Thursday, December 31, 2009

The List

For my entire life, I've wondered what it is about changing a calendar that gets people so worked up. Why does a year ending make such an impact on the world? Shouldn't, by extrapolation, a month ending hold at least 1/12 the excitement, yet we completely ignore the new month. Only when a particular day is monumental do we actually celebrate the beginning or end of it. Why is a year such a magical period of time? We reflect on what we've done, we plan for the year ahead, and there is a sense of closure and beginning that we all seem to feel. I've never understood this and I try not to get carried away with the sentimentality of a passing year and the start of a new one. It's just a year. It's just a number. Right?

How could I be so different from everyone else? Maybe I should try to join the sheep, make it meaningful, review my year, resolve to make the next one better, and stay up late celebrating the changing of the calendar.

Okay, let's give this a try.

I keep saying that 2009 was a bad year, and mostly it was for me, but there were some highlights that were truly special and they are as follows:

    Hair is purple. Purple is good.

    We have a new director at the library and peace has finally settled upon us in a way I haven't experienced in this building in 17 years. For me, work is the one place I go where I feel I'm at the top of my game, where I am my most confident, and where I feel most in control of myself and my destiny. To have peace there has been a blessing and a salvation for me.

    I've cultivated a very special relationship with one of our new security guards, Sarge, who is feeding me stories of his career in the army, opening my eyes to things I didn't want to see, and giving me a greater understanding of military life, and the war. This has fostered a fierce hunger to read more about it, and I'm currently looking into doing volunteer work that's supportive to the soldiers deployed. Now I understand how war can be regarded as "romantic" by some, if just because of the passion involved that motivates someone to risk their life for things I take for granted everyday. Heroes are romantic. And I see the heroes among us more clearly now. This has changed the way I look at soldiers and veterans.

    In April, I went somewhere new and did something I've wanted to do for many years. I was surrounded by heaps and heaps of some of the most beautiful creatures this planet is fortunate enough to host: butterflies!

    Ann and I have grown quite close, and in her I see parts of myself that have long been buried. Together we've grown into a friendship that has more unconditional and unwavering support, compassion and understanding than I ever thought possible. The only person I understand better is my brother.

    Someone who challenges me constantly threw me a safety net and I've been able to go farther, do more, and trust more than I ever have before.

    Friends I had let go of have found their way back to me and we are rebuilding stronger, better relationships than before. But it's going to take a long time to get there.

    I learned that there are very few things in life that we have any control over. Life, health, success, etc., all illusions of control. Yet, I woke up one day in May and decided not to let the aforementioned obstacles dictate the shape of me, and have lost 52 of the unhealthy pounds that years of steroids and depression from being sick gave me. It was slow going, and people who frequently see me don't realize the difference until I whip out the picture of myself taken one year ago, which I always carry in my purse, and then it's obvious. Watching my body transform has been awesome.

    I've spend one solid year not speaking to my mother and it's been delightful.

    My brother is the only family I feel I have left, and our relationship has strengthened to a point where we can rely on one another more than anyone else.

    I've gone mostly organic, and though it costs me a fortune, I feel like I'm fighting death and cancer with every use, which is empowering.

    I took a wild trip, alone, to a place most people begged me not to go, and it changed me in ways I still struggle to articulate. It's one of the few things I've done recently that I am fiercely proud of.

    I fell deeply, madly, wholly in love with a burro named Javier, and I would've given up everything in my world to be with him if I thought for one second that he felt half of what I did. This is how I fall in love. Frequently with animals. Rarely with people.

    Cell phones: they got me! *falls down dead* Not a highlight, but a monumental event worthy of The List.

That's my year of highlights. As for resolutions, I can't do it. I'd like to meet more of my goals from this list, continue with my highlights from this year, and just live life to the best of my ability, which are neither new or inspired by the calendar year.

Happy New Year. Happy New Month. Happy New Day. We should celebrate them all.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

Already this year's holiday is shaping up better than I thought, and B.E. has given me really neat gifts, making my fleece, furry pants with fish on them seem like a lame gift to him. *sigh* Hopefully the remaining gifts will redeem me. Then again, I got him sea monkeys, another travel mug, and various other toys the two of us can play with (clothes on, not THOSE kinds of toys) that will keep us entertained for the next 10 days. And I'll still feel guilty while I'm wearing the ring he gave me and playing with the laptop. Eeesh. I'm the lame one this year and that feels weird.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrate, and that it surprises you with how nice it can be, after the stress and disappointment finally wear off.

If I don't jump online again until after January, I also hope you all have a wonderful New Year. Have a drink for me because I'm not allowed any alcohol and I'm feeling like an addict in withdrawal, even though I don't drink much at all. Forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Braised Uteri

It’s always interesting to me when there’s a crisis or problem in my life, how few people I consider close to me will actually check on me. I don’t mean stopping by my house with flowers and baked goods. I mean, simply, when they see me, ask me how I’m doing.

You don’t just start taking a medication that scares the bejesus out of you, one related to others that killed a loved one, without major trepidation. And I could tell by the looks on the faces of my friends when I told them about starting this that they knew how serious and frightening this therapy was to me. They were nearly as frightened as I was. So, when, five weeks later, hardly a one of them has even asked in passing how I’m doing, and no one even peeps when I’m in the bathroom every half-hour at work dealing with one gastro-intestinal problem or another, it kinda makes me wonder.

Have they forgotten? Have they been wrapped up in their own little world and don’t notice that I’m spiking a fever everyday, have dime-sized bruises all over my body, am popping pills, constantly eating to fight the nausea, and walking funny because the diarrhea is making my guts ache and leach blood? Are they afraid to ask because they don’t actually want to know?

It’s not like I’m depressed about it. It’s not like they have to worry I’m going to start bawling on their shoulder and tell them I’m afraid of dying. The worst that’s going to happen is I’ll say, “I feel shitty. I’m nauseated a lot, spend a lot of time in the bathroom, feel tired, feel weak, and evidently my hormones are going to get all fucked-up because it blocks estrogen production, or something like that, and I do not play nicely with progesterone, so things are going to be ugly for one week of the month, but overall, it could be worse.” There. Was that so bad?

But a few people have asked me how things are going. And those people are privy to my usual technique of trying to find the humor in the humorless. Like Leelu, bless her soul, will IM me nearly everyday and ask how it’s going. She’s such a gem.

Me: Ooooh, guess what?!
Me: My chemo med, methotrexate, is an abortion pill. I'm giving myself an abortion once a week.

Leelu: Hah!

Me: You know, all these abortions and no sex is just cruel.

Leelu: Does that mean it'll no longer be legal under the health care plan that's going through?

Me: Ugh, well, my diagnosis isn't pregnancy so thankfully the med is approved for other things.
Me: (thankfully?)
Me: (as if I'm happy to be taking it)

Leelu: I'm sure that people who genuinely need chemo are happy about it.
Leelu: You...I'm not so sure about. Your medical problems are a huge mess.

Me: Uh huh. And with a little more reading I found out that it's going to totally disrupt my menstrual cycle, which it did because this last one was enough to make me want to rip out my uterus and eat it raw.
Me: And the type of cancer my med treats is usually leukemia.
Me: Don't know how that makes me feel, but at least I won't be getting leukemia now.

Leelu: ...You'd better not. Or I'll have to do something drastic.

Me: What? Eat my uterus or get leukemia?
Me: Uterus might be good.
Me: You don't know.

Leelu: But raw?

Me: How many uteri have you had?
Me: I would imagine cooking would make it tough.

Leelu: Very few things are not improved by cooking. I would suggest braising for uteri, though.
Leelu: It's very fibrous to begin with, so you'll need a long, slow, moisture-rich cooking to bring out the best.
Leelu: Even if you do it tartare, you'd still want to dice it fine and season.

Me: See? What on earth would I do without you?

Leelu: Eat raw uterus, apparently.

Me: I go see doctors and they tell me, "You'll be fine, you won't have side effects, just take all these supplements so you don't die while on the meds and see me in 4 weeks so we can make sure your liver didn't die, but you'll be just fine." Pharmacist says, "Just take some imodium and an antacid regularly and it will be okay." This is no good to me. I need to know what to do when they're all wrong, because they always are, and how to properly prepare uterus!

Leelu: Is it any wonder that we hate the medical profession?

Me: Not for me it isn't.

Leelu: Not a decent cook in the lot of them.

Me: Right! I know. You know why? Because none of them have actually taken the meds they prescribe, so they have no idea that methotrexate + Triphasil = angry enough to eat uterus.
Me: And if you don't know that you can get to that point, how would you know the proper cooking techniques to satisfy this new chemically induced urge?

Leelu: It's a sad state of affairs. *shakes head*

Me: Yep.

Chickenshits who aren’t asking how I’m doing are missing out on delightful braised uteri conversations, I think.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Giving & Receiving

Do you ever feel like YOU should be sporting a sign that warns the public that you are not yourself, and perhaps a little generosity should be given to you in your time of weakness? I need one of those signs right now.

Yesterday at work, it was nothing but the bullshit of patron after patron offending me on one or more levels. It would seem to be appropriate that those with the foulest attitudes also had the foulest odors because if you care nothing about rubbing someone the wrong way, why would you care if you stink too? I realize that I’m ultra, super-sensitive right now, with nerves crawling around outside my skin, so my thought is that I’ll just warn people so that they can use their humanity to perhaps cause less offense.

The chemo medicine is kicking my ass this week, beating me down with nausea and diarrhea, the likes of which I have not experienced in many years. I was thinking it was due to having my period, which is also worse this week than it has been in years, and nothing over-the-counter can combat the cramps that are keeping me doubled over most of the day. Add to that the delightful bug Sergeant shared with me, one which sent him to the VA hospital earlier this week begging for relief, and then he came into work and followed me around like a puppy, as well as used my computer. Dude, let me tell you one more time that I’m on a medication that SHUTS OFF my immune system, so while you’re sitting at my computer, sniffling and rubbing your runny nose on your hand, mousing and keying on my equipment, you’re going to kill me with strep, you greedy bastard.

I have had PMS. I have cried everyday for a week straight, for no good reason. I have not had a decent night of sleep. I have snapped at the people I care about more often than I can count, and in order not to continue doing this, I’ve also let them use me as a doormat and punching bag out of fear that if I speak up, I’m going to tell them to go fuck off and die, and that wouldn’t be nice.

So, when I showed up to work yesterday weak, tired, hungry, nauseated, crampy, bloody, angry, sad, feverish and with a raging sore throat, I should’ve made up that sign and hung it around my neck.

A dickhead at a computer was blasting some Lady GaGa music, so I told him he had to turn the volume off or use headphones. He looked at me with a puzzled expression, so I asked if he knew how to turn the volume off, and he said no. We had an interaction that went like this:

Me (pointing to the minimize button): Click to minimize and I'll show you the volume control.

Dickhead (ignoring my instructions): Wait, I'll take care of it.

Meanwhile, he's sending messages to people on Facebook. One message asks if anyone wants to dance.

Me (rolling my eyes): No, if you'll just minimize your screen, I'll show you how to turn off the volume now.

Dickhead: Okaaay, I'll do it.

Again, he clicks somewhere else to engage more "friends" in inane online flirting.

People, if you could see or smell this guy, you'd give up social networking entirely.

Me (pointing again to the minimize button): I need you to click here and turn off the volume.

Dickhead: I'll just close it out!

Me: That's fine, but the next video you pull up is going to blast more music, so I'm trying to show you how to turn off the volume so it doesn't happen.

Dickhead: I don't need to do that! It's done. It's fine. You can go now.

I turned around, walked back to my desk, and promptly put a reservation on his computer so he couldn't extend his time. He left shortly thereafter.

Another lady and her husband walked in reeking of stale smoke and a lack of toothpaste. That's always charming. That always makes me want to spend large amounts of time helping them. Closely. While breathing.

First she didn’t understand the reservation system, and after I explained it she yanked the reservation slip out of my hand and then held it as far away from her as she could, struggling to read it. She threw the slip of paper at her husband and told him to read it because she didn’t bring her glasses. I offered to help her and she stormed off in a huff. I’d been nothing but nice to her up to that point, but she crossed a line I don’t remember drawing and it was all downhill from there.

I returned to my perch and soon the husband was asking me to help her at the computer.

She wants to get on the website for The Newspaper.

Me: Okay, I don’t know the web address offhand, so if you just type it into the search screen, we can find it.

She began typing “thenewspaper” in the address bar.

Me: Oh, wait, you’ll want to type it into the search bar here and not the address bar.

Bitch: WHY?!

Me: Because we don’t know the address and need to search for it.

She sighed heavily and typed into the search bar “thenewspaperillinois”.

Me: You will probably want to put in spaces so it can search more accurately.

Bitch: WHY?!

She was like a fucking two-year-old with the demanding whys, but she didn’t want me to answer – that was just her way of saying she disagreed.

Me: Because you’re not going to find the site as easily if you…

At this point she started clicking on all the hits that Google presented her, none of which were the website she was looking for, and each misdirected hit frustrated her more.

Me: If you just put the spaces in—

Bitch: I can do this!

Me: Okay, great. Good luck with that.

Husband (apologetically): Thank you.

Me: You’re welcome.

Not a full minute later they left, and she seemed even more irritated than I was, which was quite a lot. I guess she wasn’t able to find the website after all.

Then the phone rang.

Caller: I’m looking for an adult movie, but not that kind of adult movie, just a movie for mature viewers.

Me: Okay, what are you looking for?

Caller: Because, you know, I told the lady who answered the phone that I wanted an adult movie and she said, “We don’t have those kinds of movies here,” and I laughed, so I felt like I had to tell you that I’m not looking for that.

Yeah, liar, that conversation didn’t take place because we don’t tell people we don’t have those kinds of movies here. Seriously. Get to the fucking point.

Me: Okay, what are you looking for?

Caller: Regular adult movies. Not porn.

Me: Yes, but WHAT MOVIE are you looking for?

Caller: Oh, yeah, sorry, I just thought that was funny…

Well, you thought wrong. You think you’re the only person ever to make the connection between “adult movies” and porn? Wow, how clever you think you are! That’s so original. I’ve never heard that one before. Perhaps you know some why’d-the-chicken-cross-the-road jokes too. Let’s just get totally silly here. It’s not like I have anything better to do than to listen to you make vague references to porn while pretending to be above it. What a blitzkrieg of laughs will be had with the like-minded librarians when you tell us about the “adult movie” you’re looking for! Hardy-har-har. That was such a knee-slapper.


If you want porn, just ask for it. If you don’t want porn, don’t ask for it. Don’t call me up and joke about porn, pretending like you’re funny. You’re not. Move on.

The only thing good about that phone call was the lack of odor. Although it did stink, it did not stink in my nose.

Is it because it’s the weekend, or because it’s the weekend before the holiday, or because of something else entirely, that people collectively decided to not shower and to show up at the library? And on the ride over, they smoked 8 cigarettes with the windows closed and drank coffee that was rancid, flavored with ass. I told Marina and Leelu that we needed something stronger than Febreeze to hose off most of our patrons as they entered the building. It was suggested that even that wouldn’t help.

Then my salvation walked in the door: Mitch. No matter what kind of hideous mood I’m in, no matter what kind of abuse I’ve been a victim of, no matter what kind of awful day I’m having, Mitch can make me laugh.

He brought two of his three boys, one being about 18 months old and the other about 6 years. The toddler was getting into everything as Mitch and I stood around chatting, and he’d occasionally run off and grab the little one to rescue the library from ultimate destruction. At one point, he handed the child a toy from our desk, which promptly went into the mouth.

Me: Ohhhhh, yeah, that’s probably been in at least 10 mouths just today. Ugh.

Mitch: We’re not afraid of germs. We’re trying to build strong immune systems in our kids. That’s nothing.

A few minutes later, the little guy was in the garbage can in front of my desk and Mitch flipped out.

Mitch: AH, no, some germs are okay, but you’ve gotta draw the line at the garbage! We don’t eat garbage.

Me: You have standards for germs, huh?

Mitch: Yeah, and it’s like, depending on whether you’re giving or receiving, you have different views as well. Like when you’re the one with the germs, you’re very liberal about sharing your germs. But sometimes you get very republican about not wanting germs. No sharing!

I was laughing at the truth he spoke.

As I was laughing, one of the staff made the 30-minute closing announcement, which scared the hell out of Mitch. He ducked and looked up at the ceiling for the loud, booming voice over his shoulder, which made me laugh harder.

Mitch: It’s like that movie…what’s it called?

Me: I don’t know. What IS it called?

Mitch: It has that guy, the tall one…what’s his name?

Me: I don’t know. What IS his name?

Mitch: He looks a little like the guy who played The Tick.

Oh, glory be! Mitch likes The Tick! The Tick! I love The Tick! SPOOOOOOOOOON!

Me: Patrick Warburton?

And then we derailed and had a discussion about the live-action movie versus the cartoon.

Mitch: But what was that movie that your announcement reminded me of?

Me: I don’t know. It’s too bad we don’t know any librarians who can look it up for you. *Sigh*

Mitch: It’s going to drive me crazy!

Me: Seriously? THIS is going to be the thing that drives you crazy? Three boys and another one on the way and THIS is going to drive you crazy?

Mitch: YEAH! I gotta know what that movie is!

Me: Okay, you think about that.

The little one was giving him some trouble so Mitch picked him up and put him on his shoulders. This pleased the baby for about 15 seconds, so Mitch started bouncing him up and down for more entertainment.

Mitch: You know, once I was doing this, I forget which kid it was with, but all of a sudden he just threw up all over my head, and it ran all down my face and neck. I was so disgusted, but everyone else thought it was hilarious.

Me (laughing): Yeah, well, that’s the whole giving and receiving thing again. We’d rather give some things than receive.

Mitch: Ain’t that the truth!

This idea pretty much summed up my entire day.

We talked a little more and then he took the boys downstairs to get a movie. As he was leaving the building he ran up to me and yelled, “ELF!”

Ah, he remembered the movie. Now he wouldn’t go crazy. Good for him.

If only it could be that easy for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Battle Lost

Whenever an epic battle is lost, one I’ve not only witnessed but participated in – nay, fought alone against a foe – there is a sense of relief that the fighting need not continue, and even conceding feels good. Such is the case with my heroic war on cell phones.

Part of the reason for conceding is that I can actually talk on the phone less, and I…


talking on the phone! Now, instead of calling people, I text them. It’s a gift from the gods.

Also, when I’m running late, which I always am, I can use the cell to warn people of my temporal failing, and for those who don’t [know me and know to] expect me to be late in advance can be forewarned of my soon-to-be lack-of-timely-presence and hear humble apologies before the offense has been completed. It results in fewer apologies by me because I can apologize for the tardiness instead of apologizing for the tardiness as well as apologizing for not being able to call and say I’m going to be late. Less apologizing makes me feel better, and perhaps one day I will not have to apologize at all because I’ll learn to be on time. Perhaps.

The problem now is getting accustomed to carrying this thing around with me wherever I go, in addition to familiarizing myself with the various functions.

For instance, my throwaway phone has no keyboard, and texting takes me forever, not to mention that in my haste I don’t proofread and often send bizarre words that have no known meaning. The time consuming act of using the number pad to communicate has caused me to do undignified things like walking into furniture or tripping on unseen objects because I’m walking around with my eyes and hands glued to my phone, trying hard to finish a two sentence message inside of 5 minutes. Thankfully I have the layout of my house so memorized that I could easily walk from my room, down the 13 stairs, around a corner, into the kitchen, pour myself a glass of milk, then go back up to my room, and never open my eyes once. My brother caught me walking down this exact pathway, texting the entire time, and only when he yelled out to me that I was an honorary teenage girl did I even realize he was present. Clearly I could alleviate much of this issue if I’d get a better phone with a keyboard, for which I am in the process of shopping.

Another example of my proletarian experience is obvious if you’re around me and I’m suddenly alerted to an incoming text or phone call. If the ringer is on, I tend to not even recognize that it’s coming from my pocket and will glare at others nearby who might be offending my ears with their cell noises. While napping recently, I received a text, which rings once and then re-alerts me a minute later, and a minute after that until I respond. I heard the ringer faintly disturbing my slumber and picked up my home phone only to be greeted by a dial tone. In my sleepy state, I cursed and set the phone back down, but a minute later the ringing returned and I repeated this entire process until my frustration peaked and I turned the ringer off on my phone. When it rang again, I realized what it was but was then too awake to return to dreamland and begrudgingly rejoined the conscious world. The conscious world participating in cell phone activity.

If the ringer is off and it’s set to vibrate, hijinks are unavoidable. The sensation of a vibration going off somewhere on my person is so shocking that I have had to pick myself up off the floor, after flinging the part of my body being vibrated right out of my chair. Once I was holding the thing when it started vibrating and before I could register what was happening, I’d throw the cell phone across the room to break contact with the living, pulsating thing in my grip. Another evening I was sitting quietly on the couch cutting coupons, with my precious little money-saving scraps of paper separated neatly in piles stacked all around me and on my lap. When my cell phone started vibrating in the pocket of my jeans, I let out a relatively quiet squeal while bucking briefly off the couch, sending a shower of coupons across the living room. Fortunately for my ego, my brother was around for this as well, and in his usual sensitive and tender manner, he laughed and called me an amateur. You don’t even want to know what I’ve done when it goes off and I’m driving. (Special note to Leelu: it’s like...GOOD MORNING!)

So, while I feel that having a cell phone has made my life somewhat easier, it’s definitely complicated other areas. However, since I’ve clearly lost the battle against them, it seems only fitting that I take the leap and acclimate to a life tethered to this little machine. For everyone’s sake. And despite everyone’s amusement.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do YOU Do the Poo?

Even when the shit hits the fan, I still crave the humor.

Me: Is the janitor here yet?

Clerk: No...why?

Me: Uh, there's poo.

Clerk: Where?

Me: In the large stall of the washroom. Which is where it belongs, right? But no. Wrong. It's on the floor in front of the toilet. WHY? I don't know. You're so close! What happened?!

Clerk (snickering): That's terrible. Someone's going to have to clean it up, though.

Me: Who wants the poo? Because I can't do the poo. Not now. I'm on my way to lunch and I just can't do the poo.

Clerk: Maybe we can get the director to do the poo since it's Board Meeting Night.

Me: Can he do the poo?

Clerk: We should make him do the poo.

One of our coworkers walked by, a banished one from the bowels of Tech Services, who had no idea what we were talking about.

Me: Do YOU want to do the poo?

Techman: Um, no, sorry, not tonight. Maybe some other time. Thanks for asking, though.

I grabbed his arm and hugged him. You have to reward someone with gratitude if they're willing to play ball.

After lunch, I had the following IM conversation with Marina:

Marina: I just typed to Bri all excited about "male brownies"

Me: Um.
Me: Um.
Me: Um.

Marina: I meant malt brownies and mistope.

Me: I was wondering.
Me: Were they bigger? Shaped in a certain way? Acting like assholes? What's up with the male brownies?

Marina: lol

Me: So, on the brown topic, I found poo in the women's washroom tonight. On the floor.
Me: In front of the toilet.

Marina: oh god

Me: Is that bad aim?

Marina: :(
Marina: I think it had to be intentional.

Me: Is that an emergency that was too emergent?

Marina: How else does it happen?

Me: Yeah, I know. It's not like you get drippage there.

Marina: oh god
Marina: What a horrible mental image.

Me: Yup. Butt drippage. And they left it behind for me to find in the washroom.

Marina: *shudder

Thankfully, I didn't have to do the poo. The brave clerk I reported the poo to did the poo. I wonder if our patrons know how much poo we do to keep them in a relatively poo-free zone here. And given the amount of poo we end up having to do, we should include that in the job description. It should be taught in library school. It should be on a sign on the door as you walk into the library.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Santa's Naughty and Nice Lists

It must be the holiday spirit in the air because people are starting to scare me with their kindness.

A few weeks ago a patron hugged me and told me she loved me because I found a book for her that she was unable to find on her own. It made me laugh, but my suspicious nature made me check my back for a “kick me” sign or some other prank that had to be attached to affection like that. Nobody does that. Not in my line of work anyway.

Last week a patron gave me a beautiful yellow rose as thanks for the service I provide.

I had to throw my panties away that day. There’s just no good way to get those kinds of stains out.

Today I helped a pair of women find a recipe they were dying to find.

Lady: We’ve looked through all these recipe books, and we can’t find the recipe.

Me: I bet if I do an Internet search I can find it.

Lady: OH MAN, I bet you can! I haven’t had Internet in 7 months and I forget it’s out there.

Me: Wow. That’s impressive. I’d be in the library twice a day just checking email.

Lady: Well, we’re in the process of buying a house and it’s taking 7 months. I’ve been packed and living out of boxes and storage since May. I can’t believe it’s taking this long.

Me: That’s awful!

Lady: Yeah, so Internet is something I don’t think about much.

Me: Sure, you’ve got other things on your mind. I’ll go look and see if I can find it online and I’ll bring back what I find.

Lady: If you find this recipe…I’m going to kiss you. On the mouth.

Me: I better go brush my teeth first then.

I did find her recipe, four versions of it, printed them all, presented them to her, and she must have forgotten she was going to reward me because I reaped no such benefits. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Then again, I didn’t brush my teeth like I said I was going to either, so maybe she was trying to say something.

But again, what’s with people being nice and gracious lately? Is this the childhood syndrome of attempting to get on Santa’s Nice List at the last minute?

Fools. What’s the point of being nice all year and getting presents for one day when you can be naughty everyday and sleep in on Christmas dreaming about all the devious things you’ve been up to?

Christi and I were standing around talking at the Circ desk tonight and Rick interrupted us to ask a very important question: would you rather be a superhero or a super-villain.

Heh, little does he know that I am the Happy Villain.

Christi: A superhero, duh! Doesn’t everyone want to be a hero?!

Rick: Well, actually…mwah-hahaha…when you’re a super-villain you get to murder people!

Christi: Oh, I’m sure there’s a loophole for superheroes. I mean, killing people for the greater good works, right?

Me: Wait, wait! Isn’t there an in-between? Like a super-moral-ambiguity?

Rick: No! Good or evil!

Me: Well, then I’d be a lazy superhero who only helped people I felt like helping.

Christi: And we could sometimes kill people who deserve it!

Me: You know, there are accidents.

Christi: Yeah, like I could accidentally run someone into a building.

Me: Excellent! Like you’re taking in the bad guy and all of a sudden you drop him from 86 stories up. Oops, my bad. Bet that had to hurt. Sorry!

Christi: Exactly! Bump someone in front of a speeding bus. Oh no, I didn’t mean to kill you, really.

Me: There are so many ways around that. We could be heroes who killed. No doubt about that.

I know Rick was trying to freak us out by insisting that super-villains are cooler and he’d could be one, but in the end I believe the debate was won by the superheroes here.

Maybe I should change my blog moniker to Super-Morally-Ambiguous. Nah, that’s too long. But it does make me want to whip out my old South Park Happy Villain character.

And then I have to whip out everyone else in the cast.




(It is scary-funny how much we all look like these characters, and how I made these years ago for the Happyville blog, and they still apply, and still look like us.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


There are times when I think insanity makes my day a little brighter.

Crazy Karen is not someone I generally enjoy interacting with in any way. She scares me, and that’s not something I admit easily.

There was a voice mail from her recently, in which she rambled for a great length of time before getting to the point.

“Greetings to you, whoever you are standing there listening to this. Or sitting there. Or laying there. Or whatever you’re doing. So, greetings to you, whoever you are, doing whatever you’re doing over there while you’re listening to this. Today is Wednesday, December 2nd. December 2nd. The month after November. The day after the 1st. December. D. E. C. E. M. Capital b. Capital e. Capital r. December. Second. The second day of December, the twelfth month of the year.”

And then she finally moved on to her request.

I was laughing my ass off. When she rambles like this, it cracks me up, and I’m grateful that she’s in a good mood and playing with us, even though she’s batshit crazy. As Marina likes to point out, it’s when she snaps and gets angry that you really don’t want to deal with her, and that’s happened often enough that we are scared of her.

Today I got a phone call from her – makes me think Wednesdays are her days to call – and she had me nearly in tears again.


Me: This is Nikki.

Oooh, Nikki, hi honey. I haven’t talked to you in a while.

Me: Hi, is this Karen?

Karen (laughing): Yeah! Would you look at us, all familiar with each other like this?

Me (trying not to laugh):

Karen: You know, I’m standing here in Kmart looking at this book, and I was wondering if you have it at the library.

She gave me the information, I looked it up, and no, we would have to interlibrary loan it for her, which she decided was not worth the effort.

She went on to read me many lines from the book, randomly, until she found one with my name in it and became excited.

Karen: You’re in this book!

Me (laughing): Oh really? I’m famous?

Karen (laughing): YOU ARE! It says you brought a casserole to the party! Do you like to cook?

Me: Yes, actually, I do.

Karen: It IS you! You’re in this book!

Me: I guess I am! And I don’t even know that author!

Karen: That’s amazing! I just had to tell you that. You’re in this book. Isn’t that great?

Me: Yes, that’s fabulous. Thanks for letting me know.

Karen: Okay, sorryforwastingtime, bye.

She hung up abruptly and I just sat there cracking up for quite a while. If she’s not screaming at someone, claiming to be the mother of Jesus, or calling someone else an idiot because they cannot understand her bizarre blathering to find what she’s looking for, then she tends to be amusing.

Once she called and began to derail and rambled about something not even remotely lucid, and when she came back to our conversation she apologized and explained that she has a photographic memory, so sometimes she slips back into a memory and completely relives it. For example, one Thanksgiving she went to dinner at the home of some friends, had an argument with them, stormed out, and she can STILL remember exactly what skirt she was wearing at the time. And then she hung up on me.

Yep. Clearly that’s her problem, that troubling photographic memory that allows her to utter half-words and noises briefly because she’s reliving an event and remembering what she wore when she was living it.

I try not to laugh. I try to have sympathy. I try to think that is must be terrible being her, living her life, but she’s not always a nightmare to us. Sometimes she makes me laugh so hard, I choke on my own spit. And I count my lucky stars that she’s not on a rampage this time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Heartland

It seems cheesy, but I found my heart in South Dakota. I found my freedom, I found hidden stores of bravery, I found a love of this country, I found things I didn't know I was missing and lost things I needed to shed.

Tonight I finished transferring the information from the travel journal I kept while on the trip, and it's long (22 pages long, without pictures), so I don't expect you to read it, but if you choose to do so, you'll get a glimpse into my soul, one I'm not afraid to share.

My travel blog.

If you're not in the mood to read that much, you can see the set of albums at the Tabblos I made at this link.

I may never be the same again.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prolapsed Psyche

There is a limited amount of talk about female reproductive organs I can take upon returning from an epic adventure that left me feeling happy and open to the human race again.

Needy Betty came in and was interested in finding a doctor to help her with her prolapsed uterus and bladder.

First she wanted an expert on prolapsed reproductive organs. I asked what geographic area she was willing to travel to and she said anywhere. I asked what hospital she was interested in her doctor being associated with, and she said any one where they don’t murder people.

Darn. Foiled again.

My coworker started searching a nearby hospital’s listing of specialists and I heard the following conversation:

Betty: What’s that one’s last name?

Coworker: Miller.

Betty: Okay, that I can pronounce. Is there a picture of him?

Coworker: Yes, here.

Betty: Oh no! He looks like his hands would be way too big. Can you search for someone with smaller hands?

Coughing can sometimes cover up spontaneous and inappropriate laughter. Sometimes.

Coworker: No, they don’t sort doctors by hand size.

Betty: Well, they should. You know, my prolapsed uterus isn’t that severe, but there was a lady whose uterus was hanging out of her vagina!

Coworker: Oh, I don’t think I want to hear about this.

Betty: I know! Can you imagine?

Coworker: I don’t want to. No.

Sometimes I just want to run when I see her. Other times I can’t hold back the sarcasm.

Her husband recently retired and sold his business, which, since they’re getting divorced, he hasn’t included her much in the decision, so she’s gone completely nuts and is asking us to conduct what amounts to character investigations into the woman who bought the business. This is not unusual for her. Before she’ll commit to a divorce attorney, she wants us to dig up dirt on each attorney so she knows if this is someone she might want to use. We do no such things, but she continues to ask. Today, when she asked me to find all kinds of background information on the father of the woman who bought her husband’s business, but she knew only that he had a medical degree and what his last name is, I told her I’d need more information. She said he got on Rt. 12 and drove south, so he must live somewhere around Rt. 12, south of here.

Really? Seriously? This is what I have to go on?

So I said to her, flat out, “Betty, you should have your own private investigator who works for you 24/7 so they can dig up the information on people you’re always asking about, because there’s only so much I can do for you.”

She didn’t get the snark but instead agreed and said she thought I was right, that a private investigator would be able to follow people and get the kind of dirty laundry she was looking for.

I wonder how long it would take her to have us investigated because we know so much about her.

She got derailed, as she often does, down a path where she began telling me about a chair given to her by a friend of hers, on which she found the seat stained.

Betty: You know, he uses a computer all the time. What if this was his computer chair? What if he sat there for hours everyday and looked at porn on his computer? What if the stain on the chair was years worth of him watching porn and making icky-poo all over the cushion?

Hard to believe I longed for the prolapsed uterus conversation again, isn’t it?

It took over an hour for her to finally leave, and when she did, we breathed a sigh of relief that she was gone and we wouldn’t have to investigate the father of the woman who bought the business formerly owned by her soon-to-be ex-husband, or have to hear about how a difficult childbirth led to her uterus falling out, or the suspicious stains on a chair someone gave her.

This must have put us in a weird frame of mind for the remainder of the evening because things just got punchy.

Sergeant had a problem whereby someone on staff gave him a movie to watch and told him to just return it when he came in next, but he was out for a week sick, and then forgot it when he returned this week. The item was an ILL movie and the person who ordered it for a program accidentally checked it out to an in-house card, which gave it a due date two months out. When the owning library figured this out, they got angry, which made our Circ department angry and a harsh email went out globally chastising everyone for this honest mistake. So, when they got to the bottom of the mess and poor Sarge was discovered to have the movie, given to him by another staff member, all the blame came down on him, even though he had no idea what was going on or that anything done was wrong.

One of our irrational department heads cornered him and asked him to leave work and go home to get the movie. Sarge lives 50 miles away and he said no. She told him that he’d have to bring it in tomorrow then, a day when he’s not scheduled to work. Yeah, drive 50 miles to our library to drop off the movie, and then drive another 50 home. It couldn’t wait until he returned on Monday. It was THAT important.

I get a little bent out of shape when a bully picks on someone innocent, so I told Sarge to go to the director about it, but the director was already gone for the day. I suggested he call him at home, but Sarge didn’t want to disturb him. Sarge is a big boy. He did three tours in Iraq and other tours around Europe before that, so I know the guy can handle one rabid little librarian hell-bent on trying to blame someone not in her department for the mix-up, and he’s mellow enough to shake it off and let her turn him into the guilty party if it keeps someone else from getting in trouble. Well, that’s noble but it really ticked me off, so I offered to meet him halfway and get the movie from him tomorrow afternoon, and I’d return it to the library for him. As we were making arrangements about where to meet, my coworker pointed out that she works practically next door to him and could pick up the movie herself and return it for him. Once they worked out all the details, I was relieved not to have to drive so far to help him out, but I would’ve gladly done it.

Coworker: So, I’ll meet you at The Diner at noon then.

Sarge: Yep. I’ll be there.

Me: Oooh, a nooner!

Coworker: Yeah, and I’m bringing my friend with.

Sarge: Oh, that’s even better!

Me: That’s twice the work for you, Sarge. You sure you can handle the two of them?

Sarge: Yeah, I can handle it.

Coworker: I doubt that.

Me: Just so long as I don’t have to hear about prolapses afterward.

Collective ewwws were moaned.

Hopefully Betty’s private investigator isn’t following them to their meeting tomorrow.