Saturday, May 11, 2019

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'. . .

Nearly two months have gone by. This is an improvement over the previous lapse of two years.

As I grow older, I see the truth of something my grandmother said to me about time when I was a teen, "The older you get, the faster it goes." I don't remember if I was sharing impatience with being my age, wanting to be moving up to adulthood now, or if it was just a general conversation about life, hers and mine, but here I am in my mid-60s and whoa, does time ever fly by. 

I've been feeling a little restless lately. I've never been so aware of time and aging until this year. I have Medicare to thank for this due to all the nags I've received from them for the last six months: "Look how old you are! You need to sign up now!" I think about Mom, who died at 71 from lung cancer; she lived just six years past my current age. On the other hand, my grandmother lived to nearly 104, as sharp and quick-witted as she was in her 20s. Time slowed down for her as her world compressed into her independent living apartment, away from her lifelong garden, away from real independence, with no remaining family except me.

So I'm thinking about time, how much of it I may or may not have, and what it might look like.

In response, I'm starting something new to help me be more deliberate about my time. I read The Artist's Way a few years ago and felt a strong connection to the idea that daily creativity matters, but I just kind of left it there. Recently I found the companion volume, The Artist's Date Book, in which I'm invited to practice mindfulness on a daily basis through creativity. My pattern with most disciplines is to start strong and then just piddle out after a few weeks but I think this one might actually stick. I'm going to use this blog for the daily Morning Pages. 

Morning Pages are supposed to be private but I doubt that anybody reads this blog now that the purpose for it has passed - I started it as a participant in our library's Library 2.0 initiative. It will be a brief daily practice, the "work" side of my year-long participation. I'll include humor because humor is a big deal for me and I want to examine how it informs my day. If I create something on an Artist Date, I might post a photo. We'll see how this goes.

Day One: "No matter what life path you are on, it is never to late to work on your creativity." This blog post is my Morning Page.

Overheard on Twitter: 76% of librarians quietly sing the alphabet song to themselves when shelving. @fakelibrarystatics  (confession: I always say at least five letters of it while sorting and shelving fiction.) 

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Well, hi there.

It's been another two years, again. Good heavens. But I'm really back this time.

Humor is essential these days and I'm more determined than ever to add my little bit via various social media accounts. The best things for me are the funny things that show our common humanity, not so much the LOL stuff. I rarely laugh out loud, although a recent Saturday Night Live sketch, Don Cheadle in Bar Fight, really got me. I laughed so hard my sides hurt. But a snicker or chuckle is usually how I roll.

This post takes a quick and cursory look at humorous music.

Over my lifetime, music has always provided a space for playfulness. When I was a child, summer camp staff taught us goofy, sometimes edgy songs. Edgy for 3rd grade, that is. Songs like "Helen Had a Steamboat": Helen had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell, Helen went to heaven and the steamboat went to Helen had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell... round and round it would go and we'd all feel a little thrill as we nearly sang a swear word.

The playground was a prime place for older kids to pass traditional songs on to the younger ones, especially parodies like I Have Lost My Underwear (to the tune of Bye Bye Birdie.) I recently unearthed some old sheet music and found a song I'd forgotten, set to the tune of the Brady Bunch theme: Here's the story of a Dole banana. . . (ending with) that's the way they all became Hawaiian Punch.

Our church sent a bus around the neighborhood every Sunday to pick up any children who wanted to go to Sunday School and one of the bus drivers was an adult who delighted in singing as he drove. He taught us many wonderful classic songs and sometimes threw in a surprise. That's where I learned 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall. A song about beer on a Sunday School bus! It was the best thing ever.

The radio introduced me to Dr. Demento, Spike Jones, Phil Ochs, and Tom Lehrer. A friend invited me along to a P.D.Q. Bach concert, an event for which I'm eternally grateful. I love classical music and this concert turned it delightfully upside-down. If you're not familiar with this particular member of the Bach family, look him up on YouTube. In fact, start with the Unbegun Symphony.

That's it for now. Next time - comment threads, the marvelous ones.

Overheard on Twitter:

  Things we didn't do:
    - Start the fire
    - Shoot the deputy

  Things we did:
    - Try to fight it
    - Shot the sheriff
    - Built this city on rock & roll

  Things we will do:
    - Survive
    - Rock you

  Things we won't do:
    - Get fooled again
    - Back down
    - That

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Back after two years

Well. It looks like this is a "post every two years" blog. Let's see if I can change that.

The current atmosphere in the U.S. is a mixed bag. We are so divided, so easily offended, so overly concerned with ourselves and "my rights". Don't get me wrong, my rights are important (so are yours) but demanding those rights in every situation without considering anyone else leads to awful things. I'm doing what I can in my own community to talk with people, to promote respectful conversations. It's tough going, especially when so many of my friends seem to prefer social media to share their opinions and to seek affirmation of those opinions (from both sides of the aisle.)

A long-time friend and former neighbor unexpectedly stopped by recently. He's originally from the Northwest but he lives in Florida now so his appearance was a wonderful surprise. We caught up on local news and we spoke of our families, what the kids are doing now, both his and ours. He shared that he was distraught to learn that his eldest daughter had voted for Obama. Both times! She was raised in a Republican family; how could she have done this? We gently informed him that we, too, had voted for Obama. He was appalled. "You're Christian. Why would you vote for him?"

Well, believe it or not, our vote was informed by our faith. And Jesus was pretty clear that he didn't come to participate in earthly politics. Our politics don't inform our faith, an important difference. We had a good conversation but our friend is not so sure about us now.

I don't plan to write about things like this, though. I plan to carry on with the original point of this blog: humor. Given the snark, the hatred, the selfishness, the fear. . .I'm going to stand up in my very small way and write about the good and funny things that happen.

So. Stay tuned.

Overheard on Twitter: Candle lighting vigil for the cow that was shot & killed yesterday in Queens after a wild Police chase .  
(the comment thread on this February tweet from @NYCScanner is almost worth its own blog post.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

A busy week

Whoa nelly, what a week this will be: a library conference, artist wrangling for the May artwalk, and lots of daily things to catch up on. I love my job and these are all good things, absolutely; an occasional dose of levity will help to keep the stress at a healthy level.

The best question I heard in the library came from a mom, after I'd helped her 8-year-old find some books on dolphin communication. She asked her daughter, "OK, now do you want to find some normal books?" They headed to the juvenile fiction shelves.

One of my favorite places for a humor break is AV Club. The thoughtfully-written articles cover film, music, comedy, television, books, and games. It's excellent reading. But the best part: the comment threads. You must read the comment threads. Commenters are witty and wry and prone to puns, with not a troll in sight. This week, the unnerving statue of Lucille Ball gets AV Club's attention. If you're reading this post, you should head on over there. It's a good start to the week.

Overheard on Twitter: Guys, asking a woman you don’t know to help you pick out a toothbrush is not a good romantic opener. Just no.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Two years on.

I'm back.

Blogging is a peculiar activity. It's one of those things that's much easier to do when done regularly. It's a simple thing to write my thoughts daily but skip a week and hooboy, it's tough. I don't write this with the expectation that others are reading it (although that's how it started out - a system-wide introduction to the wonders of 2.0 for staff), but there's still an odd guilt when I don't write something. And then my perverse nature kicks in and I don't write anything, sort of a "you can't make me" thing. And here it is, two years on. Human nature is just too funny sometimes.

I still like my humor theme. It's important to laugh, even if the laughter is a small inner chuckle or a smile. The Internet (do we still capitalize the word "Internet"?) is a purveyor of all that is wretched in the world, from breaking news of something grim to comment threads that seek to bully and ridicule. BUT. . .the online world also affirms that there are good things happening through creative responses to problems and needs, and there are comment threads that are delightfully witty and restorative (check out the occasional Pun War that erupts on AV Club.)

So, I'm back. Back to blogger, back to humor, back to recording the things that make my day a little lighter.

Overheard on Twitter:  There's no travel delight equal to successfully identifying and evading the wannabe-chatty seatmate on a long flight.

Until next time. . .

Monday, September 2, 2013

Well, hello.

It's been awhile, a state that's become typical. It's been a challenging year, with writing near the bottom of the Priorities List. Let's see if I get better at blogging in the last quarter of 2013.

I'm participating in a Goodreads challenge. The idea is to decide how many books I want to read this year and posting that number on the challenge page. My challenge is "60 books in 2013." I added a personal sub-challenge, unposted: include books that other Goodreads folk have liked. It's too easy to stick with my favorite genre and I wanted to branch out a bit. I've read titles from Young Adult fiction lists, explored a bit of steampunk, and wandered far and wide via book reviews. I've also developed an Author Crush on Ernest Hemmingway while reading A Moveable Feast.

The range of non-fiction titles reflects the difficulties this year has brought. I'm revisiting Chesterton, his Father Brown mysteries to balance Orthodoxy (a book I read when I was much too young to really get it.) Thomas Merton's Seeds of Contemplation. Books on coping skills and mental disorders as I learn as much as I can in order to be useful to someone going through a rough time. Humorous books, of course, to help me laugh (or at least chuckle) when things seem bleak.

"Beautiful Battlefields" by Bo Stern is one of my current titles and I read something in it today that spoke directly to our situation. Perhaps 'speak' isn't quite right. It was louder than that, a Pay Attention that rang true. I'm sharing it here, mostly for myself, so I can find it again after I return the book to the library.

"The God who knows the whole story can be trusted with all the days that fill its pages, but it's always tempting to pick up the pen ourselves. When it seems like the plotline is spinning out of control or when the hero is taking too long to arrive on the scene, I want to take over. I want to make my own happy ending, or at least take a sneak peek at the postbattle pages so that I know everything will turn out okay if I trust Him with my life. I'm finding, though, that He is a page-by-page, line-by-line God. He shows up in every word, in every syllable, and He proves Himself trustworthy every time. . ."

Shall I finish up with something more to the point of this blog? How about this gentle Father's Day rap, Dad's Life?

Overheard on Twitter:  I wonder if Vegas is taking bets on who dies in Downton Abbey season 4?

Until next time. . . (by the way, I reached my Goodreads goal by June. Kind of surprised me.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Everything old is new again.

I'm preparing for the annual Washington Library Association conference which takes place this month. It's a joint endeavor with the Oregon Library Association, something that happens every five years, and there are 800+ attendees registered. One of my tasks is to make sure that the WLA interest groups (hereafter known as IGs) have an opportunity to present themselves to those who don't yet belong to an interest group. The traditional time is the Wednesday evening Meet & Greet, where each IG has a table manned by members of the group. There is usually a playful theme and IGs are encouraged to dress up their tables, and often themselves, according to that theme. There's always a friendly competition between IGs as Meet & Greet folk move from table to table.

This year, the conference theme is "The Future is NOW: Networking Oregon and Washington." The graphics are wonderful, pulling from the 1960s space craze and vintage library symbols. Everyone agreed that planets/moon/sun would be fun to work with for decorating the IG tables. Each IG officer was to email their celestial choice to me and boy, those emails came in quickly as the officers claimed their favorite. The list dwindled until only one actively-avoided planet remained. The last IG to choose was CAYAS (pronounced chaos) - Children And Young Adult Services. CAYAS had hoped for Pluto but someone else had already nabbed it. After some deliberation, CAYAS sent their email claiming that final planet:

"In the true spirit of youth services, CAYAS will choose Uranus."

So. Funny.

I've blogged before about the odd things that show up in the life of a library. There are peculiar  bookmarks, donated items of questionable origin, disturbing notes left at the public computers, fake "Bubba" teeth in the bookdrop . . . and just when we think we've seen it all, something comes along. . .

That was written on the back page of a book we had to discard. People write in library books all the time but this budget was notable for the recreational plans for the remaining $200. Someone commented that the patron had properly taken care of his obligations first. One of our staff did a superb comedic riff on it.

(Hm. I've just uploaded the photo and it's not very good but I think I'll leave it there anyway. In case you can't read it, the $200 is designated for "Hookers and Blo.")
Overheard on Twitter:  Watching an early episode of "Buffy." Ancient book gets digitized, subsequently releases a demon. TYPICAL.

Until next time.