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.


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!"


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


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:


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 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.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Check Out a Book at the Library

Sure, you've done it before. But have you done it correctly?

Step 1: Pick out your book. Pick out a mystery, a graphic novel, a memoir, a book of poetry. Browse the stacks until you find just the perfect read. Ask your friendly librarian for suggestions if you find yourself whining that everything you pick out is boring.

Step 2: Pick out another book. What if the first book isn't quite what you thought it would be? Or you read the first book too quickly? Honestly, it's just foolishness to leave the library with a single book. Be smart and get a back-up.

Step 3: Go to the circulation desk. Be mindful of those around you. Don't cut anyone else off. And it's nice to offer your spot to a harried mother with seven children hanging off her. Other than that, wait in line for your turn. Or, if your library is dying because no one wants to read anymore, step right up and enjoy the great service of three librarians all wanting to socialize and thank you for still coming. Haha...

Step 4: Present your library card. Don't be surprised that you are asked for it. If you're a patron of excellence, you have your card in your hand right away. Don't be the person who doesn't have your card...or your driver's license...wait, you're driving without a license AND without a library card? Good luck out there, man.

Step 5: Don't forget your receipt! It's given to you for a reason. Don't lose it and then feign innocence when you return items late (I mean "if"). And don't take your receipt, look at it, and then ask when your items are due. What do you think I'm handing you exactly?

Step 6: Walk out the door with your FREE books! And don't forget to come back now, you hear?

I mean, you'll have to. To return them.