Monday, April 30, 2007

Prayers that are hard to pray

It's easy to pray for your neighbor's cousin's uncle who is in the hospital for gall bladder. He'll probably get out well, whether or not you pray.

Or to pray that someone else will step up to help a mom who needs babysitting.

But to pray blessings on someone whose plan is to go far away? To pray that God will be more revealed in their life? Preparing a place, far far away?

To pray that someone who hurt you will prosper, that is a hard prayer. That God will reveal Himself to her, that she will feel His prescence, when she is still so far away from you, that is not an easy prayer. But it comes easier.

And praying these hard prayers is easier than not praying them, where they would fester. Because if I don't pray them, I hold onto them, and I can't. Go west, young man! Go east, young woman!

We prayed for families, and for our own wretched hungry hearts. We prayed and we prayed and we prayed. We read from the Psalms, from James, and from John.

We prayed for unity in the mess of ego. We prayed for the brokenhearted. We listened to (or read aloud) Leonard Cohen's poetry.

We labored in prayer. May our labor bear fruit. May we continue to pray...

"You were never meant to be a woman on this island"

Captain to Sara Louise Bradshaw in Jacob Have I loved by Katherine Paterson.

Yes, her name is Sara Louise. She is the inspiration for my blog name. One of these days I intend to purchase the audio book. I think it's only available on cassette, the one with Moira Kelly.

In this scene, Sara Louise is mourning McCall's decision to marry her twin sister, Caroline. She thought maybe she had a future with Call.

I don't have the book here, but either here, or later, the Captain urges Sara Louise to follow her dreams. She discovers that she wants to be a doctor, and pursues this goal at the University of Maryland.

Later, SL is a nurse in a town that bears her father's first name, in the mountains. After living on the island her whole life, she has a desire to see mountains, and this town is completely surrounded by mountains.

After a life of living in the shadow of her sister, Caroline, older by only minutes, SL has found her own way.

While I am the oldest of three, and I have seen mountains, and islands, and no desire to be a doctor or a nurse, I love SL. So much that I used her name for this blog.

Ugh. Do you ever have that blog feeling where you're trying to get something out but you can't? That's the awkwardness of this post. I have been dreaming the wrong dream, it seems, much like SL was. She was hoping that something would happen with Call, who chose Caroline. But instead she found something better.

Anyways, I can't put my finger on how to express this. But [did you sense the pause] the stars of Spiderman 3 are on the Today show, so I'll have to leave you with this awkward attempt. Anyways, I'm puzzling my way through.

And soon, I have to get ready for some computer training. Oh, and if working on my day off weren't enough, it's also DAY TWO.

But, I have planned ahead. At 4:45, I have scheduled a massage.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's spring, and it's time to trash pick!!

So this is the shelf. (Note the butterfly sticker--cute!) I'd been wanting something for the basement, was thinking a la Home Depot utility shelf, but this was better, because a) it was free 2) it is nice--custom-made and finally, I didn't have to assemble it, just clean it up. (It took me two hours and lotsa Method brand cleaner...)

A "before" shot of the glass panels. The red one is a mirror (backwards, in this shot), which fits in the bottom.

Another "before" shot, this with my bucket, ready to clean.

Did I tell the story of this pick? Well, I was driving home from...somewhere, on Monday, and saw it. I slowed down, stopped to take a look, and drove straight to EE (East End) Sally's house. She wasn't home, but I caught her on her cell at Aldi. I promised to help her unload her groceries if she'd help me pick this shelf (she has a station wagon.) So, with my key (I love that!) I let myself in, fixed some water for me, and some for her, and then sat in the sun of her backyard until she showed up. I helped her bring in the groceries, and whilst she put them away, I played "soccer" with her youngest, Frank. He is such a cutie. Then we drove off to get the shelf. I hadn't realized the shelves came out, which made it so much easier to tote.

Here it is in its new habitat:

I imagine when/if I move, this will go with me, and be used for nicer things than my basement clutter, but for now, it serves the purpose.

A side shot.

My next project!! No real cleaning required, this one is from NH (North Hills) Sally, and I'll move it up on Monday afternoon. She'll then get the drawer/file cabinet hutch that my printer is currently on.

I love my Sallys!!

(Yes, I know the one shelf is crooked, but it was free, and I'll deal. When it enters its new habitat, I'll post pictures.)

Go hug someone!! I'm off to get ready for brunch with the gals--oh, and I have a new art project, but I might not unveil it til it's done...and I still haven't posted pix of my Station. But at least they're now downloaded from my camera...

Also, I saw Babs again this morning with Fred--he is such a nice dog. And I think I met a woman who is running for school board...

She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs at the time to come... (Proverbs 31:25)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

On the other hand...

Why is it that we tend to focus on the negative? I had a lovely jewelery party, my two best friends came, one brought a friend, and I love the lady who is the consultant, so we all had a blast, trying on jewelery. Ms. Second Floor came up and ordered something before the party started (let's get it started, yo, let's get it started, hey.) b/c she and daughter had evening plans and then just now, she called to see how it went. She can drive me up a wall with her vacuuming at 10 pm, but she really is a sweetheart. She works tomorrow but I'll have to figure a way to get her some of the leftover strawberries.

On the other hand, I invited almost thirty five women!! About 15 had other plans, were out of town, or don't wear jewelery, but some women said they probably would come and why do I care so much that they didn't when clearly, I had a good time?! It's just another indictation that relationships take time. And care, and nurturing. So, we're not there yet. So...move on! And keep inviting folks. This was the first time NH Sally came to one of my parties, the first time Kelly even ever saw my apartment, and the first time I let Ms. Second Floor in--she keeps an immaculate apartment with all new furniture and I felt, well, like the poor cousin. But she knew Sherry, who does work at her daughter's school for their garden, and I stood there washing dishes, it was really nice.

I can still feel my skin--ARGH!! I had a rough day at work, but I made it through and even solved a few problems!! I cleaned my desk this morning, which is a good feeling, I got rid of probably a ream of old papers. And now I know where things are.

Tomorrow's plan is to veg and to go see that new Meg Ryan flick that has Women in the title. And to post pictures of last Monday's trash-pick find.

Hug your little or big ones, and I'll catch ya on the flip side. Smile--your teeth need the sunshine.

Oh, and I got my first wedding invite in almost two years--exciting, exciting!! I love weddings. And I LOVE the invites--the envelope all calligraphied n'at...

Friday, April 27, 2007

More dead white men...

Earlier this week, I found a post that said David Halberstam being killed was bullsh*t. The writer railed on and on about that it is"utter bullsh*t considering that the guy reported from fricking Vietnam and he dies in a traffic accident in San Mateo."

I also found a link to a satire that vodka sales would plummet now that Yeltsin was dead, since he was such a huge consumer of said spirit. (Sorry, I can't find the link.)

So sunshiny! So Pollyanna! That Sarah Louise, she sure perks up a party!

Go jump in a lake. I'm going to bed.

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."

(Anais Nin)

Ugh. How am I today? Jittery. Strung out. Frazzled. I can feel my skin. I didn't need my 2 pm cup of coffee (I was already wired.)

So instead of going to the free This Side of Eve concert tonight (sorry Alyssa!), I'm going to have a nice dinner somewhere (why isn't Abaté open yet?) and get the apartment ready for tomorrow's jewelry party. Maybe I'll watch My Dinner with Andre, a movie my boss recommended.

Oh, and we'll decrease the Zoloft tomorrow by 50 mg, since it's been like this all week and hasn't gotten better. (A mood change is defined by how long it lasts--if you're up or down for more than three days, it can clinically be called depression or hypomania or mania.) If you're only down for one day, it doesn't count on the main scheme of things, which is why I only contacted my psychiatrist today.

Brrring! That was my boss calling to say she'd be a couple minutes late. And here I was thinking she was probably already in the back office getting ready to come out...I love my boss. She just came back from Ireland and is in good spirits. I have an Ireland magnet which now adorns my desk, along with the Antartica magnets from the parent's visit this winter.

Yesterday NH Sally said if only you could bottle hypomania. I told her there's a book out there where a guy talks about that--he's convinced that 80% of New Yorkers are operating on hypomania...but what comes up must come down...

Anyways, I realize this is a pretty boring post, but the AN quote was what hit me. Right now I'm not seeing things as they are, I'm seeing them as I am, and that's giving me a pretty frazzled world view. I wonder if there are any Chant CD's upstairs? Somehow I think calm music on the drive home would be a good idea.

Guess that's what an online catalog is for...

Til later...I have pictures to post n'at...

Hair Lessons

As a librarian, I subscribe to too many online newsletters about upcoming books. As a woman who battles her hair, I found this link and had to laugh. I bet we could make it into a meme if we really wanted to...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

bits and pieces of a metro DC life...

You know I'm tired when I bring up old posts from FEBRUARY...this was from my momma's birthday weekend.

When I come to NOVA (Northern Virginia, for the uninitiated), I do all sorts of fun things. Including reading the local newspaper, the Washington Post. (or as some bloggers* call it, the WaPo)

"We'll have the goose napkins, because Friday I have to be a goose." (Mama)

Twinkle, twinkle, Little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky. (Lewis Carroll)

Cross Patch, draw the latch,
Sit by the fire and spin,
Take a cup and drink it up,
Then call your neighbors in. (Mother Goose)

(from a Tea book from the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

There were the five nations of Native Americans that had slaves! And now the Cherokees are trying to purge their nation of these folks (such a small amt, it seems to me, out of 250,000, there are 2,800 that are registered "freedmen).

The bathrooms in DC schools are substandard.

We had presents for mama's bday last night. The girls (mama, sis, and I) sang "When you're 64."

My papa has been to Chicago and he sent us all postcards. He sent them all to 304 Nut St, even mine. He also brought back gifts n' things. He used to always do that when he came home from a trip when we were little. My sister and I each got a "stained glass" Frank Lloyd Wright inspired art pin, and my mom got a whole bunch of stuff, including, I think, chocolate. Well, it was her birthday, after all.

We went to a French restaurant to celebrate--wow! and then to the movies: "Amazing Grace." Pops fell asleep as is his M.O. But the rest of us were awake. I loved it so much that when I returned to da Burgh I went to see it again.

Today, in da Burgh: I've been cleaning and cleaning. North Hills Sally came over this morning and for two hours we cleaned and de-cluttered--I must have returned over 20 books to the library today and I have a box of books for Goodwill in the car, plus some shoes and some other stuff I'll not be needing.

Talked to my Aunt Perk tonight. I have a short list of folks I can call while driving--my nuclear family is against it, so that excludes Mama, Papa, Sis and Bro. I already talked to Kelly earlier--she's coming to the party on Saturday--I think it will be a nice party--so I called Aunt Perk, who drives long distances and always talks whilst driving. She is my favorite aunt. Well, I guess my only living one...she's my mom's sister and an oldest, like me. Her late husband was also an oldest (my parents are both youngests) and during college I spent holidays with them sometimes and often felt more at home with them than with my own parents because they acted like, well, oldests. My uncle was very bossy, but generally right. And my aunt is one of the most beautiful Christians I know. And she loves her family and they know it.

I probably could keep writing, but I'm exhausted. Yawn...

*well, not in this post, she doesn't, but the post I linked to is a very cool article about Joshua Bell and an experiment he participated with the WaPo. It's amazing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I need a nap!!

Okay, so remember I had wicked insomnia Monday night into Tuesday morning? I then went to work, worked from 11:45 until 6pm, got some Wendy's, changed into jeans, and went to the OD discussion group. Stayed there until about 9:30, upon reaching home, I talked to my mom about our summer travel plans--MONTANA for my dad's 65th, put together a list of names for the Silpada consultant to follow up on, and crashed. (Well, I did read some more of Death at Wentwater Court, the first Daisy Dalrymple mystery--v.g.)

I slept ten hours.

I came to work and was rather chipper until lunch. What is it about the midday meal that makes us all into walking zombies? At 2, I had my requisite daily cup of decaf and since then it has taken every inch of my willpower to not crawl onto the floor and take a nap.

Tonight I'll call the folks that said "maybe" they could come Saturday. I'm afraid my bravado of this morning "I'll invite some coworkers and I'll get outside orders too!" is ALL GONE.

And in 25 minutes, I'll be back on the reference desk...

I've been researching mother daughter book clubs--I'm thinking of a total re-vamp for mine: change the name, change the graphic we use for the signage and bookmarks. The group is for fourth and fifth grade girls and their moms/significant women in their lives.

So far I've come up with "Tweens and Moms Reading Together." Laura said it's kind of long, and does that mean it's boys too? So then I came up with "Reading: Tween Girls and Moms" which is a little bizarre, I mean who attends a club whose title has a colon in the title? So let's see, "Tween Girls and Moms Reading?" Any and all suggestions will be taken into consideration, dear reader.

I so want a nap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

20 minutes til I'm on the reference desk.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I am Lucy... (and other random thoughts on a Tuesday morning)

You have a strong sense of responsibility toward others and a deep respect for other people, even strangers, though you are not always sure what the best course of action is. You are Lucy, the brave child who who is wise beyond her years and kind to all she meets.

My dad sent me this meme/quiz back in Lent and it re-introduced me to Beliefnet. He was Lucy too. He sent me an email saying good thing it wasn't Lucy Van Pelt (of the Peanuts.)

The flags are back at full mast--thankfully, I don't think we honor foreign dignataries or writers. (Sorry Boris and David*, I'm ready to stop thinking about loss.) (Yes, I realize how crass that would sound to those who really WILL be missing these two dear men.)

And in the category of covers that should not have been EVER allowed:
In the category of THANK GOD it was covered: Donna Summer singing MacArthur Park. It was originally recorded by Richard Harris (thank you, wikipedia) and that was surely the song I heard on my Standards/Golden Oldies station last night. ACK!

I had a GREAT day yesterday. Due to overstimulation and potential PMS, I was awake until 4:30 a.m. So instead of falling asleep to "That Thing You Do" I got to watch the whole thing. And due to my strung out, sleep deprived state, I wept at the end. (It's a COMEDY.) Okay, off to work.

*Yesterday we lost Boris Yeltsin and David Halberstam.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Flags at half mast all over town...

Stushie, over at Presbyterian Bloggers, made this. He's made lots of nice stained glass window-ish pieces, but this one he said we could use if we wanted to for meditations on this week's events. WOW.

The school colors are in the flame (yellow and orange).

On my walk home, this is the passage that came to me, a passage of text that I come back to again and again (thank you Jay McInerney.)

You are a republic of voices tonight. Unfortunately, that republic is Italy. All these voices waving their arms and screaming at one another. There's an ex cathedra riff coming down from the Vatican: Repent. Your body is the temple of the Lord and you have defiled it. It is, after all, Sunday morning, and as long as you have any brain cells left there will be a resonant patriarchal basso echoing down the marble vaults of your churchgoing childhood to remind you that this is the Lord's Day. What you need is another overpriced drink to drown it all out. But a search of pockets yields only a dollar bill and change. You paid twenty to get in here. Panic gains. (Bright Lights, Big City, p. 6, by Jay McInerney.)

I kicked a newspaper box today. I yelled at it. It was this paper (pdf. file) Nowhere above the crease (the part of the paper seen in street boxes) did it even mention what happened in Virginia on Monday. Okay, already I'm a republic of voices, because it did--but the headline was "Public Safety vs. Right to Privacy." Hello? The focus of the article is how the privacy of the information that Cho was mentally ill somehow is the reason he got away with murder. Great reporting. An editorial on red tape in the corner of the front page. If you've been paying attention at all, you know by now there's a Federal law saying that folks that have been labeled "a danger to themselves" can't buy guns. There's a big bruhaha on how Cho bought not one but two guns.

Contrast that with this front page. (pdf. file) The article starts off talking about Cho's mother. Humanize the story. Let us know that we are all just people. Apparently (did you sense the pause) it's one of the articles you won't find online. That's okay, I need to buy the paper today anyways.

I took a walk this morning. It was the first morning walk in a very long time. I couldn't find my disc-man, so I heard the mourning doves. (I do not like mourning doves, but that's another story for another day.) I walked past grass glistening with dew and I couldn't help but think of the most optimistic verse of the most pessimistic prophet:

18 So I say, "My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the LORD."

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him." (Lamentations 3:18-24)

It reminds me of Gerard Manley Hopkin's poem, God's Grandeur:

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;5
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;10
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

I wrote a paper on this poem my sophomore year of college. Sister Maureen is gone by now, I'm sure. But I still remember her comment on my paper, "Why not end it well, the way the poet does?" Because after the poet laments that man smudges and leaves nature bare, the Holy Ghost broods with "warm breast and with ah! bright wings."

Let that sink in for a minute.

The exclamation point is the poet not being able to contain himself, akin to Elizabeth Bishop's "write it!" in One Art.

A few weeks ago, I had dreams several nights in succession that I was with the man I was to marry. A different man in each dream, a different locale. I was not yet married, but its immanence was implied. This week I have dreamt of loss and gain. Last night I dreamed that Boston had come back, that we, along with the cast of Friends, were trying to catch a train to Buffalo. And it depended on me wrapping a gift correctly. I woke to realize it was a dream, she is still estranged.

My father is apt to quote Blaise Pascal: "I apologize that this letter is so long. I did not have the time to make it short." This post is doing that. My mind is a republic of voices and while I do not have a shortage of space, I do have a deadline: I must be at work in an hour and ten minutes. I must be driving for thirty of those minutes. I had a large breakfast, (which I ate part of with Babs at Tazzo!*) so I'm not hungry, but I have to fix food, as I will be the only person in my department and not able to take a meal break.

I am angry. That co-workers this week by Wednesday were citing the news blitz as too much. That the Tribune-Review would think an editorial on the front cover was good news coverage. That when I first sat down to start this post, a neighbor was using some noisy thing, requiring me to close my window.

I am sad. I am confused. I remember as a child, being sent out to the front lawn of our school in Tegucigalpa because there had been a bomb threat. We would sit there, wondering if that bump was a buried bomb. But we were children, children who for the most part were very safe. We had dogs, for watching, and night watchmen who paced our quiet streets while we slept, and we had to go through security to visit our dads at work. But we knew nothing of gunshots, or blood. We had two TV channels, 5 and 7. No Internet, no email. The Miami Herald was a day old at best when it reached us.

Sort of a Latin American Mayberry? Not really. We didn't go to Nicaragua for Thanksgiving the first year we moved there because of the war there. But what do I remember most about El Salvador? That the great towels came from there.

Get to the point, my brain yells. And yet, I cannot. I do not want to think that I live in a world where all the pundits can talk about is gun laws and campus security.

This morning when I walked the stairs (I pray for families when I walk the stairs in Highland Park, the stairs above "Lake" Carnegie) I prayed for the 33 families of the deceased. I prayed for Ted Bundy's mom.

My time is up. It's 12:01 and I have to think about a shower, some lunch, and what to wear.

*more on that later. How I love my little neighborhood café.

Interesting dedications or other stuff in books...

"To Sherlyl Hardin a valuable resource (and friend) for me
and a guiding light for her students.
This second grade teacher rules!"

(In Paula dangizer's Second grade rules, Amber Brown)

"This is a work of fiction. All names and characters are either invented or used fictiously. The owls, however, are quite real."

(In Carl Hiaasen's Hoot.)

Pythagoras and the Beatles,
whose 'All is number' and 'All you need is love'
so aptly define the poles about which my world revolves"

(In Peter Strom Rudman's How mathematics happened, the first 50,000 years)

Of these, I've only read Hoot, which I'm reading again for the ??th time. I like Mr. Hiaasen and hope he continues writing for young folks b/c I can't take the sex, violence etc. found in his books for adults (fans, any recommendations?).

Oh how I wish to be OUTSIDE!!

on the radio right now:

Walking in Memphis*--Marc Cohn.


...put on my blue suede shoes and boarded the plane...

Off to work, she goes, that Sarah Louise, the SuperLibrarian!!

*found this website through Google, it explains a lot of the lyrics...and then you can click on the link and get to the lyrics.

OH AND THIS JUST IN: WKRP in Cinncinati is coming out on DVD!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The book is almost always better...

Some people go to the movies Friday night. Since I'm workin' til 9pm and have to work at 9am tomorrow, I went to the movies this morning.

I love the book Because of Winn-Dixie. The movie, well, while it had its good points (Dave Matthews as a pet store clerk) was not a movie I love.

But I'm glad I saw it. And I was equally glad when it was over.

More on this later, I'm off to clean up so I can have lunch with Marian (the Librarian.)

Sarah Louise lives here

Sometimes I wonder if I am a glutton for pain. Of the de-cluttering kind.

In two Saturdays, (which is actually only eight? days from today) I am hosting a Silpada jewelery party. My mother was like, why??? And my response was, the lady who is the consultant is my friend and it's a way for me to invite my friends into my house--I heart parties.

It has been heart wrenching. EVERYONE and their sister, cousin, aunt is going out of town. Or doesn't wear jewelery. Or doesn't read their email. Out of like thirty five women emailed, I have four maybes and I haven't heard a yes from one of them, so I don't know if the "official invitations" went out...

I honestly could care less about free jewelery, though Silpada's ware is very nice (click on ze link), I just want to have some folks over.

Enter the second obstacle: my apartment. Remember the 12 year thing? How I'm trying to lose those twelve years of clutter? Well, like any diet, one must be CONSISTENT. So. not. me. Right now you can hardly see any floor AT ALL.

So my weekend (what weekend? I work today 1-9, tomorrow 9-5, Sunday 1-5) will consist of two things: getting on the phone and getting some folks to commit to coming and de-cluttering this hovel of a garret. Ugh.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sex and the city, Redux...

The weather of many hearts is stormy this week. And many blogs are quiet, as we sit either glued to the box or hugging our little ones.

The post below was written Monday morning. I have changed some of the tenses and days to match the fact that today is Thursday, but if you see one glaring out at you, glare back. When I get paid to bare my soul, I'll fix the tenses.


I have come back to my own broken heart. An event happened over the weekend that had me in such a funk that I didn't crawl out of bed until late Monday morning, missing my chiro appointment. Sunday night I finished a book that sort of deals with the exact issue that came crashing down over the weekend. The book only clarified the event, which actually was a series of mini-events. Part of it goes back to a post I wrote a few weeks ago, about a conversation with a friend, where I said, "it seems all of my friends are passing me by, having babies and getting married." Last night at church there were couples everywhere. Even in the empty seats, I could see the invisible women that were out of town. I was so glad to see Ralph has come back, it was great to see him for two weeks in a row. And it was great to see his girlfriend, whom I've met a few times. But it just sort of cemented in my mind, "They're passing you by..."

So the book. I'd been reading it piece meal until Sunday night, when I sat down on the couch after a McDinner and phone calls to Bro and Kiki.

Sex and the Soul of a Woman by Paula Rinehart does not badmouth Sex and the City. Thank God, and I mean God. Because I have realized over the reading of Sex and the Soul...that the premise of SATC, could women date like men, not caring, not getting entangled, was disproven by the last episode of Season Six. The show tried to show women who didn't care when men left or relationships ended, when the ceiling came crashing down, but in the end, the show exemplified that we do care. Women care deeply.

Charlotte was the best example of this, in her rush to get married to the mama's boy doctor and in the devastation after her divorce. The episode I'm thinking of is where Charlotte takes Carrie to a meeting where women have gathered to hear a bestselling author talk about her book about love and how you have to hope for love and do exercises and then love will find you. (The Secret, if you will, for love.) Charlotte stands up at the end when there is a Q&A and says, "But I've been doing all the affirmations. I've been doing all the exercises. But I still feel empty and love hasn't come to me." The author sort of condescends and says to Charlotte, "Well, maybe you just have to try harder." And Carrie gets up and says, "She has been trying. Believe me, I know." You have to imagine that Carrie's tone is sassy and brassy and ANGRY that anyone could imagine that Charlotte wasn't hoping her hardest for love, true love. I think at that point both women storm out. Or at least that sounds like a good ending. This is also the episode where Carrie is putting together a book filled with her "best" columns. The editors tell her that her dedication will set the tone. Will it be optimistic or pessimistic? And as the episode ends, and Carrie is in her cute little apartment, Carrie typing into her lap top, she dedicates the book to Charlotte, who always hopes for love.

If you're a SATC fan, you know that eventually Charlotte ends up with her short fat bald (not balding) Jewish divorce lawyer. She does find love. So does Carrie, in a sweep of the last episode, where Big finally expresses that she is "The One." So does Miranda, who after having a baby out of wedlock with Steve, gets married to him and moves to the Bronx. And Samantha, hard as nails Samantha, gets over her cancer and settles in with Smith. So a show that started with the premise, "Can women date like men?" ends with the answer, "No. Women long for the happy ending, women long to settle down with that one man that loves them, no matter what."

I wrote most of this post on Monday morning. The wind was blowing so strong I could feel it through my window frames. It was gray and blustery and I sat, in front of the screen, still in my pink cotton nightgown. I had not eaten breakfast, I merely came straight to the black box with a screen and a keyboard that in some way soothes me, as it connects me to my friends.

I am a woman. A woman with a broken heart. No, it was not broken this weekend. No, the conversation I had merely shone a light in, revealing the brokenness that remains. I have hard work still to do. I have not yet let go of the demons of past relationships. I have lived in the fantasy of my mind, building castles in the clouds.

From here on out, you're going to have to read this as something that was written Monday morning. I am not changing any more tenses or days of the week.

Let me see if I can find the passage that burns in my heart. Okay, as I turn the pages, looking for it, the first thing that hits me is last night I read over 100 pages of searing text. Because I have the memory of being on the sofa when I read page 47, and the book is over 179 pages long. You do the math, I'm trying to find that passage. I suppose I should think about breakfast, since my therapy appointment is in 59 minutes and I have to drive for 20 of those minutes.

Okay, it's a long passage. I'll try to give you the Cliff Notes.

"There is something tragic about women not being allowed to express the loss and betrayal they feel when a relationship is over...

"Unfortunately, most of us turn those potent feelings back on ourselves. We think, I need to be less sensitive. If only I could keep my heart from getting involved. There must be something wrong with me. In a culture that trivializes everything transcendent, a woman's passionate nature is a bit embarrassing, and well, somehow, bad...

"...a real, living woman with hopes and dreams, with an unveiled longing for a good man and a child to tuck in at night--what does our culture say to her? She needs to get some tear-proof mascara and a good anti-depressant.

She quotes Wendy Shalit: "Maybe it is normal for a young woman to be 'intense' and being cavalier is what is strange. Maybe wanting to forge bonds with others is normal, and it's cutting ourselves off from enduring attachments that is perverse...

Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, says the poet. Yes, I believe about the love part. I would not have traded the love part. But Sarah Louise has never felt that a man cared for her enough to be completely honest. Again and again, they have either not realized the attachment she had towards them, or they have brushed it aside, saying she was the one who changed.

There is a seventeen year old in my heart who still aches from the loss of Tony. Who in the end wasn't worth it, but tell that to my heart.

I think, therefore I blog...

It could happen to you--it happened to me!! I have been bestowed the "Thinking blogger award" by Diane, of Going to Pieces.

Now, before you get all cynical on me, yes, I have seen enough, I know this is a meme. But it's pretty cool to get an email from someone you've never met, whose blog you've never seen, to say, Hey, you make me think! We all like to be liked, even us thinkers.

If you want to read more about the Thinking blogging movement (it's sort of like the Alice's Restaurant movement), here's a link to an article in Blog Herald. It is a meme, but like blogs do, it gives power to the individual blogger. Oh, and here's where it all started, on the thinking blog.

Anyways, the way it works, is that I then bestow the "Thinking blogger award" on five unsuspecting bloggers.

This was hard, but I was able to narrow it down, since some of the folks I would have named already have been!

So here goes, in alphabetical order:

1. Behind the Stove: Babelbabe's blog (that she shares with Gina) is the first blog I ever read. She writes about books, her three boys, her cats, and the latest aquistion, a dog. Her trademark is using quotes as titles for her postings. I love her template, which is very book-ish. She is often funny, and she always makes me think. She's also a librarian, so we have that in common.

2. Biscotti Brain: I found Erin's blog through bobbie's blog (see below). Erin is thoughtful and surprising. Here is how she describes her blog and her thought process: "Rarely is once-in-the-oven enough for my thoughts. They resurface, triggered by a piece of brilliance composed by someone else, and beg for reshaping... re-baking (rethinking)... and then finally consumption." She also makes very cool purses, I keep forgetting to order one...

3. Emerging Sideways: bobbie and I met in 2005. Right BEFORE she moved off to Canada. bobbie was one of the first folks that commented on my blog that didn't know me. She is a fascinating lady, and very fun. Why oh why did she have to move?? (But she's happy where she is, so I guess that's a good thing.)

4. Kiki, out of the kitchen and on the komputer: My cousin, Kiki, who just started blogging this February amazes me. She cooks, she does pottery, and she is very witty. Plus, it's very cool that we share a lot of childhood memories.

5. Mixed with Sugar: Paula came onto the blogosphere about a year ago and her photographs are wonderful. (She also has a photo blog...) She premiered on the blogosphere with a Show and Tell, back when it was a Thursday staple on Blackbird's blog. She has an aesthetic sense that I always enjoy.

Go forth and read! and think!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ride, Paul, ride!!

With tax day in the US being yesterday, today snuck up on me. It was only after I posted a comment on Nutmeg's blog (SHE'S BACK-woo hoo!) and saw the date of my post that I realized what today is.

If you do too, recite it along with me:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year... (read the rest here)

My grandmother, a true poetry lover (and teacher) drilled this into my mother (not so much a poetry lover, but also a teacher) and she drilled it into me. I wonder if my other sibs (there's a ten year difference between us, so we had different childhoods) absorbed this poem.

Of course, because I never really memorized it, and the eighteenth of April part is the most important part to me, I always mangle the first stanza and start off with "It was the eighteenth of April in Seventy-five..." and then I get lost...

In some states (Massachusetts?) today is celebrated as Liberty day or something. And the reason why tax day was not Monday (April 16) was that Lincoln emancipated the slaves in DC (our nation's capitol) before the rest of the slaves were emancipated, so it's a holiday there.

The Pens lost last night. To stay in the playoffs, they need to win the next three games. I figure, Mario just needs to announce something big the day of each game and they'll rally. (Every time there's been a big announcement, the Pens have won, and big.) No, I'm not linking this paragraph, I highly doubt I have too many readers that care about Penguins hockey, and if you care that much, YOU do the searching. I gotta get ready for work!

So yesterday was National Library Worker's Day and we went on a field trip. To other libraries, of course. I took pictures, and I'll post them later this week. My car and my sense of direction having a clear allergic reaction to the South Hills, instead of staying South East and going more East, I went North. Instead of ending up in the South Hills, I ended up in Oakmont. (Like eight pages off the map, if you're looking at a map book of Pittsburgh.) I thought going through Plum was an odd way to get to Upper Saint Clair...

Today is the Big Visit. People from other libraries are coming to visit us. As we are the sole library in the consortium with OCLC privileges, I'm giving a demonstration of how that works. I'll be using a 7 cassette audio version of Confessions of a Shopaholic to demonstrate how records merged badly when we joined the consortium--our item record merged onto a record that has 8 audio cassettes. (I'm sure many of you read this last paragraph as whawhawhawhawha, you know, like the adults in Charlie Brown TV specials.)

Anyways, I missed my chiro appt on Monday, so I'm going today. Which means I better run if I'm to get a shower.

Remember to give each other lots of hugs. As the news filters through, it turns out that two of the injured students were from this area and the sole PA fatality was too.

Here's a link to those who died Moday, courtesy the New York Times website.

I'm outta here!

(Although I have much much more to tell you...)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Do not let fear allow you to quit school. (Craig Scott)

Okay, first off, the quote above is not in "" marks b/c it's what he said on Today this morning and it's the gist of what he said.

I'm off to a National Library Worker's Field Trip, but I wanted to at least have something up.

So here's an interview (yes, with Pat Robertson, but it's what Google gave me right away) with Craig Scott about Columbine, and about his sister Rachel, who was killed there.

This is a link to the Today show website. I'm grateful that our President decided that it would be worth it to be there for the memorial service today. (When a President visits, there are WEEKS generally of advance teams...ask me how I know.)

My senior year of college, a student electrocuted himself while working his senior project. My grandfather died the same day, and after that, it was as if every day we heard about someone's grandparents or parents dying.

Ach. I gotta go. Be kind to one another, and call your momma!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

publish or perish?

There's an interesting phenom I've noticed of late. Folks are either ditching their blogs entirely or ditching them for a season. There's guilt about this, from the readers and the writers...I haven't blogged enough, I've blogged too much, I can't keep on keeping on. Even I took almost a week off.

While at first I had real issues with this (I'm addicted to reading y'alls blogs), I think I've come at least ALMOST full circle. And these are a few of my thoughts:

Posts are like letters. And Lord knows we don't write enough of those. They should be a delight to the writer and the reader.

(and yes, if you read me via Bloglines, I did just pull a post I wrote this morning.)

I'm feeling a little too vulnerable right now. Which is okay. I think part of our collective problem is that we are too quick to brush off--How are you? I'm fine.

Well, I'm not fine, and neither are a bunch of folks in Blacksburg, VA, though their problems and mine are not the same at all, they share one component: they are human problems. Problems with this broken, shattered, falling apart world.

So, as it is after all National Poetry Month, I leave you with these:

Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spring and Fall: to a young child; God's Grandeur; Carrion Comfort.

Elizabeth Bishop: One Art.

Oh, and Happy National Library Week.

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there. (William Carlos Williams)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

and yet, she can't stay away. the screen draws her in, like a moth to the flame....

Oh man. It's ten in the morning on a Sunday no less and I've spent the past 45 minutes doing what? Blog hopping. I did write a letter (yes, on real paper, with a pen on paper) to Lorelei, but when I went to the desk to grab some stickers, my hand brushed against the mouse and the was alive...

(I keep my computer on. It hibernates or something. I know it's not the best policy for electrical conservancy and security, etc. but my computer is haplessly running on Windows ME and it hates to shut down. When I occasionally DO turn it off, it takes five minutes, it makes rude noises, and it invariably changes my wallpaper. Now that my taxes are fini! I can move towards purchasing and installing Windows XP...) (And, no, I'm not ready to jump on the Mac bandwagon, thanks for thinking of me--I saw that thought balloon forming in your mind--you know who you are.)

So I browsed my new favorite blog (see yesterday's post) and found a whole world of Holy Cards. As a woman who was a card carrying Catholic for almost 365 days, (and a wanna be for at least three years prior) and an owner of at least five holy cards, I found Julie's story fascinating and wonderful.

Then, because I somehow find Pat's friends interesting, and he hasn't posted anything new for ages, I hopped over to see Liz. I commented on her thoughts on comments, and coined a new phrase: a responsible overseer of your online domain. (She was writing about the whole blogger code movement.) (That inaudible 7 minute pause was me searching for a link and coming across Kathy Sierra's blog and reading a fascinating post on multi-tasking. Ah...I'll save my thoughts on that for later...)

Katrina has recently added "Kind Blogs" as a button on her blog and I clicked on it a few days ago and I think I'll join. It's a shortcut to knowing that the content you find here will not be intentionally hurtful and that by reading my blog, hopefully "I've helped in some way to make your day just a little bit better." It's like a non-MPAA label. You'll find surprises here, but they'll be kind ones. They'll be within a certain parameter of courtesy.

A while back I remember reading a blogger writing about comments and since I love the comment factor of blogs--I like knowing who is stopping by, I love what I call "blogversations," I tuned in. Said blogger talked about how some bloggers let the comments rip. They write the posts, you write the comments, and never the twain shall meet. Then there are bloggers (I'll now call them the "responsible overseers of their online domains") who read comments and respond to them. Some folks even email folks back every time someone comments. As I am trying to limit my time online (SO NOT WORKING!!) I don't see how I would do that.

Besides, I don't have everyone's email address.

I don't like comment moderation, as a) it seems like so much work--having tried it and b) it prevents the natural generation of blogversations--while you sleep, women in Australia could be reading and commenting on your blog and when you wake up, voila! a letter from the other side of the world! Maybe many letters!! Maybe, could it be? a blogversation!!

Warning: the following paragraph is rife with parentheses, brackets, links, strikeouts, and all other sorts of bloggy silliness. When I started this blog (almost two years ago) I was looking for a way to share my words with the world. (I had recently spent way too much money and time trying to start up a website about chick lit that was going to make me rich beyond my current knowledge.) I knew at least one blogger (Babelbabe of BTS) and Marian (the Librarian, who was largely responsible for my foray online...) had her own little online community kingdom going. I know two folks from my high school who met their spouses (for better or worse) online in the days before e-Harmony (blech!).

[Disclaimer: I had a really bad experience with e-Harmony but they did refund me my money and I have heard of folks who have found lasting love that way, so take that with a shaker of salt.]

Our library sponsored Jessamyn West for our staff in-service day and I've never looked back. While half our staff was like "Boo! hiss! I'll never use the Internet for blogs or Flickr or other cool stuff," by the time the day was over, I had come up with a name for mine. Pink Sneakers and Pocket books. At the time, I had a pair of BRIGHT pink (you might say fuchsia) sneakers and I loved the play on words of "pocket books"--it could be a pocketbook (purse) or a pocket book (small paperback). Since then, my blog has been named everything from Rose Slippers (for a brief moment in time) to just plain Pink Sneakers to its current Pittsburghese loving name, Pink Sneakers N'at. Poppy (a blogger I love) calls me Pink Sneakahs on her blog roll, and for that alone she'll always have a place in my heart. Babs called me Sary Lou once (I can't remember the exact situation) and so that's how I fit my moniker on a USS something PA licence plate that I made yesterday when


It was my mindless mini-break in a day of checking Dewey numbers, correcting catalog records, and writing responsible emails.

Where was I going with all this?

Oh, I was telling yinz how I spent 45 minutes hopping 'round the blogosphere. And I just spent over an hour in the telling which might take you 10-15 minutes to read if you don't get distracted and click on all the links.

It's a crazy world out there--look both ways before you cross the street! I'm outta here!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

If you keep a green tree in your heart, perhaps the singing bird will come (Chinese Proverb)

Letter writing--I long to return to it. "Stamps, envelopes..." (from You've Got Mail.)

Slow blogging--I want to discover what that means.

Journalling--writing for me, and not necessarily in complete sentences.

The Slow Movement. (I'm intrigued...)

Drinking tea (or hot chocolate.) I spent two hours at Tazza tonight just talking across a table. What a treasure, to have conversation. To make connections. To tell stories, to listen to stories.

Savoring and finishing a book, (and using a few tissues).

I have found a new blog, and I am intrigued. Wendy Waterbirde at Letters from Bluebird Abbey has created a little nook, with a few intertwined blogs...and her focus is very monastic. I knew I would like this blog when I saw that she used Isaiah 54 as part of her "banner."

Verses 11 and 12 are probably worn thin to gold, if that is what happens to verses that are read and absorbed and dreamed and wished on. I would pick East End Sally up at the hospital where she worked so that she wouldn't have to catch the 11 o'clock bus when she worked nights. I would sit in the car, with my Bible, and somehow, this was the passage I always returned to. The entire chapter is good, but these verses became mine:

"O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones." (Isaiah 54:11-12, ESV)

Some versions read, "O afflicted city" but I prefer the RSV and the ESV and the KJV, as I put myself in that place, the afflicted one, stormed tossed, and definately NOT comforted. It is not so much that I want sapphires, agate, but that I want what the rest of the chapter promises: compassion, no more shame, and that no weapon fashioned against me will succeed.

So I finished a book tonight, What a girl wants, (Christian chick lit) and cried at the end. Because it was good.

And yes, I called Em on the way to work and left a message on her voice mail. I probably will write more about how I feel about that in my journal. As I come (soon!) upon the close of my second year of blogging I'm learning a lot about what it means to put myself "out here" and how to "ponder some things in my heart."

The rain is pitter patting outside my window. I think it's time to brush my teeth and say goodnight.

The sun
has gone
to bed
and so must I...

(from The Sound of Music, of course)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility. (James Thurber)

I don't think I'm tranquil enough to recount yesterday with humor. Let's just say, there was huge emotional chaos going on.

In other news:

  • 7 have become 6: Handsome has been born! My friend Caty has been preggers for a very long time (they kept moving her due date: oh, it's on St. Patty's day, no, it's the 24th, no...) As far as I know, she delivered regularly, and all are recovering nicely. (So now I have six pregnant friends.)

Marian (the Librarian) and I had a laugh yesterday: as I went off to dinner around 4:30, I saw her car and thought, oh, is she working tonight I wonder? I drove off to Wendy's, chattering on the cell my life story to my friend Dee. Got off the phone at my point of arrival, went in, ordered my meal, sat down. Started reading my book, and who comes to ask if she can join me but Marian? It was so nice to sit across from someone! After dinner, we went off to our separate cars. I was in the lead to get back to the library, but we walked from our cars together. Hee!

Today we're doing the Wendy's thing again, but more efficiently: there's a teleconference on "the best websites" or some such and so I'm running off to Wendy's for take-out lunch, and we'll eat together during the teleconference.

IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Interesting developments: last night, (in the throes of my emotional chaos) I called Em's cell and hung up when I got her voice mail. Will I be brave enough to leave a message next time? Am I ready to...I miss her SO much. Building bridges, forgiveness, white flags...they are never easy things to do. It's times like these I think of A Bargain for Frances: Thelma is tricky and Frances' mum warns her to be careful. But Frances would rather be friends than be careful. It is a book that comes back to me time and again as I think about how tricky friendships can be.

Look-at-the-time, off I go to Wendy's!!

Okay, I can publish...Blogger outage...

So today was a crazy day. But I just wrote a post that is suitable only for drafts (would you like some whine with the cheese) and now I'm yawning.

Catch ya laterzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Kitchen Meme...for Blackbird

A few days ago, Blackbird posted 50 new things about herself and pleaded for someone to send out a meme. So in the recesses of my mind, I pondered this and finally came up with one. I hopes yinz like it and play along on your blog! (Feel free to customize...)

As a person who doesn't have a "real" kitchen (It's a corner of my glorified efficiency/garret), this meme will make me look like the opposite of Martha Stewart. Folks like Kiki, Blackbird, and Babelbabe will look like queens.

In the kitchen with...Sarah Louise (humming "I'll be working on the railroad" is an important part of this meme, you know, "in the kitchen with Dinah...")

Variety is the spice of life.
In my cupboard, I have this many spices: Six.
Rack or no rack? You're kidding, right?
Alphabetize? Have you met me?
Which spice do you use most often? Dry mustard.
Which recipe? (to be posted at the bottom of meme) Sarah Louise's Strata. It's a spin-off from a recipe in The kitchen survival guide by Lora Brody.

It's like the pot calling the kettle black.
Coffee or tea? Tea
Do you make coffee at home? Um, I have coffee in tea-like bags circa 1995. They are waaay in the back. I think I should throw them out...
If you make tea, loose or in bags? Tea bags.
How many kinds of tea do you have? At least three. Raspberry, Regular, and Lady Grey.

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
I use my stovetop: as a counter. (It's electric, so it's not really a fire hazard.)
I use my oven: once every couple of months, to make SL's Strata.

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
Soy or cow? Cow. I tried soy and eeuu, gross!
Skim or whole? Skim.
How many gallons a week? One half.

There's nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself. (James Lee Burke)

Three items in my freezer (right now):
  1. Ice pack.
  2. Hot Pockets.
  3. Baking soda.

Three things in my fridge (right now):
  1. 2 containers with 1 serving soup each.
  2. leftovers from Lilly's Easter with her fam.
  3. Noxcema (for sunburn)

Item I am most chagrined about: expired milk (1 half gallon, 1 gallon.)

Item I bet noone else has: Autocrat Coffee Syrup (it's a Rhode Island thing--you put it in your milk. Coffee milk, yum!) (But mine is really old, so if anyone has a Rhode Island connection, email me!!)

It's a wrap! I hope Blackbird likes my new meme, and yinz also! Feel free to change the quotes.

I'm not much of a cook, but my take-out skills are top-notch (Kathy Shaksan): a link to the recipe for Sarah Louise's Strata.

My humble humble kitchen. Note how my microwave matches my cabinets. And yes, that's all the cabinets I have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Doing the Snoopy Dance....

I finished my taxes, woo hoo! And if the IRS "accepts" my e-file, I'm getting a much larger refund than I imagined, NICE.

If you haven't finished, you still have til the 17th. But won't you feel better knowing they're done?

Off to find something celebratory to do...I'm thinking laundry is out. (But I did that the other day...)

Am I actually catching up with my life? Could it be?



I love discovering new blogs, new authors, new music, new...but I also love the old, the familiar.

I have been told all my life that I'm good at writing the middle but I need to work on my introductions and conclusions. So-be-it.

I look at other people's blogs and see their blogrolls, all alphabetical, or in one format and think, oh, it looks so clean, so organized, and yet I know that while I might borrow some of what they do, I will probably have some that don't fit a format because I'm fairly eclectic.

ec·lec·tic [i-klek-tik] –adjective
1. selecting or choosing from various sources.
2. made up of what is selected from different sources.
3. not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.
4. noting or pertaining to works of architecture, decoration, landscaping, etc., produced by a certain person or during a certain period, that derive from a wide range of historic styles, the style in each instance often being chosen for its fancied appropriateness to local tradition, local geography, the purpose to be served, or the cultural background of the client. –noun
5. Also, ec·lec·ti·cist [i-klek-tuh-sist] a person who follows an eclectic method, as in philosophy or architecture.



So, my taste in music, my taste in movies, my taste in books...all eclectic. I even have an eclectic taste in friends. I am a children's librarian and I love kid's books, but I love working half-time in Tech Serv where I get to work with AV (DVDs, CD-ROMs) and non-kids books ("adult books" somehow insinuates something else...)

Do I like Madonna? Yes. Do I like Patty Larkin? Yes. Do I like Martina McBride? Lucinda Williams? Christine Lavin? Yes, Yes, Yes. I love Johnny Cash. I own five Menudo LPs from the early 80s. I adore Carole King.

I like Home Alone, Twister, Enchanted April, A Knight's Tale, Metropolitan, Men in Black, and Flushed Away, to name a few movies.

So my blog doesn't fall easily into a category either. I'm not really a library blogger, though I am a librarian. I'm not really a kidlit blogger, though I am a children's librarian. I'm not really a literary blogger, but I do often write about books. I'm not a mom blogger, though many folks on my "roll" are. I have bipolar disorder, but this blog isn't really about that either. I love crafting, but it's not a craft blog... I'm Presbyterian/Emergent/Christian but my blog isn't just about that experience either. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Eclectic.

My life has been enriched by time spent in the Americas: Brazil, Honduras, and the U.S. (mainly Maryland, Virginia, and Pittsburgh, PA) and Europe: Germany, Poland, and traveling all over the Continent as well as a short trip to England when I was 8.

My life has been enriched by my siblings: born when I was 10 and 11, my world has expanded to include them and their eclectic tastes, although my sister is pretty straightforward in her reading: she likes Regency period romances, Jane Austen, and all the classics (she asked for The Hunchback of Notre Dame for her 13th birthday--the book, not the movie.) She watches old movies. My brother is into music and listens even to Bessie Smith. He loves Bob Dylan. They both are huge U2 fans.

My dad likes country music, and I do too. My dad reads the New York Times and at least two other papers online DAILY, and often will email articles that he thinks I'd be interested in, from obits of children's authors to articles about libraries.

My mother is a nature lover. She gardens. So I have tulips in front of my house in Pittsburgh, planted when I was in library school. For her birthday, I bought her a huge bag of bird seed.

My parents aren't big readers (of books for people their age) -- my mom knows a lot of kid's picture books as she currently teaches second grade but has also taught first, third, kindergarten and preschool. My dad, like the protagonist in the movie Metropolitan, reads book reviews, but not books. He'll tell you what a movie is about, but 9 times out of ten, he hasn't seen it. He is also well versed in children's books, and his favorite, if pressed, would probably be Daniel Pinkwater's The Big Orange Splot. "My house is looks like all my dreams."

Um, so in conclusion, I'm eclectic. Or, as a card I once bought in college said, "I'm glad you like me. (inside:) I'm too wierd for anyone else."

On the bookshelf right now: The Restless Heart: Finding our spiritual home in times of loneliness. As a person who spends WAY too much time by herself, this book is incredibly insightful and in some ways like looking into a mirror that says, "You are okay. You are human."

Monday, April 09, 2007


So as soon as I discovered that my apartment is making me sneeze b/c I haven't dusted in...well, let's just say, a very very very very long time, I turned into a dusting queen. I have organized my videos into regular movies and taped TV. Ugh. I have a lot of taped TV. The stuff I want to keep is any episodes I might have of Cosby. Not The Cosby Show, where Bill is Dr. Huxtable, but Cosby, where he plays (still married to Phylicia Rashad) Hilton Lucas. Oh how I love this show. It played on some network for 4 years and I didn't understand it then. But when I lived in Virginia with the folks, it was syndicated and came on around dinner and all of a sudden it was my motivation through the day. I'm telling you, the minute they make this into DVDs (nothing in the works, *sigh*) I'm buying all four seasons.

Doug E. Doug (Cool Runnings) plays the annoying neighbor and he is the best. Madeline Kahn plays Rashad's business partner and is amazing. She actually died while the show was on, and so there is a special episode where the actors (out of character) sit around and talk about what a great lady she was.

My apartment is so mired with clutter that it doesn't look like I made a lot of progress tonight, but believe me, I made a lot of progress. And now, I think it is time to go read or relax so I can get to sleep. Last night one o'clock came and went and I was oblivious, so hard at work de-cluttering was I. (Well, a few games of Free Cell, too...)

Oh, and all this whilst watching Disc 1 of Season 1 of Friends.

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

About half of my real movies collection. Don't they look nice? I wonder how long they'll stay this way...

Where's my blogroll??

Okay, so this is why you stick to using the in-house technology--so that when it's broken, everything's broken. I can't access all my "updated" bloggy blogs!

I need to update my (did I spell that right) page so that I have my favorite links somewhere else...

And in other news, I am paying WAY too much for phone service. Does anybody do VOIP?

I was out doing errands all day n'at. I have to eat dinner and do stuff, so I'll catch yins later.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter sunset

It is snowing.

I can't even begin to describe church, except that there was a darling girl (about 1 1/2 years old) in a perfect pouffy Easter dress running around and she was precious.

Ralph, whom I haven't seen in FOREVER, was there, and I drove him home. It was great to see him again. He is one of the few people I have close friends in common with--he's been in email contact with Emily. He knows Lily. Being with him was like going home for the afternoon. In the car we talked about how I like country music and he doesn't. He's one of the original folks at the OD. There aren't so many of us around.

It was wonderful to sing old and new songs, to experience our crazy little community. We are SO awkward sometimes. Stumblingly so. (If I even tried to expand on that, we'd be here ALL NIGHT.)

At lunch, Terry One (not to be confused with Terry Two--usually spelled Terry I and Terry II*) said that non-traditional churches generally have lower attendance on the holidays. I could have hit my forehead with my hand.

THANK YOU! I'm not going crazy, I'm just going to a non-traditional church. He went on to say that folks will go with Grandma to Mass on Easter instead of their non-trad church because Grandma will make them pay for six months if they skip. We had decent attendance, but it totally makes sense about how we still are not quite gelled as a community (and perhaps why my desire to have Easter Dinner, a New Year's week party, etc. etc. have proven futile.) I've never been a part of a non-trad church before (except for the past three years of my life) so of course I expect folks at church to act like folks act at the other TRADITIONAL churches I've attended my entire life (well, except for my backsliden six months in 1995).

It's snowing harder now. There are three robins (well now that I'm writing about them, they've flown off) sitting on the trees outside my window. It makes me think of that nursery rhyme: (which yes, I just Googled, it's not one I can rattle off...)

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then,
Poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing.

It's fluffy snow, I doubt there is any on the ground.

I think there is something (probably dust, etc.) in this back room which makes me sneeze. I had lunch (lovely, thanks Alyssa and family) at the Creasy's and they have a dog (I'm allergic to dogs) and yet I didn't feel all nasaly and uncomfortable like I do sitting here, right now. And I have some energy, I want to just pile everything in boxes and get rid of everything, but of course that's not necessarily the best solution...

I wanted to go back and edit my earlier post, it was so melancholy, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Besides, there are already two comments...

So, off to grub for some food and then maybe make some headway on just clearing some surfaces. Because I bet you it's dust that is the problem.

Oh, and here's a quote that also made me hit my hand on my forehead:

"The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community [even if their intentions are so earnest] but the person who loves those around them will create community."

That's Dietrich Bonhoeffer, courtesy of Shane Claiborne, whose book I'm almost done with (Irresistable Revolution). Tonight, I promise, I'll finish it, and then I'll use my Border's coupon next week to buy it. The library will be glad to have it back, I'm sure. And I'm sure I murdered some sort of sentence structure there, English grammarians please have mercy.

So busted am I. (If you read the post below, you'll see how it is all about Easter's past and MY idea of the way things should be.)

*Terry I is Alyssa's dad. Terry II is a minister of an emergent church in the South Hills. They are friends, so it's kind of fun (and) (hence) (that) they are Terry I and Terry II. When I see them at Tazza, they have eached crossed one river to meet each other.

OH AND THE BEST NEWS OF THE DAY (besides Christ has risen, but you knew that already) is that ABATE IS COMING BACK!!! They'll be at Pittsburgh Mills and if that's what it takes to get me to drive 11 more miles North, well, I just love Abate. (It's a restaurant.) (Thanks Sandy for that juicy--tee hee--piece of news.)

Okay, it's eight, sufficient time for me to fix dinner, since I ate lunch around 2? It's bizarre to be home in the evening instead of at church...

If we begin with certainties, we will end with doubt. But if we begin with doubts and bear them patiently, we may end in certainty. (Francis Bacon)

He is Risen!
He is Risen, indeed!

Somehow, it's not Easter until I've heard those words. I remember one Easter, I might have been nine, my mother creeping into my room to wake me up for the sunrise service, and whispering in my ear, "He is Risen!" I remember feeling so loved at that moment, by my mother, and by God.

I'm actually wielding the cell phone now. My father didn't even answer the phone with "Happy Easter." My mother wanted to nail down the plans concerning my dad's 65th birthday trip (in June). I said, "don't you have to go off to choir?"

Oh brother, I'm becoming a grouch, in my age.

I remember Easter morning sunrise services. On the terrace of a park across the street from the Union Church of Tegucigalpa. Oh, the sunrise on the hills. I remember sunrise services at my grandmother's church in Washington, New Jersey, Pastor Farr would greet the morning at a small hilltop graveyard with his trumpet.

I remember eggs--decorating them, blowing them out, making Easter egg trees. My parents have the darlingest set of rabbits, with wheelbarrows and such, getting ready for Easter. I remember when they bought them, when I was a girl in Germany.

I have no memories of Lent until I moved to Pittsburgh, this town of Catholics and Presbyterians. But my second year at Carlow was Lou Mitchell's first Easter at Bellefield and having been raised Catholic, he did Lent with a vengeance. Every Sunday was to prepare us more. "Dying to self" was the big theme. I think Cornerstone one of those years had a sunrise service.

But as an adult, life seems so much more about Lent and so much less about Easter. I don't even have a new dress this year (although I did get my hair cut, and yesterday I got a manicure.) I have not decorated any eggs, and I got my "Easter basket" (a canvas bag filled with Easter grass and some very nice chocolate) on Monday from my mother. I ate some of the chocolate last night. I went to a friend's in the evening, after a long, fruitful, but hard day at work. The manicure was an afterthought--when I called Kelly at five to say I was done, she fretted, saying she still had to paint a second layer. "I'll come over at seven, then?" So I took a back road that I thought would take me to the mall and it did! and got three types of chicken samples at the food court at the mall before I went to get a manicure. The place I go is run by women who hardly speak English and I feel like a manicure is such a personal thing, I wanted to be able to talk to the woman who was massaging my hands, cutting my cuticles. When I paid, I told her I liked her necklace and her face lit up with a huge smile.

So I went home, ate the chocolate that a co-worker had put in my cubby, and with no hammer in sight, stomped on the chocolate egg my mom had given me. I wish I had a "before" picture. All I have now is shards of clear plastic on my kitchen floor and the chocolates. They are very good. I can't remember the brand name--Roche? Anyways, delicious.

Then I drove to Kelly's and my car did autopilot so I was sort of lost. When I got there, she was still painting, so I ate pizza while she painted and then I finished The Solomon Sisters Wise Up, sitting in the other room to let her paint with more speed. Around 9, we put in the DVD and she prayed for us. The Passion is a movie that requires prayer before it, and apparently, I could not tarry even for an hour--at the point at which Simon was helping Jesus with the cross, Kelly was saying, wake up, Sarah Louise, you can't be asleep, I need you to watch this with me! I'm awake, I mumbled. It took a few more minutes for me to sit up fully. What a hard movie to watch. I hardly remembered it, as when I saw it two years ago in the theatre, I spent half the time looking away.

When it was over, all I wanted to do was get back to sleep, in my bed, at home. So I drove into the night and of course by the time I'd brushed my teeth and changed into my nightgown, I was awake enough. So I started a book from the library about a woman who finds out her husband is having an affair when she picks up one of the phone extensions at their house. I read until the words swam.

So it's Easter.

Right now my CD has cycled around to the last song, "What if I fall" by the now broken-up Christian boy band DC Talk. I've listened to that song a lot this week, thinking about Jesus falling at least three times on the way to Golgotha. (Calvary sounds too white, too pure, for the bloody mess we watched last night on Kelly's TV screen.) What if I stumble, what if I fall? Jesus did. He was a man like us, without sin, but he fell. In his last hours, he died a worse death than most of us can imagine, and showed us how to live.

Crap, can you hear the religious sentiment in that last sentence? How do you tell the story of Jesus dying on a cross so that it makes people understand WHY he did it?

I sit here, at my computer, looking at my desk. One of my "Fabulous Broads" quotes from last year's calendar hangs on my desk: "Send me flowers while I'm alive. They won't do me a damn bit of good after I'm dead." (Joan Crawford)

The last time I went to a sunrise service was 1998. I was very depressed, but my parents had insisted I come home for Easter. My grandmother was there, in her wheelchair, and we went to the Lincoln Memorial, by the Reflecting Pool. It was cold. That is all I remember. My parents went this morning and my mom said it was even colder today, below freezing.

Another quote, above my computer screen: "I don't know how to fight. All I know is how to stay alive." (Alice Walker)

I have been fighting this year. Fighting to stay healthy, amid colds and colds and colds. Fighting to get...

...past the doubts? Into the certainty? I don't know if my sneezes are allergies or a cold. Allergies, I hope, since I'll be sharing Easter dinner with the Creasy's and I don't want to infect any of them.

It's cold outside. I have no idea what I'm wearing to church--in the last warm spell, I got rid of three winter dresses that I rarely wear, but that means that the one I have now that's clean is brown, not really an Easter color. Plus, it's short, so I would have to find nylons or tights that are clean.

I'm not feeling the Easter, y'all.

And I want to end with some pithy phrase, like, "and that's not the point." But I can't. Because I'm still living in the doubts. Easter morning is here, but I'm still in...

...hold the phone, I just got a text message from Pete! "Christ the Lord has risen today! Alleluia! Happy Easter! Yours, Pete." And I sent him one back: "Back at ya he is risen indeed sarah louise" (Can you tell which one of us is more adept at text messaging?)

So, wherever you are, whatever state this finds you in, Happy Easter. Because Friday's over, it's Sunday!!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Art of the stations

I am SO ready for it to be Easter. In my morning surf, I found solace in Erin's post about Kayla's post about heavy stones.

I also found this amazing slide show at CT, of artists renderings of the stations and the sufferings in Christ concerning the Passion.

I wonder if the library owns a copy of Walter Wangerin's book, The Ragman.

We know the end of the story. What is it in us that makes us bleary until Easter finally arrives??

Friday, April 06, 2007

boonyackis unite... (or in which I realize again the pull of family)

I am such a hypocrite, it seems. What is it that Walt Whitman says? I contradict myself? I don't have time to look it up.

The maternal side of my family celebrates Easter at the beach. I just got to talk to my cousins on the phone--people I only ever see at funerals, since no one's gotten married in EONS. I suppose they're waiting for me.

When my cousin's wife came on and said, "I wish you were here" my heart melted, and I thought, ME, the one who had such a hissy fit over everyone going away for Easter, oh, wouldn't it be great to be there with the cousins next year? GAH!

So sue me. Gotta get ready for work--REALLY.

Wishing you and yours a joyless, grave, and yet oddly hopeful Good Friday.

(David Rensberger)

Here's a story about Good Friday that I found on Beliefnet last week. It's strangely strange, just as the day is.

In keeping with the Mr. Rogers theme of the last post, I feel like humming the one where he sings about seeing you again and "I'll have more ideas for you. You'll have things you'll want to talk about. I. will. too."

G'bye neighbor!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm a pepper, he's a pepper, don't you want to be a pepper too?

The wall, it has been hit. By me.

I am taking some time off...until next week. I know yinz are dying to see stuff about my Station and I really am going to post, but right now I have too many ideas and not enough energy to post on them.

See you next week.

Monday, April 02, 2007

You say goodbye, I say hello. Hello Hello...

(The Beatles)

"People change and forget to tell each other." That's a quote from one of the meditations in Mediatations for women who do too much. I'll maybe try to find out who said it. Right now I think I just need to get this out.

I'm not a gracious person when it comes to goodbyes. I want to stay in a place forever, stay friends forever, people to not move away or make decisions that change the status quo.

Case in point: I have not moved for twelve years, I didn't even move when I left this garret for my parent's house for three years. I kept the apartment because a) I didn't want to change 2) I knew I wanted to come back, and finally, because it made sense at the time.

I hate goodbyes. I, who have said a final-seeming goodbye to someone at least once every three years of my life--they're moving or I'm moving. I, who often have associated these final-seeming goodbyes with the telling of secrets (appropriately and inappropiately). I, who have feared abandonment, who still fears it, deeply.

I have stayed in relationships longer than I should have because I didn't want the change. I have stayed so long that when I ended it, the other person had no idea that I'd been thinking of ending it for months.

Even though I'm not exactly happy with where my life is going right now in some departments, I don't want to rock the boat, add or subtract something, for fear of CHANGE.

For my first semester of my senior year of college, I had a paper on my wall. On it were these words: Change is the only constant, in different color markers. It was the worst year and the most full of changes of all my college years (well, except for my freshman year.) (It did have some "it was the best of times" moments too, don't you worry your pretty little head.)

Change is the only constant. You can never walk in the same river twice. That's Hereclitus, my favorite Greek philosopher. I think he was pre-Plato. I think there's a name for that.

If things don't bend, they become brittle. If things don't change, there is a stale odor. And yet, I resist change. I know change is healthy, and yet, I resist it. Tooth and nail, I cling to the familiar.

All that to say: I am watching my friends move on. They are changing jobs, getting deeper in love, they are getting engaged, married, having first babies, having second ones. This is wonderful. I applaud them for where they are going. I do. I am. But the selfish part of me that clings to what is familiar says no! You have to stay here, with me. We'll be crochety old ladies with arthritus and we'll sit on the front porch and watch the world go by. We'll hate everyone and everything, but we'll have each other and it will be the same and familiar!!

See how crazy this is? See how worked up I get? And why? Because if you're changing and I'm staying the same, maybe we can't be friends anymore. Or if I'm changing and you're staying the same, maybe I'll leave you in the dust. Or maybe we're both changing, just in different ways, in different directions and that's scary too.

Meanwhile, I am changing: I'm becoming a better librarian, I'm trying new things, meeting new people, moving furniture around, and always and forever changing purses, sometimes on a daily basis. For me, the girl who moved again and again, this staying in one place is a real change for me. For me, the girl who worked for Fox Books for four years in which she sent out resumes every six months, to be at a job that I can imagine retiring from. Over half of my life was spent in the three year cycle: move somewhere, get to know it, get ready to leave. This not moving, this staying put, it is for me, a change. Maybe I'll stick around. Put down some roots.

I didn't really see how this had anything to do with Lent (and I did say I'd be writing about Lent this week) but it does. I am Peter. At the Transfiguration, I want to build a tent and stay there. When Jesus says he must suffer, I say, you know what, you don't really have to do that. And yet, when he is a criminal, being taken off by soldiers, I deny once, twice, three times that I even knew thee. It hurts less. Go. Just go. We were never friends. I don't know what you're talking about.

A movie image just came to me, of the little boy in Jerry Maguire, when Dorothy is about to drive off to San Diego for "that job." And Jerry tries to say goodbye and the boy says "Go. Just go ahead and go," fighting back tears, pretending he doesn't care, but caring, deeply.

Also, if you're changing/leaving and that's a part of a healthy decision on your part, and I'm not-changing/staying, am I being unhealthy? The mind plays all these questions, baiting the heart, saying, "You must! You should! Why aren't you?"

  • Keeping up with the Joneses?
  • Shopping retail?
  • Drinking free trade coffee only?
  • Finding a boyfriend, getting married, having babies?
  • Reading these books?
  • Blogging less?
  • Blogging more?

And none of these things are the point!! If making bread is your thing, go! Make bread. Knit! Have babies! I applaud you. I'll be over here, re-reading the Jennifer Weiner oevre, blogging at my own pace, living my life at my own pace, shopping at Goodwill, giving away perfectly good Ikea shelving, thinking about an MFA in Writing, rearranging furniture, being a darn good librarian...

Which brings me to a man I love. He has been in and out of my life since I was four, and he's still here, very much alive on Channel 13, even though he's been dead almost five years.

I love Fred Rogers. Of all the shows I think I missed out on the most as a child, I think his is the one. I remember watching Mr. Rogers in our living room in kindergarten and well, when we moved to Germany in the fall, he just wasn't there. Thankfully, he made shows until I was a library student, and I actually met him once...but I think if I'd had him there with me in Bonn, when the kids made fun of my last name, if I'd had him in Tegucigalpa when the kids made fun of my non-talented kickball playing...

So in this current crisis, I think that Mr. Rogers would have a song to sing to me about not wanting to change, to grow. I don't want to change! I don't want to grow! And you shouldn't either!

Do you hear him, in the corner of the room, softly singing? "It's you I like. It's not the things you wear. It's not the way you do your hair, but it's you I like."

When I was in Warsaw, some of the darkest times of my life (haven't written much about that side of Warsaw, have I?) I would make myself smile in the mirror by singing "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood..." (i have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you. i've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with YOU.)

Here's one about growing and changing, though:

"You're Growing"
You used to creep and crawl real well
But then you learned to walk real well.
There was a time you'd coo and cry
But then you learned to talk and, my!
You almost always try.
You almost always do your best.
I like the way you're growing up.
It's fun, that's all.

You're growing, you're growing,
You're growing in and out.
You're growing, you're growing,
You're growing all about.

Your hands are getting bigger now.
Your arms and legs are longer now.
You even sense your insides grow
When Mom and Dad refuse you. So
You're learning how to wait now.
It's great to hope and wait somehow.
I like the way you're growing up.
It's fun, that's all.

Your friends are getting better now.
They're better every day somehow.
You used to stay at home to play
But now you even play away.
You do important things now.
Your friends and you do big things now.
I like the way you're growing up.
It's fun, that's all.

Someday you'll be a grown-up, too
And have some children grow up, too.
Then you can love them in and out
And tell them stories all about
The times when you were their size,
The times when you found great surprise
In growing up. And they will sing
It's fun, that's all.

I had a conversation with an old friend after church on Sunday. We hadn't talked in ages, as he goes to Bellefield and I to the Open Door. He and his wife are moving to Washington, PA, where he'll be a resident, to finish up his medical training. How have you been, he asked. And somewhere in the telling him, I blurted out this: "I'm watching all my friends get married, have kids, move on." And bless his heart, this is what he said. "I bet that's hard." NOT, "You'll find someone." NOT, "hang in there." No. He validated where. I. was. He wept with the weeping, even though I wasn't literally weeping, nor was he (though I am now, writing this, tasting the tears as they fall down my face to my lips.)

Wow. That feels better. A year ago, I came home from Massachussets after having spent two weeks there: one at a library conference and one at a friend's house. I spent April Fool's morning picking up trash in Highland Park with Nick and Lauren, who live in ENGLAND now, talk about changing and moving. My Massachusets friend and I are estranged right now. I'm actually estranged from three other key people from last year this time. One I doubt will ever rekindle, but the others are question marks. And if you have read this far, you know that I don't like question marks. Exclamation points, yes. Periods, commas, yes. But question marks? Something's not certain? I'm not too crazy about those things.

Somehow this post wants to end with some more poetry, so I'll cull some key lines from a man called merely "The Preacher."

For, there is:

A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,

A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,

For there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)*

*I took a few liberties by using two translations (The Message and the NIV) and choosing only verses I wanted to highlight and by putting the first verse last.