Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Employ A Librarian

A fellow librarian sent the following to me from a blog post titled, "Why you should fall to your knees and worship a librarian." I think maybe worship is a bit strong. Instead, how about, "Ply with gifts and bottles of wine and garlands of flowers...bestow with honor as a valued member of society...provide bounteous means of employment..."

OK sure. We've all got our little preconceived notions about what librarians are and what they do. Many people think of them as diminutive civil servants, scuttling about "Sssh-ing" people and stamping things. Well, think again buster.

Librarians have degrees. They go to graduate school for Information Science and become masters of data systems and human/computer interaction. Librarians can catalog anything from an onion to a dog's ear. They could catalog you. Librarians wield unfathomable power. With a flip of the wrist they can hide your dissertation behind piles of old Field and Stream magazines. They can find data for your term paper that you never knew existed. They may even point you toward new and appropriate subject headings.

People become librarians because they know too much. Their knowledge extends beyond mere categories. They cannot be confined to disciplines. Librarians are all-knowing and all-seeing. They bring order to chaos. They bring wisdom and culture to the masses. They preserve every aspect of human knowledge. Librarians rule. And they will kick the crap out of anyone who says otherwise.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trying not to bitch about the cold. But.....

Went out on my lunch break to finally take the recycling to the recycling place. We've been buried under at home with recyclables because it's been too cold or stormy to get rid of them. I've had the big green recycling bin in the trunk of my car for the past week. Finally broke down and went today. As I approached my car in the work parking lot, saw big gnarly icicles hanging from the bottom of my car. Did they hang on while I drove in this morning? Did they re-form while I was sitting inside the building? How can they still be there?

After dropping off the recycling, I went to fill gas. But the flap to my gas cap was frozen over. I chipped away at it for a minute with my keys, then said to hell with it. Limped back to work on fumes. Maybe I should just go home and not drive anywhere else until we thaw out.

All week it's going to stay cold. The high will be like, 29 degrees. I listened to Garrison Keillor on Saturday, and was envious when he said things were finally starting to warm up in Minnesota --to the low 30's. But I'm trying not to bitch about the cold...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Toasty Warm Log Cabin Beach

There is one bright spot in this cold, drear winter. It is the place where I go, to get warm, to rest my bones---the loft area located at the top of the house. A staircase to the right of the front door leads up to an open space above the bedrooms. It's a spacious room, but also cozy and woodsy. The roof slants overhead so that you can't stand up all the way. The floor and the surrounding base boards and trim are a deep, rich wood. The bannister that runs along the edge of the room, sparing you a nasty plunge down the stairs, is constructed with thick, solid planks of the same dark wood. So I like to go up there and imagine that I'm in a rustic log cabin.

Except this cabin has technological amenities, like TV and wifi. Quiet and tucked away from the rest of the house, it is a perfect retreat for watching a movie or doing some work on my lap-top. There is a large carpet piece on the floor, and two twin mattresses, covered with blankets, for lounging. A foam mini-couch that mom bought the girls when they were little still works well as a good neck and shoulder rest. Two video gaming chairs donated to us by Cody and Wacy fit in perfectly with the "low to the ground" seating theme. There are no overhead bulbs, only two lamps that sit on the floor. They provide subdued lighting, the perfect effect to make my hippie hang complete.

My favorite feature of all, is the wonderful, wonderful big square heat vent in the floor. When I lie on the heat vent, I am on the beach --my back pressed against the white sands of Acapulco. I don't know much about Acapulco, but when I was a kid, Acapulco was one of those travel destinations they gave away on the Price is Right, so it's the first thing that comes to mind.

So in these cold winter months, this is the highlight of my day. As I shiver and see my breath rise up in the frigid air, this is what I'm thinking about: the heat vent. Getting back to that beach. I wait for that golden moment, when no one needs me and no one will miss me. I head off for the stairs. The steps are nice and solid --dark dark brown coffee-colored--and they make a satisfying thunk as I climb them. The higher I get up the staircase, the warmer it gets, and I feel my whole self relaxing. The upstairs loft is always warmer than the rest of the house, and though this makes it unliveable in the summer, in the wintertime, this ambient warmth is a relief, and a delight.

My favorite thing is to go up there when no one else is up there, and just lie on the floor. I soak up the warmth, I soak up the serenity, for there is a peacefulness to the loft that is separate and apart from the rest of the house. I shake off the cold, goose-bumpy feeling I've been carrying around all day, and feel truly warm for the first time. Eventually as I lie there, the heat kicks on, and the surge of sweet heat blasts my skin. I close my eyes, and I'm melting into the sand, of my own private beach in my log cabin. In Acapulco.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Survival Of The Fattest

Chink, chink, chink. My blog done froze up. Have to chip off the ice before I can post something. I've stopped looking at the weather. Every time I pick up the paper, it says, "cold all week and into next week. " It says, "supposed slight chance of sun before more cold air and clouds move in." My survival instincts have kicked in, and I am now eating lots of food with high fat content. I am driven to do it, as if my body knows something I don't know --that one of these nights I might wander disoriented and naked out into the dark, exposing myself to the elements. Or that I am about to be led blindfolded into the woods for an ancient ritual of my people, where I will be left to build a fire using only my mental energies. My body is preparing for that.

While all this is happening, I am also beset by a condition known as Sweater Apathy. I've spent so much time bundled in sweaters and cardigans, I've lost all sense of my body, or that I even have a body. This is the danger of winter lasting too long. The need for comfort, the drive to survive, and the physical detachment and disorientation that result all lead to one thing : Spring Ass!

A coin phrased by my sister Laura, and described in her poem of the same name. Beware, it's out there, it's coming, it's already here.....SPRING ASS!

Monday, February 8, 2010

When The Saints Go Marching In

So I find out today who won the superbowl. Superbowl wasn't a blip on my screen. Superbowl hasn't been blip most years. When I worked in the library at FIU in Miami, where we had to work the reference desk two weekends a semester, I traded with whoever got Superbowl weekend. That was the best weekend. Place deserted. Nobody come in, except for one of the local characters, like the dude we called Son of Sam. He had big, staring eyes, was medicated, asked for information on catnip. Whenever the regular students disappeared, for a holiday or for a major sporting event, here come the crazies, out of the woodwork. But mostly, the library was just dead quiet on Superbowl weekend. Me and Susan, the librarian who also didn't give a whip about the Superbowl, just floated on the peace. I can't get worked up over most sports. Don't really root. I give them a moment of silence. Not a praying silence, just thinking in my head, "I like that team's uniforms. Okay, I'll be for them." So last night the Saints were playing the Colts. Who was I for? You have to ask? Funky Big Easy Creole town with jumpin French quarter and freaks flying their freak flags high and proud..vs. snoozy midwestern farm-fed Indiana town. Who do you think I'm gonna be for? N'awlins of course. I supported them in silence and moved on. Watched a movie instead last night with my girls, "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging." A cheeky British comedy by the same woman who made "Bend it like Beckham." Funny. Britty. Marvy, as the teen girls in the movie would say. As for the superbowl, I think it's marvy that something good happened for New Orleans.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Peoples

They've sprouted again. By the end of the day yesterday --lone snow sentinels guarding their yards. Some of them so hastily erected they were not given a face. One even lacked a discernable torso. He was a pillar rising from the ground, with a round ball perched on top. Another figure was short and clumpish. Two protuberences stuck up like pleading hands, while a third knob in the middle stood in for the head. One snowman was constructed of four well-defined spheres and orange, glowing eyes. Another had been given a traditional carrot nose. Suddenly, snowmen are everywhere again. This gentle population moved in overnight. Now every block has one. Some yards even have two. It reassures me somehow, to see that some folks still consider it worth their while to build a snowman.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Napkin, Fork, Hamburger

Here's one thing I'm relieved about: I don't have to make Lilah look like a dinner napkin. She'd been telling me that I did. That was her character, in her 7th grade production of Beauty and the Beast. A walking, talking napkin, as one of the castle servants. How relieved I was when she came home one day and said they had decided she would be a fork or spoon instead. Even the costume experts working on the play were stumped as to how to make a human napkin. Best part--they are going to provide the utensil extensions for her costume. All I have to do is dress her in all black clothing.

Meanwhile, Annabelle is prepping for her role as a hamburger in her 5th grade play. She won the lead after auditioning in front of her class. Since two girls are going to take turns doing the lead role, she has to share the part with another girl, who happens to be her nemesis. Unsure that she would win the part, she had hopes of being Sally Salivary Gland as her second choice.

As Harriet the Hamburger, Annabelle takes a "fascinating journey" through the body's digestive system, encountering characters such as Iggy Incisor, Phantom Plaque (ooo--scary), Eunice Uvula, Erin Esophagus, David Duodenum, Larry Large Intestine, and Randy Rectum. No, actually there is no Randy Rectum, but there ought to be.

As Harriet travels the highways and byways of the gastrointesinal tract, she is squeezed by the esophagus, blasted with stomach acid, and sent down the foulest corridors of the body, yet she is expected to remain ever cheerful and willing as she decomposes. Down her long, dark descent through the small intestine, she is told, "My villi will help you along the ride. They feel like velvet."

The play is a propoganda piece, a disingenuous sugar-coating of bodily functions. Harriet is never told the whole truth about what is to become of her. She is reassured that she will be "absorbed" into the bloodstream, but is not told that a large part of what makes her who she is will be eliminated.

It is not until she is whisked off-stage by powerful intestinal contractions that the truth is hinted at. But even for the audience, the details of Harriet's fate are kept murky. The events that follow her trip through the small intestine are carelessly summarized by Larry Large Intestine, who lugs around a stuffed garbage bag for effect and takes broad credit for disposing what's left of Harriet. "It's a dirty job," he says, with a heavy air of selflessness, "but someone's got to do it." No mention of the likes of Randy Rectum and Annie Anal Sphincter and the role they play.

Annabelle's play isn't a big school production, but just a classroom play that is going to be taped and shown on Open House night in a few weeks. Lilah's play at the middle school is a big musical they've been rehearsing for weeks, after school and on weekends. Annabelle has the lead and lots of lines. Lilah has no lines --she sings and dances in a group. The plays are happening on the same night in February. What's a parent to do? Sibling rivalry will ensue. Paper, rock, scissors. Napkin, fork, hamburger. Does fork beat hamburger? Does hamburger crush fork? What if Lilah is a spoon? Stay tuned.