Saturday, May 31, 2008

whirlwind tour of a week!

So last Tues the 27th was supposed to be the organizational meeting of my new book group at la biblioteca. I attempted a To Kill a Mockingbird book discussion in conjunction with The Big Read and it didn't turn out so well but I was hoping that was just because everyone was just Bird-ed out...*insert sad clown face here* Only one person came and she was a friend of mine. KT and I had gotten tons of questions about it over the past several weeks and people seemed really interested in the format as this will be a group where we pick a genre each month instead of one book. Participants can choose whatever book they'd like to read as long as it falls within the selected genre. I liked it, management adored the idea and we go positive feedback from all the hand sells but again, my friend A was the only one to show up and she was a teensy bit late. I'd already sat down with a cream cheese danish and teared up a bit when she dashed in. I had to wipe my tears away real quick and get down to business. Since that meeting I've had 2 people ask for details since they either forgot or couldn't make it on the day of. KT called our regional reporter at the Birmingham News so maybe I will get to do an inch or two of interview in the paper! That would be exciting! I'm hoping she'll just work with the info KT gave her so I can be the chicken livered girl that I'm so good at being. Anyway, I'm going to keep trying to get this started...I'm just such a sore loser. If I can't be good at something on my first try, I frequently quit and don't try again. I just read a good book that gave me some tips for defeating that...Alice Domar's Be Happy Without Being Perfect. Good advice, pretty real world stuff and little or no preachiness, I highly recommend it. So I'm going to give it another whirl and see what kind of trouble I can get into next month.


Wednesday the 28th was our first meeting for the newly revamped one-county-one-book sort of program. It won't be anywhere near as big a shindig as the Big Read was...this will definitely be more of a grass roots effort revolving around book clubs. Set for October, the selection is Rick Bragg's new book, The Prince of Frogtown. I went out and bought a copy since ours will be hung up on one reserve list or another for a few months yet. The programming committee I'm on is meeting next week and I wanted to know what it was about before I start planning any programming around it. People, it is GOOD! Southern culture, history, and hope for the future all rolled up in one. This book is supposed be the last leg of a sort of biographical trilogy that began with Bragg's book about his mother, All Over But the Shoutin', then continued with his grandmother's life in Ava's Man. I read this book in two sittings and was entranced every step of the way. Storytelling, Appalachian history, the Creek Indians, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and close friends round out the rest of the tale like nothing I've ever read before. This book should make it onto a junior and high school reading list next year if any of the teachers in this town have a brain in their head. Hopefully, when October rolls around we can get everyone reading this book again or for the first time. I've already put Shoutin' and Ava's Man on hold for myself so I'll know the whole story.


Thursday was fairly uneventful. I taught class #2 of the 6 week Senior Surfing course I'm in charge of. It's a really good group that make me feel like I'm really giving something back to the community. I have four students who are all in late 60's to early 70's and they are all doing great. I have one who's having some trouble with the mouse, but I saw marked improvement since the first class. Occasionally, when I've had a bigger class and have needed someone to help out they never fail to mention how surprised they are to see someone who has never used a computer before. I really believe teaching this class keeps the thought fresh in my mind that using a computer is still a miraculous thing. It's almost like magic to them. They are tentative to sit down in front of it and terrified to touch it, like it will explode. I tell them the chances of them actually "breaking" it are remote unless they throw it to the floor and stomp on it but the look in their eyes lets me know that they don't quite believe me. Something else that I hear from my classes with a consistency that hurts is that they've asked their children and grandchildren for help, but they go too fast. You have to go S-L-O-W with this. We've only done mouse tutorials for the first two classes. I've promised them we'll get to surfing around on the internet next week and maybe LOOKING at an email account. We'll see. I hope they find somewhere and some time to practice between last class period and next week. I'd love to see them sending email next week if possible. As frustrating as this can be, it is very rewarding when they glow with pride over their own accomplishments.


Friday was a big day! I met KT, her daughter E, at the J and E's friend brought her mom and 3 sisters with her! So there were 4 children and 3 adults (do I REALLY count in that?) and we had a blast watching them frolic in the water, doing some frolicing ourselves too. We had lunch there and not long after the girls got back in the pool afterward it started to sprinkle. Then it started to rain pretty hard. No thunder, no lightning, just a good ol' Alabama summer shower. What did we do you may ask? We put our stuff under a tent, jumped in the pool and swam in the rain. I felt like a kid again. I used to love to play in the rain when I was a little girl and my mom always let me as long as it wasn't thundering and lightning. I saw one girl scramble out of the pool and run to get under a tent. I laughed so hard I was crying and I'm glad the rain covered up the sound of it so I didn't hurt her feelings but I couldn't help it. Why on earth would you jump out of the SWIMMING POOL to avoid getting rained on? Her mom obviously never let her play in the rain.

Later on I met KT at Red Robin for dinner before our big night out at Sips-N-Strokes! You all know T and I have been before and it was KT, T and I this time around painting (or in my case, attempting to paint) Monet's Waterlillies. I think mine looks like a UFO invasion in which 3 of the craft have caught fire. As soon as I get home next Saturday I'll upload the photos and you can make your own description. I call mine, Monet's Invasion. We painted, drank wine, got silly, then all went our separate ways.


Today was a monster day at la biblioteca! My last housesitting job ended last night so I went to my own personal home for one night, refilled the Binkster's water, food and cleaned her litter box, slept a little bit then got back up to come into work and start my next petsitting gig. So I'm typing at you live and direct from Tucker and Cole's abode! They've been really sweet and we sat outside after work and they made mushy, limpid brown eyes at me while I ate dinner but I still didn't share. Okay, I shared a couple of fries with Cole while Tucker was being nosy with the Rott puppy next door. He'd come back over, sniff the ground, and stare at Cole and I with suspicion. Cole, near-human, would look off into the distance like he wasn't still tasting the salt off that french fry. It was a great afternoon. Tomorrow will be even better. I said I wasn't, but I think I will GO TO THE POOL again! Get some sun, make some Vitamin D and read another book! Yay for swimming pools!


You know what is not fun? Paying bills. I just wiped out an entire paycheck in about 45 minutes. Holley T needs a budget in the worst way. I'm going to get myself in trouble if I don't get a handle on this impulsive spending streak I've got. I don't know where I could have picked it up...oh wait, I have a mother who has quite a wide streak herself. Is spending genetic? KT, perhaps DH should delve into that research topic instead of the,......the mitochondrials. My mom and I could come in for testing to identify the spending gene.


Enough about me, what's going on with you? Going back to the swimming in the rain anecdote, what summer activity makes you feel like a kid again? If you are a kid, what is your favorite summer activity?

Anyway, evenin' ya'll!

Monday, May 26, 2008

a battered fedora

for those of you in the know, that's the only clue you needed to figure out that I've just seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I unconditionally love IJ strings attached...and I thought this one delivered. I know some will have something to say about the denouement but there is nothing in this movie that has not been actually run through the grist mill of urban legend prior to Spielberg and Lucas getting ahold of it so don't pull back on those suspension-of-disbelief reins! Give that pony the bit and let it run, you'll have a great time! And sit up close so it's truly larger than life!

I am at Tucker and Cole's house right now and I'm about to be underway to the houseful of pets where I'm actually staying, then it's off to KT's for more fun than you can shake a stick at! I heard rumors of a slip-n-slide, but I'm not going to try it because I'm pretty sure this tank@$$ would turn it into a stumble-n-stick. I will have no qualms about running around in the sprinkler, participating in a spoon race or trying to unrust my horseshoes game however.

I sincerely hope everyone has had a great Memorial Day weekend with fun, frivolity, and time to reflect on what it means outside of a day or two off work.

afternoon ya'll!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

coot widdle babies!

...and I didn't get any pictures today, but I will photograph them tomorrow like they're america's next top models! Der so widdle (insert *awwwww* here)! Their names are Isabaux (forgive me if that is not the correct spelling) and Bella....Bella pooped on me while I was giving her a bottle. I guess that's karma for me remembering with fondness and amusment how Scarlett peed on T's bed...

As I said, I'll be back at T's house tomorrow for A's bday and I'll take lots of pics. Unfortunately I will not be home to download them from my camera until Friday so you will have to just live with my superior powers of description 'til then :)

Izzy is (right now, anyway) a sort of slate gray color, may or may not have some brindling later, with white on her neck and maybe on her legs. Bella is patterned much the same but looks like she may turn out to be a fawn or liver colored pooch. We shall see. Eyes and ears locked down tight still but Izzy will be the first to open her eyes as it looks right now. They had a slight medication or formula change (I can't remember which) and both now have upset little tummies which I was the unfortunate victim of. I should have had some sort of burping pad under her I suppose. I did take heart from the fact that T said they'd pooped on everyone so far :) The funnier part was, I was trying to wipe myself and the puppy off and too late remembered what comes of wiping a puppy's tushy. I also got peed on. Binky, if you spontaneously develop the ability to use a computer, read human English and find your way to this blog, I'd just like to say I love you and all your uniquely independent kitty attributes.

evenin' ya'll!

Friday, May 23, 2008

summer is here . . . .

. . . .and the summer petsitting bonanza has begun. I have two jobs this weekend with a third having been called off at the last minute late last night. I could have done with the money but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't grateful. Ferrying my goodwill between two households is work enough thank you very much. Unfortunately, Tucker and Cole's house is my visiting job while Darby, Orion and Piglette comprise the stay-at house. There are four cats there too but I don't know their names yet. T & C's mom is going back out of town on the 31st and I'll be actually staying with them for another week then but I'll be at D, O and P's house until then. It's all very confusing to write about but I have a little calendar in my purse that keeps me straight on where I'm supposed to be and when. Summer is always a big traveling time and people like their pets to be happy and comfortable while they're gone. I guess if I ever get tired of being a librarian, it wouldn't be all that difficult to get a job at a professional petsitting service. I'd hope my clients would follow me although they would not be happy about the price increase :)

I'm SO excited about tomorrow! Not only do I not have to go to work, but I'm going to get the rest of my hair cut off AND I get to go see my new future pet sitee's! My friend T has adopted 2 (count em', 2!) one week old pitbull puppies from a local pitbull rescue association. T and her family have always had pits but have been dogless since old age and disease claimed their last two, the sweethearts Betsy and Scarlett. I'll share a funny (only now is it funny, T sure didn't think it was funny at the time. ***If I've already blogged about this here, please forgive my scorching case of CRS (can't remember sh!t)*** Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances surrounding my mother's crappy boyfriend's drug abuse, our subsequent flight for our lives, and a whole host of bad decisions on my mom's part (which we've long since laid to rest and gone on about our lives over), I found myself without a place to live and with very little money to remedy the situation. My friend T and her mom took me in, rent free until I could get a job that allowed me to pay them anything. Betsy and Scarlett were the belles of the household until Betsy tragically got into some fairly rancid post party poolside garbage and ate enough of it to get a fatal case of garbage gut...she fought it hard and T and her mom did too, with all available resources but it was Betsy's time to go. Scarlett subcumbed to cancer if I remember correctly (isn't it amazing how your brain suppresses so well what it doesn't like?). On to happier, funnier stuff. T and her mom had to be at work earlier than me so Scarlett would come get in the bed with me until it was time for me to get ready for work. We were best buds the whole time I lived with them. When I finally got a decent job and could move out on my own, Scarlett mourned. She showed her grief by A) looking for me in the house at the times I should have been coming in from work and B) peeing in T's bed several times. I don't know why she thought it was T's fault. Maybe she would have peed in my bed there if I hadn't of taken it with me when I moved out. Who knows? All I remember is giggling about it when T told me. She wasn't giggling.

tee hee

To those who've listened to all the stories about pits and would rise up in exclamations of fear, I won't get up on my soapbox about it, but pitbulls get a tremendously bad rap and that's all I'll say.

Sunday is T's niece's birthday (Happy 10th, A!) and I'll be over at her house again enjoying the festivities (okay, I'll be playing with the puppies too damnit!).

Monday I'm gonna go hang (margaritas included I hope) over at KT's for some truly fabulous blue cheese burgers!

Now, go out there and have a good time doing SOMETHING! If you can't be good, be good at it :)

night ya'll!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If exams weren't over tomorrow.....

.....I'd be skinnin' me some teenagers.
I've already yelled myself hoarse, kicked two of them out for wrestling and almost falling down the marble staircase, and just caught one throwing a frisbee at another kid
all of this in the library, mind you
We've had upwards of a hundred junior high students in here since ~11am this morning. It is now 5pm and has just really quietened down.
Thursday, Thursday, Thursday, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I want a t-shirt that says "I survived the Big Read"! The last bus trip wound its way through the state with by far the most needy travelers of the four trips we took. It didn't help that it was raining in Montgomery and we were all drowned rats for the afternoon. I hate walking around in wet shoes, plus some places had the AC pumping and that, combined with wet clothes and hair, left some of us with a chill only displaced after a second glass of wine at lunch :)

But, it's over and now there is just the paperwork to be filled out!


On a different note, Sunday was Summer Reading Kickoff at the library and our new program for adults TOOK OFF! KT had some momentary concerns about no one signing up and I'll have you know she was working it like a presidential candidate out there and we had over 100 people sign up and everyone is VERY excited about this new program! I think the summer is going to be great! Our summer reading, on all fronts, gets bigger and bigger every year so I hope we can keep up the momentum.


Eeek! I'm mildly freaking out because the organizational meeting for my new genre-reading book group is next week! What if it's like last month and no one shows up?!?!?! KT did tell me that several people were asking about it at summer reading sign up and seemed excited about the prospect of an evening book group so I'm trying to keep the freak out to the bare minimum. I think it will be fun and different from other library book groups. I'm hoping at least a few members of the male gender will be interested. KT doesn't have any men in her book group and most of the other librarians I know who run book groups don't have any either. I know you men read, so what's the deal? I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for sure!


I have 3 petsitting jobs in the next 2-3 weeks so I'll have to be away from home but I will be making some much needed extra cash. For gas certainly, but also to pay for my lawncare. My usual person, whom I called OVER a month ago, has not yet shown up and there is now some prime hay in my yard. I've been pulling right up to my front steps because I'm anxious about being bitten by snakes. They are no doubt populating the overgrown areas of my yard and I just can't deal with that. Not to mention mice, rats, spiders and all the other lovelies that I don't want migrating into my house.

Last week I stopped in at Jack's for some meal or other and there was a lawncare business card taped under the drivethru window so I jotted the number down and called today. I got a prompt call back and he said he would drop by in about 45 minutes and I told him that would be fine. I tidied up a few things in the kitchen (the house is getting cluttered again!) then hopped in the shower, figuring I still had about 30 minutes before I could expect him. When I got out of the shower, Binky was slinking around the room, head and tail down, looking for a place to hide. Well, sh!t, he must be here. I slung some clothes on and sure enough, a truck was just beginning to back out of the yard. I ran to the door in my crooked, hastily donned clothing with a towel wrapped turban style around my wet hair. I told him I thought I'd have more time and apologized for almost missing him.

OMG, I didn't even have my glasses on and could still tell that this person quite possibly one of the most handsome men I've seen in real life. Stupidity-inducing handsomeness. Which is always what you want to see when your clothes (your PLUS SIZE clothes!) are on crooked, you have a towel on your head, and you're squinting because you left your glasses on the counter in the haste to get to the door.

He is very nice, but also very expensive. I'm not sure how I'll pay for this the whole summer. But he will be mowing the lawn even if I have to start selling my possession on eBay! You want to know the most embarrassing part. I'm having to pay almost $100 dollars extra for an initial bush-hogging fee since the first cut can not possibly be made with a lawn mower! I suspected that would be true, but it was still mortifying to have it confirmed. He said he'll cut it twice so I won't just have "hay laying around all over the place" (and that is a quote!) and it will look nice. I'm really kinda put out with the lady who said she would be here a month ago. She's cut my grass for the past 3 summers and then just dumped my business with not a word. I'm writing a letter to let her know that I've procured another lawncare service because I could just see her showing up and then getting two bills for this. Then I would be pissed off instead of simply

put out.


I hope you've made it to the end without getting too bored with the lawncare discussion, but it's summer in Alabama so outside of gas prices and humidity, keeping your lawn under control is pretty high on the list of homeowner complaints. Or at least it is on mine! :)

Afternoon ya'll!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

tuesday ruminations

So, to catch up...the storms of Saturday night/Sunday morning split and went around my house. I remember waking up only one time when the power blinked out and I noticed that it was lightning fit to die but I couldn't hear a whole lot of rain and the thunder wasn't as loud as I thought it should be with that much lightning. The power came back on momentarily and I listened to the radio for a while until I ascertained that the storm was indeed not coming through my area, then I went back to sleep.

I picked Mom up 10-ish, gave her the pine needle basket (which she LuRvEd!), and we had lunch at the Emperor's House II Chinese restaurant in Eastwood before heading over the Rave theater at Patton Creek to see What Happens in Vegas (starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher). It was a very funny, cute, and entertaining movie to watch and I would enjoy seeing it again if the opportunity presents itself. I'm sad to say that after that, Mom just tagged along with me while I bought groceries then we went back to our respective houses.

Funny Mom story - Mom recommended the apple pie at the restaurant which was made with philo (sp?) dough instead of a regular pie crust. I don't usually like cooked apples but I decided to give it a try and I put a little soft serve ice cream on top of it, maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons full. I am lactose intolerant and I just wanted the creamy flavor, not gastrointestinal fallout. I got back to the table and Mom saw the ice cream. She frowned and said, "Holley! What about your latex intolerance?" After I snorted apple pie out of my nose, she herself caught on to what she had actually said and in a rush, "Well, that thing you have about milk! I know it's not latex! You know that a latex intolerance is...."

And I'll leave it there because I just sat with my mouth hanging open as MY MOTHER described for me just what "latex intolerance" is. I finally said to her, "Mom, it's a latex sensitivity, not an intolerance, and I KNOW what it means! I have LACTOSE intolerance!" I could literally feel the people around us staring.

Yesterday was a relatively uneventful day here at la biblioteca. We were busy and the day passed quickly. I exercised yesterday morning and this morning as well as having a super healthy day 98% of the time for both days too! I had gained 6 pounds when I weighed in yesterday and it hurt my feelings something awful. Not awful enough to keep me out of Milo's for dinner tonight but I had a bang on healthy day up to this point and I will have good days for the rest of the week! I vow it! I will not lose my momentum!

KT and I have been out shopping for prizes for the Summer Reading program we are working on for grownups, the first one at this library. The Children's Dept and the Teen librarian have been doing one for their respective demographics for years and we decided kids didn't need to have all the fun. We are putting together a grand prize gift basket with picnic ware, a bottle of wine, books, CD's, DVD's, Playaways, and an iPod Shuffle. We may add more stuff to it as we come up with more ideas. Weekly prizes include a shaved ice snow cone maker, a Planet Earth DVD board game, a keychain digital camera, and an Mp3 player. There are 8-10 weeks to the Summer Reading program so we have a few more prizes to buy but we just got tired and had to leave. Next time we'll have to start earlier in the day when neither of us has been on our feet out on the floor all day. Kickoff for the SRP is this coming Sunday and I'm actually starting to look forward to it!

Of course, it helps that the LAST bus trip to Montgomery/Monroeville/Selma is day after tomorrow. I will be glad to get this particular bit of library programming behind me as I am exhausted just from worrying about it, not to mention actually going on the trips. I have, as you can tell from all the photos, really enjoyed the Old Live Oak Cemetery and I look forward to exploring that last quadrant on Friday. No doubt I'll put up some more photos from this last journey and I just hope the weather holds!

evenin' ya'll!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I'm tired, people. Thank goodness, the last B1g Re@d bus trip is next week and I won't have to think about it again. It is stressful taking that many people way off into the country and making sure they see lots of interesting sights. Week before last, we were an hour out of Birmingham watching Spike Lee's documentary 4 Little Girls when I heard a little swell of conversation behind me. I distinctly heard the word "sick" and quickly turned around to look just in time to see the person two seats back vomit, then sort of pass out with their eyes rolled back in their head. The word "stroke" was bandied about while I whipped my cell phone out and called 9-1-1. Luckily we were seconds from and exit and the driver darted off the interstate. The ambulance was there in a flash and they were concerned something cardiovascular was going on so the man was whisked into the ambulance, his wife picked their luggage up from underneath the bus, the ambulance left and we got back on our way. Nothing else of an emergency-type situation occured but I don't have to tell ya'll how glad I was to get back home...

Last week's trip was relatively uneventful although we had a few high maintenance passengers with ENDLESS questions about every miniscule detail. When we pulled into the mall at the end of the trip though, everyone raved about what a great time they had so it was a SUCCESS! I'm sure next week will be the same and we can consider the whole venture also a success and tack on those last, wise words....a good time was had by all :)

So, I'm watching SNL and it is really pitiful when I remember the good shows with Belushi, Martin, Chase, Ackroyd and their ilk. I should be asleep but caffeine is working its magic and although I am tired, I cannot go to sleep so I'll just watch bad tv and wait for the damaging winds and scattered tornadoes to get here later on this evening, or rather, early tomorrow morning. I hate the storms that come in the middle of the night, especially since I live in a manufactured home. I guess if I had a lick of sense I'd head on over to my Dad's house to spend the night but I'd rather be at much for a lick of sense. I'm really hoping these storms will go north of here.

I hope everyone has plans for Mother's Day tomorrow. I'm going to pick up Mom 10-ish in the morning, we'll have an early lunch then see a movie. I'm not sure about the rest of the day but Mom and I usually work pretty well with a flexible schedule. You can see a previous post for a photo of the pine needle basket I made for her today.

Well, off to sleep and I hope everyone in the path of the storms here has a safe night!

Yay for Wendy's

What the hell does this mean?
Sorry for the odd angle but the light turned green and I just barely managed to snap it but this needed to be shared with the world. I couldn't decide if this was a Wendy's problem or a Bessemer problem.
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more from Old Live Oak Cemetary

a piercing gaze. I hope you can see the lace on her shaw and collar in this photo. Beautiful and sad.
in the old section of the cemetary, many of the markers have been lain flat. I don't know if the break here occurred before or after the rearrangement but the moss makes me think it was afterwards.
I could find no indication on the grave, but I assume this is the wooden tombstone that first marked the grave. Creepy.
You know what's even more creepy? Random animal skulls flung about. How 'bout them apples?
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look what I made today!

That's a sliver of black walnut in the middle of the lid. I took a pine needle basketry class today at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I'm giving this to my mamacita on the morrow. I thought I would try to find a wide glass dish to set down in it and get a posey of flowers to really show it off. It needs a coat of lacquer but I don't think that will happen before I give it to her. Yep, 31 years old and I still make stuff for my mom for Mother's Day...keeps me feelin' young!
It is now 10pm and I have been working on this since about 9:30 this morning, minus driving time and lunch and dinner of course. I really like the craft. There was someone from my book group in the class when I got there so I got to sit with someone I knew AND we decided we liked this well enough to go in together on the supplies to do it regularly. She has a long leaf pine in her yard and we'll buy some of the synthetic sinew and large sowing needles for the rest. The sawed nut shells we'll have to work on. It is fun and made me feel like a real folk artist although I did poke myself with the needle about 50 million times and ended up with the pointy end of a pine needle stuck in the tender flesh under my fingernail TWICE! It is not for the faint of heart or the easily bored. I would liken it to counted cross stitch or embroidery, only requiring more muscle :)
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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

say what you want....

....I can hardly wait!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

movies I'm looking forward to

Summer 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Get Smart



Tropic Thunder

Iron Man

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The Promotion



Star Trek (J.J. Abrams, baby!)

my fangirl post for the day

Guillermo is directing The Hobbit!

Elizabethan faerie intrigue...

Have a look at the new book by Marie Brennan that I am chomping at the bit to read! I received an ARC but haven't started it yet. I was going to try and finish the book I'm currently involved in (Lawrence Goldstone's The Anatomy of Deception) but I don't think I can wait. Click here for an interview with Marie Brennan about Midnight Never Come and click here for her LiveJournal Page! Also, some good press from SFX, the UK's biggest sci-fi magazine!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I signed up to get emails from the weightloss website I'm using,, and I've gotten some really great food for thought in the last several weeks. Of course, I will share it with you here!

Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow; whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die.- Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu's teachings
How Well do You Roll with the Punches?
Change is the natural order of the world. When something tries to stand against the force of change, it's eventually destroyed. Cliffs are eroded, trees are uprooted, granite cracks. People can crack too. For us to grow and live--to flourish--it takes adaptation and learning. Stubborn attachment to a single set of "knowledge" or way of doing things leads to stagnation of the mind and spirit. Remember to keep an open mind to new people and new ideas. Challenge yourself to always be learning something new. Focus on the possibilities of a fresh start, instead of hanging on to old frustrations. Sails are made with cloth for a reason. When they're stiff, winds beat against them until they tear. But if the sails are relaxed and workable, the wind can take you to places you've never been before.

"Focus on the possibilities of a fresh start, instead of hanging on to old frustrations." This statement really stood out for me because I am a brooder. I spend a great deal of time by myself and what better way to fill that time than to brood on what I need to do, haven't done, can't change, wasn't successful at, is difficult to attain, or what is out of my league? I can't even THINK of anything more productive or entertaining than that! So I'm trying to get back to the relaxed nature I used to have. I want to be a cloth sail. I want to be a method of travel instead of something ragged and torn.

Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.- Maurice Setter
Appreciation of the Good Things in Life
How many times are we blind to the good in front of us because we're looking past it for something better? It's like watching the railroad track your entire life, waiting for a train to come in and never realizing that you're sitting smack in the middle of the splendid Grand Central Station. Take a second look at your goals. Are they building on the good already in your life? Are you taking full advantage of the strengths you already have? Is it worth giving up what you have for what you might have? In many cases, the answer is yes. To that we say "Go for it!" with all the enthusiasm we can muster. Those are the meaningful goals. If the answer is no, try reworking your goals to include ones that complement your present life rather than substitute for it. Whatever the answer is for you, we could all use a little more appreciation for the pieces of silver in our lives.

Looking at my current goals: Building on the good already in my life? Uh, no. Taking advantage of my strengths? Um, not really. Could I give up what I have for what I might have? Not working so well at this point, no. But, going back to the previous quotation/pep talk, I've got to stop dwelling on the crappy job I'm doing at trying to just spontaneously get happy and WORK ON IT already. What I really need to do is start seeing my therapist again (sorry KT! I did intend to go back, I really did!) and *long suffering sigh* I feel like I might need to start back on the antidepressants again. I'm nowhere near where I was a year or two ago, but I don't want to let it get out of hand like I did the first time either.

There ain't much fun in medicine, but there's a heck of a lot of medicine in fun.- Josh Billings, 19th Century Humorist
Are You Taking Life Too Seriously?
When was the last time your doctor told you to stay home and watch "Seinfeld"? Or suggested a night out at the circus? Or told you to play fetch with a dog? It probably hasn't happened, but the day may not be far off. Laughter and fun are great ways to break down the walls of stress, preventing both mental and physical damage. Play time loosens up joints constricted by tension and poor posture. It brightens your attitude and is a healthy outlet for the most troubled thoughts. Even during our time off, it seems like we still spend a lot of time working--as a handyman, chauffer, mechanic, negotiator, therapist, cook, activist, or whatever is called for. Next time you're starting to feel the strain, think about how long it's been since you just played for the fun of it. It might be longer than you think. Then go buy yourself a toy.

Here's where I really drop the ball. Taking crap home with me to work on. Coming in on my day off. Volunteering for too much stuff. I want the people around me to be happy and pleased even if it's at my own expense. Ouch, that was painful to admit. I've gotten a little better at sticking up for myself since Mrs. Roomie moved out. She was just so volatile that I would do practically anything to keep the confrontations to a minimum and that habit has been a B!TCH to break. I'm still very much in the process and I don't want to spend the rest of my life as a door mat for the world. I don't know where I'll find the funding for fun, but I've already got my thinking cap on for inexpensive fun things to do in and around Birmingham.

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.- John Wooden, Hall of Fame college basketball coach
Believing In Yourself
Limitations can either define us or give us a challenge to outwit. When you look at your abilities, do you see boundaries and limits, or do you see possibilities and potential? Obsessing about weaknesses can blind us to the untapped abilities we already have. You have talent. Everyone does. The secret to success is to find that talent, develop it and push it as far as you can. Grandma Moses might have been a lousy bowler, Einstein probably couldn't sing a lick, Michelangelo could've been unable to speak well in public. So what? They knew what they were good at and rode that pony. Your talent might be right in front of you: where do you get the most compliments? What seems to come easily to you? What do people ask your advice for? Live there. Don't let the rest get in the way.

I don't know what my talent is. I mean, I have a librarian junk brain full of Dewey Decimal number schemes and book titles but outside of that? My pony is fairly small at this point. I guess the point is just as is says...developing talent. I'll have to work on that too.

We should consider every day lost in which we have not danced at least once.- Nietzsche, philosopher
Finding and celebrating the joy in life
Each day is a new chance to find joy and to dance. If you let it pass or think it useless, the chance is gone and you'll never get it back. When was the last time you played? Or just did something for the sheer fun of it? Joy is not found in the world around you, it's within yourself. You can make your own joy, especially during those dark times when you need to really feel alive again. Fun and play are healthy antidotes to taking life--and ourselves--too seriously. They're proven boosters of immune systems and mental health and make life worth the trouble. So do the twist. Sing in the shower. Learn a magic trick. Watch a cartoon. Challenge some kids to a game. Don't let a single day go to waste.

Sheesh, finding the joy in life. Sometimes it's easy, recently it's been tough. Today was exceptionally tough because I'm tired, I didn't want to go to the library, I was repulsed by the sight of the building when I got here, and it is SO beautiful outside today. The florescent lighting in here is not. I have not been nice to people. I have not gone out of my way to help them. Right now, I don't care if they find what they need or if they complain about me. I'd gladly be written up for it as long as they get the hint to leave me the F*#K alone.

So, cheerio everybody.