lists

Spin offs and pop locks

Busy as a motha-eff over here, so listing it shall have to be.

1. Got caught up on Lost episodes over the weekend. Nordic Boy has renamed the series “There’s Too Many People in the Fucking Bushes.” Which there totally are, right? I think there should be a drinking game where you drink every time someone pops out of the bushes.

2. Also for Lost watchers: don’t you love it how the appearance of the smoke monster is always preceded by that maracas sound? So jaunty, that smoke monster.

3. Friends came over for dinner this weekend, and over dinner, we tried to think of tv shows that had the most number of spin-offs that we could think of, as a contest. Nordic Boy and I jointly won the day by coming up with Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, Joanie Loves Chachi, and Laverne and Shirley, which may seem like a no-brainer in hindsight but no one had come up with a quadruple until that point. The room erupted in “AW SNAP!” at our easy win, but then Delium got up and did a celebratory pop-lock in our honor. Because he knows how to show respect, that one.

4. After the contest was exhausted, we looked up lists of spin-offs on the Interwebs and discovered two intriguing titles. “Blansky’s Beauties” (an undiscovered Happy Days spin-off) and “Richie Brockelman, Private Eye” (offa Rockford Files). How could shows with names like these have failed? To quote every single contest show sage on tv: America got it wrong, people.

5. Many of my friends are on Match.com, and they all seemed to talk to me about it this weekend, separately. What does it say that most of them talk about it much as you would talk about a visit to the dentist? Painful and tedious, but it just has to be done.

6. There’s a restaurant in Seattle called Daniel’s Broiler. Ever since St. Patrick’s Day, every time we go past it, we sing “Oh Danny BROIL! The steaks, the steaks are cah-alling,” to the tune of Danny Boy. We shall see how long this takes to get old to us. I am guessing on a shelf life of five years or so.

7. I get to go to Portland with Nordic Boy for the whole week, starting tomorrow. This is not entertaining to anyone but me. I am holding back a celebratory pop-lock even as I sit here.

Let them eat cake

You ever have those moments where you can’t think of a word?

I did. So I asked Nordic Boy if he could remember the word I was describing. He couldn’t either. The mystery word was: rice cakes.

While we tried to come up with this very elusive word, we shouted out possibilities. As soon as we said them, we knew that wasn’t it, so we kept trying. Here is our list of alternative terms for rice cakes.

Rice pies
Rice patties
Rice cookies
Rice pucks
Rice discs
Rice rounds
Rice biscuits
Rice crisps
Rice puffs
Rice crunches
Ricey Rice Things
Cardboard Hell Snacks
Styrofoam Rice Crap
Compacted Rice
Rice Saucers
Arid Extra Rice
Snap Crackle Dust
Mummified Rice
Rice Jerky

I’m gonna bust a recap on your ass

I totally skipped doing my annual new year meme thingamabob, didn’t I? I tried to do it, but it just wasn’t hitting me right this year. (And what the hell kind of phrase is that? “Hitting me right”? That just doesn’t sound good, when you really think about it).

Instead, I’ll just do a brain dump of what things strike me about the year of aught nine. Ready? Ok.

2009 was the year that:

1. …was just all kinds of seasonal. Usually, Seattle is not known for seasonalitism. Rather, we are known for two kinds of sky: either grey or blue. And it’s mostly grey that wins. But this year! Seasons! We started out with a jackload of snow and then an outburst of spring, which was followed by a glawrious summer wherein I wore skirts and bare legs to my heart’s content for weeks and weeks and weeks on end and rediscovered the joy that is popsicles. This was followed by a particularly pretty fall and now we are back to the grey days of yore.

2. …our house got prettier. Ever since we bought our house, we have been in home improvement land, which is not only a land that Nordic Boy has a passport to live in, but he is also the Prime Minister of. We bought a place that needed a lot of work. A lotta, lotta work, actually. The past two years have been years where we do home improvements that are sexy to Nordic Boy, but not to me. Insulation! New roof! Water drainage! New electrical! New pipes! All things that are totally necessary, to be sure, but not if you are me and you have a decidedly shallow side that needs placating. This year, we got to do some of the stuff that we both love, not just stuff that he loves. What does that mean? That means making things pretty. Oh how I love to make things pretty. And the centerpiece of this prettyfication? OUR NEW COUCH! Besides being pretty, I am a big fan of getting my cozy on, and this couch has revolutionized the cozy. It has the perfect ergonomics for reading (sitting or horizontal), chatting with pals, watching a movie, making out, and the napping on this couch should just be illegal, it is so delicious. Plus it is so, so pretty.

3. …we got our new dual flush toilet so that when we do a crapsie, we can have flushing OPTIONS. Because there are so many choices in life, why not with flushing?

4. …Alli spent literally an entire day looking for a plane ticket to come and visit me and Map’s husband surprised her with a plane ticket to join in. The effort Alli and Map put in for little old me made me feel loved and thankful for my awesome friends.

5. …a friend passed away in the saddest way I can think of. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it completely.

6. …I spent a fun few days at Alli and Chris’ house where they drove us around the entirety of Chicago with no questions asked and made Nordic Boy and me laugh until our guts ached. I love those two.

7. …I met blog friends for the first time and they were all more awesome than I could have hoped for. I mean, really, I was just hoping that they didn’t smell bad or want to kill me or anything like that, and then they went and showed me up by being way cooler than I could have wished for.

8. …my friend Hopscotch got knocked up and made me squeal with the excitement of it while I was at work. And I am not even a squealy type girl. But for her? Squeeeee!

9. …I went to see lots of plays and ballets and dance shows. Thank you, job, for allowing me the cashola to do that.

10. …I sang karaoke and scared my friends with my, um, enthusiasm.

11. …we inaugurated a Vulcan fly-swatter as President of the You Nighted States.

12. … I met the newly-born H and J’s baby girl who is just a cutey and a half.

13. … I shopped once again for a winter coat and rain appropriate shoes. FAIL.

14. … I saw my BFF take a shit sandwich and turn it into a cherry pie. It’s amazing to watch someone just be happier, and funnier, and more awesome by the minute. And she did that. And I got to see it.

15. …I leapt into the 21st century via owning an iPhone. And eating pancakes out of a spray can.

Overall, I think that 2009 sucked for a lot of people. For me, it was a pretty good year. I had some work pressure, and some extended-family-type pressure, and some other various pressures, but I managed to not sweat it too much. I mean, I did sweat it some, but just the appropriate amount of sweatage. I then got back to more important things like doing silly dances and making up crazy songs, hanging out with my homies who always treat me with kindness, and hugging on my loverman until his eyes bug out. Priorities, dontcha know.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope your 2009 didn’t hurt too much and that 2010 kisses you right on the mouth.

More random nonsense

I think I got this from the Soggy Librarian, aka Hopscotch. You should do it too. Double Dog Dare you.

1. Who was your first prom date?

I took a very serious political stand against prom when I was in school. Hey, some people took down apartheid. My issue was prom. You think I am kidding, but I am not. That is a story for another time.

2. Do you still talk to your first love?

Yes, about once a year. Haven’t seen him since high school so I still picture him as a 17 year old and I sometimes embarrassedly think about what a good kisser he was. Don’t tell him I said that because the mortification would strike me dead.

3. What was your first alcoholic drink?

A Segram’s Wine Cooler in some ridiculous berry flavor. It was red as I recall. Basically it was spiked Kool-Aid. And I drank a bunch of them and got loopy, and then went out dancing in a club and felt so grown up because I was underage. What a klassy young lady I was.

4. What was your first job?

Making people deceased, and not by killing them or anything.

5. What was your first car?

Although it technically wasn’t “mine” per se (did I just say per se?), I drove my mom’s little red Mazda 323 around my home town like crazy when I was 16. I thought that was so STYLIN’ back then. I also had this little bendy mod doll hanging on the rearview mirror. She had the head of Julie Newmar and the body of Gumby. My virginal, sex-obsessed friend Jason would contort poor Gumby Newmar into Kama Sutra-esque positions when I wasn’t looking and then leave her like that and if I wasn’t paying attention she would stay like that and then my mom would see it.

6. Who was the first person to text you today?

Nordic Boy.

7. Who is the first person you thought of this morning?

Nordic Boy, since he was right there. Although I did have a dream last night where Simon Doonan came into the library and told me that our summer reading display was hideous. So that sort of counts.

8. Who was your first grade teacher?

Mrs. Czap. Pronounced ZAP. How friggin’ awesome is that? I just want to keep saying it. Mrs. CZAP. It’s like a superhero name. Although pronouncing it “Ka-zap” is also quite nice. Nordic Boy had an elementary school teacher named Mrs. Knipple. And it was actually pronounced “Ka-nipple.” Now there’s something you don’t hear every day.

9. Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane?

When I was a year and a half, I went back to Fiji with the fam. My parents got on a plane, for a trip which was in those days about 48 hours long, with four small children. God bless ’em.

10. Who was your first best friend, and are you still friends with him/her?

My first best friend was Malin, who I was friends with when I was in the first few days of our lives because our parents were friends. So it was like an arranged friend marriage in that our parents put us together. Luckily, we adored each other and went on many little kid adventures together all the way through middle school when she moved away. I am still friends with her, in that Facebook sort of way. She still rocks.

11. What was your first sport played?

I never really played sports since I was in ballet every single minute of my life from age 4 until adulthood. I used to be such a wuss in gym class too. I was that person that never took anything seriously (surprised?) and so my gym teachers didn’t like that too much, because, you know, I was having too much FUN. How ridiculous of me.

12. Where was your first sleepover?

I can’t possibly remember my first one, since me and my friends were crashing at each other’s houses all the time. People were always staying for dinner and staying over and I was always doing the same. I have a feeling people don’t do that any more, because parents seem way more controlling now. I get why, but still it’s sad to me.

13. Who was the first person you talked to today?

Simon Doonan. I am going to go with saying Simon Doonan. Although he did most of the talking.

14. Whose wedding were you in the first time?

You know that saying “always a bridesmaid, never a bride?” My saying is “Never a bride, nor a bridesmaid.” This is one of those things that people can NOT imagine to be true, as almost every one of my friends has bridesmaid-ed a jillion times. Part of it is that many of my friends are unconventional girlies who don’t really do the whole wedding thing, or if they do then they don’t do it with a lot of tradition. Of the people who are more traditional, they have just never asked me. Sometimes I secretly wonder if it’s because they think that I think weddings are dumb or something, which I don’t. Just because I don’t want one doesn’t mean I wouldn’t don some seafoam taffeta get up for a homegirl. But no one has asked me. Boo hoo.

15. What was the first thing you did this morning?

Looked out the window to make sure it was sunny. It is not. It is thunderstorming and hailing. I was TOLD that it would be sunny today. I was TOLD. I was also told I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.

16. What was the first concert you ever went to?

Chronology is difficult for me to remember on this one. I went with my parents to see Dizzy Gillespie. I also went to a Neil Young concert with my brother when I was in elementary school. So one of those. I can’t remember which was first.

17. What was your first tattoo or piercing?

This is a whole other story for another time, but my first attempt at getting my ears pierced was HORRIFYING.

18. What was the first foreign country you went to?

It feels weird to say Fiji, since that doesn’t seem “foreign” to me. So I will say Canada. Now that shit is foreign. They put gravy on FRIES, people.

19. What was your first run-in with the law?

The po-po was always on our ass back in the day. Breaking up friends’ parties, pulling my family over in our car, all that stuff. One time police came up my parents driveway and pulled their guns on them as they were getting out of their car in their own damn garage for some fuck-all reason, and if you ever saw my two teeny little innocent parents that would seem even more racist than you might even want to believe. I still have to fight off a deep seated fear of cops sometimes, but mostly I am over it. It really helped me when Alli’s brother became a cop because then I knew a good cop. I realize there’s lots of great po-po out there so please don’t send me hate mail. I’m just talking about how I grewed up thinking. And that I can’t remember my first run-in with the law as I feel like they were everywhere even though there was no law-breaking going on in my vicinity.

20. When was your first detention?

I got in a lot of trouble in high school, but I rarely got caught. For this reason, I was often the person that all my friends would “send in” when something untoward needed to happen.

21. What was the first state you lived in?

Michigan, baby, born and raised, in the playground was where I spent most of my days.

22. Who was the first person to break your heart?

Little kid style, it was probably Mike, the menage-a-hand-holder. Goddamn hand whore.

23. Who was your first roommate?

My sister and I shared a bedroom, where she had a flouncy canopy bed with a grape pattern all over it, and i had a mattress and box spring on the floor. I’m just saying. My first non-family roomie was Rebecca at dance school when I was 12. Rebecca looked and acted (in my worldly 12 year old opinion) like she was 10. I hung out with her older sister the whole time I was at that school, who was 15. This was my m.o. back then. I always had older friends in dance school and learned many things I shouldn’t have from them. Dang I loved those guys.

24. Where did you go on your first limo ride?

My first limo ride was to my graduation ceremony and we were so friggin’ excited about it we could have DIED.

On a totally unrelated note, it hailed on our house in the middle of the night last night. It was loud, especially because it was hitting the tarp that is covering our roof right now. It woke both of us up with a jolt.

Me: Is that hail?

Nordic Boy: HAIL NO!

We both fell immediately back to sleep. This morning? I keep thinking about that and cracking up. That he would yell out HAIL NO and we would just go back to the Sandman like that. We are so weird. Well, technically, he is so weird. I just get to bear witness.

I’m out,

Librarian Girl

Young 97s

I saw this book in the library where I work. It’s called 97 Things To Do Before You Finish High School.

It got me thinking. How had I spent my youth? Did I measure up? Had I done all the things that the new-fangled youth of today are doing? So I went through the list and made a list of my own. What follows is the list of the things in the book that I didn’t do before the tender age of 18. Dig if you will the picture of what this says about me.

1. Join a club.
I was racking my brain on this one. I wasn’t anti-club or anything, but I honest to mergatroid can’t think of any club that I ever joined. I was a part of the school thespian society, but that was the biggest bullshit club ever. There were no meetings, and all you had to do was be in a lot of plays and you were in the club. I even held an office in that club. “Scribe.” Can someone please hold my hand because the sheer theater geekiness of that title is making me a little faint right now. I never scribed anything for anyone in a thespian-related context so I have no idea what the hell that was about. I remember the day I was “elected” scribe. There were four offices. President, Veep, Scribe and Treasurer. None of these people had any responsibilities at all. It was after rehearsal and our teacher was like “who wants to be thespian president?” and someone would say “ok, me.” When he said “scribe” I was like “I’ll do that.” But that’s not really a club, is it? You want to know something else bullshizzy about that club? When I was a senior, we had a graduation awards ceremony, where people got called out for best GPA and Most Volunteer Hours and real shit like that. And, for some reason, my name got called that year and I got a thespian award. Like, it was a little trophy and everything. Why I got one and no one else did I never figured out. Weird.

2. Give technology a break
There weren’t cell phones or email or PDAs when I was in high school and I was the last kid on earth to even get a VCR player or an answering machine. My technology consisted of tv-watching and…um…yeah. Just tv watching. And, come to think of it, when we spent summers in Fiji, there was no tv there. So I guess I did have a break from technology. Sort of. Does that count?

3. Host a film festival with your friends.
Really? This is what the kids are doing now? FAN-SWAH.

4. Start or join a book club.
Oopsie, future librarian. I didn’t even know that book clubs were a thing to like, DO. I never talked about books with my friends, really. Unless it was to tell them that this one or that one was good. But discussing? Nuh-uh.

5. Sing karaoke.
We didn’t know nothing from karaoke. But this one kind of counts because we sang in front of each other all the time. Theater geeks do that, you know.

6. Dine high end on a low budget.
Not unless you count the Olive Garden, which I TOTALLY DO.

7. Record an oral history.
Kids today, I tell ya. They are doing fancy things. I didn’t know shit about what an oral history was. Although one of my best friends in high school, Mike, made me a present for graduation. It was a multi-page list of every single inside joke we had with our friends. The list was more than a hundred items strong, and I still have that sucker and I love it. One night, for some reason, Mike and I tape recorded ourselves reading out the list to each other and telling the stories behind why each item was so dang funny. I don’t give a monkey ball about possessions usually, but that tape was one of the most important things I ever owned. It was crazy, and funny, and nonsensical, and awesome. I lost it somewhere and I can still make myself get a little misty over the fact that I lost it. Sad. Don’t you feel so sad for me? I know, my problems are so yooge. I deserve a telethon. It ain’t easy being meezy, baby.

8. Spend quality time with your grandparents.
Never got to do that.

9. Learn a martial art.
Only the fine martial art of cutting others with my eyes.

10. Enter a sports competition.
Nope, but I spent much of my youth in dance auditions, and if you want to show me a more cut-throat event, I would love to see it. Maybe cock-fights?

11. Determine your blood type.
Nope.

12. Detox your body.
That would have gotten in the way of my very serious Cool Ranch Dorito and Faygo consumption.

13. Plant an herb garden.
The thought of me doing this NOW is laughable. As a teen? Whatever.

14. Know your silhouette and colors.
I am starting to doubt the validity of this book. Did they really just say that? Am I being punked?

15. Visit your state capital.
I went to the city, but never the actual building. There is nothing at all entertaining about this one.

16. Take a camping trip.
Still have never done this to this day. No one wants to take me, I think. I have asked numerous camping-type friends to let me tag along and no one has ever helped a girl out. What does this say about me that my friends are too scared to take me into the woods with them?

17. Hike to a mountaintop.
We didn’t have mountains in the midwest. That’s still true, right? Now that they have earthquakes there, who the hell knows.

18. Make a podcast.
Once again I reiterate that I was brought up in the days of yore when we had to do things like order plane tickets over the phone and buy stage makeup because drug store/mall makeup didn’t carry brown colors and there was no such thing as a self-service slurpee maker and we played text-based games on our Commodore Vic-20s. So, nope.

19. Keep a scrapbook.
20. Learn to match beats.
Although I did know how to run a sampling machine and a sound board in high school. Do they still even make sampling machines? Or did I basically just say that I know how to work a Victrola?

21. Create a comic strip.
No way. The closest I came was I created a storyboard once for a film class. Sort of the same? Kind of? A little? Ok not really.

22. Paint your room.
23. Write your own manifesto.
Kids are writing their own manifestos these days? NUTS.

24. Contribute to community beautification.
Please. I mowed my parents lawn until I wanted to DIE. That was all I could take.

25. Visit your local officials.
If by this you mean my local McDonald’s drive-through officials.

26. Write an op-ed.
Dang, I missed out on that one. I had very strong opinions about Betty versus Veronica.

27. Understand the stock market.
My economics class in high school was an effing joke. As were most of my classes.

28. Learn basic car maintenance.
I still need to get around to that.

29. Learn CPR.
Yeah, that one too. What the hell have I been doing with my life?

30. Ride a horse.
I had never even seen a real horse except but once in 6th grade camp.

31. Bury a time capsule.
What was I going to put in there? My acid washed jeans and my autographed photo of Soupy Sales?

That’s it. Out of 97 items, I didn’t do a third of them before finishing high school. A FULL THIRD. A sampling of the ones I DID do, however, are: throw a house party, learn about safe sex, take an art class, make your own halloween costume, and go skinny dipping. You know, all the important ones.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl

Flint Pong

I’m back, babies!

The plural of baby just doesn’t come out right. Like, if I were to say “I’m back, baby!” that sounds alright. But make it babies? Then it just gets weird.

Anyhoo. I am back on the west coast after a foray to the land of my birthing. It was a rad trip. IT WAS A RAD TRIP, OK?

I’m feeling a little defensive about my trip, as I always do when I go home. Let me let you in on a little something. When I talk about my hometown, people dole out the sympathy. Like it is a town that is worth the same as a dirty tick on the ass of a dirty rat. I HATE THAT. If you want to make me a little teed off, say something to me about how assy my hometown is and then make a face like you are smelling something bad when you say it. I AM SO SORRY THAT MY TOWN DOESN’T HAVE BILL GATES AND RIDE THE DUCKS TOURS AND HIPSTER DOOFUSES ON EVERY LAST STREET CORNER. But lay off. It made me, and I’m pretty cute, right?

I said, RIGHT?

Let’s focus on some of the things you might not know about that little place that spawned the crazy black-haired librarian who shoots off at the mouth.

1. Although much of the town looks tired and beat down and busted up, one thing that most people have there is a little patch of yard. Even if your house or trailer or whatevers is saggy, for some reason yards are plentiful. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to lie down in it and roll around. Which is just what I did.

View from mid-roll

2. There’s also a lovely destination I like to call I’ll Be the Banana For That Hammock, Indeed.

I don’t really call it that but I totally could.

3. From which place you can be treated to a view such as this.

And the birdies have never pooped on me once.

4. But get in line because your gentleman friend might hog the snooze bag.

That friggin’ Nordic Boy.

5. And you can run through apple orchards that used to scare the jeebus out of you when you were a kid because that’s where you’d play Bloody Murder at dusk.

You still couldn’t pay me to go in there at night.

See, it looks nice, don’t it? It’s not all drab gray factories and such like. My town my have eyesores aplenty, but it also has my parents’ house. And my parents’ house, as you can see from the hammock and grassy photolio, is a getaway to end all getaways. They have always had a heapin’ help of hospitality for my whole life, but ever since they had grandkids? It’s like a freakin’ wonderland of recreational goodness. You’ve got the picturesque yard with lots of space for running amok, a cool front porch for watching the passersby while sipping a tonic, a crackling fireplace for late night hot chocolate consumption, a basement room with a dart board, a foosball table, and a ping pong table, every board game known to the free world, croquet, lawn bowling, a library room chock full of any kind of book you would care to read, and two refrigerators crammed to the gills with delicious sweets and savories, mostly made with organic ingredients grown in their own goddamn garden.

If I woulda told you that paradise was in Flint, Michigan, you never would have believed me, would you?

Well, maybe it’s not your idea of paradise, but it sure as hell is mine.

My favorite cousin and one of my top all time favorite people in the world, Sweetie Pie, came to visit while we were there. Sweetie Pie and I grew up together and I love her to little shiny pieces more than I can really say. When she and I get together, the fun just keeps on coming. And over the years, she and Nordic Boy have gotten ever more sisterly/brotherly towards each other too, which rocks my socks. This time around, the two of them decided to play a friendly game of ping pong.

Before long? It was the most out of control slam fest you have ever seen in your life. Have you ever seen professional ping pong players? You know how they slam the hell out of that little white ball with all the force they can muster? That was Sweetie Pie and Nordic Boy. They were running around the room. As they were playing. I so wish I had a video to show you. It was like they had found their very own kindred ping pong spirit in each other. I have never seen anything like it. It wasn’t competetive- they weren’t even keeping score. They were just playing ping pong like it was the last day on earth and the minute they stopped playing the core of the planet was going to blow up. It was INTENSE.


It started out normal.


Then they started running after the ball and hitting it back over their shoulders while not even looking.

You know how it all ended? By Sweetie Pie volleying a ball across the table from the back of the room (they weren’t even really taking the actual table into account any more) and Nordic Boy diving for it, across the table, and COLLAPSING THE ENTIRE TABLE.

You know how Mary Catherine Gallagher would always fall into tables? It was JUST LIKE THAT. The table was FLATTENED!

Nordic Boy even sliced his arm open. Oh yes. There was PING PONG INJURIOUSNESS.

How hard core is that???

We managed to fix the table, which was almost just like new. Sort of. Kind of.


Let’s not mention this to mom and dad, ok guys?

I’m out,
Librarian Girl

Ebony and Ivory

When I was a child, I took piano lessons. They took place at my piano teacher Mrs. Mackelbee’s house, and I frickin’ hated it with a passion that was unparalleled. Once a week, I would trudge over there, and she would open her front door, wearing her navy blue Keds with white laces and her Mike Brady perm, and she would let me into her house to learn a tune or two. She had this whacked out, slobbery dog that would bare its teeth at me menacingly and race toward me like I was a gigantic sirloin steak, and she would say “oops!” and catch the dog just in time and drag him into another room while it gnashed its jaws at me. She never put the dog into another room before I got there. They did this every week, the dog and her, like some fucked up mind game that would somehow prep my mind and hands to play the goddamn scales out of the Finger Power songbook.

When I started piano lessons, I liked it. I must have been like 5 or 6 when I started. But, somehow, over the years, the seeds of hate were sown. I say “somehow,” but actually, I know exactly what my problem was, besides facing Cujo each week. First of all, my sister was taking piano lessons, and she rocked it. And a key part of my life has been dedicated to differentiating myself from my overacheiving siblings. So if one of them rocked something, I was so not even going to go there. I spent enough time being compared to my sister that I never put myself in a position where I would have to directly compete with her, because I knew that in any such competition, I would lose.

But the bigger problem? Was that the more I played the piano, the more that I came to understand that I was so-so at it. Not bad, certainly, but just medium ok. I got myself to a place where I could read music, and move on from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to “Nadia’s Theme” to Moonlight Sonata.” I even got myself to the really good stuff like “Careless Whisper” and “Head Over Heels” by Wham and Tears for Fears, respectively. My parents’ whole rationale for putting me in piano lessons was that they wanted me to learn how to read music which, they insisted, I would be grateful for later on when I was older. And that is certainly true. I am glad I know how to do that. So Wham songs and music literacy. What more could I have wanted than that?

What I wanted, people, was to be good. Not only good, actually, but GREAT. I wanted accolades, I wanted applause. I wanted my teacher to say that I was such a great student and that she was wowed by my untapped potential.

Mrs. Macklebee never said that. She was a kind lady, and she taught me as best she could, but she wasn’t going to lie to me. She gave me a lesson each week and sent me home. Thus, the hatred grew.

I begged my parents to let me quit. And my parents, who were very easy going and usually let things like that be what they are, were kind of ok with me quitting. Until I said these words:
“What’s the point? I just SUCK AT THIS.”

For some reason, these magic words got me sentenced to many more piano lessons. They kept sending me to Mrs. Macklebee. I begged them, each week, to let me skip. They never let me. I remember the hatred grew so strong, that there was this one time where I was at my piano lesson, playing some stoopid song, and the tears just started rolling down my face in frustration at even BEING there. Mrs. Macklebee didn’t say anything. She just let me keep playing. I didn’t make a sound, but I was crying my eyes out. When I was done, she silently handed me a tissue and went on with the lesson.

You know what my problem was, people? It seems so obvious to me now. I had learned, from school, that you only do what you are good at. If you suck at something, the best thing to do is to just quit doing that thing. You have to specialize, even as a kid. Not a gifted artist? Put down the drawing pencils and go find something that you excel at. Have an aptitude for soccer? Make sure you quit the swim team then because clearly that is a waste of time.

But you know what happens if you do that? You miss out on lots of things that, although you may not be great at them, you might find fun, you know, just because. You also over-develop the part of you that is goal-oriented, and the part of you that just likes to try stuff for the experience shrivels up and goes away. Third, you may become a person that quits things too early if you don’t kick ass right off the bat, and you miss out on finding a talent that needs more time to develop. Didn’t Ralph Macchio have to wax on wax off for a good long time before he could do the Crane Kick? What if he had quit at the waxing stage? Crane Kicking would have never happened, that’s what.

Eventually, I made my peace with piano lessons. And then my parents let me move on from that to try something new. When we’re really little, we don’t put ourselves into categories like we do as we grow up. Everyone is an artist, a scientist, an athlete, a brain. But as we grow up, we get these messages that tell us that we need to start letting most of those things go, especially if we’re not great at them. We judge ourselves, and then we lose out.

With that thought in mind, I thought I would make a list of things that I do that I 100% suck at, but that I like anyway and will continue to do. With love to my parents who heard me say “I SUCK AT THIS” and knew that I needed a lesson in not judging myself and doing something in order to stretch, even if there was no gold at the end of the journey. And with thanks to Mrs. Macklebee. I really do appreciate that I can still read music and that I can bust out “Careless Whisper” at parties.

I SUCK AT THESE, but who cares? A list.

1. Kickball. I was in a kickball league a couple of summers ago, and it was rad. We lost every single game. By a lot. We could not win. It was fun as hell though.
2. Scrabble. I seriously suck at Scrabble. I have never won a game in my entire life. Ever. I come up with great words like “cat” and “ice.” I admit that this embarrasses me somewhat. But I still love to play.
3. Bowling. Me and Barack could totally be on the same team.
4. Painting. My paintings? Would not win any awards. I have no technique whatsoever. Unless “slap some paint on a canvas and call it a day” is a technique.
5. Understanding anything to do with concepts of quantum physics or even time traveling in movies. I can’t get enough of those kinds of movies and concepts. I will continue to watch them and want to hear about them, knowing I only understand about 30% of what is going on.

What five things do you suck at that you love to do?

I’m out,
Librarian Girl

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Hi, Pop Culture Readers! I was really honored when the lovely Pop Culture Librarian invited me to guest blog. But I was also a little bit intimidated. I’ve got a blog of my own, and to be honest with you? It has been kind of sucking lately.

So I wimped out and asked PCL to suggest a topic for me. In a typical PCL display of awesomeness, she sent me a list of six suggestions. I chose Suggested Topic #3:

A List of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Teen Services Public Libraraining

So, I am a Librarian for the Teenagers in a public library. You probably already know some stuff about this job, being fans of PCL and all, but in case you don’t, a typical workday might include recommending books to patrons, making book lists, posting to a library blog, visiting a school, planning an event, working with teen volunteers, or doing about a million other things. It’s a good job.

But anyway! On to the list!

The Good

1. Teenagers

I love teens. (Not in a dirty way. Don’t be such a perv.) I think people who don’t like teens either don’t know any of them, or only know the ones that they made themselves. I’m sure your own teen is probably a pain in the ass a lot of the time, but other people’s teens are a delight. They’re old enough to have intelligent, reasoned opinions, but young enough that you can still mold their little minds like clay.

And that’s where the library comes in. Mind-warping.

Also, I’m really immature, and I like hanging out with people at my own developmental level.

2. Co-workers/patrons

Librarians and other people who work in libraries are often nerds like me. I like nerds. And overall, I enjoy helping the people who come into the library. Corny but true.

3. Reading, television watching, etc.

I can read teen romances or adventure novels, or even watch Gossip Girl on the CW, and call it professionalizing. Beat that! Plus, as a public librarian, pretty much everything I read or learn could potentially be useful in helping other people find information, which is pretty neat. (If you’re a nerd.)

The Bad

1. Teen Services what?

A lot of people don’t know that my job exists—or if they do, they wonder why. “Teens don’t read!” they say. “Teens deal drugs and harass the elderly! They don’t need their own librarian!” It can be kind of exhausting to have to justify your own existence all the time.

2. Bureaucracy

As in any public service type environment (or maybe, any workplace), there are some people in the library who like nothing better than paperwork—the more, the better! I’m sure they miss the good old days of carbon paper and filling things out in triplicate. They make up for it by sending me twenty emails a day, all marked “Urgent!!!” but never actually containing any information that I could possibly need.

3. The Smell

I work in a big urban library, and my reference desk is near a seating area where people congregate. Lots of these people don’t really have anywhere else to go during the day, and I am 100% behind the library’s mission of intellectual freedom and a creating a welcoming environment for all.
But—and here’s where I start to sound like a Republican and/or a terrible person—when you have a lot of people in the same room who don’t necessarily have daily access to showers, it can lead to a certain . . . aroma. Not a nice one. And sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming.
Don’t hate me.

The Ugly

1. People who yell

Sometimes in the library, people yell at you. You’d think that the mentally ill people would be the problem, but they are usually pretty nice. More often it’s the wealthy, entitled patrons who are outraged that their favorite chair has been moved or something. I try to have a thick skin about it, but it gets depressing.

2. The Politics

This is related to the Bureaucracy, but is a slightly different problem. Basically, in order to get anything done, you have to know who to talk to, and then make them like you, neither of which is necessarily easy.

. . . And there you have it! Only two entries in the “Ugly” column. Don’t you want to be a librarian now?

Batshit Insane

I am really losing it, you guys. Prepare for this blog entry to make no sense. Because I am totally not even coherent right now. Have you ever had a week or two where you feel like you are about five steps behind yourself? Where, the moment you do one task, there are three or four more that spring up, and you feel like you never will catch up, ever? That your life, once an idyllic traipse through the park, has been reduced to a series of checklists that will never stop and that you will never get ahead of?

AAAAAHHHHHHH!

Really. I say again:

AAAAAHHHHHHH!

I know this woman, let’s call her Frazzle McDazzle. I don’t know her well, and have only been to parties and suchlike where she is also a guest. Frazzle is never at the party for the first half. Somewhere during the party, she will call the host or a party guest to apologize for being so late, but to assure everyone to expect her shortly. Although I am never the one that she would call in this situation, I always imagine that there are traffic noises and chaos in the background of wherever it is she is calling from, and that one may hear the pounding of her feet as she runs down the sidewalk on her way to the party. Eventually, she does show up to the gathering, and she always looks the same. She always bursts in, like Kramer. She is always completely harried, and even somewhat confused, as if she doesn’t know quite where she is. Sometimes her glasses are fogged up. Her hair is always messed up, and her coat is often hanging partway off of her shoulders as if she has almost run right out of her clothes. Her clothes are perpetually wrinkled. She often greets people at the party like this: “What? Oh hi.” Or maybe like this: “Huh? Nice to see you.” She is so Frazzled, she is truly dazzling.

I am turning into Frazzle McDazzle.

Huh? Oh hi.

I am all booked up, people. BACK TO BACK. Something happening ALL THE TIME. From before the sun comes up until half past Super Late. LISTS, EVERYWHERE, LISTS!

How did this happen? I don’t know, but it sucks. More than sucks. Su-hucks.

I am totally doing this to myself, I know. People don’t get crazy busy like this unless they are doing it to themselves, I get that. Here are some things that make me realize that I have to slow the fuck down.

1. I walked down the street yesterday? And the wind was a-blowin’ all crazy like, and it was blowing my hair right across my face. My hair is black. And thick. And if enough of it blows across my face, I can’t see a durn thing. I was in such a hurry, I just kept walking. BLIND FOLDED.

2. Last night I got home around 9:30. I wanted to fall right into bed, but I ate a little something and then watched a Battlestar Galactica episode on dvd with Nordic Boy. I love Battlestar Galactica. But in my current state of mind, I couldn’t even follow it. That’s right, I couldn’t follow a tv show. I was this lady:
“Who is that guy?”
“Why are they doing that?”
“How come they’re trying to kill him?”
“Wasn’t she there before?”

THE WHOLE TIME.

3. As I was running around doing alla my made up task-list shit, I found myself singing this weird song. “Batty batty bat, batty batty bat, batty batty bat! One two thrrree!” I don’t know what part of my brain this came out of. When I got to work the next day, I had to look it up. It was this.


Batty bat, indeed.

I’M TOTALLY LOSING IT, PEOPLE.

What? Oh hi.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl

Conversation-tastic

Things that were said by yours truly within the last few days in front of normal, well-adjusted people. A list.

At a party:
Party goer: So I was thinking about doing this cleanse. It’s lemonade, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper.
Me: Oh yeah! Pepa just did that cleanse on her reality show. Salt thought it was stupid. That Salt and Pepa! Always disagreeing.
(stares from party goers)
Me: Sorry. You were saying?

At another party:
Party-goer: Things just aren’t the same any more at work.
Me: Yeah, it’s like when Leonardo Di Caprio showed up on Growing Pains. It’s like Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch. You know it’s just never going to be the same.
Party goer #2: Hey, what’s up?
Me: We were just talking about Growing Pains.
Party goer #1: And my work situation.
Me: Oh, yeah. And that.

In a car full of people:
Passenger #1: You have to turn left at the yield sign up there.
Me: Yield! Yield before Zod!
(silence)
Me: You know…Superman? Kneel before Zod? Oh never mind.

At another party (yes, I went to a lot of parties this weekend):
Me: So, I’m really glad that our library is moving in that direction.
Co-worker: I’d love to hear more of your opinion on that. Can you explain what you mean?
Me: No, not really. I don’t really know what I’m saying right now. I’m just, you know, trying to make conversation.
Her: Oh.

I know. I should really be giving conversation lessons. It’s so clearly my calling.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl