Friday, February 22, 2013

What's in YOUR Wallet? Sometimes I Don't Want to Know.

Occasionally, at the library, I get a peek into a person's soul.

And by "soul," I mean purse. Or wallet. Or keychain.

People's personal items suddenly become something intriguing for me to examine during the ol' "search for the library card."

(I will refrain from harping on why there needs to be a long, desperate search for a library card every single time. Just tell me...why do you need 37 different cards?)

I have been treated to seeing women's entire purses being dumped onto the counter. I've watched $50 bills fall out of senior citizens' wallets (old people! you're freaking me out! please don't carry all that cash around!). And, of course, I've hefted 7-pound keychains over to scan the one bent-up library card hanging off it.

Note: When a person gets a library card through our system, he or she gets a full-size card plus a mini keychain card.

It's always interesting to see the kinds of things people have hanging off their keychains. A bunch of store cards, the local gym card, the Wendys frosty card, flashlights, pocketknives, lanyards, beaded animals, even a tick remover (yes. I know.).

My keychain has changed a lot over the years. I like to have a toy or two on there; I've swapped out ones that have fallen apart and like to switch it up with new things once in a while.

So here's what's on there now:

- gym card (all access!)
- 4 store cards (One of which I actually regularly use. My favorite.)
- key fob from some kind of honor society I was apparently inducted into from my college (received it last year...but I graduated in 2010...whatever.)
- 1/2 a rock (it has a crystal inside and is split to reveal it! I got it for free and it's pretty....)
- house key, car key, library key (all the essentials!)
- iSchool @ Pitt lanyard (never used a lanyard before this and it's changed my life. so much swinging and playing potential!)
- mini green tupperware container (my favorite! I like to snap it open and closed! I "won" it at a Tupperware party years ago.)

So that's my keychain! Or keychains, since it's made up of a few. They're kind of spontaneously interconnected. It might sound like a lot, but it's really quite manageable. I've seen some keychains at the library that would, if swung, probably knock out a gorilla. Unsurprisingly, the larger key collections belong to female patrons.

What's your favorite item on your keychain?

take me to your library keychain

Thursday, February 14, 2013

RIP Neville

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you all of Neville's passing.

Neville. You know, my plant.

I tried! Oh, how I tried. He started out as my New Year's resolution and became my stalwart library desk companion. But the dry environment of the library office got the better of him and he just couldn't make it.

Every leaf was yellow. Every shoot drooped. Every fiber of his dying being limply accused me every time I walked by. If Neville could have had the strength to cry out, he would have.

Maybe he did. Who knows? I don't speak plant.


I took a moment to look through previous blog posts about Neville. We've had quite a journey, he and I. In the .23 seconds it took to toss his corpse in the trash can, his brief life flashed before my eyes.

Take a walk down memory lane with me, will you?

I got a plant for Christmas in 2010. I was doubtful he would live very long.

I named him Neville. I was afraid he was plotting against me.

Neville was always very dry. I tried to water him more. One of my New Year's resolutions for 2011 was to drink more water; probably subconsciously I didn't want to be dry like Neville.

Neville was never much of a conversationalist. He was pretty passive-aggressive, come to think of it.

I wondered if Neville would like chocolate poured on him instead of water. I did not try this, as I do not share my chocolate.

Neville became a mild celebrity. Friends actually gave me gifts to "sit by Neville" on my desk. His crotchety personality must have been appealing in an odd sort of way.

The one thing Neville always enjoyed was bathtime.

Neville got taller and taller, and I had to pluck dead leaves off him to keep him healthy.

Neville sprouted from his pot in several places and I wondered if he had a split personality.

One sprout stuck it out and I considered naming her.

Neville met Trevor (note how beautiful his leaves are during this happy time in his life!)

Neville and I celebrated National Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day by...not doing it (Well SURE I regret it now!).

Neville's flourishing neighbor started creeping onto my desk (note Neville's long, thin sprouts and brownish leaves).

So that's the story of Neville. We had a good run. He may have been argumentative, grumpy, unappreciative, and not able to take a joke, but he was my plant.

Taking the advice of my coworker, who is a real plant-whisperer, I finally had to let him go. It was time to face the facts: he wasn't going to get better.

So goodbye, Neville! From dust you were made and to dust you will return.

My little buddy.

Friday, February 8, 2013

But I AM a Girl...

When I was a little girl, I remember a time when I would deny liking pink. Other little girls would say "Pink is my favorite color!" and I would shoot them a haughty look and sniff "I like blue better."

I'm sure I had pink clothes and pink Barbies and pink scrunchies or whatever. I did like pink. But I didn't want to be associated with pink simply because I was a girl. I can like whichever color I want, thank you very much!

I really really wish I could be into football. The same way I didn't want to be associated with pink. I never wanted to be seen as a ditzy girl who asked dumb questions at sporting events.

Unfortunately, I don't care about football. And I don't want to learn about it. I wish I was into it so I could surprise guys with my wealth of knowledge, but that's not going to happen.

All of this is to say, I choose my Super Bowl team based on outfit color.

Yes, I have said "outfit" during Super Bowl-related conversations. And been ridiculed. It's a uniform, or a jersey or whatever.

So can you guess who my team was? That's right, the Ravens! Yay purple!

However, the 49ers' colors are scarlet and gold  - Gryffindor colors - so that was a tough call. But the tiebreaker was that the Ravens are named after Edgar Allen Poe's Raven. Poe lived in Baltimore, Maryland. How cool is that? Literary reference!

So that's why I "cheered" for the Ravens. And here I use the word "cheered" to refer to eating food in the same room as the tv and glancing up when the commercials were on.

And, I wasn't even in the same room as the tv for the entire second half. Whoops.

This was my favorite Super Bowl commercial. Hooray for libraries still being relevant! Of course, librarians will probably never escape from the "shhhh" stigma. Oh well.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Reading Blogs & Eating Oatmeal. At Times Simultaneously.

I'm trying to eat healthy.

This isn't necessarily a New Year's resolution. I just want to be mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth. (For more on me and nutrition, click here)

So I've been chowing down on fruits and vegetables. I've been drinking lots of water. I've been avoiding processed foods and sugars.

I've also been experimenting in the kitchen.

Some new blogs have been extremely helpful to me during this time. It's very cool to read about women like me who are working to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

My current favorites are:

Carrots 'N Cake

Kath Eats Real Food 

The Great Fitness Experiment

Lots of recipes, pictures, workout tips, and advice. Unlike some of the wacky food or exercise writers out there, these three ladies are down-to-earth.

I've been inspired to try new things at the gym and eat new foods (flaxseed, anyone?) because of these blogs.

I've been making some really rockin' awesome food recently, so I thought I'd share just one recipe today so this blog post isn't a million paragraphs. I do like short paragraphs, in case you haven't noticed.

This muffin recipe is one I found on the blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. She has some, um, interesting recipes on there. She's into making healthy versions of desserts. Some are pretty out there. However, her chocolate chip cookie dough dip with chickpeas isn't bad. I actually like it, but it does not taste like cookie dough. I know my cookie dough.

So here's the muffin recipe! I modified it a bit, so check out Katie's original recipe if you want.

In a big bowl, stir together:
2 1/2 cups mashed banana (extra soft and ripe for best flavor)
2 2/3 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract

I know it looks gross. It's wet banana mush!

Now stir in:
5 cups rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Now throw in whatever you think would taste good with oatmeal! Dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. For my batch, I used raisins, shredded coconut, walnuts, ground flax, and wheat germ.

Now pour the oatmeal into muffin tins (with liners if you want, or just spray the tins) and bake at 380 degrees for about 20 minutes.This makes a lot, so Katie recommends freezing them. I stuck some in my freezer and have been snacking on the rest all week.

Warning: if you don't like cooked oatmeal, don't make these muffins! Basically they're like mini bowls of oatmeal in muffin form. I happen to be in love with oatmeal, so these were perfect.

Let me know if you try them and what you think! Have a great weekend.