Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why I Write...

Something happened that has made me reconsider why I write this blog, what I write about and who I am writing it for. Of course I don't have quite the same lofty reasons as George Orwell. I am slightly more pedestrian. The who is easy, I mostly write for myself. I used to write a day trip column for Hiroshima English Language The Outsider magazine. My travel log was titled Trippin' Out and then later I wrote some interviews titled "On the Couch with..." If I call up one of those articles, I am able to recall all the nuances of the day the event happened and when I sat down to put pen to paper (and that is what I did then--I was very computer un-savvy at the time. Of course, the secondary reason that I write now as I did then was for other people that I know would know what I was up to. This was and still is my primary way to stay in touch with friends, family and other acquaintances from around the world.
I remember the first time that someone came up to me that I didn't know to tell me that they had taken a day trip that I recommended (and that I forgot to mention that you needed to take sleeping bags to stay in the cabins--OOPS!!!). I was shocked that someone read what I had written that didn't really know me and then felt really really bad that someone READ WHAT I HAD WRITTEN and had had a bad experience. Let's just say I feel a big sense of deja vu right now.
So sometimes I forget that the who I write for can be much bigger I expect or even know. When I write, I do try to relate the facts or to try to put as positive spin on events as possible. Except for that really awful book The Year of Eating Dangerously by poofter Tom Parker Bowles. I still think that it is the most awful book I ever read. But now I am digressing.
Let me focus on what I write. Obviously, I write about what ever is on my mind at the moment. I try to write about things that I want to remember or think is interesting. Much of what I write would be classified book and movie reviews. I write these because I think they are interesting. A portion of what I write is what is how I view what is happening in my life at the moment. Like I said, I try upbeat most of the time except for that poofter's book--no positive spin there, ever.
That leaves the why--or have I already answered that. The big why is that I would love to be a writer but don't have it in me to be one. I have tried to keep journals time and time again but they always devolve into a shameful sop that I feel the need to toss in the garbage lest someone--myself included--happens across them someday. Writing this blog keeps me away from the heavy introspection of moment.
I considered giving this space up. But then I thought again, no need. I just need to be more careful to keep the good bits and avoid the rest. Unless Tom Parker Bowles or someone like him writes a book or does something that I just can't abide by. I will un-sheath the big guns then. Watch out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jammed Packed Week

As I mentioned yesterday, last week started off with me getting my Probationary Performance Evaluation on Monday. Monday night I stayed late at the library with the Glendale Stamp Club. This month was the club's first meeting in their new home. On Tuesday, I had the book club on Tuesday. I had another good turn out for that. Then on Wednesday afternoon I went to the charity luncheon "Smartathon". I was on the 4 person CV Library BookWorms team. My team didn't place in even the top third. We were not so boned up on general trivia. "What percentage of American never was their car?" I don't know, I guess we missed that on as well. I chose 15% over the 5% and 1% choices. It was fun, though and I look forward to next year's chance to prove that I do know a lot of useless facts.

Thursday was my day off but had to come in for a bit more than an hour for Audio Visual training. Our meeting room is kitted out with state of the art systems that we had to get taught how to use. Over the past 2 months I have been pressing buttons, hoping for the correct response and then forgetting which button got me what I wanted, thus repeating the cycle of push and hope.
Since I was on this side of of the world anyhow, I decided that I would drive over to Forest Lawn in Glendale and spend the day with dead people. It was a very relaxing and wonderful day with beautiful weather. Sometimes, the dead are just the right people for you to be around. I enjoyed walking the Labrynth, seeing the David and the Last Supper rendered in Stained Glass. Forest Lawn is more than a cemetry with a muesuem, art work and relaxing vistas.

Friday evening, I went to the local Catholic Church's fish fry. St. Clair has been hosting this charity fish fry since 1978. On Friday's during Lent, St. Clair serves up tasty fish and chips for the hungry locals. It is a community event with about 300 people in attendance. I go with Diane and her family and who ever else drops by the table.
Saturday, I took the Wheel of Reading to Two Strike Park for the annual Arbor Day celebration for the La Crescenta community. The kids love to spin the wheel for little prizes and books.
At the end of a quick 2 hours, I returned to the library, had some lunch and got ready to go up to St. Luke's to meet the Historical Society Bus Tour. We boarded the bus and was led on a two hour tour of the local historical sites in the area. I never knew so much history was packed into this valley. We were led by the local president of the Historical Society Mike Lawler who invited me along and his friend, historical film maker John Newcombe. They took us along the route to see parts of Newcombe's film Rancho Canada Then and Now. The highlight of the tour was a trip up to The Sacred Heart Academy that was bought by the Catholic Church for $120K after it failed as a hotel in the late 20's and early 30's. Overall, It was a fantastic trip and a good week. I am in love with my new community after my week of events.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The LA Flower Mart

There are times when life speeds up and events seem to domino one after the other. This Spring is shaping up to be one of those times. Monday morning I had my Probationary Performance Evaluation with my Assistant Library Administrator that retired on Friday. I passed with "always met and sometimes exceeded expectations". It is nice to be appreciated. Last Thursday, I left home at 6:00 am to get downtown for the opening at 8:00. LA Flower . I had to consider whether I wanted to try to get the flowers on Thursday morning (the flower market opens at 6 on Thursdays) for optimal freshness or on Wednesday for optimal sanity. I chose sanity over freshness. I recommend this choice. I got down to the Flower Mart, paid for parking, $3 and paid for entrance $2 and then walked into a floral wonderland. I was amazed and wanted to just browse but I remained focused because I had the Library Commission visiting my library mid-morning for a meeting. I wanted to make sure that I back to work ASAP. I quickly purchased 60 stems of peach roses, 60 stems of small chrysanthemums, and 40 stems of a small purple flower quickly fell apart but I ended up with enough for the arrangements. I also picked up some greenery and floral foam. All for around $100. I got enough flowers to make 10 regular centerpieces and one guest of honor centerpiece. I love the flower market. It is fabulous and I can't wait to go back down. However, I don't know when that will be, going down and finding my way caused more than a few honks because I was inevitably in the wrong lane and had to squeeze into the right one. And then on the way back, the normally good Glendale Freeway had a major crash and my expected 15 minutes turned into almost an hour and a half. I hate freeways. But I did arrive in time to realize that most people for the Library Commission Meeting were caught in the same traffic jam so I guess I timed the adventure right. In the afternoon, I went to Canyon Country Library to put the arrangements together.

At first I thought I was creating floral tragedies but after sizing the stems down a bit, it began to come together. The only thing I needed to do was go get some ribbon to put around the little containers I bought at the Dollar Store. I ate lunch at 6:00 pm on Wed.
Thursday was a long long day for me. I first arrived at the Canyon Country Library at 8:00 am to finish up the arrangements with ribbon and to help with getting everything in order before our 9:00 meeting. I ended up burning myself with the hot glue gun about 10 times before I successfully added the ribbon and bows. If only I had thought about this before I put everything together I would have saved myself some blisters.
The luncheon went off without a hitch. I got a lot of compliments on the flowers.

Suzanne and I coordinated our colors and decorations perfectly. After most everything was cleaned up, I took a few hours off before I headed to my library. The third Thursday of each month is both our Regional Meetings and La Crescenta Town Council. I will be forever working splits on these days. I got back to the library at about 5:00 and helped close up. Then I went upstairs to prepare the meeting room for the Town Council. I don't mind these meetings and I fully expect to be there until 10 or so. True to my expectations, I didn't get out until almost 10:30 and home until after 11:00. Thankfully Friday I was off.
I will miss my Administrator Andrea. She always offered advice and wisdom that I will take with me throughout the rest of my career. She listened to me yet also put me back in place when I needed it without too many rumpled feelings on my part. Since I am quick to react and overly sensitive although I strive quite unsuccessfully to be neither, this says a lot about her tact and skill as a mentor and supervisor. She will be greatly missed.

Monday, March 22, 2010


No not me to an psychiatric ward, although there are days that I would happily go there. That would be upgrading my desire to crawl under my desk with a bottle of booze to bouncing around a rubber room with lots of good drugs. Not a bad idea.
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage is Elizabeth Gilbert's new bestseller after her Eat, Pray, Love climbed the charts and optioned into a film starring Julia Roberts. I kicked off my book club in February at the library with her first title. It seemed like a suitable title for February and since it will be a movie soon, I wanted to offer it before the request list gets a mile long. Movies generate request lists. I try to push books that are coming out as movies but not on the general public radar as--Oh, I should read this.
When I initially read Eat, Pray, Love about 2 years ago, was it really that long ago? Eat, Pray, Love was a difficult read for me. Not because it was poorly written or that I didn't think that her story was a good one to tell, but because it hit too close to home. It seemed that every single flaw in her personality that she pointed out was one that I could identify with. It isn't easy reading an expose of yourself via someone else's life. I struggled through the book and in retrospect, I didn't think it was the best travelogue that I had ever read but it was the best book about me that I had ever read.

For several months Committed stared me in the face every time I went down the book aisle at Sam's Club, enticing me with the question--could this one also be about you? After the book club last month I decided to go ahead and buy the title. So I purchased it and Committed first road around in my front seat for about 2 weeks, and then sat on my desk for the next two weeks. Finally, I picked it up a few days ago because book club is tomorrow night and I wanted to give them some feedback on the new title.
Yep, she pretty much nailed me on the head again. Not that I have ever been divorced. The book is once again pretty good. I didn't find it painful to read this a time because obviously I am not in a position to get married. But for a long time now I have realized that I have a definite fear of commitment and that women with a fear of commitment act very differently from men with that fear. In a sense, Gilbert explored all those thoughts I have had kicking around in my head about marriage and relationships and why I am terrified of being trapped in one despite the contradictory urge to go out and get into one. Gilbert spent hours and hours finding the answer to all my questions. How nifty is that? I wonder which of our neuroses she will explore next? Can't wait.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Balinese not Siamese Thank You Very Much

It seems that with a little search on the Internet, I can call my mixed-tabby-black-long-hair kitties Traditional Balinese rather than Siamese. Sasha and Misha have fairly long hair and gorgeously plumed tails. Sasha is a seal point with silky creamy fur where as Misha is more elegantly darker. Misha's hair is longer but not as fluffy as Sasha's. They both have a few beigish tabby stripes on their legs and a dark spot on their tummies. Misha's tummy spot is darker. The Balinese website says "The Traditional Balinese (aka Applehead Balinese) cat combines the unique personality and intelligence, robust body type, pointed coloring, and the minimal shedding of the Traditional Siamese, with a softer voice and a silky coat." Well, Sasha has a softer voice and his coat is as soft as rabbit fur. Sasha sometimes has a whisper meow. Misha on the other hand grouses around quite a bit more like a Traditional Siamese.
The website says that Balinese are loyal and will follow you around. Yep, they do--even to the bathroom. When I take a longer than usual shower, without fail, I get a cat looking around the curtain telling me to hurry up--shouldn't waste water.
Sasha and Misha also love the computer. They have learned how to turn it on and actually know how to do things that I just don't do--like change my screen resolution for me--they like to see bigger pictures, and pause the game Bejeweled--I need the occasional pointer and tip on how to get a higher score.
Traditional Balinese used to be called Long-hair Siamese until sometime in the 50's when Californian Mary Dorsey began breeding and showing the longer haired Siamese. She decided that Balinese was more elegant and reminiscent of the lithe elegance of a Balinese Dancer. Since Sasha is my graceless wonder--I might not want to push the Balinese moniker too heavily though. Decide for yourself. Here is a photo of a Traditional Balinese.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Own Personal Sex in the City Plan

I'll Be Hanging Out in Canyon Country for a while longer. Apartment hunting really got me down, so I decided "Hey I don't have to move." I don't mind the commute, I have so much going on with opening the new library and I am just plain tired. The only thing I really don't like is Mr. Drug Dealer downstairs and his posse. But we have co-existed for almost a year now so I guess, I can put up with it for six more months.
In October, I finish paying off all my credit cards. Then I will be in a better position to rent a place that I really like and won't have to wheel and deal with the likes of Jerry the Apartment Guy. So once I formulated this plan, I felt so much better.
I have also decided to do a little Sex in the City-esque thing as well. Actually, I thought it up way before Sex in the City aired the idea [Season 6, Episode 83 A Woman's Right to Shoes]but since the series made it famous, I won't protest too much if people think that it wasn't my own original idea. But Some people get married, some people have babies, some people buy a house. I have celebrated in all these life-events for other people for years gladly and happily. I have bought countless wedding, baby, and house warming gifts for friends and family. Now, I have decided, it is my turn. Seeing as my male prospects are cavernously dark, I don't foresee wedding vows anytime in the near future and quite possibly never. I have never wanted to have kids and the option to change my mind continues to slim into eventual non-existance. Although, the nester in me sometimes thinks it would be nice to own, when I stop to consider how much that thought terrifies me, I quickly list all the advantages of renting. I am not the settling sort. I am part gypsy and wanderer. The life events that other people celebrate are not mine. So I have decided to make a landmark occassion on one of those things that many American never see--the end of CREDIT CARD DEBT. It has been long in coming but the light is at the end of the tunnel and I want to celebrate. I want everyone to celebrate this life event with me, too. So I will take this opportunity to send out invitations, plan a big shindig, and shine with my accomplishment. So expect your invitation in the mail, with details on my Gift Registery. I promise, I will not add Manolo Blanik's to the list as Carrie did. Rather expect to see Target, Willam Sonoma and Macy's.