Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grief Paintings

This is a wonderful program through Hospice. There's a little talking one-on-one with a grief counselor, but then I take to the canvas. There's art supplies everywhere (I love acrylic paint) and I have the room to myself. The purple one is the first painting using small brush strokes. (Purple was my mother's favorite color.) The second painting is the orange and yellow one (I was thinking about Jack, hence the colors.) The orange and yellow are the same painting. The yellow is picked up in the close-up. Every single stroke on the second piece was used with my hands. I find it more cathartic that way.

Cubicle Friends

I love my colleagues. They are the best. When I return to the new branch, I want to take so many people back with me! My cubicle neighbor (J), is terrific. We have a lot of fun. We started our own animal farm on the ledge (Yes, some of the animals even have buttons to push to make barnyard sounds!). Even RAT! was kicked out of the house and told to get a job. There's a great book that I ordered for a library that still makes me laugh: Cubicle Warfare: 101 Tricks and Traps by John Austin. I am going to read that book! My staff used to play office tricks on me. When I would leave for vacation, something always happens. After I read this book, I will be armed with a few tricks of my own. ;)

Library Construction Site

Last Thursday, I drove by the construction site and viewed the progress on my new library. The branch is looking terrific! There's windows in the meeting room and there's the sign with the LaSalle Branch name on the building. Since we will be opening up in May or June, the days are getting closer. I met with my colleague/friend/mentor for a late breakfast and she took the time to show me how to open the branch. I was even more excited when I returned to Main. As much as I love the people at Main and am enjoying learning the science and art of Acquisitions (ordering materials for the library,)and a few hours here and there in Reference, I am looking forward to returning home to the branch life. It's where I truly thrive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weary Wednesday

Pensive and tired today. This is what happens when a person wakes up at 2:30 a.m. Yar. Despite my grief, I actually accomplished quite a bit today, ordering for a new branch library (German Township) and working on an annual report. I am looking forward to tomorrow, so I can see staff I haven't seen since Thanksgiving. It's been too long. I'm turning off my brain so I can attempt to relax. Have a peaceful evening.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Wave Wednesday

Welcome to New Wave Wednesday. I've been feeling nostalgic of late, so I took this idea from my brother-in-law and his blog cohorts and from Steve. (At least I didn't make it on Saturday. Or Friday.) Yes, I am a shameless copycat, but I am making New Wave Wednesday my own. My first installment is a song entitled Should I Stay or Should I Go? from The Clash. I remember in the 1990s doing a puppet show with rubber pig punk puppets to this song. The puppets had safety pins in their snouts, mohawks, and chains. (Get a few librarians together and crazy things will happen.) It was for an employee's retirement party. Anyway,head bang, jump up and down, or sing along. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Movie Star Snow

I woke up this morning, grateful to return back to libraryland. I was squirrely from lying and feeling low this weekend. However, I peered outside and thought "No, not more snow. Enough already!" But Steve pointed out to me that the snow was beautiful, like snow on a movie set. "Movie star snow!" I exclaimed. Spring snow with thick white flakes and the morning sun piercing the concrete sky. And he noticed a red shadow in the pure white snow. A red cardinal. So we spent a few minutes watching and taking photographs of the beautiful cardinal. It's so important to notice the small joys in life every day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grief as a Snapshot

Grief is looking at a snapshot of the good, the "normal" life prior to a loved one's illness and passing. Then the snapshot, displayed in a lovely crystal frame, is slammed into the ground. It breaks into a million pieces. Then the scrambling begins to locate the fragmented pieces. But the reassembled frame and the snapshot will never be the same. The snapshot, like life, is forever changed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sleeping, Reading and Dreaming of Lovely California

Steve is practically threatening to sit on me to make sure I lay low this weekend. (Although I could technically throw him off from what I have learned in taekwondo, I'll comply, just because he's right.) So, I have been in sleep mode most of this weekend. I did read Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich. It was okay. Too much monkeying around in this book for my taste. ;) There's a BBC list on Facebook (FB) that lists 100 classics/best reads. I've read like 25 or 26 of them. It's a good list to go by for what to read next! If you're interested in the list, please shoot me an email if you're not on FB and I'll send it to you. We're planning a trip to lovely California in late March. We both need a reprieve from the sadness, snow, and stress. We're trying to divide our time between LA and San Diego. We'd like to travel more. (Finally, wanderlust sets in. I know, I'm a late bloomer.) Have a good weekend. Are you going to watch the Oscars? Who do you think will win?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An Equestrian Epiphany

Lap-fest with cat abruptly ends. I have a leg cramp, so in the process of straightening my legs, Latte tires of my moving around and jumps on the couch behind me and to my left. She gives me a dirty look. Deal with it, Latte. She appears to read my thoughts and looks away. Everything's forgiven as Latte tucks her paws under her body and dozes off. Ah. the life of a cat. As much as I like to be home snuggled under blankets with fur children and drifting into afternoon naps, this is not where I want to be. I want to be back in libraryland with my colleagues and patrons doing my thing. I'm missing a meeting I was really looking forward to today with a mini-reunion with my staff. (We're scattered all over the system right now due to construction.)But the physical body has limitations and I am slowly realizing I need to recognize mine. I canceled the Hustle up the Hancock this year. There's just no way. So Chi-town is postponed and I will be forced to relax this weekend. It's for the best--it's probably frigid right now up there anyway. I'm drained from scrambling to climb back on the proverbial saddle, having the saddle tip over on its side, and I fall back face-down in the dirt (or in northern Indiana, snow) with one foot wedged in the stirrup. I need to approach this new normal in a different way. Instead of jumping on the saddle, perhaps I need to gingerly climb the saddle. Or purchase a different kind of saddle, one that will be easier to affix, climb, and ride. Or maybe I need a different breed of horse, a slower breed of horse than the tireless stallion galloping off into the sunset. I'll catch my sunset again, but it may be with a gentle stroll. I may need to get up and forage for a snack, as I am now craving apples and oatmeal. However, lap-fest resumes as Latte sneaks back onto my legs. (*Sigh*)

Malaise, Laps and Cats

It's nice to be back. Like me, my PC decided to catch another (virtual) malaise of some sort and crash. Thank goodness there's an IT expert in the family, so my cyber withdrawal symptoms abate. I sit in my pink and purple flannel pjs and crazy polka dot socks and type. Latte purrs and gazes up at me with adoring green eyes and a lone white whisker among the gray. It appears another whisker is morphing to white and adorns her feline features. She resorts to sprawling across my lap, as her preferred lap is currently on campus cataloging library materials in order to purchase her Science Diet cat food, litter, and toys (all covered in catnip, of course.) When I had the audacity to move her in order to visit the ladies room, Latte expresses her displeasure with a loud MEOW! Sorry, your highness. Now that I am back typing again, all is forgiven. Latte dives into my lap, even though I rest on the floor with my legs crossed with a blue and gray fleece blanket. Now her head is draped over the side of my right leg with front paws completely out. She changes her mind, and nestles into a little balll inside my lap. She is almost as squirmy as me. Java, the other lovely fur child, has taken over the studio and naps the days away in the cat cube next to the window. She learned a few tricks from her brother, Jack. She will now command our prescence in the kitchen as she announces her arrival with a loud, low-pitched ROWR and will continue this until one (or preferably both) of us approaches her and pet her until she receives adequate attention. We are well-trained humans.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Confessions of a Waiter

Admittedly, I'm being a slacker and re-posting this to my marimba blog. The following post was on my library blog. I'm more than halfway through Waiter Rant. Now I'm going to go dine at a restaurant and take this book with me. We'll see if another waiter will comment!:) You can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she treats wait staff at a restaurant. As a former biscuit queen at a fast-food restaurant, dishwasher, busgirl and waitress (for two days), I understand a little bit about the food service industry and what unfolds behind the scenes. However, I have nothing on the anonymous cynical waiter who started the blog Waiter Rant four years ago and then pens the book with the same moniker. A friend recommended this read, so I picked it up. Coincidentally, I started reading this in a restaurant while I lunched. The server was curious and asked what the book was about. I told her and added, “It’s a book for customers on how to give better tips.” She laughed. It’s actually a first- person account of the trials of being a professional waiter. Gritty and real from the first page, the waiter holds nothing back and shows his story from his prospects as a priest to psychologist to marketing to professional waiter. What are your favorite or memorable restaurant adventures?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Deja Vu Sunday

It's been an odd day. After a disruptive sleep, I woke up fairly early. Steve and I hit the gym so I could prepare for the Hustle up the Hancock next Sunday. We then visited the Chocolate Cafe (enjoyed the lobster bisque in a bread bowl-yum!) and dined with a friend. Then we dropped off boxes of my files at the library (to rid of stuff around my house.) Then we visited a wake. It was Mom's former boss and their family, who are friends of the family, who died almost a month to the day after my Mom. The wake was held at the same time and the same room and the funeral home as Mom. My Dad met us there and I was so proud of him for paying his respects. That was so difficult on all of us. So now I am blogging, finishing up the book Waiter Rant, and waiting for Steve to return from a friend's house so we can play rock band and forget about this weekend. I tire of death; I want to get on with living.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lemonade Some Sunny Day

It's been an interesting weekend so far. Last night I had about twenty wonderful women and Steve over to watch the V-Monologues, eat pizza, and drink water or wine. (Steve didn't stick around for the movie and that's okay.) It was a fun evening and I'm glad to have friends over, especially now. Yesterday was the one month anniversary (for lack of a better word) of Mom's passing. After attending taekwondo this morning, Steve and I drove over to Dad's house. My sister and brother-in-law are in from Chicago. My sister and I had the pleasant task of going through my mother's belongings and deciding their fates. We both found a separate box of belongings that Mom saved from our childhood. A lock of my hair from birth. Cards I sent her over the years. Cards people sent me in my childhood. My elementary school art and writing projects. My report cards (yikes). I also discovered a note written to me from my preschool teacher (who recently sent me a beautiful card with a poem I shared with you on the blog.) Names are abbreviated for privacy. Here is the letter: May 7, 1976 Dear Lori, The florist brought me the most beautiful basket of flowers from you today! It is perfect for my dinette table, because it has all the colors of my wallpaper in it. Whenever I look at it, I will think of our dear friendship and the good times we had in nursery school. Please ask your mother to bring you and A. to my house for lemonade some sunny day! With love, Mrs. B. This card really touched me, especially since I heard from her recently. I'll need to take her up on the lemonade, but I'll have to come alone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Met an Author Today in Libraryland

Barbara Shoup is an award-winning author and a faculty member at IUPUI. In her lecture this morning on writing memoirs, Barbara engaged her audience, and I was fortunate enough to be sitting intently at the front table. In fact, she took a little extra time to chat with me afterwards about threading together a memoir; something I had trouble with last summer when Steve and I went to the Midwest Writer's Conference in Muncie. She even took my email address and encouraged me to correspond with her. For that, I will read, purchase, and promote her book on my blog. And add her link to my blogs to read list. The duck on her book cover makes me laugh. And therefore I want to open the pages and find out her story.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Night: Empty on Words

It's getting late, so I will blog more later this week. I returned to taekwondo tonight, had a good workout, and am excited to spar tomorrow night. Libraryland is busy but good.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Random Saturday Night Musings

Steve and I had a great day today at Science Alive. Northern Indiana experienced a February reprieve with balmy temperatures (like in the 50-degree range) and people responded by visiting us in droves. Everyone seemed happy and excited about this event. And despite the fact I dragged my weary self out of bed this morning and managed to kick-start my slow motor, the excitement infected Steve and I with happiness. It temporarily lifted our emotional spirits. There was also this wonderful puppy (terrier mix) who was the mascot of the Student Nurses Association at IU School of Nursing. He was little and wiggly and happy with coarse hair and a wonderful puppy personality. (Steve and I were strategizing how to sneak him out the back door to see if anyone would notice (LOL)). I'm afraid the female feline fur children at home would not appreciate us, especially after the Mojo fiasco. Maybe someday, but then I would require allergy shots. Tonight is rough, but it was a really good day. I have decided I am going to copy what a library friend is doing. I am going to write down all the books I read in 2009. In December, it will be interesting to see what I have read so far and perhaps I could see the trends of when I read the most. I could even feed my inner nerd, graph the reading stats, and use it as a benchmark for next year. Can you tell I need a vacation?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Last Night's Dream

After an emotional evening, I dreamed about Mom. She was in an elegant yet simple room, with a crowd of people surrounding her in an ethereal, festive soiree. Mom smiled, and told everyone that the service was beautiful and that she was happy. And I woke up, spent from the previous day and night. I slogged through ordering and working service desks, but the skies were blue, the sun was shining, and precipitation from this year's snowfall slowly melts away, evaporating upward into the atmosphere. Perhaps this was Mom's gentle sunny way of brushing away snow tears caused from a cold and cruel winter.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Grief, Revisted

A hard thing with grief is that is makes a person more sensitive (if it's even possible to be more sensitive in my case). Steve and I met Dad for dinner tonight. The place was packed, the service was minimal, and the kitchen was slow. By the time our food arrived over 45 minutes later, I almost lost my appetite. It seems like the smallest personal indignities that would be a mere annoyance before are now magnified 100-fold. I wish my mother was here so I could cry on her shoulder. Instead, I am crying on yours.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My Immune System Took a Vacation

I feel annoyed. Frustrated. Sad. Spent. Tired. Woke up sick. AGAIN. The earache and fatigue turns out to be a sinus infection and acute bronchitis. AGAIN. I can't seem to catch a break. My immune system seems to have taken a long vacation to a tropical island or beach sporting a big hat, glammy sunglasses,and a large beverage in a tall glass with a large piece of fruit or vegetable (your choice). Well, Ms. Immune System, when you decide to return, bring back a lengthy surge of energy and a healthy dose of sunshine so I can continue to weather the life storms that continue to roll in my direction. And perhaps I may be able to travel to a warm place as well to get a reprieve.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Koans, Meditation, and Zen

I attended taekwondo after libraryland today. It has been too long and I am so glad to return. I am also glad to have remembered most of my forms. This is all part of the new normal for me. I am also trying out koans, meditation, and zen. Koans are part of zen. I read a few of them so far. Thank you, D., for introducing me to them. Meditation has not been relaxing yet, but it allows me to cry and grieve. All part of the healing process.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ice Beach Sunset

After Steve and I ran errands Saturday and spent time with a friend, we drove home and noticed the sunset. Various colors of pink adorned the sky. The blanket of snow that complemented the colors reminded me of a beach. A very cold beach. The snow also reminded me of sand. Icy crystallized sand. Perhaps because I coveted the warmth and the water and the beach. But at this moment I appreciated the purity of the snow, the crisp air, and the gentle sun setting beneath the snowy blanket, drifting off into another cold winter night. But not just another cold night, the last night of January. I am content to leave January behind and welcome February with an open mind and an open heart, for hope of a promising month.

November Musings and Happy Early Thanksgiving

Has it been two months already? Happy autumn! In about a month, winter will be here. It's starting to feel like it outside. Enough ab...