Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Light Up My Christmas

The time has come. As I drive along the dark streets, I see more and more Christmas lights up each night! Not only lights, but those big inflatable things. And other Christmas-y decorations. I have identified 5 types of decorated houses during Christmas time. 

1. The Classy Christmas
These people don't have anything to prove. They know their simple candles in the window, homemade wreath on the door, and white lights speak for themselves. Simple elegance.

2. The Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink House
If you look at this house and can't see the lawn or the color of the siding, you are looking at an example of one of these. They have every decoration known to man and they're going to use each and every one! There is no such thing as "overdone." This is Christmas! Why hold back?

3. The Grinch
This one sticks out like a sore thumb. A bare, dark house in the middle of a bright street. Who knows what their reason is, but these people do not decorate. The merry Christmas carol dies in your throat as you drive past this solemn home.

4. The Inflatable Yard
Think of this as the opposite of The Classy Christmas and a close cousin to The Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink House. Decorations made from plastic blow into the yard next door, big snowmen glow, this is all things shiny and gaudy and sparkly. Just so you don't mistake this house for The Grinch, the people that live here want to make sure you understand that Christmas should be celebrated loudly and obviously.

5. The Patchwork Quilt
Every decoration is red or green or Christmas-themed. Yet none of them match. Perhaps they were slowly accumulated from sales. Perhaps the owner of the home is color-blind. But something about this house is a bit...off. Maybe the lights aren't evenly distributed? Hard to tell.

So which house is yours?

Now - enjoy this video!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reaching Towards December

It's almost time for Christmas movies! Because nothing says "Christmas" like parking it in front of the tv and losing yourself in the magic, the warm fuzzies, and a bowl of ice cream.

These are my absolute favorites - the only ones I insist on watching every year. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments, especially if you have a recommendation.

1. It's a Wonderful Life
  • Jimmy Stewart!
  • black and white
  • I always cry at the end when they're singing Auld Lang Syne
2. Scrooge
  • There're a lot of movies about The Christmas Carol, but this one is my favorite!
  • It's a musical! And there's dancing!
  • Albert Finney is Scrooge - good at being repulsive and mean at the beginning
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • hilarious retelling of the classic Dr. Seuss story
  • I love Whoville!
  • Jim Carrey has some great lines - perfect for quoting year-round I think!
4. The Homecoming
  • Ever seen the old tv show The Waltons? This is the Christmas movie.
  • Love how old-fashioned it is. My dad likes it because it reminds him of growing up on a farm.
  • Sweet story of a loving family
5. White Christmas
  • Bing Crosby singing! Danny Kay dancing and being lovable!
  • Another musical!
  • Plus - romance...
6. The Santa Clause (and 2 and 3!)
  • love Tim Allen's sarcastic humor
  • The Santa Clause 2 and 3 are just as good, which is pretty rare!
  • Great characters
November seems to be dragging its leaf-clumped feet, but December is so close I can almost taste it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Place is in the Kitchen, Apparently

Mmm, I love being in the kitchen - especially this time of year.

Cooking and baking allow me to create something while following a recipe. Structured creativity! I have a recipe, I have a picture of what the finished product should look like, and then I can peel and cut and stir and make something stupendous!

The danger is watching the Martha Stewart dvds I borrowed from the library. I watch Martha for a while - watch her toss spices and oil into bowls and pans without measuring. Then, for some reason, I begin to believe that I too am above measuring ingredients. So far nothing terrible has happened, but I have to hold myself back and use the right tools so I don't get myself into trouble.

Not only do I love the actions that go along with working in the kitchen, but I love presenting the fiinished product. I don't bake for myself, I bake for my family and friends. Sharing the food I make brings me great satisfaction. Plus, they're usually so grateful that they do the dishes for me! I enjoy doing the dishes once in a while, but after whipping up something delicious and time-consuming in the kitchen, the dishes can stay in the sink forever for all I care.

If you ever happen to be in the kitchen when I'm making something, get out. Get out now. If you're just standing there taking up space or getting in my way, it makes me antsy. Stay back and give me elbow room. Better yet, here: peel these carrots. Do something useful.

So, my place is in the kitchen. Behind-the-scenes work appeals to me. I'd rather roll up my sleeves and work hard back there than come out and do a lot of socializing.

If you want to talk with me, come back to the kitchen. Just keep back and grate this cheese, will you?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday That is Black

Ugh. How does 9 a.m. feel like 4 p.m.?

That's right. When you roll out of bed at 3:30 in the morning.

If you're the type of person who thinks Black Friday is stupid, don't judge. And don't keep reading.

Last year was my first year out on Black Friday, and I thought it was so fabulous! I found great deals, completed almost all my Christmas shopping, and had fun experiencing something unique. If you know me, you know shopping usually makes me whine and drag my feet. However, this time of year, I sort of live for shopping. So my alarm went off, I convinced myself not to go back to sleep, and I headed out!

It was a rack of brightly colored scarves for $5 each. Oh my I love scarves! As I eagerly reached for the last pink one, a pointy elbow came out of nowhere and got me right in the side. As if in slow motion, I turned and slid simultaneously, falling on the ground only to let out a pathetic moan. I looked up as a woman smiled triumphantly, draped the scarf around her neck, and stepped on my hand as she walked past my crumpled body.

I just made that up.

It sounded pretty good though, right?

I WISH something like that had happened so I could blog about it, but everyone I met was really decent and friendly. We helped each other find things and chatted in line. Nothing dramatic. It's cool because most everyone is excited to be there and having a good time.

Did you have a good Thanksgiving? I had a great day with family; can't believe it's over already! Christmas is so close I can practically taste it! This year, I'm especially thankful for my job at the library. God gives His children so much more than they can ever imagine.

All right! Off to bed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Artistic, Shmartistic

List of Things I Can Draw

1. stick people

2. a snail

3. a turtle

4. stars

5. flowers

6. smiley face

7. variations on the smiley face

8. spirals

9. open book

10. a cross

And that's pretty much it.

So if you looked over my shoulder during the sort of class I needed to doodle during to be able to pay attention, you would probably think I was perusing the sketchbook I had when I was six.

When you're six, drawing a recognizable turtle would be cause for admiration. When you're 21, maybe it's better to pretend you're holding back. "Oh, this old thing? Well, it was only an hour-long class, so I didn't have time to add the EIFFEL TOWER it's actually standing on."

Oh, well. I'll never be able to draw well. I picture exactly how I'll draw something in my head, put pencil to paper, and then my arm becomes possessed by the arm of a drunken sailor. At sea during a storm. Whose hand is actually a hook.

Oh! I could probably draw a decent hook at the end of a stick person's arm!

11. a hook

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sharing Does Not Apply Here

Don't cough into your hand.

The hand you touch things with. The hand you touch people with.

Didn't anyone teach you this? Don't you know how gross and unnecessary it is?

I'm not super concerned about germs. I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer, but I don't lie awake worrying about germs getting me. Exposure to germs keeps your immune system strong.

But coughing into your hand? Nasty.

Don't you know why God created elbows? Let me inform you.

1. To hold a baby's head.

2. To support your arms on the table. Or not, if you think that's rude.

3. To propel your way through a crowd, such as on upcoming Black Friday.

4. To cough into.

An elbow is perfect to cough (or sneeze!) into.  You're containing the germs, because how many times do you reach for things with your elbow?

Here is an important side note: Elbow usage can't be combined. You can only use your elbows for one thing at a time. That means, no coughing into your elbow if it contains a baby. And, obviously, no elbowing people around you at the table.

Have some common sense! Use the elbows God gave you! Don't cough into your hand, touch something, and then try to give me that something!

Pass it on.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Paranoid Is Such a Strong Word



*Riinng* - "Hello?"




Okay, don't panic. Someone probably already hung up. Or it was a wrong number. Or it was a criminal intent on robbing the house who called to see if it's empty - NO! I'm sure that's not it.


I think that, just for kicks, I'll check all the locks and then hide under my bed.


There is a reason I don't watch anything scarier than funny detective shows like Monk on tv. It's because I tend to let my imagination run wild at the smallest thing.

While out running - Didn't that white van just pass me a couple minutes ago? Oh no, no, no...it's following me. Why have I never planned an alternate route home through neighbors' yards before???

In the garage - I don't care how stupid it is, I am standing here and watching the garage door go all the way down so no one rolls in underneath it!

In the dark - If I sing loudly, close my eyes, and run up the stairs, something creeping in the shadows won't won't be able to grab me.

All right, it's not THAT bad. I may have an overactive imagination, but I don't REALLY believe terrible things would happen to me.

But if they do, I'll be ready.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wishy-Washy Weekend

I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do over weekends on this blog. I don't really want to write "real" posts. I've thought about posting websites or videos or quotations or something. That way, I can share something without writing every single day of the week.

For now, you'll have to be satisfied this weekend with a clip from Harvey. Basically, I'm in love with Jimmy Stewart. And I can't wait to watch It's a Wonderful Life, but I'm waiting until closer to Christmas. He is so brilliant.

So enjoy! And leave a message in the comments if you have ideas for weekend blog posts.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanks, but NO Thanks

I’m a pretty stubborn person to begin with.

But my computer tries to tell me what to do, I really dig in my heels.

“Would you like to AutoArchive your old emails now?”

“________ is new to Facebook. Send him a message!”

“There are unused icons on your desktop. The desktop cleanup wizard can help you clean up your desktop. Click this balloon to start the wizard.”

“Did you know that this toolbar can organize icons/AutoComplete words/solve world hunger?"

No! Leave me alone! I don’t care if it’s a good idea. I don’t need a computer to tell me what to do! What does Facebook care if I send a certain friend a message? You know what? UNFRIEND! Ha! That’ll show you, Facebook!

Close this box. X out of that window. Delete, no, exit, no, close. It never ends.

And those commercials that throw themselves desperately at you from the screen. Those ads that follow you down the screen as you scroll down. The videos that start playing on a website advertising some kind of cleaning solution and you CAN'T mute them or pause them! The pictures that your mouse pointer accidentally brush against and they blow up into a huge ad that takes up the whole screen. What, do they think that they'll annoy me to the point of buying their product?

Don't tell me what to do, computer. Don't force things down my throat, random companies. Don't suggest things for me to do, Facebook. I am capable of handling problems, buying products, and wasting time all on my very own.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Not-So-Innocent Pumpkin

This time of year, it's all about the pumpkin.

Pumpkin donuts, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin soap, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin body spray...

You know when you write a word so much it doesn't make sense anymore? Pumpkin.

Who decided that this fruit (not a vegetable - I googled it) only shows up for a month or two out of the year? What if I want a pumpkin donut in March?

The pumpkin seems innocent enough, but it is blatantly seasonal. I'm sure if it had a say in the matter, it would linger through the year to be enjoyed any time.

Think about apples. They could be labeled as a fall fruit, but really we eat them year-round. It's acceptable to drink apple juice in May or eat apple pie in January.

But somehow the pumpkin got the short end of the stick. It gets shoved at us from billboards, commercials and coupons to the point of excess. Pumpkin milkshakes? Sounds gross now, but believe me, a few months down the road you'll want one and won't be able to find one. "Pumpkin? Do you know what MONTH this is?"

So if you want to have your pumpkin and eat it too, eat it now when every food has it hidden in there somewhere. And that should hold you until next pumpkin season.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Oooohhh; did you get goosebumps? You just KNOW this blog post is going to be good.

Anyway, last night there was a thunderstorm. Some people I talked to in the library today never heard it. But I always wake up for thunderstorms.

Actually, I use the phrase “wake up” rather loosely. I was still half-dreaming something at the time, and wasn’t awake enough to realize that this was real life...but I’m getting off-topic.

Part of my subconscious realized that there was loud thunder going on, and I woke up enough to put a pillow over my head and hold it there with one of my arms. While this technique rarely worked in my dorm room, it can be helpful in more “normal” cases.

So, thunderstorm, kind of awake, put a pillow over my head...Oh, and then a while later I sort of woke up again to realize that my arm was more asleep than the rest of me at that moment. I sort of dragged it off the pillow and down, groggily thinking how totally weird it felt.

You’re probably wondering by now what my point is.

So anyway, in the middle of the night, barely even conscious, my arm asleep, I remembered one of my favorite scenes in Horton Hears a Who.

Just to set this up for you, Horton is this elephant who discovers an entire civilization of Whos living on a speck. The speck is on a clover. Horton is trying to save the Whos by taking them to a safe spot. As Horton crosses a particularly perilous bridge, the mayor of Who-ville is at the dentist’s office.

Sorry I couldn't put the video up on this blog, so if you're still with me and still interested, click HERE.

You're welcome. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Besides Which You See

A little confidence can take you quite a long way.

Think about it. When you're in a store or at a restaurant, or somewhere you are receiving assistance from a worker, confidence is reassuring. You want to see that the person repairing your car, cutting your hair, or serving your food knows what he or she's doing.

Picture this. You're getting your teeth cleaned. Someone is reaching into your mouth with sharp-looking instruments. This is not exactly fun to begin with. Now, picture the person sweating. Looking nervous. Giggling anxiously. Moving trembling fingers toward your mouth. Are you having second thoughts?

Ugh. Now I'm thinking about the dentist. Where was I...? Oh, right. Confidence.

To be perfectly honest, faked confidence can work in a pinch. Obviously, not when dealing with a life or death matter - "Sure, I can operate on you! It looks simple enough on tv!"

Confidence is the talk. Even if you are uncertain, be decisive on what you DO know. Be honest about what you DON'T know. And then just go from there, exhuding confidence like the sweet smell of chocolate chip cookies baking.

Yum. Now I'm thinking about chocolate chip cookies. Come on now, back on topic!

Confidence is eye contact. Even if you do know what you're talking about, staring at the floor and mumbling it isn't going to inspire confidence in a small child, let alone anyone else.

Confidence is the walk. Now, this helps if you're wearing boots, but you can get by with other shoes as well. Walk confidently. If you're ducking around corners, tripping on the corner of the carpeting, or shuffling and scuffing, no one will follow you anywhere.

If all else fails, follow Julie Andrews's advice. It's always worked for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

There Are Those

Hey, guys, get ready for a library rant! I’m sure this doesn’t apply to YOU, but feel free to spread the word to those who are without understanding.

Let me just tell you something, disgruntled library patron:

The library is not out to take your money from you.

When you signed that library card application, you agreed to be responsible for the items you checked out. That includes *gasp* paying any FINES you may incur.

When you stand in front of me and argue, whine and yes, even LIE to get out of your fine, you know what I think?

This is the LIBRARY. You can check out as many books, DVDs, talking books, CDs, etc. that you want. You can use our computers. You get friendly service - people eager to help you with your project or research. You have a quiet place to study. You have access to dozens of programs designed to meet your needs. And guess what? It’s FREE.

I’m sorry; you think that you are being dealt with unfairly? Because you borrowed something from us FOR FREE and kept it late, keeping it from other library users who may want to use it?

That’s right, because the library is a conspiracy. You heard it here first. We are here to take your money. The programs for your kids, the free books and movies, the quiet study areas, it’s all just a front for our plot to take your money from you.

So what you hear in the news about libraries receiving less funding? That's never going to change.

Because people like you don't understand what the library really means to your community.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Have you ever reluctantly shared an odd story from when you were younger, only to find with relief that someone else has done the same thing? “Whew! I thought I was the only one who tried to eat chapstick because it smelled so good!” “You mean you thought what you wore in middle school was cool, too?”

It’s great to find common ground with people. You realize you’re not as different as you may have thought. You discover similar backgrounds, or shared quirks.

It’s funny how much my decisions depend upon how others will respond. Even when I share embarrassing things about myself, I’m looking for acceptance. I want others to tell me that I’m okay. That I’m just like them.

Does it really matter what other people think of me? It shouldn’t. Ultimately, what matters is what God thinks of me. But this is a reminder for me to slow down and really take a look at some of the things that I say or do. How much of it is meant to result in me feeling better about myself?

Well, if I'm not selfishly sharing things about myself to get something back from whoever I tell, sharing embarassing things can be a great ice-breaker. Of course, when one has blocked so many embarassing and awkward moments out of one's head, one often can't think of something to share.

Except during high school sleepovers.... late at night... after having downed a few sodas.... and eating too many chips... Somehow then it was all right to share my deepest, darkest secrets.

Honestly, with those kinds of amazing flavors, how do chapstick manufacturers expect kids to NOT try to eat chapstick? Yes, I tried eating chapstick. No, it did not taste as good as it smelled.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, She's Just Shy

“Introverts today face one overarching challenge – not to feel like misfits in their own culture.”

I read a fascinating article in Psychology Today a couple months ago, and I was thinking about it again recently. It’s called “Revenge of the Introverts,” and it explains the introverted personality in a great way. Please, please, please read it (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201008/revenge-the-introvert) and/or my thoughts below.

  • “An introvert and a shy person might be standing against the wall at a party, but the introvert prefers to be there, while the shy individual feels she has no choice.”
  • I think about things. A lot. In a meeting with lots of extroverts firing ideas around and talking as they think, I get left behind. And then, inevitably someone will feel sorry for me because I’m not saying anything and say, “Laura, what do YOU think?” in this condescending way. Like I’m just sitting there waiting for someone to include me. Honestly! If I have something to say I say it! And you can bet that when I do say something, it will be something I have put a great deal of thought into.
  • In groups, I am completely engaged in the conversation. I feel a part of it because I am thinking things through, agreeing with people in my head, and generally feeling as though I am right in there with everyone. But when someone calls attention to the fact that I’ve said very little, it belittles my involvement.
  • If an extrovert is standing in front of me and talkingtalkingtalkingtalking... I can’t process what he’s saying that quickly. I’ll get hung up on a certain phrase and, as I’m thinking through that, miss other things he’s saying.
  • Just because I’m an introvert, doesn’t mean I don’t like people. But, while extroverts are energized by people, I am energized by being alone, or with few people.
  • I love working with people at the library and talking to them about their favorite books and helping them find things. But I don’t seek people out to strike up a conversation. I remember one time hearing an extrovert say how he loved to talk to people because he liked to find what they had in common. I’m fine not talking to people. And a lot of times that comes off as shy or stuck up.
  • I remember one night, after coming back from some activity (can’t remember what it was), I realized that I would’ve been just as content to stay at home. I was struck with the fact that I am happy alone. Or in quiet places. When I come back from work, or a party, or a place where I’m talking a lot or socializing a lot, I NEED time to recover. I am physically drained.
  • A section in the article lists things not to say to introverts. My favorite is telling introverts how they can be more extroverted, “as if that’s the desired state.” Introverts feel left out as it is! No one should be telling us we’re insufficient because of the way we are.
  • Now, I was shy when I was younger. I was scared to talk to people and would avoid situations where I was talking in front of people. But a lot of that was because I was introverted. I just didn’t know what it meant yet. Now, I’m not shy anymore. But I’m still introverted. I don’t seek out people to talk to. I need to rest after being over-stimulated by crowds or lots of talking.
  • Just to be clear, I’m not against extroverts. I know they are just trying to be nice when they attempt to "bring me out of my shell," but they genuinely do not understand that I am not antisocial/shy/stuck-up/quiet/lonely...I'm an introvert and I'm okay with it. Introverts make up half of our population. They contribute in ways extroverts never can. So why are they so misunderstood?
  • I was blown away by this article. It was speaking right to me. Seriously, if you are an introvert or an extrovert who works with people AT ALL, read this article.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things Part 2

Things I do NOT enjoy telling library patrons:

1. You have a fine. And it’s a doozy.

2. Your account is blocked.

3. You have been sent to a collection agency.

4. That’s not in the system.

5. You returned the case with nothing inside it.

6. No one found your wallet/keys/paper you left in the copier.

7. You can't make loud phone calls right next to people who are studying.

8. I know you SAY you returned it, but it’s not on the shelf.

9. This item won't renew any more.

10. I just put your name in the list for this book and you’re #127 in the queue.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things Part 1

Things I enjoy telling library patrons:

1. Library cards are free.

2. Borrowing books/movies/CDs, etc. is free.

3. We have it; it’s right there on the shelf.

4. I love that book! Good choice!

5. Nope – no fine! You returned it just in time.

6. There's no limit to how many items you can check out.

7. Oh, I know which book you're talking about! Here's the title/author/# in the series, etc.

8. You know, we have a program here I think you'll like.

9. Yes, someone did find your wallet/keys/paper left in the copier!

10. The book you've been waiting for is here!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

If you ever find yourself touching my hand, please do not be shocked by its temperature. Around September-ish, my hands lose all warmth and turn to ice. I begin to feel them in April when the snow melts, the birds sing, flowers burst through the earth and biting my fingers hurts again. So please don’t feel sorry for me.

And if you happen to shake my hand, don’t wince and pull away. Just because my blood doesn’t make it to my hands for six months out of the year doesn’t mean you need to discriminate against me. And my kind.

Oh sure, there’s the old “run your hands under hot water” trick. And the “jam your fingers in your armpits” maneuver. But those are temporary. And the second one is awkward.

Honestly, I sort of forget about it. Until someone shakes my hand, gasps, and gives me a pitying glance. Then I remember. And feel like I have to apologize. Guess what, though? It’s not my fault my hands are so cold!

I wear gloves or mittens when I can. Meaning, whenever it's appropriate. Meaning, not when I'm working at the desk in the library. Because some may find that awkward.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baby Therapy

You know I’ve spotted a baby when my smile gets bigger, my voice gets higher, and my feet walk quicker in that direction.

Babies bring a different mood into the room. Unless they’re being fussy, they just spread smiles everywhere they go. Innocence and joy, chubby cheeks and tiny fingernails, all presented in a soft little package of Baby. I volunteer in my church’s nursery, and it’s one of my favorite things.

So many different moments. When I hold him close and smooth his hair. When I whisk her up and blow into her stomach to make her laugh. When he pulls himself up holding onto a chair and looks at me triumphantly, head wobbling like it’s going to roll off.

Simple moments that make me do nutty things. Like stay frozen in uncomfortable positions that cause my arms to go numb because she is sleeping and I can’t bring myself to shift and wake her up. Or wave baby food around in circles over his head, making zooming noises. Or pop my head up from behind a counter to make her giggle so much she starts to hiccup.

Yup, there’s nothing like it. Baby therapy. And when I’m holding her in my arms and she curls her tiny fingers around mine and sighs, so content. I look down and sigh right back, perfectly satisfied to stay like this, looking at her forever.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grouchy Old Librarian

I’m in charge of a Wii game night for tweens at the library. The other night, I got to sit in a dark room with 7 kids who were NOT using their library voices. They make me feel old. To them, I’m a grouchy old librarian. I’m not young enough to be cool.

So throughout the night, kids kept using a word that sounded like “pone.” As in, “You just got poned!” This sounded familiar to something I’d seen online, so I looked it up on one of my faithful sidekicks, Wikipedia, to see what it was all about.

As I found out, the word is “pwn.” It means “own,” as in, to dominate your opponent. It’s a term used mostly in online gaming.

But guess what? It started out as the word “own,” until it got spelled wrong. Apparently, this is because “o” and “p” are right next to each other on the keyboard. That’s right; here we have a new word that came about as a result of a MISSPELLING!

That’s a little frightening to me. Now hey, I’m all in favor of new words. I admitted my love for “googling,” and, though I think certain words introduced by pop culture can be kind of silly, it’s still fascinating to think that the English language is always changing.

But seriously? Is this what we’ve come to? New words are going to be used because people are too sloppy to spell things correctly?

Our language will change and evolve and that’s all natural and good. But a couple of us grouchy old people like to hold onto SOME rules.

Okay, that’s my rant for the day. And don't anyone try to debate me on this, because I will pwn you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grab a Tissue

I’ll admit it; I have a weakness for feel-good reality television. What, is your heart made of stone? How couldn’t you love those shows where everyone’s just so happy at the end?
Biggest Loser is right there at the top of my list. Lives are changed here, people! And I love that the contestants really care about each other and hate voting each other out. Because they’ve all come through this journey together and have overcome so much. They understand one another. And so many success stories! Even after contestants leave the show, they’re still working hard and, this season, “paying it forward.” Gaaaah! Goosebumps!

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has always been about changing lives. I just watched the most recent one yesterday, where the crew built a new Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD.... :), complete with a haunted house that the school uses to raise money. Apart from all the scary stuff, which, if you know me, I am NOT a fan of, it was fantastic to see these kids’ lives changed. Some were able to hear for the first time after receiving new hearing aids!

A recent show that I’ve started watching is Undercover Boss. A CEO of a company goes undercover and works with people under him. The best part is the end, where the CEO reveals himself to each person he worked closely with and often gives gifts like promotions, vacations, and scholarships. I watched one where this kid was given a promotion and he was just so overcome by being recognized for his hard work that he was crying...and I was crying...

Even though I’ll probably never be so rich or famous that I could change people’s lives in such dramatic ways, I like to think I’m making a difference every day by helping people in small ways. People in these tv shows realize that it’s better to give than to receive. And you don’t need a lot of money to encourage the people around you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Ode to Google

Thank you, Google....
  • For knowing me so well, you can finish my sentences.
  • For allowing me to appear omniscient in front of older library patrons who don’t know what Google is ("Yes, that series has five books in it; allow me to list them in order for you along with their dates of publication").
  • For reminding me of obscure holidays by dressing up your logo ("Oh, well Happy Dr. Seuss's Birthday to you too, Google!").
  • For helping, not judging, when I spell something wrong accidentally (Search instead for...).
  • For being a legitimate verb.
  • For giving me answers to my questions in seconds.
  • For giving me pictures of celebrities so I don’t get them confused with each other.
  • For letting me look up websites instead of actually typing them in (Ex: Wikipedia, Amazon, etc..).
  • And, for having an infinite number of O’s, allowing for multiple pages of results.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them, Shrieking, to the Doors

What do kids love most about the public library?

Is it the books? The movies? The stuffed animals? Perhaps the train table featuring preschool idol Thomas the Tank Engine?

No. No, all these exciting options children have at their fingertips while at the library are NOT their most favoritest things.

That award goes to....the handicapped buttons next to the two sets of front doors.

While a frazzled mom tosses the sticky library card up on the counter to me, juggling an infant, tote bag, purse, and recently-made craft, her little pride and joy is racing towards the exit. The most dramatic moments are when sibling competition plays a role.


“All right, Drew, you press this one and-“


“Well you can open the next set of doors, Julia now WAIT FOR MOMMY BEFORE YOU GO INTO THE PARKING LOT, DREW!”

It’s rare that I see an actual handicapped person use the button.  But when it comes to kids, it’s the beginning and end of awesomeness at the library. It's the library version of candy at the grocery store checkout. The whole time you’re in the store you know it’s there and it’s coming and maybe if you race toward it and shriek you’ll get it all to yourself!

On a slow day, I enjoy watching the doors for this kind of action. It rates slightly above watching people push instead of pull the doors, or vice versa. The best is when a rude patron leaves and then becomes totally confused by the complicated system that is only deciphered by reading the PULL sign. Maybe they’re the ones that need the handicapped button.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

These Feet Were Made for Running

And now, a post about exercise. I'm warning you now so you have the chance to leave if you'd like.

Still here? Awww, thanks.

I am a recent convert to exercise. I've done it off and on, sometimes with frequency. But now I'm a regular. Being able to run five miles was a big accomplishment for me. I finally feel like I had a "right" to call myself a runner.

I know a lot of people think exercise takes up too much time, or it's too hard, or whatever. Like anything important and meaningful in life, you have to work at it. Luckily, you receive benefits from the effort you put forth, otherwise there is no way I'd be hanging in this long. I mean, what have cookies ever given me? Other than acceptance. Or comfort. Or a comforting chocolate-y mouthful...

Anyway, I suppose I’m stopping to think about how grateful I am for exercise. Our bodies were made to move, after all. And it’s pretty incredible what we can train ourselves to adapt to.

A lot of times I look at athletes and subconsciously think their bodies are made of different stuff than mine. But when I look at how far I’ve come in a few months, I’m really amazed at how strong I am.

I always had those dreams where “Something” would be chasing me and I would try to run, but couldn’t. Like I was bogged down in molasses, like that poor guy in CandyLand. Anyway, a little while ago I had a dream I was running. Really running.

Now I feel like I can do just about anything.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I See We Have a Long November Ahead of Us

Oh, November. How nice of you to come. I’m going to try to enjoy you for what you are: a colder month with a chance of snow. And with Thanksgiving at the end of you.

But instead, I find myself seeing November as a hurdle. A tall, cold, dark hurdle that I must slowly clamber over to reach...DECEMBER! And CHRISTMAS!

And so the countdown to Christmas begins, this day after Halloween. Last year, on December 26, it seemed so far away. Not anymore! It’s within reach!

November is a test of my self-control. How early is too early for Christmas music? Is it cheating to make Christmas cookies in November? Do I have the strength to look away when a Christmas commercial comes on, for fear I’ll get Premature Christmas Joy?

I am offended if you think I’m a Grinch because I try to hide from Christmas in November. It’s not easy, believe me. I just have a fear that I’ll get sick of Christmas before December even begins.

Oh, November. Please go by quickly. And please don’t hate me for loving December more.