracks on the Surrounded CD and depending on the legnth of my walk, I may get through 5 or 8 or all 17. My favorite is an old hymn that recently has been set to at least one contemporary arrangement: Take My Life and Let it Be. It is the 5th track and often I will skip forward to it. We've been singing it to a different tune and arrangement as the benediction for our series on the Practices at the OD.

On the CD, right after Take My Life.. comes a spoken word piece from Psalm 139. "God, investigate my life..." Interesting that until now, I thought it was "God, you investigate my life." But the text, as I just pulled it up from Biblegateway.com, is "God, investigate my life," which is a declarative statement, a request. Other translations say "You have searched me..." or "You have examined my life."

Lately, I have had to listen harder. There's been less actual sound--today when I called to chat, all I got were machines. And I don't have my site meter up on the beta so I have no clue if yins really are showing up. (Although pictures of shoes seem to always garner comments...)

I've been learnign to listen to my body, which ironically often involves me chatting. Em will sometimes call in the morning and just listen as I try out ideas for the day. I'm learning that it's not enough to have a plan for the day--said plan may get thwarted, like today's plan to get ready for the retreat BEFORE work. (I snuggled under the covers, dozed into the early afternoon, as I fought my cold to the health of it.) Sunday I had planned to go to the 11:20 showing of One Night with the King at the Waterfront, but that was thwarted by my watch stopping. I was delighted that it was still 10:20 as I walked home from Tazza. I was surprised when I got home and realized it was already 11:00 and I still had dirty hair. So I changed plans and ended up going to the movies in the North Hills (where I pretty much live anyways) where I was able to rendevous with Eileen briefly before my trek back to the city. Saturday night, I was supposed to go skating. Instead, my body decided to take a nap. Which meant that I didn't miss a call from my dear friend Katie.

Today, as I wrote an email to Eileen, I realized I didn't have to be superwoman and be a driver for the retreat. Which meant a few things: I could wait to get my oil changed, I wouldn't have to study the map, and I wouldn't have to clear out my car! Had I not sat down to pen those words to Eileen, the thought might not have occurred to me.

Right now, my stomach is saying "I'm hungry" which it has every right to do, as my dinner consisted of a can of chicken noodle soup. I'll stop at Taco Bell on the way home.

And I feel like I'm running out of steam, big time. Sleep is calling me...I have 26 minutes left at work and then a half hour drive home and then a visit to Walgreens.

Listening suggests that there is something to be listened for. If a tree falls in a forest and noone hears it, does it make a sound? If there aren't ears to hear, is there sound?

Who do I listen to? I listen to my friends, I listen to my boss, I listen to my family, I listen to my body, and I ultimately listen to God.

I'm listening for you...are you there?

Wish you were here...

I just finished reading Eat Cake for the zillionth time. And as I did that, I remembered the pistachio cake I made with Babs eons ago.

I have been purging. I need to get my computer ready for XP, so I've been deleting old files. I have to get my work email to a manageable size so I have been deleting old emails. I had to figure out which six images to use for the upcoming Unwrapped event, so I've been looking at old photos.

And I feel like I'm in a different place. My old life, which could be yesterday, or last month, or three months ago, is in Idaho. I'm here in Pittsburgh, sending a postcard to that other time, which wasn't simpler but in my memory seems that way, saying "It's sunny here, wish you were here."

It's not sunny here. We sing "You are My Sunshine" every week at Mother Goose, because it's the one guaranteed sunshine in Pittsburgh. And I might be getting a cold. Rather, I have the beginnings of one. I woke up achy and a little sniffly and I just want to crawl under the covers. I want my mommy. But no, I have to get ready for the retreat this weekend, which means packing a bag, finding my sleeping bag, prepping my meds. I have to get the oil changed in my car. (The light has been coming on intermittently for the past three days but this morning is the earliest block of time I had.)

"A bruised reed he will not crush, a dim wick he will not quench." (Isaiah 42:3)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

State your purpose....

ACK! You, dear internets, are the recipients of the angst I'm experiencing as I prepare my first "official" artist's statement. Now, I say "official" because I have written artist's statements before, for my two Stations of the Cross for the Open Door. The first year I did a collage on a Kleenex box of different images of Veronica's Veil with some of the lyrics from "Veronica" by Elvis Costello. The idea was that it was a participatory piece of art--take a Kleenex and remember that Veronica used a cloth to wipe Christ's face. My artist's statement (which I just found, as I've been cleaning out my email) was the following:

When I first moved back to Pittsburgh, I dated a guy who lived on the South Side, up in Allentown. I loved all the funny roads I had to take to get back to the city. One of those roads was 12th Street, the address of the Veronica's Veil Auditorium, where a passion play about Veronica has played for 86 continuous years. It is a play written in Pittsburgh by two priests, taking place in the time of Christ and the first martyrs. Somewhere in the middle, I became Catholic for about 3 years (or so) before I came to the Open Door. Since Veronica had intrigued me, I thought I'd find out more about her. This piece is an interpretation of extra-Biblical lore-it is meant to make you think, but do not rely on its absolute veracity. Also, my first college roommate's name was Veronica, right around the time Elvis Costello's song was popular.

My second artist's statement was for the following year, and it's probably tucked in some safe (read=hidden) file in my PC. This time I had the station that dealt with Jesus speaking to the women of Jerusalem (which was not at all comforting). He basically tells them that they will face horrible times ahead. So I made greeting cards, a very womanly media.

But this artist's statement is for Unwrapped, an art show the Union Project has put on for the past five? years. The first year that the OD participated, the show was housed at Bellefield (the OD's mother church) and I was BJ's right hand in on-site preparation.

I've been taking digital pictures for almost a year. I got my camera because I wanted to take part in Blackbird's now defunct (or just taking a long holiday) Show and Tell. I got the exact same camera that Babs has, a Canon A-something. It didn't take long for me to transition from just taking pictures for S&T to carrying my camera with me everywhere, including on my now almost daily morning walks. The first decent picture I took of a spiderweb blew me away--how could I have been so blessed to capture that moment? and others liked it too. So that will be one of my "submissions" for the show. I have to actually (yes, this is official) send in a $10 fee and be accepted (or rejected) for the show.

I have been taking pictures since my mom gave me her Brownie camera when I was around nine or ten. I have loads of pictures of trickling waterfalls on the side of the roads outside Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where we lived at the time. When we moved back to Silver Spring, Maryland, I would take walks and photograph cats sitting on windowsills, or interesting houses. I would dress up in my mom's clothes and put on make-up and take endless self-portraits. I still have some of them, somewhere.

I like taking candid shots--catching someone on film unawares. This is easier if your camera doesn't make a noise when it takes a picture--a feature of most (but not mine) digital cameras.

But this year, as I've taken my camera on my morning walks, taking photographs has been a way of looking at things more closely. By trying to frame the image in the viewfinder, I see something I might have missed if I had merely looked at whatever it was I was trying to capture on film. And because with digital photography, I don't have to print each image captured, I have more freedom to take ten pictures of one thing and see on my tiny screen what the picture will look like, right away.

My artist's statement has to tie into the themes of the Union Project: connect, create, celebrate. I think this is the part where my stomach goes ker-flip. Ack. I have pictures of flowers and spiderwebs using the easiest medium available: digital photography. Am I really creating or just capturing a moment? How do my pictures connect--they are mostly still lifes or spiders, not of people (which is what I think of when I think of connect). Celebrate--it would be a celebratory moment if my pictures got into an actual show that I could be rejected from.

Which is not, I'm thinking, what the dear folks at the UP want. I have printed some stuff from a good old Google search which help on the whole statement part but not the connect, celebrate or create bit.

Let's see what Webster says:

connect: unite, fasten together, join. Actually one of the most unromantic street names that I often see on my walk, depending on the route I take is "Connecting Road." But still, I don't see the connection (ha ha) between that and my photos. Let's keep going....

create: orginate, cause, produce. I suppose while I don't create the moment, I am "producing" a picture of it, much like an executive producer produces a TV show (I'm stretching here, just go with me on this...)

celebrate: observe in a special way, praise, honor, solemnize. Well, this is one I can sink my teeth into. When I take my pictures, I am observing them (ha ha, in the visual sense, not a holiday sense) in a special way. I am praising my Creator for what he has created and honoring him by recording the moment. I am often solemn as I peer at the spiders in their webs, awestruck at their minute and fragile geography. Hmmm.

Also, I don't have any idea how long my "artist's statement" is to be. Some are a paragraph, some are a page. The "Call to Artists" didn't specify legnth!!!

Well, I'll keep noodling on this. After all, I have five more days to finish this (two of which I'll be at a retreat and two of which I'll be working...) So...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You knock my socks off!

(Harriet, as played by Sarah Paulsen on Studio 60)

Um, you gotta see it to believe it. Monday, 10 pm EST. This is the stuff dreams are made of. It is the smartest TV show I have ever seen...

Just watch it. And tell all your friends. This is...it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm not home, but my shoes are. Leave them a message.

(Sarah Jessica Parker, as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City)

As requested, here is my latest acquisition in the shoe department:

This is a significant moment in the building of my wardrobe: my first pair of high heels. I've always figured I was tall enough, I didn't need high heels. But I think I must have watched Carrie Bradshaw run in her heels on too many episodes of Sex and The City, and these were less than 3 bucks at Red White and Blue!!

I've worn them once, so far--to Terzo's baptism. And since I've been ice skating, my ankles are stronger, so I did pretty well for someone who has never owned a pair of heels until now!

gusty: my new favorite word

Doesn't it just sound fun? Gusty. C'mon, say it with me--gus-ty. Oh, and the way the weather folk are showing snow now: it's that pink stuff on your TV screen. Hmm.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

things I want (cuz we are living in a material world and I am a material girl...)


I want a CD player in my car. And I want to make sure my favorite audio books are available on CD: The Nanny Diaries, Jacob Have I loved, The Last Lessons of Summer.

I want Johnny Cash reading the Bible. (on CD, I guess, if I get a CD player in the car.)

I want a bike. But I feel like I need expertise in this field and so when I saw two bikes for ~8 bucks at Goodwill on Friday I didn't jump, esp. since I was there to buy pants. (I seem to do better at shopping when I go for a specific item.) (I scored 4 pairs--1 Bill Blass, 2 Liz Claiborne and 1 pr of Faded Glory jeans.) (Retail, I'd have paid more than the 33 smackaroos that also garnered me a table runner and some random things and a bag of popcorn to snack on for the ride home.)

I want a watch like the one I lost last year around Christmas. It was a man's "camping watch" and had a sort of compass and more importantly, the reason I only buy men's watches, a second hand that was a different color than the hour and minute hands. Today my watch stopped at 10:20. I was surprised that it was 11 am when I got home from my walk to/from Tazza.

I want new shoes. I may go look for them today when I'm at the mall getting a new watch battery.

I must buy this book: The joy of doing things badly. I found it at a library in the Poconos back in August (on vackay) requested it from the library and it has been sitting in my apartment, waiting for me to read. It is FABULOUS. I will post more on it later, I promise!!

After reading LC's posts on sewing (not sewage) and PJ's post with that fabulous fabric to make an apron, I want a sewing machine. I have made shorts, skirts...in high school home ec.

I want...to go to the beach for Thanksgiving. This might actually happen. It's in negotiation between the elder Louise sisters this weekend (my mom and my aunt.)

Well, I've spent another span of time noodling on blogs, so off I go, to the mall and to see One Night with the King (about Queen Esther in the Bible.)

And of course, I want those general non-selfish things everyone wants: clarity and closure to the Bit bit bit thing, whirled peas (World Peace, I mean) and a sunny day on the day that bears its name, Sun-day. It was sunny, and I walked to Tazza and home but now it has rained and the sky is gray.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A few writers with DDS Degrees

(Stephen Gilbar, in his new book, Bibliotopia)

Zane Grey
Yu Hua
Faye Kellerman (p.44)

Oh, this is the Christmas present for the booklover in your life! It is hysterically inane and wonderfully filled with mots of information like the ones above. Buy multiple copies!

The back cover is graced with this quote: "Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad." (George Bernard Shaw)

Go, therefore, and read!

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

(Anaïs Nin)

Friday I heard Brian Collier speak. He is an African-American illustrator of children's books. His words ring in my head and in my heart. This is the refrain that I hear: Andrea Pinkney telling him to "Risk it all on every page." Brian said, "that rings in my head and in my heart" with every project.

These are some of the words that inspire me, that ring in my head and in my heart:

"If you don't want what you want, then you're not going to get it." (Madonna)

A pink tag from Bladerunners: SKATE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

"So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs and mark out a straight smooth path for your feet so that those who follow you, though weak and lame, shall not fall and hurt themselves but become strong." (Hebrews 12:12)

"There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you." (Maya Angelou)

"I have accepted fear as a part of life--specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back." (Erica Jong)

"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12)

"I don't know how to fight. All I know is how to stay alive." (Alice Walker, although in my brain I think Helen Keller.)

When I'm brave, when I remember who I am, this one reappears where it is generally written on my the inside of my eyelids in invisible ink:

"She is not afraid of snow for her household...she laughs at the time to come." (Proverbs 31:21, 25)

I took an abbreviated walk today. I got out there and realized that really what I needed to do was to get my thoughts down on.

So here it is, in black and white, on a pink background:

I am afraid you will leave me. It doesn't matter who you are.

The number of men I trust, four: My father, my brother, and my two pastors. The number of women I trust: a few more than four, and my mom tops the list.

I would rather leave you than you leave me. But I'd rather us stay. Unless I sense that you are going to leave me.

So when I went to an Internet Safety forum Thursday night and the evening's last speaker, Amber, a girl who was taken from her house because she trusted someone online, it brought up a ton of junk. At least 2,000 lbs, maybe more. "Have you ever had a man take your confidences, act like your best friend and then twist everything?" She asked us to raise our hands. I did. But she heckled us, because this was the North Hills, where everyone is so suburban and perfect so I might have been the only raised hand and no, I didn't raise it high. The other women in the room were most likely mothers, wives, and no one was sitting next to anyone they didn't know. "What, all your men are perfect?" she asked us.

My heart cries out: I have been betrayed. I have been twisted. "With a kiss" like the U2 song says. Sweet sixteen, never been kissed. Oh, to be 24 and be able to say that. But I'm past that now...

My first kiss, he later told me, expected me to slap him. For a moment, I am back there, in that dark auditorium, next to a boy who I had just met. I have two impressions of him. The first, from the previous day, when I met him: he was a jerk. The second, formed that night after he recounted to me his entire sordid life story, that he was okay. And then, in the dark of a high school auditorium with a band playing badly and loudly, he kissed me. I was too surprised to do anything but kiss him back. How I wish I had slapped him. How I wish I had had a hat pin (what our grandmothers carried to poke fresh boys that tried something in the dark of the movie theatres). But instead, I gave him my heart. And he never really took it, because he was also kissing four other girls. So my heart rested in the air, not in my chest any longer, and not in his heart. In limbo. It's a pretty painful place to rest--actually, it's not restful at all. Wondering if he's going to call, crazy glad when he does, waiting for that next kiss, stolen in the hall by the courtyard before lunch. Months of this before I woke up to the fact that my heart wasn't getting any actual healthy circulation, my heart was high and dry. I wish I could say I learned my lesson at 17. No, I gave out my heart again and again. And sometimes the boy held my heart, and sometimes I realized (usually too late) that my heart was getting unhealthy blood. I was Ophelia. I drowned, a lot.

Which brings us to present time, where I live my life like a normal person and no one knows that me, I do, I have black like tar secrets seething under the surface. Tar only bubbles up on the really hot days.

But in October, all bets are off.

I am tired of carrying around my suitcase of tar. I am tired of living as if I'm going to pretend to trust you and then I'm going to be broken hearted when you maybe disappoint me. I'm just trying to work this out. I'm ready to say, this is broken, please God, fix it! I'm ready to say, I AM BROKEN, PLEASE GOD, FIX ME!

"I'll shout it from the mountaintops" is a lyric from an old praise song. In the funniest movie I've seen this year, You, Me, and Dupree, Coldplay's song "Fix You" played in a particularly climactic scene. As the credits rolled, I knew I was looking for something. Because part of the reason You, Me... was so funny was because it was so true. It cut to the heart of all our insecurities.

Tears stream down on your face
I promise you I will learn from the mistakes
Tears stream down your face

Lights will guide you home
And I will try to fix you

We all want the "happily ever after." We are Americans and we believe in the gospel of Disney.

"I will go before thee, and make all the crooked places straight." (Isaiah 45:2)

For a moment, I see God as a Zamboni driver, smoothing out all the ridges in the ice. The rink is empty and the ice is smooth. A song comes out of the speakers, "Take my life," and I go out onto the ice and skate as if my life depended on it.


Bitacle is starting to look like a Spanish version of Technorati...

and yes, I'm in there. It has to do with feeds.

In other news...

I'm fresh out of other news.

Friday, October 20, 2006

And when October goes....

(yes, Barry Manilow, though I heard it first on a folk album)


This so far has been the best October in near history but it still is vile.

Today was a great day wherein I hobnobbed and heard authors, not the least the most recent Newbery winner, Lynne Reid Perkins. I got to be a part of a writing workshop led by the same (!)

It was also a day wherein I spent 20 minutes trying to get to the Children's Museum once I'd reached the North Side. (Read: driving around in circles, Pittsburgh style--you can't get there from here.) But, once I got there, I did find parking and I was indeed signed up for the conference and the DELICIOUS LUNCH where I got to sit with Very Important Librarians, queens in the Children's field in Pittsburgh.

It was also a day of deluges of rain and umbrellas going inside out for the wind.

It was also a day of bad rush hour traffic and wrong turns once I figured out that I wanted to go to Goodwill in Cheswick. I got waylaid on the way there and made a few wrong turns on the way home. (Read: it took an hour to get home from Cheswick. It should take 20 minute

Home, I expected to have a few hours before sitting in front of ze TV and watching the season premiere of Crossing Jordan. Which has been moved to an undisclosed date.

Did I mention, though, how pretty the trees all are and how I spent $33 to buy four (yes four) pairs of Liz Claiborne or Bill Blass pants and other sundry items. (Inclusive was that $33--I can never go back to retail.)

This, however, was one of the biggest disappointments of the day. I so rarely get to the North Side and this cafe was started by seven of my brother's college friends.

November, come soon!

Tomorrow: Mother Daughter and then in the evening, ICE SKATING, Praise the Lord!

New stuff!

Okay, the title blows, but I have 30 minutes or less in which to show up at a conference I may or may not be signed up for!

Please note new bloggers under church shoes: Nick and Lauren, who are exiled in Birmingham, England. (Also note that I have used first names for this part of the blogroll.)

Also, ta da! A copyright statement appears at the bottom. If you want to make one just like it, send me an email and I'll tell you how I did it (well, in blogger-beta).

Tune in soon for more new stuff. Right now, I must transform myself into Sarah Louise, Librarian Extraordinaire...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The old man is snoring--he bumped his head and went to bed and couldn't get up in the morning.


It's raining in Pittsburgh--it's October, whaddya expect??

Just came from an extremely powerful presentation on Internet Safety (read: how to prevent your children from being exploited by online predators.) The last speaker was a young woman who was rescued from a predatory situation a few years ago (I think while I was in library school.) WOW. Talk about powerful. Talk about realizing how vulnerable we all are, and not just on the information highway.

A dear friend mailed me a book. It's in the other room and it probably will stay there. It's written by a Dr. Someone about how to have a life that matters. I am sick of books that tell me they are going to fix me. I'd rather work on my Beth Moore homework and learn about the promises in Scripture than read scenarios (I skimmed the first chapter) about Emma, who races through life, missing everything important until she skids into bed and has a few words of prayer. Some other woman can read that book. I'm too busy trying to make sure I don't miss life.

Marian and I went to Wendy's for dinner. It is hard for me to remember what it was like when two years ago I took six months off work--I want to ask her when she's coming back. When we're together, she's fine--but I know that that is a blessing of friendship. When I'm depressed, I can still be me with those I love. I told her about my new pink high heels, the first high heels of my life, and how I'm able to walk in them because I've been ice skating and walking in my skates (ankle strength.) I've only worn them once, to Terzo's baptism, but they are nice. You should take pictures, said Marian. Oh, but I have! Oh, she said, I should have known. I'll post them soon.

Sally came over this morning. We are on a cleaning frenzy--gearing up for my birthday gala in the garret--you can see large spots of floor. We were doing so well that I called it quits at 11:30. We went to Whole Foods for lunch. It is so good to have friends. It is so good, indeed.

closed doors, open windows...

for Erin...

Come to the edge, he said.

They said, We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said again.
They came.
He pushed them...and they flew.

(Guillaume Appollinaire)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What we focus on determines what we miss.

(friend of Brian McLaren)

bobbie got to hear Brian speak the other day (he's a bigwig in the Emergent scene) and this was one of the gems she gleaned. (Am I mixing my metaphors??)

Excuse me while I go WOW.

She said, I don't want to miss anything. And she meant the good stuff. I think the context was looking at Bible stories we've read and re-read. I agree that I do not want to miss anything good, I don't want to miss the blessing in the pain, the words that have Greek or Heberew meanings I'd otherwise miss if I just read the Bible like a novel.

But since I don't have the background of what she heard, just the quote, I'd like to go the other direction and talk about what I'd like to focus on so there might be some things I'd miss: (that I wouldn't mind missing)

I want to miss the boring stuff, the sordid stuff, the stuff I don't need to be focusing on. I want to miss that endless loop in my brain that tells me that what I'm doing is not enough, that I'm not enough.

Sooo, going back to an earlier post, I want to focus on Whatever....is lovely, honorable...so that I can miss the crap.

I love being a bloggerist (that iron sharpening iron--just like the Impressionists learned by watching each other, we learn as we blog near one another.) (Which is different of course from LIFTING ENTIRE BLOGS but that is another story.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How are you different from your mother?

In as few ways possible (conversation between Harriet Hayes and a Vanity Fair reporter on Studio 60 last night)

Folks, this is good TV!

And if you're in Pittsburgh, remember your snorkle and mask (got that from Jack Bogut)

Monday, October 16, 2006

O give me a home...

where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play,
where seldom is heard a discouraging word.... (Traditional)

If you've been praying for Chloe, she's talking!! She's still in the hospital, but "recovering at a fast rate." Her dad said "I've never been so glad to hear the word 'Cinderella.'"

The news, it is good.

My dad went up to New York today. Tomorrow he'll have breakfast with an old college friend. Today he was there to support my Aunt's college roommate who has been recovering from breast cancer. Building bridges, that man does.

So I will remember October 16, 2006 as a day of good news. A long road stretches before us, but a breakthrough has occurred.

Harry is weaker and I am grateful. (Um, Harry is the cold.)


My aunt died about six years ago, suddenly. She and her roommate never were close, but from what I gather, they lived in a suite, the three of them. The other roommate (Betty) has kept in touch with both my father and the family of the roommate my dad visited today (Minnie). Betty sees my dad as a little brother--I gleaned this from an email my mom forwarded to her pastor about Minnie. So Betty has built the bridge, I guess, and my dad is a co-builder with her in support of Minnie. I don't think I've ever met any of these women that knew my aunt when she was a college student some 40 years ago. But reading about them, I feel closer to my aunt. And I feel protective of Minnie, even if she and my aunt didn't see eye to eye.

For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for thee. (John Donne, No man is an island.)

Someone asked me why I was upset about bit-bit-bit. Did they steal your stuff? No. They didn't need to. "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind."

I can't do anything for Minnie. That is in my dad's sphere. But intellectual property and in particular to blogging, that is in my sphere.

I'll just keep posting on this. I don't know if you'll get a full blown rant from me, but I will do my own bit to bite away, bit by bit.

Here is the url for the main site that is working to stop the denigration and piracy of bloggers across the blogosphere. Just visit it. And tell everyone you know. It's how I'm trying to build a bridge. It's the decent thing to do.

thanks to Wikipedia for the full text of this poem:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

--Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

Other things to do on days that Harry has you grumpy

Watch your taped episodes of Friends. Mostly they're lame, but I love that show, so whateve. (Gotta stop saying that!!)

However, every once in a while, you hit gold. Pure gold. As in "The one with all the wedding dresses."

You gotta visit imdb.com for the one of the best quotes, which features Chandler (Matthew Perry) saying "Wah-pah!"

Yeah, this having a cold thing isn't doing much for my continuity of thoughts.

Anyways, now they're doing "The one where Nana dies twice." Wikipedia has a great thing on the episode...oh the Internet is full of richness...

Things to do when you're already grumpy: changing up my blogroll on Beta

WeirdBunny commented on this and blogged on this and it's something I've been meaning to do, so here goes:

How to make your blogroll your own, for once and for all or once again.

Basically what Blogger-beta has done has dumbed down the HTML. Whereas before, we had to go under the hood in the template and could mess around with our links there, now that is no longer there. Um, not so crazy about that. But whateve. I don't want to move to a different blogging software.

So get your template up. Depending on your template, your "page elements" will be on the left or the right. If, like me, you had your blogs separated out (Shoe Shopping for the regulars, Local Shoes for Pittsburgh Links, Church Shoes for my church friends/other Christian bloggers, and Work Shoes for library links and blogs and Kids shoes for kid lit blogs and links.) this will be a tedius task, as at the moment, all those links are in one big chunk again, "shoe shopping." (Well, I just added local shoes, but most of the links are still in one chunk.)

So--if you have all your links on one "page element" it's not pretty. If you want to add new links because you lost them or you just want to add more, it's less tedious.

But I'm in the first group. So you click on the page element called "links" or "blogroll" or whatever you call it. It's a lot of cut and paste, let me tell you.

You will want to take breaks, like I just did to warm up some soup and another one to flip my laundry. Hold that thought.

I'm back. Okay. So you'll see all your links in their blessed non-html format. Argh. This is where the fun starts, if you have a long blog-roll. If there is an easier way, don't tell me for a week. Open up a blank Word document. Better yet, Notepad. (You'll find Notepad in Accessories. It's the most basic way of transferring plain text and is a good tool to have in your toolbox.) Then go to the links you want to move. Yes, you'll have to do this one at a time...hold on, let me try something....Okay, here's a tip. If you can highlight any of your links, do it!! Then post them in an open Word document (you do not want plain text for this, trust me.)

You'll only be able to get a few at a time, so this is what it might look like:

Faith, and Culture document.write(" ");

document.write(" ");
document.write(" ");

document.write(" ");
document.write(" ");

document.write(" ");
document.write(" ");

document.write(" ");

Or not. Let's check the soup, shall we?

Oh, cup a soup. I'm not generally a soup person, but when I'm sick, it's DA BESTEST.

Where was I? Besides thanking my stars that I never took up Technical Writing...

So you have some links in your Word Document. Let's look there a minute.

What you see above is HTML goobly gook. In Word, it looks different, I promise. So you'll have these boxes and they'll have the title of the link and then then url for the link. This is your raw data. So open a page element, this time, we're doing Church Shoes (gotta love Windows, that I can do this at the same time that I'm blogging it...) The page element you want is "link list." Give it a title, in this case "Church Shoes." Then cut and paste from your Word Document. It's tedious, yes, I know.

Then you may lose it and then you may forget you are using Foxfire tabs and that you've lost your post--FOUND IT!

It's like the shampoo bottle: repeat. Again and again, until you have it looking like you want. It's tedius and if you have wordpress or something else, this is not the time to gloat. (Or do it silently.)

So maybe by the time you read this, I'll have my categories back...

Oh, and dear readers, another great thing about beta--it shows you where your HTML is wrong. So at least I can just delete the highlighted text instead of searching for it like before. Let's try this again, shall we?

The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.


go here to read the whole quote, thanks to Blackbird, who six days ago celebrated two years blogging. Woo hoo!

I'm procrastinating my morning walk (cough cough) because I ache. And I'm grumpy. And I really wanted to do so much today but with my craZee week, today will be taking care of Harry so that I will be fresh as a tulip for the rest of the week.

Speaking of tulips, they were 7.99 last night at Whole Foods and I couldn't resist, even though my carnations from two weeks ago are still pretty good. I'll freshen them later.

Y'know, I thought I had more, and later I probly will, but for now I just want to feel the cold air. Tootles!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What I do on Sundays

  • Listen to Jeff Foxworthy. Today he talked with Blake Shelton, who had a song "Austin" out a few years ago. It's one of my dad's favorites. My brother now lives in Austin. (Oh, and I got to talk to him last night!!)
  • Go for my morning walk. Sunday is one of the days I hardly ever have a morning thing I have to be at, so I can be leisurely. Today I just did the west route to the Park. Now some of the dog women know me and wave. Their dogs smile at me. I smile back.
  • Depending on my wallet, go to Tazza. Last time I went, I was reading The Myth of You & Me, a heart wrenching novel about a friendship that was great and then broke. I sat there and cried, wiping away the tears. (I have set that book aside for a while.) Today I got my Tomato and Cheddar samwich and read about Bob O'Connor, our late mayor. Hey, I saved the paper from September, I'd better read it, huh? When I finished that, I continued with Riding the bus with my sister, by Rachel Simon. I cried, wiping the tears with the white square café napkins. Then, as I was gathering up my trash, I noticed someone that looked familiar--it was Jake, who used to work with me at Fox Books! He's a poet and teaches at Pitt, so we talked about writing and life. I haven't seen Jake since right before I moved to Virginia, so like eight years!
  • (Sometimes) Go to the movies and/or watch a movie at home. Today I think it's Jerry Maguire at home and if I go out, either The Illusionist again or One Night with the King. But I really want to laugh, so it might turn out to be Little Miss Sunshine (this would be #3?).

Then of course, 6ish, I head over to the OD.

If I get inspired either today or tomorrow, I'll pull out "favorite posts" and snazz up the sidebar. I am liking Blogger-beta. I realize there are glitches and annoyances, but that's why it's called BETA, folks!!

Oh, and last night we had a real frost. Oh how I love the cold weather!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

making this quick: white heat rage!!

OMG--there is this horrible thing called bit, bit, bit something that is stealing RSS feeds and using google adsense ads to make money off other people's blogs (without their permission!!)

Go here and here and here and weep and then tell everyone you know. More on this later, I PROMISE!

And thanks to Jen, who I've never met before who left a comment on Ramona which is how I found out.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ramona Forever--check!

Well, it wasn't the book I wanted to read--Ramona's World is perfect for starting out the school year with a group of fourth and fifth grade girls because it starts with a new school year.

And Ramona Forever has a wedding, and a baby--ick! (Well, not exactly ick, but, yes, ick!)

But I've read it once now, so I have all week to ponder it and think about how to talk about it with the girls.

A bird has landed!

Can I tell you that this is so much fun, reading Badger's old stuff? Blackbird has just left her first comment.

12/29/2004 9:09 AM (It's gotta be a historic moment, dudes!)

Stuff, n'at (n@)

So...I fell asleep with every single light on in the garret last night and woke up at 5 am. At which point I took half of the dose of meds that I normally take at bedtime. (Thank God I write under a pseudonym--I mean not that taking meds is top secret, but I wouldn't want a future employer to be reading these boring details, and then there is the stigma of psych meds.)

Anyways. So, I tried to go back to sleep, but didn't really succeed. So I blogged (prolific today?) and walked and was of course late to work. Why is it that if you wake up super early you end up late? There was a Family Circus on that, back when I still thought Family Circus was funny.

So, I've been awake since 5 a.m., am running on half my bedtime dose of meds and it's October. Oh, and I'm supposed to cut down on pop (read=soda) because I have five (count 'em) cervical cavities. That's what they're called--they're on the gumline and basically there because my meds affect my saliva and I have developed a bad habit of a mid-afternoon Coke. TMI yet?

I will be going to bed early tonight!!

So, since I've caught up with the blogs I read and also with blogs I don't always read, I decided to read Badger's archives. She started in the summer of 2004 and let me tell you, while I like the blog at the top is the most recent for current reading, it is weird to read archives that way. So I've been scrolling backwards all afternoon. (Well, since about 4:15 when I came up with this brilliant keep me awake trick.) I think one of the Blogger things they're changing after beta is storing archives chronologically as opposed to backwards chronologically. Great idea.

But it's keeping me awake. And I am smiling and occasionally laughing softly under my breath, because it is a library, even if there are children running in the puppet area screaming at the top of their lungs. (Well, there were, earlier.)

In other news, Yahoo! Mail is also available in beta, and while I like some of the new features (I haven't switched, but I read the "what's new" thing-y) it is looking very much like Microsoft Outlook, which is what I use for work. I like variety, people. I like that Yahoo! mail looks different from Outlook and that Google looks different too. I like color! I do not like small print. But apparently if you don't like Yahoo! beta you can go back. (Until when?) So, I'm in a bit of a quandry, but nothing that will keep me awake at night. (Which I could have used last night so that I could have stayed on the straight and narrow with the meds and turned off all the lights.)

Yes, I have four email accounts: 2 gmail, one for work (all my list-servs go there to die until I have a lot of time to just delete them.) and one that is now attached to my Blogger beta account. I have one for work, which I seriously was getting so much spam but it seems to be under control and I've learned how to delete the Quarentine file, so we're much happier at Chez Sarah Louise. Then I have the Yahoo! account. Which I love. It is my main mail account and I really like it. I'd love to expound on that thought and be all like "you should switch" (which you should) but the lids are getting heavy and soon it will be time to read more of Badger's archives because I'm sitting here at the Children's Reference desk for another 45 minutes. I'm up to November 28 and I just realized that maybe that is her daughter's birthday if I could do the math (she was in labor for 80 hours total.) Which is also my birthday. When I'll be 35 (we've discussed this before....)

Okay, I need to keep reading. As you were.

Even if you can quote Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-falutin' Greeks.

(from The Music Man)

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

I needed a quiz to tell me this?

Quiz, lifted from Badger's blog.

Give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word is Greek.

(Michael Constantine as Gus Portokalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding)

Okay, so some days I post...a lot. I can't help it that the Pens WON! Beat the Buffalo Sabres, 6-5, Woo hoo!! Although, let's pause a moment, for Buffalo, enveloped in snow. They have a driving ban. We are saddened for your loss of power--but not for the loss of the power plays!! (Whatever did I eat for breakfast?) It must be the chocolate chip cookies Sally brought in. (Yes, one of the two co-worker Sally's in my department.)

And then, I opened my work email and found this, from LIS News: a boy in Pleasant Hills raised money for a mythology center in his high school library. He is a sixteen year old autistic boy, on the honor roll. How did he raise the money? By showing My Big Fat Greek Wedding and selling his grandmother's baklava. He went before the Eagle Scout Board yesterday to see if he was granted the Eagle Status. Here's the story, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

How cool is that??

And in celebrity news, thanks to my co-worker Laura, Maggie Gyllenhaal has named her baby Ramona. How did this come up in conversation, you ask? Astute of you to wonder. I'll tell yins:

Ramona's World is the book I chose for Mother Daughter Book Club. However, it is not the book we'll be discussing. Why, you ask? Well, because, in my mind, I flipped the titles and for all the press, for all the publicity, sent out that we'd be doing Ramona Forever. I only just realized my mistake yesterday when I visited Munchkin's Bookshelf (a children's bookstore in the North Hills) and saw my bookmarks in the book, Ramona Forever. Wait, I thought. This is not the book I picked...**sigh** So I went back and saw that it was no one's fault but my own, as I checked old emails. So now I have a week to read Ramona Forever, which is plenty of time. I'll probably read it tonight--Crossing Jordan doesn't come back on air until NEXT Friday.

Oh, and in case you were keeping track: next month's Mother Daughter will be Charlotte's Web, giving me a real life work related excuse to bone up on my spider knowledge, now that they have become my fascination. Sally (yes, the chocolate chip cookie baker) is doing spiders for the "Pajama Storytime" tonight. A book I want to snag from her when she's done: Someone saw a spider: spider facts and folktales. Last week was a full moon (could you tell I went a little looney?) and she did moon stories. The moon pictures she made still festoon the children's program room.

Another reason I'm not so crazy about fall: I don't get to be around my dad, who loves to make piles of leaves for you to jump in and go va-va-voom! I could hear him in my mind every time I came upon a mini pile on my walk this morning. My mom makes leaf houses with many rooms. I'll try to find a childhood picture...

If you're going to play the game properly, you'd better know every rule.

(Barbara Jordan, politician)

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.
(Maureen Dowd, columnist)

Every morning for weeks I've been meaning to look up this passage. Since I have no other words, these will have to do:

"We rounded a curve and I saw one tree, standing in the middle of a little pasture, a golden tree. Of course, it wasn't really gold, but it looked as if every leaf had been painted over with liquid gold, the way it shone. I watched that tree as we came up to it, with gray clouds behind it; I kept my eyes on it as we drove away and left it behind. In my head, the miniaturee Izzy was just sitting there, knocked down by it, her eyes big with looking." (Izzy Willy Nilly, p. 169, Cynthia Voigt)

I'll come back and talk about page 175. But right now, the morning has gotten to the point of I HAVE to get going or I'll be late.



My friend Sally (well one of them--if you've been reading long enough you know I have many friends and co-workers with this name) has a shirt.

In big letters, it says, "Whatever." Which was a very "in" word a few years ago. Sometimes shortened to "Whateve." Sis, or as we often affectionally call each other, Bird, says this too much sometimes.

I'm in a place right now where I know what I really need to do FIRST is do my Beth Moore homework, take my walk, practice patience and wisdom.

But first I had to share this with you:

(which is the rest of the text of Sally's shirt)

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

This part is not on her shirt:

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phillipians 4:8-9, NIV.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Autumnal photography--Margaret are you grieving?

Okay, I was planning to upload 5 pictures but you know, this beta thing is dicey sometimes. And I have to get on with my day. This is the brick road on my west walk. (So, that would have been Tuesday.) Stay tuned, if I have time later I'll post other ones. The rest are from my east walk, which takes me towards the park, if not in (depending on the time alottment the day allows.)

I had a lot to say, but somehow working with the photos (I had about 245 dating back from August in my camera) slowed and quieted me. I'll be witty later.


Dear dear people

So I am up, now.

Serves me right for falling asleep to Bill Moyers at 9:45ish.

There is a dear woman in my Bible study right now. She is so dear to me because she married a man that I knew from a Bible study I was in right after grad school. A man that was (yes) too young for me (always robbing the cradle, that SL) and still getting his feet wet as far as his faith went. I saw him go through many a girlfriend and never liked a one. I thought it was sour grapes. But I sit next to her sometimes and when she talks about the inheritance we have in Christ, I think, he got a good one, he did. There is something so precious about that...I don't have words.

I wonder about the tests that have my name on them and wonder which ones I'll have final exams on in this fall.

I quipped to Kelly at dinner, "oh, speed dating, like when you think you're....oops, nope!" (She was comparing courting hospitals for residencies to speed dating.) The problem with me is that I take that moment of nuance, that it seems like it might be something but is really non-speed dating and then obsess about it for MONTHS, years, even, afterwards. The other party has moved on and I'm still turning over what I could have said differently.

I feel very Carrie Bradshaw-esque right about now...

Frank is crooning right now, "You make me feel so young."

I have no idea if we're doing Show and Tell this week (I missed last week) but I promise to post fall photos tomorrow morning. I have had three social scenarios for tomorrow morning and the jury isn't out on what I'm doing at noon so I have decided to hibernate and work on this garret of mine, perhaps find that pesky library book that someone has been waiting for since mid-September. Where is it???

Now Petula is singing "Don't sleep in the subway, darling" and I think it's time for a dose of Hollywood's best sleeping pill: "You've Got Mail."


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Momma said there'd be days like this...

...and it's not over yet!!

Our dept manager in Children's called in sick for the second day in a row. I sent my co-worker (also sick) home at 2pm and am staying an hour extra to man (woman?) the desk from 5-6. (Making it a 9 hr day--fun.) Which also means I've been on the desk (serving the public) since 2 pm. Thankfully it is now 5 and I can soon (51 minutes and counting!) go to dinner!

And I don't have to cook--we're discussing the practice of eating at BJ's!

Two Mother Goose sessions went well--I had 50 in the first session and 9 in the second. (This includes mothers, babies, and siblings.) It was nice to have an intimate group for the second session--I haven't had so few folks in AGES! Also, a woman called around 2:30 (right about when I was feeling a little blue) and said, oh, are you Sarah Louise, did you do the storytime at 10? Ye-es, I said, thinking, is this a lost and found question? She sung my praises. To me! She loved it and is thinking of rearranging her work schedule so that she can come more often. WOW! I told her, you just made my day. She said, you just made my week. (Don't you love that kind of a competetive conversation?)

Sometime later, a woman said, your hair is getting long (it's up, how can they tell?) and said it looked nice.

Around 3:40, I had an unanswerable question about Accelerated Readers and so I called Children's at Carnegie Main. I ended up talking to one of my professors from Library School, who part times in that department. (He was an adjunct, but still!) (Also, very cute, AND my age AND Christian, but he doesn't like girls, drat!)

And just now, I helped a nanny pick 5 books each for "her girls" off (guess what) an Accelerated Reader list for each one. We walked the stacks and I just handed her books, it's so much easier than looking them up in the computer.

Did I mention that I love my job? Did I? Cuz I do.

Also, I was disappointed when I didn't get to have lunch with our new Children's District Manager, because (see above) our Department Manager was out sick. And I didn't know lunch was cancelled until noon, although she had known since last night!! (I could have brought my lunch and or my homework for Patriarchs and or my 30 page questionaire!!) Instead, I went to lunch at J.Clarks and the waitress called me "hon." Even when she had to run my card through twice (Friday is payday, thank God!)

23 minutes to go...I am exhausted!!

One of my major projects (do not laugh!) has been purging my email files. I have a bad habit of keeping everything and our email only has 66000 mb or something like that. So every day I have been getting "Your email account is full." So today, as I had four hours on the desk, I have purged tons of emails. Trashing a lot. Sending the good stuff (articles from my dad from the New York Times--actually a lot of obits of people like Paula Danziger, Czeslaw Milosz, and articles about friends of friends of the family like Avery Dulles, and articles about places, like, you guessed it, Warsaw) to my Gmail and Yahoo! email accounts.

(I hit publish at 5:45 when my replacement showed up. It is now 40 minutes into tomorrow, Thursday and I am up b/c I fell asleep in front of PBS and Charlie Rose woke me up. I watched an interesting interview with Sandra Bullock and some guy who plays Truman Capote in a new movie and then Anna Quindlen. Hmm. A guy I worked with at Fox Books loved watching Charlie Rose. I was thinking about him on the ride into work today. Wondering what has happened to him. Thinking mayhap it's time to google him again. Thinking mayhap I should not. So--I was asleep when Carolyn commented, and I'll cuddle under the covers in a few minutes. Dinner at BJ's was great--it fascinates me week to week who the "key players" are in my mind. Ah, people watching.)

Any book that starts in a library (Sarah Louise commences to read Possession)

Babs and Suse sing its praises, so...

Well...it took me long enough, and I'm not promising this will be my only read as Nick and the Nerd (a teen romance in the 'Love Stories' series) is quite compelling and I do have all my Patriarchs homework. But I just unearthed my copy and it smells like a good book and I skimmed the first two pages...this lept off the page:

"The London Library was Roland's favorite place."

Off for my walk--I'm going east again. (I went west yesterday and that was a disaster!!)

Also, today is my first day with two sessions (back to back) of Mother Goose Storytime. Say a prayer!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

October is the cruelest month, actually...

So today was my day to visit Bellefield Towers, home of major studies of bipolar disorder. There are only 17 places in the nation that conduct what is called STEP-BD. (Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder) I was in the STEP-BD program for a while but now am in a different study, Bipolar patients of Western Pennsylvania (or something like that.) As a study participant, I see my social worker and psychiatrist at least every two months at which time I get asked questions about my sleep schedule, any anxiety, depression, etc. At each visit, I get a stack of questionaires: five pages to fill out before I leave their office and if it is a "two month check-up visit" I get another stack of about thirty pages for which I get paid $80 after I finish. Which is peanuts compared to how much this disorder has cost me in my life financially and in general over the past nine years of diagnosis and the approximately nine years I was undiagnosed.

Today my psychiatrist was late, so my social worker and I chatted about life in general. I told her how for me October is the worst month--summer in general is bad, but then September ship shapes everyone into order. But October--nothing. I suppose if I was a kid, Hallowe'en would be something to think about, but at this point in my life it doesn't carry much of a charge in the thrilling department. When I finally got in to talk to my psychiatrist (whom I adore: he is this blond Northern Italian man who is always cheerful and professional) around 2:30 instead of 2:00, he asked me how I was and I told him. This is actually the best October so far--for me. So I think that's why for the first time since I've seen him, he's divulged that all his other patients are doing pretty poorly and that October is one of the highest suicide months, up there with January and February. I backed up and said, don't think I'm doing perfectly--I cry and laugh every day when I take my walk, this is how I get through the days without thinking about how to end it all. (Although I am rarely, if ever, truly suicidal.) We talked about increasing my meds during my monthly hormone week. (This I think will be a true breakthrough.)

So if it seems that I have been posting A LOT, it's partly because to me, writing is living, and right now, I need to be living. If I am going to be grouchy, withdrawn, sobbing, laughing too loud, this is going to be one of the months it will happen. If I seem to be caught up on things that happened a long time ago or reacting excessively to things that didn't even catch a blip on anyone else's radar screen, it's because I am extremely close to the edge.

This is one of my favorite quotes. I haven't found the source, but I will, soon.

"Come to the edge," he said.
They said, "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge," he said again.
They came.
He pushed them...and they flew. (Guillame Appollinaire)

There are a lot of you out there lurking. That's fine. But don't be surprised if I am checking my sitemeter (gotta figure out how to add it back, now that my blog has switched over to the dark--I mean--beta side) to try to figure out who you are.

Today Beth Moore talked to us about tests. How God tested Abraham. He knew how Abraham would act, that he would pass the test. But God had to test Abraham so that Abraham would know how he would act, and never forget the experience. And that Abraham's test had his name on it, just like all of our tests have our names on ours. Which means it isn't a general exam for everyone and it means that we will never have to take anyone else's test. Which are both reliefs and not. Don't we always think, "If I had her situation, I'm sure I'd deal with it better/differently?" But no, we have our own homework, and peeking over to Peggy Sue's paper isn't going to help us with our particular quadratic equation.

Sitting there, thinking about tests, I remembered how it took six times before I passed my driver's test: in Maryland they test you on three point turns and parallel parking. I was maneuvering a standard shift VW station wagon--and I don't think it had power steering.

I remembered how it took three tries before I successfully rode a bike, and that was in my early twenties.

And as Beth talked about the sacrifice Abraham was being asked to make (give up Isaac, his son named for laughter), I thought about the sacrifices made by my family: my grandmother's parents when Anna Van Dine went to Brazil in 1924 to teach English at an Engineering School. She married her first husband there. She returned to the U.S., divorced. My mother's lesson in this was that "her first husband wasn't a Christian." My grandfather also had a failed starter marriage. (His first wife wasn't a Christian either.) They had already met before they went off and married other people, so when my grandmother returned from Brazil, they were reunited by help of a mutual friend and eventually married each other when they were 36. (In the 1930s, this was REALLY old to get married, and NO ONE divorced!!) My mom was born when Grandma was 40. (While that happens all the time in 2006, in 1943, it was pretty unusual.) Then my mom grew up and went off to Tehran, Iran, to teach at a Presbyterian mission school. It was like while Beth talked about her own daughter going to England, I could see the pain of my grandmother and grandfather, letting their youngest daughter go halfway across the world, in the days before email. And then when my mom married my dad, how it meant we were all always gone. My grandparents didn't get to come to school plays. We visited them in the summers that we got Home Leave (I can't remember if that was every year.)

I always knew I sacrificed a lot as a child, being carted from country to country, powerless to the changes. But I had never really thought about what a sacrifice it was for my grandparents. My parents just did it. They had the choice, I don't know that they thought of it as "a sacrifice." There were sacrifices along the way, but my father's job required the travel, and my mother enjoyed the travel. I'm just rambling. I suppose these are thoughts that I'll come back to again and again, as I puzzle out my place in my family, in this world, in Pittsburgh.

Thanks for reading! I'm listening to Really Rosie performed by Carole King right now. And now I'll finish cataloguing it...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sleep, who needs sleep?

So I just spent a half hour labeling a bunch of posts, changing up the template, etc. Be impressed. Very impressed. I think my two favorite categories are "hair agony" (love lorn) (which translates into any situation where I'm sick of being single, and not any particular love that was lorn.) and "hockey" which is synonymous with ice skating for purposes of this blog. I'll probably simplify, it was very organic and will refine itself but I now have to fall into bed. I have a busy day tomorrow:

  • lunch with one of my favorite bloggers, Eileen.
  • WBS (The Patriarchs continue. Sarah died, though. Abraham weeps and pays too much to buy a gravesite.)
  • see the social worker and then the shrink. Fill out tons of paperwork. Remind me to not become bipolar in my next life...
  • work until 9 pm.
(everything is chronologically listed except for dessert -- I mean lunch.)

Blogger Beta: Check!

Very exciting. I know you can't see anything different, but the email comments are wunderbar--I got one comment already and it tells you which post the comment is on! (Instead of scrolling around to figure out which post someone commented "that's so funny!) (Which is a perfectly accceptable comment, btw.)

I am very excited (not exited) and stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here are a few bloggers I know that are using beta:

Emerging Sideways (bobbie)
Weirdbunny (weirdbunny)

I get to put labels--this is too exciting!!

Oh, and Babs said those magic five words today: "I have my own skates!"

Other things we do: Terzo's baptism

Us non-hair cutting types also post, A LOT. It defuses any one emotion and hides the real ones unless you're good at hide and seek.

So Saturday was bad (see Carolyn's questionaire, two or four posts down). I hate hormones but they do seem to make things clear that were otherwise murky as pea soup.

So Sunday, I had one of those God taking me by the scruff of my neck and whispering "left, now right, right, now another left." It's documented in scripture here: Isaiah 30:21.

I woke up and thought, I have GOT to go to morning church. Which in my mind means Bellefield. God had other ideas. I thought, I am starving, which on Sunday means Tazza. God had other ideas when someone handed me a muffin the day before at the end of the conference.

I went for my walk. It was like the worst walk ever. It was like two years ago that summer when my mother would say, go for a walk, then call me. (I was so very depressed. Let me tell you, endorphins don't kick in like that when you're very depressed.) Even the smiling dogs didn't make me smile. I played a not so bad game of catch the ball with the wall, though. My eye-hand coordination is great!

I came in, surfed a little, commented a little, posted a little. Got hungry, found the muffin, got my quarters, went to get a newspaper. Minnie, my little old Italian neighbor was waiting for her ride to church. I hadn't seen her since the mayor's funeral (we watched it together) so it was great to catch up. She's one of the reasons I want to live on my street forever. She is like a third grandma to me, which is good since the first two are gone now. So I chatted with her about my family and who's living on the second floor now until her ride came. Then I walked with her to the sidewalk and then I walked down to get my paper.

Can I tell you HOW much I adore living in the 'Burgh? When the mayor's wife's quote on the front page of the Post-Gazette is "What does your husband do?" "He works for the city." I want to hug this 26 year old woman who is of all things, a hairstylist, my dream job. I want to go to Summer Hill and be her best friend. I may send her a card--I'm sure everyone wants to be her best friend after reading that article. Then I read about "one of America's great websites" which is a play on the tagline of the Post-Gazette, which appeared the summer the statue of Caliguiri went up, the summer I was job hunting in Pittsburgh, yes folks, it was 1993. How old were you? Don't answer that. The tagline for the Post-Gazette is "one of America's great newspapers." Well, "all the news that's fit to print" was taken, and many transplants will point out that the PG prints a lot that isn't fit or news, but I am a loyalist. If you want to say something bad about my Steelers, Pens, Pirates, newspapers, presidents, say it somewhere else. It is in my DNA to be loyal until the end. Other things I'm loyal to: the New York Times, my family, and my friends. I'm my daddy's daughter, and in that world, the president is the president, whether you agree with him or not. And if I was stupid, I would share some PERSONAL examples of why there are some presidents I should have not respected. I didn't say like. I said respect, because it takes a lot to get there and a lot to stay there. Alright, I'm done with that particular rant.

Okay, look, the sky is pink, so I'll maybe pick up this train of thought later. I have a date for a walk in the sunrise. Buh-bye!

Oh, and here's the recap: because part of the plan for yesterday (left, now right here) was going to Terzo's baptism. Here's what I wrote as a comment on BB's blog:

"Well, for me, the main thing about infant baptism is twofold:

the village and the church say, even though you are a crying squirming person that can't talk, we take you in. You don't have to behave to belong.

Two, the village says, we will watch out for you (and your family) to ensure we do the most to allow you to explore where God wants you to go.

The service was beautiful. The day, weatherwise, was perfect. The waffles, they were delicious.

I want to break out into Louis Armstrong and sing "What a wonderful World."

Where I'm from: Bonnie in the basement

When things go sour, some people cut or dye their hair. Other people scrounge their rough drafts to find something that fits the occasion. Assume this is fictional, as none of the people in it exist anymore.

My bonnie lies over the ocean
My bonnie lies over the sea
My bonnie lies over the ocean
My bonnie lies over the sea
My bonnie lies over the ocean
Please bring my bonnie to me...

I'm from hot chocolate for a quarter, the ping pong table folded up in the corner,
glasses left on top of the fridge all summer,
and everyone but you walking in.

Down a flight of stairs, turn left.
There's a place right outside for the smokers, and a place right inside with a plaque:
The Shaque.

Prayers stain tears in my eyes, I laugh to remember my ping pong morning it seems so long ago.
Today when I visited my rocks, there were eight.

It was raining and my umbrella is missing, and for a while, so were you.

But you found me and then I got lost. Will it be like sending in the clowns?

She will be loved, she will be loved.
Please bring my bonnie to me.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"The latest thing"

Carolyn tagged me and well, I have this quiz or one like it to thank for getting me back in touch after being out of touch with a friend for almost six years. So here goes.

1. FIRST NAME? Suzi. I changed the spelling from Susie to Suzy in college and at some point changed the y to an i. Turns out, it's very German. (Oh ack--did I just out myself?) I'm sorry, I'll not be Sarah Louise for this. (Although that might be a fun exercise...)

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No...I was supposed to be a boy and be Andrew because my due date was Nov 30. My parents had some Catholic friends who had told them Nov 30 was St. Andrew's day. So my middle name is Andrea.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Last night. I sobbed and sobbed and I couldn't stop. It's the hormones, it's the lonliness, it's going to a seminar on churches and realizing the one you go to is pretty darn good but still lacks REAL community.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? In fourth grade I was given a prize at the end of the year for "most improved penmanship." It's been all downhill from there. I write big and messy.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Lebanon Baloney. We only get it at the Lake. I don't generally buy lunch meat, cause it goes bad and there's only me to eat it. Pastrami is second.


7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? This is like that quote from Wayne's World, only backwards. "A gun rack... a gun rack. I don't even own *a* gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do... with a gun rack?" Let's see, I have a beautiful notebook that lives in my purse. I have the blog. I have a folder in "My Documents." I have a shelf in my closet of all my journals from high school. So I guess the answer would be Yes, yes, and yes.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? I don't think so.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? That would be a "no."

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Post Honey Bunches of Oats.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Good grief, no. (Stolen from Carolyn, verbatim.)

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I'm stronger than a bread box. (again, verbatim from C.)

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby. It is ambrosia.

14.SHOE SIZE? 7 1/2 or 8. What? Yes, my shoe size went down when my arches got higher. I used to be an 8 1/2.

5. RED OR PINK? If you have to ask... (although I always get compliments when I WEAR red.)

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My tendency to get depressed (surprisingly, half of Carolyn's verbatim.)

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? It's not a who really. I miss having a friend like in high school, someone to hang out with and roar with laughter together. (verbatim, again.) I miss having friends on weekends. All my friends have family on Saturday/Sunday, and I have work on Saturday and Sunday is the worst until church, which is at night!

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? I want everyone who wants to do this to do it. How's that? (verbatim, again.)

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? I'm not dressed yet--it's 7:14 in the morning. I'm wearing an old robe of my uncle's.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Part of a white meat dinner at Boston Market. Then they played the Everly Brothers "Bye Bye Love" and I lost my appetite.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Surrounded, a CD of praise music compiled by a worship group at Hope College, the alma mater of my parents, grandparents, and brother. It was a Christmas present a few years back. I'm surprised I haven't worn it out, for as many times I've listened to it.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I hate this question. Pink.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? A red red rose. (I don't know. I'm not really a smell person.)

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My mom. They're in Williamsburg this weekend.


26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes, yes I do! (This is a good answer. A weird answer is "Sure" as in "do you want fries with that?" "Sure." But it's okay, doll, I've gotten over it!!)

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Fresh squeezed lemonade.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? To do: ice skating. To watch: hockey.

29. EYE COLOR? Brown.

30. HAT SIZE? Why, are you going to buy me one? I have no clue. I do like hats, though...


32. FAVORITE FOOD? That's like asking Imelda Marcos to pick out a favorite pair of shoes. Come on now. (verbatim from Carolyn.) Mexican/Latin American, if I'm pressed, though. Tortillas with re-fried beans and sour cream.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy Endings (verbatim.)




38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Do I LOOK like a magic eight ball? (verbatim.)

39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? See question 38. (this is getting embarassing....verbatim)

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Well, at least you didn't ask what book (singular). Riding the bus with my sister, Sahara Special (on audio), the Book of Genesis, Eat Cake...

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? e.encyclopedia. It's an ad for a DK book. I got it for free at a library conference.

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? I watched Men in Black, again.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? When Abraham sings in between the verses at church.

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Beatles. "I wanna hold your hand..."

45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Moscow, Russia. It was a 24 hour train ride from where I lived at the time, Warsaw, Poland. And I'm sure it still qualifies as far far away from Pittsburgh.

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Making and giving gifts.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Columbia Women's Hospital, Washington D.C. The city remains, but the hospital is gone.

48 WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Carolyn. What, were you not paying attention?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.

(Maya Angelou)

A writer writes. (Sahara Jones)

If you don't want what you want, then you're not going to get it. (Madonna)

So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs and mark out a straight smooth path for your feet, so that those who follow you, though weak and lame, shall not fall and hurt themselves but become strong. (Hebrews 12:12)

Soon, very soon, will be the time to start back on my writing project. It is bubbling up. I'll keep yins posted.

Draw me close

(Kelly Carpenter)

Just finished watching In Her Shoes. Toni Collette is my new favorite actress. I think I have Muriel's Wedding somewhere.

The last day of the conference was good but exhausting. My laugh -- well, at one point Doug (we're on first name basis) had to say "She's with me" because I laughed so hysterically at this one thing. No one else thought it was funny--it was a droll joke, the kind only I seem to get.

At lunch, I went for a walk--there were no sidewalks, but I was too fragile to stick around for small talk. This not working on Saturdays can be dangerous for my inner schedule. I'm serious!!

I took some pictures. One of these days, I'll post them.

I'm a mess. Oh well. Abate is closed, so I'm off to the Elbow Room for some grub.

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam...

No, this is not the song I woke up with. But it came to me whilst washing my hair in the Poconos, back in August (has it been that long?).

A sunbeam shines. A sunbeam cannot administer anything but beams.

And so it is with me. I cannot fix anyone, nor should I. (I have this meglomaniac ego that if I don't do something, it a) won't get done or b) won't get done right.)

The moon is full. It is morning, and I know the sun has risen in the east, and outside my window, to the west, I can see the full moon peeking behind my neighbor's tree.

Off I go to the third and final day of The Heart of the Emergent Church. Last night, instead of getting there early enough to go to Applebees for dinner, I mistakenly drove PAST Zelionople (FAR, FAR away) and so had enough time to go to Target and get my necessaries and a hot dog for dinner.

But first my walk. I generally walk east, but I wonder if I walk west I'll get to see the moon...

No, I need to walk east. I need to see my gardens. My heart aches for Warsaw. (I bet you no other blogger says that more than once in her career...)


'm back. Terzo is getting christened this weekend. Last night in the conversation about "Missional in the Suburbs," David said something that hit me, just as I danced past a woman scowling at me in a car. (Hey--it's a free world.) The attractional model says "Behave first, then we'll accept you." The missional model says, "I'm coming to you, where you live. You already belong, because you belong to me." Is there any dearer way to say this than to a child who doesn't have even language to say no? It's like the Runaway Bunny.

Carrots, anyone?

And yes, I'll be late to the third day. But the prayer last night made my heart curdle, though it tried to have the opposite effect. You can't microwave a moment. Elijah only heard the "still small voice" after an earthquake and a storm. It was a prayer that didn't take into account that I would be driving home alone after having a married man look at me "The way God sees that person." And the thing is, the woman who said the prayer is single too. She should have known better. Or maybe I am still learning how to protect my heart--I shouldn't have sat next to that man.

And a wise woman once said, "It's your retreat." Well, I paid my $16. I showed up last night and the night before. I needed to take my walk and spend some time with God as I haven't been able to the past coupla days. I needed that much more than I need to hear what Doug Pagitt has to say about the Emergent church. I'm sure he will be wonderful. (HE IS TALL!) But I needed my refreshment. I needed my best friend to play tennis with me. I needed to cry and to laugh. And I didn't know it, but I needed some dogs to smile at me. Which they did.

I am Sarah Louise. I chose this city. I chose to be far from my family because I love the geography of Western Pennsylvania--it feeds me. I am a writer because "a writer writes." (and rewrites--this has been gone over now three times at least.) I am a photographer because my mom gave me her brownie camera when I was a girl. But often enough, I am also an orphan. I try so hard not to be.

And my darn car no longer gets AM radio, so I will have to catch The Fantastiks in its matinee, tomorrow. When I'll be making a feast for church. We'll be practicing the practice of "Eating." Hmm...what will I make? (I won't tell!)