28 January 2010

Snoopy and the Red Baron

Current mood: suspicious

I'd like to tell you that I'm ready
For whatever's coming
But to be honest there's a part of me
That loses control
~ “A Lifeless Ordinary” by Motion City Soundtrack

At least once a year I find myself reminded of my poor library habits. As a child, I loved the library. I would go and spend hours there. Then, having very little “pocket money, I would borrow books for free. And, because my parents were far more responsible than me, I would have them returned, on time. It was a beautiful arrangement – and one that kept me on the “straight and narrow”. By the time I was in college, I had been “politely discouraged” from checking out any more books due to my inability to return them in a timely manner. I happily paid the fines; and created aliases to maintain my lending status. Eventually, though, I hot a wall with Madame Librarian, and I began to use my discretionary income to purchase books.

At first, I would just go to Thrift Shops (or even library sales) to make these inexpensive acquisitions. I was a recreational book buyer. I only did it when my friends were doing it too. (Or when my grandmother gave me gift cards to Barnes and Noble). That’s how it begins. Grandma gets you hooked – and then BAM! ‘


When I moved half-way across the country the first time, I moved 19 boxes of books. As I aged, the collection grew larger and larger. Soon, my personal library was well over 1,000. Every week or so, a new book would find its way into my shelves, which were double and triple stacked. Upon my divorce, we moved 55 boxes. Yes, 55. That is five-five. Most people don’t even own 50 books. I owned that many boxes. You may recall that I hired a personal organizer to help me get rid of some of them. As she was helping me sort, I was kicking the new shipment of books that had been received under my bed so she didn’t know I was still buying. Shameful!

My next cross-country move inspired me to purge and I did, cutting the entire collection back down to a “manageable size”, around 25 boxes – all of which are still in storage, though organized and safe from harm. Somehow, over the past 18 months, I have accumulated approximately 100 new volumes. I don’t know how it happened. Well, actually, I do. . . Borders Clearance Racks; Half-Price Books; and Daedalus Books online.

Seeing that my addicition has once again taken over my limited storage space, I am going to try to take advantage of my local library. Luckily, there is help for people like me. Someone with similar issues has taken it upon herself to create a marvelos reminder system to returen library books on time. Perhaps I should spend the $4.00 and end up saving hundreds in overdue library fines.

Overdue Book Calendar (PDF) only $4.00

PUBLIC NOTE: If you know anyone who wants to purchase extremely gently used books from me, I am willing to sell. It’s like tearing off a band-aid. Just do it.

PRIVATE NOTE: I cannot wait to see you next week. Yay! Yay!

21 January 2010

Walk Tall and Carry a Big Stick

current mood: introspective

She will come in first
For the end of western civilization
She's an endless war
She's a hero for the lost cause
~ “Last of the American Girls” by Green Day

When did I change? Was it truly something that happened over time and at such a slow pace that I never realized I was losing my idealism and passion for the world? There had to be a point where I started to change direction. Was it upon my return from Ireland and realized my heart had truly broken? Was it during marriage number one when I stopped believing I could make a profound difference in the world?

Maybe it was my entrance into Corporate America where being a cog in the great machine helped me realize my own insignificance. I wish I knew when I mutated from emotional idealist to logical pragmatist. I used to volunteer to work with homeless at-risk teenagers – now I walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. Don’t misunderstand, I still believe in volunteering and “giving back” to society; however, I have moved away from being a personal influence – and instead am an advocate for a financial one. I have season opera tickets and am a member of the Opera Guild. I walk past homeless teenagers downtown and hold my purse a little closer; avoiding eye contact so I don’t “have any trouble”.

My own twins are approaching the age of the middle-schoolers I worked with in college who prostituted themselves for meth. It scares me. When did I transition from seeing society as the solution to seeing society as the problem?

NBF and I have long discussions about these types of things and I laugh when he says I am far more conservative than I want to believe. It’s true, I suppose. I used to lean way left and now, with the exception of a few very specific issues, I am no longer the young peacenik I once was. At 18, I was a free-spirited vegetarian who was looking forward to being the next ‘Madeleine Albright’ – strong and intelligent and one Hell of a diplomat. I had a plan.

The thing is, I am happy with whom I have become. I am far more secure in my beliefs. I no longer feel the need to compare myself with others so that I know who I am. I am no longer able to get myself all worked up over a political issue. I cannot find the time in the day to write letters to foreign governments (and our own) so that someone doesn’t get put to death or tortured. I definitely don’t want those things to happen – but I realize that they do and that there is very little I can do about it. I still only vote for Governors, Senators, and Congresspersons who are anti-death penalty. That standard does not filter up to the Presidential level.

Where am I going with this? I think it comes down to one statement I made today which was along the lines of the advantages of dating a 24 year old deity who as intelligent as he is attractive. He keeps me on my toes with his passion for life and passion for learning. I suppose I am swinging back towards center again with his influence.

I may change the world yet!

PERSONAL NOTE: I need your help with Series 7 stuff. AAAAGGGHHH!

PUBLIC NOTE: Buy Petlane products for your pet and save 10% just because you are my friend.

Reference Party # 2644

05 January 2010

No Use Crying Over Spoiled Milk

Current mood: cold

You're sitting there thinking your thoughts
They are not about what is but what is not
You are sitting there breathing in your breath
You are seldom breathing life but mostly death
~ “Commissioning A Symphony in C” by Cake

This morning, I opened a new container of milk to pour on my bowl of Cheerios. Due to my rush this morning, I had forgotten my blueberries (and my lunch) at home. Plain cheerios in milk are fine with me. Life has taught me to ALWAYS smell milk before ingesting it. Today, that rule saved me from a very unpleasant experience. The milk was spoiled. It indicated that it was good through February 10 – but apparently it had been exposed to air – because it was definitely no longer fresh. Interestingly enough, it was UHT milk – meaning that it should have had a shelf life through February without refrigeration. It was not, however, Organic UHT milk – which is usually what I use for my cereal since it does indeed have an amazing shelf life without being chilled. NO matter – the fact is, I had another person smell the m ilk – and they agreed it smelled funky. I took it back to the vendor and traded it for a diet soda.

I should have known that my morning was going to be like this – considering it began with me shutting off my alarm and going back to sleep – apparently forgetting that my new shift started this week. Knowing my propensity for oversleeping, I always set more than one alarm – and my preparation did not fail me. The second alarm jarred me awake and I realized the time and that panic set in which wakes a person up and sends them running around the house like a chicken without a head.

With speed generally reserved for fast forwarding a DVR through commercials, I let the dogs out, found clean clothes, brushed my teeth, and grabbed my multitude of bags that I carry to work. After throwing on my boots and a newly created hat my sister made for me, I almost ran out of the house without letting the dogs back in. Luckily Elizabeth’s high-pitched whiny bark caught my attention and the dogs went trotting downstairs to invade my sister’s sleep.

The cold air stole my breath away and I hurriedly grabbed my heated ice scraper to scrape the windows. The sub-zero temps had made the cord brittle, however, and it snapped off of the no-longer heated ice scraper. Cursing, I removed what I could from the windows, and then drove down the hill toward the interstate. Traffic was lighter than I expected (the joy of leaving for work before 7am). It was while I was on the interstate that I remembered I hadn’t yet put the new license plates on Lucius. BLOODY HELL! There was nothing I could do at that point so I drove through the dark morning, hoping watching my speed so that I wouldn’t attract any attention from police during my morning commute.

Why would a 2010 Honda Civic without license plates attract information on a cold, wintry day? I have no idea . . . but guess what . . . it did. I saw the cop’s laptop in his car 10 seconds before he turned his sirens on. I looked at the clock in my car and prayed I could make the chat a quick one sans ticket! It was precisely at that moment when yesterday’s events came flashing back.

Sprinting through the civic center and entering the DMV as they were locking the door -- he 30 minutes at the counter staring at my new license plates but unable to grab them – the lack of an insurance card – the mainframe going down – falling in a snow drift – no parking – UGH!!! – 20 people standing in line at the post office 2 minutes before they closed – the very angry postal worker yelling at a patron for being in front of the “eye” so she couldn’t close and lock the Jedi style doors -- getting home after dark and unable to put on my new plates – my papa’s warning about getting those plates put on before I left in the morning – waking up late - - - you get the picture. . .

As these thoughts flashed, I grabbed the new license plates and registration from my messenger bag. The officer approached my window and I handed him everything the DMV had given me. I took advantage of my gender and started apologizing for not getting them put on the car, explained I had no tools and that it was dark when I got home and that I was hoping someone at work would be able to put them on for me . . . I offered him my Derivers License, but he said he didn’t need to see it, he just needed to see my proof of insurance. I then began doing the frantic search one does when they know that what they are looking for isn’t there – but perhaps if they just keep looking, it will appear miraculously as a gift from above. I also realized I was babbling to the officer about how sorry I was that my idiocy forced him to stand out in the cold while I searched for my insurance card. He must have realized how cold he was, because he told me not to worry about it and just to get the plates put on as soon as I could. He then offered the required, “be careful getting back on the interstate”. I thanked him, apologized once again, and took off before he changed his mind.

I made it to work with 3 minutes to spare.

FYI -- It is supposed to snow 5 – 7 inches tomorrow – let’s give thanks for the reversal of global warming this winter. Kum by yah!


CONDIFENTIAL NOTE: India Lima Oscar Victor Echo Yankee Oscar Uniform Lima Oscar Tango Sierra.

Eidetic Vision

Main Entry: ei·det·ic Pronunciation: I-'det-ik Function: adjective : marked by or involving extraordinarily accurate and vivid recall especially of visual images - an eidetic memory Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.