Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Etsy Item!

My smoochy owl collage is finished.  It's available at my Esty shop, Bright Loud.

I greatly enjoyed making this piece.  It is made mostly out of chocolate wrappers, but lots of other found papers as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Puppets get dirty too.

Several times a day I walk patrons through the printing process and only now, as a burgeoning trekie, do I falter in my instructions.  What was once the innocent print queue is now the ‘Q’, a destructive and irritating alien that may or may not charge patrons with the crimes of humanity.  I am waiting for that blissful moment when I tell a patron that their print job has been sent to John de Lancie and they give me the live long and prosper sign. 

Last week at the library we were evacuated because someone at a nearby gas station got a little crazy while filling up their tank and needless to say a less than exemplary gas station attendee decided to just wash it all away rather than following protocol.    

While shelving holds on a very quiet morning a patron approached me with two coffees.  She asked if we had a microwave, and after a quick survey of the regulars I chuckled.  Because it was slow I nuked her coffee in the break room and recorded the interaction as ‘procedural’ in our patron-tracker database. 

During a peaceful hour of shelving children’s books a little girl asked me where the puppets were. After questioning a youth librarian I discovered the whereabouts of the puppets. 
“They’re taking a bath.” I told the little girl.  Her eyes grew wide. 
“Where?” she asked. 
“In their puppet bathtub.  Puppets get dirty too.”
“Can I see?”
“Nope, they like their privacy.” 
This was met with a puzzled expression.
I guess this was too much for the little girl.  She scurried away and then very precisely relayed the entire conversation to her guardian who looked just as flummoxed. 

On my way to lunch Thursday I was flagged down by a man with a cane.  After helping him decrease the size of the image on the page he was copying I thought the interaction was finished.  Instead, he took the copy of the reduced image and asked me to reduce it the same way.  My expression must have conveyed my confusion because he then held out the shaky and age-spotted hand that wasn’t gripping the cane and flashed a handsome ring.  “This right here,” he said pointing to the image on one of the copies, “is my alma mater.  I need to make it small enough so I can tape it to my ring.”  So that’s what we did.  We lightened and reduced and tweaked until it was just right and then we carefully taped the piece of paper to a ring roughly the value of a Prius. 

My greatest triumph last week involved tax forms.  Yes, you heard correctly.  A tax form triumph!  After demonstrating the great ease of not only accessing tax forms online but filling them in digitally as well and garnering nothing but close-mindedness and grumpy faces, an elderly patron actually took the bait.  I walked him through the process with optimism that was never booed or cursed and he walked away with some of that optimism and a willingness to give it a shot. 

Tomorrow is the start of a new week.  I am wearing my elephant leggings and embracing the mystery.  Whether a drawn-in eyebrow furrows at me or lifts in a smile, I am ready. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What the Funk Part II

So the funk was actually a big bad scary sinus infection sneaking up on me and going woogie woogie boo.  The funk was my first clue.  My second clue happened the day before I got sick.  

This is when that scary music starts playing.

The day before I got sick I biked to tennis, continued on to the gym where I took a shower, and then went to work a late shift.  Before I left the house I struggled to medicate Rose, my lovely flower of a golden retriever, who requires a handful of tasty pills to combat her aching hips and arthritis.  Some days she staunchly refuses and I typically grumble a bit and move on.  Not that day.  That day I cajoled, cried, begged and even hollered before forcing her to swallow them, which is not the preferred method because the stupid pills have to be broken into a billion pieces to do so and the only way to break them up is to soak them in water UGH.  

So I was a grumpy mess by the time I left the house.  On the way to tennis I was stuck behind a garbage truck for two blocks, and once I escaped the gut-wrenching fumes, discovered I was being trailed by a line of cars who refused to pass me even though it was a slow road (max speed of 25 mph) with no oncoming traffic.  And while I should have had a whatever attitude about the cars, I stressed and tried to pedal faster.  

By the time I got to tennis I was late because of Rose (faster pedaling equals squat apparently) and had no time to recover before playing, which is one of the few times I need to recover (when going back and forth from tennis to biking) because I get wobbly and uncentered and frankly, a little tired.  On the way to the next gym I had to stop several times because I was out of fumes and had no back-up positive energy.  

After showering I discovered that not only did I pack a dress with tights, which are a nightmare to put on directly after showering, I also had a run in the tights and they had shrunk lengthwise.  I was getting terribly bitchy fast, and the usual elating combination of wearing a dress and an easy downhill ride to work from the gym only made me feel cold and the wrong kind of inhuman.  Normally when so many wonky and/or awful things happen at once my humor kicks in and the writer in me comes out and I get a little excited.  I point my fingers at the keyboard like I'm poking an enemy in the chest - 'Is that all you got huh huh?'

My lack of bravado-laced humor is always a warning.    

The very next day my throat started itching.  I also felt an extreme lack of zest.  This continued for four days and then the sinus infection pounced.  

I spent an uncomfortable few days on the couch watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and eating popsicles until yesterday when suddenly, at 2:03 p.m. I realized I could read and with that realization, the beautific epiphany that I could get even more books at the library.  POOF I was better.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Two Kinds of Decay

Sarah battles a crazy disease, the kind of mysterious disease with no definitive end. It’s a disease that requires a central line, the kind of disease that attacks nerves and turns the body into a battleground.

And while all these things are very critical in this memoir, the most important element is how the disease is presented to the reader. This book may be comprised of poems threaded with angst, humor and despair or it could be a teetering castle of prose blocks. Or perhaps it’s one long essay ravaged by the disease itself. The way this book gives you its words feels a little like what CIDP has done to Sarah.

You will boo the disease, yes, but you will spend more time applauding Sarah’s strength, humor and poetic prowess as her body endures cold plasma, a suppository inserted by a cheerleader, countless injections, a rogue ovary relocated during a moment of passion and paralysis that is described as ‘trying to lift someone else’s thigh with your own mind.’ 

Friday, February 6, 2015

what the funk

Today I woke up, ate some amazing pancakes courtesy of Robert while watching Star Trek (we’re almost finished with season one… And I’m enjoying it) and then did the book swap thing, which just means that I sold some books and then turned around and bought almost as many.  I came home and hammered out several submissions and set about tackling my two major chores for the day: vacuuming/mopping the floors and brushing the dogs.  While I was vacuuming I started to feel nauseous and very unsettled, but I chalked it up to not having lunch and ate an apple.  I plowed through all the chores and settled on the couch to tackle a bit of embroidery.  I was so unsettled, headachy and nauseous I couldn’t focus so I gave up and tried to watch a program on tv. 

Halfway through the program it dawned on me what my problem is: I am in a funk. 

What what?

I can’t believe it took most of the day to figure out that I am in a funk.  Usually when I’m in a funk I take a nap that lasts roughly 16 or more hours until it is over or I get whiny and morose and eat a lot of cookies and then get very angry that I ate a lot of cookies.  Somehow I managed to clean and sew and be productive and not negatively affect anyone during the funk.  I think it’s been so long since I’ve been in a funk that I just flat out didn’t recognize it in time. 

So after a brief and lackluster round of applause I am going to sleep until tomorrow.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I had the wonderful opportunity to read this book with my partner in crime, Robert, and perhaps that has skewed my perception of this book. We read it chapter by chapter and took the time to talk about each chapter before moving on. He noticed and appreciated parts of the book that I overlooked. Within the first hundred pages Robert was zooming around the house picking up this and that, and whenever I asked what had gotten into him, he panted, “less than a minute,” before hurriedly moving onto the next task. Early in the book Rubin asks ‘if it takes less than a minute, why not get it done?’ Or something like that, because I was probably rolling my eyes too much during that part. I roll them even more now while watching Robert spend a collective 4 zillion minutes doing minute chores. But Robert loved that little nugget, so it just proves that this book has something for everybody, and I’m glad I shared it with him because not only did I get to read the book with two entirely different perceptions, I also learned more about Robert, who happens to be a large chunk of my happiness. Occasionally I’ll do one of those minute chores but I always allow for a healthy break between the minutes – at least a couple days.

What I loved about The Happiness Project:

* The Twelve Commandments and Secrets of Adulthood lists. First of all LISTS. And most importantly, they are thought-provoking and insightful lists. My favorite is ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’

* Concrete ideas and applications supported by quirky quotes from beloved movers and shakers of both past and present. Rubin is a reader and this is proven through her extensive implementation of ideas and sayings that she borrowed from other writers. Without question, the pieces I found most interesting in this book were not written by Rubin.

* The concept of taking pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth,” which, excitingly enough, is one of the crucial weapons I used to banish the terrible sadness I went through several years ago but I had no idea it had a name. I simply started appreciating all the little steps that I had to take in order to get to the ultimate goal and in doing so I was deriving more happiness from those steps than I was in the goal itself. A tiny example of this: when I am looking for books on a particular subject for a patron and each one is both a struggle and a victory I have no problem telling you that while I am overjoyed to make a patron happy, the greater pleasure is the search.

* Two words: FOG HAPPINESS. It’s the kind of happiness that’s elusive but absolutely legitimate. It’s the kind of happiness that you don’t recognize at the moment it’s doing its little party in your brain. I’ll use another library example. When I put a cart in order or am continuously receiving holds for a few hours it can feel very repetitive because it is, but at the same time there is a beauty and rhythm to putting things in order. Repetitive work gives your brain time to blossom, and the blossoming part is just as essential as stepping back and admiring the blooms.  

* The scrappy hat. As soon as I find a glue gun I’m going gangbusters gluing all my itty-bitty treasures to it.  

* The “fundamental attribution error.” I’ll use her example here: “When other people’s cell phones ring during a movie, it’s because they’re inconsiderate boors; if my cell phone rings during a movie, it’s because I need to be able to take a call from the babysitter.”

* Equally important is “spontaneous trait transference,” which is fancy lingo for 'the things you say about others stick to you.' A nice reminder to stop talking shit.  

* The bibliography is a wet dream for any bibliophile, especially those obsessed with self-help literature.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

patron shenanigans from last week

Dear patrons who bookmark every page,

wouldn't it be easier to bookmark the pages you don't like? 

And dear patron who smushed a soul between the pages of a book,

how the f@&$ did this even happen?

As a coworker pointed out, it's an honest to God bookworm.  While it was certainly a tragic death, I must say that if you are going to die tragically wouldn't it be awesome to be slammed inside a book?