Friday, December 28, 2012

Fairy Tales, Fevers, and Hobbits

Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope yours was as lovely as mine.



The weekend started out rough, with me leaving work early on Friday and languishing on the couch with a fever. I couldn't go caroling on Saturday or to church Sunday, but happily I was able to be at the Christmas Eve service on Monday (inconspicuously coughing into my elbow).

The lazy weekend of rest did provide an unexpected blessing: the chance to tear through the entire first season of Once Upon a Time! I absolutely loved it. A lot does remind me of Lost, which I was a HUGE fan of, and the fairy tale element is delicious. I highly recommend it!

My Christmas "break" has been busy. I'm thankful to have a rest from school, but there have been so many parties and get-togethers and shindigs that it feels like one continuous chain of Christmas cookies! I have loved spending time with family and friends, and I still have over a week left before classes resume. I'm going to take advantage of every minute!

My brother and sister and I went to the midnight premier of The Hobbit, and it was awesome. I really felt the late hour, though. I must be getting old. The beginning dragged a bit for me, but I got into it more as I caught a second wind and everybody left Hobbiton for an adventure. (Seriously, three hours long? I'm not sure if it needed to be.) It was fantastic getting back into Middle-earth and seeing beloved characters like Gollum again! The effects were fantastic, and I loved learning more about the dwarf world. Thorin reminds me a lot of Aragorn. Martin Freeman was outstanding as Bilbo, also. His facial expressions and comedic timing crack me right up. It was nice to just watch the movie without really remembering what happens in the book; it's been a few years since I've read it.

My family has tried to watch some of our favorite Christmas movies (White Christmas, The Santa Clause, Scrooge, etc.) but someone has managed to fall asleep at every viewing. Okay, mostly me. I blame the predictability of movies we watch once a year. I cuddle up in my blanket, mentally quote lines along with the characters, and drift right off. Woof.

So that's what's up with me!

Hark! the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King,
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise; Join the triumph of the skies;
With angelic host proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark, the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King!"

Ah, Christmas. The one time of year when theological truth is suddenly blasted from mall speakers and car radios. Thank God for His gift of salvation; Jesus is the only hope for our world. What a joyful time of year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lies I Tell Myself

Here are the top 3.

1. I can lie down on the couch under a blanket and watch a movie without falling asleep.

2. I can just eat one cookie. Then I will have no problem stopping.

3. I don't need to write that down; I will remember it.

Obviously, I lie to myself all year round. But of course this is Christmastime, so I'll make it seasonally applicable!

1. Is there anything quite like reclining on the couch under your favorite blanket, the only light coming from the tv and tree lights? No, I say. For some reason, I always think I can watch a movie curled up in what is essentially my favorite sleeping position. And maybe I'll just rest my eyes a moment during this slower scene. No problem. Plus, Christmas movies are just so relaxing. And comforting. And usually have at least one quiet, peaceful, snowy scene with Silent Night playing gently in the background...

2. Oh, sure. Of course it's true. If you have a craving, just eat one! Then go on your merry way, mouth filled with lingering sweetness, stomach asking for more, fingers already absentmindedly stretching towards the Santa plate. Fine, cookies. You win. I just need to make sure you all taste as good as the first one.

3. Yep, back in September she said she'd love a new toaster. But come December, do you think I remember? Oh, I might have a vague memory of him wishing aloud he had a pair of warmer gloves. But guess what? I had such confidence in my good memory that I never wrote it down. Oh, I'll rememb...what?

'Tis the season! Heh heh.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End of Semester Rejoicing

Oh, I miss you, Blog! I miss you, readers!

I miss lazy evenings of leisurely activities and reading for fun!

Happily, I get a couple weeks off until my next two classes begin the second week of January. I'm hoping to get ahead on blog post writing so I will be able to post more consistently in the new year.

My classes this semester really flew by; I kept feeling like I had just started! I learned a lot, however and am happy I made the decision to start.

Even the information technologies class wasn't too bad. Although I did have hours of work each night that would have me tearing my hair out. But what a feeling of satisfaction when I finally figured something out! Finally finishing a difficult assignment would have me heartily congratulating myself aloud. This would also make up for all the yelling I had done at myself previously. Well, yelling at myself and my computer.

A n y w a y... I thought I should share some books I read this semester with you all. I did a LOT of reading, not only books but ebooks and journal articles galore. I will definitely miss all the online resources I have access to now when I graduate. It's amazing to attend a school that has so much money to put into their library.

I read books on copyright, on Google, on computers, on digitization...these below are the two I most enjoyed and am most likely to read again.

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick: Whew, talk about information overload! This is a history of information, including the written word, computers, and everything in between. I love history, so this was fascinating.

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room by David Weinberger: Cool book! All about how information has changed since the internet. Gave me lots of food for thought and new ways to think about online information.

Done with school! ...until January 7th.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How Lovely Are Your Branches

Real or Fake?

I'm speaking, of course, of trees.

Do you go out in the frosty air and browse among hundreds of green giants, to choose the most majestic fir? Is it simply not Christmas if you cannot bury your face in pine branches in your living room?

Or do you bring your tree down from a box in the attic? Do you assemble three parts and arrange pliable branches? Do you settle for a pine fresh candle instead?

My family has done both.

Obviously, I love the fresh, Christmasy tree. I love picking one out; I love the smell.

But an artificial tree is nothing to be ashamed of. There are some beautiful ones to be had out there. Ones that you have to get pretty close to in order to tell if they're real or not.

And as for the smell, I recently discovered Scentsicles. Ah, how delicious! Hang them in your tree for a sniff of the real thing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pass This On and Save a Life! Or Not.

Come on, people.

You're smart! You're adults. With jobs. And common sense.

Seriously, it really bugs me when people post things on Facebook or forward an email without confirming their validity.

Sure, it's a heartwarming story, but is it true? Yes, it's a crazy controversial statement sure to stir up discussion, but was it actually said?

Often it's not.

You can usually tell at the end when it implores you to pass it along.

YOU TOO CAN BE SAVED!

My go-to site is www.snopes.com. Or I'll just google the story. Often Snopes will be the first site to come up. This tackles urban myths and legends head-on!

So don't just mindlessly pass something along. Chances are, that person didn't actually say that. That didn't actually happen. Or the real story is something much simpler that has been twisted beyond recognition.

Really, are you going to believe everything you read on the internet?

If so, I have a Nigerian prince who would like your contact info.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Slice of Thanksgiving

I was asked to give my testimony in front of my class this past Sunday.

*gulp*

After a brief internal struggle-
(No. Absolutely not.
Don't be a chicken!
Come on, it will be encouraging.
But I HATE public speaking!
It's not about you, dummy!)

I agreed. And I'm glad I did. Preparing to share a bit of what God has done and is doing in my life brought me so much encouragement. I sat down and wrote a list of how my relationship with Him has developed over my life.

I am so blessed because He is so faithful!

I stood up in front of my class, notes in front of me, and kind of fell apart a tiny bit.

People's faces blurred, my hands started shaking, I forgot what I was going to say...typical stuff.

I squeaked out some key thoughts, though, and managed to avoid looking terrified (I think).

Public speaking is by far not my favorite thing to do, but that's not the point. The point is that I am saved by the grace of God and in a personal relationship with Him, just as I am. 

I absolutely cannot get this song out of my head. All week it's been playing like an internal soundtrack. And what a great song to have in my head!



Happy Thanksgiving to you all, awesome readers. What do you have to be thankful for?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Secret Board Is...

Ta-da! Thank you, Pinterest!

If you don't keep up with the latest Pinterest news (um, I can't help it I get emails from them), guess WHAT? Pinterest has secret boards!

Shhhh.

If you're on Pinterest, you can create boards where you pin images. Like big bulletin boards, but virtual.

So now, if you don't want everyone and their mother to view a particular board you have, you can keep it secret.

Presumably, you can use it to pin baby stuff if you haven't told people you're expecting or pin surprise gift ideas for your loved ones.

As soon as I saw the email from Pinterest, entitled "I'm excited to announce Secret Boards," I thought of one thing and one thing only:

Finally, all those single girls can hide their wedding ideas.

If you see a board called "For the Future" or "One Day..." you may have stumbled upon one of these. Girls with no husband, no fiance, and yes even no boyfriend have pinned the equivalent of an entire ceremony, reception, and honeymoon.

Party favors, aisle decorations, flower arrangements, bridesmaid dresses. You've stumbled upon a single girl's wedding scrapbook!

Slow down there, girl. Do you really need people to be thinking, I thought she was my perpetually single friend, why has she picked out cake toppers?

No. No, I say.

Now you can hide your dirty little secrets! Gather them all into a secret board, in the hope of being able to reveal them to the public if you ever get engaged.

Thank you, Pinterest.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Up Early for Worm-Catching Purposes...Or Not.

So last year my chosen gym time was typically evenings. Mostly because I wasn't too busy outside of work. So I felt like I had more of a life, going to hang out with my gym friends (in other words, the regulars I would occasionally nod to on the ellipticals).

But things have changed. Evenings are now mostly consumed with schoolwork. And mulling over big library issues. And coming up with snappy retorts to people who think being a librarian isn't a legitimate profession. And such.

I found myself with no other choice. I had to become an early bird!

I set my alarm. I laid out my clothes. I packed my bag.

And in the wee hours of the morning, when all was dark and still, I crept out to my car and drove to the gym. As I drove, I wondered at all of the people on the road. Apparently things happen before 7am! Who knew?

After a few weeks of misery, I started getting used to popping out of bed at 5:30 or 6. Or, at least, getting up without getting angry.

And now it's kind of fun. It's super nice to work out first thing. I'm energized and feel good. And I don't have to go out later at 8pm after working all day and trying to stuff in some schoolwork.

I see the same people at the gym, dedicated people who are there every day without fail. I even pass people leaving the gym at 6am! The crazies!

I may not catch any worms up that early, but I have proved to myself that I can work hard and be consistent.

I'm Super Workout Librarian!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Take Refuge at Your Local Library

Well, I didn't lose power.

The library did, though, so two days off!

I was one of the lucky ones. People all over my area are still without electricity. The library opened again yesterday, and it was crazy. Here's how the day went.

9:00am...the library opens. I tweet out that our power is back on and we're open. Dead silence. We had a bunch of staff members there and no patrons.

10:00am...the library begins to fill up. Several people come in freezing cold from houses with no heat, and our director decides to put coffee out (oohh! coffee in the library!).

10:30am...bins from other libraries in the county arrive. A lot of bins. We start going through them and discharging material, but are constantly interrupted by more people. The circulation desk gets hidden by piles and piles of books, DVDs, and CDs.

11:00am...constant stream of people into the library. Coffee and cookies out. People exchanging stories of the storm - felled trees, roads closed, and of course no electricity.

12:00pm...I have fielded approximately 843 phone calls. "Hello, library, yes we're open...and we have coffee/heat/water/wi-fi!"

1:00pm...lunchtime! I'm exhausted, as people have been returning things all morning and everyone has questions. Busy, busy.

2:00pm...still chaos! I'm trying to run around and pull items off the shelves to send to other libraries for holds, and I'm climbing over people crouched next to every outlet. Cords are stretched across aisles, and everyone is charging phones and checking email.

2:30pm...should not have worn these boots today. Feet hurt! Saw some Halloween costumes, best one being a girl inside an American Girl doll box.

3:00pm...power goes out. Comes back on two seconds later. Computers never recover.

3:30pm...computer system still down. Apparently there was a surge when some other business in the area powered back up. Or a transformer down? Or something. Desperate calls to IT result in us climbing around in closets looking for black boxes to reset.

3:45pm...I create sloppy handwritten signs to fling all over the library to inform people that they are severely limited in what they can do today as our computer system is down. And guess what? It's not coming back up anytime soon.

4:00pm...patron informs me that the copier is out of toner. Which is impossible because we changed it that morning! I go back there and shake it all about to no avail. Fling out-of-order sign on top of it and charge back to the desk where people are lining up.

4:45pm...get excited because I get to leave in fifteen minutes!

5:00pm...still at work, trying to help with a few more things.

5:15pm...during a lull, I seize my chance and make a run for it!

Whew! What a day. I was very proud of my coworkers; we always work so well together and these rough days bring out the best in us. The children's librarian put together Halloween books and crafts for kids to occupy them while their parents were online. Our patrons were so appreciative of the warmth and coffee. And even when the computers went down, people were very understanding and we helped them as best we could.

It's always cool to see the sense of community when disaster strikes. How neat to see so many people coming to the library for help. Nice to feel like I was making a difference.

Crazy day, but I don't mind a little craziness once in a while.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Perfect Frankenstorm

I don't care how cheesy "Frankenstorm" is. I love that name!

I also get excited when I hear a big storm is coming. Will there be snow? Will we lose electricity? Will we have to eat all the ice cream in the freezer before it melts?

So many questions.

Also excited about the potential of days off of work. There is nothing more exciting than an unexpected day off.

So... how about all those people running out to the store?

I went shopping on Saturday and it was totally crazy. On a scale of 1 to Black Friday, it was Christmas Eve. My sister works at a grocery store and she said all day people were crowding in and clearing the shelves of milk, bread, and batteries.

Batten down the hatches, as they say.

I don't know, I feel like if we lost electricity for a few days we'd still be able to survive. Even if we ran out of milk.

Although, if the world ends a couple months early and we never get electricity back and we have to fight for survival in a dark world with possibly zombies, maybe buying a couple extra gallons wouldn't be a bad idea.

Seriously, though, stay safe my readers! Not sure how disastrous it's going to get around my area (I have my doubts). Though for now I'm making fun of the nuts running each other over to load up on foodstuffs, I understand in places it could get pretty bad.

Beware Frankenstorm, Sandy, and zombies. And Happy Halloween! Bwahahahaha!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogging for Morons

So it's always a little funny when I'm checking books out to someone at the library and I find, hidden in the stack: Knitting for Dummies. Or, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Auto Repairs. These are intelligent people I'm checking these books out for! Library users!

I can appreciate what the creators of these books are trying to do. I've read some of these types of books before; they're helpful! Basic, easy-to-understand. Lots of pictures and definitions.

But dummies? Idiots? I prefer to not be insulted by the books I read.

So you think I can't read a regular book about flower arranging? I need the Complete Idiot's Guide? Because I'm what, a complete idiot?

Ouch. That hurts.

Seriously, for dummies? Why doesn't the book just sucker punch you in the stomach while it's at it?

Here's what I think. If a person is actually going out and informing him or herself on a subject, that's commendable. Yay for reading, etc. That's super smart of people to read more about things they don't understand. Or would like to learn. Why insult these people?

Sure these books have catchy titles. But who wants to be a dummy?

The best is this book:



Are. You. Kidding. Me. Seniors can't even use Computers for Dummies. It's Computers for Seniors for Dummies. As if seniors don't have enough trouble using computers! They have to get smacked upside the head with this one!

I think we need need a new series with less offensive titles.

Just sayin'.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Gruesome Halloween

One time I carved a pumpkin.

That's right, one time.

It was a couple years ago. I thought it would be fun. My group of friends together and prepared to rip some pumpkin heads off.

Yes, it was gruesome.

I could almost hear the horror music movie inside of my head as I lifted my carving knife. Was that a faint scream?

By the end of it, we were tired, messy, and in need of police tape. Crime scene, anyone?

Wet newspaper was crumpled all over the floor, and a bunch of dull knives lay scattered about. We had pulled out juicy pulp and seeds, piling them up in soggy heaps.

I had cut and dug and carved and sliced.

My jack-o-lantern didn't even look that good. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to carve one of those guys? I can barely draw a smiley-face, let alone cut one out of a pumpkin.

Not sure if it was worth it. I surveyed the damage inflicted by my hands on an innocent pumpkin and thought, eh, not sure if I ever need to do that again.

And I haven't.

What did the pumpkin say to the carving knife

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Neville's Receding Leaf-Line


I'm sure you've all been wondering how Neville is.

He's still losing leaves, but he hasn't lost his spirit. I thought I was going to have to chuck him, but he's hanging on.

I do still have to pick dead leaves off, but at least they're not all gone.

And, I may have figured out why he's so dejected.

A plant from a neighboring desk seems to be making some kind of move on him. Observe (and tilt your head to the side because I couldn't load the picture straight for some reason):


See, this other plant is, well, flourishing. It's a bit disheartening to me, so I can't even comprehend how difficult it must be for Neville. Here he is, trying to find his place in this world and hanging on by a thread most days, while this other plant actually appears to be coming over to brag about its good health.

I find its gloating to be rather disgusting, really. Here's a closer look:


As you can see, Trevor the frog pot is protecting Neville as best he can. But those leaves are creeping closer every day. This is a very real problem for Neville, who is having self-esteem issues even without having another plant's thriving leaves pushed into his face.

Notice how you can't even see Neville's leaves in this second picture. The few he has are right on top. Like a comb-over.

Frankly, I'm embarassed for him.

So, morale is low on my library desk. Any suggestions on improving Neville's mental health would be appreciated. Short of therapy, obviously. I'm in grad school; I can't afford a plant psychiatrist right now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One Man's Trash is NOT the Library's Treasure

For some reason, people think that because we are a library, we will happily take all their junk off their hands.

Let me give you some background:
We have two big book sales a year.
We accept book (and DVD and CD) donations all throughout the year in preparation for these sales.
We are very clear on what we will and will not accept. (for example, no textbooks or reference books)

Sure, we take book donations. But we sell them in our book sale. Do you really think we want to sort through your wet, smelly, or useless material? I love the smell of books as much as the next person, but I do not simply hold onto books because they're books. They're not meant to last forever, people!

That is what the trash is for.

I've had people actually get mad at me for not taking ten-year-old textbooks.

Throw them away.

Just because we are a non-profit organization does not mean we will be weeping tears of gratitude while you try to pawn off stuff that still smells like old attic.

For a sarcastic person like myself, it takes a great deal of self-control to hold my tongue in some of these instances. I almost started laughing when someone tried to give me this pile of large photos someone took of random scenery. Is this a joke? Am I being filmed right now?

Apparently, people would rather feel like they're doing something useful with their junk or crummy books. They would rather take them to the library than stick them out with the trash.

Well, I'm sorry to let you down, now that you've dragged this whole carton of books that smell like cigarette smoke all the way to the library. But guess what?

You might have had trouble throwing that stuff away, but we certainly won't.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lookie-Loo Minus the Bundle of Joy

"Excuse me, did you go to Pleasant Valley High School?"

"Um, no."

"Oh."

This was a conversation I had with a random guy at a restaurant the other day. He came up, said hi to someone he knew at my table, blurted out the question to me and then left.

Once he knew I wasn't this other person we didn't have much in common, I guess.

So...my question is...

What's this girl look like? Is she attractive? Ugly? Athletic? Fat? Do our faces look the same? Our haircuts? Our body types? Ankles?

I'm always so. stinkin. curious. Whenever people say I look just like someone, I'm like so show me a picture!

Apparently my self esteem is a fragile leaf balancing on the edge of a rocky cliff. I just want to make sure that I'm not being compared to someone, um, odd.

Yes, I know this is self-centered. But admit it, you wonder too about how people would describe you to other people or compare you to somebody else.

So yeah, she's the short girl who looks like a rabbit - or
Picture a cartoon version of George Washington - or what about simply
You know that guy with the big ears?

One time somebody told me I looked justlike the actress who played Jane Eyre in one of those old versions. I looked it up on YouTube and didn't see it, frankly. But also, who wants to be told they look like Jane Eyre? Isn't she sort of known for being, well, a plain jane?

I suppose I've never seen it when people have told me I look like someone. Let's just say I've never been told I'm a dead ringer for Scarlett Johansson or Penelope Cruz.

However, I like to think I'm pretty glamorous for a librarian.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

May I Not Be Able to Help You?

I wish I could write more on here! But I've been so busy with school. And work.

Oh, forget it. I'm just going to tell you what I told my diary when I was ten. "I'm not going to keep apologizing for not writing more!"

Of course then, I was busy with my full-time job of playing with Barbies.
...

So it was pretty crazy at the library over the weekend. On Friday morning the server went down for our entire county library system.

No catalog, no renewals, no holds, no checking in material..... This happens on occasion. We're limited for a couple hours. But not this time. All weekend we were down. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. On Monday at 8:30 pm everything came back up.

All day Tuesday we played catch-up, going through hundreds and hundreds of books and movies and CDs.

But let's go back to Saturday. I work one Saturday a month, and of course it's the day when I can basically do nothing for people. And this is tough. I mean, I work at a library! To have to turn so many requests down put me in a bitter mood. Luckily, we had an offline option so we could check out material using a patron's library card. That was the one thing we could do! And people could still study, read newspapers, use computers, etc.

So most of the time I had to spend apologizing to people. And asking "may I help you?" ironically. It was a sad, sad, day. The one highlight was being able to help people without using computers and feeling like Super Librarian. I surprised myself at how well I know authors and dewey decimal numbers, and was able to lead people right to where they needed to go.

On the whole, though, not my favorite weekend. We are crippled without our computer system.

And of course people didn't read all the signs we had posted, and still asked us to do things we couldn't do. And everyone wanted to know if they'd get fines for material we couldn't check in yet (no) or if they could renew their items (no) or if we could check on a hold for them (no) or if we were having a hard time (YES).

Thankfully, all is back to normal. And last night, after a full day of madness plus three and a half hours of homework plus an hour of Pottermore (really? new chapters are open NOW? well, I have to read everything obviously), I dreamed all night about not getting enough sleep.

And now let's do it all again!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pay Up

So here's my plan.

I think it's pretty super awesome. If I do say so, myself.

People who sign up for library programs should put down a deposit. Like $20. If they come to the library program, they get their money back. That may seem like a lot, but it needs to be something people might think twice about losing.

If they don't show without calling and cancelling (unless it's an emergency)...well then, the library just got a sweet donation.

Let me explain.

1. The library staff puts lots of work into programs. Planning, organizing, creating.

2. The library staff puts lots of money into programs. Well, not lots. But money. And money that takes away from other things we could be doing. The number of people registered dictates the food and materials we buy. I've had 20 kids sign up for a story time, so I create 20 take-home crafts. If 5 come, it's embarassing, frankly. And a waste of time and money.

3. Libaries don't have a lot of resources. So it's a bummer to waste them.

4. People have this tendency to consider free things to be, well, sort of worthless. If something is free, often people don't give them much priority. This also goes for library programs.

5. Guess what? Calling to cancel for a library program at the last minute is annoying, but it's at least better than us going through with the program if 75% of the group ends up not coming. Seriously? And how hard it it to call and give us a heads-up?

6. SO, maybe if people put some money towards programs that they will get back if they consider common courtesy (ccc!), they will place more value on library programs.

This isn't exactly a new idea. Libraries have charged for programs before. My library only asks patrons to pay fees if we have a special instructor coming in who needs money for materials. Like a painting class or something. And a deposit is fair, since people who are polite will get their money back.

I think I'm onto something here. At the very least, I'm making myself feel a little better.

I just really wish people would be more considerate of their libraries. Don't stand us up if you get a better offer, especially if you don't call and cancel.

The public library depends on the community. Don't let us down!

*climbs down off soapbox*

Monday, September 3, 2012

Swooning by My Car and Waiting for Assistance

Okay, in my 10 Things blog post I mentioned car repair. Specifically, tires. Told you I'd come back with more!

So I got my first flat tire.

Suffice it to say, it was embarassing. Lots of people stared at me. On the plus side, I did get to officially use my hazard lights. That felt important. And yet also drew more attention...

Anyway, my dad came to my rescue and showed me yet again how to change a tire.

Now, it all made sense when he was showing me, but what if I don't have to do it again for, like, five more years? I won't remember.

When it comes to car things, I feel very inadequate. And frustrated. And jealous of guys who seem to just instinctually know what to do with all these... parts. Seriously, all you need is an open hood and suddenly guys are clustered around poking greasy items wedged into random spaces and muttering things like "transmission" and "suspension" and "weirdwordthatsoundsmadeup."

Is there some kind of handbook for men? Where can I pick one up? Or perhaps the Cliffs Notes edition?

And what makes a car so interesting? I'll admit it's a smidge intimidating to not understand at all the biggest machine I own. But I don't really care to understand it. I've had guys tell me not to worry, there will always be a man around who is willing to help a "damsel in distress."

Oh boy, that's reassuring. As long as I'm not in the middle of nowhere. And the man willing to help me is not an ax murderer.

Ugh. I just don't like feeling helpless. Or walking into a car parts store for something and having men look at me like, clearly she doesn't have a clue what she's doing. Or maybe I'm just imagining it.

Luckily, I know how to do... things. I can bake a mean batch of cookies. And use correct spelling and grammar. I am creative. I am knowledgeable. And helpless guys are always wandering into the library requiring my assistance.

So perhaps it all evens out in the end.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's Not You, It's Me

So, readers.

Have I ever told you how much I love you?

How I'm so grateful that you stick with me, even when sometimes I need to ease off blogging a bit while I get my life in order?

Oh, this would be one of those times.

Kind of feel like I just tossed fifteen juggling balls up in the air at once and now have to figure out how I'm going to balance them.

I will have order! I will perfect my schedule! I will balance work and school and everything in between!

But for now, bear with me. I don't want to just throw lame blog posts at you so I can say I am keeping up on here.

I need to find my rhythm, catch my stride. So the blog posts will be dwindling a bit until I can do that.

Now, enjoy this inspirational picture on the depth of my feelings for you.

thanks for sticking by me through everything Myspace, Friendster, Facebook, and Hi5 Comment Graphics

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tea Time

The plan was to get right up today before work and work on a witty blog post for ya'll.

Instead, I spent seven minutes watching Alan Rickman make tea.



Now, normal speed!



I love, love, love Alan Rickman. Obviously because of the whole Severus Snape thing. But I also adore him in Sense and Sensibility.

I know these videos are old, but I only just found it!

Enjoy, and Happy Wednesday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

10 Things.

Here are 10 things to catch you up on my recent life:

1. Discovered that I could use a bit of weight training in my life. Enjoy pretending I have big muscles. Until some big guy shows me I really don't.

2. Went on a family vacation during the first week of the Olympics. Walked around tourist sites all day and tried to stay up late each night watching swimming and gymnastics. Pretended to be Michael Phelps in the hotel pool and discovered I need to spend more time on my arms (See #1).

3. Moved back in with my parents. Both because I enjoy their company AND....

4. Will be starting my master's degree next Monday. Online at the University of Pittsburgh. For Library and Information Science. (more on this later)

5. Preparing to start school again. Trying to resist buying too many new school supplies. Getting excited about studying at a different library near my house (NOT at the one I work at; that's weird).

6. Just finished rereading (rerererererereading?) the Harry Potter series. Read Deathly Hallows as slowly as I possibly could but it still ended. And now I'm not sure what to do with myself.

7. Tried running again. Got sore. Might just run a smidge so my knees don't hate me. Already lusting after new running shoes.

8. Ate a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich at Panera's. Going to attempt to duplicate it. Contemplating becoming a vegetarian....haha yeah RIGHT!

9. Went on an epic 4-hour-long shopping trip with my sister. Only fought once. Maybe twice. Mostly spent the time advising each other on outfits and finishing each other's sentences.

10. Paid about 17 bills all at the same time, including new tires (full story coming soon) and insurance and school and more car things...at least now all is squared away.

So yeah. Things have been crazy.

Hope you all had a nice summer; now it's winding down....booo.



Yeah, probably won't hear any of these things from your doctor. But then, I don't know your doctor. So who can be sure?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mrs. Darcy

I know I keep writing about introverts. Deal with it. I'm trying to space these posts apart.

I've had a revelation.

Darcy is an introvert.



It's so obvious! There I was, rereading Pride and Prejudice for book club, and suddenly the pieces just clicked into place.

In the past when reading the book or watching the movies, I tended to see Mr. Darcy how Elizabeth did at first. I never considered his personality. However, introverts have been on my mind recently, so it's all clear now!

Poor Darcy, everyone thinking he's so full of it. I know people have thought me stuck-up before, since I tend to remain aloof. Things are happening inside introverts' heads, people! They may choose not to engage in meaningless conversation at social gatherings! And here's Mr. Darcy, choosing not to dance (though the gentlemen were scarce...) because his preference would be to have quality conversation with people he's already familiar with.

Um, let's see, how am I at parties...quietly in the corner, duh! Having a good time in my own way, or else escaping since I'm out of my element. Darcy, you're like my kindred spirit.

In the beginning of the book, Darcy is contrasted with his friend, Bingley. While Bingley finds friends wherever he goes and is basically the life of the party, Darcy is generally disliked and thought to be haughty. Bingley is the extrovert and Darcy is the introvert.

Hey, they're both great characters. And they need each other! After all, Bingley talks to many people with much ease, but Darcy is his most trusted friend. We see this when he takes Darcy's advise when it comes to Jane (side note: poor Jane, hiding her true feelings and not making it completely obvious she was falling for Bingley! introvert alert?).

Introverts are often misunderstood, especially because being an extrovert seems to be what's popular and desired. Darcy is misunderstood due to his quiet nature and judgments of people. He doesn't try to be more extroverted to fit in, he is who he is and doesn't seem to care when people criticize him for it. In Pride and Prejudice, people in Darcy's social circles were expected to be fun and talkative at parties. People who weren't were seen as awkward, and avoided.

"'I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,' said Darcy, 'of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.'"

I just think it's cool. I have not the talent either, Darcy. It's something I've just got to practice. Like Elizabeth said, she has to practice the piano because it's not something that comes naturally to her! Be who you are, but also pay attention to how you may come across.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's Closing Time, Yo.

When I work at the library on Saturdays, it's usually pretty quiet. People drift in and out, study a bit, make a few copies, snag a movie for the night. But for some reason, around 4:45, fifteen minutes before we close, patrons decide to storm the doors. It has suddenly become a necessity to rush into the library: wild eyes darting around the shelves, relieved smiles when they see they have some time left.

No. No, no, no. We'd like to have everyone gone at 5, not have you read your newspaper until then before swinging by the men's room, thank you very much.

I don't have it much anymore, but when I worked in my college library I used to have this recurring nightmare. I would be walking around the library trying to close up and people would just keep coming in and coming in and I couldn't get anyone to leave. Students would keep wandering around trying to get books or study and I couldn't round people up to get out so I could go home.

Honestly, sometimes it's like herding cats trying to get patrons to vacate the premises. Seriously, all of a sudden the library is so important to you that you have to wait until 5:02 to attempt to check out your books?

And don't smile condescendingly like of course I know the library is closing when I remind you because you clearly. needed. a. reminder.

I'm so pleased you love your library and that you're visiting it. But we're open 71 hours a week. That's right, 71. Pick your time, my friend.

And if you do find yourself in a unique situation and have to run in at closing (our library is open until 9 on weeknights), it's nice to express how grateful and sorry you are. A little grovelling never hurt anyone, is all I'm saying.

I'm thankful I don't work in a grocery store or restaurant. I'm sure if I think getting people to leave the library is tough, these places have got to be worse. More people, more awkward situations, more late nights.

I try to be extra conscientious and leave early when I'm somewhere close to closing. These employees have lives, ya know!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My New Favorite Blog

Hey guys!

So recently I got connected with the writer of Introverted Blog, Joyce Akiko. Yup, it's exactly what you think it is. A whole blog devoted to introverts!

I can't get enough of the whole introvert subject, as you have probably figured out. I love especially reading other introverts' thoughts. Introverts tend to be good writers, you know...

Anyway, Joyce was kind enough to invite me to write a guest post on her blog. It's posted today! Check it out below.

http://www.introvertedblog.com/

I definitely recommend following her blog, especially if you're an introvert. She has good thoughts and practical suggestions.

Also... this is my first guest post! I'm a blogging celebrity!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thank you, Olympics

Thank you, 2012 Olympics, for making sports simple and interesting to me.

You do this by:

- Making it obvious who to root for. No picking between random teams with random names, forced to choose based on color of uniforms alone. Instead...USA! USA!

- Exposing me to things I didn't know were sports, but are actually pretty cool. Synchronized diving, anyone? Craziness. Also, I was completely stumped when I saw what looked like basketball until someone threw the ball into a soccer goal. Um, confusion? Turns out it's handball. News to me!

- Showing the best of the best. If I don't want to see quarter or semifinals, I can skip right to the race for the medal! I only want to see the most important, most dramatic competitions!

- Making me feel like I can do anything. As I sit here eating my cookie, watching women rocket over hurdles, I think, Eh, maybe I'll give that a try, myself. I just love the irony of the people of the United States, the fattest nation in the world, plunking down every night to watch these feats of athleticism. Maybe the Olympics will inspire some exercise; we can only hope!

Thanks, Olympics!

Friday, August 3, 2012

INFJ

Ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? If not, read about it on Wikipedia (yay reliable sources!) here. Take an unofficial free online quiz to get your type here.

I know, I know. I write about being an introvert a lot. Well, I've been thinking recently about other aspects of my personality after reading an entire blog post about my Myers-Briggs type, INFJ. You can read that here. Apparently, it is the rarest type, containing about 1-3% of the population.

It was fascinating to read another person's writing on her personality and see it match so perfectly with mine. I've accepted the fact that I'm an introvert, but I've recently been having a hard time with the way that I am when it comes to making decisions.

For instance. I feel things very deeply. I am sensitive. I get hurt easily. I worry about what others think of me. I worry about other people. I hurt for other people. I wonder how my decisions will affect other people.

I have a difficult time stepping back and being logical, because I am feeling so much and wondering how other people feel.

This is a result of my last two letters, FJ. They stand for Feeling and Judging. I'm empathetic.

I've always sort of felt that this is a character flaw. I'm jealous of people who are more logical. Who don't seem to care what others think of them. Who don't worry. Here I am, taking on other people's problems as well as my own while over-analyzing interactions. Playing conversations over and over again in my mind, hoping that I come across well.

Goodness, even my blog is careful. I write to entertain, to make people smile. I stay away from controversy and my posts aren't typically very deep. If you're looking for personal thoughts and deep reflections, you've come to the wrong place. I don't easily "put myself out there," especially to a bunch of people that I don't know online. I'll share more one-on-one. Once we have built up a great deal of trust. The last thing I want is to be criticized when it comes to my thoughts and emotions. So I'm careful.

It was very comforting to read this post about this other INFJ woman. She understands what it's like to keep people at a distance. To choose not to share my true feelings, except to a very few. Under very special, specific circumstances.

It's kind of funny, caring about people so much from a distance. It might appear that I'm unconcerned. But I notice people's feelings more than I notice what color eyes they have. (Seriously, I don't know anyone's eye colors.)

When I was little, I remember having to leave the room while my family was watching a movie because I knew a certain part was coming up. It was a part where a character was embarrassed. I don't remember the particulars, but I remember feeling so strongly this character's embarrassment that I couldn't even watch it play out.

So it can be hard interacting with people. I'm an introvert, and I'm sensitive, and I care deeply how others feel and perceive me. This is especially difficult when I disagree with someone, as I despise conflict. However, I am able to identify with others. I know what I believe and I may disagree with you, but I can put myself in your place. And if it turns out I'm wrong about something, I'm mortified. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone, because I know how much I fear being hurt.

Wow, this is sort of deep. But it feels good to think through it, then write it down. And share it, cautiously, with you.

I'd encourage you to find out more about yourself. Really think about how you make decisions, how you interact with others.

And let me know your type below!

 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm, Like, So Stressed Right Now.

I don't want to be stressed.

I don't even want "stress" to be a real word.

I know I can't not have everything I don't want.
(Hopefully you weren't too stressed reading that sentence...)

I know that. But I don't want stress.

Why does it seem like a competition, people comparing their stress levels?

"Oh, I just haven't had time to do that. I'm so stressed."

"I'm stretched way too thin. Things are so stressful right now."

"Wow, must be nice to be able to have time to do that. I'm so busy and stressed I won't be able to rest until I'm dead."

Well, fine. I hope you're pleased with how stressed you are. Seriously. Are you pleased? Because you certainly seem to enjoy it. And use it as an excuse.

It seems that the problem in our country today (don't you just love sentences that begin like this?) is that stress is a mark of honor. The busier you are, the more harried you are, the less time you have...these are all good things! Things to be celebrated! Hooray for you and your hectic life!

This should not be. When I am stressed, I evaluate my life. What am I putting time and energy and worry into? Am I wasting time? Am I saying yes to too many responsibilities? Am I taking time to do the important things well, instead of dealing with them as afterthoughts?

I don't think we should be proud when we're stressed. I think we should slow down.

 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chapstick, Continued

Readers find my blog through various ways. Word of mouth, referring websites, comments I leave on other blogs that link back to mine, photos I lifted from Google...

And there is one blog post that has, for some reason, always been quite popular. Seriously, it seems that it is viewed every day, despite the fact that it was posted on November 12, 2010. 2010, people!

And the post isn't especially profound. Or funny. Or interesting. Or well-written. It's not one I would point to as a favorite. When I read it now, it doesn't even seem to make cohesive sense!

It's about chapstick. Yes, chapstick. This random blog post about chapstick has garnered close to 1,500 views over the last couple years. Here's my guess: it's the picture.

Now, you've probably guessed this, but I do not do all my own photography. That's right, I shamelessly borrow images off the internet to complement my blog posts. A kitten here, a garden gate there. Here a chocolate fountain, there a snowman, everywhere librarians and piles of books...

I don't copy images that are on a photography website or something, though. Or if the website says clearly not to copy them. I am careful, I think.

And for some reason, hundreds of people search for images of chapstick. And really like the image I chose for my blog post.

It's the oddest thing. My most popular blog post. Chapstick.

Huh.

 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Neville's Walkabout

Happy National Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day!

Yes, I'm serious.

Grab that houseplant of yours. The one cooped up inside. And take that little guy for a walk! If it's a big guy, you may need a wagon. Just sayin'.

This auspicious holiday is a good day to update you all on Neville. My work houseplant.

Well, I'm sure he would LOVE to be taken for a walk. Or hate it. Most of the time it's hard to judge Neville's emotions. Truthfully, he would probably not care one way or another.

Neville's a little green around the gills these days. Well, not green. If he was green, he would be more healthy. He's actually a little brown around the gills.

His leaf tips are turning brown. And yellow. And white. Can't be good. And I'm not even a plant expert.

Clearly.

So I'm pulling off these bad leaves every day, hoping that the remaining green leaves will get the nutrition they need and that Neville will pull through. Pull through, Neville! You're named for a Gryffindor, one of the most courageous, I might add!

Fingers crossed and no idea what I'm doing. It's hard being a single mother with no green thumbs to a plant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Speak Softly

Sometimes you read something so profound, it's as if someone has reached into your mind and written exactly what you were thinking but have not yet been able to express.

"I realize it's not true that I'm no longer shy; I've just learned to talk myself down from the ledge. By now I do it so automatically that I'm hardly aware it's happening. When I talk with a stranger or a group of people, my smile is bright and my manner direct, but there's a split second that feels like I'm stepping onto a high wire. By now I've had so many thousands of social experiences that I've learned that the high wire is a figment of my imagination, or that I won't die if I fall. I reassure myself so instantaneously that I'm barely aware I'm doing it. But the reassurance process is still happening - and occasionally it doesn't work."

This is an excerpt from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It's a fascinating book, whether you're an introvert, an extrovert, or feel that you have qualities of both!

As I've written about before, I'm definitely, positively, precisely an introvert. When I read this part in Cain's book, I knew I had to write a blog post about it.

Because it's exactly how I feel! I used to be pretty painfully shy. I blushed. I sweated (perspired? glowed?) I got nervous when speaking with people. I avoided conversations and gatherings of people.

Guess what? I still do all these things. But I deal with them better.

I've learned to talk myself down from the ledge. I've gotten so used to reassuring myself that it almost seems natural.

Almost.

And then I sense the hint of panic in the back of my mind. I feel as if I'm looking at myself from somewhere outside of my body. I remember how unnatural it feels for me to be bold and confident. I fake it so well I nearly fool myself.

But deep down, I'm an introvert. I'd rather not have many conversations, especially about meaningless things. I may appear to be extroverted, especially at my desk job at the public library, but it's me adapting to who I feel I need to be sometimes.

Practice makes perfect, as they say. I've learned what people expect in social situations. I'm not ten years old anymore; I know it's not acceptable to speak softly and to not look people in their eyes.

"my smile is bright and my manner direct, but there's a split second that feels like I'm stepping onto a high wire." Haha!

Tricked you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's the New Small Talk

I talk to many people every day at the library.

"Hi, how are you?"

"Fine, thanks."

"May I help you?"

"Let me get that for you."

In addition to the library talk, there's the basic small talk.

Especially when the computers are slow. You can only pretend to type something so long, that's all I'm sayin'.

And guess what we talk about the most? You get three guesses and the first two don't count.

That's right, the weather. It's hot, it's cold. It's snowy, it's rainy. It's going to clear up. It's going to get cloudy. I forgot my umbrella, I don't need this jacket. Etc.

I basically get all my weather information from library patrons, as I always forget to keep track of what the weather is going to be.

I do get a bit annoyed with people, though, when they can't discuss the weather without complaining. All week it's blistering hot, right? People start complaining. I don't mind because I love summer. And I refuse to complain when I think of how cold I was a few months ago. (And the library has air conditioning...)

And then all of a sudden it rains and cools off and people complain about that, too! What do you want, people?

There are few days when everyone can agree that it's perfect outside. For some it's too hot, for some it's not hot enough.

Eh, just try to enjoy it. Put on a jacket or find some air conditioning.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Whiskers on Kittens

Hope you weren't expecting actual kitten videos or anything. My title is an allusion. To my favorite things. Get it? Get it?

However, you are getting videos! Here are some of my current favorites.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries! If you're a Pride and Prejudice fan, seriously: check these out. Two new videos are added each week in this nail-biting saga!



I am such a fan of Improv Everywhere's videos. Just pure fun. They always put a smile on my face. This is their newest.



And finally, The Hobbit trailer! I have to keep watching it to remind me how spectacularly awesome this December will be. Goosebumps, anyone?



Last but not least? My current favorite commercial.



So that's what I've got on this beautiful Wednesday. What are you watching these days?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh, You'll Really Hit It Off

Dear Facebook,

Wow, you're so sweet. Seriously. You just think of everything! How can I ever thank you for all this unsolicited advice?

Oh, THESE are the people I should be friends with. Why didn't I think of that? It's not like there are reasons why I haven't friended these people. Despite our 147 friends in common.

And these are the pages I should like? Good to know. So that's what I've been missing on my page? Advertisements for Pepsi? Updates from Justin Bieber? Wisdom from the Kardashian sisters?

I mean, typically I make my own decisions. So it's nice you don't push these at me or anything. You just line them ALL over the page, helpfully.

And wow, my friends are playing yet another game on Facebook? But this one involves flying cows? Or virtual mall shopping? Or dressing up avatars? Well, thanks for letting me know. I'll get right on that.

No, really. You're too kind.

Love,
Me

Friday, July 13, 2012

Peeking Over the Fence

Sometimes I wonder what I'm missing out on. Is there something more? Is what I have now not good enough? Could I be somewhere better?

I am speaking, of course, of radio stations and tv channels.

I am the worst channel surfer ever. If I'm listening to one song on the radio, a part of me wonders if there's a better song I could be listening to instead. If I'm watching I Love Lucy on TV Land, I'm thinking I should check the Food Network to see if Cupcake Wars is on.

I'm hopeless.

For some reason, I just have trouble sticking with a particular channel. Maybe I'll just run through my options just one more time...see if commercials are over and if something good has come on in the last 20 seconds. I don't want to waste my time here if I could be watching or listening to something INcredible over there!

Just wondering if the grass is greener. It's like when I go out to eat with people and I order something that I feel will be delicious. And then I look over and someone else's food always looks better! And suddenly I am filled with regret.

SOMEbody needs to be grateful with what she has, apparently. And not worry about what's on the other stations.

Instead, I should ROCK OUT to whatever song is on. And ENJOY whichever channel is playing. And RELAX my itchy trigger finger on the radio dial and the tv remote.

Hm...I wonder...should I have written a different blog post today? Perhaps another subject would be more...interesting?

Oh, forget it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dark-Eyed Junco Pie, Anyone?

I get confused every morning.



Around 4, 5, 6 o'clock. I wake up, light streaming in the window and birds calling like it's the middle of the afternoon. I grab my cell phone, worried that my alarm didn't go off. But it's an hour or TWO earlier than I'm set to get up. I leave my window open for the breeze, but get all sorts of light and noise as my reward too early in the morning.

I love summer and everything, but days start a little too soon for me. And the weird thing is, I don't even feel tired, like I could spring right out of bed, fling the curtains open, and sing right back out at those stupid lovely birds.

And there is this one bird. This one bird that seems to live right outside of my window. He calls out all morning. Possibly all day. All night? I have vivid fantasies of shooting him down. His song never to be heard again 'round these parts.

I even scoured the internet this morning, listening to random common birdcalls to find his.

It appears to be the dark-eyed junco. Take a listen.



So that's my little guy. Or at least a little guy that sounds just like him.

My own personal alarm clock. I just wish that I could SET him to a decent time.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm a Pretty, Pretty, Polish Princess.

I have a new addiction.

Okay, addiction is probably too strong of a word.

I have something new I've been accumulating.

Remember a while ago when I wrote about my obsession with scarves? Yeah, that's old hat. I've moved on. To nail polish.

Actually, scarves and nail polish are pretty similar in their appeal to me. They always fit. They can be inexpensive (at least the kinds I buy! heh heh.). They're fun to get in a bunch of colors so you can always have the perfect one...

I'm sure however many I have aren't nearly as many as some people have. But I've noticed that I've been painting my nails more than usual. Like, every couple days. Whenever the coat starts wearing off. I like to coordinate my nails with my outfits. And it's not that complicated to take the old polish off and put on the new. Not as easy as a scarf, but still.

The one itty bitty problem is that my nails apparently hate all the new outfits I've painted on them. They are peeling like crazy. It sort of started in March, when I got three new types of nail polish. Hunger Games nail polish. Awesome, am I right?!



It was then that I realized I needed my nails to be pretty all the time.

I started noticing other people's nails, like in movies, and chose what I wanted according to my favorites.

Again I repeat...not that many bottles. Yet. But they're something small and fun that I can choose from to decorate my nails. Makes me feel special.

I've of course attempted designs like the ones found on Pinterest, but guess what? I should not quit my day job to do this. I'll just stick to a basic coat.

Ooooohhh...pretty.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bang. You're Dead.

I have an irrational fear of fireworks.

Maybe not completely irrational. I mean, people have been hurt from fireworks before. I know that if you're in a crowd of people watching fireworks from a safe distance, your chances of surviving are pretty good. But I tend to think I will not.

Survive, I mean.

I don't particularly care for loud, unexpected noises. When will the next BANG happen? How loud will this one be? Especially when there's that sound delay. A huge burst of light, a second of uncomfortable anticipation, and then kerPOW!

Not my cup of tea. In fact, that's what I'd rather be doing. Sitting in a garden and sipping a cup of tea. Not watching light explode and fearing for my life.

I know, I know. I'm a wimp. And I will go and see fireworks with friends and pretend I don't care that there are sparks flying and loud bangs making me jump.

*cringe*

I can totally understand how dogs feel. Most dogs I know don't really care for fireworks. They don't understand what's happening and why everyone else is just laughing it up. Loud noises mean DANGER! They mean FEAR! They mean whimpering and hiding and eyes filled with betrayal.



I get you, dogs. Let's all go hide together, I say.

Leave those crazy humans and their fire alone.



I am also afraid fireworks will swoop down on me like dragons. Thank you, LOTR.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Back Behind the Library

I'm tan.

Seriously, look - well, you can't look. But imagine. Someone who is usually pale and is now tan! Wow! I am impressed with myself.

I burned my way into quite a lovely tan this summer. This was partially due to Shakespeare in the Park. Also walking in the Memorial Day parade. Several long hot days of sunshine that toasted me right up.

To give credit where credit is due, let me also take a moment and thank my lunch hour. Couldn't have done it without ya!

Every day at the library I get an hour for lunch. On days when I work the evening shift this is actually dinner. But we still call it lunch. I just go with it.

And now finally that it's beautiful outside, I love to go and sit in the back of the library. It's secluded. There's no patron parking back there. No one bothers me. It's very important to me to have some alone time in the middle of my work day to get my introverted self recharged.

And how lovely it is to sit in the sun on a chair behind the library! There is also a hillside that I have practically fallen asleep on. Sitting in the grass can be fun as long as you don't think about how many ants are crawling all around you. I listen to podcasts, read magazines or books, and generally rest. Oh yeah, and eat my lunch.

My lunch hour is perfect; I go back into the library ready to handle the summer rush again (Sometimes randomly picking grass out of my hair). And I've been getting more and more tan. Score!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Apparently I'm Four Years Old

So I have this problem.

It seems like whenever I eat chocolate, I end up with some around my mouth.

Now, I'm not a sloppy person. I use napkins. I eat delicately. It's not like I'm smooshing my face into a cookie and rubbing it into my mouth.

But somehow, some way, chocolate ends up in the corners of my mouth.

Okay, so this is probably also due to the fact that I like to lick bowls. I mean, who doesn't? The batter or the dough is the best part, honestly. And if I make brownies, am I just supposed to rinse the beaters out in the sink? I think not. Waste not, want not.

So then, because I forget that when it comes to chocolate I am four years old, I wander around with chocolate on my face until the next time I happen to glance in a mirror.

Oh, well. I guess one could say my messy face is a tribute to the fact that I really enjoy my chocolate. And of course by "enjoy" I mean devour. Possibly revel in.

Yum.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just Lemme Scan It Real Quick for a Sec

At the desk at the library the other day...

A mom: "All right, give her your card!"
A little daughter, eyeing me suspiciously: "Why do you want it?"

Cutest thing ever, probably.

It's funny, though, I'm surprised at how many kids get weirded out at the library circulation counter. Kids cry all the time, clutching Caillou or Fancy Nancy and forcing their parents to pry it out of their tiny fingers so I can check the book out.

"I'll give it right back; I just need to scan it!"

"DORAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

I'm not sure where this comes from. Do they think the books belong to them? Are they afraid I'm going to light them on fire or eat them or something? Hand it over, kid!

Sometimes it's adorable. Other times it's annoying.

*Through gritted teeth* "I'll give it right BACK, sweetie."

Kids today and their sense of entitlement. Phew.



While looking for a picture to use for this post, I found this one and HAD to use it because it was from one of the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor. Those were some of my favorites!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Smoooooooooooooth

So, I'm really into smoothies right now.

I tried to get into smoothies a couple months ago, but they are hard to get down when a person is already cold. I can't barely feel my hands in this stinkin' March weather. Oh well, might as well numb my mouth, too...

Smoothies are an excellent way to eat a lot of fruit. All at once. Without having to chew much. Not that I have trouble chewing or anything. It's just fun to sip smoothies. And mine are usually so thick it's like eating healthy ice cream.

Smoothies are handy too if you have fruit that doesn't taste the best. Like peaches that are hard on one side and mushy on the other. Or strawberries you picked that are a little small and not too sweet.

Just blend it all up, baby.

Here are the fruits (so far) that I've tried in a smoothie. In various combinations:

bananas
strawberries
grapes
peaches
avacados
blueberries

I'll splash a little milk or plain yogurt in there, but I don't add anything else. All natural.

Here's my hot tip: freeze all your fruit. Or at least some of it. I hate blending up ice cubes 'cause they're so hard and difficult. Also they water down a smoothie. If you use frozen fruit, you eliminate these problems. Easier to blend and not watery.

Yum! Sometimes I feel like I use my blender several times a day. It's a pain to wash, but worth it. I've also been using it to blend frozen banana chunks into a kind of ice cream (seriously, it works and is amazing) and to make hummus.

If you don't use your blender that often, I say bring it out and give it a try! You may make a delicious discovery.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rock On, Fellow Drivers!

I'm pretty sure that one of the most wonderful simple pleasures is driving in the car on a beautiful summer day.

(Was that sentence too long and awkward? Pretty sure it was. Don't feel like changing it, though.)

If I had unlimited money for gas, I would want to just drive for hours in the countryside, windows down, breeze blowing my hair into an unrecognizable puff, music blasting.

And I can sing out as LOUD as I want, experimenting with all kinds of harmonies and rapping unrecognizable words because I'm not exactly sure what I'm singing!

And I can dance as much as I can while buckled down into a seat, which means wiggling around awkwardly and pumping a fist in the air or waving it out the window!

I feel free, I feel young! I feel like I can just drive away from all responsibilities, like I'm driving towards adventure and awesomeness.

Friends in the car? Sure, bring 'em in! We can all party together, as long as I the driver don't get too distracted. Because I have seen WAY too many movies that have a frightening montage of a carful of youngsters goofing off and not noticing the semi until it's too late. ANYway...

I love driving in the car in the summertime. Especially when I'm not going anywhere in a hurry. I can just hop in and go...to the park, to the store, to find ice cream...

And it's sunny and easy and perfect. For a few moments, it's all good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Actually, I'll Just Stand

Sore. I am so, so, sore.

Yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to go to a 6am class at the gym. Boot camp, they call it. Fun, they said it would be.

And it was, sort of. The hour went pretty quickly since we were doing so many different things. Free weights. Squats. Lunges. Crunches. Ouch.

I tried not to pay attention to the fifty-year-old women lifting heavier weights than me. It was my first time, all right? By the end of the class, I could barely raise five-pound weights over my head. Or just my arms over my head.

So all day yesterday I felt a little twingy, but that was it.

Not so today. After not moving all night (mostly), I am now trying to stretch out the aching muscles in my body. It's so annoying how a person can think she's in decent shape until she tries something new. Something new that kills her. And makes her body let out imaginary screams of pain when she tries to sit down in her computer chair to write a new blog post.

Really, this post couldn't be about anything other than the pain I'm in because it's kind of hard to think about anything else.

So, the lesson here is, go easy with the boot camps. And if you do, make sure you have some ibuprofen. Or chocolate.

Really, chocolate is probably better.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Food, Glorious Food


So, I'm kind of into nutrition.

I mean, I've always been a pretty big fan of food. The difference is now I'm learning to replace some pretty pathetic eating habits with some super awesome ones.

This is definitely a journey for me, if you'll allow me to be cliche. (You won't? Tough. This is an inspirational blog post and I get at least one cliche. Possibly two.) There are a lot of ideas out there about nutrition, and it can be daunting working through them. No matter what the food issue (vegetarian? sweetener? carbs? raw milk?), there are always people on both sides, vehemently disagreeing.

I find the subject of food and eating today fascinating. Especially since so many of us are doing it so horribly wrong. Obesity is sort of the elephant in the room. It's obvious, but lots of people avoid it. But really, what are we doing to our bodies? What "foods" are we eating today that our great-grandparents wouldn't even recognize? In a few more years down the road, where will we be?

I've been reading a lot about nutrition over the past few years, and I've changed a lot of my habits. I've added WAY more fruits and vegetables. I've tried my hardest to cut out "foods" with crazy-long lists of unpronounceable ingredients which have ridiculously long shelf lives. I've added foods like plain greek yogurt, black beans, brown rice, and avacados. I try to eat more natural foods, foods that haven't been tweaked by scientists to make them more addictive. I cut out all soda (even diet, which I've been drinking for the last few years). I read food labels and scorn high fructose corn syrup (which is in more than you think!).

There's still a lot I don't know. And I slip up all the time. But I generally feel better about the way I'm fueling my body. I love to eat. Sometimes too much. But with the joy of eating should come the recognition that not all food is created equal. The choices I make do matter. And it's exciting to try new things!

I've read a few books on food, thanks to my awesome public library. Here are some that I've found the most helpful:

Eat This Not That by David Zinczenko (various editions)
As a visual learner, I was drawn in by all the pictures! Everything is laid out and compared on these pages. My favorite is the supermarket guide, where everything from brands of condiments to types of bread is evaluated. And for extra shock value, the drink guide will wow you with its visuals of how much sugar is in certain drinks. For instance, a pile of cookies or scoops of ice cream sitting next to something from Starbucks. Lots of practical advice for everyday grocery shopping or even eating out.

The End of Overeating by David Kessler
Forever changed the way I'll think about food. The descriptions of food manufacturers manipulating ingredients to satisfy our appetites for salt, sugar, and fat were sobering. I felt like my eyes were opened to how desperate our situation as consumers is.

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan
Nice short, concise book basically summarizing his more in-depth book, In Defense of Food. Pollan's basic concept is - Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. This book is easy to understand and apply.

The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper
Yes, Bob Harper of Biggest Loser fame! I was pleasantly surprised by this book, since there are so many celebrity-endorsed "diet" books that seem so impossible. I really admire his knowledge. Some of his rules include "Drink a large glass of water before every meal" and "Make one day a week meatless."

I believe that many people mindlessly consume food every day without thinking of where it came from or what it's doing to them. Your body is the one thing you keep for your whole earthly life; invest in it. Make one small change at a time, and see how you feel. My shopping has suddenly gotten simpler and cheaper, as I stick to the outside aisles and buy fresh ingredients.

And I feel pretty awesome about myself, too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful. Or Crazy, Hectic, Fantastic.

So, the library has been busy lately.

Like computer-slowing, kid-swarming, library card-applying, crazy-number-of-book-borrowing busy.

  • Dozens and dozens of kids registering for the summer reading program. Like, a herd every hour. And please don't stick me behind the desk at the children's library, because I get crazy. There are so many things to do, and I just end up throwing stickers at children's heads and forgetting half the things to tell the parents.

  • Strangers. No, not the dangerous kind. The kind who are suddenly interested in the library now that it's summer time. Oh, can I use the computers? Check out eBooks? Get onto the wi-fi? Random people every day; taking over the regulars. New people all over the place.

  • College students. Back from school! Ready for something to do other than be put to work at home or skype with their college friends. And I am extremely impressed with people around my age coming to the library and getting books "just for fun," by the way. Honestly, it's so rare I get guys my age just coming to check out a novel that I practically want to propose marriage when it happens.

I love, love, love a busy summer at the library. So much so that I'm already dreading the slow torture of winter. But I love seeing new people, and sun-kissed kids in flip-flops, and entire families all flocking to the library. I love running around and doing fifteen things at once. It does wear me down, though.

The other day I got home extremely wound up, still processing all the conversations I'd had and things that had happened. I had to go right to the gym and move my legs like a crazy person to get my brain to slow down.

Hooray for summer at the library! If you haven't been to your local library in a while, well, you really should. Find out what's happening. You might be surprised.



Hm...not enough fine young men at my library. Like these guys, for instance.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Interest in Pinterest

Judy Smith has pinned a pin to pinterest.

What? What is this nonsense?

I stayed away as long as I could, I'm telling you. I'm not super crafty. I don't consider myself the kind of Susie Homemaker type that would need Pinterest to inspire me to do crazy creative things with ribbon, paper clips, and nail polish. Or whatever.

Seriously, everything I saw on Pinterest seemed so daunting and crafty that I was turned off. And plus, I didn't want to be a typical girl. I like to go against the grain on occasion. And everyone expected me to be on there.

Then I finally thought I might as well check it... out for the sake of the library. That's right, the library. I already take care of Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger for the library. Why not see if I can add Pinterest to the list? I saw that other libraries use it successfully as another way to increase awareness of their usefulness and to provide information. For instance, the New York Public Library has dozens of boards, including a neat one with fashion pictures around the time of Downton Abbey, taking advantage of its current popularity.

So I dove right in. I take it back; I actually stared at pictures for hours. Wait - time has passed? All I did was look at a few puppies. And cookies. And muscles.

I just think it's so ironic that I can be waffling between wanting to just eat every-freakin' thing I see on these boards and wanting to never eat again yet exercise continuously so I can look as awesome as that model. Only you, Pinterest, can torture me in this way.

My favorite are the sarcastic/witty comments. They just crack me right up. I'll take something snarky over something inspirational any day of the week.

So now I'm a pinner. Or whatever. I only have an account for the library, but I'm thisclose to getting my own. It's only a matter of time until Pinterest wears me down...

Monday, June 11, 2012

In Which I Share My Perfect Weekend

Ugh. I feel like summer camp is over.

You know the feeling? When you're sun-kissed, bug-bitten, tired, and so happy? You've had some good times, but now you have to go back to the real world.

Well, I had a marvelous weekend, and now it sort of feels like summer is over.

I got to see my closest friends over the weekend, I got a couple days off work, and I volunteered for a local production of Shakespeare in the Park. Lots of fun places to go, and in between were hot drives with the radio blasting and the windows rolled down.

Here's a taste of the perfection:

-picking strawberries in the hot sun, getting yelled at by a possessive bird.
-dipping said strawberries in chocolate. eating them.
-helping my friend's family pack and paint around their house in preparation to move.
-giggling at old, hideous pictures of me and my friends.
-going to three performances of Romeo and Juliet, laughing at the same parts every time. I KNOW it's not a comedy, but there's still humor...
-getting burned at the park.
-seeing pictures of people graduating and remembering how that felt.
-going out for ice cream.
-first bonfire of the summer.
-eating lots of apples.
-walking barefoot in the grass. and on hot pavement. and in a river.
-laughing really hard. making other people laugh.

And now, I'll be back to work in a couple hours. I thank God for these moments, hours, days, of pure happiness. Guess I'll take my tanned self back to the library and enjoy the summer crowd!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In the Event of a Zombie Attack, Break Glass

I think it's important to have a plan.

This is true in an odd way when I hear strange noises. And start to worry.

I have to be alone for this to work. Alone and slightly creeped out.

Suddenly there's a creak or a BANG or a mooooaaaannnn. And I get strangely businesslike.

Okay, there is a criminal/ogre/zombie/etc. who is trying to break in/find me/kill me/etc. Let's try to think through this rationally. Where is the nearest weapon/exit/person? Who will hear me if I try to scream, or would that just be a waste of energy? Should I change my clothes real quick? Is this really the top I want to be wearing when I'm murdered? I mean, really... Should I try to be a hero and save the day, or simply try not to be taken to "the next location"? According to Oprah, I'm doomed if I get taken to the next location. There're so many more things I wanted to do with my life...

Worrying. Daydreaming. Planning. An overactive imagination. It all stews together in my brain, which apparently has nothing better to work on than escape routes out windows, or hiding places under beds (note to self after seeing Taken: does not work).

The best is thinking people have died if they're late to something.

She said she'd be back at 3 and it's 3:30! She's dead.

He said he'd meet me at 11 and it's 11:20. He's dead.

Might as well think through how I'd like the funeral to go. How sad I'll be having to live without this person for the rest of my life. How different things will be. Don't cry, Laura, don't cr-oh, there she is.

Somebody needs to practice thinking happy thoughts.

Come on now, I'm not sure how some people just prance through life, things just working out without any planning or worrying. I'm positive that all the worrying and irrational planning I do really helps my life work out. Replaying horrific scenarios in my head in the dark keeps me firmly planted in reality.

You really should consider thinking through some of this. It's like a weight is lifted off your chest when you can decide on precisely which emergency supplies you can pull together if you have to flee your house during a worldwide disaster to escape the looters.

Just sayin'.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Yo. You Smell Nice

So Friday was Say Something Nice Day. Apparently.

I know this because each month I look up things like national days and author birthdays for blog fodder. Not for this blog, for the library blog. I know, I'm a busy little blogger.

I decided to take Say Something Nice Day to heart. I vowed I would say something nice to every single patron. I would compliment them!

This lasted about fifteen minutes. I complimented about five women on something they were wearing. A purse, a necklace, a pin.

Then I realized there was no way I was complimenting men. They don't usually wear anything interesting enough to compliment. And even if they did...well, let's just say I didn't want to be taken the wrong way.

"Heyyyy...I really like your..." shirt? haircut? cologne? I'm a library worker, not your girlfriend/sister/grandmother!

Speaking of cologne, I like it. And I appreciate guys who wear it. As long as it's not too strong. Or weird. Speaking of weird, I've wanted to compliment guys on their cologne before, but talked myself out of it. I wouldn't mean it in an odd way...but it would for sure be odd. Thank goodness I have some social graces.

So the complimenting thing kind of died. I did notice a difference, though, in being a little extra nice to people. I'm always nice, of course, but being a woman myself I know the kind of impact a simple compliment can make. Women I complimented suddenly got more chatty, more open. I know the power of a compliment, often it will last me all day long and I'll feel better about myself.

I think I need to implement the whole complimenting thing a bit more often. How much effort does it take, really, to notice something good about someone? It's nice to be appreciated, is all I'm sayin'.

Every day should be Say Something Nice Day. I know I'm usually consumed by my own appearance, my own thoughts, my own worries. Taking a moment to care more about someone else is a much better idea.

Hey, you. Blog reader. Lookin' good today. If you were a library book, I would definitely take you out-

too much? Yeah, that's kind of what I figured. Use good judgment when it comes to compliments. I trust you.