Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Teen Librarianism

As summed up in one Sunday afternoon shift.

The Low

6th grade girl: Do you have any Terry Pratchett Books? What other fantasy and science fiction books to you have? I love reading! Books are awesome, etc.

Me: You know, you should check out our Teen Summer Reading Program. All you have to do is write one book review, and you get a free book!

6th grade girl: Um, no. No way man. No thanks. See ya.

The High

5th (?) grade boy: Do you have any manga?

Me: Yes! Yes we do. It is right over here.

5th grade boy (seeing the manga collection): Oh man. Oh my gosh. I HAVE HIT THE JACKPOT!!!

Updated to add: And then right after that, an older patron came to the desk asking for a book (which apparently doesn't exist). While I was looking it up, she let go with the longest, loudest, breeziest fart I have ever heard. It was truly impressive.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's Call Him Bozo

In the sad days before I met Mr. Awesome, I went out on quite a few bad dates. In fact, I endured some relationships which were essentially strings of bad dates stretched over a period of several months. These days, I can usually just forget that the person who participated in those relationships was actually me, instead of some total idiot in a movie I once saw on an airplane or something. But a recent conversation with PCL brought the memories flooding back. And also the questions. Such as: Why did I force myself to hang out with such tedious people? Why did I not tell these chuckleheads that I was waiting for Mr. Awesome, and that they could just pack up their Foucault essays/soul patches/trucker hats and go home?

Well, I still can't really answer that. Instead, I offer you the story of the date that finally broke me. After this single date, I gave up on heterosexuality and reconciled myself to a long, happy, solitary life. Well, not solitary. Cat-filled. Until the eventual arrival of Mr. Awesome.

So I was dating this guy, let's call him Bozo. Bozo lived in a basement apartment, didn't have a job, and there was no evidence to suggest that he had ever washed his hair. So you can see the attraction! I was smitten!

On maybe our third date, Bozo took me to a party. The host came out to greet us holding a Nasty Little Dog* on a leash. The NLD was straining and snarling and all but foaming at the mouth. Suddenly the NLD broke free--or maybe the host let him go, I could never be sure--and sank his teeth into my leg. I was wearing jeans but NLD easily bit right through them, and for a few moments he was suspended in the air, supported only by his teeth in my thigh. When the hideous creature finally lost his grip, the owner picked up the leash again, pulled him away, and said something really sensitive and concerned, like, "Oops! Sorry 'bout that."

Needless to say, at that point I was 100% done with the party. But Bozo ushered me into the house and suggested that I slip into the bathroom to clean myself up, so as not to offend the other guests with my oozing leg. It was all bloody and bruisy and stuff. Nobody offered me so much as a cotton swab.

When I rejoined the party, the hostess said, "I hear Nasty Little Dog decided he didn't like you. That NLD, he's soooooooo funny! He always decides right away who he likes and who he doesn't! Tee hee!!"

We stayed at the party for about two hours, which I whiled away by fuming silently. Now, I guess I should say, in all fairness to Bozo, that it wasn't completely his fault that he was friends with some jerkwads who owned a feral dog. True, he could have chosen his friends more carefully. He could have suggested at some point during the evening that having their dog bite his date was not the best of all possible outcomes. He could have, say, suggested we leave. But still, in my mind, up to this point he had not crossed the line into The Land of the Unforgivable.

When we were finally back in the car on the way home, I said, "Maybe I should go into a clinic or something? Or at least call the nurse hotline. I haven't had a tetanus shot, and my leg is turning all purple and yellow and stuff."

And what did Bozo say? Did he say, "Indeed, we must rush you to the emergency room immediately! No one has ever suffered more than what you suffer now! Your courage in this terrifying situation is unparalled, and we will now undertake any means necessary to nurse you back to full health!"?

I think we can all agree that this would have been the only appropriate response.

But no. That's not what he said. What he said was, "Don't be crazy. You really like to make a big deal out of things, don't you? I guess we could stop at Bartells for a band-aid or something."

And that was the end of my dating career.

*It was one of those mini Dobermans. Please never own one of those. Okay? Thank you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summah tiiiiime, and the living is eeeeeeasy

Yesterday we went swimming! I know to normal people living in normal places that doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, but to me it is an incredibly thrilling and unusual event. It's just too cold (for me) to swim in Seattle most of the time, but we went to this amazing heated saltwater pool--it's actually filtered water from Puget Sound--that looks out over Elliot Bay to the Olympic Mountains. It was so posh, yet it cost only $3.25 a head ($1 extra if you want to go down the bendy slide, which trust me, you do). Afterwards all of us had that happily exhausted feeling that you get after swimming, even if you have just been splashing around like dorks.

I usually have a lot of anxiety about summers in Seattle. I'm constantly wondering: Am I getting outside enough? Having enough fun? Storing up enough vitamin D?! I'm always terrified that it will suddenly be November and I'll have nothing to show for it. I've had nightmares about it, actually. But this year I feel like I'm doing okay, even though winter lasted until mid-June. I've done a lot of stuff.

So far I have:

1. Swum. (Okay, probably not a word. It should be though.)
2. Barbequed & entertained in the backyard.
3. Barbequed & been entertained in other people's backyards.
4. Played numerous games of cornhole. If you've never played, you're missing out.
5. "Camped." There were about 20 of us camped out behind our friends' cabin near Mt. Rainier. Not exactly wilderness, but there were tents involved.
6. Hiked.
7. Biked. I've biked to work a few times actually, and it's pretty fun.
8. Rented canoes and paddled around the arboretum.
9. Lazed around in the shade chit-chatting while kids splashed in the lake.
10. Lazed around on my own and other people's porches.

So that is a pretty good list. And I still have a backpacking trip in the Hoh Rainforest, a trip to my friend's cabin, and a trip to Mt. Rainier upcoming. And the cornhole grand tournament! Life is sweet.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Vomit, Then Pummel Them to Death

So, I have this giant box of notes from high school. You know, the ones you passed off between 2nd and 3rd period? I kept them all, and they are pretty awesome. I feel sorry for the kids today with their texting. Where will those texts be when they are old like me? Nowhere, is where. Plus, who would want them?

I went through my notes a few years ago and culled some (mostly the ones I wrote but never delivered--doing away with the evidence!), but I still have the cream of the crop. and I dug a few of them out of the basement the other day.

Many of these are love letters from my early romances. Here, for instance, is an excerpt from a note written to me by my first real boyfriend, Punk Rock Matt.*

"I really really like that new Jawbox video. The first time I saw it I didn't really care either way. But Now I can't get it out of my head.

Holy Cow I'm in art now and Chris Just gave me that Blindside record he ordered for me. I can't wait to give it a spin. I just walked to my locker and one of those f*ing** rent a cops told me not to wear my Melvins shirt tomorrow because of what it said across the back. So then I told her that I didn't know about her but I don't wear the same shirt 2 days in a row. She told me she didn't need the sarcasm or she would write me up. Stupid f*ing b*tch!"


Here's one from Dave, my next boyfriend:

"I'm in French. The entire class should be destroyed. Not really, some can live. The problem is here---> [Dave includes a diagram of the classroom desks, with a circle around the problem area]. An atomic bomb should be dropped on these fools.

I wonder what I would do if someone asked to sign my yearbook. I'd probably vomit, then pummel them to death."

Ah, romance.

*He still goes by this moniker, and is as punk rock as ever, by the way.
**Why am I all coy about the swearing all of a sudden? I have no idea.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Smocking Conspiracy

The Big Day Off was excellent. I accomplished most of the items on my list, except getting a pedicure. Sorry, feets.

I got up, wrote a few thank-you notes (nope, still not finished) and then rode my bike downtown. Riding downtown from our house isn't exactly the Tour de France, but it's over six miles. That's pretty good, right? Right? I'm going to try riding to work tomorrow and see how it goes.

Anyway, I got my massage (mmmmmm), and tried to shop for a dress to wear to my brother's wedding. I've looked EVERYWHERE, and at this point I am kind of at a loss. I think my only problem with this year's fashions is that they are FREAKING HIDEOUS. And the stuff that isn't hideous? Is just not flattering.

Whither all these babydoll dresses, designers? I'm not knocked up! Can't I just get a waistline somewhere in the remote vicinity of my actual waist? The worst trend right now is that dress where the waistline is at the collarbone. What IS that? Who looks good in one of those? Even the Anthropologie models look deeply bummed about what they are forced to wear these days.

I also can't help but notice that there is a lot of smocking on the market right now. Has our youth-obsessed culture really gone so far as to convince us to dress up like chubby 8-month-old babies? I am a grown ass lady and I'd like a grown up dress, please.


What was I talking about? Oh yeah, so I didn't buy a dress. But I did meet up with Mr. Awesome when he got off work, and we went to a restaurant where a friend of ours tends bar and he gave us free stuff. Then dinner with our friends A & P, and the SALON OF SHAME!

The SOS was pretty funny, but also full of pathos. As someone who works with teens every day, it was a poignant reminder of how life-or-death everything seems at that age. We wonder why the kids are moody, but it's just because the universe is always either ending or magically aligning for the good.

I did find some old high school notes of mine, and I'll transcribe one for your enjoyment in the very near future.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Big Day Off

I have the day off tomorrow because I worked this past weekend.* And I have BIG PLANS!

1. Write Thank-You Notes.
I really need to finish these freaking notes. I'm actually enjoying writing them, since I truly am very, very grateful to everyone. So it's not like I have to go to the effort of making stuff up.

But it's time to kick this thing in the pants. I'm beginning to get emails from my mom's cousins that say things like, "I hope you don't think I'm 'tacky' because I just got you a 'gift card' instead of a 'real gift.'"**

2. Pedicure.
Awww yeeeah. I almost never get one of these, partly because they cost money, partly because you have to have the forethought to make an appointment, and partly because I have this deep, dark guilt about forcing anyone to deal with my feet. (They're not especially freakish or anything. But still. They're feet.)

3. Massage
Awww yeeeah, part deux. I have had a crick in my neck for over a week now and it's making me an unpleasant person to be around. (Hence, maybe, that last cranky post.)

4. Salon of SHAME!
Heck yes! I love a good, healthy dose of shame--it's my Catholic upbringing. I still have a giant garbage bag full of notes from high school, and I'm going to bring some to share with my friends (if not the crowd at large).

If you are very, very good, maybe I will scan or transcribe some of them for you.

*Yes, the 4th of July weekend. Don't feel too bad for me though, because a.) it was kind of overcast, b.) I still had the 4th off and got to go to a party where 13-year-old boys blew up hotdogs with firecrackers, and c.) I get over a month of vacation a year, plus holidays and sick time. So I'm doing okay.

**Direct quote.

It's Not Hot You Big Babies

The weather is sooooo beautiful in Seattle right now. It's just perfect--sunny with highs in the upper 70's or lower 80's. The mountains are all out showing off, and the lakes and bay are glittery blue, and there is just no place prettier in the world right now. For reals. I'm getting a little misty-eyed right now just typing about it.

But does that stop Seattlites* from complaining about the weather? No it does not! We enjoy complaining about the weather, and we perservere no matter what the conditions! "It's too hot," all the patrons in the library say to me. "I just walked two whole blocks and I almost sweated! It's seventy degrees in the shade!! How can we LIVE LIKE THIS?!"

Seattle, can I just tell you one thing? 76 degrees is not hot. I mean, it's not even close. I'm from Alabama. I'll show you hot.

To be fair, I know that I am a wimp about the cold. I complain about it all winter, which is not only annoying but also deadly boring to anyone forced to be around me. To me, 39 degrees and raining is pretty bloody cold. Hardier people are always saying things to me like, "This isn't cold! Why, when I was a child in Minnesota/Alaska/Siberia, we would go outside in our underwear when it was 20 degrees below zero and roll around in the snow and then take a quick dip in the frozen river until several of our appendages fell off! And we FUCKING LOVED IT! This is like a lovely spring day to me and my GoreTex hide!"

And you know, those people are right. I wouldn't enjoy that.

But grant me this at least: 76 degrees is a pleasant temperature to most people who are not insane, isn't it? I mean, we northern North Americans spend a buzillion dollars every February to go to Mexico and Hawaii, so SOMEBODY must think 76 degrees and sunny is a tolerable situation. Right?

*Not ALL Seattlites. Many Seattlites--probably even most--do have the good sense they were born with. The complainers are just a very vocal minority.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

(The Dreaded) Wedding II Post


Okay, I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to hear more about my wedding day. (I don't really think that. I just like to take every opportunity to use obsolete verb constructions).

But I have had a devil of a time getting started on a more substantial wedding post. Part of the problem is that in my mind I had built this post into The Big One About My Wedding, My Marriage So Far, and What It All Means. Which obviously is stupid, but there you have it. And I just didn't want to write a post like that.

Did you ever read any Douglas Adams? That guy who wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? In high school I was way, way into him. For the less dorky amongst us, I will explain: In one of his books, he has this theory of flying. Basically the trick about flying is to jump off of something really high and not think about the ground. Obviously this is no mean feat, since the ground is pretty much demanding your attention. The only way to not meet up with the ground in a very uncomfortable way is to be distracted by something at the very last second. I think in the books that something was usually like, an alien flashing you with its bizarre genitalia or something. Then, distracted from concern about your proximity to the ground, you would just sort of fail to smash into it, and instead float magically up into the air.

What does this have to do with my wedding/marriage, you ask? GOOD QUESTION. I guess what I am getting at is that I am still a little bit surprised to find that I have floated into this sweet-ass relationship. (I know. Try not to vomit.) And I don't really want to look at the mechanics of things too much, not because the situation is fragile, but because some things are not for the cold, hard tubings of the Interwebs. You know?

But that doesn't mean I can't say a little more about my wedding day.


Remember how I sort of had this lifelong fear about walking down the aisle? (And in fact, as it turned out it wasn't even an aisle; it was a big old bendy staircase that I was navigating in heels and that wicked long dress. So many ways to hurt/embarrass myself!) The idea of all of those people turning around and looking at me all at once gave me the willies, and I was sure I would trip or get the shakes or something. But my dad and I made it down okay, and in fact it was sort of good because once that scary part was over the rest of the ceremony seemed like a total breeze. I wasn't nervous at all, I just grinned right through it.

Anyway, afterwards my dad said to me, "You were actually nervous before we got going. I've never known you to be nervous before!"

Now, this totally blew my mind because I consider myself a pretty nervous person. Or if not nervous exactly, then anxious. And my first thought was, geez, my dad clearly doesn't know me at all. He's obviously thinking of the laid back 5-year-old I once was.

But as I thought about it later I thought, maybe I'M the one with an outdated perspective here. I thought I was going to be all nervous and crazy during my wedding, but I wasn't. So maybe I'm not all nervous and crazy after all. Food for thought, anyway.

Before the wedding I also wasn't sure the ceremony would be very meaningful to me. Does that sound cold? What I mean is, I felt like Mr. Awesome and I had been sliding peacefully into marriage for quite some time, and I was unconvinced that some words spoken over a 5-minute interval were going to feel like The Moment when everything snapped into place. And truthfully, that isn't what happened.

But Mr. Awesome's brother performed the ceremony perfectly, and his dad and sister sang a beautiful duet and made everyone cry. There had been some concern that Mr. Awesome Sr. wouldn't make it to the wedding because of health issues, and he ALWAYS sings at Awesome family weddings. So having him sing for us was even more special. Even my (sometimes jerky) brother read the passage we had asked him to read as if he had read it before. And it was just really nice to look out into the crowd and see so many people who love us all together.

Also, that moment at the end of the ceremony, when everyone you know applauds for you? That rules. Everyone should get to have a moment like that at least once in their lives.

You know what else is pretty cool? The toasts. Seriously, a steady stream of people standing up to talk about how great you are does not suck.


People told me that my wedding would all be a crazy blur that I'd barely remember, and this is already true. I do remember thinking several times during the proceedings that those people were nuts, and that I would certainly remember every single conversation, dance move, and gleeful toddler squeal. Instead, I have kind of a mental montage of love, set to the tune of "Bust a Move."*

Break it down for me, fellas.

*Just in case you were wondering, that wasn't the song we chose for our first dance. We went with "Center of Gravity," by Yo La Tengo. "Bust a Move" probably would have been more memorable for our guests, though, I must admit.