Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of School...

The first day of school evokes happy emotions within me. As a child, I was always excitedly nervous for the first day of school. No big surprise, I was a shy introvert then too, but I had some good friends and I *loved* learning new things. As an adult, likely due to the fact that I work at a college, the first day of school still feels so fresh and new to me. Everything seems different and exciting, the air feels crisp and cool, and there's just a buzz of new possibilities in the air.

So, today is the first day of school here at the college where I work. I've been looking forward to it all summer. I was a little concerned, however, with the prospective state of my mood given that we had an extremely trying weekend with young Henry. *Extremely* trying. We had to finally make a move that I was dreading - transitioning him from coming into our room to sleep on our floor in the night to spending the whole night in his own big boy bed. This is tough stuff, people. Around hour 3 of the nighttime ruckus on night 1 of Project Big Boy Bed, I was ready to keel over and put up the white flag. Any parent of a new baby or young child I'm certain will agree with me that lack of sleep is one of the absolute worst things in the world. There is a whole pleothra of awfulness that we can all deal with assuming we're getting decent sleep.

As a result of the nighttime ruckus, we were all overtired and cranky for the entire weekend. Henry was miserable, grumpy, parsnickety, shrill and needy. Joy. By midday yesterday, I was on round two of Motrin for the day, and desperately needed a break. Thank the Lord God, Mike whisked Hank away to the auto parts store, and I spent an hour sipping iced tea, crocheting an afghan and watching Legally Blonde. I can't tell you how much I needed that.

"Oh my GOD! Look! How cute, it's like, a *real judge*! And jury people!!"

I love that movie. I just put it on my Amazon wish list.

At any rate, night 3 was last night, and thankfully, we had no nighttime ruckus. Granted, Hank climbed out of his bed at some point and decided to sleep on the hallway floor, crazy child. How is that better than his comfy bed with the soft fleece Batman blanket? I just don't understand.

Anyway, this morning we all woke up in a better mood and off I skipped to my first day of school. The campus was bustling; parking was harder to come by; campus shuttles were everywhere; the air was cool. I was happy.

And then I tried to make photocopies.

Something horrific has befallen our already bedraggled staff photocopy machine, and it's been making my photocopy life even worse than usual. I only had to make 25 copies of a 2-sided document. This should be routine work, if you are, you know, a photocopy machine. I pop my document in and press the pertinent buttons. I stand back, and...before even a single copy is generated, the machine jams. It starts showing me that little diagram on the display screen of the things I need to open in order to clear the jam. I obey the instructions. It makes noises, starts groaning again, and jams. AGAIN. Already, the little diagram is starting to get on my nerves. I do what I have to do, and again stand back. It makes a copy. Happy day. And then it jams, AGAIN.

At this point, I implement the surefire approach to fixing equipment that I use whenever my mood starts to sour. I (a) swear at it, (b) insult it, (c) bang on it, and (d) handle it in an overall rough manner. Shockingly, this does not work. I follow the obnoxious instructions once again. By this point, I have ink all over my hands, and scratches, from wrenching paper out of the bowels of the machine. It's hangin' on in there, thwarting my efforts at every turn. Every couple of copies, a jam occurs, and by this time I'm beside myself. Each time I have to open all those little doors and shut them again after clearing the paper, I slam it shut *harder*.

Finally, I wise up and investigate the machine's guts a bit. It does not like this one bit, and I swear I could feel the pieces getting hotter when I touched them. I manage to extract a nefarious little crumbled up piece of paper that was stuck behind a wheel. Eureka!! Obviously leftover from an earlier struggle. It's like a horror movie where the main character happens upon a stray foot stuffed down the garbage disposal.

After that, the photocopier reluctantly spit out about 10 copies before it jammed again. I cleared about 5 jams to get out the final 5 copies, and by that point, I was really on the edge. I was barely out of the room before I reported the nuisance to our assistant for purposes of calling in to the photocopy repair people. A librarian can only take so much.

After that exhausting experience, I was scheduled on the reference desk. And now the real fun begins. I love beginning of the semester reference. The students really need me and appreciate me and it makes me happy. And it's always simple things that I can answer in a heartbeat, like "where are the bathrooms?" and "where is this classroom?" I tell them, they glow happily, thank me, and hurry off excitedly. It's all very happy and glowy. As opposed to the end of the semester, when the questions are: "Um. I need, like, articles? For my paper? Yeah. My topic? Um, right. The history of China. It's due in the morning."

The beginning of the semester stuff just garners so much more satisfaction from the student, rather than being told that they need to seriously narrow down their topic, spend some solid time searching for books and articles on their own after I help them get started, and then actually write the paper themselves. They don't like that so much.

However, there is one beginning of the semester question that vexes all college librarians, and I got asked it before I even took the "closed" sign down from the reference desk as I was setting up for the first shift of the day. And that is: "Um, hi. Do you have my textbook?"

I always scratch my head at that one. There are students who seem to believe that the library has a "textbook section" that they can peruse and perhaps borrow from for the entirety of the semester. This does exist, but it's not the library; it's called the bookstore. I do know how outrageously expensive textbooks are, I feel their pain, really I do. I recommend buying used where possible, either at the bookstore or on a large commercial book distributer.'s the thing. If the library had their textbook...are they so super speedy that they would be able to snag that 1 copy of the current edition and horde it against their snarling classmates for the duration of the semester? This makes no sense. There are over 20,000 undergraduates here. There are a LOT of students in each class. See where I'm going with this? I cut them some slack; they're new, they're confused and they're a little scared. But seriously. You have to buy the textbook. It's sad, but true.

So anyway, I'm off the reference desk now, and enjoying the sound of student chatter outside my door. I wish I could take classes again; I miss it very much. I would love to take courses toward a Masters degree in theology someday. Someday...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fall is in the air...

This morning, I got out of my car and started the walk into the library and I noticed something wonderful - the air was chilly. As you may know, I'm a total freak of human nature and I don't like hot weather. I appreciate hot weather to the extent that I enjoy living in a climate that has 4 true seasons, and after summer I revel in the cooler weather all the more. I just don't like I also don't like being sticky, sweaty, sandy, or otherwise have my person affected in a heat induced manner. You should see me at the beach, a location the Catholic Librarian rarely frequents. I find the sunscreen that will leave the least amount of stick, I brush every speck of sand off that dares come in contact with my body, and if there is any possible shade I'm THERE. Bottle of water tightly by my side, sunglasses perched firmly on my face, gigantic towel shielding a city block worth of sand, and a book clutched in my hand. I may even have a hat on. God forbid I should come in contact with salt water. That makes the sticky/sweaty/sandy situation all that more complex and I will physically hurt anyone that tries to get ahead of me in the shower afterwards.

I'm a true northeastern gal, no doubt about it. Give me plummeting temperatures or give me death. Thus, I shivered my way into the building this morning, and each step along the way I was aglow with happiness. I'm envisoning hot tea, soft blankets, roaring fires... Not at work, granted. Well, except for the hot tea, which I inhale multiple times per day at work and have (naturally) spilled and unwittingly created several biohazards with. I once had to take a quarter sick day to go home, change my pants, and apply salve to my legs. I also had to call the library information technology folks to bring me a new keyboard. Sugar is not your keyboard's friend.

I'm even cold in my office, and I'm shamelessly eyeing the fleece hoodie that is hanging on the peg near my door. I'm also already thinking about the leaves starting to change color. My husband is as nerdy as me, and checks in daily on a web site that documents leaf activity by region. Before that, I had never heard the phrase "leaf drop" before, nor "leaf spotter," which Mike has applied to act as. Adorable, isn't it? There are two sugar maples near our house that I go on walks specifically to walk past in late September and October. They are *spectacular*.

So, I'm looking forward to the official first day of September. That's when it *really* feels like fall to me. Of course, there are students everywhere on campus, carrying bulky pieces of Target furniture up ramps into the dorms, which is another sign that fall is coming; classes start Monday. I don't think I'm ready. In fact, I know I'm not.

But alas, soon we'll have a cord of wood in our log rack and be roasting hot dogs and melting s'mores on the weekends. Sweet, sweet bliss...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I know you're out there...

So, I've made a few subtle changes to the blog :) I moved that little "Followers" feature up closer, from where it used to live, way down at the bottom. I can't say I actually understand what it means to be a "follower;" it sounds a little co-dependent. But I have to say, I'm curious as to whether anybody actually reads this blog :) I do have 2 devotees, thank you to both of you!! So, (pretty please) if you do read this blog with any regularity, sign up to officially follow it. I'd love to know who you are, and that you're out there :) Otherwise, I'll feel very lonely...

In other news, I just got back from an annual librarian lunch with new university teaching assistants. When you go to a lunch and don't actually get to eat any food, this is not a good thing. The only item present was pizza, and that was gobbled up by hungry graduate students in seconds. I had to scavenge to find food after the "lunch" was finished. On the other hand, the teaching assistants themselves were wonderful, and I loved meeting with them. I met with 3 grad students from the American Studies department (my new liaison department, which I'm *very* excited about) as well as 1 student from Women's Studies (now called Global Gender Studies here, and I'm just going to refrain from commenting on that). The students were great; friendly, interesting, enthusiastic and talkative. I enjoyed talking to them very much. I hope they email me. This will also stave off loneliness...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adventures at the DMV...

Today I ventured to our beloved Department of Motor Vehicles to upgrade my drivers license to a New York State enhanced license. I don't have a passport, never fly internationally, and don't want to shell out $110 for one. However, I live within driving distance of the Canadian border, so I want the freedom to take daytrips there. I'm envisioning a Henry-free afternoon spent at a winery and shopping at cute places at Niagara-on-the-Lake with my hubby :)

So anyway, before I went, I headed to the DMV's website. After clicking with increasing pissiness for 5 minutes, I found a checklist of needed documents for an "EDL." This is necessary because I swear to the heavens it's a conspiracy at the DMV that no matter what overflowing sheaf of papers you come in with, it's never enough, and then what happens? You have to go back. And for the love of God, you never, EVER want to have to go back to that cesspool of disgruntled humanity that is the DMV. So I get my checklist and pore over it. I even printed a copy of the application form and pre-filled it out so that it might save me from waiting in another line. Yes, I emphasize *another* line because it is absolutely inevitable that you will be waiting in multiple, confusing lines at the DMV filled with angry people. This was foretold in the book of Revelation.

Thus, this morning, the first thing I did was look up what time the branch I wished to go to opened. 10 am. K. I arrive at 10:04, documents anally paperclipped and clutched in my anxious hands. From the parking lot, I espie a line. Oh fabulous, a long line. With no foreseeable entry point. It's this giant, winding leviathan that appears to have no beginning and no end. It was the alpha and the omega.

After gently elbowing my way through, someone took pity on me, showed me where the end was, and explained that this was the "Information" line. Doesn't matter if you actually need any information or not, you gotta wait in the line. So I do. There was a loud group of girls ahead of me and quickly, they got on my nerves. I have some kind of odd noise sensitivity and loud talkers and laughers just make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I'd rather not hear about their adventures in a local bar this past weekend. TMI.

I wait, and wait, and wait... we crawl along. Occasionally, the red sea parts to allow people to access the exit door. All look either (a) confused, (b) exhausted, or (c) extremely surly. Eventually I get to the front of the line, and the guy that provides my Information is surprisingly nice and competent. He seems equally shocked that I'm so organized and have all the proper documentation. It's a miracle. Sort of like the entry in Hank's childrens Bible that we read together last night at his request: "Mommy, where is 'Jesus Walks on Wato?'"

DMV guy asks if I want a new photo, and before he can get the question out I'm saying YES. Who likes their drivers license photo? I dare anybody to say yes. Naturally, I've prepared for this moment by wearing a cute shirt, combing my hair, and putting on lipstick. Lun.a.tic. I arrange myself and my picture is snapped. I'm asked to pick the pose I prefer while all I can see are orange spots, so I hope I picked a good one. A number is slapped into my palm and I'm told to wait in the oddly enormous and plush seating area. Numbers pop up on an overhead screen like a game of Keno. It's all sort of surreal.

Finally, my number is called and I'm herded to desk #7. Another shockingly pleasant person takes my paperwork and tells me to have a seat until my "interview." This sounds slightly scary, but I try to wait patiently. I wait, and wait, and wait... An unhappy customer keeps cutting into lines to complain about something, and he's starting to tee me off. None of us are having a good time here, ok buddy? Go sit down and wait your turn. By time I'm called up again, I have serious ants in my pants. Another *extremely* nice woman finishes up my application process, charges me $65, and tells me to have a nice day. My new license, complete with hopefully adorable picture, will arrive in the mail in 2 weeks. Total wait time - one hour and thirty minutes.

As I leave, an older couple grumble past me, murmuring sentences laced with exclamation points and the words "stupid" and "asinine." Just another day in paradise at the DMV.

After I get back to work, I had a reference desk shift. A man came to the desk looking for a book in the science book collection. He swore up and down that the QA section "just isn't there." "I'm telling you, it's just not there." More intervention required by the Catholic Librarian, who did so with an angelic smile :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lists everywhere and other evidences of overactive personality disorder...

So, I'm back and attempting to get back into a semblance of a routine. I am floored by the sheer volume of work I have to do in the office, as well as things that need doing around the house.

In the grand tradition of me overdoing things, I have lists to deal with all of this. It comes from the Type A pesonality, I can't help it. I've always had a to-do list at work, this is a given. I have a long term list and a short term list. When they get minds of their own and get too messy, I make new ones. Pretty soon, I have lists coming out my ears. My lists have sublists and addenda. They too, have an air of rigidity to them. Sounds familiar, huh?

At any rate, over the weekend, I was catching up on housework and cleaning in preparation for a friend coming to stay with us for a few nights. I was starting to get overwhelmed trying to remember all of the projects that need doing there. Painting, pictures to hang, garden to weed. (I'm pretty sure rabbit breeding season is over, but you can never be too careful...)

So, I had a thought. I grabbed my cute new journal, the one I've barely written in. This is very typical of me. I get all excited and passionate about something, buy an adorable accessory to cultivate the habit, and languishes. I was planning to jot down my daily Bible and Catechism readings and reflections in there. Well, sigh. I don't think I've had time to reflect on anything since...well, since Hank was born. Thus, I have one pathetic entry from 2 weeks ago, followed by plenty of intoxicating blank white paper. I actually set up a system that was too structured even for me. In my desperation this weekend, I had a radical idea. That is, radical for *me*. I started a home to-do list right in the journal. worked!

Suddenly, I was soliciting my journal to write all kinds of things in there. Naturally, the list got added to. But then I grabbed it to jot some quick thoughts on my daily Living Faith readings. A few passages really struck me, and I took the time to transcribe them into the journal and then jot some very informal and scattered, but frankly, really important thoughts. Things regarding my need to keep patient with Henry's temper tantrums, presenting a positive faith example, and finding holiness in the simple things.

I'm very pleased. Writing has always been very evocative for me, and I've found myself remembering my entries and try to implement the ideas throughout the day. So far so good.

Speaking of being patient...The patience factor came into play yesterday, as I was running errands with my Henry button. Heart stoppingly adorable - that he is. Undeniably precious - that too. But I tell you, your children are people who:

(1) you love more than your own life, no two ways about it, yet
(2) have the ability to drive you crazy like nobody's business.

So, we're at the craft store. I needed to get a skein of white yarn to finish off the afghan I'm making for Hank. The afghan I started when I was pregnant with him and nesting. Yes, I'm a little behind on my crocheting progress. What can I say, things got busy. So, we head in and immediately some predictable things happen:

- Hank refuses to get in the cart and we engage in a power struggle with me coming out victorious.
- I'm drawn over to the seasonal decor items, and Hank grabs at things on the shelf and tries to break them as I browse.
- Hank repeatedly demands to see the Halloween decorations, squealing in delight at the creepy talking witch and Frankenstein. When we walk past them, triggering their sensor, he becomes terrified and cries, making people look at us. The instant we are a safe distance from the aforementioned evildoers, he asks "Mommy, can we go see them again?"
- High-pitched chatter intersperses every thought my mind even attempts to form.

Classic example - we finally make our way over to the yarn section. I'm scanning yarn, looking for Carron Simply Soft. Finally, I hit the mother load. I'm looking for white - you would think that would be easy, right? You would think. As I'm contemplating the difference between creamy white, soft white, plain white, and eggshell white, as well as sweating over dye lots, Hank is inquiring about the following:

"Mommy. What's that door? What's an 'emer-gen-cy'? What's gonna happen if I open it, Mommy? What? Why can't I open it? Can I touch it? Why can I can't? Are the fire men going to come? Mommy? MOMMY. If I touch it, are the fire men going to be mad? Are they going to tell me no? An alarm? Really? Is it loud? Mommy? MOMMY. Is the alarm loud, Mommy? It *is*? Does it go 'wooo wooo wooo'? It does? How about this - WOOO WOOOO WOOOO..."

As you can tell, I took 2 ibuprofen the instant we got home. I also had to add several more things to my to-do list that occurred to me on the drive home. The spawning of items on the to-do list, this is a disturbing trend that really needs to be addressed. How does this happen? Clearly, the to-do list needs more supervision...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heading home soon...

Well, I'm recuperating here, and relaxing, to be sure. My eye is finally looking better, and my coughing is down to a mere annoyance. My allerges are flaring up, but that's par for the course this time of year. We're heading home on Thursday afternoon, and though I'm sad to see our vacation come to an end, I'm really looking forward to getting back to my regular life and routine. I miss it :) Oh right, and out of this stifling heat. How do people live like this? I'm such northeastern gal at heart.

Crazily, the fall semester starts just over a week after I return. I SO have to get my Catholic butt in gear with writing - both an article and a book chapter. We'll get there. Much panic-induced writing will commence on this blog starting next week, I'm certain...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reporting in from vacation...

Ok, well, things are mixed on my end. We got in safely. This is a good thing. Though annoying at times, Henry was pretty good for the duration of the travel period, which is also good. But my Typhoid Tiffany status only continues to grow, and I'm starting to think that perhaps I've offended God in some fashion, and He's smiting me with His powers in retribution.

The first night, after we arrived from the airport, I was beyond exhausted. Hank was all hyped up on adrenaline fumes, and Mike was a downright chatty Cathy. Me, on the other hand, could think only, longingly, of bed. Oh sweet, sweet bed. With a pillow and a blanket and blissful slumber. I was pretty pathetic, health-wise, but miraculously, I made it through the whole night without coughing.

Well. If you've seen my twitter updates, you know that I also developed pinkeye. The morning of our departure. This made things pretty interesting, and it also made for a pretty surly Catholic Librarian. I was able to secure some drops from my doctor mere hours before our flight, and I've been duitifully inserting them into my eye, so the pinkeye would clear prior to the family picture we were having snapped this morning. I had nearly 2 full days of drops prior to that, so I thought I was good. Then came last night.

We head to bed. All 3 of us are sleeping in one room here, Mike and I in the bed, Henry in a sleeping bag on the floor. Clearly, there's a lot at stake here for me to keep my sickly mouth shut. I cough, and cough and cough and cough, so hard that I do the choking thing again. My mother-in-law provides me with some cough syrup and lozenges, for which I was most grateful.

I loathe cough syrup, and am convinced that it secretly never works and just psychologically makes you feel that you should stop coughing, but I was desperate. Unfortunately, the type of cough syrup that she had in the house was for my father-in-law, who is diabetic. Thus, I was guzzling a substance called "Diabetic Tussin" and sucking frantically on sugar free cough drops. Granted, cough syrup never tastes good, but usually its flavor is somewhat overpowered by a truckload of artificial cherry flavoring. It'll probably give me cancer and kill me one day, but at least the flavor is "somewhat nasty" rather than "I may vomit and die right here right now." Diabetic Tussin has the distinction of tasting like what I can only compare to battery acid. Ain't nothin' can make that s@!# taste better, short of a pound of Splenda. I had to suppress my gag reflex to even get the stuff down my throat. GOOD HEAVENS.

Sheer, sheer desperation, I tell you. About 30 minutes after I ingested the vile liquid, I cease coughing. I quickly proceed to the bedroom and lay down on my mountain of pillows, trying to keep my head elevated. Stiff neck, yes, but risk of coughing is lowered. I doze off...

About 1 am I awaken. I start to cough. Trying to stave the coughing off makes it worse. I grab a sugar free lozenge and stuff it in my mouth. Yes, I was actually willing to risk choking to death in my sleep rather than cough anymore. It was just that bad. It doesn't work. I get up and go into the bathroom, and guzzle more battery acid. I don't think my stomach lining is ever going to forgive me. I actually have to leave the bathroom and go to the kitchen, where I can hack (and cry) without disturbing anyone. It takes at least 30 full minutes for the coughing to stop, and I had to fall asleep with lozenges in my mouth again.

Through all of this, I can see my eyes in the bathroom mirror. The pinkeye has moved from the right eye to the left, and it looks angry. Very, very angry. When I awaken in the morning, *both* of my eyes are sealed shut. I won't tell you the thought that crossed my mind, because it wasn't very nice. Quite un-Catholic, I assure you.

The transformation in the morning prior to the picture took quite some time. It's not easy making "death warmed over" metamorposize into "halfway decent." I managed, but barely. Thank God for retouching.

Anyway, as we approach evening, my left eye does look less angry. Mike and I going to dinner, so I hope that I can be fit to be seen in public by then.

In other news, 1 book down, many more to go...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vacation preparations

Mike, Henry and I are preparing to leave tomorrow for a week long vacation to visit my in-laws in central Florida. I'm happy about this, but my excitement is dampened a bit by the fact that I just experienced coughing attack #137. Since Saturday. It was one of those wherein you cough so rapidly that you actually cause yourself to choke. While all of this unpleasantness is ongoing, I'm actually in the ladies room. Someone comes in and just casually walks into the stall *directly next to mine* despite the fact that there are *4* other perfectly good stalls that don't involve being next to someone who is so clearly suffering and in need of air. Isn't this against all unspoken but known bathroom etiquette? Is it just me? I avoid being directly next to someone at all costs. It just seems like we're in a place in which extra personal space is particularly imporatant. Anyway, I digress.

We're leaving tomorrow afternoon, and I'm:

(1) cranky,
(2) pathetically sickly,
(3) incapable of a single rational thought, and
(4) utterly exhausted from coughing-induced lack of sleep.

Last night, I was all hopeful. (This is going to be a long post; just prepare yourself now. I'm not capable of shutting off my incoherent brain at present). I talked Mike into staying in bed with me, rather than retreat to the guest room for cough avoidance, because Hank and I were totally cough-less the night before. Sounds ominous, right? Yep. Hank comes in around midnight to bed down on our floor and promptly begins to complain. About what, I'm not certain, because I was totally out of it. I covered him, did a soothe, and attempted to revert back to my sleeping state. Hank starts to cough. He coughs and coughs. He coughs on and off for probably twenty minutes. You know, one of those terrible patterns where he's quiet for a few minutes and you start to doze, and then he coughs again and your eyes pop back open. Finally, he falls asleep and so do I. Mike has slept through pretty much the whole exchange.

About 30 minutes later, I awaken. Immediately, I feel the thing all sick people dread - THE TICKLE. Please God no, not the tickle. I cough. I cough again. I get up and fetch some water, hoping it will soothe my irritated throat. I climb into bed with the agility and concentration of a balance beam gymnast, determined not to do anything to upset the delicate state of my throat. I lay my head upon the pillow, and feel - the tickle. *sobs* I had to go down to the guest room, where I crankily spent the rest of the night, tossing and turning and coughing til morning. I am beyond exhausted, and somehow I have to pack for a week away, for both me and Henry.

When we learned that we would in fact have to pay a charge to check each bag (thievery), Mike declared that maybe we should try to all squeeze into one suitcase. I didn't even justify that suggestion with a response, other then an exhausted snort. But we will be trying to squeeze all 3 of us into 2 bags, so I have that challenge ahead of me as well.

Why a challenge, you ask? Reasonably, I might add. Well, I'm going away for a week. You know what this means. I simply must, MUST I tell you, have more than enough reading material to get me through 2 airport waiting periods, 2 plane rides, and 7 days in which I actually have a ton of time to read since Henry is blissfully distracted by his doting grandparents. Otherwise, I may waste away and die. I have probably 10 pounds just in books to pack. I also have a 5 book Amish series to give my mother-in-law, so we're really getting up there in poundage.

I made a run to the public library recently to obtain a hit for my obvious book addiction, and did quite well. I have to bring with me:

(1) 2 Christian fiction novels;
(2) a fiction novel about a quilting club;
(3) a memoir about growing up in an evangelical Christian home;
(4) a historical romance that I'm reading right now;
(5) an Amish fiction novel;
(6) a memoir about living a Catholic life.

Frankly, I'm not certain that even all of these will be enough. Knowing myself, I'll toss a few things from my bookcase in for good measure. Of course, I'll also need my Bible and Catechism, and prayer journal. It's true, I'm a crazy woman. I also picked up 2 Curious George books for Henry as well as a Bob the Builder compilation and a look-and-find book featuring Lightening McQueen. Henry takes after his librarian, book-loving, mommy and I'm very proud of him for that.

So, I also need to pack clothes. That would help. I need to throw my toiletries bag together, and remember all those little, but crucial, things like my hair straightener and deodorant. Frankly, I'm not quite certain how I'm going to be able to get through dinner and take a shower with the way I feel right now. Sigh.

I'm not sure when I'll be posting while I'm away, but most likely I will. I'll need to complain about the sheer torture that it now entails to travel by air and successfully make it through airport security, so you'll have that to look forward to. Until then :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Adventures in hacking-land...

Once again, I'm sick. And I'm pretty cranky about it. This is the second cold I've had this summer, and it's really cramping my style. Henry, too, is sick. Obviously, we've identified the source of the germs' infestation into our household. We're leaving Thursday for a week vacation in Florida, to visit my in-laws, and I very much want to be better by then.

With the germs come an epidemic of nighttime coughing, and it's affecting all of our sleep. Our current sleep situation with Henry is that he won't stay in his room the whole night. He falls asleep in there, and inevitably he gets up in the night, is scared, and so comes in and sleeps on our floor. We leave a little pillow and blanket set up for him. Because we survived the newborn and infant phase, we have a different parental outlook on sleep than we used to - we will do anything, *anything* I tell you, to get sleep. We're too traumatized to have it any other way.

Saturday night, I ended up sleeping on Henry's floor, so that he would stay in his bed. When he tries to sleep on the floor he just coughs and coughs. As one would expect, I didn't sleep very well. Thus, last night we had a new strategy - Mike chivalrously offered to sleep in the guest room so that I could hack unabashedly, and when Henry came in, he could just sleep with me in our bed.

Well. The night transpires as follows: After well wishes and a kiss, Mike heads downstairs to the guest room. I blissfully finish my book and immediately reach for the TV remote. Amazing Wedding Cakes is on WE. Blessed day. Just as they were delving into the fondant and making me really hungry, I hear a clap of thunder. There were thunderstorms earlier in the day, so I wasn't surprised, but I knew this meant Hank would awaken and join me earlier than anticipated. I venture out of the room to investigate. A peek through the front window details streaky lightening that looks quite frightful. I checkd on Hank and find him sleeping angelically. I head back in to my room for more cake. I set the TV's sleep timer, and was just dozing off, when...

*CRACK OF THUNDER* *tiny feet padding on the ground* *CatholicLibrarian sighs*

Now, I was looking forward to Hank coming into bed with me. I haven't slept in the bed with my baby since he was a few months old, and I was anticipating it as some sort of womb reenactment. Hank and I cuddling, feeling so content that his sweet little body was safe, secure and comfortable...

He bangs into the room. I grab his Batman pillow and tuck him into the bed. I lay down as well, and make a painful realization - sleeping with Henry is like sleeping with myself. Covers are yanked violently to the other side of the bed; tossing and turning abound; elbows, feet and hips are jutted randomly over onto my side. I actually started to feel some sympathy for Mike. It took quite a long time for both of us to fall asleep, particularly with the coughing mixed in. Finally, we're both asleep...

*CRACK OF THUNDER* *pound, pound, pound, POUND POUND POUND go the angry raindrops on the outside of our window AC units*

Naturally, Hank and I both awaken. More coughing. More cover yanking and preschooler body parts stabbing me in the ribs. Finally, we're both asleep...

*BOOM!!!!* Thunder? No, that would my son's precious 45 lb. body hitting the floor like a slate of roofing shingles. I hurry to the side of the bed to find Hank dazed and confused, trying to bed down with Teddy on the floor. I get him back up into bed and settled. About an hour later, I fall back to sleep...

Hank stirs beside me. I awaken. Glance at the clock. 6:15. I say a very bad word that I should go to confession for. I'm *exhausted* And my coughing is somehow *worse* I'm very, very cranky about this.

When I crankily reported in for breakfast downstairs, I find my husband reading the newspaper, an expression of pure bliss on his face. I demand to know how his night was, and he answers "oh, just great!" When I inquired if he heard the thunder, and Henry coming to our room at *10:30* he replies "thunder? Hank got up that early?" I think this is grounds for an annulment. A moth flutters in the other room and I wake up. This is so unfair.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Prayer journal...

So, at the end of a very long week, I did in fact order a year subscription to the daily devotional Living Faith. The issue I picked up in my sister's parish carries me through September, and my new subscription will pick up with the October 1st issue. *excited* I like having a little something to read each morning and reflect on.

In the grand tradition of me not being able to leave well enough alone, I started contemplating exactly how I should structure my new daily devotional routine. I now read the Living Faith entry in the mornings, and my Bible chapter in the evenings. I've also started trying to read a few paragraphs of the Catechism each evening after my Bible reading. With each devotional reading, I try to glean a point that I can apply to the events in my day. Right now I'm reading the book of Acts; it will get more difficult, say, when I'm smack in the middle of 1 Chronicles. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Anyway, given the way I reworked my routine, I thought perhaps it would be good to get myself a cute notebook and jot down the things that I gleaned. Short things, nothing elaborate. I can't do elaborate with traditional pen and paper; definitely need Microsoft Word for that. I thought that I could just write down a sentence or two on items that I took away from my reading of each of my devotional books. Excitedly, I headed out to CVS to scavenge their new school supplies. Naturally, I spent way, *way* too long looking at notebooks. Eventually, I settled upon a cute composition notebook, college ruled, with a pink cover detailing black flowers. I'm happy with it. And it was only $2.50, bonus.

So, after all that, you'd think I'd gotten right to work, correct? Not so much. On Wednesday, I was off taking care of Henry for the day. In between him interrupting me concerning hundreds of preschooler "emergencies" I tried to do my devotional reading. Not so easy. I was able to jot down a few things on my Living Faith and Bible readings, but didn't get to the Catechism. By the evening, I just needed a glass of wine, and wasn't up to Catechism reading, which is not light by anyones standards. I'm firmly in the liturgy section and will remain there for some time. Last night, I was just plumb tuckered. So, we'll see how this goes. I really want to establish a good rhythm with daily devotions.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Feeling overwhelmed...

This summer, there has been a lot going on in my life. Particularly at work. We have less staff and more work to go around. For the first time since I became a librarian, I'm starting to feel a bit stressed and overwhelmed. It seems like each day I'm just putting out fires, rather than getting to larger projects. Wait, something is coming back to me...did I blog about this in the recent past? This whine is sounding familiar. I swear it, I'm losing it.

Anyway, this morning I had a sudden wave of crankiness due to overwhelment. Is that even a word? If not, I've just coined it. I have an entire article to write that I haven't touched since late May, and a book chapter to complete (that makes it sound like I've started it and just need to finish - HA!) by November, and I'm beginning to feel panicky.

So, instead of actually doing some of this work this morning, I felt frozen with anxiety. Real productive, I know. So, I pulled out my little daily devotional.

When I was visiting my sister in North Carolina last month, I perused the reading shelf at her parish. Reading shelves are truly a treat for librarians and otherwise nerdy bookworms. I noticed that they had a slew of this little periodical called Living Faith. Naturally, I had to examine it. It's a daily devotional that comes in 3 month installments. For each day, it provides a theme, a Bible verse, and a reflection. What caught my interest is that the reflections have a "real world" feel to them. I know that I already mentioned that despite my overt religiosity, I simply cannot control the ants in my pants if I pick up something to read that is anything resembling a deep, theological treatise. Most daily devotionals are too deep and abstract to keep my interest. I'll read them dutifully for about 3 days, and then set them lovingly on my book shelf, never to be touched again...

So this little guy really captured my attention. A quick browsing of the reflection revealed topics about the contributors' kids, poor driving attitudes, and supper frustrations. Some of the entries were more serious, but overall there was a more casual feel to the endeavor. Now this is a devotional I can get behind. I quickly snatched a copy and left a donation. I've been using it, and have been thrilled with it. This morning, in my crankiness, I opened it up, hoping for a spirit lift. For Tuesday August 4th, I find the theme to be "Turning It Over to God":

"Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense." Psalm 51:3.

The reflection centered around a guy waiting in line for confession and thinking about how nervous he was, dwelling on repentance and God's forgiveness. I dug it. I paged through to the back, and found that an annual subscription is a mere $10. I think I'm going to go for it.