Sunday, September 28, 2008

A way to begin the day

This morning, while walking to Magee's, I came across a chipmunk. It was stretched out, tiny and slim, on the sidewalk, as if in sweet repose, were it not for the rosy blush staining the sidewalk beneath its head.

I looked up and saw a large, brilliant white cat with golden eyes staring at me, almost as if in challenge, "What?! What do you expect?"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open

I saw this book at Barnes & Noble the other night. The back flap indicates the reasoning behind the title.

"It's 'black belt' in the sense that it is strong, resolute, and to the point, like a roundhouse kick."

This quote sounds like it came from the website Chuck Norris Facts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quote for the day

"Democracy requires of its citizens qualities that it cannot provide."--J├╝rgen Habermas (German philosopher)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More than you wanted to know

For those of you dying to know, my official title is "Electronic Resources Access Librarian." I have business cards, too, if you want one. My supply will probably last until I die.

So what exactly do I do at work?

I tell people who ask that I deal with all the "online stuff," such as


online journals

I also deal with access issues (as my job title suggests), which involves anything from checking links to communicating with publishers and/or our middleman at Ebsco (which handles most of our subscriptions) to updating SFX, our linking system and all other sorts of things.

Are you even more confused? See why I just said "online stuff"?

I also spend some time on the reference desk, am working my way into serving on some committees, and am a liaison to some departments on campus.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Stuff everywhere

This kind of stuff fascinates me. It appeals to the pack-rat within, the curiosity-shoppe minded person living in the back, the little kid still enthralled by oddities of nature.

On a similar note, I want to see the places mentioned in this Smithsonian article: Small Wonders: Europe's idiosyncratic house museums yield pleasures beyond their size

A library position opened up in the Field Museum in Chicago...sigh

You really wanted to know

There are few things I keep tally of. One of those is how many years it has been since I've had to throw up.

I had a bout of food poisoning this weekend. We think it was the spoonbread at the Spoonbread Festival in Berea, Kentucky. One hour after eating, I was vomiting in the parking lot, and vomiting on the hour until late that night, with the Discovery Channel to keep me company, long after there was any food left to come out. I lost four pounds.

It's rather amazing how vigorously the body works to defend itself.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Owls in the air

I want to read this book:

Apparently, baby barn owls smell like butterscotch.

When we have our farm, we hope that barn owls will come to roost with us.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bill Bryson

I'm a big fan of Bill Bryson. His writing style is very laid-back, intelligent without being stuffy, not to mention laugh-out-loud hilarious at times. His writing is witty in a subtle, conversational way, and he has a knack for using words in unexpected ways.

"It shows a balding but not unhandsome man of about forty who sports a trim beard. In his left ear he wears a gold earring. His expression is confident, serenely rakish. This is not a man, you sense, to whom you would lightly entrust a wife or grown daughter."--p. 2 of "Shakespeare: the world as stage"

His book "A Walk in the Woods" is a classic. Some quotes from there:

"I turned to my own bunk and examined it with a kind of appalled fascination. If the mattress stains were anything to go by, a previous user had not so much suffered from incontinence as rejoiced in it."

About a waitress in whom Katz (Bryson’s hiking partner) feels a romantic interest:

"She went off to deal with a distant customer, and Katz watched her go with something like paternal pride. 'She's pretty ugly, isn’t she?' he said with a big, incongruous beam.
I sought for tact. 'Well, only compared with other women.'"

Oh, to be young again

Mom poses as her daughter to become a cheerleader


Monday, September 15, 2008

Once upon a winter's morn

Jon is trying to convince me to accompany him on more winter hiking trips.

It's quite easy to want to agree, while one is wrapped tight in humidity, wearing short sleeved shirts and sandals in response to glaring heat--when cold weather is easily relegated to distant memories and vague associations.

Then I remember one of my very first nights out on a cold winter's night--how it seemed the stars must shatter on such brittle air, how a breeze felt like razors scraping my pink, raw cheeks, how strange it was that I felt warmer outside the sleeping bag than in it.

But that was back when I was inexperienced, before I realized that bodily discomfort and the nearness of death don't necessarily come hand in hand. Each time we go out, the more accustomed I get to the things nature throws our way, to the point that I treasure a blurry picture Jon took of the two of us laughing in a spate of icy rain that blew parallel to the ground.

Such moments make the simple pleasures of being dry, cocooned in warmth, with a mug of piping hot chicken noodle soup all the more treasured--you no longer take them for granted.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I know that place!

There's a new cool feature over at Google Maps. They now have a "Street View" option that lets you actually see the location you are pinpointing on the map. It's a strange feature that lets you "walk" along a street, looking at the houses along the way.

I looked at my parents' house in Rockford, and, lo and behold, there was my dad's truck parked out front. You can also look "up" at the sky and treetops while in the "Street View" option (you have to play around with the buttons a little to get a handle on it).

It's necessary

I'm doing some mandatory online workshops on "Office Safety." A sample question, and its possible answers:

The better your _______, the better prepared you are to handle stress factors.

a. psychic abilities
b. SAT scores
c. physical condition
d. golf handicap

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The dilemma

"Only librarians like to search; everyone else likes to find."--Roy Tennant

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Movies on the menu today

I've seen two rather dark movies lately that were excellent. One is No Country for Old Men, the other is Eastern Promises.

I went for a long time without seeing No Country for Old Men--it just didn't seem my cup of tea, in spite of the rave reviews it garnered everywhere. Then a good friend of mine from the old library told me to see it, so I did, and was blown away. I have no intention of watching it again--it's not Pride & Prejudice--but it sticks with me still. In the midst of its bleak imagery (the amoral hitman appears to get away, leaving a rampage of blood behind), the good characters shine brightly all the more.

Two things stick with me from that movie: the wife of the dumb and careless ranch-hand. When the hitman shows up in her home near the end of the movie, she refuses to submit to his power, thereby breaking the cycle of violence that he thrives on. The other thing is the sheriff's story of a dream he had, of his father riding ahead of him into the darkness, and how he knew that there would be a fire waiting for him, a lone point of warmth and light in the middle of a dark wilderness.

Eastern Promises is strange. A rather bleak tale of a midwife who comes against the powerful Russian mafia in London, the movie manages to make her small victory quite feasible, in the face of such mindless eye-for-an-eye violence.

Monday, September 08, 2008

People grow up

I went home for a spell--what better way to spend the break between my old and new jobs? Not much happened while I was North, which is the way I intended. I spent lots of time at the house, scrapbooking and reading and pestering the new cat and watching cable (I got addicted to these shows: "It's me or the dog," "Jon and Kate plus eight," and "What not to wear"--I know, I'm pathetic).

In addition to spending time with the folks I love--my parents, Grandma, my dear cousin Rosie with whom I grew up (I treasure a photograph of all us baby cousins piled on the floor, where Rosie is staring, open-mouthed, at something off camera, and I am transfixed by her open mouth, reaching my pudgy fingers out, determined to have a look-see), I ran into some old friends from the high school years: Keelan McMorrow and Salem Barker.

I am blown away by how they turned out, maturing into full-fledged artists with art shows in the Chicago area. When we were all younger, I would never have seen them turning out this way; yet, looking back with hindsight, I can see clues scattered along the years that point to their unfolding as artists.

Keelan McMorrow does paintings:

Salem Barker does wood sculpture:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A new beginning, and wi-fi

I'm a couple days into my new job. My brain feels like a box of puzzle pieces, with some pieces missing.

One perk of this job is the laptop, which has wireless. Because of this, I found out that there is a wireless signal in the area called "bigdaddy."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Fit or not

Today, someone called Jon "disgustingly fit."

He had ducked into a Starbucks to fill up on water and overheard this comment (which the person obviously intended to be overheard).