Thursday, April 30, 2009

With the morning I've had...


This morning has been murder. And I mean it.

Not my murder, but almost someone else's. The someone that is keeping me from my needles. And if I knew exactly who that someone was, there would be several calls to the police, a tranquilizer gun, and a long stint at a cozy little mental institution in my future.

I don't think I would have really hurt anyone, just chased them with my half-finished sweater, all around the library. Until my mind completely snapped free of the restraints sanity brings, when I would tear the sweater off the needles, throw back by head, scream unintelligibly, and frog my perfect sweater, running madly out into the rain without my coat, and felting wool as I went.

I woke up to my father leaning over me, whispering not-so-quietly, "Don't you have work this morning?"

Angrily, I muttered "no," and sent him away from me, where he belonged that early in the morning. I need a good hour before I'm ready for Dad and his sense of humor. I need coffee first.

Then, rolling over, I wondered...was he right.

And of course, he was. I was at that moment running 40 minutes late for work, which started at eight, and the library couldn't open without me. At least, not really. It would open without me when they fired me and hired someone else to take my place. It would open without me plenty then.

I raced about the house, throwing on clothes and eating a PBJ as I raced out the door, thundered down the road going--the speed limit--and arrived at 8:00 am at the Wabash Carnegie Public Library. Sigh.

But I knew even as I did this that I may have been scheduled 8-5, but I was going to end up working 8-7, because I had agreed to help out setting up for the conference, and I hadn't told Nancy or April so we could fix my schedule to a not-ten hour day. Nice.

I talked to our director, and told him about the mix up, and that I would be taking off for a longer lunch to make up for the extended day.

I wanted to do this because I'd made plans for that morning, back when I thought I had the morning off, but I really didn't. I need needles. I was going to the yarn store for my needles that morning. But I couldn't because I was dumb and didn't read my own schedule. Dumb. I was dumb.

Our director agreed, but Nancy said no, I could just go home at five. But I couldn't go home at five. There was no possible way for me to get to the yarn store before five if I worked until five. That is the kind of thing that even an advanced degree in quantum mechanics from Starfleet Academy can't fix, on a good day.

So no needles for Laura.

Then I learned that I would have a class of twenty second-graders that I would need to entertain (read to) and help find books while Nancy was eating her lunch. I would be alone at this time, which wouldn't have mattered except some kid at Wabash High School got a cold, so of course, everyone assumed he had Swine Flu, and the district cancelled the high school and middle school for the rest of the week.

With no where to go, the possibly infected children had only one alternative.

They all came to the library to cough on our computers, swear at each other, and try to look at porn. All while I had a huge group of second graders wanting my attention.

Did I mention it was raining?

So while all this was happening, water was coursing into my car via the invisible hole somewhere in the roof, plastic seal, or rubber seal, before streaming down the invisible spout and out into the interior of the car where it landed on my driver's seat, directly where my right thigh/bum would be placed a few minutes later.

Fortunately I know my car and have a genius plan to prevent this issue, the genius plan consists of The Plastic Bag and The Towel. Unfortunately, my family had yet again done me the favor of "cleaning" my car by removing The Towel and The Plastic Bag. Fortunately again, I found another bag in the trunk of my car that I positioned directly where my thigh/bum would be. Then I drove to another place, ate (because I forgot my lunch), and came back.

When I arrived, I found several more hacking kids, Nancy, and a few baskets full of books that had been dropped off and needed checked in. While I was checking in the books, another co-worker came down and found the three books that had been over dues we were looking for, right where they were supposed to be. I had looked all over for those. The only thing I can think of is that someone did shelf reading and found them misplaced somewhere and put them right.

Meanwhile, our director had me packing bags for the conference, which I did happily. I then found he needed me to stuff bags of death (potpourri) in the bags for the conference, after which I had an asthma attack.

Then, I shelved books, made labels, and finished the YA Summer Brochure. Then April came in and had me do more labels to fix the ones we'd done a few days earlier. But she didn't tell me that she needed all of the labels on the page but wanted the other labels fixed and printed separately, so I put the old ones in the scrap paper bin and we got confused later when she was ticked that we didn't have them.

Then I went home, needle-less, exposed to (at best) some kind of freaky chronic cough of lung decay endemic throughout the area or (at worst) swine flu (yeah, right), and wet from the windshield drips.

When I arrived at home, I was exhausted. Mom had made tortellini with alfredo sauce, which was filled with chicken and prosciutto. It tasted like it was filled with braunschweiger (liverwurst) and gristle. She served it with hot dogs that she called Italian Hot Dogs because they were served along tortellini and alfredo sauce and because she hadn't felt well enough to go to the grocery store and get something else for dinner. No one wanted the hot dogs right away, because hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and relish don't go with tortellini and alfredo sauce (does anything?) but they were soon in high demand as we realized how much the "chicken" tasted like what we thought the cat's food might taste like if any of us had had the guts to try it.

Poor Mom. It wasn't her fault.

I turned to the olives, the green spanish ones with the red middles, for solace because olives always make me feel better. I reached inside the jar to find one and stopped, because instead of being green with red middles, they were green and blue, with red and blue middles.

Because they were covered with mold. Cat food tortellini and alfredo served with hot dogs and mold-ives. Mmmm...yum...

I stated that the olives had turned blue. Mom, shocked, asked if I was serious. "Yes," I said. "These olives are Mold-ives."

"I've just eaten, like, six of them," Mom said, her eyes wide with the terror of newfound knowledge. "Do you think I should go make myself throw up?"

"What?" I asked, kind of grossed out from the mental picture of cat food tortellini, alfredo, hot dog (with ketchup, mustard, and relish), and Mold-ives churned together and departing my mother's body at alarmingly high speeds.

"Do I need to, am I going to get sick?"

"Mold will either make you better, do nothing, or kill you," I said. I had been having a bad day. And I thought this was all very gross/hilarious.

Dad and I proceeded to make fun of Mom until she was freaked but not convinced of her upcoming death (just a stomach ache which was mostly psychosomatic).

I then sat down to watch Buffy, because a college student in high heels and a halter top setting vampires on fire was the only thing that could make me feel better.

How sad is that?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I was funny, and everything!

Jennifer, oh why doth thou refuse to comment-eth on my blog?

What I hoped would never happen

My car is sitting outside right now, wrapped in packing tape.

I was tempted to go outside and use a permanent marker to write on the tape: "This tape is not holding my car together," but it occurred to me that I would have to write an addendum, "Anymore," underneath the first assertion.

It all started when my car spent three months in the wind, rain, and snow awaiting repair at a mechanic's home. There was no great need to get my car back; I had no where to be (and it's a death trap in the snow) but when I started work, I needed it. That was when I discovered that the car, after having sat in the snow, then the sun, had been forced to swallow copious amounts of water into its poor little engine, which rebelled.

The car would no longer start at all, and the apologetic mechanic claimed complete responsibility and vowed to fix it entirely.

He discovered that the spark plugs had been utterly destroyed. That's fine, he just replaced them. Then he found the true meaning of crappy as he discovered what was really wrong.

My air conditioning has never worked. When Dad first bought The Piece (what Andy named my car after hearing all these stories--it is "a piece--" get it?), he found that he had air conditioning! Thrilled, he decided to drive to annual conference, then found that, as he turned on the air, it failed with a kind of sad noise that usually accompanies spending large quantities of money.

Yes, the air had died, and he spent the money to fix it. Then he discovered that it still didn't work. So he did what we Beutlers do when something non-essential keeps costing us money we would rather use on something else (books, yarn, groceries), he gave up.

He drove across the country in that little car, as it blew hot air at him, even though he had turned off the vent (it still does that).

So when he gave me the car, I promised myself I would never drive when it was above 89 degrees (unless I had work/school) and left it at that.

Unfortunately, no one told the Honda.

It, apparently, has been running the air conditioning non-stop since we got it. Doing this threw the whole engine off in some kind of freaky way, making the AC belt threaten to snap, and all the other parts of my engine wheezily decided to join it in fiery death.

Okay, there might not have been any real fire. But you never know.

Morris pulled out the AC and my car is cured. Except for the fist-sized hole in my muffler's pipe, which is noisy but not dangerous to anyone else.

So, I drove the car and noticed, to my horror, that the seal around my windshield, which has never held well, had failed completely over the driver's seat. I have dealt with this since getting the car, but this was far worse than usual.

I knew this as I sat in my driver's seat, perched upon a heavy piece of cardboard, driving to Pizza Hut so that I could reward myself for the suffering I endured every time I turned the key in my car's ignition.

I sealed the windshield. Again.

And the next day, after the seal had dried, Paul drove the car to school and I picked it up after church. As I turned the key in the lock to open the door, I sensed something wrong with the car. Then I convinced myself that it all looked okay, so I got inside and started driving.

As I turned the corner to drive down 16, something moved out of the corner of my eye.

Yea, verily, the rubber that went around the windshield had given way on the driver's side and threatened to fly off as I drove down the road. So I sighed heavily and unrolled the window, grabbed the rubber piece, and held it down to the side of the car so that it would stay where I wanted it until I got home and resealed the windshield. Again.

After I sealed it, I knew that it would curve away from the window because that is just how life works. I told Mom to get the tape, thinking she would get me duct tape, because that would fully capture the craptitude of my car. But she only had packing tape, which she explained to me apologetically, as if I wanted duct tape.

That would be extra embarrassing.

Instead, I had clear tape around the window.

I decided to drive it this morning, after giving it a few days to drive, because I did put a full tank of gas in it on Friday and I darn well want to use it.

But I didn't take off the tape. I wasn't tempting fate just for the sake of my pride. It is a rainy day today.

So if you come by the library and see a crapped out car held together with tape, you'll know it's mine. Feel free to tuck dollar bills into the door frame to help me pay for repairs. I'm beginning to think it would be cheaper to buy a new car than all of this sealant.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's up with the knitting...

Last weekend I went to Warsaw and came back with a bag brimming with cotton. Usually I don't knit with any kind of cotton, since it is so hard on my hands, but I have made up my mind--I will have summer tops--and knitting with cotton goes along with that assertion.

Cotton is a denser fiber than wool (this I say with no actual knowledge at all) and when you spin it, it's as if the fiber goes tight and hard instead of light and fluffy. The weight of it when it gets wet causes it to stretch, and because it is cotton, it doesn't bounce back to what it was before.

Also, it makes my hands cramp up as I knit with it, particularly my right pinkie finger. I had no idea this finger was in any way involved in knitting, or that it would be damaged by knitting with cotton, linen, silk, or the like, but there you go.

However, the Rowan Pure Life that I selected for this project (the Summer Scabbard by Stitch Diva) is spun in such a way that it does spring back a little. And if the gauge swatch is any indication, there won't be very much pain involved in the knitting of it.

Now, though, I have found that I am missing the two needles that I need to get started. And I won't be able to get up to Warsaw myself unless I bend the time space continuum and make the conference happen on the same day as my normal weekend. I don't get a weekend this week.

So I am thinking I will zip up to Warsaw on Thursday morning, waking with the sun and traveling across the country with a distinct schedule, not to be varied from.

We'll see.

Meanwhile, I reached the bodice of the Lotus Blossom Tank (Tee, in my case). And as I did so, I discovered that the medium size (which I am knitting to avoid feeling fat or uncomfortable with a shirt underneath it) works perfectly until the bodice. So I tore it out to the decrease and put it on a size smaller needles. Two of them, because the only circulars I had were around 20" not 32" or 40" which would actually have worked.

Which is why I am buying more needles, in the first place.

And so, I decreased down to the size small for the bodice, because I am a size small up top, as my friends know.

Well, I knit on the two circs for a few rows, then as I transitioned into the bodice, I switched back to the larger needle. Because I just could not knit the other way, and the yarn didn't look as well on smaller ones.

We'll see if it works.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Yell

Jennifer knows this story, but it is a good one, so it will be told.

Once upon a time (okay, Wednesday) when sitting at my chair at the Children's circulation desk, a funny thing happened.

Maybe the cause was predictable. But my response was not. In fact, it only has one precendent in my lifetime that I am aware of.

I was riding the bus when it happened the first time. A poor girl had been tormented when I was riding the bus everyday, but no one stood up for her but me. I then stopped riding the bus when the kids turned on Paul, and I thought everyone would have grown out of it by the time I sat back down on the green plastic-made-to-look-like-leather seat.

As usual, Shawn was making sexist comments, and being generally loud. But there were several other kids that had joined him in the back. Including one of Paul's friends from kindergarten that he wasn't so close to anymore, and some kids from my church.

All of them were being very hateful toward poor Heather. Then they started throwing food at her and calling her a pig, and I had seen enough. I stood up and shouted at them all, yelling a powerful yell that forced complete silence on the bus, even though yelling was normal.

My yelling wasn't.

I shocked the whole bus. David, Paul's friend, was so surprised that he became kind and polite, at least around me.

Shawn was so shocked he never spoke to me again.

Kyle was terrified I would tell his parents. And I did (I used to baby sit this kid--he knew better).

And the bus driver, Debbie, was so shocked she tried to yell at me for yelling at them. Instead, she recieved my wrath. I told her that her job was more than just driving. Her job was to shut up mean kids or kick them off the bus. And she wasn't doing it, or she was just very bad at it, and that she needed to decide which option it was.

She threatened to kick me off the bus, I told her I wasn't her problem.

I never rode the bus again. What I did do, was write Chuck Pavey a nice letter telling him bullying was a real problem on our buses, and that he ought to do something about it.

This time was much less dramatic. I heard a kid telling another kid using bad language toward another kid, that kid responding in kind, and tempers flaring. So I stood up (seems like that's necessary for me in such instances) and told them all that if they wanted to stay in the library, that they would treat each other, other younger children and parents, and the librarians with respect or they could all find another place to spend time after school.

One tried to interrupt, but I told him to be quiet or get out.

You get to kick obnoxious kids out when you work in a library. It's a perk.

I did not know where the yell came from. I sat back down as the other children went back to their Yu-Gi-Oh game (I guessed on that spelling) or computers.

Later, I went back into the office and April and Nancy looked up at me, beaming.

"What?" I asked, laughing, "What's wrong with me?" I assumed there was some smear of something on me, or that I was otherwise looking freakish.

They told me, alternating between them, that they had heard my yell. That it had included all the right information--I was in charge, staying was a privaledge I could revoke, and that they should respect each other--and that it had been assertive and good. They had been suprised to hear it.

"It was a good yell," they said.

"I didn't know I could do that," I said.

"You sounded like a natural," they replied. "We knew you had it in you."

And you know, I am kind of proud of myself about the whole ordeal. Yelling kind of feels good, and I don't have to cry afterward, apparently, when I shout at nasty, stinky, rude kids.

In which I sense something bad is about to happen...

In the past two days I have checked six books out of the library. The only reason this number was not seven instead was that the seventh book I plan to read had not yet been processed completely and readied for check out.

I truly and absolutely believe that I can read all these books within the time limit the library sets--21 days--for borrowers to keep books.

However, during this time period, I know that more books that I have ordered will continue to arrive faster and faster, as I order more, and I will end up checking out more books.

There is only a set time when I can read, in between the whole driving to work, being at work, and being tired from work stages. In this time I must read these books, and the one Jen lent me that she thinks is fantastic.

I am picturing a stack of books, growing and growing with each passing day, next to the pile of yarn (rapidly becoming actual stash) growing ever larger. I will spend my time off as I like to--with friends--and these piles will grow and grow until they can never be defeated and I will have to live with the knowledge that I have books and no time to read them, yarn and no time to knit it.

That could kill me.

I have decided to keep this under control.

I will make a list of books I want to read. I will read only the ones I must read, and save the others for a time in my life when there is less to worry about (the years of descent into senility I like to call retirement). Meanwhile, I will knit like a fiend and convert from a process knitter into a product knitter so I can conquer the stash as it enters the house because I have no where to store it but my floor and that is cluttered with books.

And laundry. Did I mention the washing machine is making a grinding noise and pushing itself across the basement floor--and therefore is unusable?

My system isn't going to work. I know it isn't. I will have to give away personal possessions and make a place for the stash. I will have to become a hermit so I can read John Green books while keeping up with the new ones.

So if you don't see me, now you know why. Feel free to abduct me (this is for those of you who know me and where I live--the rest of you shouldn't plan any abductions because that would be a federal offence and since I won't know you when you show up you could end up in jail or something) and take me somewhere nice for food and outside entertainment. I will need it soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

So tired, tired of waiting...

Why do I have to work?

Yeah, I know. It's the whole having money thing. And the whole student loan thing, the car thing, and the health insurance thing. Not to mention the whole yarn thing, which is a big Thing, and deserves capitalization.

So yes, that was a rhetorical question.

The thing is, I am sitting here, at work, as the days of the week creep on toward the weekend. And I am thinking...there is yarn in Warsaw.

I should go to Warsaw.

I should go to Warsaw--and get the yarn.

Then the yarn will be here.

And I will be here.

So the yarn and I will be in the same place.

At the same time.

With needles.

And I already have the pattern. So there's that too.

If all of those things are here, then the sweater will be too. And I can knit. Remember?

So how about Warsaw?

And then I have to remind myself, JOB! Laura cannot go to Warsaw today, nor can she go tomorrow, because she has to buy pencils in gross to give away to teenagers as they read books, several months from now.

She must cut little scraps of green paper very carefully to make it look like overgrown grass, then curl it a bit to make the grass look three-dimensional.

She must also make nice with people, even when their children are obnoxious and they come in three minutes until closing. She must make nice even if their children sometimes urinate within the building, and she must make nice even when they are extremely stupid.

Laura also must make nice when all of those things are wrapped up into several human packages and united as one family, inseparable from each other except for when the child is urinating, pulling books/movies from shelves, or running upstairs with an encyclopedia. Or yelling.

She must do all of those things for the yarn. But also for the loans, car, and health insurance thing. And so she can spend time/money with friends. Because that's fun.

But sometimes, when there is good yarn, and I know it...I don't want to.

I want to get paid for doing the yarn thing. Or the blog thing. Or, preferably, both at the same time. Can that happen?

How does that happen?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A decision!

Sitting here on the recliner at Jen's, after having been paid money, from my job, I have made a decision regarding the knitting of various summer sweaters.

I have chosen to use the Paton's Grace to knit Pioneer from the Spring 2009 issue of Knitty Magazine.

I have also chosen to knit Summer Scabbard with an as-yet-unpurchased yarn. I will buy said yarn on Saturday at The Shuttle Shop in Warsaw. So, Kathy, get ready for me. I am coming with money in my hand. Get out the DK weight! It's impulse buy time.

Am I coming or going?

I think I've finally figured it out.

The mystery of the ages, the question that I have asked for so long, I know longer know from whence the question first came. From the dark disquiet of my clouded mind, it emerged, bringing with it the misery and confusion the lack of answer brings.

What the heck am I going to do with this yarn.

It's fine yarn, peachy even. There's nothing overtly wrong with it, except for the fact I don't know how much is really in there.

This yarn found it's way into my possession last year, when the sweater Mom was making me out of it (Paton's Grace) got frogged when she realized how crappy it looked--her words not mine. I would have been happy with it as it was. But she wouldn't finish it and I couldn't because my gauge and hers are so disparate and I think I get a gold star for spelling that word right the first time.

So I tried to make a cami out of it, knowing even as I knit the petite leaves along the bottom that I would never wear said cami. So it, too, was frogged.

Believe it or not, the term "frogged" always is read as a misspelling by the spell check function. No Knitters must work at Blogger. Or else they are quiet people and don't make a fuss. Although I always thought we were pretty enthusiastic...

Anyway. The cami was frogged, the yarn went back into the aforementioned basket, and summer turned to fall, then winter and now spring.

So then I thought I would knit Pioneer from the Spring 2009 Knitty Magazine.

But that didn't end up happening for long enough that when I saw this pattern, the Summer Scabbard from Stitch Diva. Then I checked my e-mail.

And I decided I wanted a different yarn, a new bag of sweater yarn to be purchased this weekend, perhaps, at a yarn store that I can go to, to fill my time before my evening with Jen and Becky (we can only hope).

So that left me wanting very much to have new yarn, compulsion I cannot and will not control.

So Summer Scabbard is to be knitted with a different, new sort of yarn, and I have gone back to deciding on Pioneer for the green cotton.

But then I thought--hey, there's a cute sweater that has a bit of ornamentation I could pull off in the Summer 2006 Interweave. That's the Bonita Shirt.

Bonita or Pioneer?

Both would work, both would be pretty, and I kind of want them both, now. Not to mention the whole Summer Scabbard conflict. Do I need new yarn? Is the old yarn cursed? Is that why every pattern I try work?

Maybe not.

But anyway, I am getting the new yarn. Because. Shut up--Don't look at me!

Anyway, I want opinions.

Do I choose:

(a) Knit the Pioneer with my Paton's Grace

(b) Knit Bonita with my Paton's Grace

(c) Knit neither shirt with the Paton's Grace and instead purchase yarn for Pioneer, Bonita, and the Summer Scabbard--although not all at the same time. That would be excessive

Let me know what you think...



Summer Scabbard

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Stupid Books

I read Twilight. I didn't want to, I tried to stop, but here I am today having read all four books, seen the movie, and purchased the soundtrack (which I defend; there were some good songs on there).

However, as I read the book, I came up with some criticisms that I maintain, despite popular support of the series and the waves of rage I am met with when I try to explain what is totally, horribly, wrong with them.

1. Bella, intended to be an Everywoman, is a weak, sad watercolor of a character, barely even one-dimensional. Her character is not developed at all, except to tell us that she is self-sacrificing in book one, something that is contradicted in all following books(self-centered is more likely).

2. There is really not a plot at all, just a hodge-podge of events with little relation to each other, thrown together in what I believe is the order Meyer thought of them, then published.

3. Without any sign of literary depth, the books tend to be carbon copies of Wuthering Heights, except that Kathy (Bella) ends up with Heathcliff (Edward) instead of Edgar(Jacob). Oh, and there are little bits of Romeo and Juliet thrown in for good measure, just to keep the vibe of star-crossed lovers and the whole fated to be apart thing.

If you want to read Wuthering Heights, just read Wuthering Heights. Don't read someone else's weak copy of it. Honestly. There are even dumbed down versions if you can't read the original text.

4. Bella lives only for Edward, there is no other purpose to her life, and she is miserable and near death without him. She would give up every part of her life to be with him. That is kind of sick. In fact, that is the kind of relationship your parents should intervene in, and Bella's dad does a pretty pathetic job trying.

5. Did I mention Bella using Jacob like a human electric blanket, only to drop him the second Edward looks her way? In my world, that is bad form.

6. How about Bella dropping all her friends? That's pretty bad too, especially when she lets a man come in and rule her whole life, or at least fill her whole life. Even when you are dating the best person on Earth, you still need something of your own or you lose your identity. And that's bad, right? I thought so.

7. And they're so bad! Horrible, terribly written books. My friend Rachael mentioned they would have made good first drafts. She doesn't have any idea how right she is.

8. There are whole aisles of Twilight merchandise in stores everywhere. Look on Facebook--see how much Twilight flair there is? And all the Hot Topic stuff, you would not believe it all. So, basically, I know there will be more books. Maybe about Bella's daughter (what a stupid (pronounced here as "stoooopid") name, I am not even writing it here. Goodness gracious). And they will be written and published no matter how horrid or unnecessary they are, just because they will make money. And judging from all the merchandising, that is the goal here.

9. And, I say again, horrible writing. Really.

10. The writing. Come on. Take one lit class, please. You'll see what I'm talking about.

I am not alone, either. Jennifer and I have had this rant a thousand times at least, and today I found the following site that agrees with me totally even though I think Jen and I phrased it better over many months of discussion and much better than I have written it out here, as I was looking for blogs and other resources I could use to find good teen literature that I could then order and read and try to force others to read. Take a look at Misogyny in Popular Teen Literature? which I think should lose the question mark.

I don't necessarily believe Edward and the other men in the novel are horrid people, but I do believe that the relationship is pretty skewed, and the writer of this piece has some good points we need to address. I think the writer perhaps neglects Bella's culpability and her mistreatment of others in her attempt to prove that male influences in the novels are all detrimental to Bella. Maybe Bella is detrimental to them, too.

Certainly she is.

She is a jerk, and a user, and the only reason she gets a break in the post I reference is that she is a woman. I don't think she deserves a break. And I think Bella's pretty abusive to Edward too. Not to mention poor Jacob. And her parents.

All that being said, I am very thankful that these books have gotten people reading at all. Goodness knows, I have spent most of my life trying to convince people to read, and if it takes utter literary stupidity to get them to buy or borrow a book, then I will let them read the stupidity and be done with it. Indeed, I will even read the stupidity myself, in order to recommend other books to readers who come to me begging for more. Only I will then push them toward better books that are still easy reads, so they will not be put off by other books and stay stuck on simple series books.

But I am losing patience with Twilight. More every day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

In which Laura takes another step down the stairs into the pit of insanity...

I really respect people who manage to blog, and to blog well, every day. I am not really one of them, I don't think, so it's really neat to read writing from the good ones.

So Laura, with her periodic blogging, has now been saddled with not just her own blog--which I love and would not want to change--but with another as well, a blog that is actually "work" that I must keep up Or Else.

As I try to keep that blog going, keep it exciting, and fill it with at least one post a week, I find myself subtracting from the amount of time I spend focused on coming up with really good ideas for this one. I want to make this blog a fun, interesting read, and I am left torn between telling myself it is okay and that I can go back and forth without losing blog quality, or just pouring all my energy into one blog or the other and dealing with the withdrawal from the one that would suffer.

I don't want to make either one suck. I want them both good. But I just don't have the kind of brain that will let me pull that off. It is depressing.

Please bear with me.

Meanwhile, I am awake each day at six in the morning with startling regularity, something that leads me to believe that my days of sleeping in and staying in pajamas as I knit all day are, perhaps, at an end...those were some good weekends. I don't want them to be over for life. I need to find a way to balance my extreme laziness with my work ethic. This might be impossible.

I may just end up being responsible. Think of how my knitting will suffer? When I can't be a Nancy Bush/Stephanie Pearl McPhee junkie because I have work and friends that may want to see me some time this year and I should play with my dog because I don't want her heart to break, and by the way, there is a Star Trek movie that I will die if I can't see on opening weekend.


Meanwhile I am always hungry.

Did I mention that?

I get hungry five minutes after I eat, and we can't snack at the desk unless we want told off, and I am hungry, very hungry, most of the time.

I am hungry at nine thirty almost every morning, because I ate at six and that is all the time it takes. I let my stomach growl for a few hours, then eat at noon or one, depending on who I'm working with, then eat and am hungry in a couple hours.

And did I mention no pop machine in the building?

This means if I want to drink water that hasn't been chlorinated, I have to bring it in, and I work in a library where spillage is considered a problem.

And I am a klutz. I fall all the time, sometimes with things in my hand. I also spill coffees almost on my laptop, and I value that thing big time, so my spillage almost damaging that might be evidence that I could potentially spill something else on something I value less--this time for real. I could short out a computer or maybe ruin book or books, causing me to have a crisis of faith because all books are holy, except the really boring ones.

And those still need to be kept pristine, because they are books.

Meanwhile, I am ordering books for our YA department, but we aren't supposed to order hardcovers for there. But all the books I want are coming out in hardcover, and I am not used to waiting. I am used to buying books when I want them, and I am having a hard time reading all the descriptions and reviews and not going to the stores and buying the books in hardcover for myself as I wait for them to come out in hardcover to buy for the library.

I love books.

But my shelf is full and I shouldn't impulse-buy books when I am reading one for Jen right now so we can talk about it. And she knows good books, so it is bound to be as awesome as I think it will be. So buying myself a random teenage book, like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, just because I want to see how bad it is, get angry, and blog about it, is inadvisable.

Deep breath.

Then there is the fact I have health insurance.

This, to most people, would be a good thing and it is for me too, but then there is the whole issue of my being used to not having the ability to go out and visit a medical professional, and my being able to now is making me want to for various reasons (contacts, anyone?) and so I now have to find a window in my schedule to visit my eye doctor or maybe a dermatologist because I am sick of my skin and want it fixed for good.

And I have to force myself to stop worrying about being struck with an illness, because that won't be a problem anymore and I'm not ready to relax about that yet.

In short, this new job is teaching me how neurotic I really am. How I can sit all day long cutting out butterflies that I traced from a children's book and blew up on the copy machine. Then I take tissue and place it between two butterflies of the same color with pipe cleaners as antennae, ending up with a beautiful stained-glass-esque butterfly. Or all the time I spent gluing pieces of tissue to a Styrofoam ball in order to create the head of my caterpillar or all the balloons I took the tops of to cover other, smaller, balls in order to create a colorful caterpillar body. Or the time I spent manually operating the hot glue gun to assemble said caterpillar and attach hooks by which to hang it from the ceiling to make this place look like spring.

This whole experience taught my that my mother's craftiness (not the evil kind, the creative kind) has left me brainwashed and eager to make beautiful or cute-sy things in large numbers.

And I am still picking Elmer's glue from my skin, in places it shouldn't have ended up (seriously, my elbow?) and this has been days and I have bathed several times.

Someone tell me I'm not going to lose it, here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This is the Childrens' Room, for crying out loud!

Oh, dear goodness.

Jennifer will laugh at me when I tell the world what happened today, but that is because she expects the worst. She will tell me that this event can be chalked up to "horny teenage boys" and left at that. That they are perverted and disgusting and we should expect nothing more from them.

But I do expect more. I expect all of humanity to live up to a certain standard, to behave with some level of decorum befitting a civilized society. I am disappointed in people each time they fall below this mark.

Disappointed, but not surprised.

Today, as young men (possibly over the age limit for our computers, but you never can tell--puberty makes some kids look like grown men overnight) scribbled their names on the list and settled down at the computers, I knew something was wrong.

Maybe it was the over sized t-shirt with the sleeves cut off so the whole side of the shirt was open. Maybe it was the eyebrow piercing and the gangsta' wanna-be clothing the other boy (man?) wore. Or maybe it was just their attitudes.

I knew that those two kids/teens would be looking at porn in one of their basements if they had a computer between them. But neither family did.

Fortunately for us, the library blocks many of the horrific websites, with only a hiccup once and a while which leads to us barring boys for looking at gay porn or something even worse, involving clowns or stuffed animals.

These boys went to look at cars. I was making butterflies for the windows, and each time they mentioned how great the car was, I knew they were using it as code talk for, "Look at that girl's fill-in-the-blanks."

Then I walked by and found the two of them, well, maybe just one of them, had appalling body odor.

This makes them on the lowest tier of humanity to me, because (as Gran always said) "Soap is cheap." You might end your bath smelling like an evergreen car freshener, but you have washed. That is important.

I then noticed they were on Myspace, clicking on a girl's breasts, as if to do something dirty (although not in person, which would be worse).

I walked away. I put some things back in the craft room. I came back out. They were on Facebook looking at girls in bikinis. I know.

Firstly, they are in a place where kids play and look at books with their mommy and daddy or grandma and grandpa. Secondly, they are clicking on anatomical parts and laughing and making inappropriate (if coded) comments in front of two young women, in full earshot, as if by working in a library we lose the ability to hear and understand, or basic deductive skills.

So I sent them away, following in their wake with the air freshener spray, which Jen knows I am allergic to, and how allergic I am to it.

My using it shows you how bad the odor was.

And now they are gone, curse them both, and may they never return. Because if they do, and they try that again, they will not be using these computers again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Post About Jennifer

Jennifer cracks me up.

It might be that she says what she's feeling without freaking out about what people will think about it. It might be just the way she says things. I'm not really sure.

What I do know is that sometimes she just has me in hysterics and has little to no idea why.

Yesterday, we were sitting at Culver's, talking about politics and how some people know nothing and think they know everything, how some people know everything and people who know nothing jump down their throats because they know the people who know will defend themselves and its easier just to leave propaganda shoved in their mailbox or abandoned in the teacher's lounge, and how other people just hate everyone who disagrees with them, regardless.

So, invariably, our families were discussed, and, finally, Jennifer summed up our conversation with the following, "When something is wrong and we know its wrong...why should we have to sit and listen to stupid people spout their crap?!"

I responded with hysterical laughter, my eyes tearing as Jennifer, who was utterly serious about the whole thing, looked on confused at why I would find what she said so funny. Especially when she meant it. And Jen, I totally agree with you. It was just the phrasing, you see.

And I have not been able to recount that story without laughing again, so hard that my dog wondered what the heck my problem was, and why I was crying.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Blog For Jennifer

Poor Jen needs entertainment. Spring Break was just too boring for her, all the free time and table building was enough to drive her crazy. Not to mention all her family time, which might lead to an interesting conversation or two for us, at some point in the future.

Jen would be fascinated to know that I have heard tell that my my new sweater from The Loft, which I bought when we were together on Friday afternoon in Fort Wayne, has arrived unscathed at my house. I have yet to see it, but Mom tells me the package looks as if it had been run over by a truck, complete with wheel imprints and tread marks.

Saturday Rachael and I went on a grand expedition to the southern portion of our fair (as in mediocre or beautiful? You decide) state and visited a Carmel yarn store preparing to close its doors, then we veered off to get nibbled by alpaca at a fiber fair in Greencastle. Sweater yarn and drop spindle, respectively.

Now I have to figure out how to spin, again.

Sunday we planned to meet G&G Beutler for dinner, only to have them call and cancel first thing that morning. We went to church, then had a crappy McDonald's lunch, stopped at the grocery, then home, where we found that Dad had answered the phone and his parents had tried to un-cancel our festivities. Dad, enraged that I had turned my phone to silent for his sermon, decided to fume for the remainder of the evening.

I love my family, really.

In other news, I got my car back from Morris, only to find that after 3 months of sitting, unused, in the freezing outdoors, the windshield seal had completely failed right above the driver's seat (again). I learned this Monday, by opening the door and finding a puddle where my rear was supposed to go. Lovingly, Mom had cleaned out my car for me. Removing The Towel, designed to protect my posterior in such cases.

I rode home sitting on a chunk of cardboard from my trunk Dad used the last time he wired up my muffler, after my college graduation.

Now I am driving Mom's car again, as it is raining and I have yet to re-seal the windshield. I have the gunk, though, and will do it soon.

There you go, Jen. My life, in a nutshell. Except for how I did the chicken dance for pre-schoolers, badly. And the part about meeting the Library Board and seeing if they "officially" hire me. Tonight.

Here, look at some alpaca!

Rachael's sweater very tasty...

Because shepherds need to have fun too.

I found this at work this morning and think it is fantastic and hilarious. Imagine how amazing the sheep dogs had to have been to pull this kind of thing off?

@ Yahoo! Video

I hope you all enjoy it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Some Random Thoughts

1. They should allow you to buy all the pieces of Chex Mix separately as well as together, since only some of the pieces are good and I only end up eating certain ones and then saving the half-empty bag until all the rest is really stale and gross, then throwing it away.

2. The nice thing about working in a library is that you get to read all the new books before they get shelved out where other people can check them out. So you get first pick.

3. It is necessary to have one pair of dress pants in khaki or brown, in order for you to use your entire wardrobe, not just parts of it, when working in an office.

4. My eyes are kind of dry.

5. Meat-grinders should be unplugged before you clean them.

6. The trains are loud, as they are right next to the back doors.

7. I should not, perhaps, eat custard at Culvers for lunch every day.

8. There is a stuffed animal--a gray squirrel--staring directly at me as I write this, and it is becoming creepy.

9. If I Stay is a magnificent novel, and it should get some critical acclaim, if it hasn't already.

10. There is a stuffed brown squirrel staring at me too.

11. My finger itches.

12. Why is it that I can be in a room filled with books and bored at the same time?

13. I don't want to cut out any more words for magnetic poetry, but I will when I have finished this.

14. Kylie is on Facebook right now, eating the aforementioned Chex Mix.

15. I shouldn't eat any Chex Mix, as I have already had custard today. And yesterday.

16. I wonder if the Yarn Harlot has posted another blog?

17. I would have more to say if I had that much time to knit, or think about knitting.

18. I have to call Paul back, but I don't want to because that means I will have to drive to North Manchester and take him home for the long weekend. I hate picking him up from campus. It is inconvenient.

19. I would rather just eat more custard. Or drive to North Manchester, eat soup, then get him. But the KenapocoMocha will be closed by the time I get there.

20. The Soup Lady at the KenapocoMocha is a goddess, and statues should be erected in her honor.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Might Have Been Roadkill, If I Hadn't Been Paying Attention Yesterday

Yesterday I left work, started driving, and was violently disgusted with the road construction I faced leaving downtown Wabash. It is a mess. There is one good road to take a person from the Walmart/Kroger/Fastfood Corridor down to the Courthouse, and a chunk of it is no longer there.

So you, theoretically, have to weave in and out of tiny residential streets, school zones, and stop at many, many signs before you reach the road you want again. Alternativly, you can drive miles out of your way just to take an angling road through the town until it eventually reaches the downtown. This takes a lot longer than the first route, and is, of course, the one recommended by the highway department.

Yesterday I had endured enough, so I left Wabash via Stitt Street and drove until I hit 24, then drove toward County Line Road, and from there, went home.

This was longer than I wanted it to be, but I didn't really care at that point, I just had to not stop so many times.

So as I drove down the tiny county roads, I saw freaky black shapes in sillouette rapidly approaching as I obeyed all traffic rules and speed limits.

I assumed, naturally, that they were turkey vultures, the most disgusting birds in existance. But if they had been turkey vultures, they wouldn't have been walking so weird.

They were real turkeys. Wild turkeys, walking around on the road like the stupid birds they are.

And they are stupid, though slightly smarter than their domesticated counterparts.

I slowed down, inching forward so as not to scare them away. Then, at a complete stop, I looked out at the birds as the male flared out his tail feather things and walking around.

So like a dork, I pulled out my camera, got the car a bit closer, and started taking pictures. I figured I would do better without a window, so I rolled down the passenger one, crawled over the seat and hung my body out, and took lots of pictures of them while the male turkey with his two lady friends, told me off with his gobbles.

I got cursed at by a bird. A giant, colorful bird.

When you see them up close, you understand why Ben Franklin wanted them to be our national bird. They are kind of cool.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

National Poetry Month

I am not so big on poetry. I like a few poets, but usually just a few of their poems (that being so rare, I like to pretend that means I like the poet themselves too).

I try really hard to enjoy poetry whenever I cross paths with it, because I know that I ought to be more enthusiastic about it than I am (it all goes back to that English major thing).

But now I work at a library and we do things for special literary months like this one, so I decided I ought to make some kind of fuss about this whole thing.

Did I mention I only like a handful of poems? Right now the count is under five.

Since I couldn't really do a poet spotlight where I proclaim one poet worthy of our celebration when I disagree for whatever reason, like Emily Dickinson (emo) or Poe (chronically depressed) or Wordsworth (sappy) or one of our many modern poets (boring/pointless/still depressing/overtly sexual) or even Coleridge (opium addict), I decided to make my prey (the young adults of Wabash) do it themselves.

I would foray into magnetic poetry.

Now, since we don't have a fridge big enough or any kind of chalkboard setup, I would have to get creative.

The little board we do have, I thought, was covered in some kind of fabric that would allow Velcro adhesion, I would do words and put Velcro on the back so you could still attach it, but move it later.

I will come back to that.

Then I decided it was important that I get words. I don't write poems--what kind of words do you use and how many come in a package of Magnetic Poetry? Any words wouldn't do it. I had to have poetry words. And not dirty ones, there are teenagers in this library that watch Family Guy and repeat what they hear.

So I went searching for word lists and found a few. One was the most commonly used words in the English language--can't go wrong there. Another was something a teacher had come up with that I thought might help (it didn't--too many little kid words like dinosaur and bubblegum) and another was just a list of 1000 words commonly used in our language. Although many of them were misspelled so I don't know how much of an authority that makes the person who wrote it up.

Mere copying/pasting of these words wouldn't work, since the lists were in Adobe PDF format and unchangeable, and they wouldn't allow the copy/paste function to occur.

So I printed the lists and set out crossing out repeated words and taking out words that could be misconstrued as sexual by preteen and teenage (boys) poets.

Then I started typing.

Meanwhile, April, a fellow library employee here in the Children's Room, asked me how I intended to stick the words onto the board. "Velcro," I said. "Yeah," she said, "But that board is cork."

I told her I thought not, then went to check and found that I had hallucinated a cloth covering for the board that did not exist. So now I have to go find felt at Walmart and cover one side of the board, pinning then stapling the felt to the surface of the board so the words will stick.

This is not mentioning the whole need I have to finish typing, print, laminate, and cut out words for the board. I will be lucky to get it done this week.

Meanwhile, the month of April won't last forever, even if I ask it to, and I wouldn't know who to ask about it anyway. Maybe Mom was right to ask me a billion times if she could help. Or not.

I think I need a shorter word list.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why I Want To Kick My Father, Part 1

I think everyone wants to hurl their parents into a lake at one point or other, and my desire to do so to my father is compounded by the fact that he once did so to me, on purpose, because he thought it was funny.

Okay, so not a lake. It was a pond. The kind full of little fish and their poo, with scum on the top but not the kind that is green, just scum, with water that smells nasty all the time.

We were about to go to dinner, and we had to wait while I stripped down completely, locked in a bathroom and wrapped in a big fluffy guest towel while Mom used Grandma B's washer and dryer to try and salvage my clothing. Meanwhile, I had to wait in the bathroom until the clothes were dry while my cousins (who had flown in from Colorado for the fist time in ages) played with my brother and not me. I was a tween at the time, young enough to want play still.

But that is not why I want to kick him right now. I'm saving something special to repay him for that.

I want to kick him for my fancy cookies, the Sausalito kind that I have mentioned before. Milk chocolate macadamia nut ones.

I have accepted the fact that he will eat them, though I was the one who bought them. I just hid them, and they escaped notice.

But now his food-stealing behavior has developed past the occasional nibble and delved into the stage where whole meals go missing because Dad has gone into the fridge every five minutes or so all night long, taking a bite sized bit or two, and walking away. Because that is not snacking, or having a whole meal. No, that is nibbling and nibbling doesn't make you fat.

According to Dad.

First half a pizza disappeared. My pizza that I would have shared but I still wanted. I could have made do with a slice, maybe two, and still been happy.

Then I noticed I was out of special cookies. He had found the hiding place.

Finally, Mom and I had gone out to Culver's for dinner and I had gotten chicken. I ate some, and saved the rest.

Dad came home holding a giant Tupperware thing full of sandwiches but wanted other food, so Mom told him to eat some of the Culver's. I called out, "But not the chicken!"

And he came around the corner moments later gnawing on my chicken. He insisted he hadn't heard me. But he had. He responded to me. So either he ignored me, or he forgot a moment later in a strike of encroaching senility.

It could reasonably have been either.

I want my chicken, and I don't want to have to put a mini-fridge in my room to protect food from him. Do I have to label things now? I hope not.

If I were him I would start worrying about the safety of my shrill little Irish whistles.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Laura's Busy Saturday

Last night I learned that Mom had made separate plans with Paul and I, in an effort to please us both. This meant that we each thought we were going to a different place. I thought I was going to Warsaw to The Shuttle Shop to buy Malabrigo sock yarn finally as it arrived from Uruguay the previous Saturday.

Paul thought we were all going to Kokomo, so he could potentially buy a game he didn't even know if he could find in that town, as it was for the original Playstation not the PS2 or PS3. That's been a while.

Now, if I had my car, this wouldn't be a problem, but my car has been at Car Hospital for a few months. So I had to wake up early instead of sleeping in, drive to Warsaw on my own, since the store would (I assumed) be closed next weekend for the holiday. Because Mom couldn't very well travel to Warsaw and Kokomo (although it was assumed I would) I went alone.

And I ran into the group that meets to knit there once a month on the month's first Saturday. And there was Jeanne (from the last post's comments) who hooked me up with the right yarn for La Digitessa when I thought I wouldn't find it for months because she is a Master Enabler, along with my friend Rachael who gets me to travel to various places for yarn and yarn related things.

So I did what any self-respecting Digitessa knitter would do, I pulled up the leg of my jeans and showed off my new socks. I couldn't help it, and I don't think any of them would have wanted me to try.

I then bought Malabrigo sock yarn in a pretty color that reminds me of the violets that grow around my house this time of year. We get so many that it looks like the ground is only violets, in various shades of purple framed with green. I haven't taken pictures yet but Jeanne knows what color it is, she was there, and that is enough for me.

So we knitted for a while, and I passed around Cookie A.'s new book, Sock Innovation so they all could see it.

Then I went home and turned around to go to Kokomo. We went to three gaming stores, finally ending up at Game Exchange which had every system and their corresponding games from the start of home consoles. It was kind of neat, seeing all our old Sega Genesis games and all our cousins' Nintendo stuff working and there for us to buy.

We went home with Paul's new/old Final Fantasy games, and then I turned around and went to Jen's, then back to Kokomo with her for dinner and we hoped a movie, but there wasn't one so we went through the mall for my second time that day and then back to her apartment where I am now using the internet to write this here blog.

I plan on not running around after this, only sleeping and maybe petting Darcy, my poor dog who must be lonely and missing me by now. Poor baby.

I am hoping for less chaos during future weekends. But next week looks to maybe be that busy...

At least I have demands on my time!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finally Finished!

I don't have words for what just occurred here, witnessed by Rachael, in the KenapocoMocha.

It was a momentous event, something that will live on through my life, that I will look back on with joy on my deathbed. Hopefully when that day comes I will be wearing these socks.

Here they are. Witness the glory, the beauty.

And there was much rejoicing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Something to show for my efforts

This is week two at my new job and I am starting to gain some of the confidence I lacked as I first began. I am no longer dreading the moment when I walk in the door, thinking that I am useless and they may just as well have gone on short staffed.

Last week we had Battle of the Books, which left me working what would almost have been considered overtime on my first three days at the library. I was the photographer, something I have no trouble with. I posted the pictures on the internet, gave the camera to the co-worker who knows where it belongs, and breathed a sigh of relief.

I then went downstairs and announced that we needed a press release, as there had been no media coverage of the event at all having worked at a newspaper, at a local newspaper, I knew that they are desperate for anything to print that actually is local and not secretly an ad for something or something they have to pay for. So only extreme ignorance or laziness would keep the papers away.

I hoped for the first one, but assumed it was the second. It was decided (with my urging) that I should be the one to write it, and I did so.

And today the director came downstairs and asked if I was the one who wrote the article. I said I had written the press release and that I didn't know if they had re-written it after. He told me it was very nice.

I had to see this paper.

I ran upstairs (giving him a moment to disappear into his office so he didn't think I was more of a freak than he already does--there was a math incident) and went to the Plain Dealer rack and started searching.

It doesn't matter how many times I have seen my writing published, it never gets old.

There it was, all formatted to fit their page and all. With its pictures that I took myself, with all the kids all lined up the way I told them to. And the director liked it.

I think that was a win. It feels like a win.