Archive for September, 2010

September 29, 2010

library card exhibitionist

Checked Out

1. Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez

2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

3. Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

4. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

5. Northanger Abbey

6. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

7. Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

9. A Life’s Work by Rachel Cusk

10. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

11. The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates

12. This Hole We’re In by Gabrielle Zevin

13. For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage by Tara Parker-Pope

14. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

15. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

16. The Darjeeling Limited

17. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

18. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield

19. Getting Things Done by David Allen

20. Dancing on my Grave by Gelsey Kirkland

21. A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias

22. The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket

On Hold

1. Where I Want To Be by Adele Griffin

2. When in Rome

3. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

4. Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts

5. Shutter Island

6. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

7. Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes

8. My Hollywood by Mona Simpson

9. The Good Psychologist by Noam Shpancer

10. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

11. Empires of Food by Evan. D. Fraser & Andrew Riman

12. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

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September 28, 2010

highway in the sky

I live in one of the most walkable cities in the US, a city that also boasts a slightly unreliable but mostly efficient public transportation system,

and I miss my car.

A lot.

I am that spoiled.

What’s worse is that I’ve never been a big driving person to begin with. I delayed getting my driver’s license in high school, and even after I did, I was the friend who everyone offered to pick up or drop off, because if they didn’t offer, I’d find some sneaky way to ask.

Also, I drove a 1983 Oldsmobile Omega that had a bad habit of losing the will to drive while idling at red lights and then refusing to restart for an hour or so. That might have had something to do with it.

And I didn’t buy my own car until I was almost 21, and I pretty much HAD to find one so I could get from my apartment to my classes. If I had moved to Appian Way rather than Deerfield Village, I wouldn’t have bothered.

But driving freely around the state and the country for 3.5 years really ruined me.

I miss NPR.

I miss buying drinks at gas station stores.

I miss blasting music and singing at the top of my lungs.

I miss having an extra sweater or hairband or pair of shoes or 75 cents stuffed in between the seats.

I miss road trips.

But most of all…

I miss being able to manage my extreme forgetfulness with a quick U-turn,

because on days such as today,

when I got up at 6 a.m.

so I could go to Starbucks for a few hours and work on a paper at my leisure,

and realize once my dear darling boyfriend has dropped me off,

that both the book upon which my paper should be written,

AND the extensive lunch I delicately packed, full of healthful snacks to get me from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

were both still in my apartment,

that U-Turn could have come in handy.

Alas, alack,

I am stuck

watching trains pull up and pull away at Brookline Village, waiting for one empty enough for one-more-person to squeeze on

(third time’s the charm!),

procrastinating on my homework, despite my best intentions,

and spending 10 dollars

at the lousy salad bar

again.

Car, I miss you. I hope to see you again, someday, in Auto Salvage Heaven.

September 24, 2010

stop for me

Dear Brain,

I know, there’s a paper due tomorrow that needs work.

I know, it was just a really long day.

But could stay alert enough to get off at your proper bus stop,

so your body doesn’t have to walk back two bus stops

in the dark

at 9:30 p.m.?

Thanks.

Sincerely yours,

Jessica

September 22, 2010

here’s the thing

Things I’ve Been Thinking About

I. Libraries

Is is too early for me to be TOTALLY jaded about my career? I’m researching young adult librarianship for a class assignment (topic chosen by me, based on my own interests), and I’m reading all this stuff about how libraries NEED young adult librarians and they are CRUCIAL to the fabric of the world and blah blah blah.

And instead of thinking “Oh, yeah, awesome, we are needed and loved and someday if enough people continue to need and love YA librarians, I can get a job!” I’m thinking: “Um. That’s baloney. There’s no research saying we need and love YA librarians, or that kids need librarians at all, and the people who are saying ‘Yay, librarians for kids!’ are either A) Librarians for Kids B) Authors of children’s lit C) Publishers of children’s lit or D) Pining for the fjords their idyllic youth. Why aren’t there designated librarians for 25-30 year-olds? 60-90 year-olds? (They probably use the library a whole lot more anyway!)

I am SUCH A CYNIC I CAN’T STAND MYSELF!

Also, I’m never going to be gainfully employed. It seems the only activity I’m morally comfortable with is opening the library’s doors and pointing patrons toward a bookshelf or computer.

II. Inward/Outward

I remember when I was a kid, 10, 11, 12 years old, I just really wanted to be nice.

I didn’t want to be popular or exemplary or talented or well-liked or funny or good at sports or music.

I just wanted people to talk about me and say, “Oh, Jessica? She’s a nice girl.”

I wonder when that stopped being my central thesis of life.

It was a little confusing though, because when I was at school, I was Nice Jessica, but at home, my parents seemed to think I was fairly rude, selfish, and uncooperative.

Also, my sister told me I was manipulative the other day.

Me? Manipulative?

Yes, I can usually figure out how to get what I want in life, but that doesn’t seem manipulative. Especially given that my sisters use all the same tricks I do: they just think I’m the manipulative one because I’m the one who taught them.

At exactly what point does one become TOO self-absorbed to function?

III. Fall

It’s here. It’s cold.

What do I do in fall, again?

Put away my flip-flops?

Buy cold-weather clothes?

Pick apples for applesauce?

Waffle over/get ready for NaNoWriMo?

Look at leaves?

I can’t remember.

IV. Books

I am disappointed, all around, by reading this year. I’m disappointed by my own lack of reading motivation, and by the books available for me to read.

The only books I crave are old favorites I haven’t re-read TOO many times, usually dispensed by my iPod via audiobook.

It doesn’t help when I have 500+ page, 6 lb obscure 19th Century novels assigned for class, distracting me from literary enjoyment.

V. My Cat

I have Mondays off this semester. I realized, last week, that I haven’t had a full weekday off to do as I please since late April.

And boy howdy did I miss cuddling with my lovely kitty.

She’s just so dang cute!

September 20, 2010

audio visual

I should surely be doing my homework.

But there’s television. Remember that?

And movies On Demand.

And my obvious infatuation with Jason Segel.

Just like any hobby or passion, your celebrity crushes require regular maintenance.

Maybe tomorrow? Once I’m done procrastinating on this assignment, and can fully focus on procrastinating on Friday’s assignment.

September 16, 2010

fall 2010

When I was but a wee undergraduate, each new semester was an excitement. Any minute shift in my schedule would change my life. No more class on Friday? My life is complete. No Thursday night 9 to mid shift at the library? I can finally go out to a bar with my friends! Early classes and afternoons off? Nap! Gym! Homework!

I must have lost  my youthful exuberance since January of 2007, because I harbor no such delusions about Ye Old Grad School. At the beginning of each semester, I close my eyes, pinch my nose, and jump.

And every semester is a different cold, black-watered pool, swimming with things that bite. This fall, I have to survive:

  • LIS 403: Evaluation of Information Services
  • CHL 423: 19th Century Children’s Literature
  • 20 hours a week in Honors
  • 9+ hours a week at the reference desk
  • Organizing and making-liveable a new apartment
  • The usual onslaught of household chores, finance-keeping, social obligations, and personal maintenance.

So I’m assuming this semester will be trying, because it will be. I’m assuming there will be a rhythm, but I won’t know what that rhythm is for a few weeks.

I’m not trying to force anything here.

However, I have a few hopes for this fall semester:

1) I will take pride in my academic writing. Because I’ve turned in far too many a paper without even a proper proofread…

2) I will continue to prioritize healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping. Why bother with grad school if you’re just going to be grumpy and sick?

3) I will write things down. Which is less intuitive than you’d think.

4) I will be experimental with my caffeine intake. My vending machine has vanished, I can’t afford $4+ on Starbucks everyday, and I’m trying to cut back on fake sugar products. So stay tuned to see how THAT all works out…

5) I will apply what I’ve learned in my LIS classes to my new Ref Desk gig. Which is, surprisingly, fun!

6) I will write things down in fancy, expensive notebooks. Exclusively.

Done and done.

September 8, 2010

things i am loving lately

I. Pancakes & French Fries

II. This American Life

III. Heirloom tomatos

IV. Mad Men

V. My super adorable animal

September 6, 2010

uprooted

No, I will not shut up about moving yet, because I am absolutely floored by how much this move took/is taking out of me.

First, a little bit about my beloved boyfriend and I.

To put it plainly, he is the frog of the relationship, and I am the toad.

So our multitudes of discussions regarding this move went a little like this:

Toad: But, what about this potentially awful thing that might happen? What if it’s not even worth it to move?

Frog: That will not happen. Our new apartment will be sweet, the moving process will be free of complication and fairly cheap.

And, because I am a Toad who also works very hard to be more flexible and optimistic in her major relationship, I believed him.

When the move became more and more complicated, expensive, and difficult, my Frog was worn down. On Official Moving Day, I had to take the god forsaken 39 bus through standstill traffic all the way into school to work for a few hours. I hightailed it home quickly afterward, only to be kicked off my train and left to walk in the 95 degree heat, with sleep deprivation behind me and the prospect of unpacking all of my crap into a shared apartment space ahead.

Lance awaited me. “Remember when you were all upset last week and said we need to get rid of half of our stuff?” he asked. “Yeah, we’re doing that. Which boxes should I throw out now?”

This move was enough to break even the Froggiest of Frogs.

Whenever I talk about moving to Boston, the phrase “the worst day of my life” comes out of my mouth without any hesitation. A year ago, I let my Frog talk me into leaving Michigan at 2 in the morning instead of waiting until daylight hours. We made it to the first rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike before said Frog started falling asleep at the wheel. We dozed together for a few hours in the front of a very small pickup truck, and I woke up repeatedly with my heart throbbing in my chest, dreaming that someone in the rest stop parking lot was stealing all of our earthly belongings from behind us. After another nap, a little rain, tolls, hills, hundreds of miles traveled at 55 mph, and Red Sox traffic, we met our realtor in Boston and proceeded to move all of our belongings up three flights of stairs. It was after midnight when we finished.

However, when we woke up the next day, life hadn’t quite started. Getting there was the hardest part. This time around, life didn’t stand still for a few weeks while we got our bearings. Lance returned to school the next morning, picking up his first week of teaching where he left it. I reported for work at Job #1 at 9 a.m., and clocked out of Job #2 at 9 p.m., and classes started the next day.

Truth: I didn’t even have time to take a shower.

My brain did not enjoy this. My mental fog didn’t clear until about 2 p.m. on Thursday.

My body liked it even less. Excedrin. Sore muscles. Stress stomach.

It was like everything in my life vanished on Wednesday. It’s coming back slowly, in pieces, but unfortunately, grad school waits for no woman.

Papers. Readings. Articles. Oh, my!