Category Archives: Life

Things I Am Doing

Seems like whenever I write a brooding life post it stays up as the latest page for an unfair amount of time. Probably gives the impression that I am miserable 100% of the time which simply isn’t true! I’m merely miserable most of the time. There is like 20% of my time spent happy or content. Maybe up to 30%! Here is some of that 20-30%.

I...I can't make a joke about this because it is far too good for as little time as I put into it. Oh if only Walker could have made this movie.

I…I can’t make a joke about this because it is far too good for as little time as I put into it. Oh if only Walker could have made this movie.

Media Consumption And Hobbies

Last week I saw Brick Mansions with my sister. It is absolutely absurd and I loved it. The action is great and the story doesn’t pretend it’s not awful and stays out of the way. After leaving the theater I decided it is the film version of Saints Row, which will either make zip or perfect sense to you.

Haven’t had much time for video games, lately. I’m dipping my toes back into Titanfall. It’s been long enough that everyone playing is now vastly more experienced than myself but it’s parkour and giant robots so still a thrill.

I’m in a bookclub, of sorts! The two teens from my previous job’s bookclub are going to try to keep it going via email exchanges. We’ll see how well that works. We’re supposed to have up to chapter two read in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Sunday. (I haven’t started yet.)

All my plants are dying.

The world's oldest eraser. It was old when I was a kid. I don't know why I still have it it is basically a tiny brick of rubber by now.

The world’s oldest eraser. It was old when I was a kid. I don’t know why I still have it. Basically a tiny brick of rubber by now.

The Continued Ceaseless Quest For Dejunkification

Long time readers will know about THIS one. You’d think after what must be nearly a decade now I’d be able to live out of a cardboard box. Luckily, the upstairs bathroom flooded and took out some boxes I had stacked in my second bedroom. More stuff to throw away! Nothing important. Just. Valueless mementos of happier times. Trinkets, worth nothing but the peace of mind their memory brought. Pure GARBAGE, really, TRASH that surely DESERVED to be soaked in toilet water.

Sigh.

I also got rid of a couple more boxes of books and a big box of art supplies I won’t be using anytime soon.

Work Stuff

AHA this post was just a trap to tell you about things going on at work. Shameless self-promotion. Fun fact: promoting your work from a personal social media account is SUPER risky because then you could be liable via the association of your personal and professional life. Keep that in mind, all you Godless, obscenity prone children’s librarians. That is meant to be sarcasm but really it’s not much of an exaggeration. Now excuse me as I ignore my own advice. (All opinions mine and not that of my employer because I am way smarter and prettier than them OBVIOUSLY).

Next week I’ll be getting a new metadata project. The project I had been working on was semi-interesting to me (a bunch of landscape architecture cutsheets, some from places I know well in the Vegas area) but didn’t make for very good sharing. Not like MARY. In fact, some of it might be as swoon worthy as the dreamy Ellison, so watch out ladies!

But. BUT. If you want to follow the updates, check out @usuarchive on Twitter. I’ll probably still post some of the stuff to my own Twitter account but I want to feed content into the Special Collections account. Hopefully I can tend to it better than my plants because I’d like it to be able to sustain itself long after I’m the one updating it.

Another account you could follow is @metropolotania. It is…work related? Kind of? And more specifically…sort of related to the work I did with Mary’s diaries? And…later it could involve you? I dunno it looks pretty crazy to me. CRAZY ENOUGH TO GARNER UNDESERVED MEDIA ATTENTION, PERHAPS? (crossing my fingers).

The chicken is the national bird, animal, and natural resource of Metropolotania. Because it is very noble, not because it is the only animal that manages to still survive there.

The chicken is the national bird, animal, and natural resource of Metropolotania. Because it is very noble, not because it is the only animal that manages to still survive there.

Six Months Later

By all rights this should be a new flannel Friday post. Yeah I haven’t done one of those in a while, huh? Certainly not on a weekly basis. Another good idea put on the shelf due partially to a lack of time but mostly a lack of motivation. I’m killin’ my internet cred.

Instead I’m going to make a (hopefully) short update on my life. I forget that Twitter doesn’t do a great job of accurately portraying my life and I sure as heck don’t talk to people very much anywhere else.

snow bad

I like my snow like I like my women, beautiful, cold and uncaring, and dangerous when exposed to for too long.

SNOW IS BAD

I say six months later but it’s closer to five and a half. And five of those months were friggin cold. I mean, it’s STILL cold. But there’s a smaller chance that it’ll snow at least? The thing about snow, I’ve learned, is I hate it. I hate it so much. I hated it being dark when I went to work and dark when I got home. I hated scrapping ice off my car, snow off the driveway. I am not a fan of snow. What was nice about the snow is it was a wonderful distraction from the rest of my life. In snow the conflicting priorities of my brain had a common enemy. Plus it was too cold to do anything so sitting at home and playing video games in all my free time was A-OK.

sad lookin home

Yeah I actually WISH this is where I lived. With those many open windows I’d get more air.

THIS IS NO PLACE TO LIVE

Now…I SAY home. In a general sense. Because it doesn’t FEEL like a home. I’ve come to the conclusion that it simply won’t. The basement isn’t a terrible place to live. As a structurally sound shelter it passes. As an environment less so. It’s been an interesting ride, so interesting that I won’t even get into it now. I’m saving it all for a future post for the happy day I leave it. The title starts with “The Saga Of” so you know it’ll be a good read. Before anyone starts with the “Told You So”s you must understand: this is my best option. No. Really. This is a small college town. Sometimes I wonder if it’s too small for a college town. Rentals that I can afford are nearly all student housing. I looked at an apartment that costs more than what I’m paying now and it was not great. The logic seems to be if you aren’t a student, you can afford to rent a house. As long as you don’t have a pet, of course. Because what awful people would dare think to bring a cat or a dog into a house?

That's me on the left.

That’s me on the left.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: NONE

Aside from the housing situation I haven’t felt overly…welcome here. Even considering coming from Southern Nevada where passive disinterest is the best you can get from a neighbor. Now I’m going to be SATURATING this next part with qualifiers, let me be clear on that. PLENTY people here are very nice. Particularly where I work most everyone is absolutely friendly. And yet often a given passing smile will be met with a cold stare. And the people that ARE friendly are friendly enough for the current conversation and then they move on. Everyone already has their own lives and concerns, I’m simply a background character to their own story. That’s not a critique, it’s a reality. I had friends I considered family at my last job, but I was there for a decade. I don’t think time is going to be the solution here. What I feel….it’s hard to say simply. Except that I haven’t met anyone I think would be a lasting friend and I don’t think I will. That’s simply said, though a little colder than what I mean. Also, it’s not like I’ve MET many people overall.

This town looks much better when it rains, I wish it would rain more often.

This town looks much better when it rains, I wish it would rain more often.

I WANNA BE WHERE ALL THE HIPSTERS ARE

With the melting snow I have made an effort to get out more. Within the town’s limits the sights of interest include…??? I had hoped for a stereotypical small town to explore in comfort. It’s not. It’s as if someone took a chunk of Henderson and plopped it down on an unforrested mountain. Walking, at least in my area, isn’t fully practical. The busses ARE free and I do need to start using them but it’s not the same. While there are a few local places to eat and shop overall it’s a typical Big Box department store/fast food chain situation. There’s a dog park I can drive to with a walking path next to a river and so far that’s my favorite place here. Otherwise…there isn’t much notable. So far. Further exploration might yield better finds.

I'd say I've had worse office window views but...actually I've never had an office with a window.

I’d say I’ve had worse office window views but…actually I’ve never had an office with a window.

THE JOB IS FINE

For the job I’ll say it IS a good job. Maybe not as fun as reading books to kids but I’m learning a lot and I’m always busy. It’s not, I think, what I want to be doing forever. Which is good since it’s a temporary position! I’m learning more and more of how all departments in a library function and a great deal of the process drives me mad. I do have some upcoming projects I am excited about.

"I've got flowers planted now everything will be okay!" I thought, as a rusted out van pulled into the driveway with my new neighbors.

“I’ve got flowers planted now everything will be okay!” I thought, as a rusted out van pulled into the driveway with my new neighbors.

SO ANYWAY

The point is I am okay. I’m okay in the strictest sense of the word. I am not HAPPY, but that is not necessary right now. I had plans, and had hoped, to upgrade my goal of survival to thriving. I even did some gardening last week when the new upstairs neighbors moved in and everything went downhill in a hurry. Now the goal is to endure. Because I’ve accepted that, at least from my current perspective, that This Is Not Where I’m Meant To End Up. My purpose here is not to have fun. My main focus is to take care of myself, my cat, my car, and to do what is needed to GET ME to Where I Am Meant To End Up. I moved to Utah because my family needed to be together. After this I can go wherever the heck I want, as long as I stick to the plan.

I’m not a fan of Henry David Thoreau. Too much of his attitude towards humanity was worthy of eye rolling. That said I agree with him on two issues: first, that the slaves should have been freed immediately. F* gradual emancipation. Secondly, you should look forward to the future. Reading his exit from Walden left a deep impression on me in high school. He said he left because- and I’m paraphrasing because high school was a long time ago- he loved Walden Pond. Thoreau felt that by being content to stay there he would waste the rest of his life. It was a place he wanted to end his days, and he didn’t want his days to end yet. Similar concept, I’m fine with not loving my current situation because I’d hate to think that I’ve already reached the peak of my life.

 

NOW WHAT?

I realize this paints a pretty bleak picture. I’m able to separate the good from the bad, though. There’s no mixed balance that creates a sum total of “Life is good” or “Life is bad”, they’re oil and water. Where I live is awful. The potential for that to improve while I’m here is low, I accept that. The job is good. I enjoy most of it. I don’t see it as a long term deal and that’s okay. The rest of my life is stalled, that’s fine. I have other things I could be doing. For now I’m going to try to get myself in better physical and mental health. I’ll work on writing in earnest. I’ll try to start mailing things out to friends more often (but uh, wait to mail stuff back to me until I give you a different address. In case my new neighbors are stealing mail). ALSO, I might try to find a church to start going to even though I love my free Sunday mornings. But at a church I’m more likely to meet people that I’m compatible with. Maybe even…a roommate? A roommate that’s not an insane person and will let me move into a decent place? It’s all a pipe dream as far as I’m concerned but you never know. Really, my goal from now on is to be adaptable.

A lack of contentment now gives me flexibility to make decisions that would otherwise have greater risks. December 2015 is as AT MOST as long as I’ll be here. I’ve used up a quarter of my time moping, time to use at least the next quarter gathering supplies and making a map for…the next journey?

That’s a terrible metaphor to end it on but I can’t think of anything else, and I’ll probably spend another two pages trying so let’s just make this

THE END

I still love you, I just don’t follow you.

Lots of people on twitter today are using a service that shows you your first tweet and tweets it. I used my downloaded twitter archive to remember mine. Which is, fittingly, “Wasting time at work.” And then I noticed that March 31 it will have been seven years since I’ve been on twitter. Seven! Started me thinking about how I used Twitter back then and how I use it now.

I didn’t plan on starting conversations or even friendships using Twitter. I was just following some artists I liked. Then a few librarians randomly started following me and I became friends with them. Sadly, only one or two of the librarians from 2007 still tweet. Interesting aspect of Twitter, unlike other social networks, is how organically relationships will grow. It’s much more similar to how friendships begin in real life. Unfortunately, unlike in real life when you begin to leave an old life behind, they don’t go away unless you unfollow them. Which is a harsh measure as anyone on Twitter knows. Unfollowing someone isn’t the same as slowly drifting away from them. It’s saying “I don’t want to be your friend” which isn’t necessarily true.

Today I unfollowed a bunch of cool people, not because I like them any less than the day I followed them, but because my life is different now and the conversations I want to hear are being drowned out by those that aren’t strictly relevant to me. If I unfollowed you it’s because:

1) I don’t remember who you are. This sounds worse than it is. I have a great memory for people, but not names. And names and faces on Twitter can change all the time.

2) Our paths of interest now run parallel instead of crossing. In most cases you are probably a librarian, and a very good one, and a librarian that tweets lots of news and information about your particular field of libraries. I…don’t care as much about that as I used to. This one is hard for me because I probably like the person, but their twitterfeed is more about the job than themselves.

3) A combination of the first two and laced with the fact that, to my recollection, we haven’t interacted on Twitter for a while.

Now to be clear: I unfollowed a lot of people. Some people I had been following for a very long time. I didn’t want to spend too much time deliberating over each person, I made a lot of choices using immediate reactions. Maybe you feel bad about it! Maybe I made the wrong choice. If you think so tell me! I’ll feel like a jerk and follow you back and years from now when I’m still following you we’ll think back on this day and laugh and laugh and laugh.

….but. Odds are good you’re not even going to bother reading this. Odds are good you won’t even realize I unfollowed you. I didn’t REALLY want to make a big deal out of this, I’ve done Twitter culls before, but this time I unfollowed some really excellent folk. To ease my guilt, I’m posting this option to have me follow you back by simply telling me to. If you are aware of it. If you aren’t, well then I don’t have to feel so bad, do I?

As a postscript: I am slowly starting to use Facebook. Bleh. As much as I hate it, it’s at least a good place to keep in touch with people that isn’t the ceaseless conversation of Twitter. Maybe for some it’s a better place to stay friends.

SECOND POSTSCRIPT?: So I feel I should better explain the WHY. While I already follow so many awesome people, there are still more awesome people I want to be friends with. But it’s hard to build relationships on Twitter, harder than it was a few years ago when the room was quieter. With the way my job and life has changed the past year, I’ve decided I need to become a better friend to the friends I have already and the friends I’m just now meeting. To do so I had to turn the volume down a bit. Not a single unfollow was void of a tinge of regret, I promise you that. Well unless you’re an internet cat or something.

Oh hey so anyway.

[day after edit: there are a bunch of typos but I wrote this late at night on my phone with frozen fingers so MEH. Just makes it more authentic?]

This is just a short update. I’m fact let’s write it like a short letter quickly sent off to my family before the winter storms roll in.

Dear Twitter,

How are the boys doing? Has Suzy’s coughed improved? I send my love.

I have had little time to write, my sweet Twitter, but I want you to know that I am as well as can be expected. This is a strange land, to me. The roads are all numbered, few have proper Christian names. The drivers all seem to be as confused as I, as surely not so many of them could be such jackasses without excuse.

The local diners are bountiful and their food delicious, though I have had little opportunity to verify the quality of many. There is also a Little Caesar’s drive through, a remarkable innovation. Perhaps I can write to the town council and suggest they adopt this modern convenience.

The work itself is as obtuse as it is fascinating. I fear my skill set may not have prepared me for the strange language of cataloging and metadata entry. But I will do my best and study by candle light if needed. I have electric lights, of course, but the basement is a bit musty so the candle helps. Lime citrus!

Another aspect of my position is transcribing ancient texts. From 1956. It It is a diary of an elderly Mormon woman. She is boring as Hell. “Today I slept in again. Worked on some netting. Did morning chores. Watched TV.” This, every day. Also learn to write better, lady. Your cursive sucks.

My peers at the university have all treated me well. I may even contrive to build friendships, if possible. This is less likely with my northern housemates, I fear. Last night they stayed up until midnight watching crappy sitcoms and two hours after stomping around.

But they have a pit bull puppy they treat well so I must assume they are Okay Guys.

There is more to discuss about the basement but another time. Today I drove in a snowstorm to find boxers because I have yet neither laundry machine or any of my things but what fit in my car. Also I have no internet yet. This will all be resolved shortly, I hope.

I must end it there for now, Twitter. I will attempt to cool dinner with my sparse cooking equipment and the oven that never stops beeping, like a sad, lonely cricket.

Things will improve, sweet Twitter. Goodnight. I promise this.

Ex-Children’s Librarian OF DOOM

This probably should have been written sooner. Much of what I wanted to say probably rattled out of my brain by now. And I’m tired, I’m not finished packing, and also I’m watching New Girl. It’s not really the best setup for waxing poetic about ending a decade long chapter of my life.

But I’m gonna try to make a few people cry anyway!

This all started back in grade school. I was super into Star Wars, you see. My life plan was to become a world famous, extremely wealthy director like George Lucas and retire to my giant mansion. Complete with a moat. By age 25.

Well I’m 28 now so it’s a good thing I had a second passion. My grade school librarian always encouraged me, something not a lot of teachers did. She bought me a copy of The Hobbit when I was maybe in the third grade. I still have it! So after I retired from movie directing (by age 25) I planned on becoming a children’s librarian.

I started shelving exactly nine years ago this November. Not to fulfill a childhood dream, I just hated working in the movie theater. Shelving was marginally better. And then a year later, unexpectedly, I had an opportunity and interview to become a youth services specialist.

And Kendra got the job.

DAMN YOU, KENDRA.

Then one year or so after THAT she left and I got the position I rightly deserved.

I decided to “settle” for an early retirement and become a children’s librarian and skip the whole famous movie director bit, at least for the time being. I would have had a masters in library science by now but for my college murdering my degree and firing the teachers when I was a handful of credits away from graduating. College left me bitter. My friend had just died of cancer, and the library began to fall apart. I kind of just drifted for a while, not really caring about the future or what I wanted to do with it. I began to suspect by this point that youth services wouldn’t be a part of it, but what else could I do? What else had I done?

I won’t miss being a children’s librarian. The storytimes were fun. I enjoyed helping kids find books, recommending my favorites, coming up with crafts and ridiculous flannel stories. There’s a billion good memories I’ll be taking with me. But I won’t miss it. I will appreciate the past years, however, because the sum total of those experiences pushed me towards what I really want to do with my life.

We have to work backwards to get there, but I can at least tell you it begins on a Tuesday.

It ends one night at a seriously mediocre Mexican restaurant. Bob Shea is yelling at me. Well, he’s not really yelling at me, but he has a few choice words about my progression through life that wouldn’t be found in any of his picture books. And he isn’t saying anything my friends hadn’t told me before. Maybe it took hearing it from someone outside the library family to take it seriously though, so I began to think about my future by remembering my past.

I remember when a few of us on Twitter began talking about posting weekly storytime stuff online. By that point I had begun to make my own crafts and write my own flannel stories. I was tired of recycling the same few good storytime themes I had (mostly stolen from Nicole) and trying to find ideas online was depressing. So this idea of a Flannel Friday sounded perfect to me. As you can tell by looking at my own website, I did not keep up to a weekly posting schedule for very long. I became disheartened by my own slacking. Even with an enthusiastic community I couldn’t keep my motivation for the job going.

My motivation started to dip a year or two earlier when I realized I was trapped in two part time youth services gigs for perpetuity. I applied for a job at another branch to become a full time youth services specialist. I was sure this was my chance, the destined path of the future. Didn’t get it. I began to hate both my jobs. On paper, each was perfect. I got paid to read books to kids and use scissors and glue sticks and paint! Together, having to do twice the programming, deal with twice the office politics, keeping two calendars straight, with no hope for a better future, they grated on my nerves constantly. Between both jobs, I had no time for myself. Certainly no time for my ambitions.

I blame Kenna for my ambitions. She was my friend and my boss. We worked Tuesday nights together. Any night in the library was slow, and Tuesday nights especially. To pass the time we’d talk about whatever random subject came to mind. Occasionally this involved art and writing. In high school I had written most of a book, but the friend, who was also writing a book, drifted away and took my motivation with him. Kenna encouraged me to pick up writing again so I started a new story. She’d get a new chapter every Tuesday and review it. I had to start working Tuesday nights by myself when she got cancer. When she died I gave up on the book.

I’ve loved the art of storytelling since I was a kid. That’s why I wanted to be a movie director. Later I realized that movies were only one of many vehicles for a story. I misinterpreted my original passion growing up. I wrote stories thinking they could be great movies someday. For some reason I never thought about becoming a writer myself. Even when I moved away from movies, I didn’t consider writing. I had a plan in place. Librarian by day. Artist by night. A safe route.

And then years later Bob Shea yelled at me in a seriously mediocre Mexican restaurant. The advice he gave me, the advice essentially anyone had ever given me before, from my friends to my peers to even every English teacher I’ve ever had, is that the safe route won’t get me what I want. And what I wanted, I realized then, was to be a full time writer.

My Twitter bio, unchanged since 2008 I believe, currently says:

Children’s librarian OF DOOM by day, artist/designer by day, writer by day, sleeper by night.

I mistakenly wanted to be it all. The librarian, the graphic designer, and the writer when I had time. I used to be a saxophonist, you know. I was pretty good at it, despite my crippling apathy to playing in a band and never practicing. I gave my saxophone away this year. I love music, but it has no place in my present. I loved being a children’s librarian, but I have no place for it in my future. The storytimes, the reader’s advisory, even the flannel stories I wrote, were all part of a very chaotic path to a destination I couldn’t quite see.

I suppose it was about two years ago my friend Caprice got me to start writing again. I can’t remember if I approached her first or if she suggested it. But for two years I’ve been writing when I can and she’s been reading when she can. I’m actually a couple chapters short of a first draft. I don’t know if it’s any good, really. But I know I enjoyed writing it. And now, without having to split my creative energies between storytimes and writing, I’ll be writing a whole lot more.

This isn’t a very good retrospective montage of my public library career. This I know. I wanted this post to be that. Instead I had to think of the realities of my past, present and future. It’s not an entirely happy or hopeful one, but here we are. Everything that has happened the past year has taken away any sort of comfort zone I had. There is absolutely nothing I do now that makes me feel safe and secure, so why not take the path less traveled, complete with alligators, pitfalls, and rad dungeons that might have treasure chests inside?

I made a lot of friends over the years. I joined a family, really. Complete with all the arguments, tragedies and falling out that a real family has. The library I left isn’t the place it used to be. It’s not a family anymore, sadly. It’s a broken home thanks to only a few awful people. Can’t be helped. People have to adjust, new hires are fortunate not to know what they missed out on. The family I made is still my family, those who stayed and those who left before me. And those people are what I will miss the most, even though they’ll still be in my life.

By the time this posts (assuming WordPress autoupdates correctly) I’ll be on the road to Utah, to a new job and a new adventure. I guess what’s so difficult to put into words is the idea the library, something that was my life and future, becoming simply a job to me. I am sad to leave it behind. I’m excited to fully engage myself with the next thing but just like any first love I’ll always wonder if I made the right choice.

I’ll stop rambling now so I can get my sister at the airport so she can drive with me to Utah this Friday. There will be another post, hopefully sooner than later that will better explain what this next step in my life is and how working in a different library is going to help me work towards making writing a full time gig. I’ll have yet another post explaining that while I leave youth services behind as a profession, it’s not the end of my participation in Flannel Friday. In fact, I’ll be participating much more often.

Unless I become entombed in a frozen, blue Honda Fit in the middle of Utah.

In which case you guys can have my stuff.