Monday, February 28, 2011

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Everywhere

Keeping my room clean. That's something I feel like I should have mastered by now. (That and drinking water...) And I do clean my room. Continuously. The trouble is, as fast as I clean it, I mess it up.

I hang a shirt up. I throw a shirt on the floor.

I stack my books. I knock over my books.

I put my earrings on my earring rack. I put my earrings next to my earring rack.

I'm good at cleaning my room. Real good. And it can be therapeutic to clean my room. It just gets so frustrating when it won't stay clean! Then, it's like, what's the point? It's like making your bed...

Then, after I keep getting frustrated about keeping my room clean, I get frustrated about getting frustrated.

The thing is, I change my clothes multiple times during the day. To the point that I start to feel like a Barbie. If only my clothes had Velcro tabs... Seriously. Barbie has an outfit for every occupation and activity. She must have a really big Barbie closet.

During the course of the day, I'm Fitness Barbie. Librarian Barbie. Chef Barbie. Cleaning Service Barbie. Night Out Barbie. Lounge-Around-the-House Barbie. Running-Out-to-the-Store Barbie. And the list goes on...

I feel like all I do is change my clothes. So NOTHING will STAY where it's SUPPOSED to be!

Whew. Enough of that. In other news, I went a whole week without tasting chocolate. Last night at about 9pm I almost blew it completely. I was watching the Academy Awards and needed something sweet RIGHT THEN. And everything in the house was chocolate. I was opening cupboards praying that something new would be inside.

But I made it! And I haven't even eaten chocolate yet today! But I will. Oh, I will....

Computer Geek Barbie. Close enough.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chocolate? Fail.

So, I know it's only the end of February, but I thought I'd just give a little New Year's resolution update. Don't pretend like you weren't dying to know.

Go ahead and refresh your memory here, if you're still reading.

Okay, so here's how it's going:

1. Neville is alive, and, dare I say it, growing! I'm still trying to find the balance between bone dry and soaking wet. Harder than you might think. However, Neville has received not one but TWO gifts from two of my best friends. They said the mug with flowers on it and the cute box with drawers were for my birthday. But they also said (separately) that they wanted their gifts to sit by Neville. So there you go.

2. The Bible reading plan is...well, it's coming along. I'm in Levicitus and Numbers so I'm reading things I know I've read before but seem totally incredible. It's tough, but I'm hanging in there and enjoying the challenge! I'm looking forward to Psalms, a book that I have only recently learned to appreciate.

3. I'm drinking more water! And green tea! So, thanks to that, I now get up around 3 in the morning every night. At least, I think I do. Can't say I'm ever really awake. Too much information? Well, I'm drinking lots of water. Don't pretend you don't know what that means.

4. I've upped my long runs to 6 miles. Oof. Amazing Race is on again, so that's a good time to hop on the treadmill and then spend an hour begging myself to get off. And now that I've officially joined the gym, I'm able to use the elliptical and the stair stepper thing. And I'm taking cycling classes. It helps to do different things.

5. Failure. I'm failing. My last resolution was to eat more chocolate, and this week I am sorry to say that I am not doing well. In fact, I haven't eaten chocolate since SUNDAY. I pretty much see it everywhere I go, but have ignored it for five days! Well, this is the fifth day. So I'm succeeding in terms of this week-long goal, but failing in terms of my New Year's resolution. Don't worry, I'm climbing back on the wagon on Monday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Good Times Not Involving Chocolate

This is Day 4 with no chocolate. My mom asked me yesterday if I would want to know if she baked something with chocolate in it. Meaning, I guess, she could hide it.

That's all I can think about now. If I have a weak moment, I may start throwing cupboards open and rifling through the freezer.

As I stand all day at the library circulation desk, I do a lot of people-watching. I know about how many people are there and where they all are. I know which people need help finding a book or which people have no idea how to use the computer they're sitting in front of.

So while I'm keeping an eye on things, one of my simple joys is watching people near the entrance do two things...

1. Try to put books in the bookdrop when we're open. Now, we close our bookdrop when we're open. It's easier that way. People just walk inside and drop off their books, instead of us having to continually go outside and empty the outside bookdrop. But there are plenty of people who haven't caught on yet. They poke around, pushing and prodding, until they realize that they have to walk a few more steps inside. This amuses me. Oh well, guess you have to come all the way inside the library today! Welcome! Can I interest you in - oh, okay. Bye.

2. Try to pull the doors open when they're leaving instead of pushing them. Now, there are these handles on the door, which I guess throw everybody off. So if someone's speed-walking toward the exit and they try to throw the door open, they stop dead and have to figure out what's wrong. Most people, if they try to pull and that doesn't work will just push, right? Well, I've had a few people become totally confused and agitated. One person did that thing where you pretend that you didn't really want to go out the door. You were just passing through, pulling doors, on your way to the new book display. Oh no! You're locked inside the library! I can think of worse fates...

Well, I think those are funny, anyway. And if I'm nearby, I'll always help out and explain. Because that's what librarians do.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chocolate, Chocolate Everywhere, and Not a Bite to Eat

I'm starting to notice chocolate a little bit more. This is Day 3, and I'm afraid I'm going to "forget" and eat chocolate.

Yesterday, when I walked into the library kitchen for lunch, I saw chocolate in every corner of the room. Cocoa-covered almonds. Truffles in the fridge I made last week. Generic-brand Oreos....Yes. Even those! Those lame "Chocolate wafers with creme" or whatever they're calling them now.

I couldn't escape.

Then, later on in the afternoon, one of our awesome patrons bought a candy bar for each of us librarians currently working behind the desk (We're selling them at the desk as a fundraiser for our teen group.). Isn't that so sweet? I picked out a dark chocolate bar (because it's healthy...good for your heart...antioxidants...) and sadly placed it on my desk. Not to be touched until next Monday.

Just knowing that you're not going to allow yourself something makes you crave it all the more. Maybe it's worse if that "something" is constantly on your mind...

Let's hope that this won't be me in a few days. I must be strong!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chocolate for Your Thoughts...

So, Day Two of my Chocolate Fast. I don't miss it too much; it's only been one day...

Strange thoughts sometimes go through my head. And at strange times.

Like at church.

I'm sitting there, wondering what would happen if I suddenly stood up and yelled something. And then I get scared that I'm actually going to do it. Like, hold on there Laura! You had BETTER not stand up and yell out "BUNNY RABBITS!" in the middle of church!

But what if I did? How would people respond?

Honestly, I scare myself sometimes.

Sometimes, when someone is talking to me, my mind wanders. Now, I'm an introvert, so it's hard for me to concentrate if someone's standing right in front of me and talking talking talking without a break for me to process what's actually being said.

So if someone's right in my face talking, I start thinking about where I'm looking. Should I look directly into his eyes? That's kind of weird. At his chin? Nose? Above his head?

Then I start doing a weird rhythmic drifting stare. Eyes. Off to the side. Chin. Eyes.

I'm sorry, what were you saying?

Monday, February 21, 2011


I know some of you may be surprised to hear this, but I love chocolate. Some may say I am addicted. Or obsessed. I just say that chocolate and I have a very special relationship.

But we're breaking up.

Well, just for a week. I thought it would be good to have some time apart.

Chocolate and I get along a little too well. I need this time to see if I can handle life without it.

Obviously, I can't. That's why this is only for a week.

So I'll keep you updated on what my week without chocolate is like. Sure, I'll write about other things too. But I'm sure I'll have lots to say about life without chocolate.

Sure, it'll be tough. Sure, there will be tears. But I'm hoping to stick it out, especially since now I've told YOU. So now I"m accountable.

Goodbye, chocolate. See you in a week.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I've written before about every kid's favorite object in the library. So I thought I'd make a list of the current favorites, just to round it out. Beginning with, of course...

1. Automatic doors for the handicapped. Of course, the handicapped rarely use them. Instead, siblings race each other to push the buttons. Much excitement is associated with these doors. Also, much despair.

2. Thomas the Tank Engine train table. If I see parents walking briskly past the desk holding a crying child, it's a pretty safe bet that the train table is to blame.

3. The niche in the desk. A niche is the closest way I can describe this little place where the side of the tall circulation desk recedes into itself, creating a perfect hiding place for kids. They like to stand in this spot and giggle to themselves, enjoying a little space just for them.

4. The Lego sign and Lego donation box. This is a recent addition to the library, but has drawn a lot of attention. The library is going to start a Lego program for kids, so we have a sign made out of Legos that says HELP! WE NEED LEGOS! along with a donation box made out of Legos (in case people want to just give money instead of Legos). Kids think that these things are pretty much the coolest things ever, like the library was just transformed into a theme park or something.

5. The receipt printer. Kids whose moms get a lot of books think that watching the receipt get longer and longer is better than watching a suspenseful movie. Will it just keep getting longer? Will it ever stop? Will it...REACH the FLOOR???

These are definitely the favorites in the library these days. Of course there are more, like the pile of candy bars at the desk we're selling as a fundraiser or the "I got my library card today" sticker or the dozens of stuffed animals sitting around in the children's area....But these 5 seem to be at the top.

I love watching kids enjoy the library. Every part of it. I love watching kids run in, hollering, past the circulation desk and towards the children's section like it's the highlight of their week. I love leaning over the desk and talking to kids about their favorite books or movies, especially since I've read and watched or at least heard of their favorite characters and stories. Libraries are cool, kids. Remember that when you grow up!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Your Question Appears to be Loaded

You know when someone asks you what you're doing at a certain time, and she's looking at you with a certain look, and her question kind of trails off like there's something more...?

Yeah, that's a loaded question. And it freaks me out a little bit.

"Hey, Laura, so...what are you doing Tuesday night? Do you have plans? Are you free?"

WHY? WHY are you asking me? I refuse to answer until I know why.

Because you know what? I might have plans. Depending on what you're going to ask me to do.

Please don't make me say I have no plans and then hit me with your request so then I have to say yes. It's so sneaky! You sneaky sneak!

And now I don't have homework as an excuse any more. Man, that was the best thing about homework. You always had it and you could always be doing it. The load lightened up considerably if you wanted to do something fun. But oh wow was there homework when someone wanted you to do something you did NOT want to do.

I'm scared when you ask me if I'm free at a certain time.

Just spit it out, and THEN I'll decide if hanging all 157 pairs of earrings up on my earring rack counts as "busy."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unexpected Rendezvous

Have you ever been in a store (or library!) or other public place, seen someone you know, and then mentally gone through your choices?

Okay. There's Jane. I kind of know her. Should I keep looking until we make eye contact - no! What if I meet up with her? I should make it on my own terms. If I pass her now, that'll be it. We'll both smile and be done with it.


Okay. There's that guy I can't remember his name or where I know him from. Will he recognize me from wherever we know each other from? Should I pretend to remember him? No. I'll hide.


Okay. There's John. It's kind of weird to see him here outside of where I normally see him. Maybe I'll just go this back way so we don't have to make small talk...

Please tell me this isn't just me that does weird things like this. I'll see someone I know (or at least recognize) and then wait until the right moment to casually acknowledge him/her with a wave and smile. Does it have to be that dramatic?

When I'm working at the library, it can be awkward to not remember how I know someone. Especially now, having seen so many people there. I can't remember if I actually know a woman or if I just recognize her from picking up her romance novels every Wednesday afternoon.

Luckily, I'm friendly to everyone. So I'm nice to people I know, people I don't know, and people I know I know but don't know why or how.

So that's okay.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring Isn't Springing

Yesterday, it was 45 degrees. Maybe more. I promise you.

I know that as the day wore on, the wind began to blow. And the snow began to fall. And the temperature dropped...

But I got a taste of spring yesterday, people! It was exhilarating!

Currently, as winter blows back with a vengeance, as if yesterday's hours of bliss never happened, I am extremely discontent. Because it's even worse, now that I've started to remember what spring is like.

When it feels like winter is all I remember, it's not as bad. But that taste of spring? It ruined me.

Yesterday, I thought about what it's like to turn the radio up in the car, roll down the windows, and feel the sun on my face. I thought about running outside, seeing GRASS, and making squirrels and bunnies flee before me. I thought about taking off my coat and putting on my sunglasses.

*Sighhhhhhhhhhh* It's coming......

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today is Valentine's Day.

And I am single.

I am not going to:

1. Write a post about how stupid Valentine's Day is, how meaningless. How it's just a fake holiday created by Hallmark. How I'm celebrating Singles Awareness Day instead. Bitter stuff like that.

2. Write a post about how wonderful Valentine's Day is, about how singles need to keep their chins up and remember that it's all about LOVE. And surely there's SOMEONE in our lives that loves us. And who needs a significant other, anyway?

3. Write a post about chocolate. Because that's a bit too predictable, don't you think?

Friday, February 11, 2011

And What Do We Have Here?

I'm a pretty nosy person. Especially when people are emptying out the contents of their purse/wallet/pockets right in front of me. It's like a scene in a movie when someone's going to jail and has to turn everything over. Except in my case, the goal is to find the library card.

"I just switched purses."

"I haven't used my library card in a while."

"Sorry this is taking so long..."

That's okay. As long as there isn't a huge line piled up behind you, I am content looking at all the random cards you'll pull out, one after another, in the search for your library card.

I've gotten pretty good at spotting the right card, too. "Oh, there it is!" I jump in, when I see a flash of blue or gray peeking out. Now maybe next time, you'll keep such an important card in FRONT of the old bowling coupon.

A lot of people have their cards on their keychains. This is fun too, because people have some really interesting items hanging on their keychains. The other day, I asked what one tool was and it turns out it was a tick remover. Huh. Who knew?

Then, when I get certain cards, they look like they've been through war and torment to get into my hands. They're scratched, bent, broken...I'll be lucky to be able to scan it. If it's really old, that kind of damage is understandable. Otherwise...what have you been doing with this thing?

It's always an adventure at the library.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Fountain of Happiness

So we had a chocolate fountain party at the library this week.

When I say we, I mean me and my coworkers. My coworkers and me? My coworkers and I? I know it's not I and my coworkers. Whatever.

Anyway, someone had gotten a chocolate fountain for Christmas, and we decided to have a party in honor of such a breathtaking item. And also in honor of Valentine's Day. And also because a couple days before, we celebrated Wear Red Day, to support heart health in women.

Let's just say, we party hard in the library.

So we all brought something to dip in the chocolate fountain. I brought angel food cake. I did what I hate to do, which is bake from a mix, but I wasn't too excited about using 12 egg whites to make the cake from scratch. What're you supposed to do with that many egg yolks? The recipe says, "discard the yolks." I'm so sure. I am not a food waster.

So other librarians brought different kinds of fruit, graham crackers, Oreos, pretzel rods, even potato chips. We stood clustered around that glorious chocolate fountain, dipping everything we could see into it.

"Do you think this would taste good?"

"I dunno...dip it! Dip it! Dip it!"

Never has there been, nor will there ever be a more fabulous invention than the chocolate fountain. The library office smelled like a chocolate factory. I half-expected to be offered an everlasting gobstopper by Mr. Willy Wonka himself. If we had that thing running 24/7, I wouldn't mind at all.

I kept being afraid, though, that I would eat a strawberry or something covered in chocolate and then go straight out to help a patron with chocolate all around my mouth. So much for the cliche librarian. "What? Librarians have fun and eat chocolate? And where're your glasses, by the way? How many cats do you have?"

What a great day. A chocolate-eating day. Which, come to think of it, is every day. Maybe I should've dribbled some chocolate on Neville. I bet he wouldn't spit THAT out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mad Skillz

I think I need some crazy skill. Something I can impress people with.

Like a handspring or flip or cartwheel. The problem would be working it into the conversation. If I could do something like that, I would want to show it off every chance I got, obviously.

"Oh wow, my purse is all the way over on the other side of the room. Let me grab that real quick. Be right back."

Hm. Maybe not.

Or I wish that I could make something really creative and unique. Like, if I could knit, I would never have to buy gifts for people! I could just knit them things!

"I know you asked for jewelry, but I thought that you would love this Kleenex cozy that I knit for you! It's the thought that counts, right?"

Maybe my skill could be juggling. I bet that would be impressive at the library desk.

"Here're your books! Give me one second, and I'll stack them for you!" *hums circus-themed music*

Ugh. Why am I so boring? Of course, I don't want to actually put time into learning these skills. I just want to be born with them. It's like when I gave up piano lessons when I was younger. Sure, I know the boring exercises would help me in the long run, but I just wanted to have the talent without the work.

Well, at least I can make pretty awesome chocolate chip cookies. It's more of a subtle skill; not too flashy. I'm just an unassuming librarian, after all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why, Hello There!

Answering the phone at the library can be pretty risky.

Oh, most of the time you get your basic questions:

"Can I renew my books?"

"When is this due?"

"What time is this event?"

"How late are you open tonight?"

But answering the phone is still risky. Because when you pick up the phone and ask if you can help somebody, you become responsible. You have to carry through and help the patron until the bitter end of the conversation. Or until you "accidentally" get disconnected...No; I've never actually done that. Just considered it.
So here are a few examples of those more "special" calls:

1. As soon as you see one snowflake gently drift through the sky and fall to the ground, you can bet you'll soon have to answer 37 calls about whether or not the library is still open or if the library still charges fines if patrons can't bring their items in "because of the snow." Get a grip, people! Let's just wait and see! This call isn't so bad because it's short and to the point.

2. "My name is Shkilwenf Nsdfeinkncv." "I was wondering xzcxvi wfaerifj and aoweriwer shmfiwefe." Great. Whether it's a bad connection, a person with a mumbling problem, or a long, complicated name, this call is sure to be challenging. You can fake your way only so far with this call; sooner or later you have to give them an answer. Just pray that by some miracle you'll hit on the right name or solution.

3. It seems to be easier for some people to be rude on the phone. Maybe because instead of being confronted by a librarian's innocent face and friendly smile, they only have a voice on the other line. As soon as you answer the phone, you can tell that they have some kind of problem. Most likely unrelated to the library. All you can do on your side is be pleasant while making faces to release some of the stress.

4. "May I ask who I'm speaking with?" Great. They just asked your name. What does this mean? Are they pleased with the exceptional service? Or will this conversation come back to haunt you? Should you give a fake name? No. Say your name with pride. You've done nothing wrong! As soon as you hang up, though, play back the entire conversation in your mind, just to make sure.

5. You've just assisted a patron over the phone. All of a sudden, the line goes dead. You say "goodbye" to no one. What, does no one practice good telephone manners anymore?

Some of my favorite phone conversations are the random ones, like the woman who called to confirm the spelling of a word, or the mom who needed a recipe for baking pumpkin seeds. It's always fun to talk to someone who is sincerely thankful for the help. Those good conversations make the difficult ones a little easier to deal with. And as for the weird conversations? They just make for good stories.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Bowl That Is Super

So, the Super Bowl.

I couldn't care less about it, but actually sat through most of it yesterday. I caught up on some reading (becuase I always have piles of books I want to read by my bed) and glanced up at the tv for the commercials. Seemed like a lot of dumb ones this year.

It was funny how left out I felt not going to a party this year. The Super Bowl is so built up that not going to a party and eating wings felt like I was being unpatriotic or something.

I didn't see the end of the game, but according to my Facebook live news feed, the Steelers lost. I have several coworkers at the library who must not be too happy. Hopefully the party we have today including a chocolate fountain will lift their spirits. Because what CAN'T chocolate fix, I ask you?

So now that the Super Bowl's over, we just have to trudge through the rest of February, with the bright spot being Valentine's Day. Unless it's a dark spot for you. In which case...chocolate is there for you.

These were my three favorite commercials of the night.

Volkswagen Darth Vader

Coca-Cola Border

NFL Super Bowl 2011


Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm So Over You, Winter

Oh, the winter months.

Now that Christmas is a distant memory, winter is basically pointless now. Sure, all that snow that nearly everyone just got was fun, but seriously. It's time for spring.

It's strange how, in the winter, I feel like I don't remember what it's like to try and fall asleep on those hot summer nights. Or what it's like to see grass. Or hear birds. Or smell someone else's barbecue and wish it was yours...

My hands are ready to be warm again.

My eyes are ready to be blinded by the sun again.

My feet are ready to flip and flop.

My bright white legs are ready to be seen by the world - okay, never mind. Forget that last one.

I heard this February is going to be pretty warm. And the groundhog didn't see his shadow, so I think that's a good thing. But whatever; I've never claimed to be an expert in weather prediction or, um, groundhogs.

I'm ready to run outside again! Come on, spring! I'm getting antsy!

And I'm not alone. The library was packed yesterday with people trying to get over cabin fever, loading up on books to make up for the few lonely days they were trapped inside. Seriously. The parking lot was FULL yesterday. We had a snow day and a half, and the community missed us! And you'll miss us more if libraries disappear.

But this post isn't about library funding. It's about spring!

And nothing says spring like those cute little spring-themed M&Ms with bunnies and ducks and sheep... Hurry up, spring!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I Scare Myself Sometimes

For what must be the 78th time today, I raise my bright yellow "tumbler" to my lips, anticipating the tasteless liquid within. I tip back, open wide, and

proceed to spill water down my face. Or choke on it. One of the two.

Honestly, you would think that an action I have spent over twenty years perfecting would come a little more naturally.

"Oh, is this your first time drinking water?"

"Well, no, I've been doing it for over twenty years, I just - "

"I'm sorry, twenty years?"


This rarely happens when it comes to other menial actions.

She freezes in front of the faucet, a confused look on her face. "I...I can't remember how to turn it on!"

Come on, now. Drinking water shouldn't be a new adventure. Learning how to run a snowblower should be. Coincidentally, I learned how to use one the other day.

Maybe that's it. Maybe I just learn so many new things each day, my brain can't contain the instruction manuals for those old, practiced actions.

I guess I should do more crossword puzzles so my brain doesn't turn to mush.

Even this little girl has better sipping skills than me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snap, Crackle, Pop

I crack my knuckles. So what're you gonna do about it?

I can understand if you are sincerely bothered by it. To some people, I might as well be screeching my nails down a chalkboard or picking my nose. I understand irritation. I try and remember who NOT to do it around.

But those people so concerned about my getting arthritis... Concerned eyes. Halting, sympathetic advice. Honestly. I'm just cracking my knuckles, not running back and forth across a busy street for kicks. If I do that, feel free to admonish me. Google it; there's no proof of arthritis caused by cracking your knuckles.

What else am I supposed to do when I'm bored or nervous? I could be a kleptomaniac. I could be a compulsive cartwheeler.

Besides, I can stop anytime.

I just don't feel like stopping right now...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Heave, Ho!

Because I work in a library, I can usually be found holding a book or two. I carry books around. A lot. And when I do, I like to gather, as my mom calls it, "the lazy man's load."

The lazy man's load is carrying as much as you can at once so you don't have to make more than one trip. So, I lift as many books as I can possibly carry at the same time. I size them up, say to myself, Oh, I can take that, and LIFT them up with a grunt as inspirational music plays in my head.

I like to gather up as many as I can, then stack on a few more.

I have a very balanced method of carrying, which I have perfected over the years. I choose a couple of the biggest books to put on the bottom of the stack, then put two stacks side by side on top of those bigger books, going in the opposite direction. It's genius, I tell you! Genius!

If anyone around me expresses disbelief that I can manage the kind of book load I am preparing for myself, all the better. My library muscles enjoy proving themselves to skeptical-turned-adoring crowd.

Anyone can carry a couple books. I choose to take "the lazy man's load." One trip instead of three. And possibly, if something goes wrong, one spectacular mess to clean up. If I'm going to fall, it might as well be the kind of fall that everyone can go home and tell their families about. I like to brighten days when I can.