Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned books

So it's Banned Books week, and as a card-carrying librarian, it's my duty to commemorate it somehow. I know I'm very lucky to live in a liberal-ish section of the Bible Belt, where even the public library's computers are left unfiltered, and I've had many lively and heated (and FUN!) online Blackboard discussions during library school about what our role should be in censorship. I am very passionate about leaving books free to be read, but I do think the line should be crossed somewhere; i.e., I don't know how I'd feel if a book on how exactly to commit murder and get away with it was a part of the collection. But also...it's important that librarians don't let their feelings get in the way. A conservative Collection Development librarian can't let his views prevent him from ordering Heather Has Two Mommies, and a liberal librarian in a different library should order that Tucker Carlson book along with the Molly Ivins.

So I always revert to this philosophy: If it's something the community would visit the library for, it's fair game.

In that spirit...here's the American Library Association's 100 most frequently banned books from 1990-2000. I'll italicize the ones I've read, and bold the ones I want to read. And, of course, there will be commentary.

[Just as an intro here...I don't like scary, and I don't like sad. So that'll be the reason I haven't and don't care to read some of these. Also, I have sat through many uncomfortable junior-high sex-ed sessions, so I'm pretty well covered on the basics, so the kiddie sex-ed books probably won't be selected. Not that I have anything against them.]

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz (Steve had some of these, I think. I may have read two or three before asking myself why I was committing self-torture.)

Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (audiobooked this one recently. It was just okay.)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain ("Rivah...in the rain...." ooh, chills!)

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (We discussed this before, remember? Can't handle it!)

Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling (Oh, PLEASE. Don't tell me this promotes witchcraft when they don't ban freakin' fairy tales.)

Forever by Judy Blume ("Ralph" was such an odd name, I thought...but also strangely appropriate.)

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Goes against my 'sad' rule. But it was for school. And it ticked me off how the previews for the movie made no mention of the utter tragedy of this story. How many kids were caught off-guard by that, thinking they were going to see a pretty happy little movie? Woulda scarred me permanently.)

Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier (I think the kiddos had this one and I read it. Was it with a bike or something? No, no, I'm wrong--just looked it up. I'm thinking of "Mick was Here" or something.)

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (of course! Read it for the first time for Language Arts class in 7th grade [Yo Mrs. Sisson, you made me laugh, grrl], and just when I finished the last page, I flipped the pages back and read it through again. Love, love, love.)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (ooh...normally I don't go for Utopian books, but this sounds great. Kinda Uglies-ish.)

It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine (HELL no!)

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (hold on a sec...this is an epistolary? Oh, HELL yes! Bring it!)

Sex by Madonna (this was actually in MU's Special Collections. One Sunday, I furtively brought it back to my desk and flipped through it. It has a weird metal cover. To be honest, I wasn't that shocked...I probably would have been when it first came out, though. I remember seeing it behind the counter at Waldenbooks, all wrapped up and against-the-rules. This one is nearly impossible to interlibrary loan. Go ahead, try it!)

Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel (Looks boring. And loooong.)

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (This book made me think in ways I had never imagined. I didn't love them as much as other series, but I was fascinated.)

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (hells no! No drugs.)

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers (This sounds really interesting...and if it weren't so war-centric, I might read it. But I don't like violence, either.)

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak (Aw, come on, little boy penises don't count!)

The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard

The Witches by Roald Dahl (I have tried Dahl, but I just don't love him. And I'll never be able to eat regular-sized spaghetti noodles, thanks to Mr. Colman for reading us The Twits in Unit C. If you don't know why...you're better off not knowing.)

The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein

Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry (What?!! Why??)

The Goats by Brock Cole (Holy crap, why have I never heard of this one? This looks terrific!)

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane (This would be like...a book I'd feel good about reading. But not one I'd pick up on my own.)

Blubber by Judy Blume (I've got it on my goals list to reread every single Blume book. Love u, Linda!)

Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (this plot intrigues me. I might someday. I don't like dead, though.)

Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam (Um...I have to read this now. This sounds awesome! Maybe I'll buy it for some baby I know.)

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier (This sounds super! Too disturbing for my reading-mood these days, but I'll get to it.)

Final Exit by Derek Humphry (Wow. Not for me, no, but I think I'm glad it exists.)

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (I don't know. I feel like I would have listened with rapt attention had it been read to me, like when Raboo Rodgers read to us from his Magnum Fault at Ridgeway, but I don't think I'd pick it up on my own.)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Tom's hand makes me want to cry. It's the same thing as sad eyes.)

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Pigman by Paul Zindel (This sounds like it would depress me.)

Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard

Deenie by Judy Blume

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (No sir. NO SAD ENDINGS!)

Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar (This sounds adorable!)

Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz (A freaking....a freaking....book about superstitions?? Are you kidding me? I knew this list would made me mad.)

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (Okay, he's wicked. But it's a serious tragedy if some kid never got to read him because it was banned.)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (No utopias, thank you. But I guess it's one of those 'should-reads.' Maybe I'll make myself read it someday.)

Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) (tried to read these...way too S&M for me.)

Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole

Cujo by Stephen King

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell (Wow...interesting that the author has come out saying he no longer prescribes to the theories he spouts in this one. The book sounds a little like Abbie Hoffmann's Steal This Book)

Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

Ordinary People by Judith Guest (this one's a maybe. Sounds depressing.)

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (I'll never read it. But it's tempting!)

What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (I read this one every few weeks for about twelve years. Oh, lawd, I love it!)

Crazy Lady by Jane Conly

Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

Fade by Robert Cormier (Wow, this sounds cool!)

Guess What? by Mem Fox

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (Nah. History, violence, international conflict...no thanks.)

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney (I did see part of a Lifetime Movie of this starring that chick from "Life Goes On." O-bla-di.)

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (The genre, 'absurdist classic,' turns me off immediately. Same reason I couldn't get into Hitchhiker's Guide.)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (read it for one of our book choices in Block, because Balty was in the movie. Will never forget B.J.'s hilarious commentary when we watched the movie in Hechler's class senior year. I took notes, it was so funny. When I come across them now and again, I laugh out loud.)

Native Son by Richard Wright (Reading it, I thought "Now why does everyone give Communism such a hard time?" I'm so ignorant about that stuff, but that novel sure does give the impression that they're all for equal rights.)

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday (Not for the...um...even mildly prudish.)

Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen

Jack by A.M. Homes

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya

Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle

Carrie by Stephen King (I might. I've always kind of wanted to read this one.)

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume (oh, CRAP this is a good book. I don't know if I'll ever be able to read it again, but I had to buy it as soon as I finished reading the library copy.)

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer (This seems really intense. I wouldn't mind reading it, but I don't really want to.)

Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge

Family Secrets by Norma Klein (ooh, wicked!)

Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole

The Dead Zone by Stephen King

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (I've never read any Morrison. Her novels sound sad and disturbing, so that's probably why. I think I have Beloved somewhere, though, from someone's recommendation.)

Always Running by Luis Rodriguez (This sounds really cool, but the reviews are mixed.)

Private Parts by Howard Stern (I didn't want to buy this myself, so when I was out shopping with Emily one day and saw it in the clearance section, I asked if she'd take the money and buy it for me. I'm not offended by it...I just think he's kind of awful.)

Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford (Oh, because someone found a naked person once? Or something?)

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (Another 'maybe.' A lot of "This is really sad" reviews for this one. Not a good sign. How come there aren't any sugary sweet novels on here?)

Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (I do like architecture. But not history.)

Running Loose by Chris Crutcher (I think I like sports-themed novels. Never really thought about it, but I always enjoy them.)

Sex Education by Jenny Davis (Wow, this isn't the fluffy rom-com I expected before I read the synopsis)

The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene (Apparently it's "Stephan," ALA. Don't you know anything about books? Also--whoa, this sounds graphic. But I'd like to read it.)

Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell (yuck yuck yuck!)

View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts (Probably scary, and certainly graphic, but too interesting not to read)

The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (I am not one for ghost stories. Thanks, Betty Ren Wright.)

The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney

Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

So here's what's funny to me. Many books on here are, presumably, being banned or protested against because of newish or controversial ideas like homosexuality, sexual situations, birth control, etc; and because of violence and disturbing content. But then there are classics, like Mockingbird and Tom Sawyer, that have long been notorious for their use of racial epithets. I'm trying to think my way through this, but something's wrong here. Like....I get both reasons. But they don't seem to match up, somehow. I think part of it is that some people find the older classics offensive for their use of certain words, but it's not the same as a modern novel dropping the F-bomb. In a way, it's a noble reason to censor a book (though I'm not justifying it). No one would be accused of being a prude for not liking to hear the n-word--it's a good thing to be offended by! And people of other races don't, I feel, have the right to use it, except that when those books were written, it was more acceptable.

Obviously, it's a touchy subject for everyone. This whole post is full of touchiness. But it's the right week for it.

Also, I think it's neat that some of the same authors reappear in the list. It's like they were all "You can't hold me back, censors! I WILL WRITE AGAIN!"

A Freakishly Productive Day, Considering

I can't believe how motivated I was today. I felt like I had to keep going and going...not through any sense of obligation, but because I wanted to feel satisfied by doing so. I wish that happened more often! I'd probably burn a crapload more calories.

Here's what I did, after working 5 hours this morning:

>Peeled, washed, and PICKLED 27 eggs. Also some sausages. I know....weird, right? But they're so expensive to buy, and I'm so Susie Homemaker these days, so why not? I even have pickling spices and pickling salt!

Loaded, unloaded, and reloaded the dishwasher.

>Made turkey burgers for dinner, with Oopsie rolls...another good experience with those. I'm religious about my turkey burger toppings: regular mustard and hamburger dills...not those long sandwich pickles that all the kids are eating these days. The little bright green rounds. That's it. Thank you, cleochatra, for bringing Oopsies to my life!

>Put in an hour or so of ChaCha work.

>Our DVR is getting full, so I was determined to eliminate. I watched and got rid of NKOTB on The Today Show (eh. But, I've never heard Jon talk as much as he did there); Stephenie Meyer on Ellen (double eh. She was only on there to give away her books. She's not even fun!); last week's Hills; Desperate Housewives (THIS SEASON IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!!); Rock the Reception (hey, gimme a break, Poison was going to show up); and the series premiere of Privileged. Which completely rocked. So much so, that I went online and watched the next two episodes. Holy Gilmore, it was like being in Emily and Richard's house again, complete with a sassy heroine, her innocent-looking charge, and somewhat inappropriate commentary. Rienne, you should totally try it!

>Deposited three checks...I know this doesn't sound like much of a chore, but for some reason, like getting gas, I never like doing it. I put it off as long as possible.

>Got Trevor's address to re-send his invite. You can hear him fairly shrieking in his messages.

>Pre-prepared the kitchen for tomorrow's pot roast, probably my current favorite dinner. The crock pot, skillet, onion, and garlic are out and ready, and the actual meat is thawing in the sink.

>Took a shower the night before! I hardly ever do that, even though I always think I should. Tomorrow morning won't be a flurry of 'crap crap crap I have so much to do'!

>Packed some scrapbooking supplies away, and moved all the boxes in the bedroom away from the bed. It's a pet peeve, if you must know.

>Talked to Lily for a bit, who has picked out the cutest, cutest, retro-ish dress for the wedding.

>Okay, so I'm not going to bed before eleven. Or midnight. Or maybe even one, as it's seven til right now. But I'm going now. I swear!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Running through my head, running through my head

That Tatu song was pretty good. Whatever happened to them? That video was so holocaust-y.

-Some mornings, nothing's better than a cold can of soda first thing. Mother taught me to be obsessive about cleaning the rim before drinking (which makes total sense...we don't put our lips on anything else that hasn't been washed, to our knowledge).

-Although this week has gone by a little slowly, it's been a good one. I was alone at work, and was able to move at my own pace with very little interruption.

-Neil and I opened our first official wedding present tonight! We had a little meeting at our newly repurposed-for-its-original-purpose dining room table, and tore into it.

-The week was pretty eventful: Neil accepted a job offer at Westminster, and we met with our officiant Kristin, both within a few hours of each other. It was a fantastic afternoon, first with the great news (he starts tomorrow!), then sitting for a couple hours talking about our relationship with a family friend who has the power vested in her to marry us. At the end, she said "I approve!" just like a real interview!

-Lately, I've been craving historical romances, with tons (had to look that up the first time I read one) and calling cards and large manor estates in the country for the holidays. I never liked them before working for Harlequin, and I don't usually read them unbidden, but for some reason I feel like being transported to another era. Well, either that or just a nice sugary holiday romance novel with crisp air and scarves (outside only, please. I'll never understand indoor scarves).

-It's getting close now. Less than three weeks! September seemed to go by in a flash of worry and cool temperatures and flashes of good, and now it's almost October. Will I get everything done in time? Will I go into Panic Mode again, or is that behind us? Will I manage to stay on the low-carb track until October 18? I dunno...I told Neil I was getting a G&D's pizza if I get the Jeff City job!!

-Neil did an awesome rearrangement-job this week, putting Phoenix in the second bedroom (he's a total loner, and we suspect he may not like being in a high-traffic area out here), the big TV up high on the media cabinet, the desk relocated to the living room (where it's less isolated, which I like), and the aforementioned dining table in its rightful place, with all four chairs around it. We can play games again!

-It's been a major TV week. I'm saving "Ugly" and "Desperate" for...I don't know, for when I won't be interrupting football, but we of course caught "The Office" on Thursday, then re-watched it on Friday. I don't know exactly what I even thought of it! I certainly wasn't satisfied, and felt so many questions were left unanswered that should have been addressed (why was Meredith's face absolutely covered in red welts for two weigh-ins, then suddenly was clear for the rest? This had BETTER be in the deleted scenes, Universal!)...I didn't like Ryan's return, but then, I stopped liking him when he was so mean to Kelly. I wondered why they stopped the Kevin-retardo joke, because it was absolutely so perfect; I wondered about Michael and Jan's relationship, and why did Jim say Michael had told everyone the baby was his, then said "Who's your daddy? We don't KNOW!" to her stomach in front of everyone...and why the hell was she the same size as the season finale, when it was a month later...and what was up with making us think Pam was flirting with the doughy guy? Only to shock us even more at the proposal? (Okay, that proposal kinda made up for everything.) All I know is, Michael looks like a jack-hole with a goatee. But it does a surprising amount of good to Dwight's square-ass face.

-Sorry for the ramble-rant.

-In "yum" news, I'm this minute eating Lime 'n Chili Blue Diamond Bold almonds. Also, Lily and I were talking about low-carb (Gilbert is doing it too! Welcome to 2003, future lil-bro-in-law! Glad to have you), and she mentioned how delicious the Crystal Light On-The-Go Lemonade was, and I was all "No, Lily, I don't do anything resembling Country Time" and she was all "Dude, stop being unreasonable, try it" and I was all "Are you telling me you won't come to the wedding if I don't?" and she was all "I mean, I didn't want to have to pull that, but yeah" and I was all "I was once witness to a fatal accident involving Crystal Light and a scimitar, so I actually have psychological reasons for not trying it" and she was all "That's your tough luck, unless you want to go get our Sister-Bonding mani-pedis alone the day before you get married" and so I bought some because I don't like going places alone. And it is DELICIOUS!!

-Y'all will flip when you see the floor Dad's laying for the porch. I suggested the "Snickerdoodle" paint chip to accompany, so we'll see if I get my way. Who doesn't love a nice soft snickerdoodle?

-Gerbes was out of garlic tonight! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I had to buy the prepackaged bag of like three heads or whatever. I only needed one, so it was quite painful. They did, however, have the hugest, greenest artichokes I'd ever seen at $3 a pop. I lurrrrrrve artichokes!! (But not stuffed, and not with butter. Only mom and dad's mayo-with-lemon-juice, -and-other-ingredients-I'm-not-sure-of sauce will do)

-Good luck this upcoming week to:
Paul and his family...with so many unanswered questions, I hope some get resolved soon!
Neil, at his new job!
Lily and Gilbert--I hope good news comes for you!
Me, gosh dang it! (I should hear back about the position...they said it would be about two weeks)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


So I was flipping through the Fall TV Preview issue of EW (oh...who am I kidding? I don't 'flip through' any magazine. It's cover to cover, all the way, even slogging through the music reviews...which is why I'm three weeks behind), and it showed a little headshot of a familiar-looking character in a new BBCAmerica show, "Skins." I was all, "Dude, that guy looks just like the kid from 'About a Boy'! By gosh, I think it is the kid from 'About a Boy'! All growed up."

So I looked him up. Nicholas Hoult, there he was!


And then...as I continued looking at the images Google gave me...not-so-aww:

What?? When did these cute little kids turn into faux-heartthrobs?? That's right, people--faux. He sings "Shake ya ass/Watch yourself" in an endearingly silly woolen cap! He doesn't lift his shirt to suggestively show off his abs!!

I swear, this is just as wrong as when ginger-haired geeky-cute little Ronald Weasley began to get muscley. Or how people are calling Neville Longbottom hot now.

(Yeah. That's him.)

This isn't right! And I'm going to stop it!

Who's with me?

{P.S. In other disillusionment news: it's been a crappy Anne week. A certain navel-gazing blogger let us know of a new movie in the works where Anne is mourning Gilbert's death (WHA...???) and later finds out unsavory secrets about her birth parents (I call B.S., this was totally covered in the books), and also, it was announced that L.M. Montgomery killed herself. This is the 100th anniversary year, people! Why does everyone have to go and ruin the perfection??}

{P.P.S. Sorry about the proliferation of italics. My thoughts are really passionate today. I am incensed!}

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn's First Day

Oh, this is my favorite time.

It seems like every year, I hate some things more. I hate 95% humidity in 95-degree-Missouri more. I hate all of February, with a passion.

But I also love this more...every year.

I can't always indulge in the special treats autumn brings, but I can remember what have been memorable...

1. Apples...Gala, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, and my absolute sweet-tart favorite, Pink Lady. Bath & Body Works had a Granny Smith apple scent last year that smelled like you'd just bitten into one. Wow. I only really like two fruits: fall apples, and winter/spring pumelos.

2. I've mentioned Hartsburg before, and we're going this year to get decorations for the wedding. I'm so looking forward to it!

3. Opening the windows and balcony door all day, then shutting them at night because it's a little too chilly.

4. Candles...pumpkin spice, gingerbread, baking bread, apple pie, cranberry (sort of) and the best one I've ever smelled, which I can't find ANYWHERE anymore...Clove.

5. Autumn in London was bittersweet. It was my favorite time of year, but I was terribly homesick, and being in a huge dirty city like that isn't exactly the Midwest in October. But, we'd take weekend trips to these crazy-charming villages and towns, and they took my breath away. One week, Mom sent me a care package, and it was like she knew what I wanted without me saying anything...she included a little sachet of pumpkin-spice smell, and I think I took that thing everywhere I went thereafter. It brought tears to my eyes, some days.

6. Driving down Stadium, or Broadway, or Stewart, and being absolutely surrounded by trees, seemingly on all sides, in the array of colors that fall brings.

7. Sitting here, in my Stephens office overlooking the courtyard, with two huge trees I can see changing every day.

8. Coming home with Dad every fall or Thanksgiving break, driving through the gorgeous farmlands of Iowa, seeing cute little Halloween decorations through Oskaloosa and Ottumwa, and stopping by Jaarsma's bakery for pumpkin bread.

9. Then, later, going on my own to visit my alma mater during their fall break, so I would have the campus all to myself, and cuddling up in the Carriage House B&B (once, watching the Cardinals clinch the NL win to go to the World Series on the teeny TV/VCR in my room). I spent four years there as an undergrad, but I've never seen the campus look so beautiful as during those re-visiting trips.

10. Shopping with Dad and Lily before Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners at Schnucks. We always run into people we know and haven't seen in years and years. These are virtually the only grocery trips Dad has to make a list for; he eschews lists. Neil and I may have to make this year's trip alone, if Dad goes to California to help Lily and Gil move home...but it'll be worth losing the tradition for one year, if it means I get my sister back!

11. Although I don't love it when winter is in full-blast, there's nothing like that first crisp, fresh gust of wind when you step outside and realize you'll be needing a scarf soon.

12. The months when Mom was sick, and the year or so after she died, I went over to Dad's almost nightly. I was living on Stewart, and decided I'd walk down there instead of driving. I would kick fallen leaves with the abandon of a kid, crunch-step on all I could, gaze upwards at the breathtaking colors curving over my head, and lift my head to smell the crisp air again and again. I miss those walks.

13. During the fall of junior year, I was in "Hamlet" with MRTC, and we rehearsed at Dad's Tate Hall. Lindsay, Jeff, & I spent every free moment just outside Tate, on the benches, underneath the sweet gum tree, and every time I get a whiff of that that sweet-spicy smell, I am instantly transported to that time.

14. The first morning Dad would turn on the heat. Smelled like Elmer's Glue, in a really, really good way. I'd stand over the vent in my nightgown and let the heat billow the fabric around my legs.

15. In junior high, I was still in Girl Scouts. It wasn't exactly an active troop; if I remember correctly, we didn't even meet anymore. It seemed the one purpose of the group was so we'd have an excuse each fall to spend a weekend in Boonville, MO at Kemper Military Academy. Now that I think about it, that was pretty insane...hundreds of Girl Scouts from across Missouri converging on a military school? I mean, those boys were sent there for bad reasons!! We each toured around the gorgeous grounds, all yellows and oranges, led by cute, slightly older boys, and marched in formation and shot BB guns at a target and were shown how to eat military-style (i.e., look straight forward, blindly stick your fork in some food, lift the fork straight up, and move it straight to your mouth). THEN, that night, there was The Dance. We spent so much time getting ready for it, and using mascara, and Ginger always found someone to make out with. I had never danced with a boy before, and this dude Jason kept asking me, and I didn't like him and he bobbed his head while he danced. He had squinty eyes. And I remember thinking despondently "Is this what it's like? Dating boys? Yuck!!"

16. It wouldn't be a Minutiae blog entry without a touch of celebrity: Season premieres!

{It just occurred to me how incredibly sensual autumn is...not like, sex-sensual, but how every bit of what I love about it encompasses the senses. Smell is a huge part, the touch/feel of the air, the tastes fall brings, the incredible visuals, and the sounds of rustling and crunching leaves.}

Friday, September 19, 2008


  • I just almost COMPLETELY finished a Friday NYT crossword all on my own. Yes, I worked on it for almost 24 hours and yes, it was relatively easy for a Friday, but it was by a long shot the farthest I've ever gotten on my two hardest NYTX days (Friday & Saturday).

  • I met Carmen today! This baby is truly unreal, you guys. I mean...I do love me some babies (not having them, not having them), but this girl is the lowest-maintenance baby ever. She is always stretched out like a middle-aged man sleeping (or, I suspect, like her father), with one hand resting on her little belly and the other stretched straight above her head. This baby *kinda* fusses where others cry bloody murder. Amanda can't figure out if they should just appreciate her for what she is now because any sort of rule or regulation would have her be an impossible toddler later on, or have a jillion more kids because they might all be like this. And the kicker? She began sleeping through the night at five days old. I am absolutely amazed at this wee one. Good work, Braden and Algiers. Good work. (Oh, and she's also FREAKING PRECIOUS. Her nose is like a little pink ball with tiny nostril wings. Her toes are like....like.....No. Anything I come up with wouldn't be as small or round or smooth or perfect. Anyone who's seen Noah's toes knows what I mean. Seeeeriously. [Aside: "Noah's toes knows" sounds funny!])

  • When we moved into our shiny new apartment, I appreciated how clean the surroundings were kept, after living in a building with cigarette-butt-paved decor outside. I am not snobby about living in a well-kept complex, but I do appreciate it. So it ticks me off that, slowly but surely, our neighbors have been constantly keeping their crap in the nice big once-empty breezeway, that we were told to keep clear. Just now, there are THREE strollers under the stairs, sticking out further and further out into the common area, and THREE bicycles leaning against the wall in front of another apartment--in a stack, so they poke out into the same area as the strollers. I don't want to be a bitch and complain about it, but how come we get fined for $100 if we leave a full trash bag outside for ten minutes before we can take it out and the apartment people happen upon it, but others get to permanently keep their muddy large transportation devices outside their doors and they don't get busted?

  • I interviewed yesterday in Jeff City for a position at the State Library. I have no idea how it went, and I won't have an idea for awhile, since everyone has to go through all this red tape for every little thing there. Sarah and I went to Madison's afterward, and talked and talked and talked, catching up...it was a terrific ending to what could have been a purely stressful day. The drive back to Columbia was utterly gorgeous, with the sunset reflecting pink on a streaming clouds just above it, fading to gray the entire way home. I've commuted before, one hour coming and going no matter what time of day it was, from one suburb of Chicago to another...bottlenecking painfully through toll plazas, rolling up my window as I zoomed past particularly horrible-smelling emanations from ugly warehouses, and living ONLY for the weekends. I don't think this would be similar. Somewhat of a hassle, yes, but I'm so spoiled by ten-minute drives to work here in town...I know if I ever find myself in a larger city, a half hour commute would be the norm.

  • It keeps re-occurring to me (not recurring, really...this isn't something that's recurring unpleasantly, like a nightmare or a rash--what 'recurs' that people look forward to, anyway?), with little thrills, that I'll be married in one month. It's kind of an unspeakable feeling...exciting for sure, but not the same excitement that I get when I'm about to see "Rent." This is more..."wow I have NO IDEA what this will be like, but I know I want it...and I know HE wants it...and WOW, I'm going to be tied to this man forever!" And probably, things won't change that much. I mean, we're living in sin, we have a joint checking account, I tell Barnes & Noble my 'husband' has a discount card with them so they'll let me use the account number. I don't think I've really ever thought of Neil as my 'boyfriend'...it's been far too deep a relationship to lump him in the same category as others he's head and shoulders above...and 'fiance' always seemed so natural. I never had to get used to it, because it was very soon after I knew him that it seemed extremely plausible that we'd get married one day. Plus, we're 31 and 34. 'Boyfriend-girlfriend' sounds kinda cutesy for two people who take out the trash regularly (okay...that's really just him).

  • I don't understand why the refrigerator freezes our bottles of water when we put them to the back of the fridge. We have it set on 3, and the coldest is 9. It says so on the dial! I worry that the dial is wrong, like hot/cold taps get switched, and 1is actually the coldest. But I'm afraid to check. I dislike lukewarm pickles.

  • It was depressing today when the kids on the Jeopardy Kids Reunion got so many more answers/questions than I knew. I think I'm getting dumber.

That is all for today. 8th graders, please turn in your permission forms for the orienteering field trip in April.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Different Things

1. I made pot roast for dinner tonight, and added pickling spices and malt vinegar to the onion beef broth in the slow-cooker this morning. I think if I could get away with slow-cooking it in JUST vinegar, I would. But Neil may have something to say about that.

2. Today, Neil and I have been together for 22 months. I remember the day I met him like it was yesterday. Two days after we met in person, I suspected I was in love with him. A month later, we confirmed it vocally, and a month after that, he brought up a possible upcoming ring purchase.

3. I just discovered DailyLit, a site that delivers full texts to your inbox in installments (those in the public domain, anyway). I signed up for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, among others. I'm not expecting Anne of Green Gables here, but I do know I'm a sucker for classic children's literature, especially with sassy girl heroines. And, unlike the book club sponsored by DBRL, it doesn't give you just a sample...I have too many books on my 'to-read' list to buy/check out any new ones, for goodness' sake. This way I'll actually get books read instead of just getting a teaser.

4. I've been working on finishing Midnight Sun--the half that was leaked--for a few days. I don't like reading for a long period on the computer, but for hour-intervals, I settled in the recliner with the soft ivory blanket and a couch pillow for the laptop to rest in, to make it seem more like a book. And I have to say...the magic was back. It felt like the first time I read Twilight...even better, at times, because Edward's love was so intense so quickly. As I read, I kept thinking "Okay, Meyer, I know this is going to end before I want it to, but please let's have the meadow scene in here. Please...? You can bitch and moan all you want about how someone broke your trust and leaked it and now you'll never write again because you're so mad you'd kill everyone off, and I won't complain (I could do without hearing about how many pieces they tore James into, anyway), but Do The Meadow Scene."

I think she was listening to me, and I think she hates me personally. Maybe because I didn't like Eclipse or Breaking Dawn...maybe because she knows I think she's a big crybaby...maybe because she knows that I see her egregious spelling errors and realize that she may have a way with formulating sentences, but not such a way with the actual words (lightening, Steph? LIGHTENING?!!! This is what one does to their hair with Sun-In during their spring break trip to the beach. This is not what comes from the sky during storms).

Whatever the reason, I am convinced she heard me. And thought "I'm not only going to not include the meadow scene...I'm going to write until just the night before they leave, so she might think there's a chance of it being included. Then she'll realize, with 30 pages to go, considering my wordiness and my propensity to write a paragraph when a sentence would do, that we still have a whole night and day to go in Forks before that Saturday, and the meadow scene will never fit. That's the ticket!"

Long story short (see what I did there? I pulled a Meyer! I made what could have been a very short story, LONG! I am genius!), there's no f&*%ing meadow scene.

5. The new "90210"...isn't good. I've only seen the pilot, and have the other two waiting on the DVR...and there's a reason I'm not devouring them like "The Hills" recordings are. What's with that sugary sweet lead girl? She's too goody-goody, like Liz Wakefield or Mary Anne Spier.

6. I got all the invites out. Finally. I know you don't want to hear about it. But I did! Now there's only five hundred and SIX things to do before the big day! I wish I'd taken photos of the process, or made sure I had enough materials to make one for us...but I didn't do either. I'm sure I'll regret it someday, but right now I don't give a hooey.

7. I'm seeing my darlingest Sarah I. tomorrow in J.C. after my -*gulp*- interview. I'm trying to think of how much I'm looking forward to gabbing with her all evening rather than the hours-long interview before it. It'll be a bummer if it doesn't work out, but don't worry, I'm sure I'll complain either way. My suit, which was ill-fitting for a couple of years, is back to fastening around me, but it feels a tad snug, so I'm hoping it still makes me look like someone they want cataloging their stuff.

8. I wore my glasses all day today. Like a real librarian! I don't know if I can pull off the 'bun/glasses/sexy underneath' librarian thing--in fact, I know I can't--but my contacts were bugging me this morning, so there you go.

9. It'll be a long, tedious day tomorrow, so I'm going to bed before even eleven o' clock. I *know*!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cataloging "BBM"

It was sitting, innocuously enough, in the stack of gift DVDs, and I knew I had to treat it like any other cataloging duty. Watch the credits and nothing more, to verify the art director, the costume designer, and whatever else the previous cataloger had included in the record.

Okay, so I watched the first few minutes. The first full scene. Okay, the first...several minutes. Sometimes the credits show in the beginning, right?

(But I knew they didn't. I know these scenes by heart.)

I stopped when Jack and Ennis began to gather the sheep, because I'd be opening a whole can of teary, crying worms if I started that part of it.

I took a deep breath, and though I could have just gone back to the chapter selections and chosen "End Credits"...I didn't. I pulled the cursor on my Windows Media Player forward, so it would stop at that final scene. At Ennis and the shirt, and the wardrobe door, and straightening the postcard. I knew it was coming, but good golly, the power that moment has on me!! I couldn't have predicted the swell of emotion, nor the tears just below the surface. And I even missed the famous shirt scene...I had stopped right when he touches the card, and closes the door, and that damned plunky music is playing.

Didn't matter that I missed the shirt. I was choked up instantly.

My co-worker was talking the other day about films that make you think about them differently than any other...that when you leave the theatre, you think "WOW. That was some kind of movie." It happens to me almost never, and I don't know that I expected this one to, either. I only knew that I had to see it the instant it came to Columbia (delayed, of course, because of the subject matter)--but that perhaps had more to do with the lead actors than anything else. I don't see movies in theatres very often, and I never go alone.

Somehow, I knew I needed to go to this one--and I knew I needed to be unencumbered by a partner stifling any of my raw emotion.

I'm so glad I did. It was the kind of intensity, that opening night showing, where even someone crackling their candy wrapper was hushed. When I drove home late that night, James Blunt's "Beautiful" was on the radio immediately after I started up the car, and its lyrics were so perfect.

I'll never forget it.


I know this movie isn't for everyone. But I stand by this: it's just a love story. It's Romeo and Juliet that happens to other people. After awhile, I didn't even pay attention to genders--and I'm not speaking as a super-liberal either (because I don't think I'm too extreme that way). I think if someone knows they'll probably be offended by the subject matter, they shouldn't see it, because they most likely will be. However, it certainly, certainly helped me to understand how love really can happen between two people who don't expect it to, and who struggle because of it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's a Meme?

...aside from the nickname of my future mother-in-law, whom I adore. :) Here's a photo taken on the beach last summer, after she renewed her wedding vows with Papa...at which Neil and I got engaged in front of his family. Isn't she so cute??

Anyway, I looked up "meme," not knowing the difference between a "meme" and a "tag," but knowing I generally enjoy any meme or tag I come across, unless it's religion- or political-based. Or too cutesy, or too short (the latest one in librarian blogs is "How did you get into the profession?"--that's it! Bo-RING!), or too mom-oriented (nothing against moms, people, but it ain't easy to fill out a survey thing about my kids when the closest things we have to children are cold-blooded and eat frozen mice and live crickets).

So I googled "What is a meme?" and went right to the unreliable source: Wikipedia. (DO NOT even get me started. Am I right, Rienne?) The entry was very long, very dull, and very makes-no-sense, given-what-I-know-about-memes. It began in a promising way:

A meme (pronounced /miːm/)[1] consists of any idea or behavior that can pass from one person to another by learning or imitation. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, gestures, practices, fashions, habits, songs, and dances. Memes propagate themselves and can move through the cultural sociosphere in a manner similar to the contagious behavior of a virus.

...but quickly grew into this ridiculously tedious entry I had no interest in.

So, I tried again. And found a site called The Daily Meme, which basically means you'll be subjected to a lot more of these because I like structure, and if I was allowed to blog about whatever I want, this would just be a blog about me bitching about car payments and how many invites I have left to send out. And no one wants that.

Here's what TDM had to say:

In the context of web logs / 'blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it's some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on.

I like this much better. It sounds a little healthier than the first definition.

SO. This is a long entry, but I'm getting to the point. Seriously.

I found a great meme today, and I am dying to know what everyone else would do for this one...so please, please do this! If you're reading this, you're on my blogroll (if you have a blog, that is...and if you don't, let me know if you start one so's I can stalk you), and I want to see yours! It's harder than you'd think, but also WAY FUN!! You have to go back in your memory and pick out any weird little adventurous thing that stands out...show off your accomplishments...

Without further ado:

10 Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't

1. Seen "Rent" onstage 20 times.

Not that anyone cares, but...1. Kansas City; 2-8. London (original cast, baby...Adam, Anthony, Jesse, & Wilson!); 9. Des Moines; 10. Iowa City; 11. NYC; 12-15. Columbia, MO; 16. NYC (Joey FREAKIN' Fatone, folks!); 17-20. Columbia, MO. I will admit, by the 7th show in London in the space of a few months, I was a little restless in my seat. But it hasn't happened since, even when I saw two shows two days in a row in Columbia when it blew through the second time. I'll never, ever get tired of the BLAST that signals the beginning to the titular song, nor the chills it gives me. So exciting! Adam & Ant are reprising their roles next summer at the Fox, RIGHT ON my birthday, and I am determined to go!! Sure, they're nearing 40, but I'll betcha Adam still rocks those plaid pants like nobody can.

2. Touched Boy George.

I went to see "Amadeus" in London, and the theatre was all a-buzz about somebody famous in attendance. I got a cheap student ticket on, like, the 7th row, and looked up at the box seats expecting to see a duchess or something. The strong smell of cigarette-smoky clothing made me turn around, and SMACK DAB behind me was the gorgeously blue-eyed Boy himself. He was dressed in a ratty drab green coat and had a small entourage, and I knew I had to make contact.

When intermission rolled around, I suspected he'd be getting up to feed his nicotine habit, so I leaned wayyyyy back in my seat so he had to brush past me. I know what you're thinking--I have no shame, right?

3. Attended five schools post-high school.

Does that make me sound like a delinquent?

I just couldn't decide...and I wanted no regrets, so I was determined to try everything. First, of course, was Grinnell...where I received a kick-ass education. Wish I'd been in a functional relationship (or better yet...met Neil at that time), but whatevs. Second was NYU, an unforgettable time at the Summer Publishing Institute. My roommate, Whitney, was the sweetest girl I've ever met, and she had to deal with *me* for two months, the poor thing! Next was MU Law School...I quit before Thanksgiving, because WOW was law school not for me. I can't even remember the courses I took. CivPro? Torts? I think. Emily's papa taught us a class in the law library, and he asked me a question, and for perhaps the ONE time in law school, I knew the answer! Fourth was the school that stuck, earning my Master's in Library Science in the MU Education department. (Does that count as a separate school? It was like two different worlds, for sure.) And finally, I took a library seminar with Oxford University & Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill last year, in Oxford.

I think I'm done with schools. I hope.

4. Gotten banned from a TGIFriday's.

So I was working at one in Chicagoland, and I did a bad thing. I grew so complacent there that I figured no one would notice if I served a co-worker alcohol, "forgetting" to check her ID. Yeah, I totes knew she was 20...and so did the bartender, since we all worked there. It was stupid. I was stupid. I was fired the next morning, and told I wasn't supposed to come back. That was a super fun job, too...I kinda regret losing it!

5. Pissed off Dave Attell.

Oh my GOSH, that little dude is a jerk. I was working his show at Jesse, kind of a stage manager gig--I was the only one on stage right...really the only one around at all. First off--he is short. Way short. Troll short. (Nothing's wrong with short, but I don't like him, so I choose to mock.)

So it's a long story, but the dude who opened for Dave dropped a glass bottle onstage, and it shattered, and the mess wasn't completely cleared off before Dave was due on. I told him I could hold the cue music and lights and clean it up, but Dave got all snippy and said "NO, it's fine. WhatEVER." Hello, munchkin??? I'm offering to clean it up for your sorry ass. Don't get ticked at ME for a problem you won't let me solve.

6. Shouted at Joe Rogan.

One experience I wanted to have before leaving NYC that summer was to be in the audience for "The Daily Show" with my friends from the program. Kat, Katie, Marissa and I got tickets, and lined up outside to get fabulous seats.

Know who got better seats than us, in the V.I.P. section? Nick from the second season of "Survivor." No one else was gutsy enough to say anything, but I was feeling like the world was my oyster, so just as we were passing him to go into the studio, I said "Good work surviving!" as we neared him. His friend laughed, but Nick didn't. Later, after the show was over and we passed him again, I made sure to brush hard against his yellow backpack. Not sure if that counts, but I tried.

Anyhoose, this was the summer right before "Fear Factor" began, so Joe Rogan was Jon's guest. (Oh--I also yelled "Big Apple Tours!" at Jon during his opening monologuey thing, and he looked right at me! The P.A. almost kicked me out! Man, was I in rare form that day.)

I don't particularly care for Joe Rogan, but he was wearing some righteous black and white wingtips, almost Doc-Marten-y. After the show was over, my friends and I hung back to take some photos underneath the Daily Show awning outside, and suddenly Joe came running out right behind us to his car. I yelled "Good work Joe, nice shoes!" He looked at me oddly, almost stricken, and hurried on.


7. Snuck into a corporate building in the middle of the night to deliver a Valentine's Day present.

You know...sometimes, explaining these takes away from the actual event. So I'm leaving this one mysterious. Those who know what happened, know what happened.

8. Took a walk through the actual moors that inspired
Wuthering Heights.

inda self-explanatory. A great experience, though...we went on one of many, many weekend field trips to northern England, this time to Bronte-territory, and found the moors and the building she used as inspiration for the story. I know lots of folks hate the book, but I sure don't. Doesn't really hurt that Ralph Fiennes played Heathcliff at one point. Yummo.

9. Saw "Great Balls of Fire" five times in the theatre.

Yeah...my only explanation for this is that I was 13 years old and Dennis Quaid made me feel funny in my tummy. And since his character in the movie married a 13-year-old, maybe I figured I could be next. This was also the beginning of a Winona-Ryder-obsession that would continue through to my other favorite movie of that time, "Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael." Not many have seen it, but I watched that one til the tape deteriorated.

10. Seen Harry Potter bare-ass naked.

The novelty of this is short-lived, since he's reprising his role on Broadway starting very soon. I felt kind of dirty, especially since there was an eleven-year-old girl literally sitting next to me as I gawked at his privates.

No, I jest. The moment of nudity was so intense in terms of the plot that his nakedness was quickly forgotten. It was astounding to see Richard Griffiths in such a role (
love him!), and I do think Daniel proved that he could play more than a boy wizard effectively.


Okay...so mine are sorta celebrity-centric. I wish I could say things like "Sky-dived without a parachute" or "Eaten a rubber tire on a dare," but the only times I take risks are when it involves a famous person. I'm terribly shallow, I know. I know.

I'd love to read yours, you guys. Come on! You don't even have to get me a wedding present if you do it.

(Unless you already got me one, in which case, why waste it? Go ahead and give it to me, thanks.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Right now.

Right now...

I want:

~to be married. Thank goodness that's a given!

~that library job in Jefferson City (and N to drive with me every day)! How cute would it be to commute together and take walks around JC downtown during lunch?

~to enjoy fall to its fullest. OUTSIDE of the car.

~to see my sister. Dang, I miss Lily.

~to visit Prince Edward Island. Three words: MA GI CAL.

~to get back on track...in many areas!!

I have:

~the love of my life by my side every day. I've dreamed of this my whole life. And I have it. So quit my bitching!

~lost 29 pounds since May. Sometimes I feel it's slow going, but that's just part of any weight loss plan.

~been moved to tears by people's kindness...especially lately. I can't articulate how blessed I am.

I need:

~to relax more. Sit down with a book for an hour, one that I am NOT reading only in order to return it to the library. Watch a non-Netflixed DVD.

~[and, ironically,] to work more. ChaCha gets me some, but not much, especially considering how tedious it is. I almost applied for a serving job the other day...it's a last resort, but I know how quick and good the money is. I'm just so averse to that crazy, feet-hurting, kiss-ass life these days. I don't know how I'd handle it. Maybe it would be awesome, though.

~to let my feelings be known. And by that, I mean I have to let them be known. Not that I need to start, or anything.

~to admit when I'm wrong. It sometimes causes me physical pain.

~to put more exercise in my schedule. I quit the ARC this week to save some bones, but we have a facility here at Katy Place, and I'm happy just walking in place watching a '90210' DVD anyway. But this diet doesn't require it, so it's super hard to be motivated!

I should:

~not be so picky. 'Easygoing' has never been anything anyone would describe me as.

~lose weight for the right reasons--not the aesthetic ones. I mean, let's be honest.

~learn how to sew more than buttons. I'm trying. I just don't have that patience.

~keep up with my online to-do list every day. But I don't. Even now I'm afraid to go to the site for fear of seeing how long it has grown due to my 'repeat tasks every day' option. *shudder*

I am:

~generally pretty happy. I wouldn't have ever described myself that way, but apart from little bumps here and there, life is good.

~good at what I do for a living. I made a promise to myself when I began that I would never fudge on cataloging, never take the short route, as others often do, and I haven't. Okay, much.

~a perfectionist. Which helps with the item just above. But it's also kind of annoying when it comes to loading the dishwasher just so or describing items on eBay. Remember that SNL sketch, "The Anal Retentive Chef" (Phil Hartman)? I looked up to that guy.

I look forward to:

~Lil & Gil coming home. I can't tell you how much I want them here!

~Steve & Joe's visit. Dad's empty nest will be all a-chirp once again!

~friends and family surrounding my life every month this fall. October, November, December...what an awesome year!

~Emily's cupcakes. I'm not going to cheat until then!

~no more worry. It'll happen. I know it in my head.

~meeting Carmen Renleigh Atkins. AGA, my vote for her 'leaving-the-hospital' outfit is the "I'M NOT A BOY" onesie.

~the 'Ugly Betty'& 'Office' season premieres! Not that I don't mourn the departure of 'Gilmore Girls' and the perpetually-fall-or-Christmas Stars Hollow every year. But a girl has to move on, and it may as well be with Toby Flenderson and Justin Suarez, Betty's effete nephew.

I don't:

~want to feel anxious anymore. I fear I'm in for a life of high blood pressure. I like having your squishy toes, Mom, but this I could do without. :)

~eat potato chips, and haven't for over 15 years. I just never really liked 'em, and announced one day that I was done. I said the same about cookies and doughnuts, but that only lasted until college.

~take photos very well. But it's something I don't care to learn, either. I don't really care enough about light and shutter speeds and editing and all that nonsense. Plus, my perfectionism would probably mean that nothing would ever get done.


~I really miss England in the fall. Sometimes. That morning we woke up in a B&B in Bath, with a light snow falling all over, I shall never forget.

~I wonder if ex-friends are doing well. I looked up someone on Facebook who I once hated, and she was talking about her brand-new baby boy. I was so happy for her.

~I wish I hadn't burned bridges. Might be easier to get a part-time job right now!

~I wonder if I've changed. I feel like I have, and I want to have, but I don't know.

~I question my sense of humor. Why do I not see the funnies in 'Everybody Loves Raymond'? 'The Simpsons'? 'King of the Hill'? 'Two and a Half Men'? 'My Name is Earl'? These are popular frackin' shows, and a lot of this country loves them. And I completely see the genius of other shows, like 'Seinfeld' and 'The Daily Show,' so why can't I see the comic value of these? I remember at my birthday party in 8th grade, my friend Melissa gave me a cassette tape of "E=MO squared", a performance by the comedian Emo Phillips. We listened to it, and everyone else was cracking up except me. I think I tried to fake it, so I at least sounded cool, but I clearly remember thinking "WTF is up with this guy? He's just weird." Then, I tried the tape again in high school, a couple years later, and was astonished at how hilarious it now was. Similar, I guess, to how I used to have Dad explain to me why certain "Far Side"s were funny, then I understood them by myself years later.

I love:

~Hartsburg pumpkins and Yoda-shaped gourds. So much cheaper than any in Columbia.

~the smell of dad's cigar on the porch, and the crispness of an early fall evening. It's especially wonderful when every seat is taken.

~Sophia's Caesar salad. Oh my goodness. I tried a different one there the other night, and though it was fine, there's no comparison.

~Noah's excitement, especially when I see him for the first time in awhile. He just BOUNCES!!!

~Smelling Neil's arm when he comes home from the ARC pool. Chlorine makes my heart sing!

~The St. Louis Cardinals at night. The silence of baseball games can't be matched.

~that a low-carb diet means I don't have to eat fruit. And I don't have to pretend I like it. :)

~that people read this! Thank you for your love.