Wednesday, November 11, 2009


to babies in 3 minutes. I posted about allergies on the SL gets better blog.

Friday, November 06, 2009

it was better in my mind...

So, in the bath (eureka) this morning, I was thinking about my favorite show of late, The Good Wife. And everybody's dreamboat, Chris Noth. How, if at almost 38, I had a locker, his picture would be up there.

This is such the perfect role for him, and at a perfect time. He's had all this time to be the good guy/bad guy on SATC, and so women are used to him being a cad, but coming out good in the end, and now he's in this role where he is in JAIL and still, looking oh so cute, and...

this is not coming out word perfect like when I was in the bath. Darn. It was all beautiful and it was going to convince you to watch The Good Wife, if you aren't already doing so, Tuesdays at ten, CBS.

Oh, and there's my timer. Gotta get the quiche out of the oven, yum.

Well, I posted. And posting, this month at least, means just that, even if it is warmed over and not so tasty.

Monday, November 02, 2009

I woke up thinking about 8+7

The trouble about this kind of blogging (which is not mommy bloggging, since I have no child, but not niche blogging since I don't blog about old cars or poker) is that I tend to write about myself. Ah, that favorite subject. But since I write about myself, and my ideas, I get personal. And so I forget that this is a computer and I want someone to answer me back. Which happens, sometimes. But not all the times. So my search for approval and friendship on the interwebs brings me right back to the fact that I need more face to face time with people. Which I am working on. Also, writing morning pages (3 pages every morning, a la Julie Cameron and TAW) helps, because instead of blurting out all my ideas to a computer and expecting approval, expecting conversation, I know that I'm writing on a page and that no one will read it until I want them to, and that I'm more having conversations with myself.

Last night, after church, I spent about an hour finishing transcribing the first story that I'm putting in my MFA portfolio. (A fiction portfolio should have 2 stories and equal a total of 20-30 pages.) So I rewarded myself with what I thought was the last 20 minutes of Cold Case. Nope, it was 3 Rivers. Well, I'm not going to start with another show (I already am loyal to The Good Wife and Numb3rs) so I turned the TV off. Moved some furniture around. I got rid of a desk and a bookcase this weekend, and to pull of the getting rid of part, I had to move furniture. I used to have a tiny bookcase at the top of my staircase, where I put my keys, etc. But it was a little tight manuevering. But I never thought about putting it somewhere else...until I got rid of the bookcase that was on the landing. And so all weekend, the landing was NAKED. (The horrors!) So I thought, why don't I put the keys bookcase on the landing? So I did, angled it, and I think it looks lovelier than it did in its original home. Maybe I'll start using it for mail, instead of piling mail on the floor of the landing...

Posted by Picasa

Oh, so where was that train going? Oh, Cold Case. So after I'd done some apartment improvement, I turned on Cold Case, which was 10 minutes in. And soon realized that while it is a cool show and I love seeing the flashbacks, it is not on the same par as The Good Wife and Numb3rs, so maybe I would finish my book instead. Which I did.

Books last week:

The Year of the Rat by Grace Lin, sequel to The Year of the Dog. A nice middle grade book about a first generation Taiwanese-American girl (her parents are immigrants) who lives in upstate New York. It's also illustrated by the author, little whimsical drawings, which won my heart over. A little confusing, since the author says it's fiction, yet she uses her own home names, Pacy (for home, with family) and Grace (for school). So I kept this a memoir? Apparently not, according to the author's note at the end, though the part about a friend moving away was true. But why use your own name in a novel? Other than that bizarro twist, I would recommend it, ages 8+

The Grace Livingston Hill Story. Hi, I'm Sarah Louise and I'm a GLH-aholic. I'm better than I was, but I used to tear through her romances like crazy. The first one I read was White Orchids. In a flurry of I'm getting rid of stuff because I'm/we're moving, I got rid of it at the end of high school. I missed it, and now have another copy. Phew! That actually happened with another book, Sparrow Lake, too, which is out of print, so more it's more of a story that I have another copy, just happened upon it one day and said, yes, this is that book that I thought was too sad to ever read again but I want to read it again and be sad. Where was I? Oh yes. I really liked the Grace Livingston Hill bio, because her books can be a little sugary and we're so poor and honest and godly. Her first husband was a morphine addict! At the time when they didn't know morphine was addictive and there were no rehab centers. He was a pastor, so all the more shocking. And her second husband was a musician who was very childish, who she finally told, leave, and don't come back. No word of an actual divorce, since, you know, not godly. While I love her novels, they are sheer escapism and now I understand a little more about why. SHE needed the escape. And I never knew that the books were her bread and butter, since her first husband died at 35, leaving her with two young daughters to raise. So, of course they were a little formulaic, she was pounding them out, 2 or 3 a year.

Oh, and the title. I have always had trouble with 8+7. How in the heck do they make 15? But I was talking to my mother (retired schoolteacher) about it yesterday, and she said they are now teaching about the "doubles" in math. 6+6=12, so go up or down one for 13 or 11. Same with 7+7. It is so much clearer!! My mother goes back to teaching Wednesday. Her former colleague is having a scheduled C-section Tuesday and my mother will teach for the duration of her maternity leave, which is til the end of the quarter, some time in February.

Well, my dearies, off to take a picture, the one you see up there. Ciao for now.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

This is it ...(no, really, really not.)

I had completely forgotten about NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. I have decided to participate in the latter.

Stay tuned, I have a post about Nick Hornby's new book, Juliet, Naked, and how I thought about it a lot while watching the movie made from Michael Jackson's rehearsals for his once and no longer future last concerts. But if you want to go see This is it, don't wait for my review, it needs to simmer. And if you're on the fence, go see Amelia. (Next on my list.)

I bet you're wondering where I've been and why I'm not blogging as much's that I'm trying to work on a portfolio and it's hard to keep up with daily blogging, Twitter, Facebook, oh, and that pesky thing that pays my bills, work.

I'm also trying to get away from the approval curve. A lot of why I blogged in the beginning was because I thought it was something cool people did and I wanted to be cool. And when I lucked into a sweet community and started getting comments, I felt like I had hit the cool pot of gold. The other night the president of Drew, the first African American and first woman president etc, etc. was on Tavis Smiley. And Tavis asked her about approval. And she said (paraphrased from memory, folks), I work hard to excel, not for approval. This is the way I would do it anyways.

I am SO not there. I want people to like my eggplant spaghetti sauce. I want people to re-tweet my tweets. I want to be a Newbery author. I want to be like Sally Fields and stand up there on stage, "You like me! You really like me!"

And folks, nothing like approval seeking to kill the lust for hard work. Approval seeking wants glitter and glamor and recognition.

So I've been working on very non-glamorous Morning Pages, as a part of my "artist in recovery" work with Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. If you can do it, get some friends to do it with you, it's hard to stay honest if it's just you. I'm in a closed blog with some Twitter friends, and boy is it good to be able to say, no, I did not write today, and for that to be okay, because other people didn't either. Of course, we seek excellence, but we are human, and we will always always always fail.

So, I hereby promise to write most days this month, right here. I do not promise to write every day or to only give you fresh writing every day. But I'll be here, and if you show up, I hope you take a minute to say hi. It's the only way I'll know you stopped by, because I don't have a thing-y that catches visits. See? It's been so long I can't remember the name of that silly thing-a-ma-jig-y, because it was tied in with my own personal am I good enough approval rating.

with x's and o's,

Friday, September 18, 2009

...and it was still warm...

So, when one names ex-boyfriends after favorite book characters, it can backfire...

...but I think we'll survive.

Banners from /Film, where you can find out more info about this "Coming SOON!" movie.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I ching?

So, when I was working for Fox books, my friend Tim told me about the I Ching. It's the same book, but when you look at it every day, the message changes. I used to feel that way about Eat Cake. Now, Sex and the City re-runs are my I Ching. (I suppose as a Christian, the Bible should be, but I'd rather not say the Bible is my Buddhist answer book.)

I used to have Eat Cake sitting on top of the CD player in the loo, so I read bits every day. And it always spoke to me. Then I dated a struggling musician and had intimacy issues and money problems and Eat Cake was no longer removed enough from my life. I haven't touched it in a long time. (Soon, I think, I'll be ready to re-read.)

But now, when I have a vile day, I know exactly which episode to turn to: when I can't cry because something horrible happened, I go to the one where Miranda's mother dies and Sam can't get a release until the funeral. Or yesterday, I went for the one where Carrie rebounds with the new Yankee and then cries in his mouth after seeing Big in a bar. She dials the pay phone and you don't know who she's talking to, and you don't know who she's meeting "at our place" until the camera pans to Miranda.

I gotta go. It's this thing called work. They pay me to correct catalog records and help pubescent boys find the next great sci fi series, preferably one he has never heard of. (He's tired of vampires, when I recommend a Westerfeld.) (Me too.)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Writing vs. Blogging Part Deux

So, ironically, here I am, again, less than an hour later.

I'm trying to build an arsenal of writing prompts. There are a lot of websites, and it's super easy to open my google documents and open a window with writing prompts.

This is the one I found today: Creative Writing Prompts.

I find that I'm a lot better with the prompts that are like "write about an empty glass" (which I did) than write "I remember..."

Okay, I did today's writing, back to Season Six Part One. Miranda has figured out she loves Steve, Berger's book option got dropped, Samantha is helping Smith with his acting career, and Charlotte is sad because she lost Harry, after she converted to Judaism so they could get married.

Blogging vs. Writing...

This is an interesting development.

I never knew Jose Saramago was blogging, but hey, he's stopped to finish his novel.

I have been trying to post to this, while trying to work on writing.

Not saying that I'm stopping, but I'm wondering.

Even though I went walking this morning, and was thinking of blogging. But I came home, and nothing.

Except some pictures (which I will try to remember to post) and this great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.”

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Lint Gate continues...

Except now, it's not about the lint.

So...I waited all week to do laundry, knowing that I didn't want to have to deal with it on a night that I worked til 9pm. So last night, I put a load in around 6:30 p.m. I moved around some books for an hour, went back downstairs at 7:30. Well, it was still going, but at least it was in the "Final Spin."

I did a bunch of other stuff, including getting a Popsicle, calling my parents (line busy), calling Michigan Sally, and gabbing away. While we were talking, I thought, let me just see where the load is, maybe I can transfer stuff to dryer. Um. Still in "Final Spin," a half hour later.

My clothes were almost dry! Who needs a dryer? So I unplugged the washer (there may be a shut off switch, but this is a laundromat style coin-op and so there aren't really dials to work with.) Upstairs again, I wrote an email to the landlord.

Luckily, I washed towels and underwear last night, so I'm set for a week. I have enough shirts to last me a while, since my mom and I did 4 loads of laundry when she came to visit a few weeks ago.

On the depression front--my body is doing bizarre things that feel like "not depression":
  • I couldn't sleep last night (which feels like hypomania).
  • I am eating everything in sight (including opening a can of tuna with a church key b/c my can opener is broken) (And yes, I know hunger is a depression symptom, but when I lick the plate clean, that seems hypomanic to me.)
  • Today in the morning, I was Ms. Motormouth, and at lunch, too.
But this afternoon, at work on the Children's reference desk, I retreated inward and in between helping patrons, I transferred my Twitter favorites into Delicious. I grunted at patrons, and told them we didn't have books, (but then I found myself wrong, and delighted them.) So, I can still do my job, and well, but I am like dead wood inside. Argh.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Insomnia, thy name is...

So I'm getting ready to take some time off work. So of course, all things go wrong, and by all things, I mean, my washing machine, which had issues a few weeks ago and I alerted my landlord, who cleaned out a ton of lint. Max, Mr. First Floor, did a load after "lint-gate" and had no problem. My mom was in town last weekend, so we went to a laundromat since I had more laundry than one load. But in preparation for stuff n'at, I wanted to do a load tonight.

I checked on it at 9pm, before I left for Whole Foods. I checked on it at 10, after I returned from Whole Foods. (After I put a phone call into my car friend to say, why would there be water dripping from my passenger side foot area? Oh, condensation from my a/c? Oh, okay.) My mom assured me that we could do laundry tomorrow. I assured her, oh, I'm sure it will spin out soon, and promptly forgot about it, went upstairs to watch Numb3rs and finish packing my meds. At a quarter to midnight, after I had done enough of my own spinning, I figured my laundry should be too.

And I was sorely disappointed.

So I unplugged the stupid vile machine (I think it must be a faulty pump) and took my laundry out, put it in the sink to drain overnight. In the morning, I'll take my trash bag out of my kitchen trash can and use the trash can to transport the drained out laundry.

I discovered this unhappy laundry debacle after I had put my laptop to bed but since I'm so wired I brought it back up, wrote an email to my landlord, and started this post.


North Hills Sally, now Michigan Sally, has discovered her local library and has finally taken out Gilead, one of my favorite books. I told her, it's a love letter from a father to a son, do not expect a plot and know that it meanders.

I am so exhausted. Maybe I'll find an online game to play.

mtc (more to come)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"No more sadness, I kiss it good-bye/The sun is bursting right out of the sky..."

In 1986, M-tv still showed music videos, Madonna's album True Blue had been released, and I was in 8th and 9th grades.

What do I remember? That True Blue was one of the first cassettes I bought (as opposed to vinyl records) and that there was a contest on M-tv for best video for the title track when it was released as a single. I remember spending afternoon(s) watching the entries, some of which used blue casting as part of the visual effects.

So when the song came on the radio the other day, the memories flooded back. I had just arrived at work, but I stayed in the car until the song was over. Funny how memories flood back: I remember the record shop where I bought the tape, in Wheaton Plaza. It was sort of but not really near the Gap store. I remember strolling my siblings along, in their double stroller, and people asking me if they were my kids and me being offended. (They are ten and eleven years younger than me.)

In our split level house in suburban Silver Spring, Maryland, we had bean bag chairs on the floor, that's what we sat on to watch TV. Much more comfortable than my current set-up at home, a bed on top of a box spring, no headboard. I miss my sofa!! Not that there is really room for another piece of furniture, but even sitting against a husband pillow** doesn't quite replicate the comfort of watching TV from a couch.


So you may have noticed that I've been blogging less--that's about to stop, because (drum roll please) my laptop HAS arrived, all shiny and pink. She came on Friday, I opened her on Sunday morning, and we're still getting acquainted. I have yet to install AVG (the computer came with McAffee, yuk, but we'll deal.) Today I installed Firefox, Adobe Flash, and other sundry things. I have a router, but haven't hooked it up, and I still need to get a wireless mouse. And I need to name her.

In the time that I've not been blogging, I've been tweeting more, especially since I can tweet from my non-internet enabled cell phone. And I've been trying to think what I want to do with this blog--what is it for, who is it for, and what should I write here? And I still don't know. So I'll keep writing bits here and there. I hope you'll come back to see what I've written.

In other writing news, I'm now in a women's writing group with some women from church, which is thrilling. We meet every three weeks and have met twice so far. Now, if only I could get started on something to goal is to work really hard for the next two years so that I can be in an MFA Creative Writing program by August 2011. (Eek!) My boss in Children's let out a celebratory whoop when I told her my plans--previous to this, my plans had been plain vanilla: to go back for a doctorate in Library Science. This goal is far more audacious but closer to what I really really want: to write more.

It is super scary, since the dual goals of spending less to reduce debt and writing more so I have a portfolio to submit are both things I have not been successful at since my college years. But then again, I haven't had a goal like this since those years.


*True Blue, Madonna, 1986.
**in 1986, I was a Redskins fan.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

"Shopping is my cardio."

Carrie Bradshaw, on why she doesn't think she'll get into online shopping now that she has Internet. (Baby, Talk is Cheap, Episode 54, Season 4)

I spent 50 minutes in a grocery store today. That is 50 minutes too many, but at least when my therapist asks me tomorrow did I walk this week, I can answer truthfully. I walked from my car to the movie theatre to find out movie times. I walked from the movie theatre to Panera, where I had corn chowder with my sandwich, yum. I walked from Panera to Bed Bath and Beyond. I walked around the kitchen area of Bed Bath and Beyond long enough to find some food storage containers that will come in handy now that I'm determined to cook more and eat out less, which includes taking food to work that isn't in a cardboard box that has plastic wrap around frozen food.

I then walked to Bath and Bodyworks, where I discovered they don't have bath bombs either. NO ONE DOES. They suggested I look online. Shopping online never occurs to me. (I hate paying for shipping.) (And I like stores better.) But I really want some bath bombs.

['Scuse me while I look for them, and the first ones I find are $9 a piece! WHAT? The last one I bought was $1 at Giant Eagle and I didn't have to pay shipping!!!!!!!]

[The next two places are $4 and $5, but look, you can MAKE THEM HERE.] Now I'll be looking to procure a "dome shaped mold." Yes, I think that means more shopping. Unless I could use Styrofoam egg cartons...I digress.

So back to my afternoon exercise routine. (Are you tired yet?) I walk from Bath and Bodyworks (where I bought a compact that has one side regular mirror and one side magnified, for $4, and it's PINK) back to the movie theatre. During the previews I try to finish the Red Dress Ink book that I've been working on for the past day or so, because I've invested too much time to not finish it, and I know she gets the guy because I cheated, but I just want it to be DONE, and at this point, it seems really confusing why she would want the guy or why, for that matter, he would want her. Be forewarned: Loves me, Loves me not, is not a lovable book. Though the graphic design for the chapter headings is clever--a Gerber daisy that loses more petals as you work through the book. (You know, like pulling the petals out, "he loves me, he loves me not." Cute. But you don't need to read the book to enjoy that detail.)

Since I've already seen Harry Potter and the HBP once, I'm so bored the first 15 minutes (and I want to finish the blasted stupid RDI book) I almost walk out. But I don't, and I finally settle in and enjoy myself, catch a lot of the little things I missed the first time I watched it, but generally wish I was with someone. Chick flicks, I can see alone. But for me, Harry Potter movies are about my sister and where the heck was she?? In DC, as usual. (Well, she lives there, so that's no big surprise.)

After the movie ends, I walk back to the car, deposit my book and walk to the grocery store. And I proceed to walk around the store for the next 50 minutes, without a list, and though I used to shop at this Giant Eagle back in the day, I'm somewhat unfamiliar and did I mention no list? I don't get out under $50, which I'm sure my mom readers are saying what, that's a bargain, but remember, I'm feeding one person, not three to five. If I spent $50 for what should turn out to be 30 meals (including breakfast cereal), how much is that per meal? About $1.66, so not so bad. I need to keep shopping. Eat out less.

The thing is awareness. I'm actually spending less than I was a year ago. But I'm more aware of my financial situation and I actually REALLY THIS TIME DO want to get out AND STAY OUT of debt and I've given up the dream of getting a higher paying job and I'm looking at grad school in two years, so...the awareness makes my anxiety level higher and by the time I get $60 fast cash out of the ATM and see my balance, which has gone significantly down since payday, (was that only four days ago?) I am on High Anxiety.

So from the grocery store, I walk back to the car (thankfully I didn't buy any heavy things like, say, a whole turkey or a case of canned beets) and drive home. At which point, I walk downstairs one flight to the basement, put my laundry in the dryer (walk up one flight to the foyer) and walk the three flights to my garret apartment with my groceries. I put away my food, immediately open a 100 calorie Pringles container, and make myself a rum and Coke. Anxiety levels drop as I chow on a second 100 calorie Pringles container, fix a Lean Cuisine (I can't cook every day!) and finish the RDI book. And immediately turn the TV on as I work my way through Season Three of SATC.

Today would have been a great day to have worn my pedometer. I may not have walked to church (it's a goal) but please observe that I didn't move my car from 1:30 pm to 7pm while I did all that walking around the Waterworks Shopping Center.

When I finally am at a low enough anxiety level that I can actually call my mother, she confesses that although she doesn't like getting her hair cut on Sundays, she did today. It makes sense, they're leaving tomorrow for a road trip that culminates next weekend in a wedding. And it hits me WHY my grocery/money/ shopping anxiety was so high! I don't actually hit my hand on my forehead, but it's that kind of a moment. We're "no shopping on Sunday" people! We do movies, we do restaurants, but we do not do laundry or shopping unless absolutely necessary. As I have developed from a wee Louise to an almost 40 year old Louise, Sunday has become my day to zone out, my day to FORGET that I even have a checking account. The money anxiety? Was only part of the fact that I hate grocery shopping and a lot of the part that I feel it is my God-given gift to NOT GROCERY SHOP on Sunday. That's what Monday is for. (Monday is also wash day...) Sunday is for movies. Sunday is for chillin' in the crib. Sunday is for church. Sunday is NOT for worrying about bank balances.

And finally, this particular Sunday is for Sarah Louise to spend ten minutes turning her computer on and off, hitting F8 till finally she gets the "do you want to try safe mode with networking" screen. It is 11 pm and I have spent the past hour WRITING A BLOG POST. Life, my friends, is good. Dear reader, there is joy in Mudville. And I didn't have to turn on my air conditioning at all.

And so, as I realize I should probably start to get ready for bed so that I can greet tomorrow with at least a half-hearted desire to find laundry detergent,* I bid thee adieu.

*did Wisk go off the market? And why are there so many different kinds of Tide? And is it really worth it to spend $8 for the kind that is good for the environment and and and... this is why I didn't buy laundry detergent. Which is also why my groceries were light and easy to carry back to the car, parked by the movie theatre.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

...he normally would have said no, would normally have said no that it looked too hokey to have a hatchet on your belt.

Gary Paulsen, Hatchet, p. 9

I'd never met him before. Or knew he existed. The boy who started reading Hatchet and got bored near the end. Gary Paulsen's adventure tale is like the holy grail of books you hand towards "reluctant readers." Once they've read that, you can branch out into the sequels, the rest of Gary Paulsen's books, and then My side of the mountain...its sequels, and voila! you have a reader.

True confessions? I've never actually read Hatchet. Like Bunnicula in my bookselling days, it is a book that I know is a winner, so I hand sell it by plot. (It's about a bunny who is a vegetarian vampire.) Or, in the case of Hatchet, it's about a boy who gets stranded and all he has to survive is his hatchet.

So I seriously need to bone up on my books for reluctant sixth grade boys. He wouldn't take Hiassen's Hoot, and I forgot about Lupica. (Heat is an amazing book, fun, so much that you wonder why it's in with all the angsty YA books.)

And about that. Why aren't there more fun books for boys going into 6th grade? Must it all be Crutcher (his Chinese Handcuffs was the most requested to be banned book of its era) or Christopher Pike (king of horror). And honestly, would you hand sell Christopher Pike to a kid whose mom is hovering, saying "We have to find a book so we can tell her what you're reading." Her. I wonder if it's a teacher, or just a nosy aunt. Probably a teacher. There is so much more I could have recommended if I could have gotten the boy to shed his tough guy exterior, which with hovering mama there, wasn't going to happen. So I gave him Crutcher's Athletic Shorts. Saw the red dot (our code for more mature YA books) too late. WHY didn't I remember Lupica???

He wanted a book about hockey. But I couldn't hand him Matt Christopher, not after I found out he was going into sixth grade. Bruce Brooks wrote that series back in the late 90s, but the books are short (91 pages!) and most libraries don't carry paperback series that are ten years old. (We don't.) (Oh, unless it's R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, or the Boxcar Children.) None of which I would have gotten away with recommending to this tough guy almost 6th grader and his hovering mama.

Which is not to say that hovering mamas are evil--if it weren't for her, I doubt he would have stepped foot into the library yesterday.

But it's frustrating. So off I go, to find the Notables list and the Reluctant Readers lists, bone up on my "what you recommend to a tough guy 6th grader who got bored at the end of Hatchet."

Oh, and I have a copy of Hatchet on my desk. I think it's about time I read it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"My job is to choreograph chaos"

Mira Nair, director of Monsoon Wedding (Spoilers, beware)

Movies move me. If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you know that I will spend money to go see a movie in the theatre, more than once if I really like it.

Often I will watch a movie many times over, to get to the essence of it, or to get again that feeling of aaaaaah! one gets from watching a wonderful Cinderella, told again and again, on the big screen. Last weekend, it was Confessions of a Shopaholic. Fluff, to be sure, but good fluff. It was colorful, it made me laugh, it taught me about shopping. It would be a stretch to say it taught me about personal finance, but it did, a little bit.

Monsoon Wedding, on the other hand, is a movie I've seen once and will probably watch again, but I could only watch it that one time, there was so much chaos that you needed a break. It was not something I could pick up and rewind, watch again right away (although DVDs have taken away the need to rewind...)

Our church has had somewhat of a baby boom. We have had seven babies since January, and one is about to pop, and one is wearing her "bump." That's a lot for any church, but especially one with about 75 adults in attendance each week. (It's a 10% population increase!) I have been for the past two (at least) years wondering why people want babies, or more importantly, why I don't. Yesterday sitting in church, I saw kids running around and I thought, ack! Why would someone want to carry one of those for nine months and then have to discipline it for 18 years? (You see how I have separated love out, as if that part, which is usually the impetus to having children, making a family, doesn't exist.)

In the movie Monsoon Wedding, Ria Verma, the brides's cousin, is jaded. She doesn't want to get married, she wants to go to the U.S. and study Creative Writing. She reminds me of myself, she reminds me of Carrie, who's not sure she's the marrying kind. (I just recently re-watched The Baby Shower, where Carrie is seven days late and wondering if she could be a mother.) I don't see myself as a nun, or a monk, a person that has the "gift" of singleness. And yet, why do I not want children? Why is finding a husband before 40 not at the tip top of my goals?

Some of it, of course, is that the longer you are single, the more comfortable you get in that role. I mean, why bother? Then there is the alternate, what happens after you stop being single: people couple up, family trumps friends. Unless of course you are a couple and/or have kids too. This is a gross overstatement of what happens, of course. Of course your friend has less time, she now has a child to rear. And that is important. But it is hard for the one "left behind." No more long talks, no more coffee every week, instead it is phone conversations peppered with, "Mary, stop that!" or "John, I'm talking to my friend on the phone right now." (What is it about kids, they glom onto you as soon as you turn your attention to the telephone?)

I still have friends that are single and in their late twenties, early thirties, who say things like "well, my husband will be like x" or "when I have kids..." And listening to them, I wonder what has happened to me. That I have lost that dream, that I really only want to get my M.F.A in Creative Writing?

Some of it may stretch from heroine worship--Madeleine L'Engle had her first book published before she got married. But most of it is callouses on my heart. I've been hurt before and I don't believe that there could be a man out there that I could stand to spend longer than six months with. It's easier to go to work, go home, watch re-runs of SATC, and live vicariously through movies like Confessions of a Shopaholic.

But every once in a while, I watch a movie that cracks that callous a little bit, revealing to me a tiny nugget of truth. Monsoon Wedding is one of those movies. Ria Verma, we eventually learn, doesn't want to get married because she had been sexually molested as a child by a relative. And in the movie, she sees this relative, an uncle, begin the cycle again, with one of her younger cousins. In an amazing moment, the father of the bride shuns this uncle, sends him packing, saying, you are no longer welcome here. And by the end of the movie, Ria is making flirtatious eyes with one of the wedding guests. Ah. Of course healing from childhood abuse doesn't happen in the course of 15 minutes of screen time, but we get the point. Ria is on her way to healing, because her uncle stood up for her, because she was seen as valuable and worthy of protection, and because she helped to protect the next generation.

I am also on my way to healing. What a long road it is... When I was seventeen, I dated a man who was dangerous. A man who didn't pack guns or ammunition, but who numbed my heart, took away my innocence and made me distrust men. Twenty years later, I am still numb. My dating life has been a graveyard of spending time with men who weren't good for me, men that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. There was maybe the one who got away, but it seems that in the end he was just in the closet.

So I'm 37, and there has been no great love. And why not? Because when I was 17, I let a boy kiss me, and it started something that I'm still untangling today.


More movies to un-numb your heart:

The quiet ones that make you think:
Broken English with Parker Posey. (Watch all the "making of" bits too, this is the director's first movie.)
Before Sunset (sequel to Before Sunrise, which is NOT a first date movie, nevertheless I did see it on a first date on Valentine's Day. ICK. I imagine my view of it now would be different.)

Fun movies that are a little more than fluff:
Just Sex and nothing else (Hungarian--you have to be willing to do subtitles)
Once (Dublin!) (and the music is amazing)
The Family Stone
Wedding Bell Blues (which I just noticed came out on DVD! Woot!)
Caramel (more subtitles, it takes place in Lebanon)

Total fluff (but we all need that sometimes):
While you were sleeping
You've got mail
Confessions of a shopaholic
How to lose a guy in ten days
Failure to Launch

(if I linked everything I'd be here forever, and you know how to use Google.)

As a movie lover, I always wonder why there are so many book sites, like Goodreads or Shelfari or Library Thing, where one can talk about the books they love, and not so many where you can talk about the movies you love.

(So, Cuileann, I blogged. Without my laptop. We writers just need a little encouragement, non?)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I wanted the poem electric...

(mismatched lines from a poem in Writer's Digest, eons ago.)

Two friends asked this week if their RSS was broken or if I had merely stopped blogging. Neither is the case, I've just taken a long break. Life broke in, my computer is breaking down, and excuses abound.

But driving to work this morning, I was determined that if I arrived before 9 am (I DID) I would spend the first few minutes composing a little something bloggy.

So readers, if you're out there, a big HIIIIIIIIIIIII from Sarah Louise.

So much has happened while we've been apart. And this summer will be full full full.

What has happened:
  • I went to Austin and didn't see Badger. (Please forgive me--it was familyfamilyfamily) I did, however, see the Bat Bridge (pictures forthcoming) and eat lots of great food. I was having my lady troubles, so I spent two days in pain and napped every single day but overall it was a great trip and I'm sad that my brother no longer lives there. (He and my dad are driving back to Virginia as we speak.)
  • I have jury duty on Monday. Which meant I had to cancel all my Monday dr. appointments. FUN. (not.) This is our busiest time at work as we prep for the kids to get out of school, so I really hope I don't get assigned to a case or however that works.
  • I've read lots, of course. For my Austin-cation, I read two of the Dailsy Dalrymple mysteries, which are fun "cosy" mysteries that take place in 1924, in between the wars in Britain. I'm returning the third one today since they really are vacation reads and I'm back at brass tacks. Currently listening to Leif Enger's latest, So brave, young, and handsome. (Going to airport bookstores helped me to see what is in vogue.)
  • Twitter takes up a lot of my online time. I like the 140 characters, the fact that at a glance I can see how all my librarian, Presybterian, Pittsburgh, hockey friends are up to.
  • What else? Well, this summer, NH Sally moves to Michigan, probably for keeps. Her DH got a job as a professor at Calvin College (the arch rival of the college my parents, grandparents, and brother went to, Hope College.) So a 30 minute from home, 5 minutes from work drive to see her will be a 8 hour drive or a trip on the airplane.
  • I might be moving in the fall, into a community house. I feel that right now I need community, since Sally is moving, I'm not finding enough of a community at the OD where all the babies are popping or have popped. (Childless, single woman here.) This will be an adventure in its own right, woman who has lived in a garrett for about ten years on her own, moving into a house with about nine other folks.

Well, my time to blog is up, I gotta go get my tea or coffee and start working.

Oh, and tonight I'm going to an NHL Tweet-up for the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Go Pens! (and pencils.)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

let it snow...

Well, okay, I'm not saying snow should pile up in April, but it sure gave Pittsburghers something else to talk about today.

Especially after the past coupla days: 3 police officers killed on Saturday, a house invasion in East Liberty on Monday, a wife shoots a ex-husband on Monday, oh, and there was the guy that drove into the Subaru dealership. Literally.

Calling all angels??

So, yes, I'm glad we had something else to talk about today. And I'm glad the Penguins WON! Woo hoo!

I'm in and out and around (it's called vackay) !!

To bed so I can wake at the crack of dawn...later I'll tell you about egg decorating and the day SL thought her vackay was a goner b/c of jury duty.

Keep smiling...

Friday, March 27, 2009

mental health: it's not for wimps

This was one of my tweets this morning: "a mental health tip: if you've been morose for weeks and all of a sudden you are giggly, watch out. (tired of monitoring moods) #moods.diva"

Yep, I flipped. (It's a my non-medical terminology for I was grumpy/depressed and now I'm not.)

I can feel my skin. It's time for a bath. (I thought I wanted a walk, but that would be WAY too stimulating.)

So, movies to see if you've had the WORST day ever: I love you man. It is highly inappropriate from minute 5, so don't go with ANYONE you don't know real well/aren't comfortable with. But it was hysterical, exactly what I needed.

okay, got to go monitor the bath. Be healthy!!

another tweet:
Apparently the pea soup fog is so bad that 1 car hit utility pole, another went into a creek. Blech.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

finding things...

You never know what you'll find when you're not looking for it. Today, looking for my favorite poem (I need to get a hard copy) I typed "love pitched tent excrement" into Google and got this manifesto for a theatre in North Carolina. Wow.

Here's the poem, found when I put "crazy jane and the bishop" into my own search of this blog:

Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop

I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
‘Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.’

‘Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,’ I cried.
‘My friends are gone, but that’s a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart’s pride.

‘A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.

After it, on a former post, I wrote: "I love that bit. Love has pitched his mansion in the place of excrement. Love, not flowers or candy on Valentine's, but Love that holds the bucket while you wretch."

I have to go now, or suffer being late to work.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring has sprung! (some random thoughts)

So Friday was the first day of Spring, and it cracked me up that the Today show had an actual "countdown" with Vivaldi's Spring playing in the background AND that it was snowing in NYC, where the show is recorded.

Today I took a walk to the Seminary and there was literally a herd of red breasted robins. At least twenty, just poking around on the main lawn which is really just dirt, no grass.

Earlier in the afternoon today, I went to see Duplicity, with Julia Roberts and Clive somebody. Very good, spy stuff. You have to pay attention, not a chick flick, but very fun.

Elliot (my car) likes to tell me when there is ICE POSSIBLE. So it cracked me up, on the way to the movies, when it was 53 outside (that's Fahrenheit) that Elliot reminded me ICE POSSIBLE and didn't think it was above 35 until I was already in Aspinwall (close to 5 miles from my house.) The temperature thing is the least important working part of my car (in my mind), but if it's not working and it's attached to the whole computerized thing...I fretted. And then it went up to 38, 41, and kept going until it was at 54. (Whew!)

I guess that's it for now. I wanted to just move on from the last two posts which were a little drama queen-ish. I'm adjusting to the fact that Sally NH is moving, and I plan to go visit Sally EE and baby tomorrow. (Plan being the operative word since I still need to call her.)

In the meantime, I'm still humming that Jason Mraz song.

Oh, and here's something that someone you might know is working on--it's a Mother's Day bookbuying holiday here in da Burgh. That Suzi W. is a good friend of mine, if you live in da Burgh, it will be a fun event. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk."

Sally NH might be moving two states over. Need I even say more?

Oh, and Sally EE just had a baby girl, YAY. I haven't been over to visit, or even called to congratulate. (Bad friend.) I facebooked her husband, does that count?

Harry in "When Harry Met Sally"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

it's our godforsaken right to be loved loved loved loved

So if you've been here, you are right with me that life is just AWFUL.


A big ol' Butt.

I have never had the universe open up so wide to want to make me smile. First, I finished watching "How to lose a guy in ten days" which is so chick flicky you never should watch it with anyone that isn't female, but it's great. (See link for the ten chick flick cliches.) (You really should go, I promise it's NOT a Rickroll. It is hysterical.)

Then I realized (tmi) that yep, I have a yeast infection. Ick. THE END.

Then I got two great funny emails from dear friends. One was from a dear college friend and we agreed to quit our day jobs for the day and "meet" at a beach near our alma mater. (If only.)

Then my cousin sent me a new theme she created for iGoogle. This is a talented lady, I'm telling you.

Then, while I'm uploading my new theme, my phone vibrates and it's a text from aintskeered, who I follow on twitter. "There is no fear in love." (Well, check the link, it's from 1John4:18)

This is all in the span of maybe 20 minutes.

So you know that joke, the one about the man who is on the roof waiting for God to save him and a helicopter comes, and a boat, and all these things and he gets to heaven and says, um, why am I here? and God says, um, didn't you see the helicopter and the boat and all those things?

I hear you!!

Oh, and the title is from Dani, who posted this Jason Mraz song to (Yes, she was also a part of the 20 minutes of love.)

It's my blog and I'll sap if I want to. I don't need to be poetic to say, love is all around.

I gotta go eat something. Catch ya later.

(I'm not saying life is perfect, just that it's worth it, n'at.)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Songs to sing

I know, I just posted. But this thought seemed incongruous with the (I can't believe I spelled that long word correctly) post below.

from Annie: "Just thinking about tomorrow....I love ya tomorrow, you're always a day away."

and the Mr. Roger's song: "And you'll have things you'll want to talk about, and I will too."

"You're so far away..."

I've been sick. And I'm sick of being sick, but my body still has a little bit of flu. THE END.

But what happens to "little miss introvert" is that all that time alone (sleeping, watching DVDs, sleeping) backfires. You get used to being alone. You don't call people, people don't call you. And it becomes easier to stay home and do that Google search you've been meaning to do all week.

(Yes, Sarah Jessica Parker had a nudity clause in her contract with HBO, that's why you never see her bra-less.)

So then the re-entry to life is harder, because if your social construct isn't strong, folks forget about you (or you think they have). And you internalize even more. And the longer you stay at home, the harder it is to get out there with people, because as an introvert, you long to spend time with people that really "get" who you are and if you've been gone so's a really bad cycle.

I spent a few hours in tears (well, maybe it was 45 minutes) part of the time chatting online and when I realized I was creating more drama, I said, I gotta go.

This is the year of the bad smell in the hall. This is the year of the bait and switch raise. Yes, I got a raise. And then I had to buy tires. Which basically ate the entire raise. And then, because I make more, the membership to my professional organization went up. AND because we're in a downturn, the library isn't paying for national conferences, in this year where Twitter has connected me to some people professionally that I want to meet face to face in Chicago.

I do my taxes on Thursday. Hoping for a nice refund. Wondering, if I do get a nice refund, if I need to rearrange my withholding. Ay ay ay. Drama.

And yet, I keep a piece of paper in my calendar that puts things in perspective, big time: "If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world."

This is not the year to purchase a laptop. Oh well. My digital camera is on its last legs.


I have dirty clothes, which means I have more clothes than I can wear in a week. I have clean towels. When my mother (maybe!!) comes to visit this weekend, I have a bed where she can sleep.

I feel like this is one of those Psalms of Lament, where David starts out, oh, my bones are broken, everybody hates me, no one likes me, I guess I'll go eat worms, and ends with "Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

What's the bait and switch situation in your life right now? What makes you want to sit on the front step (which is crumbling by the way) and cry? Or are you pretty content with things?

May you find a piece of peace today, tonight, tomorrow.

*Carole King

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Seasons change...

Some people mark seasons with the fulfillment of dreams. Some people read all the Narnia books every year. Some people open all their windows at the first sign of spring. And some people (Me!) know that there's a change in the air as she watches the last two episodes of Sex and the City.

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I have finally come to "An American Girl in Paris" parts 1 et deux.

I thought I would have a lot to write, but maybe I used it all up in my mind and then the picture positioning, and the collage...enjoy.

As for Daylight Savings--I didn't set an alarm, because it's Sunday. I woke up at 10:30! I am going to have a rude awakening when I have to wake up for an 8:45 chiro appointment tomorrow, and Wednesday I have to BE at work at 9, which means...

But I'm feeling better. I worked 5.5 hours yesterday, had dinner with a friend (where the mahi-mahi made my elbows have hives...isn't learning what your allergies are fun?) and came home.

Spring is in the air. This winter girl hopes it cools down a little, I'm not ready for spring...yet. But I am interested to find out when my crocuses are going to pop.

More later. Carrie Bradshaw awaits...

I will say this: you can tell that the SATC cast, staff, etc. love what they do. That it's not about "churning out another piece." Talking to Bird Friday night she said I should start a SATC fan page. I get so much out of watching it. And the commentaries. Well, first a trip to the WC, then I'll un-mute the TV and watch "An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux." oooh, I can't wait!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Wow, this is so cool. And this is called microblogging on one's own blog. Kaithxbai!

Monday, March 02, 2009

10 things I love about you: The Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins's been a long time coming. This book came in the mail for me a few days before it was released to bookstores, HARDCOVER, baby. That was January. And I have read the book at least twice now, so I had better come up with why.

1. It has a preview video! (Maybe you knew books had "trailers" but this was my first one.)

2. The cover is beautiful. It is bright and colorful. (As I look at my cover, I see that mine is well loved, it has been in my purse and is quite scuffed.)

3. I've been learning more about India, and how culture and status and caste really do affect life there, and this was another view into that world where it's not so easy. This is not the book where the boy who wants to play cricket professionally gets that dream. This is not even Cinderella getting her prince. Which broke my heart. But the reality of that culture means that stories are told differently. So on my initial read, I thought, blech! It didn't end the way I wanted it to. But here it was, this free book from a writer I respect and a person I'm growing to love. This seems to be the year of India, what with Slumdog Millionaire winning the Oscar for Best Picture, etc. etc.

4. Secrets: this book is full of secrets. And I love how the book is not JUST about Asha's secrets. EVERYBODY in this book has a secret (even Grandmother). And they don't all get told. But you gotta love a book that weaves a secret and a theme throughout. If I told you all the secrets, they wouldn't be a secret, now would they? You gotta read it! Go!

5. "The Jailer" is what Asha and Reet (the sisters) call their mom's depression. How can I relate. It is like being jailed, when depression comes and imprisons you. What a wonderful descriptor.

6. The kind of books I'm loving right now: the protagonist does not get married or get a man by the end. If she's married, she stays married. If she's single, she stays single. Well, in this book, our protagonist's dream is to be a psychologist, and by the end of the book, it looks like that dream may come true.

7. This book helped me to change how I look at "happily ever after." As a girl, well, I am so Cinderella-prone. This book turned that on end. There was nothing Cinderella about this book except for the hopes. But maybe that was the point. An undercurrent in the book was that it took place in the 70s, and Asha keeps thinking "What would those protesting women who burn their bras in America say about THAT, I wonder?"(30) Asha herself is trying to work through how much she loves fairy tales. So this book is an anti-fairy tale...sort of something that would come out of the 70s, sort of a literary response to Free to Be You and Me. This is a book full of female power, in a patriarchial society. Women helping women. It's subtle, but once you unravel it the thread, you find it everywhere in this book.

8. This passage:

In America, where women were burning bras and fighting for equal rights, they didn't need curves to snare a husband. Sixteen-year-old American girls could play sports, drive cars, win scholarships, keep studying, even think about staying unmarried if they wanted.
Asha Gupta, tennis champion.
Asha Gupta, psychologist.
Asha Gupta, forever. (18)

(That last bit took a bit to sink in. For those of you who know me in real life *IRL* my last name is unusual and long. Sometimes I can't wait to get rid of it, and other times, I think of the loss.)

Of course, this is also a fairy tale. "In America, everything is beautiful and women can do what they want." And so the book plays its own game.

9. So what is the book about? Two sisters, who must leave their home in Delhi just as their father, an engineer, must go to New York to look for work. The year? 1974, right after there have been riots and few Indian jobs for engineers. Their mother is prone to depression and off the girls go to live with their father's family in Calcutta until he sends for them. Add the fact that her father's family didn't initially want their university-educated son to marry Reet and Asha's village-born mother, and we already have uncomfortable family dynamics before we discover that the girls won't be able to go to school.

10. This book has great nicknames. I cannot keep up with Russian novels with their five names for each character. But Mitali does a great job at explaining each nickname, and they all suit. It adds to the flavor of the book.

So...I hope I haven't spoiled the plot and I hope you go run and get a copy of this book, Secret Keeper, by Mitali Perkins.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

in the midst of winter...

At Trader Joe's on Monday, they were selling daffodil stems. Stems, not bloomed or anything. I put them in water and today this is where they are. I would love to capture them on film each day, but at least I did today.

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I am home, sick. Yes. You read that right. The fortunate thing is that the fever (low grade, 99 F) has seem to have gotten me out of my "funk." I find this--if I get a cold, my body decides that it can't take being depressed AND being sick, so it tells the mind to shape up. Not the best way to cure depression, but I'll take it. I'm home. I need to find out where my orange juice is. I think it might still be in the foyer.

Got the car warshed, and so now my car has a "Got milkweed?" bumper sticker, from my mom. (Milkweed is the life source for monarch butterflies in the mating and pupa stages.)

Okay, that's enough for now. ISO orange juice, then maybe a movie, and I might fall asleep.

I don't think it's a cold b/c it didn't respond to the Zicam daytime liquid I took at 9am and at 1pm.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What day is it?

Well, I was feeling better. I went to see Slumdog Millionaire--what a fascinating way to tell a story.

It didn't last long. So say a prayer--it is rare that I talk to my therapist during the week but after yesterday's session, she said, call me if you need to. And I did. I texted Bird (my sister) "I need a hug" and she called back right away. Now, I don't get suicidal (there's a blessing) but she said to me, "I talked to Jesus and he's not ready for you yet." She is such a dear one.

The good news is I made it to work. Late, but I made it. (After my shower, I crawled right back into bed, though.)

Last night the Monday girls (our small group) had a Girl Scout Cookie party. I brought my own bottle of Coke, and ate one cookie. K. was a gracious host (she always is) and fed me some mashed potatoes she had on hand. When my stomach settles, I have some cookies to enjoy in my purse.

So, since I really have nothing to say, I'll make this Poetry Tuesday and give you some Emily Dickenson that always makes me smile. Do you have a poem that always makes you smile?


Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--
without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

What do I hope for? That this cough is not a harbinger of a cold. That I can remember to take care of some financial errands tomorrow (that I forgot today). That I can get out of this funk.

The Emily Dickenson reminds me of the hymn, How can I keep from singing.

I sure am a rambling writer today...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gloomy on a beautiful day...

If I leave now, I can catch my dear friend and her hubby at Whole Foods for breakfast. Which is undoubtedly what I should do.

But I'm so tired. This is my latest tweet: wondering if I'm in the wrong profession. the wrong city. the wrong house. Also, soaking a new Britta filter.

I want a job where I don't have to think really hard about whether or not I can afford a gym membership. I want a job where I don't have to measure out my vacations. (I want to be able to take time at Easter, in the summer.) I want long conversations, face to face. I want companionship.

I love this city, but can it give me that job (which is surely an academic one?) Am I this beholden to this town?

I have always said that geography and relationships are crucial to me. But what do you do when you feel that both are failing you? That the geography you love you are not able to enjoy. That the relationships you cultivate cannot support your need for long conversations?


My mother is taking a class right now. It is on the needs of gifted and talented (GT) students. How their special needs are almost as needy as a child with autism, or another "special needs." It is interesting, as my mother talks about what she is learning, I am able to realize how lonely I was as a child. I finally was able to share with her how I longed for college, when in high school I sat at dinner and couldn't have conversation, because conversation had to encompass everyone and that included two toddlers. (Bird will forgive me. By the time I was fifteen, she was five and NOT a toddler, but as in her eyes I was the older sister, the additional parent figure, to me, she was the young one, removed from my life.)

All my friends are married, or getting married, or having babies, or had them. It takes a month and endless emails to arrange even one lunch date. Can I live on a diet of lunch dates?

When I was in my freshman year, by October, I thought, I have to transfer, I have to get out. I worked through and out of that, but by October the next year, I thought, I have to transfer, I have to get out. And by that time, I had enough stability to get out, to do what must be done. I wonder if now is that time again. Last year I went through a need to get out, to move on. It passed. But I wonder now if that time has not returned. And if in the stability of this year, having tried to make it work and seeing that it is not enough, what this city offers me, that it IS time to move on.

If I leave now, they will still be sitting there with breakfast, maybe. But I am ragged, and tears stain my face. Is now really the time to compose myself?


Back to my mother's class. So there are "special needs" that a gifted and talented child/adult has. But what then of the myriad of needs? I am special by many ways: I have a bright and quick mind. (And I long for people to talk to.) I am a TCK grown up (and I long for people who understand what it is to have grown up traveling, not to have to explain myself always.) And I am a single woman, not sure if she will find a mate, if she wants to. (There is a dual special need there: for companionship in the singleness, but also for discussion of what it is to be single.)

So is there a balm in Gilead? Is there ever a way to have all one's needs met? (Outside of heaven, that is.) The answer comes back, a resounding no. But then how does one decide which needs are most important? What will continue to kill me slowly if I do not nurture it?

So, dear reader, what is it that is killing you slowly as this winter moves on, always snowing, never Christmas? Is it time to take an inventory and see if the pieces will form a whole puzzle, the sailboat that shines in the breeze? Or is it warped and missing too many pieces, water damaged from all the tossing to and fro?

Is there one thing that would stop the oozing out? Or do you have multiple oozing holes, each one crying out like that plant in the Little Shop of Horrors, "Feed me, Seymour, feed me!"

(Aren't I a cheery one this morning?)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This blog hasn't died, I promise

Helen just commented that she misses "new" content. I miss it too. In many ways, Twitter has become my blog, but in other ways, I am busiest now than I have ever ever been in my professional life.

I'm working on corralling the North region to choose Summer Reading programming--in a meeting that was an hour and a half, I still have to make phone calls!

I'm working on this project that was started in New England. I'm nuts. I have never planned anything bigger than my own birthday party and three Stuffed Animal Sleepovers. I actually have to go real soon and meet with a woman at Borders. And I have NOTHING to hand her, partially b/c we have nothing on paper... (look at the links.)

I am behind in that I promised Mitali Perkins I would review her new book, Secret Keeper. Tuesday, when I tried to compose myself and make some notes at my favorite bistro, the waiter was hitting on me, so I left as soon as I could. Drat.

The cat lady on the second floor has been of concern--the smell is sometimes in my own apartment and I have threatened my landlord that I'm considering moving.

The depression I had a week ago threw me for a major loop. But it only lasted about a week, YAY!

I'm feeling less connected to blogs because it's not where my friends are, so much. My friends are on Face Book or Twitter. I miss getting comments, which could be because I'm not writing.

I'm considering visiting my mom for her birthday next weekend. It might be a better on the bus trip, as I'm Tired.

I don't think this winter is too long. (I've been hearing this a lot lately.) If I haven't gone ice skating, winter can't be over yet.

I will work on being more witty n'at. Here, have a cookie. Have two.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today in Twitters, n'at

I just wrote a "kitchen sink" post (everything but...) that I'd like to polish up, but I want something new up, so I'm looking at what I did today based on my Tweets.

  • encouraged our Moderator that he is not alone, I don't watch Lost either. (It's good to know I'm not the only one.)
  • I seriously need to read the Conspiracy of something by Dallas Willard. Everybody has read it. One of my twitter friends is about to read it for the 7th time.
  • Alyssa and I are both cranky. She's probably crankier than I, though, as I only had myself to care for today, and she always has two kids and a hubbie, and now, two dogs.
  • Due to my cold/malaise/whatever, I slept from 11 am to 3pm.
  • I purged some folks, added some folks, ended up with the exact same number of people I "follow."
I also wrote some emails, answered some emails, and put some on the back burner. Marian the Librarian is under the weather again and I miss her!!

I watched this Hungarian movie again. I watched it yesterday before work. The title is Just Sex and nothing else, (Variety review). The title refers to the fact that Dora, the protagonist, just wants a baby. She doesn't want to have to deal with men anymore, hence the title. Just enough sex to get me pregnant and then goodbye. Which gets her into a mess of comedic relationships. Since it's in Hungarian, you have to watch the entire thing, reading the subtitles. Glad that I watched it a second time, some things made more sense (because if you miss a subtitle, well, you may miss a crucial detail.) It is a luscious movie: Central European architecture, lush interiors, the characters, the actors, it's a fun movie. A visual treat. It makes me want to learn Hungarian, because I can tell there is so much lost in translation. But what IS translated is great. Let's see if I can find another review. It reminded me of SATC, the same themes of what is a 30 something woman to do if she wants to settle down? Here's another review. I love that the librarian that buys movies at our library has a real eye for the odd-ball movies. Another one that I loved recently was Broken English with Parker Posey. But I'm tired now, and it's 10:30. And I have the faint suspicion I already told you about Broken English.

Tomorrow is my ACTUAL day off, as opposed to a sick day. I have 2 dr. appointments, but then the day is mine--maybe I'll catch an afternoon movie...

Friday, January 16, 2009

You'll be sleeping with the television on...

(Billy Joel, Glass Houses)

There are some nights where I cannot make it off the single bed in the back room where I watch TV to the single bed in the front room where I sleep from September to May. (I sleep in the back room from May to August because otherwise the sunlight would wake me at 6 am.) Last night was one of those nights. Fortunately, I did take my bedtime meds at some point, while I was watching ER. (ER is having a fabulous last season, btw. I stopped watching it ages ago, because all my favorite characters from the beginning were gone. Alyssa twittered about it last week and so I thought, ah, I'll see what it is. Now I'm hooked, and happily only until the end of the season which is the end of the series.)

Let's see if I can write that with out all the parentheticals. There are some nights I can't make it off the bed that is in the back room, where the TV is set up, to the bed in the front room, where I sleep most nights. Last night was one of them. I took my bedtime meds at some point while watching ER, and watched the news, watched Leno, sort of, as I was curling into fetal position amidst all the debris that is still on that bed even now as I sit here, morning.

I don't generally watch ER. Alyssa twittered about it last week, and I got hooked, and last night I fretted that sweeping the walk and salting it might make me late to watch it, but I made it upstairs just in time for the closing credits for 30 Rock. I don't generally watch the news. But last night I made sure I was back in the back room in time to watch the (I can't spit out the words) news about the US Air flight that is now being called "The miracle on the Hudson." And I watched all of the news, and then Leno. And I didn't turn off the TV, or make plans to get into my nightgown. I guess I didn't brush my teeth. I curled into fetal position, with the TV on, and fell asleep. So my dreams were peopled with people telling me that I should make sure my car battery was in good health, that I had a blanket and a first aid kit in my car, salt, all those things you should have when you might get stranded because of cold or snow. Which we have, in abundance. No, we are not at -53 degrees F like Schmutzie, or at 7.5 inches of snow like Jim Bonewald, but for Pittsburgh, we have enough. About three inches on the grass and the temp is -7 degrees. Our high, which will come at about 4:00, will be 7 degrees. Right now in my mind I'm going through whether I will attempt to refill my wiper fluid at that time or if I will run by the guys at the quick oil change on my lunch hour.

The TV is off now, after being on all night, and I instinctively want to turn around. The sound is just off, my monkey mind says. No, I didn't mute it, I did turn it off. I don't want to hear about the American in Italy who is about to start a murder trial for killing her roommate. I don't want to hear any more about how cold it is outside. I don't need to see all the places that are closed running on the bottom of the screen. You know it's a lot because yesterday, they stopped in between commercials. The news would go off, the commercial would come on, full screen. Then the news would come back on, framed in blue by the temperature (COLD) on the left and the scrolling schools and day cares scrolling on the bottom. This morning, every school district is closed. As much as I am a proponent for winter, today I will not be foolish and take my morning walk.

I had dreams about going to the Superbowl. It was in Pittsburgh, and it was cold. A friend of mine was waitressing, and she was wearing a uniform with a special red and white long sleeved t-shirt. Was the Superbowl in Pittsburgh the other times we played, my dream mind wondered.

And then I woke up to people talking about Sully, and getting out alive, and I opened my eyes, and sat up and watched. I watched and watched until they stopped talking about it and moved on to what they had probably scheduled at least earlier in the week, the American in Italy. I wonder what features were scheduled for today. People that got calls yesterday or last night--don't come in for your 7 am make-up, we're spending the majority of the show talking to the survivors of Flight 1549. And what a relief--that they were ALL survivors, there weren't any non-survivors, except for the plane, may it rest in peace. Well, pieces, now, and it will have to be brought up, they'll have to get it out of the Hudson to examine it, to retrieve the black box, to study what went wrong and what went right.

Last night I finished listening to Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Outliers. In it, Gladwell spends an entire chapter on pilots and crashes. He talked about the culture of the pilots and how that affected the way the pilot and the crew interacted. How changing the language that Korean pilots used in the cockpit to English allowed them to retain their culture outside of the cockpit, but that interacting in English made them safer. Blech, this paragraph stinks. But I know that there is a difference of 10,000 hours. Sully, the pilot of the US Air plane, had more than that 10,000 hours of flight. Yes, it was a miracle. But there was more to it than chance. Chance did not make this flight the only successful water landing, I think, EVER. Sully is described as a man who even when he travels in coach with his family, when they do the safety review, pulls the card out of seat pocket in front of him and follows along.

I wonder how many books will be born. I wonder if we will come up with a Dewey number to use for those books, just as we have Dewey numbers we use for books about 9/11. I wonder if there is a number for the Hudson river. Or will it go in aviation? Some of the books will go in Biography...I'm getting tired. I've been tired. It's time to check my email, my Twitter, maybe Facebook, and get a move on. I have to be at work in a little over an hour, and if I want a shower, I should do that now.

I'm hitting publish. There are other links to add, I know, but I need to decide if I want to get wet before going out into the cold. How grateful am I that I swept and salted last night.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

My sister's phone: inanimate object? NOT!

My sister's phone, much like the watch in the movie Stranger than Fiction, decides to call me every once in a while. It's done this one other time, and all I heard was jostle jostle and when I called back I got voice mail. I was freaked out and called my mom. Sis just called me but I couldn't hear her! I imagined her trapped somewhere without cell coverage. It was around the time when that guy got out of prison because he twittered one word. When my phone rang this morning, because of the snow, I thought the only person that would be calling me this early would be someone from the library saying that the library was closed, which would be ridiculous, a) because it's not that much snow and we never close, and b) because I don't work until 1 pm, so everything will be clear by then that isn't clear now.

So I called my sister and she thought, who would be calling me? The only person that calls me while I'm waiting for the bus is Mom, and she wouldn't have anything to say to me, I just saw her last night. She picked up, and I told her, "Your phone called me." She was puzzled. "It's supposed to be locked..."
"Well," I said, "It's done this once before." Which is when she said, maybe it's like the watch in the movie Stranger than Fiction. Yes, my sister's phone calls me. I have a stalker. It likes to call me and go jostle jostle. But we had a nice chat. She was freezing, standing at the bus stop.
"Guess how many layers I have on?" she asked me.
"Three. It's so cold today, it's 32."
"Nice try. Yesterday it was 11 here."
"Ouch. I better bring lots of layers for the weekend."
"Yep, cuz it's going to be cold."
So I told her about my newest fun thing--making sure the sidewalk in front of my house is clear. When I get home after work, I sweep the snow and then salt the walk. It takes me about ten minutes. While talking to my mom last night, I said, maybe it's because it's the only thing I can do in about ten minutes that doesn't have a second part. When I do dishes, there are always more, somewhere in my apartment, on a desk, under a coffee table. When I do laundry, I do one load at a time. But the walk, it's done and that's it! Of course, we got another inch or two overnight, so I'll have to go sweep and salt it, but it will be a lot less work than if I hadn't swept and salted it last night.

Somehow we got onto the topic of the inauguration, because of port-a-potties. There's one at the Metro now. "Yeah, that's the thing about Tuesday. It would be so cold that I'd be wearing five layers, and think about it. Five layers and a port-a-potty? No thank you!" She said, "I have friends that are going and they're like, why aren't you going? And I say, 'You must not read the newspaper.'" I would be one of those crazy people, because this election meant more to me than any election ever has, but my sister with her talk of port-a-potties and throngs of people changed my mind over Christmas break.

We chatted some more, until she was about to go into the station at the Metro. "I'm going to lose you." So we'll talk again, later.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

False Evidence Appearing Real

I was fascinated to learn this morning while I watched CNN that Osama Bin Laden's tapes inspire his followers. (He has a new tape out.) I remember when I was in Mary Kay, I listened to tapes for inspiration: Rena Tarbet, Zig Ziglar, and Susan Jeffers, who wrote the book Feel the fear and do it anyway. My Mary Kay days are long behind me but I still remember how I listened to those tapes while cooking, driving, whatever. I wonder if my love for audio books began with listening to those tapes, over a decade ago.

So as I started writing this post, about fear, and its false faces, its masks, I refer to some quotes I've culled from an email I opened this afternoon.

I experiment with online devotionals. Some have gone away, some change their style...some get political. The one I like right now is Transformation Garden. In the devotional for January 6, labeled "Handling the future with faith or futility," Dorothy Valcarcel has compiled a group of hymns, quotes, and poems that point that we have a choice, and our choice has to do with how much trust we put in our Savior. I have pretty much lifted all the quotes herein from that devotional, in an effort to encourage myself and hopefully you, dear reader. If you want to receive Dorothy's devotional, you can subscribe by clicking on this link.

Now, I know, dear reader, that you may not trust God or want to. But these quotes do have a wisdom that I hope translates without sounding namby-pamby.

I like this one, from Dorothy Hughes: "Nobody can take away your future. Nobody can take away something you don't have yet." (italics mine.)

I so often forget that the future is this fluid occurrence that hasn't happened yet. My novel-writer's mind has every detail laid out. The story of my life is laid out in my mind: it is so detailed, layered with meaning, that it has me convinced, until it doesn't happen and my confidence crashes once again. I hope this year that I can be more accepting of each moment as it happens, even while I plan for the future that I don't count on a specific outcome.

I recently watched the movie Prince Caspian. It amazed me, the thousands of years of time travel that occurred as the British children were once again taken to the mythical land of Narnia. Here is C.S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia books, talking about the futility of grasping for the future:

"The next moment is as much beyond our grasp, and as much in God's care, as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is just as foolish as care for a day in the next thousand years. In neither can we do anything, in both God is doing everything."

Now, dear reader, this next poem could either make you smile and nod or want to throw up. It is not my desire to illicit the second response, I promise, but I really like it, and I do cling to the encouragement it offers. It's by John Greenleaf Whittier, the Quaker poet.

I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.

And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.

No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.

And so beside the silent sea
I wait the muffled oar,
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.

I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care."

That last bit reminds me of Psalm 139:7-12, where the psalmist writes that there is nowhere he can go where God is not also:

7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Well, the light is gone now. I will be driving home soon. But first, dinner. Because one thing I do know, without a shadow of doubt: if it's snowy and I'm hungry and I have to drive, it is better to EAT FIRST.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

on little cat feet...

for C, because I've been thinking about you.

This morning has drifted into the afternoon. So, since I was freezing, lallygagging around in my nightgown, I finally got dressed.

What have you been up to this week, Sarah Louise?

Well, I've been hither and yon, thanks for asking.

The "big snowstorm that wasn't" caused much drama yesterday--I was late to work (10 min.) not because of the roads, but because I kept putting stuff in my "if I have to overnight it" bag. And then mid afternoon the snow turned to rain, the temps went up, and I drove home.

On the way home, I stopped at the State Store for some rum, as I knew I needed a drink (rum and Coke, please!) after an afternoon of working hard and being in the office all by myself. (Alone again, naturally.) (No, it was the snow that made Jane stay home--she lives North, near Zeely, and couldn't get out of her driveway.)

And who was at the front register at the State Store? A woman I had looked up to most of my short career as a bookseller in Pittsburgh at Fox Books. Her name was Dee. I thought, oh, we'll have that conversation as I purchase my $13 bottle ($1 off!) of Bacardi, where are you working now (she'd ask me), as I would look at her hand to see if there was a ring. But just as I was moving toward the registers, a line had formed, and a manager came out of one of those offices you see in stores, where the floor of the office is about two feet above the floor of the store. I demurred that the people ahead of me should go next, but they weren't budging, so I went to his register, this man with pattern balding and some white hair around the back of his head. So he rung me up, and out I went, back into the cold, the rain. And I thought about it, because in my life, my father, the gregarious, never hesitates to reestablish a relationship. But what good would have come from talking to Dee? We were never friends, just colleagues, sometimes competitors. She didn't look like she was happy, and the grumpiness would have been contagious. At one time, a long time ago, I wanted to be her. Keyholder,* she had been, and then Assistant Manager. And while seeing a woman one time after not having seen her for at least five doesn't give me a clear vision (at all!) into her life, at that moment, it was better to just walk away.

(Oh, look, it's snowing!)

I drove home, listening to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, which is amazing, and as soon as I walked in the door of my lovely third floor walk-up, I made a rum & Coke and watched the special features to the movie du jour, Broken English. (Which is wonderful.)

I watched Friends, then did some social-networking a la Twitter, Facebook. And then I went out, to Kelly's house. She was having a party where the main attraction was beer milkshakes. It's from Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck. Chocolate ice cream and Guinness? Oh yeah.

The fog, this I don't know what, is a sort of melancholy that has tied me inside even though I should take a walk and start making something for our church dinner (with Steelers game).

This week I've twice had occasion to talk about my life, and how I lived part of it overseas. I actually got to talk to someone who has been to Warsaw and totally laughed that I see it as the most romantic place in the world. I laughed with her, because I know it's crazy too.

I can't seem to get started on where I want to go, so I'll just dive in. The year was 1989. It was October, a month that seems to always be trouble, and now I know why, as it is a difficult month for depressives, waiting for the light to stabilize from fall to winter. I didn't even know I was depressed then. I just knew I needed out. I was a freshman at a small Catholic women's college in Pittsburgh, where all my fellow students were nursing and education majors. I was an English major, one of three slated to graduate in '93. One wasn't talking to me, and the other was a grandmother (as Carlow had many returning "non-traditional" students, students who had either never gotten their degrees before they got married or had delayed graduation after getting married.) My roommate and I weren't exactly getting along, but we weren't talking about why. She moved out after Thanksgiving. I had started visiting the career center on a regular basis, as the woman who ran it had nice comfortable chairs and she listened to me. She was my first counselor, though I didn't realize it at the time, what our relationship was. I actually was a paying client of hers in my mid-twenties, when I worked at Fox Books.

I was lonely, I was homesick, I wasn't meeting people who "got" me. Most of my peers were from Southwestern Pennsylvania who went home to do laundry on the weekends. I was from suburban Maryland, and my parents were six time zones away in Warsaw, Poland. And try as I might, I could not convince them to let me take a semester off. Eventually, I stuck it out, transferred to a school in Maryland after my sophomore year, and graduated in May of 1993.

It hurt me deeply that my parents were so far away. I felt alone, abandoned, and a bit like a motherless child. (Sometimes I feel so reckless and wild--red is the color that I like the best) And it wasn't until my late twenties, when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and went to live with my parents for three years, that our relationship was restored.

The myth: some people seem to glide through life, hitting all the stops on the way to adulthood: graduate high school, go to college, get married, have kids, work at a fulfilling job, retire, and become grandparents. (Seem being the operative word, because looks are deceiving.)

I am not one of those gliding people. Am I stuck? No, I don't think so. I'm just taking longer in between stops, and deciding which stops I want to take. Taking a class my freshman year at Carlow on the Four Gospels with women my age and women my mother's age helped me to see that there is not one way to navigate the stops. You miss one? You go back, if you can.

This week I've gone out three nights. I feel an awakening in my heart and mind, a desire to engage in conversations, a desire to be with people, and like a beautiful dream, there are people to be with! It's Winter, but I am finding that there is a Spring happening in my heart.

* * *

Was there ever a time when you took a detour from the linear stops along the way? Was there a time you wanted to but couldn't?*
*Keyholder was the next step in the hierarchy at Fox Books: bookseller, then supervisor, then keyholder (who was responsible sometimes for opening the store), then Asst. Mgr, then Manager.

on little cat feet (Carl Sandburg, Fog)
Alone again, naturally (Gilbert O'Sullivan)
Sometimes I feel so reckless and wild (Shawn Colvin, The Story.)

*do you think the questions at the end are dorky? (It's something I'm trying on for size.)