30.3.07

Sweet or Low Class?

I had a conversation with a friend today, someone I met through Thing Two and consider a good friend on my own. At one point, she asked if I'd spoken with Thing Two recently and I mentioned that he often calls late at night ("late" being relative, of course: I'm talking in the 9:30 - 10:00 range) and leaves rambling messages on my answering machine.

Now, leaving aside the fact that he bloody well knows I go to bed before then, let's talk about the last message. It was left at 9:35pm, and he made it on his cell phone, from the diner in which he was eating dinner.

[sidebar: if you're in New York State, your state tax returns aren't processed in Albany but in Kingston, but a subsidiary of Bank of America. Thing Two works there during the Tax Season]

I don't really care what sort of people populate the diner after 9pm. I don't want you calling me from a public space like that. It's just wrong. No one should have to hear the conversation. I feel this way about his calls from the grocery store, when he wanders aisle to aisle, talking away, occasionally interrupting what he or I are saying to order something at the deli counter.

I feel this way when I'm on the crosstown bus listening to a woman tell her husband (who works in a hospital) that she should bake cookies for his staff because they all work so hard... or perhaps he should do the baking. Whatever. Definitely not store bought though.

Cell phones can be very useful. When I'm at a conference and can't figure out which entrance to the convention center I'm meeting friends at... when I'm traveling and lost (or worse, late)... when I need to ask a quick question of someone. But it's not ok to have a conversation in a public space, holding everyone else around hostage. I've said it before: unplugging is ok.

My assistant, otherwise a very reasonable person, gets cranky when mine isn't on. I have a phone at home. I have a phone at work. Both have answering machines. Why do you need my cell? I'm a school librarian. Really, there's nothing so important that you have to talk to me Right Now.

I know the argument about kids and being able to be reached. Less than half a century ago (less than forty years ago, even), when I was a young thing, I did something stupid on a school outing and cut my left wrist. Badly. My father wasn't reachable (no answering machines back then, and the department secretaries weren't available, for some reason). My mother was out playing tennis. I stayed with the school nurse until someone was found to take me to the hospital for stitches. I was ok. I'm not horribly scarred mentally (I'll show you the physical scar if you want to see it). My parents aren't reliving that moment thinking "if only we'd had cell phones then".

Yes, there's a sweetness (or is it sadness) to the fact that Thing Two wanted to talk to me while he waited to eat his dinner at the diner the other night. There's also a lower classness - personal business is personal. Phone conversations are personal. Mixing the two in public? Just wrong.

28.3.07

Just... ewwww

Still catching up on things, and thankfully Spring Break has started so I actually can!

Did anyone catch last night's episode of House? No? Well, let me tell you: I do not ever - and I mean ever - need scenes of men standing at urinals. Don't care why or that its not really showing anything. Just don't. Don't need to hear (or see) the zipper, the stream, the flush. Please. Just say NO.

25.3.07

Sort-of meme

A number of people have been linking to "five non-library/non-book" blogs that they read (sort of similar to Sherri's "Blog it Forward" meme). So, if you're interested in something a little different:
  1. Ken Jennings. Yes, there's trivia involved, but it's the commentary that keeps you coming back for more. We may not share much, but we do share a sense of humor!
  2. Banterist. If nothing else strikes your fancy, his Grammar Cop posts are brilliant.
  3. Separated by a Common Language. All things AmE and BrE, with some Canadian and South African thrown in.
  4. A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago. Pop culture.
  5. Savage Chickens. 'nuff said.
There are more, of course, but that's a smattering of my daily reading. Most, obviously, are book and/or library related. I'm of the belief that a steady diet of Just That would be... boring. Maybe, sometime, I'll list more. Till then, have a look at these and enjoy!

Catching Up

I've been settling in, getting ready for Spring Break (always good to have time off), reading, etc.. and not doing too much blogging. That doesn't mean I've not been thinking, however! There are 33 posts flagged in my RSS feeds that will get some sort of response soon.

Until then, let me tell you a little about the reading I've been doing. I read an adult ARC (rather than the Children's/Young Adult ones) that I just didn't care about (All Saints, by Liam Callanan). I know I'm trying to become less of a "clean plate" reader, but there was something about this book - it tried so hard, and it felt that somehow, at some point, I was supposed to care about the characters and their story. The problem was, I didn't. It was like when I read Confederacy of Dunces. Just waiting and waiting for the wonder to kick in. But it didn't. It left me with that vaguely dissatisfied feeling, as though perhaps it was my reading and not the writing that was at fault. I know that's not the case, but still...

My next read left me feeling very satisfied. Death Comes for the Fat Man, the latest Dalziel/Pascoe, was such a pleasure to read. I know, I know, it's genre fiction and somehow suspect. Tough. Hill's writing is good, the plot works, and it was an enjoyable few hours. I don't watch the televised versions because it's not really Dalziel (if you haven't read the books, you won't know what I mean, but trust me: the portrayal is lacking). I can't really talk about this book without spoiling it for others, but it's definitely a worthy addition to the series.

Finally, I read On Hitler's Mountain. Usually, the Holocaust-related books are not on my reading list (chalk it up to growing up in a survivor community). But this one seemed different and it was. Ms. Hunt, the author, was born in '34 and lived in Berchtesgaden (near the Hitler retreats of Eagle's Nest and Obersalzberg). Her insiders tale of what it was like to be born into Nazi Germany, that close to Hitler (at one point, she even sits on his knee), and how this all was just "normal", is very worth the time spent reading.

Today I'm tidying up the office space (trying to find my driver's license, among other things) and then I might even blog some more! Or I might read something new off Mt. Bookpile. We'll see.

Oh: added bonus: next week, there might be pictures!

16.3.07

Buffymania

I liked the movie Buffy (although most didn't), and I watched Buffy/Angel when they were on. I'm even reading Physics of the Buffyverse (a Christmas present from Thing Two). It's no surprise that I keep an eye out for Buffy-related news.

For example, last week was the 10th anniversary of the first Buffy episode. Here's why you should care.

Then, today, comes this. Some people need to get a life.

Links Galore

15.3.07

Here's hoping!

Doug has a great post about what snow days mean. Given the weather forecast for my area, our fingers, toes and all other crossable bits are crossed. Because a snow day is never a bad thing. Really.

How I Think About Books

What he said (þ: Alice)

14.3.07

Consuming Media

Nancy posted this meme, and it's given me pause. Partly because I'm in Move Mode and rethinking a lot about how I live my life, and partly because it's always interesting to reflect on that which we do in an almost autonomic fashion. So here is my response... take it for what it's worth and reflect on your consumption.

Web:
Because so much of my job is web-driven (from our on-line catalog to databases to reference help), I feel like I spend too much time in front of a computer when at work. My goal is to cut back on that while at home, to spend more time doing other things that matter.
  • Thing Two turned me on to Firefox and he's not wrong on this; unfortunately, there are sites I use/work with that still require IE, so that's not totally out of my life.
  • My e-mail client of preference is Eudora, which allows me to download my Gmail. At MPOW, however, we use Outlook
  • Unlike many of my SL2.0 friends, I haven't really gotten into the portable bookmark thing; I have one set at home for personal stuff and one set on my work laptop for professional stuff. Sometimes the twain meet, but rarely.
  • Bloglines. Not Google Reader. Why? I'm Google-leary (they really are taking over our desktops), and not just a little lazy.
Those are the biggies. There are, of course, many little programs and tweaks, but I've either added them to the Links Galore posts or don't think you'll need to know about them.

Radio:
Only when I'm starting my commute (to get the traffic reports). Otherwise, not.

TV:
I don't really watch that much. Having said that, you should know that much of what I watch is crap. Really.

Movies:
I've been using Netflix and hope to start watching again (the Move has interrupted things a bit). My problem with theatres is well-known.

Communication:
My preference for most people is e-mail (less stress), but I do enjoy a good chat on the phone. Just don't expect me to have my cell phone on, please! And then, of course, there's my pen-and-paper addiction.

Books:
You don't want to know. Really.

Magazines:
I get Real Simple, Vanity Fair and the Atlantic Monthly for pleasure; for work I get Booklist and SLJ and TMC and TL and KQ and a bunch of others (not all have acronymed titles, but most!). I've also been known to get a really trashy magazine when I'm traveling.

Newspapers:
The weekend NYTimes. Which, unfortunately, is becoming less and less of a Must Read.

Music:
God. The range! It's all about what strikes my fancy - Cajun, French, Jazz, Rock, whatever. I don't listen to it much beyond traveling (in my car, on a bus, etc.), but it does help while away the miles. And, of course, there's nothing like a good beat to help you get through cleaning a house!

There you have it. Talk amongst yourselves, think, ponder and drop me a note about where you are with your media consumption.

13.3.07

Just when you think it can't get worse

I'm not an obsessively clean person. I am an organized person, but I can live with a certain amount of disorder in my life. Right now: too much disorder.

It's not just the unpacked boxes littering my living room. Or the fact that I can't figure out what to do with my kitchen stuff. Or even the need to put my Children's/Young Adult subcollection in order. It's also the fact that I'm tired and The Boys aren't used to the space and I haven't settled into a routine.

Then Friday my desktop gave me The Blue Screen of Death. My assistant's husband is a systems/security analyst for a Major Computer Software company and he's unable to get it to function (although we may be able to save the data). Now I have to get a new computer to go with the new house and the new rugs and the new bookcases and all the other new stuff. It's enough to make me go back to catalog cards and green ledgers.

Just what I did not need right now.

12.3.07

Moving In

Last Tuesday was moving day. I've already written about the amount of stuff that I moved: let's just say that, with the addition of one bed, I've basically filled a 1250sq ft. townhouse with stuff that was crammed into 500sq ft.. And, with the exception of the 50 boxes of books in the basement, it's all ready and waiting and you'd never guess how I managed! It's the incredible expanding house, ladies and gentlemen.

Of course, the biggest hurdle on Moving Day was What do we do about The Boys???. It's a real issue, moving cats. It's like herding them, but in cages. You see, by Monday night they'd guessed something was afoot. They're not stupid animals: upended couches and tons of boxes may have been a major clue. The addition of more boxes and Mommy's bed being taken apart might have been another clue Tuesday morning. So they were hiding, but too scared to run when we tried to grab them.

The movers arrived - we stuffed The Boys into their cages and prayed they'd get "home" soon. After about 2 hours in their cages, we let them out into the laundry room (no one but us would go in, so it'd be safe). My Big Boy immediately squeezed into Little Guy's cage (no idea how they managed to both fit in!) and stayed there for about five minutes. Then he hid just where the basement stairs meet the floor. It wasn't until that night that they both came out (we carried LG's cage up to my bedroom, with the door open and him cowering inside).

It wasn't until this morning that they both came downstairs for breakfast. It'll be slow, but they'll make it.

On another, brighter note:

I've done five loads of laundry (at least two more to go), and three loads of dishes (another one to go). After years of having to drop off/pick up my laundry, it's such a pleasure to be able to do my own. I can ensure that the temps are correct, that there's attention paid to my delicates, etc. Bliss! And, given the tepid temperature of the water in My Old Place, I'm thrilled to think that my dishes and silver are cleaned.

This will probably be the last of my moving posts. It's almost all over, until The Collection is decanted onto the bookcases my father is building for me (they'll hold about 4/5 of what I have, which - coupled with the four I have now - will have to do for a while). I do promise pictures when that happens.

You are now returned to your regularly scheduled blog.

More Thanks

Of course, it wasn't just Thing One - there were others.

MG is a student at MPOW. She worked for me last summer and is always looking for additional ways to make money so... she came for a day's painting. MD, a friend, has been doing an incredible job - also with painting. For example, she primed the Living/Dining/Library space, and completed the downstairs hall. She also helped on Moving Day (more later).

Thing Two came this past weekend and set up wifi. Since he's got a minivan, I took advantage and bought shelving for my closet and other things too small to fit into my tiny trunk. We also tried out a nearby sushi place (so-so food, but, as he said, "a good back-up") and two diners.

Things are no where near done - the punchlist is quite long - but it's a start. By Friday I'll just have a house that looks like I'm a slob; by Sunday I'll have finished the painting and (with luck) just have a place that looks slightly untidy.

As far as I know, Thing One and MD will be there. Possibly Thing Two and HU. With friends like these, how could it go wrong?

11.3.07

Thanks, Thing One.

It's been a rough week or so (not as rough as it's been for my friend Alison, but still....). Instead of doing what I should and finishing the unpacking/arranging, I'm taking a break, sipping some of Alison Vineyard's sherry, catching up on my unwatched tv and blogging.

First of all, Thing One is The Man. Really. Last weekend we planned a massive painting party. Saturday, Thing One, MG and I came to The New Place and started in. FYI, the living/dining/library room is Raspberry Pudding, the halls and all trim are White Chocolate, my bedroom is Whispering Peach, and the guest bedroom is Winter Lake (Benjamin Moore). We got through about 1/3 of it, then headed home. Sunday, everyone but Thing One cried off (for very good reasons, I might add), so the two of us were under the gun. Except...

Thing One was Under the Weather. By 11, he was stopping every few minutes. By noon, he was under an emergency blanket, lying on the floor of the guest bedroom, shivering. I tried to paint, but after an hour I decided that Thing One needed to get into bed. So we left for The Old Place.
Monday he didn't feel well enough to go to work, but he did pack. Everything. Still feeling sick. I tend to underestimate things, and my plan to pack over two evenings would have been... unrealistic. Thing One got me packed. While sick.

Tuesday, the movers came. Part of me wonders about language differences. I mean, does "70-80 book boxes" mean something different in Spanish than in English? It must, because the guys were all surprised when they realized that there really were that many book boxes. Not to mention china and large and wardrobe boxes. And furniture. And rugs, paintings, etc.. You know: a house.

Still, four hours later I had been packed, moved and unpacked. Thing One was hanging in there, helping with the unpacking and moving boxes from the ground floor to the basement or the attic or the bedroom floor. We went to Friendly's for dinner (not my favorite place to eat, but for Thing One, it means halfway to Home - his family would stop at the First Friendly's, in Springfield).

He returned to NYC and Lulu (who missed Daddy very much) on Wednesday. Since then, he's been trying to keep me calm as I stare at the mess of crap we've accumulated over the years. I say "we" because I have boxes of his LPs, his father's Marine uniform, his old softball uniforms (and, even better, his old jock straps!), etc.. And he's coming back next weekend to help finish painting and organizing.

I honestly don't know what I've done to deserve having him be so wonderful to me, but he is. And I love him for it.

Oh, in case you were wondering, there are 50 book boxes still unopened in the basement.

7.3.07

Moving in

Still trying to find things but I thought some of you (this means you, Bri) might be interested to learn that I've upgraded to broadband. Over the weekend, I'll even get - gasp! - wifi.

Further updates when I've unpacked a bit more.

1.3.07

Big HUGE Life Change

Well, after all the upheaval of last year, you'd think I'd settle down for a while and catch my breath, right?

Wrong.

Yesterday I signed and initialed papers for 90 minutes and now - tada! - I'm in debt almost a third of a million dollars. Of course, this is "good" debt, the kind that also comes with a two bedroom, two and a half bath, full basement, deck and fireplace asset. But still... it's debt and I'm kind of on overwhelm right now. There's cleaning and packing and moving to be done. Not to mention that I have a ton to do at MPOW and KQ. So there's little time for reading or blogging. But I'll be back, never fear.

Here's a funny thought to tide you over until my next post:

As I was driving to the lawyer's office, there was a tiny green Miata convertable in front of me. On it was a vanity plate: MOYEL. I couldn't help wondering if, when you pulled the roof back, it became an SUV.