Friday, December 28, 2012

Changes ahead . . .

So, 2013 approaches. 

The world didn't end on December 21st, much to everyone's dismay . . . joy? Sometimes, I'm not sure.

Last entry, I promised to fill you in on changes . . . so here it goes:

The hubs is currently in Cali . . . and I'm not . . . .

He's out training for his new position and looking for a place to live. He'll be home in about four weeks for a company meeting and, hopefully, ready for us to move out there.
He called me this afternoon--perkier than I've heard him in a while--to tell me how beautiful San Francisco is, even at night, that he at an awesome sandwich, and that he's going to be in a wedding since one of his pal's groomsmen fell through. Oh, and he found an awesome jacket for the cooler weather we'll be inhabiting . . . and it was half off . . .

Me? I refuse to put on pants.
I'll let you interpret that as you may.

Dinner date the night before he left . . . and before we took down our tree . . . which, FYI, resulted in a  MOUNTAIN of needles and a naked tree. Apparently, it was dead.
And he's adorable and I miss him. Like lots.
He just sent me this in a text . . . Doesn't he look adorable in a tux? And a little like Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords?

My last day at work was December 21 . . . coincidence? Or just the most convenient Friday before Christmas?

We were always under the agreement that it was a temp position, and they weren't expecting me to stay past December, so I requested my last day be the 21st. That Tuesday, they threw me a surprise party. I mean, really--so SWEET. I was shocked. Like I stood there looking around wondering who on earth the cake was for . . . ME!!! It was really, REALLY nice.  I worked at a great place, great people, but, with the move looming and we-don't-know-when, I thought it was best be home on call, getting ready and all that.
I think . . .

And, now, for the big reveal . . . .

My sis-in-law is prego!
This is good news--great news--but shocking. I still haven't fully processed it . . . You see, for the past five years, she has said to everyone, "Oh, no, kids? Nope. Not for like ten years. If ever. Kids? No. Not even. Nope."

Two weeks ago, she texts me asking for a movie night.  She hands me a Christmas gift. "Happy early Christmas!"
I'm confused . . . and wondering if there was a gift exchange that I forgot about . . . and if there's something I have hiding in the bedroom that I could throw in some wrapping paper or a ziplock or something . . . but I say, "Oh . . . thanks!"
I open it, and pull out a little pink box. Confusion--multiplied hundredfold. "Pregnancy tests?"
"Turn it over! Turn it over!"

And this is what I see:

"Wait . . . you're pregnant?"
She nods, clapping.
Commence screaming. And hugging. And jumping around.

She's due in August. "It's the first family birthday in August," she says, because on my in-laws' side, birthdays are a clan affair, and most of theirs are in May. Apparently, her husband has gone into full prego-research mode and is just as excited as he can be.

My mother-in-law is ecstatic. For years, she has been begging her two married children for grandbabies.  The woman loves babies and was DYING to be a grandmother. One day, Julie shows up with a little box and hands it to her dad. Inside, there's a cupcake with a pacifier on top and a note reading, "Something sweet is coming in 2013."
MIL went nuts. Started screaming and hugging (you know, the normal female joyful reaction--we don't just shake hands like guys or anything).  "I thought it'd be Chris and Sarah! I thought it'd be Chris and Sarah! But it's YOU!!! A BABY! OH MY GOSH A BABY!!! A BAAAAABYYYYY!!!! A BABY!"
Apparently, it went on and on like that for a while.

My FIL, Steve, was in shock, but he's excited. Hasn't stopped talking about it at the office (I worked down the hall from him), and he's beaming.

Her grandparents are "over the moon," according to Steve, so happy for a great-grandbaby that's local (the others live in Texas). They all LOVE babies. Like lots. Like don't stop asking people to produce offspring.

I asked her--I had to--later that evening. "Julie, I thought you didn't want to have kids. Every family get-together, all you did was say how much you never wanted kids."
"Well, Mom asked the same thing, and I said, 'You ever think I was lying to surprise you?'"
"Yeah, I've wanted kids for a few months, now, and Ryan decided a month ago that he did, too, and now we're pregnant!"
"Well, congrats! I'm so happy for you!"
And I am. Really :]  
But I don't know if I can ever get used to calling myself an "aunt." Doesn't "Aunt Sarah" sound like someone who sells packaged chocolate chip cookies or something?

Oh, and P.S I hope everyone had a simply FABULOUS CHRISTMAS!! Yaaaaaay!!!
We did. :] 

On to a happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sometimes, you come back to the same old thing

You know, I will spend hours--nay DAYS--tweaking my blog design, and, when I pull it up for my husband and siblings to admire, they look puzzled. "Isn't that they same thing you had last time?"

"No! ... I mean, yeah the background's the same, but I change the font and the header and the layout here and--" I stop talking because their eyes have glazed over in an attempt to sound interested.

"Oh, well, it looks good." Then they walk off.

So I TRY to do things differently. I went all blank and white and sleek and minimalist like all these awesome blogs do, and it just seemed . . . empty . . . so I try a few new things, learn a few new tricks, and it still just didn't feel right. So then I try a new background, and it seems too busy and then--doggone it--the editor freezes and won't let me change a darn thing for two days.

  • FYI -- if the blogger editor every does that to you, save your layout as text in a document (go to TEMPLATE and click EDIT HTML and it brings up a text box), then go back to the TEMPLATE editor and go to a default layout.  It should clear things up. If you just had a minor change to your layout, just plug your saved code back into the EDIT HTML box and then tweak what you need to in the template editor. Or start from scratch, it's your call. 
 I spend forever editing this image, trying to get it the way I'd like . . . but it just didn't seem to work . . . it was too . . . busy  . . . despite being awesome and involving squid, one of my favorite animals . . .

If you think this one looks better . . . let me know . . . I'm quite attached but just not sure it fits . . . plus it took me FOREVER to get the image edited correctly . . .

So, in the end, I tweak and I edit and I search and I plug stuff in and I edit some more and I alter more text and more images in PIXLR (seriously, it's my new favorite online photo editor--LOVE IT). Finally, I look through all the art and pictures and I come back to this one:

And, doggone it . . . it just fits . . .

So, the blog has been evolving in appearance for a month, now . . . . and it looks almost exactly like before . . .  *sigh . . . Well, if it's not broken, don't fix it, right?

Oh, I'm thinking about starting a 30 Day Link-Up with some writing and/or photo prompts.  Thoughts?  I'm considering some sort of "get to know you" prompts. When Chris and I first started dating, we'd exchange emails with all sorts of wacky questions like "if you could create a planet, what would it be?" or "What color would you be and why?" It was loads of fun, and I thought it would be a great way to get to know some more bloggers and help with writers block.
I'd love to get your opinions! Throw them at me!

I have great big news . . . lots of it . . . but I'm saving that for the next post or two, which will hopefully be up right after Christmas :]

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In which I nerdishly rave about one of my all-time favorite books EVER!

In true nerdish fashion, we have tickets to the midnight premier of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  I’m ridiculously excited.  I didn’t do midnight premieres for any of the LOTR films, so this thing—this is huge.  Everyone has SOME book they’d love to see turned into a movie, but this book literally changed my life.  
I remember, as a little kid, dusting my parents’ bookshelves and coming across this large, beautiful, green book with a dragon on the cover.  He was red, with one golden eye glaring out at the world, smoke curling from his nostrils, as he clutched at the mound of gold that was his bed.  I wasn’t allowed to watch movies or read books with magic or dragons, so I would stare at it in wonder before putting it back, wondering why my parents had something “evil” in their bedroom.

Illustration by Michael Hague

Week after week, I dusted, eying the strange book, until finally I pulled it off the shelf and, stealthily, began turning the pages.  Inside were the most beautiful illustrations of a small man with curly hair and stocky fellows with beards. They carried swords, fought wicked goblins, talked with a pale, shriveled thing in caves, soared on eagle wings, wrestled giant spiders, and, finally encountered the great dragon.
I was in awe.
I’d read little snippets, trying to understand the pictures (especially the one of the skinny creature with giant eyes in the cave), then shove the book back on the shelf, terrified of getting caught, wondering if it really was a very bad book. 

Illustration by Michael Hague

The secret picture-gazings became a habit; until, finally, I took the book off the shelf, put it under my arm and carried it away.  I was going to read it, dagnabbit, and no one would stop me.    
I swept away in a world that I knew, then, had always been calling to my heart.  It had sung to me from that dusty bookshelf, forgotten.  Sometimes, you find words that unlock something inside you, something secret even to you.
Illustration by Michael Hague

I’ve read it maybe a dozen times since that first time, thirteen years ago.  I have taken it with me everywhere, like a security blanket, and it has been present for so many life changes.  After my family moved, I sat down on my frameless mattress that was my bed for a week, and I read the book through in a matter of hours, finding comfort in the familiar.  A paperback version traveled with me to Nicaragua, and was lost somehow on the bus taking us home from Miami, after I proved I knew the book so well I could read it upside down. I took my beloved green hardback to college then to London, despite the luggage weight limit—I just couldn’t imagine going to its birthplace without it, without the guarantee that I had something brilliant to read when I was lonely. Finally, I took it out of my parents’ house into my own when I was married.  

Illustration by Michael Hague
 Technically, it’s not “mine.”  It was a Christmas present from my mom to my dad during their early married years.  She thought he had read it, and bought it for him hoping to read it with him.  This is an incredibly sweet offer from my mother, who, until this past year, is such a realist she couldn’t get past the third sentence, in which the hobbit’s glorious, round green door is introduced.  “There aren’t round doors,” she said. “He’s a little person who lives in a hole. No one does that. I just can’t, Sarah. I can’t.”  As it turns out, my father had never read it, and, really, has shown no real interest in reading it, though I get my love for the imaginary from him. I think the LOTR movies’ Ringwraiths put a bad taste in his mouth.
Still, I see it as part of my inheritance. I was the first to read it, after all.  I read it aloud to my little sister at bedtime when she was six.  I will never forget how she ran from her room to my mom’s, begging for a later bedtime so I could read the last chapter to her, then darting across the house, squealing, “SHE SAID YEEES!!!”  I passed it on to my brother, and, from that point on, we were true nerds together, in love with Star Wars and Tolkien.  It led me to one of my great heroes, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the father of the modern fantasy epic, who has so hugely influenced my own writing and creativity. 
One day, I hope to read it to my children—to laugh with them as the dwarves demolish Biblo’s kitchen, to shudder at Gollum’s riddles, to feel the fear, the curiosity, the wonder, the tragedy, and the victory of one small man’s journey from a predictable dud to a wielder of swords and riddles, a legendary hero who changed the world.
I know that there are “greater” books—books upheld by literary scholars, by people far smarter than I am—but this has earned a very special place on my shelf and in my heart.  It opened the world of fantasy for me.  We met in secret, and we fell in love.  “In a whole in the ground, there lived a hobbit,” and the world grew a little bigger, a little brighter.


So, yeah, I'm a little excited.
Just a tiny bit.
And I'm a nerd in love with a book. Yeah . . . . just a tad . . . but, to be fair, I'm in love with lots of books . . . they're just not midnight premiers tomorrow ;]

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Just Around the River Bend!"

My gosh.
It cannot be December.
I won’t let it.

Despite my love of Christmas carols, Christmas trees, and Christmas lights, I will simply not allow it to be December. November’s supposed to be here for three more weeks, I swear. Thanksgiving was NOT a week and a half ago simply because I refuse to believe it.
“Honey, if I let you think that, I’d be allowing you to live in denial,” the hubs said.
“Well, I’m happy here.”
“Oh, good grief.”
Issues? I have them.

But, the truth is, YES, Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope you all had lovely ones. If you don’t celebrate, then I hope you had a lovely third-Thursday-of-November.

Our married Thanksgivings are all lovely clones of each other--lunch with my relatives, dinner with his, all with too much food--Thanksgiving with my parents hasn’t changed at ALL since I was a little kid . . . well, except that one of my aunts has decided to dominate the holiday hostings for the past . . . five years? More? ANYWAYS.

The real adventure happened the next day.
And, no, I’m not talking about shopping.
It would take something masterfully desperate for me to shop Black Friday only because I hate shopping and crowds more than I love deals. The end.

Instead, the hubs and I went kayaking with my fam down Weeki Wachee Springs.

 When I was a kid, this place was famous for mermaids. They had a theme park where you could view these beautiful women with fish tails swimming and dancing. Oh, how desperately I wanted to come face-to-face with my idol, my ambition, as a small child. Mermaids! They do exist! “No, sweetheart, they have air-tubes hidden in their sea shell bras so they can breathe. They’re just ladies in suits, Sarah.”
Thanks, Mom.
Dreams? Shattered. Again.

While the mermaids might still be there, the REAL highlight is the journey down the river/springs. It doesn’t matter that my fairytale dreams no longer live there—this place is heaven. Crystal blue-green waters, shade beneath armies of cypress and oak, and all the swampy wildlife WITHOUT gators and snakes (YAY!). Best part? It's a hot spot for wild manatees. Plus, the weather was PERFECT—mid-seventies with a hint of a breeze. This is Florida at its finest, folks. It doesn’t get much better.
Well, for us, it didn’t.

While most of us were having a grand time, my mom and younger sister shared a kayak, which is often nicknamed "the divorce boat" . . . for reasons none of us understood until these two were teamed up . . . all in good fun, of course . . .
While the rest of us were newbies, Catherine had gone kayaking ONCE. This, naturally, made her a pro, she claimed.
Then she fell getting IN the kayak.
And I, the awkward klutz, did NOT.

No, there’s no healthy sibling rivalry going on here. Why do you ask?
Ok, FINE—Catherine and I, while great buddies, have always been in a bit of competition . . . Mostly because, when she was two, all the boys I had a crush on were already making over her. I am not even kidding.
 “Hi, Kyle!”
 “Huh? Oh, hey, Sarah. CATHERINE!!! What a pretty dress you have on! You’re just so cute! Want a piggy back ride? Who’s the prettiest little redhead, ever?!”
This isn’t an exaggeration. Not even a little. At age TWO, people.

 From that point on, a rivalry was born.

You must imagine my joy as I was dry in my kayak, and she sitting in her bum in the shallows. She clambers into her boat, soaking wet, and exclaims. “Let’s race! I’ll win!”

She didn’t. Not by a long shot.

She blames Mom . . . but all of us know better. For the first hour, you could hear them shouting at each other (not meanly, by any means . . . just the exclamations you might exchange while running into low-hanging branches filled with imaginary spiders). My brother, in the kayak beside ours, just kept chuckling, “Man, I am SO glad I’m not in that boat. SO. GLAD.”

Through the three hour trip, we saw four manatees—three adults and a baby (EEEEEE!!!)—and really had just the best time enjoying nature. Chris and I decided that, if ever we’re back in Florida during the cooler months, we’re renting a kayak and coming back to Weeki Wachee.

You should, too, if you’re ever in town.

My brother, Matt, and the fam's holiday homestay student, Myu.


My fearless navigator!

The gang beached for a snack :]
So, on the drive over, Chris and I stopped at an Albertsons or something to grab water and snacks, and Chris comes out with this pepperoni, cheese, and cracker box. "We can't eat that! we don't have a cooler!"
"It's cool enough outside. It will be fine."
Guess what the best fueling and most popular snack was? Chris's pepperoni, cheese, and cracker box. The man knows.

MANATEE!!!!! This was seriously the coolest. She was almost close enough for you to touch!

Mama and baby :] You can see just how huge they can be. They're not very fast and don't really seem afraid of anything . . . kind of like the watery elephants

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweaters, Wardrobes, Moves, and Tents . . . it's all here, folks . . .

It's actually chilly today.
Well, for here . . . which makes it about sixty degrees.  I think that's like a summer temperature in Canada . . . maybe . . . I have no real idea. The point is that, in Florida, I have an excuse to wear Black Hoodie and not look like an idiot. If I REALLY wanted to, I could probably get away with a scarf, even . . . we only get to wear cold-weather clothes like six days out of the year so we over compensate . . .  that and we're sincerely cold at sixty degrees. Forty degrees just about kills us.
ANYWAYS . . . The point is that I love Black Hoodie. He's my favorite. About six years ago, I found a black hoodie in the lost and found at my theme park job, and, honey, I wore that sucker threadbare until last year. Last year, I bought a replacement . . . and I reiterate: I love Black Hoodie. I just do. Part of the reason I'm excited about moving somewhere that's between 50-70 degrees all year? I get to wear Black Hoodie all the time.
It's the little things, people.

FYI, when the hubs found out my favorite article of clothing was "male," there were almost issues. He got this scary glint in his eye and I worried for the safety of my beloved. I really did.


Along, that same line . . . some days, I just don't care what I look like . . .
I wake up, throw on a tank top and button up a sweater, slip on some flats and foundation, and I go to work. Hair wet, glasses, and no jewelry. I’m hidden most of the day in a corner cubby in the back, I’m tired of the clothes in my closet (THANK YOU, PINTEREST--GAH), and waking up thirty minutes earlier to doll myself up for the gray and maroon walls of my cubby just doesn’t seem worth it. Maintaining the love affair with my mattress, however, is so totally worth feeling homely. I mean, really.


Fellow in a pink button-up shirt came by to poke into every one of our cabinets and deep dark secrets to give us an estimate on the move.
I’ll let that sink in.
First off, this involves a stranger wading through the disaster that is my kitchen cupboard, which all the pots haphazardly stacked and the rice cooker in a compromising position with the Tupperware. Oh, and then our closets. I’m not even going to get into that. It doesn’t matter how much laundry I wash and fold, there are MOUNTAINS to be scaled in my home. And that’s just for two people. Lord only knows how I’ll ever manage more than that.
SOMEONE CAME TO OUR HOUSE TO TALK ABOUT MOVING. Like, “Hey, all this stuff? We’re putting it in a truck and shipping it across the country. When are you leaving? Oh, about three months? Great, we’ll get that estimate for you.”
My mind just exploded, peeps. Like blew up all over my monitor.
The hubs heads out in a little over a month to start training out there (NOOOOO!!!!!) and begin the in-person-no-longer-over-the-computer house hunt.
By February or March, I’ll be joining him . . . That’s three months. THREE. ONE HAND. THIS MANIES! THREE!!!!
I will no longer be a Floridian in three months . . . maybe four. It all depends on the housing search . . . so um . . . fingers crossed, prayers, and all that, yes?

We'll be just an hour and a half south of San Franscisco! SO EXCITED!!!

Speaking of houses . . .

Chris and I were chatting yesterday, and I say, “Honey, we are going to have a place to live, right? I mean, you’re going to find a place?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Because, knowing you, I have this sneaking suspicion I’m going to end up on an acreage living in a cardboard box.”
He turns to me, looking completely aghast and offended. “No, not a box. I have a tent.”
And peeps, I lost it. The combination of his face and the deadpan practicality of it all.
Then, of course, we spent thirty minutes laughing at MY LAUGH (which only makes it worse), because, according to Chris, I sound like some maniacal chipmunk taking over the world.
I’ve been told I laugh like an old-school evil villain, but, when I really get going, it’s the wicked chipmunk that turns to old-man weezing.

It’s not pretty.
Yes . . . kind of exactly . . . yes . . . .

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tweeny Note in Honor of the Closing of the "Saga"

Dear Female Tweens of Today:

In honor of the release of the final piece of the unexplainable cultural phenomenon of the past seven years (good grief, that long?!), I'm going to finally speak my mind (though the fellows of Rifftrax do it SO much better--seriously, I DIED).


I had time to reflect upon my own high school experiences, whether they matched up to dear so-not-dysfunctional-and-bland Bella and Edward's (No, I'm not being sarcastic . . . really . . . you don't believe me? Well, shucks.). Mine didn't. Not even a little. So here, dear tweens (and teens . . . and grown-ups . . .), are my words of advice.

  • Your parents may not be quite as oblivious as dear Charlie Swan. In fact, they will probably know you're hiding your boyfriend in your bedroom. And they won't like it. No sir. And you can totally forget about sneaking off to Italy . . . randomly. Yeah, it's not gonna happen. And if Charlie Swan is your parents' idea of a great role model, please find yourself a new set.
  • Throwing yourself off a cliff will not bring your boyfriend back. Sorry.
  • If you notice some guy glaring at you from across the cafeteria consistently . . . and not like day-dreaming-into-space-and-you-happen-to-be-in-the-way or check-me-out-wink staring, but the "I'm a creeper and thinking nasty, dirty things" staring, RUN. He is not a knight in shining armor. He is, truly, a creeper thinking nasty, dirty things. You can judge a book by it's cover.
  • Also, if he suddenly appears outside your window or inside your bedroom at night, don't swoon over the romantic nature. That's called "stalking" and it's bad. So, in response YOU SCREAM. Then kick him, call the police, and send his skinny creeper tookus to the slammer.
^^^The appropriate response
  • If you find yourself miserable, confused, and obsessive in the relationship, it's probably not helping you out. I don't care how hot the guy is or how fast he runs up a mountain or scales pine trees, he's not good for you. 
  • If your friends keep asking you to do things, participate. Don't sit there like a wall ornament and mope. If all you do is pout and pine, you're not fun to be with, and, eventually, people will stop including you. Unless, that is, you live in the alternative universe of the Lady Meyers, in which the sulk-mistress who obsesses over her boyfriend  is still the most sought-after chick in the entire school.
  • If someone keeps telling you to go away, GO AWAY. If he wants you, he will chase you. If he tells you to leave and you keep following him around, it's a mess. Trust me. Been there, done that, so much unnecessary tension and drama. Turned out he was gay. You never know, ladies. You just never know. 
  • Abstinence is completely and totally worth the wait (I speak from experience, peeps--so awesome) . . . but,  if your lover is like "I can't sleep with you because I'll kill you." Uuuuuh . . . . wait . . . huh??? That's not love and patience that's . . . well . . . I don't even know. Fear? No meaning. No depth. And, fyi, if someone says that, you RUN (are you sensing a theme?)
  • Oh, and P.S. Vampires don't sparkle. The end. That's like taking Rambo's bow and arrow away or stripping Schwartzenegger of his muscles. You just don't. These are viscious undead killing machines . . . let's throw glitter on them! YAY!!!! 
    Yeah, NO. -_-

And I'm hopping off my soap box.
I hope I didn't offend anyone. If you are willing to explain to me the glories of Twilight, please do. I tend to be behind on the times and confused by trends of pop culture. I just don't see it folks. I tried to see it. I really did. I read all four books, even, because people kept telling me they got better . . . and they didn't . . . I can see why they're entertaining and why people like them (they fulfill the fantasy of the all-man--depending on your definition of manhood--seeking after you), but I've never been a romance fan. Not that kind of romance anyways. 

Some people might call me a "hater" but I don't have an issue with the fans. I have an issue with crummy literature that gives young women the wrong impression of what a healthy relationship looks like. I have no beef with you if you enjoy Meyer's quartet (I have several friends who do), but it's just not my thing.  I can have an opinion, right? Maybe just a little one? Please?

That being said, I leave you with the video that has brought me oh so much joy


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Collection of Random Ramblings . . .

Because, you see, I can't think straight any more. Thoughts dark in an out of my head like flashing strobe lights, and I just have trouble forming coherent sentences any more. The hubs blames the cubicle. I'm inclined to agree.
ANYWAYS . . . .
1.       I actually get really, REALLY cranky when I’m hungry.  I didn’t realize how bad it was before until I went through a werewolf transformation this weekend. . .
After Dinner: By Jove, what a spectacular evening we’re having! How on earth did all my dishes break? Oh well, no matter. Did you know I love you? Because I do, ole chap! You’re a dandy! Now, where are little furry creatures so I might snuggle them to bits?!
And, yes, I TOTALLY sound like a pompous English gentlemen.
Exactly, in fact.
Or not at all.


2.       I think my puppy is a hussy.
Not even kidding . . . even though all her lady bits were removed . . .
Here's the thing: she absolutely does everything in her power to turn all of the hubs' attentino from me to herself.
For example: Chris and I are watching TV. I need a drink, so I stand up and walk to the kitchen, not ten feet away. I turn around, and my dog is IN MY SPOT lounging all over MY husband, all “Paint me like one of your French girls! . . . and while you’re at it, scratch my belly.”
While making eye contact with me all, “Is this your seat? Too bad!”

Shameless little floozy.
This means war, you know. And I bloody feed you.

If it had only happened once, it would be funny, but this sort of thing happens multiple times every day.  The only good side to this is that she snuggles with me just as much . . . but Chris has always been her favorite . . . which is an issue because he’s my favorite, too . . . and, when he’s home, all of his attention belongs to ME, get it, canine?

Yes, I am totally aware that I am jealous of a dog . . . and that it’s ridiculous . . . but, seriously . . . .

3.       “Pretty Little Liars” irritates me beyond reason . . . but I cannot pull my eyes away.  It’s like a super bad train wreck . . . with a nuclear explosion . . . of high fashion and pretty men . . . and I can’t stop staring.
The whole Ezra/Aria thing weirds me out (actually, the whole re-occuring theme/situations of older guy/younger girl) . . . I have nothing against major age gaps (my parents are nine years apart, and that’s totally cool), I do have an issue with a 26 year-old unwaveringly wooing a dramatic, insecure 16 year old. I don’t find it cute. I don’t find him charming. I find him whipped and desperate. Aria’s just an irritating snob.  BUT DON’T LET ANYTHING COME BETWEEN THEIR LOOOOOVE!!!!!  
Also, I’ve never known ANY high school chick to dress like these girls . . . oh, yeah, and in completely different outfits EVERY. DAY. I know realism wasn’t exactly our goal, but COME ON.

In a final note, I do not understand a show about Queen Bees is so addicting . . . These girls are the embodiment of everything I can’t stand, and, here I am,  cheering them on. Why am I rooting for them? WHY?!?!?!

4.       I have a thing for nerds. Like bad.
Old news, right? See, I didn’t realize HOW much of a thing I had for nerds until I saw the new Bond film (which you totally need to see like right now).  Here I am, enjoying the witty and oh-so-debonair exploit of Bond, James Bond, and then this slight little fellow with glasses pops on screen and starts discussing art . . . .  
I no longer saw the muscular, fierce Daniel Craig.
I saw Ben Whishaw and ONLY Ben Whishaw.
Oh, gee and golly.
If I had to choose between Mr. Bond and this young new Q, I’d pick Q ten times.
And then I’d raid his closet because, my gosh, the sweaters!
I don’t know what this says about me . . . .  

Maybe it's because he kind of resembles the hubs . . . I've always had a weakness for nerds with floppy dark hair . . .

And those are all the significant thoughts my mind can formulate . . . and that "I like turtles" . . . name that internet reference :]


Friday, November 2, 2012

All By Myself . . .

I hate that I’m hardly ever one here. I really do, but, gosh and golly, there’s just not much to tell. The highlight of my days has become one of my cats deciding to snuggle. Weekends are highlighted by Chris coming home from his training down south. I have discovered that, despite being an introvert, I do not do well on my own—without someone in my life to take care of, I disintegrate into a being with no motivation whatsoever.

My house is messy. Who cares? No one sees it but me—I’ll clean eventually.
I haven’t cooked in days. Who cares? That’s what salads are for.
I go in late to work and stay late. Who cares? It’s not like anyone’s waiting. . . . . except the dog . . . I suppose I’ll go home for the dog.
My make-up and hair routine are minimalist, my wardrobe lacks creativity, and I have no desire to change any of it. Except working out . . . I have lots of motivation to do that . . . and bathing . . . I’m a showering fanatic . . . so not all is lost.

The point is that I need someone to nurture and to remind me to take care of myself. How do I know this? Because when Chris IS home, I turn into a cooking/baking maniac. I spend half my weekend in the kitchen, whipping up some new meal and then mixing up some sweet for him to take with him back to work. In January, he will begin his training in Cali . . . but I will be here . . . probably until March . . . and I will very likely be unemployed as the temp job only goes until December . . . I think . . . so, if New Years rolls around I don’t suddenly reappear as an impassioned creative genius or June Cleaver after a week, send help. I’ve fallen into mountains of laundry and misery and can’t get out.

To top off the five-days-a-week-of-loneliness, the move looms nearer . . .

As the holidays arrive, I realize that this is one of those “last” holiday seasons. Not the final, no, but the last “normal ones.”
The last group of holidays where we schedule “Ok, if we hurry, we can be at Aunt Sandy’s by one to make lunch and then drive like bats of out hell to make your grandma’s for dinner by five.”
The last group of holidays where we see my siblings in plays or I exchange recipes with his.
The last group of holidays where we have double of everything . . . and then us.
The last group of holidays where our days are filled with the buzz, rush, hugs, and chatter of relatives, siblings, and parents.

Next year, we’re on our own. This could mean that we make friends and share parties with them, that we make our own traditions and just be us. Or . . . it could mean we’re alone, bored, and depressed, the pile of wrapping paper a mockery and turkey sandwiches instead of a feast.

I didn’t feel the finality of it all until Halloween, the beginning of the end . . . . I didn’t do the whole Trick-or-Treat thing growing up. Instead, every Halloween, we went out to dinner with friends and then went putt-putt golfing. Halloween was one of my favorite holidays because we always had such a blast despite my lack of any-form-of-sport skills. To say that I am no master at putt-putt is a devastating understatement. In high school, I made 16 OVER par, once . . . and it was probably closer to 25 except we got tired of counting. When Chris and I got married, we continued to putt-putt with my folks on All Hallow’s Eve.

This year, Chris was out of town and I was bogged down with work. Normally, this would be disappointing, but not depressing. I mean, there’s always next year, and – oh . . . no, there’s not . . . ah, crap . . . there’s not any more . . .

I spent the day in my cubicle contemplating the meaning of existence because I couldn’t hit tiny, bright balls through a miniature obstacle course.
Because it was a last.
And I couldn’t make it.

Chris and I are not regretting our decision to move away. We both think we need it, in a way, that this is an adventure we were meant for, but that doesn’t make it easy. Once you get over the thrill of the change, once you realize that there are things you can’t do and people you can’t see . . . you’re sad. Excited about new adventures but so very bittersweet.

So bear with me if I’m a bizarre rollercoaster of “OMG YAY MOVING!!! HOLIDAYS!!! LOVE HASJDKAHSDHKSDHAKHDKSA!!!!!" and “This is it . . . it’s over . . . the end . . . there’s no point any more . . . I’m going to wallow in the agony and futility of all existence, now . . .”  . . .
It comes with my tendency to over-feels--but-bury-feels-then-explode-with-feels . . . I don't know if you really get used to it . . .

"Oooooh yay! Santa got me a boy for Christmas!"
Christmas 2006--this was our first Christmas as a "couple" and the month Chris moved back to Florida from Idaho so he could be closer to family . . . and me . . . despite my being in Mississippi for school . . .
P.S. One of my all time favorite pictures. It just sums "us" up perfectly.

Beyond that . . . . anyone else nervous about the election??? I mean, yay for the freedom to elect whoever we like, but the suspense is killing me . . . I might explode Tuesday night from massive suspense overload.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Flashback: The Thing About the Library . . .

No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.--Samuel Johnson


When people find out I worked in a library, surrounded by the glory of literature, they are absolutely boggled when I said I left quickly and happily after only a year. Why on earth would I want to leave such a wonderful place? Well, I'll tell you. You see, you collect a lot of stories working in a public library on the wrong side of town.  Before I start with my stories, I do want you to know that, for the most part, our patrons were very normal people, and some were even very, very sweet.  Sadly, it's the nasties who stick with you.  It's the ones that are so rude or so strange you see them more than anything else.  Try as I might, I see a couple of faces who were pleasant, kind, but most of the faces and events are things that leave me either laughing or with a bad taste in my mouth.  The library is a strange, strange place . . .
  • There's a couple that comes in often. The man is all skin, grease and angles with the same American bandana and slick, weasly pony tail. Both of them slur so badly you wonder if they've been drinking since dawn. He smells so strongly of cigarette smoke and unbathed human that you have to hold your breath (we have LOTS of people like that). . He asks for religious movies. Why? "I keep trying to get him to read the Bible," the woman says, "but he says 'I don' haveta. I've seen the movie.' "
    "Yeah," he calls from the DVDS, "they need to hurry up and make the rest of em so I can see the whole book."

  • A lady brings a DVD up to the desk. "There's something wrong with this. No matter what I do, it just won't play in English."
    A coworker and I examine it. "Well, ma'am. It's a foreign film. It doesn't speak in English."
    "Naw, it's just broken."
    Despite the "Foreign" label, every DVDs first language should be English, apparently.
  • One day, a fellow decided he wanted to chatter while I registered him for a library card. He asks, "So what school are you going to?"
    "Oh, no, I graduated."
    "Which high school?"
    "Oh. You look really young. What was your major?"
    "Oh, so this is like your DREAM job."
    I should have shut my mouth right then. I should have agreed with him and said, "Yes, sorting books, shelving DVDs, and registering library cards is all I've wanted to do with my life" -- don't get me wrong, the librarian is an extremely NOBLE profession, but it just wasn't in my list of life goals. But I didn't. I said I wanted to be a writer, which sent him into a speal about the video game he's creating and how he'd love to collaborate. I wish him best of luck as he leaves and begin organizing returned books. Fifteen minutes later, he's back at the counter.
    "Well, I'm leaving now."
    "Umm . . . ok. Bye. Have a good day."
    "So, when do you want to get together to exchange stories?"
    I am flabbergasted. I mean, seriously. "Um . . . I'm sorry, I'm really busy."
    "I'm flexible."
    "I'm planning a wedding!" I burst out.
    "Oh, you plan weddings, too??"
    At a loss for words and completely frazzled, I hold up my left hand sporting a brand new engagement ring. "My wedding."
    "Oh . . . uh . . . ok then. Bye."
    That was day two of my employment.
  •  A very pregnant girl came to the front desk asking for a baby name book. Her boyfriend, a skinny fellow with a mullet and jean overalls (no lie), came up behind her and said, "She don't like the names I'm picking for my boy. Every one in my family has been named Billy Bob or Joe or somethin' but she don't like none of those!"
    I really, really hope that it was a big prank because, oh my golly . . .

  • Once upon a time, our power went out and our system went down. Power outages are common in thunderstorm-ridden Florida summers, but it's a big deal, here, because suddenly everyone's fussing because his or her computer went down and they want more time NOW. Well, this time, not only did our computers go out, but our system . . . OCLS could not check in any items anywhere by the main branch. For a day and half. the afternoon following system failure, it suddenly decided to start working. A regular, a perfectly round fellow in a wheelchair with Jehovah Witness pamphlets in the pocket, zoomed up to the desk. "Did you check in my DVDs?"
    "No sir, we--"
    I was cut off by his sudden collapse onto the counter head in his hands, wailing, "WHY DIDN'T YOU CHECK THEM IN?!?! THEY WERE TURNED IN YESTERDAY!! I GAVE THEM TO HER!!! NOW I CAN'T GET NO MORE MOVIES!!!"
    "Sir, the system just started working again. We will check them in as soon as we can."
    "I don' wan' no late fees," he mutters glaring at me from under his arms.
    "You won't have them, sir."
    He sits there, despondant, glaring at me in an odd mix of anger and pitifulness, until he finally sighs and wheels away, stacking more movies in his bag.
    DVDs are a serious life or death matter here.

  • I don't remember his real name. Paul or Donald or something. I know him simply as "Spittle Man." It's a horrid name, but it was the first title that came to mind when we met--I was mesmerized by the over-abundant ammount of spit in his mouth, and I have been unable to rename him. He's a regular. Everyday. He comes in, wearing that same gray polo with the stain at his paunch, and holds his computer reservation receipt up to a clerk. "This thing says I have a fifteen minute wait, but there's an empty computer now. Give me that one."
    "Well, sir," the unfortunate clerk answers, "the system assigns you the computer with earliest availability. The empty one is either out of order or someone has logged off early and it holds a pending reservation."
    "Well, if there's no one on it now, I should be able to log on. I'm just curious as to why your system won't let me." Thus begins a 20 minute agonizing arguement of policy and system.
    Here's a recent incident . . . a boy has told me his mom is having problems logging onto her computer, so I go to help her, and realize that it is ten minutes past the log-in time, so she probably lost her reservation. Simultaneously, Spittle Man storms up to our customer service lead, proclaiming, "Some woman is trying to get on my computer! I have a reservation for 4:45 and I'm losing my 60 minutes! I want her off! She says someone at the desk gave her a reservation for MY computer!"
    As I am attempting a log in, I hear the smug spittle-filled voice behind me. "So YOU'RE the one who started all the trouble."
    "Is there a problem, sir?" I say as coolly as possible, my face flaming.
    A receipt is shoved under my nose.
    "Her reservation is for 4:30."
    "But mine's for 4:45," he says.
    "I signed her up at 4:00 for a 4:30 reservation." I then turn to the boy. "I'm really sorry, but I think the reservation expired. I can get her another one at the desk."
    Spittle Man is already there, demanding a brand new reservation because he has lost three of his sixty minutes and that is totally unacceptable. He continues to rant while my lead tries to get him his reservation but she can't because she can't concentrate over the noise.
    DVDs are life and death . . . computers equally so.

  • I used to open Tuesday mornings, the new DVD day, the day patrons lined up two hours before opening so they could rush they door and snag every title. When I had time, I mixed up some of the titles so they were harder to find while patrons pressed their faces against the glass, desperate for a glimpse of the DVDs invisible through the distant tinted windows. Maybe I was a meany for hiding them, but I was trying to give the nice people who came in after work and school a chance to see new movies, too. Tuesdays made me sick.
  •  One day, an older African-American woman entered wearing a red hat and rage. She came up to the counter, "Did you check in my DVD?"
    "My DVD. I turned it in, but you're chargin' me late fees. What did you do with my movie?"
    I take her card, look up her account, and begin the search and filling out the claims form--a form sent to several branches asking to locate lost objects. Sometimes, it worked. Sometimes, the patron really HADN'T turned in the item. Other times, it's just so lost there's no hope.  While I type, she begins o describe all of her woes, how the world is out to get her. How they shut down her power just to spite her. How we open at nine just so she has to ride her bike in the heat to get her.  Then suddenly she grows very quiet, leaning on the counter, face turned away from me. "Do you know what I'm doin'?" she asks solemnly.
    "No, ma'am."
    "I'm praying to Jesus. I am renouncing the devils here and telling them to give me back my movie. You find it. No more tricks now. I'm renouncing all the evil spirits here."
    I almost laughed except that we found her movie shortly after that.  She had been asking us to look at the wrong branch.  She had turned it in, just like she said, and all fees were removed.  Demons or not.

  • Each night, we had to check the bathrooms for stragglers after closing. One night, we found a giant penis wearing a superman cape scrawled on the wall. I mean, mural-sized. Genitalia in a super-hero cape. I laughed and I laughed.

  • The hoverers make my skin crawl. All of our DVDs are in security cases, and, when we've checked in and double-scanned returned DVDs we case them on a cart near the desk so patrons can check them out. The moment they hear the CLICK SNAP CLICK of the security cases, patrons are suddenly at my side, with no sense of personal space, craning to read the titles or snatch a DVD before anyone else. They react to the sound the way my cat reacts when she hears me pouring food in her dish. It's just a movie, really.
  •  One time, I opened a DVD case, and a little roach crawled out. Another time, I watched a small roach scuttle out of a patron's cloth bag, look around, and then scurry back inside like it was going home. The patron tried to smash it, but I'm not sure there was any success . . .
  • One evening, I was shelving, when I heard someone call my name. I turned, and our shelver's boyfriend was relaxing at one of the many tables used by the Saturday chess club.  "Sarah, why are you working at a library? Why aren't you modeling or something?"
    "Ummmm  . . . I like it here? I've never really had any interest in modeling. Don't want to lose all that weight."
    He laughs, saying, "Oh, no, please don't lose weight!"
    The next week, he's there again, and says, "Sarah, I've been thinking about what you said the other night, about not losing weight to model?"
    "Uuuuuuuuh . . . "
    "And I was thinking, maybe you should model for men who'd appreciate your figure. Like Black Man Magazine."
    "Uuuuhhh . . . no, thank you, I'm fine."
    I'm still reeling over that one. And, might I mention, I had my WEDDING RING on???

  • We had a flasher in, once. Apparently, there have been a handful of flasher stories before my employment, but I was privileged enough to be on the clock for this one. -_-  Oh, and there was a drive-by shooting across the street one night shortly after we closed . . . and the Dollar General next door was robbed at least twice during the year I worked there. Classy spot.
Like I had said, these, sadly are the NEGATIVE stories. There are several good ones--all the nice people I met, the ladies and gentlemen who greeted every clerk by name every time they came in.  There was nothing quite as sweet as helping someone find something or solve a computer problem and having them sincerely thank you. The library was a wonderful service to so many people, and, as you all know, people come in all kinds of conditions with all kinds of attitudes.  Oh, and I loved my coworkers--seriously a GREAT group of people.  Plus there were the books.  Always books. Support your local libraries. Really, do it. There are so many people who NEED their services -- the free internet access, the aid in studies, the education programs, the ESL and citizenship classes -- they offer SO MUCH and can be such a bright light.

But by summer 2010, the time came for me to pursue a teaching career, and that brought on a new mass of stories. Still, the library will live in a special place in my heart, a place of infamy and fondness, in its odd little way. There's always light in the dirty places.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear Friday Letters

Dear Friday,
Have I told you how much I love you? Because I totally do. It’s ridiculous. Thank God you’re here!

Dear Shasta,
Puppy, you make me laugh. You’re totally spoiled rotten and the worst “pet me-pet me-pet me-love me-love me- love me!” ham alive, but we just love you. You’re a snuggle bug and oh-so-eager to please. Plus, you protect me from dangerous things that like vicious doe in the backyard (yay wildlife!). I have no idea how you’ll survive when we having mini humans around here and can’t devote all of our attention to you. You just might shrivel up and die from spoiling-dehydration.  Eat it up, sweetheart, because you’re adorably ridiculous.

Ok, so I am partially responsible for her behavior as I give her bits of chicken I trim as I'm making dinner . . . still, pretty proud of her because, as badly as she wants to, she won't touch it if I tell her "Wait!" or "Leave it!" . . . she just gives me that expression . . . good grief . . . ;]

So, I get out of the shower, and this is how she's sleeping.  Once our alarms go off, she jumps into our bed to snuggle and wake us up . . . and then she just takes over . . . Upside Down Dingo, anyone?

Dear Hubs,
 I am going to miss you like mad this next month. It’s not even funny. I’m so glad you get to be home on weekends, but being by myself in the office, with no one to send stupid Pinterest photos to or flirt with over the company IM system or remind me to grab my phone . . . I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the day. Plus nights alone? In bed? ALONE??? Oh, dear dear dear! And for a whole whopping month and a half, too! Ugh.
Still, absence makes the heart grow fonder . . . or something . . . Or, like you said during our long-distance dating, "No, distance just SUCKS!"
Yeah . . . but it will be over before we know it, and then we're off on another adventure!
Until then . . . I'll just wallow in lonely misery and have Shasta occupy your side of the bed . . .

The Hubs outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium during our Cali vist this past July

Dear October,
You’re my favorite.  You bring pumpkin-flavored everything, almost-chilled air, and pumpkin carving.  If we lived up north, you’d bring orange, red, and yellow leaves. Here it’s just . . . maybe less mosquitos?  Oh, October, I love you so.

The leaves were just starting to change during our  trip to Tennessee last October.

Dear Matt,
You’re awesome. I love our random movie nights, conversations on just about everything, and your enthusiasm for music, video games, and everything else.  You've been my best pal for pretty much my entire life, and I'm so excited that you're staying over a couple times a week while you're attending college. I know it makes the drive easier on you, but Chris and I so enjoy your company and just hanging out. You rock. 

  P.S. Thanks for showing Chris the Plague game on the iPhone . . . he’s now slaughtered the populous through virus, bacteria, fungus, parasite, and Lord knows what else. He’s way better at that game than he should be . . . hmmm . . .
Matt and I, circa 1993, rocking out red hankerchief headbands

Dear iPhone 4s,
Oh lovely, I know we’ve only known each other for three days, but, darling, it seems like a lifetime. We were always meant to be, you and I, forever and ever amen.  Why did it take me so long to see it? Why did I wait so long? But now, here you are, and here I am, and all is well with the world.  You’ve made a believer out of me . . . ibeliever???