Friday, December 04, 2009

Airport tripping

I love taking people to the airport.

Except, I actually hate it.

But, really, I love it.

I love it because it's that last chance you'll see someone before they go off to Maine or Texas or Indonesia for a few days/weeks/months/years, and it's such a smorgasbord of teary embraces, promises to write (emails, nowaday, I guess...or texts) that really won't be kept (or if they are, by only one party), and maybe, depending on the identity of the driver and/or departee, some good smooching might go on.

Not for me, but hey--I recognize that it's a perk for some.

I hate taking people to the airport because, inevitably, bad airport karma comes and surrounds me like the dust that orbits Pig Pen. If I am the one doing the departing, this means multiple days of delays and foul weather that threatens to strand me in Omaha, Nebraska until 2012, when the world's going to end anyway, so it won't really matter anymore. If I am the one doing the driving and delivery, this means that A: The actual travelers will misremember their departure time and thus leave for the airport a full hour after they should have, or B: There will be a massive accident on the freeway that backs traffic up for approximately 400 miles. (Although, I gladly and gratefully admit that it is much better to be caught in traffic than to be in the accident that caused the traffic. The one today was a doozy.) This traffic will make the driver (me) frustrated, snippy, and also reckless, and the travelers will try to calm me with words of comfort and possibly medication.

So, to my dear sister and bro-in-law, I say this: I really hope you enjoy your few days away from the doldrums of regular life. Also, I'm sad we didn't get that teary farewell as you left, since by the time we finally got to the airport, the combination of our lateness and my crankiness made you ready to pretty much rocket yourselves out of the door the moment I pulled up to the terminal. (Glad you remembered to snag your luggage.)

Also, I will be more than happy to drive you or anyone else to the airport at pretty much any time in the future. Except, I think I may in the future demand that we leave a full 24 hours in advance. Just to be safe.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sometimes a lack of posting means I will give birth to a novel in a month.

After perusing my blog stats, I've realized that my readership has dropped down to virtually zero. For the one reader who still checks this blog, (or possibly two? Are you a reader out there, person from Romania?), I wish to send out this apology:

I'm sorry.

You see, I've been a little occupied this month. I was in Colorado for some of it, during which time I accessed the internet only once and realized my unread emails had accrued enough mass to collapse into a supermassive black hole that is even now sucking in the entire internet, and from which I only just managed to escape with my life.

Also, there was that whole Thanksgiving thing, which involved a massive amount of time and energy. Energy which was expended on corralling and entertaining a tornado of children (I believe that's the official phrase for 'a group of children,' isn't it?), consuming vast quantities of turkey and pie (not together, just so you know), and playing fiercely competitive domino games with the adult family members (and one niece, who is even more competitive than the grownups).

In short, it has been a wholly awesome month.

However, there has been one more thing that has kept me from blogging, namely NaNoWriMo, which required all of the writing juice I could squeeze out of myself. (Writing juice is a lovely deep caramel color, with sweetness like honey and just a faint hint of lemon zest. And sometimes garlic.) So, you see, I had pretty much nothing left at the end of the day to squirt into the blogosphere. (That...that actually sounds pretty disgusting. Eugh.)

But now, behold, I have returned. And what's more, I have returned...


Behold the mighty winner's trophy for those who vanquish the terrible NaNoWriMo beast and...


Sorry. Got a little carried away, there.

Naturally, my novel is nowhere close to being actually finished, although I crossed the NaNo finish line at rather an exciting point in the story, so I'm pretty confident I'll see this thing through to the end. (Unlike my last NaNo novel, which has been gathering virtual dust in a corner of my computer for the past three years.)

So, my blogging should be back on schedule, now. (That is, I'll blog when I darn well feel like it, and not before.)

And also, HUZZAH! For I have won! And maybe, maybe someday, I may actually be able to hold the novel in my hands, coo at it a little, and read it aloud as a punishment to misbehaving children.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

And I will love it, and squeeze it, and call it My Debut Novel

Those of you who know me (basically pretty much anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis) may know that I am, for the second time in my life, participating in the annual 30-days-of-madness that is the NaNoWriMo experience.

I got involved for the first time back in 2006, when I was working full time and contemplating a future career as a librarian (which I am still contemplating, by the way--I'm just contemplating with an MLS in-hand nowadays).

I took on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days (it works out to an entirely doable 1,667 words per day, which is roughly 6 pages (give or take, depending on how much dialogue you put in versus dense descriptive passages) of double-spaced text in a word processing document.

Not bad, and as I mentioned, totally doable. However, I avoided getting involved in 2007, and the November of 2008 was possibly the most intense semester I had while getting my Master's degree. So you'll understand why I didn't feel that any textual creation that was not directly linked to how to create a storytelling kit out of felt and rhymes about monkeys was going to be beneficial to me.

And I got all 'A's that semester, as I recall. So the novel-that-might-have-been was sacrificed on the alter of the GPA gods.


This year I am free from (almost) all constraints. I have no job. (Which is still making me tremble with terror every time I remember that loan repayment is steadily marching toward me, but I manage to avoid the remembrance as much as possible.) Well, I have no job aside from some writing work I'm doing for my bro-in-law (thanks, nameless B-in-L!). But it's not such intense work that I can't take the time (particularly during my peak writing hours from about midnight to 2 or 3am) to pound out a few pages of novel every day.

So I'm doing it again. That's what I'm saying. (In an admittedly (and typical) roundabout and pointless fashion.)

And I'm rather wholly excited at this point. The first day, I wasn't sure I would even start the thing, although I had an idea that I had worked out a few weeks in advance.

The second day, I despised what I had written (aside from the first two pages--those were pretty good) the way an advanced alien culture despises war-torn Earthlings in science fiction plots.

The third day, and the fourth, and fifth and now sixth, I have found that what I'm writing has some good bits. Some honest-to-goodness fine bits of prose, mishmashed together of course with a bunch of really crappy prose. But there are, nonetheless, pieces to be proud of. And the writing of the thing gets easier every time I sit down.

I even find myself thinking about the plot on the toilet. Surely that is the sign of a dedicated novelist!

So last night, I discovered that the fine folks at CreateSpace have donated their resources to the foolhardy souls who undertake the NaNoWriMo challenge. They have offered to, for free, print up a proof copy of the finished book of all NaNoWriMo winners (who sign up for an account, of course, and put together a pdf file of the finished (or pseudo-finished?) novel).

Which just. Blew my mind a little.

So, I can not only write a fabulous, earth-shatteringly, (cliche-ridden) amazing first novel, but I can also get a copy of it. Printed. To hold. In my hands. And lend to relatives who will read the first chapter and kindly suggest that I look harder for a librarian job. And try to sell to others on

I know it's self-publishing. I know it would not really make me a for-real published author. But, oh, my dear soul. There is something so appealing about the thought of holding my own book in my hands.

So much so, that I think I'll finish this year's NaNoWriMo too. 40,000 words to go, baby.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I had a dream last night that I had multicolored hair. And I'm not just talking about the kind that's peroxide-blond at the tips and mahogany and/or steel gray at the roots.

No. I'm talking about the kind that's Bubblicious pink on the left, lemon yogurt yellow in the middle, and ICEE blue raspberry on the right.

And you know what? I looked fabulous with bright blue hair. Seriously. I thought to myself in my dream (in italics, as thoughts go), I should get my hair colored blue all over. That would look awfully nice.

So, I'm pretty sure I'll do that. I wonder if it would finally make my primary kids think I'm cool.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Okay. These are just cool.

Humans love novelty. And having a good time. Even if it means performing tasks we normally consider onerous.


The Bottle Bank Arcade Machine:

The Piano Staircase:

And The World's Deepest Bin:

Thanks to Auntie for the original link!

And thanks to the volks at Volkswagen for the awesome creativity.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I've had a breakthrough.

A brainy, genius, overwhelmingly intelligent bit of an idea that will, I am sure, solve all of my problems.

Or. Well, not.

But it's not a bad idea. And I'm pretty darn sure it'll work for me.

It all started with last night, when I had an in-depth conversation with my lovely sis, in which she encouraged me to tackle the things about my life that are bothering me (like, say, sleeping in until an hour or so before late-night TV starts). She's a good older sis, folks.

Anyway--the problem was that I tend to be resistant to talks like that. Or suggestions like that. As in: picture a mule the size of a dumpster truck, who is leaning against its lead rope and also sitting in mud up to its haunches. That is me.

So I had to figure out a way to trick my mule-self into actually doing something productive. And I came up with this visualization that just CLICKED, man.

Here it is (to-do list items have been altered to protect the not-so-innocent, i.e. me):

Okay. Awesome, right?!? (Er, you should be able to click the image to get a bigger version so you can read what I wrote & stuff.)

So, this is my Shelf o' Priorities, or stuff I feel I want to improve or accomplish. It can be as specific as a task I want to do (such as getting a dog) or a general self-improvement goal, such as smiling at more babies. The size roughly translates to how important I think something is. Items on the lower shelf are ones I feel prepared to deal with/tackle right now (thus they are more accessible). The items on the upper shelf are things I know I want to improve or do, but don't feel quite ready to deal with yet. The cloudy thing is an overarching goal that I want to work on continually while doing everything else.

This visualization seems like an especially good tool for me, simply because I tend to feel overwhelmed awfully quickly when I start an internal list of all the things I want to change about myself. I get so overwhelmed, in fact, that I pretty much can't do anything except lie on my bed with a cold compress and think of better days. Or possibly play video games.

But this way, I can keep track of things I want to do or change without feeling like I have to do everything right now. For instance, I know I'll want to stop playing with stuffed animals sometime in the future, but right now I'm going to let it stay on the shelf. It's still there so I won't forget about it, but I don't have to take it down until I'm fully ready.

Also, I'm only allowed to take maybe two or three things off the shelf at a time, tops.

Once I've got some of the bottom items under control, I'll move stuff from the top shelf onto the lower shelf, making room for other goals on top, or ideas for future improvement.

Anyway. This was kind of a breakthrough for me, so I wanted to share. In case it might help any of you.

Oooh! Maybe I should put up a square that says, "Become Motivational Speaker." Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's a goal I could live with.

Friday, October 09, 2009


I seem to be having trouble with water lately.

I spill it, inhale it, and otherwise do things with it that were not ever meant to be done by a human being. Ever.

Like that time when, using the convenient in-door dispenser on our refrigerator, I held my cup in long enough to do a scale model recreation of Yosemite Falls, soaking my hand, my shirt, and temporarily resurrecting Lake Bonneville.

Or when I attempted to swallow a bit of that saliva that accumulates in the mouth (come on now--let's not pretend that gross things don't exist, or that you don't do them) and decided to inhale rather than wisely blocking the passage to my windpipe (kind of like when you breathe in right before biting into a donut covered in powdered sugar and wind up curled up on the floor having spasms for half an hour) thus possibly resulting in the cough I've had for the past two weeks.

Or just now, when, bringing my cup (a different cup, for we have many) to my lips, instead of pouring fresh quaffs of delightfully chill'd water into my parch'd throat, I instead poured said delightfully freezing water down my front, resulting in a sodden mess, from which I was somehow able to squeeze more liquid than had actually been contained in my cup at the time of spillage. (The laws of physics do not apply in situations like these.)

I know I am not the world's most graceful person. I do not do graceful things like ballet dancing (although my niece somehow seems to have The Gift for it), or moving through a room like a whisper from a butterfly, or balancing stacks of books on my head (instead I read them, people). But I still cannot quite believe how clumsy I seem to be.

And how very, VERY dangerous water has become.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My lack of a job is starting to interfere with my night life.

Some of you may be shocked when you read this entry, namely because I did not indulge in Pirate Speak during the writing of it. Or at least not much. Arr.

But try to rein in your discontent for a moment. I wish to write of a matter of vital importance.

I am sleeping really weird(ly?) lately.

Not that my dreams are odd, or rather are no more odd than usual, but my sleeping schedule seems to be slipping further and further away from the norm (as defined by what normal people do during normal hours of the day, as opposed to what imaginary people like me do).

For instance, take yesterday. I woke up at 11am. As in eleven o'clock in the morning. I ate breakfast while my parents had lunch. And then I played video games. (So much for job hunting.) And then I went to bed at 4am this morning. And woke up about five minutes before noon today.

For a while after a moved home, I was still on Eastern Time. On early-rising ET, even. When I lived just outside of Boston, I would frequently get up at 6am so I could get ready and out the door and on the (unpredictable) T and arrive at work on time and have the library all nice and open when patrons started showing up.

So, just to point this out to you, I would frequently get up at the exact same time that I went to bed this morning. So, basically the slippage has now shifted me ahead the amount of one entire sleep schedule.

Not cool, me peeps. Not cool. Especially because when I start sleeping this late, my dreams get really lucid and. Disturbing. Like ex-boyfriends visiting a woman in a prison and killing her with fishing tackle and leaving her for her little boy to find. Oh, and same dream: day-old soft-serve ice cream cones that have somehow retained their shape, but are room-temperature and stale.

So, no more domestic (in-prison?) violence in my dreams, please. No more stale ice cream cones. I needs to get me a job. Pronto.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nothin' to see...

It's nearly 2 o'clock in the morning. And I'm sitting here at my desk ("my" being a metaphorical term standing in for the phrase "my parents'") catching up on my Google Reader feed and ruminating on the latest episode of Lost I've gotten to (post-popularity-ly).

And peeps, I'm staring down the barrel of a gun that has a terrible message written on it. "You're, well, you're kind of dull," it says, etched in its metal sides. Which is a kind of difficult thing to read, since I'm staring down the barrel and all, and the sides are at an oblique angle to my field of vision.

Also, that is a really awful metaphor.

I wish there were things I could write about. But right now, my life consists mainly of filling in the same information into numerous application forms for jobs I will never receive replies from, watching Lost online, catching up on all the years of video gaming I never got as a child, and (when life demands it) doing laundry.

I think the blogging spirit consists of two main parts. First, one needs a topic. Second, one must have a desire to share said topic. And I haven't had much of either lately.

But, ne'er fear. I'm sure something will come along sometime (in its vague sort of way) and I'll be somewhat more inclined to spout somesuch stuffs.

In the meantime, I'll try to think of stuff to share.

Like crazy dreams of flying around a crowded shopping mall. Or my adventures in cookie-making. Or my belief that my mother and I may be recovering from swine flu.

See? Even the dull (and yikes--really whiny) occasionally have things to talk about. Sort of.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


So, I'm not here to be clever.

You may be disappointed, as some of you have come to expect from me (quite erroneously, I must insist) some pithy, witty writings based upon my life's times. (Not 'lifetimes.' That would be silly. I don't believe in reincarnation.)

However, peeps have been bugging me for ages (i.e. about the past hour) for a blog post.

Very well. I will provide sustenance for the masses, despite my writing deficiencies. I will pour sweet words upon your aching brows (sorry--just got an image of a medieval herbalist dumping alphabet soup over someone's forehead) and anoint the Balm of Blogging(TM) in your wounds.

You luckies, you.

So. Here I am, in Utah, hanging with my folks and my 18-year-old brother, who is soon to leave the nest (the same nest to which I have just returned) for a brighter, better life as a starving college student. (O, good luck, my bro.)

This will mean, of course, that I will be the only child left living at home. This will have been, I believe the third time (possibly the fourth? My memory of college is getting a little hazy--good GAS, I'm old) I have done so, and I have to imagine that my parents (in the privacy of their own room, of course) have started to realize and discuss just why Heathcliff Huxtable got so fed up with his own offspring.

Yes, I am in my parents' basement. Yes, I have no job. Yes, I do play video games. Yes, I am over 30.

Oh. My. Heavens. What have I become?!?

I must retire and weep.

But fear not, hope lieth on the horizon. Yea, it verily risetheth muchly bright morningish. Ly.

In short, I have a phone interview with a local library system on Tuesday. So, kindly keep your fingers crossed for me (but not if it means cutting off your circulation--seriously people, use some common sense!) so that at least I won't babble like a rabid monkey during said interview. Avoiding that would, I believe, raise my chances of getting hired. Slightly.

Righto. Now, I will leave you with a picture of a pig rooting in the mud. And that is all I will show you of my vacation to the Carolinas. Because I don't want to bore you. And pigs are kind of cute. In an ugly sort of way. Also, you cannot tell from the picture just how stinky this pigpen was.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Here's a rundown of my last few weeks:

I have recently done a lot of nothing much. And before that, a lot of sitting. (While thousands & thousands of feet up in the air, but still, I was occupying myself with looking out the window and listening to the woman next to me sing along to the Michael Jackson memorial concert. And occasionally peeking into my novel. (For some reason I have a hard time reading on planes.))

And before that, a lot of sitting. (While in a car, then on a beach, then back in the car.)

And before that, a lot of sitting. (While in a car which was meandering through the positively gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains National Park.)

The in-between bits were actually most excellent, with time spent with my fabulously wonderful (or wondrously fabulous?) D.C. friend, learning about the history of the Cherokee, getting sunburned on beaches with ponies and dolphins in the distance, then visiting notable D.C. sites, such as Ford's Theatre and the heartbreaking Holocaust Museum.

And now I play with children and contemplate searching for jobs. But mostly I'm not getting anything much done. I'll buckle down and work on stuff later, I'm sure. Maybe when the little nephews go down for a nap.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Well, I'm off.

I leave Boston today. This evening, to be precise, at approximately the same time a major thunderstorm system is supposed to get up and going. We'll see if I actually leave on time.

I have swept my room and dusted my furniture (and in the process gathered together a pile of dust bunnies that, combined, would probably equal a small child in weight--it's, er, been a long time since I've swept under my bed--eugh) and have packed my bags and am currently stuffed with food that I've been desperately cramming down in a vain attempt to eat up the last of my groceries. Alas.

And now I am waiting for the right time to go down to the T and hop onto the train, hauling my suitcases behind me and hoping against hope that they won't go over the weight limit and that the airlines will accept a backpack as a personal item. 'Cause I don't think I'll have room otherwise.

So, I'll update y'all later. Probably once I'm all through tripping around and have safely ensconced myself in my parents' basement.

I know you'll miss me.

See you on the other side!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On bird poo and the threat of machines taking over the world

So, I woke up this morning and had to send a quick email, so I went into the living room where I keep my laptop (long story, but it involves my laptop's apparent refusal to speak at all with our apartment's wireless, thus necessitating plugging it directly into the router via ethernet cable and...actually, I guess that wasn't a really long story at all...) and discovered what appeared to be a smattering of bird poo over the laptop's cover.

Um, what?

Bird poo? On the laptop. Which was inside.


I do not comprehend it. I could not find a bird in our apartment; I can only guess how one got in (through the gap to the side of the window air conditioning unit, perhaps?) and then got out again (the same place, or maybe it simply was made of dark matter and thus didn't even interact with ordinary matter, except, of course, for its poop, which inexplicably was made of ordinary matter?) but somehow it did it. And left its mark so that we would know of its passing through our lives.

Um, yes.

Also, apparently my career is under threat from machines. Who could have guessed?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When I see them letters on the page, I just know I've done something good with my life.

I love the act of writing.

Now some of you may have misunderstood that last sentence. (It is not your fault of course; it's really due to the inherent ambiguity of language, in which words can mean more than one thing, or can have wide variations within one meaning.)

You probably thought I meant 'writing' as in the act of forming words into coherent sentences which then can be heard, read, or otherwise ingested by other persons nearby (or far away), who then decode the structure of the sentence and the definitions of the words in order to come up with some meaning (which the author may or may not have intended).

But I didn't mean that. (Thus, the decoding process failed. Silly you.) Although, I do admit that I enjoy forming sentences for decoding. It's one of my hobbies.

Nevertheless, the 'writing' to which I refer is the act of forming words on a page using a pen, pencil, stylus, paintbrush, or a particularly grubby finger. I love watching letters form in swoops and dashes as my hand moves, just touching the page there to dot the i, lifting the pen there to finish of the r, making a great loop to form the y.

There's something so satisfying about forming letters. And I'm not sure why. Although here is what I suspect:

Forming shapes is fun at any time, but forming shapes that mean something plugs, I believe, into our ancient human tradition of creating words from permanent marks made in clay or on papyrus. I think every time we cross a T or form a bold downward stroke for a D, we're reconnecting with those who first invented writing by tapping cuneiform script into clay, or with the ancient Egyptians, whose written language resembled art more than anything, or the Chinese with their countless characters, or the Greeks, or the Romans, or every other human who has held an instrument in hand and marked something so that their influence could be felt far from their immediate presence. We declare ourselves part of that tradition. Part of this ancient human family.

When I write by hand, I can also feel the passage of time more acutely. Time moves us along the atom-thin knife-edge of now, unstoppable as the future moves from far to near to now to past, all inexorably, and so so swiftly. For the most part, we ignore it, or at least, always facing forward into the immediate future as we are, we tend not to focus on the rushing-pastness of time. We're like passengers on a train (not an original image by any means, but apt) as it rushes endlessly forward. Normally, we peer forward at the track, or sometimes behind us at the things we've already seen. But the act of writing is like turning your head to look out the side window while the world whips past at an unbelievable pace. Forming letters, you see that once was blank page is now covered in marks. Marks you've made. And you're still making them, a stroke here, a dot there, a loop, all in motion, all churning the way from future to past.

Eh. Anyway. I haven't quite captured the sense of this, at least the way I feel it. But that's what writing is like. (The other kind of writing. Codification. You know.)

And why am I going on at length about something so inconsequential (sort of)? Because I have written approximately 15 mailing labels for the boxes I will ship out tomorrow. I wrote them with a sharpie. And I enjoyed it.

And that is all.

Friday, June 12, 2009

So, two weeks, eh?

I'm finally in a contemplative mood, whilst at the same time laden with my laptop 'cross my legs, and thus am currently experiencing the perfect blogging atmosphere. (Well, perhaps 'perfect' would also include a swarthy man dropping blueberries between my slightly parted lips while he somehow simultaneously strums his acoustic guitar while crooning a ballad he wrote just for me, but, that also might prove too mightily distracting for blogging purposes, and...I digress.)

So, hey. 'Sup.

I'm leaving Boston two weeks from today.

I'm taking a quick jaunt down to DC to go on a wee little road trip to the Carolinas with a marvelously wonderful friend of mine, and also to visit interesting places in our nation's capital. Like, um, the Holocaust Museum. Feeling a little weird about that now, but I'd still like to go...

And then I'm leaving the East. I'm vamoosing, sayonara-ing, signing off, shipping out, returning home from distant lands. I'm headed back to Utah, where the grass is (not as) green and the air is (thank HEAVEN) much drier, and the ground rises in these wonderful, tall, pointy things we like to call mountains.

Now that I have my diploma firmly in hand (seriously--I carry it around with me everywhere--I have a pocket sewed into my pant-leg for easy storage, although I'm thinking about comissioning someone to create a nice, round leather sheath that I can strap across my back like one of those sword-weilding-folk, enabling me to whip out that fancily-lettered piece of paper at the slightest provocation, like someone asking, "Can you tell me where--" "HAH!" I will reply, whipping my diploma from my back, "I am a LIBRARIAN. I can help you find ANYTHING.")

Er. Yes. Now that I have my diploma, and now that I also do NOT have more student loan money rolling into my bank account periodically, and now that my rent and grocery bills must rely on the meager earnings I am able to glean from my part-timing work, I have found it prudent to relocate myself to where the rent and my grocery bills will be non-existent. Namely: my parents' basement.

So, I will be thirty, with an advanced degree, and living across from my folks' laundry room.

And I've gotta say, I'm pretty much okay with that. Ask me again in four months or so, when I still don't have a job, and the student loan folks are getting that red-eyed, pointy-teeth look, but right now, I'm kind of happy about snuggling myself back into the nest. For a few months at least.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Something gross and something cool.

Two things to report today.

First of all, my body did something totally disgusting this morning. It was gross. It was absolute yecha sicko icky. And, naturally, it was also sort of cool. And definitely a bit of a relief. (I've been waiting for it to happen for ages, but why now of all times? Could my ear have been sweating?) But it was still pretty dang gross.

So I'm not going to tell you what it was. You'll just have to imagine. Given the clues above. Um.


But that wasn't the cool thing. That was the gross thing. This second thing was the cool thing.

Second thing: I found an utterly cool website today. A website that harbors pictures of unusual furniture. Which I find myself wanting to buy. Very very much.

Having a room full of this furniture would be a bit like living inside of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Except without the magic stuff. Which, I guess makes it marginally less awesome than it would be if the furniture were somehow infused with the ability to fly, or turn your best friend into an ottoman.

Now THAT would be cool.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dead Bug Carcasses

Dead bug carcasses.



I really, really, really, do not like me them dead bug carcasses, particularly when they're on my stuff, my stuff which I haven't touched for two years, and is thus covered in dust and gunk and dead bug carcasses.

I feel all dusty. And my boxes are far, far too heavy for me ever to lift up off the floor, let alone carry them downstairs, let alone load them onto whatever truck/van/SUV I manage to rent or otherwise wrangle into personal use so I can cart stuff to the post office and pay a great deal of money to have those same very heavy boxes shipped to my parents' house out westwards.

In short, I have reached the despair stage of moving.

So I'm taking a break to check my email. And blog. And complain. Hope you don't mind too much. It'll give me the strength to go back and pack up all the rest of the boxes I've got.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When your church building burns as the Romans do?

Those of you who remain glued to your newsfeeds from Boston may already be aware of this little tidbit of info, but the church building where I meet (yep--that one right across from the Longfellow House in Cambridge) burned to the ground this morning.

Yeah. Take a minute. Let it sink in.

Totally. Burned. To. The. Ground.

Well, MOSTLY totally. I mean, the steeple was still up by the time I left (about 4 hours after the fire started) and the walls were still intact (although the windows were not). But what I could see of the interior was a blackened, gutted mess. The roof is now more or less completely gone. If you're into the whole ghoulish watching-stuff-burn-up sort of thing, (don't worry or feel guilty about it--I'm sure pretty much all of you will click this link) you can view NUMEROUS pictures of the event in this guy's Picasa album.

Details? We were gathered together in the chapel, listening to the second speaker of a Stake Conference session that was broadcast to our building from Salt Lake, when the fire alarm went off. Everybody started looking at each other, (some, like me, rolling their eyes), and a few church leaders dashed off to see what the problem was, but I'm pretty sure most of us thought it had been caused by something over-cooking in the kitchen, or someone (possibly under the age of 5) pulling the alarm. Then, the presiding member of the Stake Presidency came up to the pulpit and asked us all to exit quietly. People shuffled out in a rather nonchalant manner, until we finally got outside and could see flames licking the underside of the eaves. By the time we got out to the grassy area in front of our chapel, we could see smoke starting to billow from the roof on the other side of the building.

Several firetrucks arrived as people continued to exit the building. (Everyone got out fine, by the way.) Within a few minutes, flames started shooting up from the roof, and the smoke changed from overcast-grey to nearly black. When the roof over the chapel collapsed, a general cry of dismay went up, particularly when the floor-to-ceiling windows in the chapel gave us a glimpse of the inferno inside.

It took a long time for most of the fire to be put out. As I said, I stayed for about four hours after the alarm went off the first time, and the roof around the steeple was still smoking when I left.

At one point, the fire had been contained enough to allow the firefighters to get into the institute library, so most of the members who were still around (a lot of us) plus many, many kind people from congregations who met near our building (including a group of Quakers who went around offering us snacks, juice and water), formed a long 'Book Brigade' that just made my librarian heart sing. We passed books in stacks from hand to hand from our building to another nearby building's basement, where they were organized, put on shelves, and triaged (as necessary) by a couple of ward members who had some expertise in treating water-damaged books.

So, I'm feeling pretty much flummoxed. And stunned. And really sad (even though I'm hiding it with a slightly snarky tone while blogging--it's simply my way of dealing with the trauma). I mean, that was the building I've attended the whole time I've been in Boston. And a lot of members have memories of it that go back way further than mine. I think even President Packer had spent time in the area as a...mission president, I think?

But, everyone is okay. Which is really the most important thing. And the books (or at least some of them) are okay, which is the second most important thing.

Or so says the librarian.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I guess I just have one of those faces?

So, everyone seems to be asking me for directions lately.

Okay, I don't mean 'everyone' everyone. It would take more time than I have in my lifetime to answer the way-finding requests of the 6+billion folks out there. (Although I'm sure they all deserve assistance. Except for you, Jerome.)

I guess technically it's only happened about 3 times in the past month or so. Which isn't that many, I suppose. Except that somehow it seems like a lot when compared with the amount of times (I imagine) that guy with the goatee, shaved head and tattoos curled around his arms gets asked for directions. Or even you. Do YOU get asked for directions that often? Probably not!

Because, you see, you don't have one of those faces. Apparently, I DO.

You know, one of those faces that just exude rosy-cheeked approachability and friendliness, the kind of face that smiles at your little dog as it poops on the sidewalk, or at your child as he/she tugs on your pants and whines for that bunch of broccoli strategically placed in the checkout line. The kind of face from which sparkles of glitter fall, which beams pure cherubic light, which says to your a-wearied soul (not in words but in visual images and possibly scent, which count more than words anyway), "My friend, we have been parted from one another for a long time. I know you do not remember me, but I remember you fondly. I burped you as a baby, kissed your forehead after pulling you from a bully-induced dumpster dive, sang soft melodies in your ear to help you to sleep on that crowded train (and you thought it was your neighbor's iPod, you silly). Now come. Come, ask me aught and I will provide it if it be within the power of these two poor hands of mine, or possibly my brain. Come, friend. Please ask."

And they do. They ask.

They say, "Excuse me, but could you tell me where the town hall is?" Or sometimes, "Pardon me, but do I need to use this machine to pay for my train fare?" And occasionally, "Alas, dear friend, I am soul-torn and weary. Have you any balm for this wounded heart of mine?"

This is why I'm going to make a great librarian. Knowing the collection? Piffle. Running programs? Pshaw. Having the face of an apparently eminently approachable stranger? Invaluable.

(This, I believe, is the speech I should have given during my phone interview this morning. I totally think it could have landed me the job. Experience or no experience. I gots the face, baby.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Five reasons why I am (surprisingly) not bitter today:

First of all, let me confess that it still really, really bugs me to be sitting next to some (loudly) kissy couple who are somehow both sitting on the other's lap while waiting for the T in some underground station or other, where the sounds of smacking lips and giggles reverberate with a strange persistence unexplained by science.

Maybe that means I'm still bitter? Not sure.

BUT, I'm not bugged by Valentine's Day today. Not even a little. And let me tell you why:

1. There is not anyone I'm currently pining over. Somehow, I think being single on Valentine's Day becomes about ten times more difficult when there's someone you desperately want, who for some inexplicable reason doesn't want you. I am more than happy not to be in that state right now (and I hope never to be in it again), so the most angst I could muster up today would likely be in the form of a faint nebulous longing, or perhaps general irritation. Nothing big, like heart-wrenching, soul-tearing, cry-into-one's-pillow yearning. Nope. Not this year.

2. I have a brownie mix and two pints of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. (Er, just the Ben & Jerry's is in the freezer. Not the brownie mix. That would be weird.) 'Nuff said.

3. I don't have to pretend to be social when I don't want to be. If I want to stay in to read a book or cross-stitch or watch Master and Commander or Superman Returns or Persuasion, (and I often do), I can. No one is pushing me to go out into the freezing cold wind (although 'freezing cold' doesn't quite seem to convey the lacerating nature of Boston's winter air currents) to go to a movie I didn't really want to see anyway. Although, I guess this could be a bad thing as well as a good thing. But right now, I'm seeing it as a good thing.

4. I get really tense in crowded situations. Which would make dining out tonight (usually pretty much a must on V-day for any couple in which the male part does not cook) an opportunity for jittery nerves which would slowly and irrevocably evolve into a full-blown panic attack.

5. I like me. I like me right now. Which means that I like me on Valentine's Day as well as on a day that isn't Valentine's Day. Which means that I'm not going to stop liking me and start being unhappy just because it is Valentine's Day. I like that I'm going to be a professional librarian (cross fingers, please!) within the next few months. I like that I like books and dogs and PBS and that I have brown eyes.

So frankly, Mr. St. Valentine's Day demon, you're going to try a heck of a lot harder to get me to feel bad today. Like maybe make my refrigerator break so my ice cream all melts and I can't consume it while reading a delightful novel after all. (Not that I want to give you any ideas or anything. So you can just ignore that last bit, okay?)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Some people may daydream about kissing (although, come to think of it, I daydream about that, too). Some daydream about playing with dogs or being high-powered executives. Or being high-powered executives who play with dogs (well, I don't know--they might daydream about that).

Me? I daydream about a little place to myself, a little apartment or condo or cottage or yurt (if I happen to move to Mongolia) to call my very own. (Or rather, the landlord's or bank's very own, which I just happen to be leasing/paying off for a while.)

Yes. I daydream about buying towels and shower curtains and decorating the place with framed prints of botanical drawings and/or my cross-stitch projects, of purchasing sculptures of Chinese dragons and statues of Anubis to place on end tables and shelves, of having floor rugs and a couch I purchased myself and--joy of joys--a refrigerator I don't have to share with anyone else.

And maybe a dog. That too.

It's not that I don't like my roommates--I do. Actually, I like them a lot; they're fantastic gals, uniformly pleasant, who don't intrude too much and who give just enough support when one's dad is in the hospital having heart surgery.

But, I think I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to be on my own, to move away from the student atmosphere, to establish a life for myself.

Ready to grow up, I mean.

Which just begs the question: if I do get a dog, which breed should it be?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A breath of awesomeness

Okay, so it's time to arise from the dust (a little) and post about something that doesn't have to do with ill health. (Although, I must mention that my dad's doing better, and that you all are awesome for helping with your prayers and good vibrations, etc. Thanks, yo.)

Also, I don't know if it's just librarian/book folks who will think the following vid is awesome, but...I don't care. Because I think it's awesome, and I want to save it for posterity (i.e. Future Me).

Be forewarned: it's nearly 17 minutes, so if you don't have time for Tomie dePaola with a paintbrush in his teeth, then wait until you do. Seriously. It's worth it.

BOOK BY BOOK: the making of a monkey man from Jarrett Krosoczka on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Everybody, you are all wonderful.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

My dad is doing better now; he's been able to stand up for short stretches, and he's in less pain. They've been able to remove the balloon pump, and they may also take out his drainage tubes later on today. (They've been rubbing against his lungs when he breathes, which has been one of the main sources of his pain since the surgery, so having them out will be a big relief for him.)

Again, thank you for your prayers. I'll keep you updated as he continues along the road to recovery.

(And I'm so glad I can write that he IS on the road to recovery. I've been very frightened.)

Love to you all.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Asking for help, here.

Hey, guys. I know it's kind of lame for me to be silent for ages and then post again just so I can ask for help...

But heck--I'm doing it.

I'm not sure if my family will be happy with me for talking about this or not, but I think the potential for extra help may outweigh the need to keep family troubles private.

My dad had a heart attack a couple of days ago. He went in for bypass surgery this morning, and ended up having 5 bypasses done. He's in pain, and his heart is pretty damaged.

And I'm concerned (read: really worried).

I've been praying all day, mostly because I can't think of anything else I can do. (I hate being so far away right now.) However, I do believe in the power of combined prayer. So, if you're willing and able and have the inclination and so on,

Please pray for him?

His name's Jeff.

Thanks, all.