Friday, October 30, 2015

One love bug and her bean bag sidekick

We had the day off so we watched our people eat some artisanal toast (Ibis! they say excitedly) and protected the car when they went grocery shopping and squeezed in as much cuddling as possible. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

we are all connected

This isn't your typical sunset story : ).

Robert and I often drive past this recently-rebuilt house that is painted a very gorgeous grey that we both love.  

A few mornings ago we were driving past and a gentleman happened to be outside.  We hopped out of the car to talk to him and hopefully get the name of the color.  He was a visiting grandpa, however, and did not know the exact name.  

He did pull out his phone to show us pictures he took of some beautiful homes in his Florida neighborhood.  Before finding the pictures of the homes he flipped through a few sunset pictures he said he had taken the night before.  

Turns out it was the same sunset that had Robert and I all agog with wonder.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Polly the pug

While biking today I saw a lady walking her pug.  The pug went bananas and started barking these silly raspy shrieks.  

The lady shouted, "Polly wants to get that biker.  Get that biker, girl!"

Later, on a more positive note, out of the corner of my eye I saw two high school boys walk past the backboard where I was playing tennis.  They paused their walk and after I finished a long run of hits, shouted, "Awesome!"    

And to think I was almost eaten up by Polly the pug and just shy of never hearing such flattery.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Here's some golden happiness along with their besties.

Ella and her ball

Rose and her dragon

Monday, October 26, 2015


I had a lot of aggravating patron interactions this past week, but I won't share those.  I'm sure people were distracted and a little on edge about the Royals.

I did, however, have one glorious interaction.  A boy, maybe ten years old, asked me if the library had any more Raina Telgemeier books.  I mentioned the obvious three - Smile, Sisters and Drama - and he said he already read all of those.  

Which left me with THE BABYSITTERS CLUB!  

Have you ever heard of The Babysitters Club? I asked.

No.  What's that?

It's about a group of girls who form a club and dole out babysitting tasks.  I read them when I was your age and now Raina Telgemeier is recreating them.

He raised his eyebrows and then he very decorously gave me his library card.  "I'll try one of those."  

I totally didn't tell him that I was planning on reading the Raina Telgemeier BSC books, and that a part of me was like, let's read them together and start a club!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

dividing life into two piles

Able is one of those songs I put on repeat.  It makes me think of Madeline, my first boss back in high school.  I decided I wanted to learn pet grooming when I was roughly 15 years old, so I opened the yellow pages and called the first place listed.  

Madeline, a biker chic in her seventies, told me to come on over the next day.  So I did, and she had breakfast ready, and continued to until I left for college.  We became very close over the next two years as she taught me the ins and outs of pet grooming.  I learned to shave ears, faces and pads, bathe squirmy creatures and even execute a few poodle cuts.  

Once, when we were shaving maggot-infested mats from a hissing and biting feral cat, the cat suddenly went still.  I watched in horror as Madeline attempted to resuscitate it.  I thought, this isn't going to work, but seconds later the cat was wheezing and quickly growing angry that we were still there.  Madeline scooped the cat up and plopped it in a carrier before it knew what she was doing.  

Noticing I was still standing there holding the razor and rooted in shock, Madeline started whooping with laughter and making fun of my face.  Her hair, usually in tidy dreadlocks tied with leather and beads, was wild around her face and speckled here and there with black cat hair.  Blood was dripping from her hands and even though she was laughing, her face was wet with tears.  I couldn't help myself and started chuckling despite a mountain of other conflicting emotions.  Within seconds we were both shrieking with laughter. 

When the lady who had rescued the cat from the wild came to pick it up, we left nothing out and told her everything.  She took the cat to the vet and Madeline and I rushed off to have rabies shots.  It turns out that the cat had a defective heart and didn't live long.  No one could get close enough to clean the cat up, but we sure as hell tried and had the best of intentions.  Perhaps that is when Madeline started sharing her A.A. wisdom with me, which pretty much divides life into two piles: shit we have control over and shit we have no business getting upset about because we have no control over it.

To this day, that same wisdom lifts burdens I have no right carrying.    

When I listen to this song I always do a quick mental tally of things I have control over and then tell the rest of it to scram.  

And when I say I'm not able, I say it with confidence and I think of Madeline, who gave me unconditional love and the gift of surrender.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

the little tube of hearts and shit that gets the beak

Last night I had the clever idea to play tennis on the backboard before work rather than afterwards. Some days I work a little later than normal, and today is one of those days.  I had just enough time to bike, play tennis, shower at the gym, get a cup of coffee at the coffee shop and head to work.

After hitting the button for the lights about 70 times I reluctantly left the courts in defeat.  But first I called Robert and bitched for a little bit.  He was on his way to set up the timing system for a track meet and lent a sympathetic ear.  

Apparently the lights are on a timer and if you show up before dawn you're outta luck.  Which reminds me of that saying - Early bird gets the worm, but what about the worm?  Most days I'm the bird. Today was looking like I was going to be the little tube of hearts and shit that gets the beak.  

So I moseyed on over to the coffee shop - no point showering at the gym, which wasn't open.  When I pulled up to the coffee shop the open sign was flashing, but while discovering the door was locked the light stopped flashing.  Apparently the coffee shop opens 30 minutes later on weekends, and while I think the light could have been a figment of my hopeful imagination, I honestly think the barista forgot that it was Saturday and flipped it right at the same time I got to the door.  I have no hard feelings.  I can't tell you how many times I say the wrong time when giving the closing announcement for the library.  I do this often enough that a patron regularly asks if I'm going to get it right.  

So I have no hard feelings for the barista.  She was going to be the one to fill my thermos with coffee, and I don't hold grudges against people with that kind of power.  

While I was standing outside the coffee shop a mouse shot out of the dark and straight into a crack in the sidewalk.  

Ok, I thought, I was meant to see that.  So, when I play tennis tonight after work, which means dinner with friends will be perilously close to my bedtime, I just need to remind myself that if I had played tennis before work I would have never seen the daring feat of a mouse making a sidewalk crack its bitch.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

with just a touch of sun flickering on their soft bellies

Usually, if I have at least an hour gap in my schedule I gather all of my books, laptop and headphones and find a quiet place.  I tidy up my lists, listen to new music and then, sometimes rather magically I find myself writing. 

Often times I start out writing a blog and it becomes something entirely different.  Occasionally what I write is strictly blog material or I find that I'm not in the mood to write and then I browse blogs and attack my reading pile.   It's a very indulgent and cathartic way of writing.  

Very rarely do I find myself in a state of agitation, sadness or exasperation (I call it funk soup) when I sit down for these little respites.  More often than not I am so giddy at the prospect of a writing/reading respite that I can barely sit still and am simply overcome with silliness and delight.  

So this morning I made my little book fort.  I had a fine cup of coffee courtesy of my pooty pie man (Like Hobbes, I am sincerely overcome with terms of endearment).  And I sat down and started on my book lists while listening to Mali Music, which is very happy stuff, and the writing just never came.  Not only that, but I felt like I just couldn't sit there one more second.  I could feel funk soup sneaking up on me.   

So I put my books away, dejectedly closed my laptop, grabbed a pair of my socks and smushed them into Ella's face, who was soundly sleeping.  I'm sure all dog lovers have strange rituals they share with their pooches.  

Before I take walks with the girls I often wave my socks in their faces or rather onerously rub their snouts.  It is one of the necessary components of Walk Excitement.  Sometimes as soon as the sock drawer opens they are at attention - is she going to attack me with the socks?  YES!

So we did the sock ritual and I grabbed their collars or necklaces as Robert calls them because Rose and Ella are his princesses.  They got properly excited and we rushed out to greet a warm October day.  Almost instantly, they started falling behind, probably a bit more tired than usual due to a 7 mile walk they took with Robert and Aimee two days ago.

I was properly agitated and encouraged them to match my pace.  They started ganging up on me, veering into my legs every few steps on both sides of me.  I surrendered and attempted to walk a bit slower.  Suddenly Rose started edging into the busy street.  Normally a very devout sidewalk user, Rose's jaunts into the road threw me completely off.  To her dismay, I gruffly pulled her in close and scolded her.  Ella chose that moment to take a rather large poopsy.  As I picked up the poop both girls sank to the ground in their customary are-we-done-yet-because-we're-tired flop.  We had barely walked two blocks.  

With a sigh of defeat I took them home, briefly saw Robert who dance-hugged me in the yard before leaving for another job, and discovered that I had more than enough time to get ready for work.  

So I decided to groom the girls a bit.   And you know what, as the girls sprawled out on the deck, with just a touch of sun flickering on their soft bellies, I couldn't help but notice that we were all a bit more peaceful and relaxed.  I trimmed their feet and hineys with very little protest and when I brushed their horsey backs they contentedly stretched out and edged closer to me.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

We didn't know

A few nights ago I dreamt I was vacationing in the mountains with various family members - Robert, Rusty, Heather, Harper, Scott, grandma and mom.

We spent the entire vacation hanging out in little groups but never all together.  

At the end of the vacation we all gathered for dinner at the motel where we were staying.  Some of us wanted to stay an extra day and some didn't.  This led to a dispute, which led to silence.  

Someone in the family shouted, it's like we don't even know each other.  

A stranger, who was passing by, responded with well let's start with the most basic thing.  Think about what makes each other laugh.  

This was met with silence.  We didn't know what made each other laugh.  

Finally, Harper, who was about 7 or 8 in the dream, said, while I was waiting in line to get a candy out of the toy barrel I saw a boy dig and dig for a Luigi candy.  When he found one he dropped it on the floor, turned around to pick it up and stepped on it.  It was SO FUNNY.  

And then I woke up.

While this dream is, at its best, confusing and stark, it has been grounds for some serious contemplation.  And I think this contemplation has been a very remedial kick in the pants.

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Thank you very much, Bess."

Fun patron interactions last week!

A lady handed me her license with a picture she had meticulously pasted on the front.  "I know this makes me vain, but it's such a better picture than the one the DMV took."

I hesitated before voicing my doubts that she could actually get by with this if she happened to be in a more serious crunch, like getting pulled over.  I highly doubt the cop will chuckle and ask her if she knows her library pin number in lieu of an altered license.  

If a cop does do this, however, it would make my library heart very happy.

That same day I helped an elderly couple pick out a refrigerator on the library's handy dandy Consumer Reports database...Well I helped them narrow it down to two.  

At the beginning of the interaction the patrons seemed incredibly sure that they wanted an ice maker in the door and didn't really care about anything else.  20 minutes later they were arguing about whether they wanted the freezer below or to the side.  The husband's argument was infallible - he thought the door should be on the side because he didn't want to bend over every time he wanted some ice cream.  

After spending over thirty minutes with this couple, they seemed like they were finally ready to go look at the two lucky refrigerators.  But then, just as they were leaving, they turned back around and asked to see the physical copies of Consumer Reports just in case there was anything the database missed.  No matter how much I tried to convince them that the database not only had everything, it also had everything related to refrigerators all in one spot, they still insisted on looking at the magazines.  Over an hour later, as I watched them walk out the door, I couldn't help myself and asked if they had changed their minds.  The gentleman responded with a curt, "No, ma'am, but thank you for your help."  

Which totally translates to first-story freezer.

The best patron interaction of the week happened yesterday after helping a lady look up a book.

She looked right at me with a megawatt smile and said, 

"Thank you very much, Bess."

To which I responded, "Pardon me, did you just call me Bess?"

Her smile seemed to grow even larger, perhaps bordering on crazed.  

"Well that's your name isn't it?" she said with a snarl, spit flying everywhere.  

With that, she grabbed her book and stormed off.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

All There Is

Reading All There Is is like being engulfed in a giant bouquet of love in all its vast intricacies.  While there are plenty of heartwarming, kissy-face snippets in this StoryCorps gem, many stories are edged with bittersweet moments of heartache, regret and loss. 
StoryCorps is “a very simple idea.  You make an appointment to bring in anyone you want to honor by listening.  When you arrive at the booth you’re met by a StoryCorps facilitator who takes you inside and sits you across a small table from, say, your grandmother.  You face one another, a microphone in front of each of you, and for the next forty minutes you ask questions and listen.”  David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, has done a marvelous thing by taking a handful of stories centered around a theme – in this case love stories – and pairing them down to just a few pages.
This book swept me up in just a few pages.  I whooped with enthusiasm at the budding romance between a toll collector and a commuter and how a traffic cone was used to show the commuter which booth belonged to her crush.  “It’ll be like keeping a candle in the window for you,” he said.  If that doesn’t warm your heart I guarantee you there is at least one story in this book that will!  This book will take you to Iraq where you will read about a woman who falls in love with a man who proposes with a weapon slung on his back.  You will wonder what it's like to be held ‘fantastically’ while dancing with a dashing musician and feel the thrill of a man so in love he sends mixed tapes packed with the joy of his feelings.  You will feel both the devastation of love that is lost and the elation of love that is found.

Whether you are looking for a book affirming love's magical powers or need a nudge towards happiness without being dunked in it you will be smitten by these stories. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015


You just never know what kind of treasure can be found during an urban adventure.

Friday, October 16, 2015

three hater muffins

This is how they say goodbye in the mornings.  Do they look very sad to you?  

Lucky for them, they're pretty stinking adorable and easy to forgive.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Double Turban Lady or Professor Quirrell Lady?

I have a handful of patrons who have taken a liking to me, and an even larger handful of people who switch allegiances in the span of an 8 hour day.  An appreciative patron I've helped in the morning will hiss at me later in the day and ask if there is anyone smarter around.  I'm fine with this; most of my coworkers deal with the same patrons, patrons who give you a handful of sticky, barely-wrapped candy for helping them with a spreadsheet and 10 minutes later talk smack about you with the other crazy regulars.  

I retaliate by writing poems about these people that may or may not get published - anonymous poems mind you, and oftentimes I'm only fleeing the situation because I'm nearly in tears trying to hold the laughter back.  

A patron I fondly call Double Turban Lady has yet to turn on me.  I gave her this name even before she took a liking to me because she wears what looks like a towel swirled in something fancier.  She's in her 70's and has this very intense look because the turbans are squeezing her eyes out.  

It's always the same process with her.  If I don't see her I can usually hear her asking for me - she actually knows part of my name at this point - and after helping her check out her books I log in to a computer for her, open all of her favorite websites and enlarge them.  

That's it.  Well, it was until she found a book of poetry I selected for staff picks.  A book of racy poetry, and now as we walk to her favorite computer she likes to talk about the poems really loudly and ask me questions like do you think the plum represents the vagina?  

She never talks about the ones that aren't dirty.  I think she might be messing with me.  The day she turns into a hissing cockroach (or Voldemort) will undoubtedly come and it's not coming fast enough.  Perhaps my endorsement of Suicide Bunnies on my staff picks will speed things along.  But then what if she starts to loudly ask me questions about bombs and hatchets and bunnies?  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

white-faced thug muffin

The other morning Robert and I loaded up the dogs and set off on a breakfast adventure at a familiar haunt.  It was too cold to sit outside so the girls stayed in the car.  The whole time I was drinking my coffee and eating some grub it felt like I was being watched.  Sure enough, when I turned around, there she was, my white-faced thug muffin, patiently staring daggers into the back that abandoned her for breakfast.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


While enjoying a peaceful lunch outside I felt something crawling on my leg.  I jerked and threw salad, book and chair in my attempt to get away from the creature when I saw what it was.  I was up and ten feet away from the scene in less than a second.  I think it's possible I flew.  

Naturally I was curious so I came back over and introduced myself.    
I spent the next 30 minutes carefully watching this critter as it produced thread and wadded it carefully, every so often making a plunge towards the ground.  I can only assume the plunge created the thread and the spider then used the thread for further wadding. 

But what the wads are for I don't know.

A coworker thought that this might be a spotted orb weaver.  What do you think?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hey lady, why the book barricade?

There are many things little dogs can do that big dogs cannot.

Climbing a book mountain is definitely one of those things.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I could only gasp in horror

At work yesterday I was buried in a pile of projects and emails that needed attention.  Just as I was digging into the pile a shadow loomed over me rather suddenly.  A patron who looked a little like Miss Trunchbull from Matilda was holding the biggest laptop case I had ever seen.  She asked me to help her with wireless and when she pulled the laptop out I could only gasp in horror.  Covering every part of the laptop except the keyboard were dozens of bandaids of all shapes and sizes, colors and designs, some almost shredded with what I could only imagine as wear and tear.

"You like my collection?" She asked proudly.  I could only nod.  "I'm on my feet all day and so I have lots of blisters.  My friends started buying me these crazy bandaids and I just couldn't throw them away.  They're too pretty." She reverently touched a wad of them with the same fondness one would use to pet a cat.

"Ok, let's set it here," I said, stepping back and pointing to the desk.  From a safe distance I asked her to turn it on.  The desktop image flickered before showing a Calvin Klein type of model laying on his stomach.  His smile was seductive, hair hanging in his eyes.  And just above his very low pants lay a poorly photoshopped unicorn in the small of his back.  "Isn't it cute?" she asked, obviously watching my eyes travel.  "Oh, sure, yes," I mumbled before pointing to the wifi at the bottom and giving her the rest of the instructions.

I almost thought about introducing her to the gentleman er...patron who had been sitting at one of our computers for most of the day with his bare feet propped up on the desk.  Who, every once in awhile would pull a foot close to his face for inspection before leisurely stretching out again.

But I'm not a matchmaker.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Music in the Stacks

I'm going to start something new here, perhaps out of spontaneity or fierce love or because I am so changed after these experiences it's like I'm wearing new skin.

I listen to a lot of music.  Hours of it every day.  My ears and brains cells are rotting and my soul is flourishing.  Most of the music I listen to happens while I am at work (at the library!), and most of the music I listen to happens before the library opens and I am pulling books to send to people who requested them.  I always have my music on shuffle, and I get a wide variety, everything from classical to latin to rap to spoken word such as poetry.

Occasionally a song nearly knocks me over and I find myself laughing, whooping or crying.  If I am not already in the stacks I make a beeline for them and the privacy and stillness embraces whatever wild emotion I am feeling and shelters me while my soul grows another molecule.  I am made out of water and blood yes.  But most of me is music.  And the energy created from music will live in the stacks forever.  

I want to share these songs with you, and maybe the energy that they create inside of you will live on forever in some pocket of the world.  

'Boys in the Street' came on while I was pulling books for send item, and I happened to be in the 300s, which is an entirely appropriate and beautiful place for the subject of this song.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

KC Voices

I'm in Volume 13 of KC Voices!  It's such a pretty journal with glossy pages and exceptional artwork and writings.  My cinquain that's published in here is very special to me for a couple reasons.  First, during Wyatt Townley's visit to the poetry workshop I facilitate at the library she taught us all about cinquains and I immediately fell in love with the form.  

I use my lunch hour at work to write, and during one particularly frustrating lunch hour I threw in the towel and decided to grab a bite to eat.  While playing with my food I wrote a cinquain and submitted it to KC Voices.

This cinquain is special because it's connected to workshopping with Wyatt Townley.  And it's special because it shows that you never know when inspiration is going to strike.  

Thank you KC Voices and Wyatt Townley!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Colorado Springs

A few weeks ago Robert and I visited one of his sisters, Abby, in Colorado Springs.

The trip was peaceful, silly and invigorating.  Robert's sister is equal parts lovable and snarky.  She is currently getting her masters in clinical psychology and interning at a hospice.  So imagine a highly educated gal who is deeply interested in geriatrics and uses lots of big words like 'practicum,' but who's also incredibly silly and firmly attached to her rural roots (she grew up in a tiny town in Missouri).  Robert and I had to finally ask her what 'crunchy' meant because she kept using it in context to fairly questionable areas of Colorado Springs.  Turns out 'crunchy' does mean questionable areas, yes, but it also encompasses the interesting people who lurk in those places, such as hippies.  Crunchy means gritty cool. Abby is very much like Robert in that she strikes up gregarious chitchat with strangers.  The difference between Robert and Abby is that Abby seems to have a knack for zooming in on crunchy people, whereas Robert, who is unfailingly polite to crunchy people, may not necessarily hang around for gregarious chitchat with them.  

I spent a lot of time watching Robert and Abby talk to strangers, yes, but we also did a lot of hiking.  Abby, a high-altitude warrior, took Robert and I on hikes that always started out with a brutal climb but always ended in a kind of breathlessness that had nothing to do with the thin air.  We spent much of the hikes getting to know each other.  Because this was our first time hanging out with Abby it was like starting from scratch.  The more I learned about Abby the more I found myself plotting ways to take her back to KC with us, or even better, move out to Colorado Springs.

When Abby asked how we felt about bugs, she thankfully ignored Robert's lack of enthusiasm and pointed the way to May Natural History Museum, which happens to be the largest private collection of dead bugs.  When I saw the enormous Rhino beetle at the entrance I knew it was going to be an awesome experience.  And it was.  Everyone should go.  Even bug-haters like Robert.  

Watching Robert and Abby talk was very special.  I firmly believe that family doesn't necessarily include those we're related to, and that one of the joys in life is picking people to be our families, whether or not they're related.  It's always amazing when the people we pick to be family happen to be those we're related to.

Abby's dog, Lola, is part Pomeranian part Schipperke and 100% love fluff. 

We found these special swings in Manitou Springs - one more reason to move to Colorado.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space was possibly the best hiking experience I've had yet, but it's tough to compare to other greats like Sabino Canyon, Mt. Rainier and good ol' Busiek.  

I think at this point we had hiked close to 8 miles in various places.  There was just so much beauty everywhere.  I think you could hike almost every day for a year and see something different each time.  

Abby was much more brave than me, and went further out on this long dinosaur spine.  

On the last day of the trip Robert and I went on an EPIC cog train ride up Pikes Peak.  At the top, after a cup of hot chocolate and some putzing around, we biked down the mountain.  

It was chilly, but gorgeous and exhilarating.

At times we were going 40 mph!  I don't even like to go that fast in a car, but this was special.  We had to keep up, and towards the end of the bike ride the other bicyclists were trying to keep up with us!

I cannot even explain just how spectacular the views were.  

And the aspens were turning to gold before our very eyes.

We gleaned enough peace from this trip to last a lifetime, and hopefully that's how long we'll be friends with Abby too!