Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tengo la camisa negra

I worked this morning at the branch library where I was an aide for five years. It was a subbing opportunity I couldn't pass up, and the hours just flew by. The branch assistant and library aide and volunteer were great, and we got a lot done in a little amount of time. Branches are so much different than working at the larger headquarters for the system, so I got to do some tasks I don't really ever get to do (looking for holds, training in the volunteer, etc.) and bag some extra hours for the old paycheck.

I got a "thanks but no thanks" letter today from a law library where I had an interview at the end of June. I'm really okay with it, since the job was the night shift, and I'm not sure that would be the best option for me being in grad school and having evening classes. I just prayed that they would find someone really awesome who would love the night work, and I'm sure that they did. Relief.

This evening is a going-away dinner for a co-worker who is also starting her graduate program. I'm really happy for her, since I know she really wanted to expand her horizons, so to speak, and the dinner tonight should be a great time. I didn't get to go to the Holiday dinner this past winter because it coincided with a family gathering for my dad and godmother's birthdays, so I'm excited about hanging out with co-workers in a non-work setting. Last weekend, a few of us went to the Science Museum of Minnesota to see the BodyWorlds exhibit, and it's always fun getting to talk to people and get to know them better in a different environment.

Friday, July 28, 2006

There's no other way, to better say...

For a week or so now, I've had that Natasha Bedingfield "These Words" song in my head. It runs over and over. "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!" The sentiment is exactly right for my life right now, but man does that song get annoying.

Since S has been gone for a few days to an area without easy access to cell service (they're working on a road cleanup in an area that is only open during the non-winter months), I decided yesterday to stop by his Grandma and mom's house to visit and show them pictures and talk. In showing them the photos, I think his mom really realized how much I miss him and how much I actually care about him. There was a lot of "aww"ing. When I was there, the phone rang, his mom answered, and guess who it was but the man himself. He called back on my cell phone and talked to each of us for a while, which was lovely. Hearing that little, "Hi honey!" is excellent after a few days of not talking.

Apparently, their crew is headed to Fairbanks on Saturday and is going to be in that area until the end of August, which is good news. The beginning of next month brings us to about two months to go before he's back, but I know he is where he's supposed to be, way up there in Alaska. Such a huge blessing, though, that he's been in areas of civilization and can keep the women in his life happy and unworried.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Get To Work" and trying to get to work

Doesn't surprise me at all that a writer for Boundless has something to say about this same book that I just wrote about. Linda Hirshman is at least getting men and women alike to think about these issues, whether they are personal or political. I guess every life choice can be seen as both. Every major decision I make in my life has ramifications, however small, for every other woman, and every other man the same.

Oddly enough, I had a job interview today. No real idea of how it went, but I see job interviews as practice if nothing else. I can choose to see them as scary and stressful, or I can decide that it's totally out of my hands and that I've got to relinquish any feeling of control over a situation to the creator of this universe, because ulimately, I have all of absolutely no control over anything except what I wear and do or say to make me look either good or bad during an interview process. Plus, I think I'm a pretty cool person, a pretty excellent employee and co-worker (for the most part, haven't heard too many complaints or had any backstabbing happening at any of my jobs) and I think that comes out in an interview.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I got into cataloging for this fall, and I told my boss about it. We're going to figure out my work schedule later, since the class meets on Saturdays and will conflict with my work days. After telling him about that, I expressed my concern that this class is going to be difficult, and he started handing me books and other information. So now I have a stack about a foot high of resources about MARC, MARC21, AACR2, LOC and the Dictionary of Library and Information Science.

Addendum: Just realized I am already talking like a cataloger. FYI, MARC is Machine Readable Cataloging, MARC21 is the newer version of Machine Readable Cataloging named for the 21st century, AACR2 is the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition, and LOC is Library of Congress. My apologies to non-librarians or librarians-to-be.

And you thought I was a nerd before this. Hoo boy, get ready.

Right now I am really hungry but can't think what to eat. Also, I have nothing to do this afternoon, which is weird. Probably will read and relax, ultimately ending up taking a nap since I slept weirdly (went to bed early, fell asleep quickly, but kept waking up and then had to get up at 6am to register, then back to bed until 8am).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pretty much unconcerned...

I heard Linda Hirshman on Minnesota Public Radio this morning, talking about that book. I was intrigued, so I requested it from the library. In hearing her arguments on MPR, I kind of had the attitude of "meh, whatever." Her argument is basically that staying home and raising children is not a meaningful life in the way that she defines it.

Her last example in the book is apparently a husband and wife who are both doctors. The woman works family practice part time, takes care of the children the rest of the time. The man works 70+ hours a week in a hospital, taking care of children with cancer while also looking for a cure for children's cancer. In the marriage, they are clearly both doing meaningful work, both have advanced degrees, but whereas the woman has time to dote on her children, the man doesn't. He wrote to Linda Hirshman saying he felt guilty about this. Hirshman's response? He might never find the cure for cancer, but his wife certainly never will.


Whether I will get married or not is up in the air at this point, but let's say, for the sake of thinking about this rationally, that I continue to date S and also continue with my advanced degree, and that S and I get married at some point, and I finish my degree.

First of all, S fully supports my desire to become a librarian. I know that he, in fact, loves that I am in graduate school. He sees me as his intellectual equal, especially if he goes on to get another degree or two, depending on whatever his calling may be. S encourages me in my studies, and is proud of me.

Second, I do not know if S and I would be blessed with children, but children are the stuff of formation. Obviously, right now I am rather selfish, look out for my own needs and desires and possibly my future husband's needs and desires, but overall, I want what I want. This may mean a certain level of freedom, but parenthood is life altering. I can understand some people not wanting to alter their lives in such a way. There would be times of frustration, but I think it would ultimately be incredibly rewarding to be parents.

Third, "my chosen career" is almost completely compatible with family life. Librarians tend to be women, and employers are flexible to a certain extent. Hours in public libraries tend to be either part time or little more than 40-hours in an exempt position. There are many ways of having library experience that don't include high-stress positions. I can always volunteer, work part-time, serve on a board, or audit courses to keep my resumé fresh to protect my job opportunities in case of divorce or widowhood.

Fourth, S is an enlightened sort of man. He would not expect me to stay home all the time with our brood unless I wanted to, and has said he is willing to stay home with children if I am the primary breadwinner. He is A-OK with this idea. I have asked specifically about this, and I feel a spirit of support and compromise in my relationship with this man. He is not there to undermine my career or keep me in the kitchen.

So I plan to read Linda Hirshman's manifesto and see what it's about, but I feel very comfortable with what my life could be like in the coming years.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Whatever happens, happens

In checking the website just now, I found out what my grade is for my introductory class, and what do you know, I got an A. Sweet.

Wednesday morning at 6am, I can register for my fall courses. I'm hoping to get into LIS 703 "Organization of Knowledge," a.k.a. cataloging, but if I don't get into that one, I'll go for LIS 704, which is "Reference & Online Services," both of which are prerequisites for almost all of the other courses. The core courses for the MLIS are apparently notoriously difficult, so I'm okay with just taking one this fall, maybe even just one this spring. I don't want to burn out before I really get started.

Why is Beth's boyfriend in Alaska? (for Amanda)

For anyone who missed the post in April, my dear S is working an AmeriCorps job in Alaska until October. He is a team leader for SAGA/SAYC, which translates into doing trail work (buidling steps, bridges, clearing trash, digging up weeds or hacking overgrowth, cutting logs, etc.) with his crew of 18-year-olds, serving as a motivator and guide for their growth and maturity as they work toward getting their GEDs (Alaska's school system has a HUGE problem of "brain drain," and dropouts are somewhat common—mostly, the smart ones get bored).

He started in April by flying out to Seattle, taking a bus to Bellingham, then taking the Alaska Marine Highway up the inside Passage to Juneau, then was in Skagway working on the Chilkoot Trail. He's been near Anchorage, in Indian, but this week, his stalwart crew is going out on a job in Eklutna, which is on one of Alaska's two main highways, on the way to a town called Palmer. I've become vaguely familiar with the geography of Alaska while he's been there, and since he was originally told by T-Mobile, our mutual mobile service provider, that he would not have service at all, it has been wonderful to be able to hear from him on a daily (if not sometimes hourly) basis.

He's working hard, getting somewhat buff (or so he tells me), missing me a lot, and overall enjoying himself immensely (I think). He usually sounds pretty happy, but keep him in your prayers if you are the praying type. Anything can go wrong at any time and he's usually miles and miles from civilisation.

He's pretty sure his last day is sometime in early October, though his specific plans for returning to Minnesota are very vague. He bought a round trip ticket but didn't know when his last day of work was at that point, so he's got to change that ticket and find something to do when he's back in my area. I'm very relieved to realize that it is nearing the end of July. Fall has never looked so good.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Listening to Nellie McKay after having the album since May

Not exactly, but sort of. I don't buy all of the "called to singleness" arguments. It works as a good excuse to hide behind and not actively look for anyone to marry, but it doesn't take away the desire for a spouse. I certainly want to be married eventually, and I don't hide that desire from anyone except possibly specific extended family members who would then overly quiz and query me. I definitely do not hide it from my boyfriend. So, we'll see. But I like that song, and the sentiment it expresses. And guess who told me about Ms. McKay to begin with?

+10 points for anyone who guesses 19th letter of the alphabet!

A small miracle

S told me a few days ago, actually Wednesday night, that his crew would be headed out to the boondocks of Alaska (actually the majority of Alaska is this way) and might not have cell service for three weeks. I was, admittedly, a little sad to hear this. I have been spoiled in being able to talk to him nearly every day since he's been near Anchorage, which was at the beginning of May.

I try not to take it for granted that he can call and just chat at random points in the day when he has down time. I try to tell him how much I appreciate his attention even when he's 2,000+ miles away.

Then yesterday, he found out that project fell through. His crew is now going to Eklutna instead, and according to T-Mobile's coverage check, there's service all along the Old Glenn Highway where he's headed. God willing, he'll be able to call me, even if it is sporadically.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The whole point of this is that I've been knitting again

I'm watching "Run's House" and knitting, and it's the episode where Reverend Run wants Diggy, his son, to be ready to go to church on time. He thinks Diggy has major indecision because he has too many suits, but when he tells his wife, she says, "He doesn't have that much."

So Rev goes and takes inventory of 10-year-old Diggy's church wardrobe. Run is throwing suits out the closet onto the kid'd bed while he's laying there reading and Diggy says, "That one doesn't fit, that one doesn't fit, that jacket doesn't fit but the pants are okay," and so on.

The good Reverend sits down and asks Diggy flat out, "Do you think if you had more suits, you could be on time?" and Diggy says emphatically, "Yes!" Rev says, "You'd say anything for more suits. We done?"

Diggy says, "Just one more thing."

"What's that?"

"Do I have to put all this away?"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mr. Blue feels your pain

I remember reading Mr. Blue's advice columns on back when they were originally published. His words of advice always seemed helpful, but not necessarily instructive. He didn't give specifics like Dear Margo does, he was just a shoulder to lean on, acting as the parent in some cases, the friend in others, the counselor oftentimes, the patient listener most of the time.

I found out last summer that therapists can offer great advice, even if I don't want to hear it. "Maybe you just make a big deal out of things," I remember her saying to me. I almost dropped my jaw. Me? Make a big deal out of things? Never! Except... well, okay, maybe she was right, but I'm not a drama queen, I just have trouble letting go, dealing with disorder, and other fun stuff, like anxiety that leads to sleeplessness.

This summer, I'm not seeing a therapist anymore. S acts as my confidant for the kinds of things I would tell no one else, and he provides that safe emotional space where I can freak out and "it's okay." Even if he is vaguely the cause of suffering (i.e. missing him and feeling blue), he reminds me I'm where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How do I live without you?

So Cata, who is Colombian and lives with us and goes to school here in Minnesota, has been gone to Atlanta since the end of June. Man, do I ever miss her! It's terrible. I have nobody to greet me with "Hola Bethica!!!" and go window shopping with (she doesn't like to spend money, and neither do I), nobody to hug me enthusiastically for no reason, and nobody here to watch trashy television.

"My Super Sweet 16" is on MTV right now, and I'm just wishing Cata would be here to glorify in the awfulness of it with me. That's the kind of thing we do. We watched "The Real Desperate Housewives of Orange County" together when it was on Bravo, and it was awesome. We watched the travesty that was the "Mrs. World" pageant, hosted by Alan Thicke. We watched some of the World Cup together on Univision, and didn't understand the commentators except for "cabezaso" which I knew meant "header."

This past year, I would try to watch "Rebelde" with Cata each afternoon and would understand 1/3 of it and bug her with questions. "Is that guy mad?" "Did she cheat on him?" "Why is he acting so weird?" "What does that mean?" and on and on. Finally, she would give me the remote and say I could watch what I wanted to watch, but I really did want to watch the crazy Mexican soap opera when I only understood every fourth word.

She comes back on July 30, and I'm psyched. The only problem is, she's transferring schools this fall. She won't be going to the same school as Andrea anymore, she'll be in Iowa at a community college, racking up credits at a cheaper tuition level. She plans to transfer back to Minnesota and get her B.A. in marketing, but when she goes for good, I don't know what I'll do.

Anyone else want to come over and watch television in Spanish with me?

The final countdown

At work, I was saying how excited I am to go to the Minnesota Library Association conference this fall, when suddenly time seemed to stop.

"Oh, man, the MLA conference is going to rock!" I said.

"Whoa, that's really, really nerdy," Joey, a library aide, said.

"NERD!" my own sister said, slapping her chest in salute.

"Wow, I really wish I hadn't said that out loud."

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I bought tickets for me and Andrea to go see Zero 7 in September. I hope it works out for me to go (depending on work and classes). Mike Byrne dropped by last night to drop of some music, and we were looking at the Ticketmaster page for the show. I saw the opening act, and I asked Mike, "Who's Jose González?" and it turned out Mike had just given me the album "Veneer." It was completely random and awesome. I'm really enjoying him, too.

It's something like 97 degrees outside. I think I'm going to go lay in our pool for a while and absorb some of this for January when it's -30 and snowing.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Today is flying by

I'm at work today, and it's going really quickly. I think it's because I've been busy (at the circ desk, answering phones), and also because I'm a little tired. Talking to S last night until past midnight was good, but sleeping probably would have been the smarter choice. Ah, the things I sacrifice for love. Hah.

I'm greatly looking forward to having this weekend off. It's supposed to be wicked hot, and my plan is to relax in the pool, watch movies, and read the book that Sara-Bridgett recommended. Oh, and drink lots of water.

Andrea and I are so going to go to see Zero 7 at the Fine Line in September. Sweet. Also in September that I'm looking forward to (besides another grad class, that is) is the Minnesota Library Association conference. It's being held in St. Cloud, which is convenient, and lots of the offerings look really interesting. I hope to learn more about Library 2.0 type stuff, and there's also a session titled, "Are you the librarian? Library paraprofessionals as professionals." That's me. Awesome.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Definitely an inherited disorder of disorderliness

I went back and labeled nearly everything in this photo. I may be crazy, but I think my messiness is genetic. I once got an e-mail thank you for a Christmas gift from my grandfather in which he said, "Thank you very much for the gift to the 2005 Holiday Wish Book Campaign in my honor! I'm sorry I didn't thank you much sooner. As you may have noticed, if you were in my office Christmas Eve, I needed to clean up my desk urgently."

Love letters and photos

Today is turning out to be a fabulous day off. I got letters from S, which are so great. I needed a reminder that he exists, and he also told me that his co-team leader has tons of photos posted to her myspace page and photobucket accounts. Seeing S having fun, working hard, and all the people he works with made me feel better. I've been missing him a lot recently, and it helps to know that he is okay, and still adorable as ever.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

There are no squirrels in Hawaii

Seeing my college friends Kelly and Sara-Bridgett last night was super. It's been months since I'd last seen them (at Kelly's lovely, snowy winter wedding in December), so meeting up at Granite City Brewery in Maple Grove was much needed. We talked about weddings, writing, the SIMS, marriage, nieces and nephews (Kelly's and Sara's, not mine) and so on. We have loose plans to read a book Sara suggested and then meet up in a few weeks to discuss it.

The three of us are also hoping to go to the Naomi Nye reading at the Loft this fall. One of our creative writing professors is friends with Naomi and when Sara was in San Antonio a while ago, they met up at the insistence of our former prof. Sara says she now gets really random and nice e-mails from Naomi. Kelly, the high school teacher among us, said, "Naomi is in the textbook I use for classes!" How cool will it be to meet her?

I'm being kind of anti-social tonight. Alex invited me out to his cabin with Andrea and Chris, but I just wanted to stay in my air conditioned basement and watch more of "A Fine Romance." I'm slupring down a frappucino, listening to Mozart, pondering the meaning of all the papers piled half a foot high on my desk.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Is it any wonder?

Went by S's house to drop off some raspberries. Our garden is going crazy with them, and we still have a bunch frozen from last year. Grandma Dolores was there, about to be picked up for a luncheon on the other end of town, and we chatted for a bit. I missed stopping by there when I was so busy with school. She was really pleased to see me, and I was glad to see her looking healthy and on her feet after her hip surgery a while ago.

After her ride arrived, I played with Zipper the akita for about 15 minutes before I had to leave for work. She's such a playful dog; it really makes me want one of my own. I threw around a knotted piece of rope for a while until Zipper was panting really hard on this warm, sunny day. I got her some fresh, cold water and she lapped at it for a few minutes before I left.

This evening, I have plans to go to meet with some college friends in Maple Grove. Depending upon when I leave and how traffic is, I may stop at a few of the shops near the restaurant (Anthropologie, specifically, since I'm hoping for a new dress for my cousin Matt's wedding in September), then eat something delicious with my old "giggle corner" pals, Kelly and Sara. Should be fun.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Sad, just sad. Really disappointed with France, with Zidane especially, but the silver lining is Germany's win over Portugal in yesterday's third place match. Ah, well. I figured Italy would win the whole thing when they killed Germany's chances on Tuesday. Gah.

Finally went to see "The Lake House" with my mom this afternoon after the match. Kind of a sad movie, even though the ending is supposedly happy (although it doesn't make sense chronologially, but whatever).

Andrea called earlier from the Winnipeg Folk Festival, which wraps up today, and apparently she had heat stroke. Poor kid. Her group is heading home tomorrow, so after five days of no Andrea, we'll have her back. Now to wait until the end of July for Cata to get home, the 2nd of August when my cousin Angie comes home from nearly a year in Ecuador, and only something like 88 days until S returns...

Hello to any and all of my readers

Thanks to my stat counter, I can now see how people are getting to my blog (mostly via comments I've made on others blogs, which is cool to see), and which countries they are coming from. I've gotten a few hits from Australia, a couple from Japan, the Netherlands, etc. Give a shout out if you're stopping by!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Incomparable job perks

The perks of being a library employee are many, and make other aspects of the job (lack of raises based on good performance, low technology budgets, etc.) bearable and actually almost worth it. A short list of those unexpected but delightful perks of my current library job:

Being able to listen to music while doing check-in and distribution (this includes iPods)
Casual dress (jeans, sandals, t-shirts all acceptable)
The buffet table (people bring in treats, we eat them, enough said)
Seeing all the library's collection and having access to it, fine free (hey, there's got to be compensation for being an underfunded system!)
And my personal favorite: awesome coworkers (really, truly friendly, smart people)

Friday, July 07, 2006

You are what you love

Had fun making my Pollock-style painting but had to play around a bit to figure out how to move the mouse in order to get the shapes I wanted. Would be nice to be able to change the colors, but still cool.

I'm liking my weekend which started on Wednesday (Thursday/Fridays I'm off every other week). Laid in the pool for a while but it got overcast. Watched the 1970 version of "Wuthering Heights" this morning. Had some hot dogs for lunch. Started another book this afternoon ("A Country Affair" by Rebecca Shaw) after finishing two this week already (" Living on Air" by Anna Shapiro and "Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet" by Kashmira Sheth). Reading short books for pleasure is one of the best ways to spend a summer.

Fewer than 100 days until S can come back. He told me last night, "I can't wait to see you, Beth" and I said, not unkindly, "Well, you'll have to."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A good time for all

Andrea and Emily enjoying their Freeze-pops. Lots more photos at flickr.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I really like being called sugarplum

At work today, we started scanning the entire collection. It's a daunting task, but it's something many libraries do constantly, on an ongoing basis, a shelf or two each day, every day, then starting over again at the beginning—000 to 999, FIC A to FIC Z. A couple of my coworkers and I got into a really good groove and were able to get a good chunk done, except that there are so many more shelves to go, it's almost unbelievable. I have yet to decide if I will volunteer to work next Sunday when the library is closed in order to partake of the scanning party (treats provided). What else have I got to do?

S has promised me a letter, a real letter from him, not a postcard or a note scrawled and put into a bubble envelope with disposable cameras to have photos developed. He called tonight and said he failed to finish it and send it, but that's okay with me. I know he will succeed eventually, and it will be lovely, because it's from him.

Really looking forward to the Fourth of July party at our house tomorrow. Andrea and I procured some special treats for the day (I promise flickr photos in abundance) and tomorrow night there is going to be the largest fireworks display central Minnesota has ever seen, at the Mississippi. We've got lots of family invited, raspberry Jell-o will be present and accounted for, and you can bet that even though I don't exactly feel comfortable with what's going on politically, I will be wearing plenty of red, white and blue.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

And I didn't pay for either of them

Went to see "The Devil Wears Prada" with my mom this afternoon. Entertaining, pretty funny. Then my dad wanted to see "A Prairie Home Companion," and I was somehow invited along with my parents, so also saw that. Also entertaining, very charming. Theatres 1 and 18 of the Parkwood 18 were graced with my presence in one day. There's lots to do in central Minnesota, let me tell you.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Oh hey, this is fun

World Cup dream team. Nice photos of all the most attractive players.

Me enjoying sports?

I'm kind of intrigued by the Tour de France scandal. I also am somewhat excited about the World Cup, which isn't completely unlike me, just a little out of the realm of normal. I don't go in for baseball or American football. I don't get into the U.S. professional sports teams, but I do love the Olympics with a passion unbending. I watched the France v. Brazil game today and was pretty pleased at the outcome. I'm a little split over wanting a South American country to win (for Cata's sake) and wanting Germany to win (because I am part German, and also I think the Germans winning the Cup in Deutschland would be sweet for them). I'm so totally going to plunk down and watch Tuesday's goings on.

Meaningful lyrics

Some really cheesy love songs I really actually like:

"When You Say You Love Me" Josh Groban
"You're Still You" Josh Groban
"Someday" Chloë Agnew
"Blame It On My Youth" Jamie Cullum

And some less cheesy songs that remind me of S:

"Something About Us" Daft Punk
"Soul Meets Body" Death Cab for Cutie
"I Wouldn't Miss It For The World" Jonathan Rice
"All Is Full of Love" Björk