Monday, October 30, 2006

Note to self

I'm not totally sure, but I think I'm going to go with "France--History--Louis XIV, 1643-1715" for the answer to the cataloging question mentioned in my last entry. I found a few books in the Great River Regional Library catalog with this exact subject heading, and I think since the item is more about France than Louis XIV, it makes more sense. We'll see.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

And of course it's another beautiful day

Yesterday, S went with me to the cities, and hung out while I was in class (hours and hours and hours spent on Library of Congress Subject Headings—ai yi yi) and then we went out for pizza at Carbone's and then to IKEA. Anytime we saw something that was red, S said, "This is Beth's" fill-in-the-blank. This is a picture of S in "my" kitchen.

We headed back to St. Cloud and hung out with his best friend James for a while, which was great. I knew James in high school, and while I never really knew him that well, I thought he was interesting in the same way I thought S was interesting. Last night, James was explaining a bunch of different things, like how he wants to create a 'zine which he wants to call "The Winking Loon," and it would be "a collection of essays and poetry and political pieces by Minnesota, um, poeple." He always paused for the easiest word in the sentence, as though he was going to choose a more refined word, but "thing" would do just as well.

Right now, I'm working on my subject heading homework, and I can't figure out what to put for "France during the reign of Louis XIV"—would it be "Louis XIV, King of France, 1693-1715--France" or "France—-Reign of Louis XIV, King of France, 1693-1715" or something entirely different? I'm at a loss, so I'm dorking around in the Library of Congress subject headings and will probably go to another source at some point here, or possibly take the professor's advice, if exhausting all other options doesn't work, "Cry, then call a friend."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"This is not rocket science"

I'm reading the next chapter in the students' guide for LIS 703 for Saturday's class, and it's on Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). There are other lists of subject headings, but LCSH is the one we're working with as it's the biggest and there are lots of examples at the Library of Congress Authorities. Fun stuff. I love that in cataloging, "authority" means who authored the work. It sounds so technical.

I love that I just read the section in the text on "How to Do Subject Cataloging" and the professor wants us to see an example of subject headings, so we're going to look at a book we know quite well—AACR2. Direct quote: "What is Anglo-American Catloging Rules (hint, hint) about? You got it! Cataloging rules. This is not rocket science."

I totally could have taken another class this semester.

Anyway, I've also got my homework assignment to do, which is a MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) record for one book, so it's 15 pages of reading to go and then the homework. I'm listening to the Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" while I do this, which I think is wildly appropriate. Next up: "aboutness"!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Go confidently in the direction of your... math?

Since my math is not all that great, I use a little trick when I'm at the circulation desk and need to take a payment for a fine or lost book and am without a calculator. I fake it.

I don't mean that I shortchange people, and I don't mean that I miscalculate the fine. I just take a few seconds longer to do the math in my head and then write down the amount I've taken from the patron, and double check myself as I hand the patron their change.

This is something I've honed after years of working in libraries and in retail at a bookstore. If you act confident about the amount you're giving back, the patron usually won't check your math, and if they do and it's wrong, you can feign ignorance (or blame it on being an English major, which is what I usually do) but this type of error is rare, very rare, with my method. I should patent it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sawat Dee means hello

Yesterday, my cousin Angie called while S and I were hanging out, talking to my sister Andrea. Angie is essentially living S's old life—she's studying Japanese, wants to go to Japan, and two weeks ago got a job where he used to work. I really wanted them to re-meet and talk. We decided to all hang out and go out for dinner. Andrea's and my typical Sunday craving involves Sawat Dee (Thai food) and S and Angie agreed.

Andrea and I ordered our cheese puffs, which I know how to make, but it's so labor intensive, I'd almost rather just order six like this and inhale them. Angie and S talked about Japan, the language and S gifted Angie with a couple of his souvenirs that he was trying to pare down. He figured his old bank book might be interesting or useful practice for Angie's Japanese class.

I think we all had a good time. After figuring out our weird check, we came back to the house and, while Andrea got ready to go hang out at St. John's, Angie, S and I played Fluxx. S loves playing games, and my extended family is all into games, so this is an added bonus of us dating. I hope we can hang out with Angie again soon, since I really did miss seeing her and I want people to get to know S and how great he is.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Well this is an exciting blog

Since I really haven't done anything this past week that could constitute a blog entry of any substance, I have nothing to write about other than dear S. My apologies to anyone who is sick of this. Can I just say how great it is to hang out again? Of course I can, it's my blog. It's great to hang out with him again. We went to Bible study on Wednesday and have seen many of his family members. I love their reactions to his hair and beard.

"Don't get rid of it!" and then they look at me. "Don't let her tell you to shave!"

Frankly, I love the beard and the hair, but given a choice, I'd keep the beard and cut the hair. It's all good, though, and I'm not going to complain about anything, since I am still somewhat dazzled by being able to look at him again.

I'm back at the library today, working hard on little sleep. I stayed up too late last night hanging out with S's cousin and talking to S after that. Maybe I'll catch a nap later before seeing S again today.

Oh, who am I kidding.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My boyfriend's back

Eating breakfast, getting ready to go over to S's house again. It's back to work tomorrow for me after four days off. I really needed those four days. I haven't had a vacation in forever, and this has been like a mini-break from my real life. Except S is part of my real life and will continue to be part of my daily routine even when I'm back to work and thinking clearly about school once again.

Last night we were cuddling, and I almost said, "I miss you" to him. It was a transitory moment. No, Beth, S is here now, holding you and telling you things in person. My brain needs to catch up to the reality, I guess.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sinking in

It's taking some time to really sink in that S is finally, after six and a half months, back from Alaska. But he's here, and our airport hellos were sweet and wonderful, being grabbed for a hug and not quite knowing how with him wearing his backpack and not wanting to let go, really, ever, no seriously, can you just hold me all day?

So my worries were worthless, of course. He's here, he came back to me, and I have another two days to just hang out without bothering to think about those other things in my life. What other things? I have S again.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


All right, well, I think I'm officially, 100% nervous/antsy/excited that S is coming back to Minnesota tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect, other than that I need to be at the airport by 11:30pm, and to look for a very bearded, long-haired 6-foot-tall guy I get to call "my boyfriend."

I've been cleaning up my room today and doing things I barely ever do, like dusting (!?) and doing things I love to do (throw away crap I don't need! clear off my desks!). S called to talk a little before his going-away dinner in Canada at his dad's and my sister asked, in a really loud, annoying voice, "Are you excited to see your boyfriend?!?!" and I said, "Uhhh, not really." But four hours and two episodes of "Northern Exposure" later, and it's setting in.

In advance, apologies to anyone I know in real life if I act completely weird on Monday, October 16th.

Probably no reason to be afraid

I'm about to head to Calvary Chapel for this morning's service. I've really slacked off the last couple months and had wonderful excuses (I'm sure) for each Sunday I didn't attend, but I set my alarm and I woke up and got ready. Preparing myself for the barrage of questions about S, and since he flies back tomorrow, it's inevitable that people will ask, "Are you excited?" or other such things. I can't exactly use my honest response in this situation. "Excited? Well, yes, and also... scared shitless."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

All things must pass

I'm listening to my playlist of anthems this morning. Half of them are so goddamn depressing, but I trudge through, because they are songs that are supposed to remind me of something important. George Harrison is now telling me that "All things must pass, all things must pass away" and before, Judy Garland was telling me, "They're writing songs of love, but not for me, the lucky stars above, but not for me." The best, though, is probably Jamie Cullum singing, "If I expected love when first we kissed, blame it on my youth."

It's actually blowing snow flurries around outside right now. October 12th.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Possibilities for S's return

S told me last night that he's apprehensive about returning, about seeing me again. I feel kind of bad about this, because I feel like it's my fault for creating expectations of what it will be like when he gets back. I want to see him and hold hands again, nothing big and scary, but it's different, something to deal with. I fully realize that it's totally possible than any number of things can happen when he returns to Minnesota after being gone for 6 1/2 months, and not all of them are positive for me.

He could get bored of being unemployed and look for a job somewhere else, like teaching English in Taiwan or Beirut. He could apply to graduate school in Washington D.C. or College Station, Texas. Or he could appreciate me even more and be incredibly happy to be where he is, which could quench his wanderlust for at least a few months. He could find me completely unattractive or annoying and not want to date me anymore. He could meet someone else who is more beautiful and interesting and who doesn't talk about libraries all the time and fall in love with her.

Really, honestly, as long as he is the happiest possible and feels like he's making the right decisions for himself in his life, I will be glad for him and his future. Even if it doesn't include me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Communicating can be a challenge

I can think of nothing more frustrating at work than having to explain library policy to non-native English speakers, or those who don't really speak English at all. Our area has a lot of Somalians, which I think is great in a general way, but it makes for tense situations.

I just got off the phone a little while ago with someone who returned the incorrect VHS in a case. When this happens, we're not supposed to check the item in. We notify the patron and then hope they return the missing piece, but it's not always easy to do this. I tried very hard to explain the situation calmly and simply to this particular patron, using limited vocabulary and in multiple ways, but I'm not sure I got through. It makes me sad.

Normally, I am a competent employee, usually exceeding expectations of my job description, being helpful and friendly with everyone I see. I'm excellent at communication, so it's very frustrating for me at a personal level when I can't really talk to someone. Normally, I embrace a challenge on the job, except this isn't really something I can overcome, it's just something I have to learn from.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Not stressed, just perplexed

It's kind of horrible that I've forgotten how to study for an exam. Professor Humeston told us what to review, and I'm sitting here on the floor in my room looking at the Learning Objectives for each chapter and then the corresponding "The Least You Should Know" bullet points, and I know this stuff, and I'm going, "Yeah... uh, now what?" Maybe I should make flash cards like my sister does, or maybe I should do an outline or something?

I think I'll just make my own notes, since we get to use them on the test anyway, so anything that's in my handwriting could be useful, if not essential to my success on this thing.

In other news, S flies to Canada today to visit his dad, saying goodbye to Alaska after six months. April to October, leaving all the rain and the midnight sun and the bear spray behind, along with his ruined wardrobe and now-useless water bottles. I'm sure that it's exciting and sad for him. He really loved it there, and he saw so much of the place and felt, I think, comfortable even in his discomfort. I hope that he can ease back into the realities of life, but I won't blame him if he wants to seclude himself from modernity for a while, like the Voyageurs who spend a month in Canada, portaging and canoeing all the while, some of whom must sleep in their own backyards for weeks to adjust to conveniences again. At least S can blog about it all and reflect on his experiences.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I've seen this going around

Complete the Thought:

Never again in my life: will I go to a rock concert without ear plugs.

When I was five: I really loved playing with the smooth sand in the kindergarten room. And my family got our first Apple computer. And I was still an only child.

High School was: crappy and clique-filled, until I switched schools, and then it was something I didn't want to miss—so many friends and fun times, making the tape-shape, talking, obsessing, etc.

I will never forget: when S brought me chocolates and flowers for Valentine's day... a day early! (He was working nights, so his sense of time was bad but in a very good way.) And then how he brought me more chocolates on the actual day.

I once met: Christopher O'Riley, the pianist who does the Radiohead transcriptions. I talked his ear off for about 20 minutes about classical music.

There’s this girl I know who: works at the library AND for campus public safety, and had to get sprayed with pepper-spray during her training, and then saved a girl's life during her first week on the job by knowing that she was having an appendicitis!

By noon I’m usually: working at the library, or reading or doing something online, or in St. Paul in my grad class. Unfortunately, there aren't many days when I sleep past noon. I need to work on this.

Last night I: went to Taco John's with my sister and then pigged out and had girl talk.

Next time I go to church: will be on Sunday, 6pm most likely.

What worries me most is: how to review for my cataloging mid-term in one week when I am being a know-it-all and feel like I can't possibly learn anything new by studying.

When I turn my head right, I see: the Hall of Weird, my sister's full-length mirror, my Radiohead poster on my door, a pile of clean clothes ready to be put away, dirty dishes to be brought to the kitchen, a stack of CDs ready to be alphabetized.

When I turn my head left, I see: the sunset through my window, the trees in silhouette, my desk with piles of papers on it, my Curious George, my passport.

You know I’m lying when: I refuse to comment, like a politician.

If I was a character written by Shakespeare I'd: be Helena in Midsummer Night's Dream, wanting the guy who doesn't want her forever and a day—until, by magic! he falls for her, too.

By this time, next year: who knows. Isn't that exciting?

A better name for me would be: actually, I think my name suits me quite well. Good choice, mom.

I have a hard time understanding: physics. And people who find "debate" the highest form of fun.

If I ever go back to school I’ll: get a second masters in something useless, like art history.

You know I like you if: I tell you so.

Three people who bore me are: three boring people? I guess I don't know any.

Take my advice, NEVER: tell me what to think.

My ideal breakfast is: bagel and coffee, or breakfast burritos, or toast with cinnamon sugar and milk.

A song I love, but do not have is: "L is for the way you look at me..."—"Love" by Nat King Cole.

If you visit my hometown, I suggest: going to Quarry Park for a walk. It's our version of Central Park, a big ol' protected area in the city limits, ten minutes from the mall and the Caribou Coffee.

Why won’t anyone: buy me real jewelry?

If you spend the night at my house, DO: feel completely at home, plopping down on the leather furniture, kicking back with a Smirnoff or Mountain Dew, listening to music from our extensive collections, watching a DVD from the library, or just enjoying the insanity.

The world could do without: bigots. And homophobes. And scary fundamentalists.

I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: give my phone number to my library stalker.

My favorite blonde is: my cousin Christy. She's 16 and super sweet!

Paperclips are more useful than: library cards. (That's a lie.)

San Diego means: Saint Diego, I think. And probably fun times, if you know where to hang out (I don't).

Friday, October 06, 2006

Feeling cherished

Since cell service in buildings in Indian, Alaska is kind of sketchy, S and I used Gmail chat last night for a few hours of conversation. It's the first time I've ever used a communication form with S that was non-organic and real-time (for us, it's been e-mails since high school, phone calls, and in-person all the way) and it was kind of weird and fun. I tend to have to multi-task while I'm online (reading blogs, checking my accounts, listening to music, on Facebook or MySpace, etc.) so it was strange not giving S my complete attention, as he usually gets and deserves.

Something was agreed upon about a rice cooker, this much I remember. And that he cares about my sanity, which I think I already knew. After a while, we both slacked off with the chatting and then I decided to go to bed. After I had crawled under the covers and was coughing from my cold and trying to get comfy, my phone rang.

"It's so cold out here!" he informed me.

"So go back inside!" I replied. "You don't have to talk to me more."

"Yeah, I do. I love you."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The switch

I switched to the new Blogger Beta and changed my template and uploaded my fall leaves photos.


Even my ears hurt

Today is a day of random errands and feeling icky. I have a sore throat and feel achy and tired and headachy even with medication. So I've been "resting" (whatever that means) and I also went to the post office, the gas station, got my glasses adjusted, cleaned out my car, took photos of the autumn leaves in our yard, got Chinese food for lunch, and picked up my allergy medication prescription. I think I'm going to try to take a little nap here in a few minutes.

S called as he was packing up his gear—he's getting picked up and taken back to Indian, which is near Anchorage. He flies out on Sunday (I think?) to see his dad in British Columbia, so by the time he's back to me, he'll be vaguely more used to regular showers and sleeping inside and not being rained on constantly. We pretty much have to go camping together, now that he's done this whole Alaska thing and I've never even been camping.

I'm just glad I got sick this week instead of next week. I hope I'm over it by then.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I think this is cute


A little place to call my own

Every time I see Sarah Susanka's books ("The Not So Big House"), or books on log cabins, I get kind of dreamy and wish that I had my own house, just a tiny little one to decorate and paint and put window boxes on for daffodils. I imagine the bedroom would be red like mine is now, and the living room would be a soothing chestnut brown. Then I remember how much I hate cleaning (dusting, vacuuming, and the like) and the dream dies.

But then I think about a small apartment where they would let me paint. A brownstone, something near Grand Avenue in St. Paul, a walk-up on the third floor. More than likely, I'd have to go to the laundromat each week, but I would love it.

I think either of these scenarios is some time off in the future, but I can dream, can't I?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The way of the world

Today at work is just flying by. I hope the next four hours go the same way. I'm working a lot the next two weeks, or so it seems. I also need to find some time to review for my midterm exam. Tonight, I might try to make something sweet for a coworker's birthday tomorrow since we have our first Virtual Services team meeting. I hope we can get a library blog going, at the very least.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My temporary boyfriend

While S has been gone, my temporary fill-in has been the one, the only, Cary Grant.

No, I haven't raised him from the dead in order to date him, I've just watched his movies and felt very involved with him. Lucky for me, Turner Classics did a full day of Cary Grant's movies (or should I say, Achie Leach's movies?) and I grabbed a bunch of them with the DVR.

I've seen so many of his movies, and loved all of them (especially "An Affair to Remember," "To Catch a Thief, and "The Grass is Greener"), and especially loved him (particularly as Mortimer in "Arsenic and Old Lace" and as whoever in "Charade"), that it might be kind of difficult to break up once S is here. I told S last night when he called that I was watching "Father Goose" and that I may have him watch something silly like "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" when he gets back.

"I guess I have to know what I'm up against," S said.

I'm guess willing to trade one tall, dark and handsome man for another.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A perfect day

Things I love:

Warm days
Sunshine dappled through tree leaves
Reading while sitting outside
Billy Collins poetry
Listening to music on my iPod
Warm sweaters
The smell of citrus

I've been sitting reading the Best American Poetry of 2006 edited by Billy Collins, enjoying this 80 degree weather. Feeling kind of guilty that it is most assuredly half that temperature in Seward, Alaska today, and probably raining there. But this is S's last week on the job, and then it's onto something new. I am putting off studying for my cataloging midterm, because I want to do that closer to the actual exam, which is two weeks away. So, it's lazing around for me. Excellent.

Made it to the wedding reception for my cousin Matt and his new wife Shannon. I did a quick change into my dress in my car after I got out of class and then hightailed it to the Millenium Hotel on Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis. Lots of dancing, hanging out with cousins, dancing some more, and then getting home quite late. It was a really great time, though, definitely fun.