Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Red

Ramona Quimby Diary
July 1985


Dear Diary,
I hate it When My Mom or Dad or anybody imbarises Me in front of other people.


First of all, I love the way I capitalized all the pronouns, especially the ones that referred to Me. A God complex at 8? And then, awwww! What's wrong with mom and dad? You shouldn't embarrass your children in front of other people. Only in the privacy of your own home!

The plot thickens:

Once, we had a party at our house. I tyred to help my mom by telling My dad not to leen on the railing. everybody laughed.

Ah, the railing. Yes, that really did happen. It was a wrought iron railing that separated the dining room from the living room. "DON'T LEAN ON THE RAILING" is one of those things your parents tell you to, I don't know, scare the bejeezus out of you and prevent the house from being destroyed. Cause you know kids: railing in house = jungle gym! Whee!

Kids: Wow, this house has a jungle gym inside! Whee!

Parents: IF YOU BREAK THAT WE WILL KILL YOU. DON'T TOUCH THE RAILING. EVER.

Kids: Bah!

So my parents were having a party with a bunch of people from work. Young Liz enters the dining room and gasp! sees Dad leaning on the railing, talking and laughing with friends. As a child I usually had a healthy respect for the rules of the house, and in this case I thought my father must be out of his mind. Dad? Break a rule? Never! Something must be seriously wrong!

Being very shy, I had to muster up all my courage to approach my father and inform him of his infraction in front of all these strangers.

Me: Pop, you're not supposed to lean on the railing.

Pop: What, baby?

Guests: stare

Me: (getting redder by the minute) You're not supposed to lean on the railing.

Pop: I'm not supposed to wean a red herring?

Me: YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LEAN ON THE RAILING!

Guests: titter, as in, isn't it adorable when children try to enforce the rules?

Me: YOU'RE LAUGHING! YOU'RE ALL LAUGHING AT ME!! SOB CHOKE RUN FROM ROOM



Hoo boy, I will never live that one down.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

On the mend...

By the way, I think BFF and I have emerged from our first REAL fight in 10 years with our friendship intact. In celebration, I thought you might like to see a picture of the ship we traveled on, since I can now focus on the zillion positive parts of the trip, instead of the two negative ones.



Our bee-yoo-ti-ful Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Posted by Hello

Presenting: The Ramona Quimby Diary!

Dum da dum!

Yeah, so I finally remembered to unearth my very first diary. The Ramona Quimby Diary. Shut up, I thought it was awesome.

If you don't know who Ramona Quimby is, shame. SHAME. See? I use the SHAME technique because I know it works on puppies when they do something bad. In this case, you are the puppies and you should feel extreme SHAME for not knowing who Ramona Quimby is.

Seriously? If you don't know? There's nothing I can do to help you. If you come to me at the reference desk, I am bound by the American Library Association Code of Ethics to help you to research Ramona Quimby to the best of my ability, but in a blog I have no such duty. Why don't you go run to Google and take the first result that comes up, like all bad library patrons do.

Okay, so let's start with the cover. The original diary was kick-ass and looks completely different from today's reincarnation, so I will have to post a picture. Mine looks kinda dirty. I can see that I used to have a sticker on it that has since been peeled off, so I am left to wonder what it was. Scratch-n-Sniff? Puffy? Right near the skipping Ramona's head I wrote KEEP OUT. I took privacy and confidentiality very seriously, even at the tender age of 8.

Okay, inside the front cover are further threatening messages to deter would-be invaders. I like how I followed my threats with smiley-face exclamation marks, the way only 8-year olds can.


Kim!! :-) :-)

YOU keep OUT! :-) :-) :-)


Now, pay attention. The Ramona Quimby Diary people realized that mostly little people in the 8-years-old range would be using this diary. That means that there are lots of cute questions and fill-in-the-blanks, rather than yards of empty, lined sheets. Which could be pretty damn scary to a kid. Wha? I just learned to spell and you want me to fill this page with complete sentences?

So, the diary starts with January. Here are some of the best entries (as originally written and punctuated) and my snarky commentary. It's ok to be snarky to your former 8-year old self.


This year I hope this wish comes true: I pass 3nd grade.

Yeah, this is coming from the kid who got straight A's until high school (that's when trigonometry and other scary subjects came into the picture). I think I secretly longed to be a bad-ass in danger of retainment. And oh, I have no idea about the whole "3nd" thing.


My favorite present was: My Pretty Ponny and head set.

Pretty fonny! At least I had the good sense to capitalize a brand name.


Other presents I got were: sneakers & a ring a stapler, joging suit, pajamas, ear ring's, & a Cabeg Pach.

Again, appropriate use of capitalization, if not spelling, for "Cabeg Pach". And wha? A stapler? The present only my dad could give. I get my obsession with office supplies directly from him. And I don't know what you are doing when you wear a "joging" suit, but it sounds a hell of a lot more fun than jogging.


The funniest part was: The block cassle fell on me!!

Okay. Seriously? I think I remember making this up. I was so distraught that NOTHING funny had happened at Christmas time, NOTHING at ALL, that I made up the most hilarious thing I could think of. When you're 8, a tower of hard wooden blocks coming down on your head might be pretty side-splitting. Today, I might choose to write:

The funniest part was: When I had too many white cosmos at the Majestic and fell in the middle of an intersection on the way back to the car!

Bwah ha ha.

And now for the Breaking News from the RQ Diary:

Dec. 4th 1984

I lernd cursuv writeing.





Tuesday, May 17, 2005

chunky

Yeah, so I brought in some bags of Hershey's Nuggets to help everyone drown their carpet sorrows and I am officially out of control.

They're more than a Kiss. Less than a bar. They're perfect little chocolate cutie-pie chunks. And sooooo delicious. (flavor recommendation? milk chocolate with almonds and toffee chips)

I put three bags in the little candy basket, and kept one in my office. You know, for reserves. Back-up. In case someone makes off with the basket and we're stranded in the library with no damn chocolate.

I swear I don't remember doing this, but I opened the bag. I must have. I must have been eating them all along. I just caught myself reaching in there, just a minute ago. The reason I caught myself? Because I actually had to scrounge in the bag to find a Nugget. Meaning? That the bag is no longer full. No longer half-full. It is almost empty, which means that I've eaten a zillion calories and grams of fat in one day and not even enjoyed it.

This is a crime. And consuming that much chocolate must explain why I currently have the shakes. I've had to hit Backspace a trillion times to correct my typing.

Slihfods ishdh ruwoas strisn?

Phrffffffft.

Labels: ,

Carpet-shmarpet

Yup, new carpet. Still being installed. Or laid. Or whatever you do with it. The same carpet that was supposed to be done on Saturday, which is still being installed/laid/whatever today. Tuesday.

I craved bustle, but that's not exactly what I got. What did I get? Let's see:

1. dust

2. nauseating carpety smell that is probably killing all my remaining brain cells

3. dust and carpet glue residue on my favorite black sandals

4. a pissed-off student (she walked in the glue, too)

5. a backache

6. actually, the backache is from carrying a desk down three flights of stairs last night

7. sneezing and sniffling

8. the joy of trying to remember where every piece of library furniture goes, since the carpet installers/layers/whatever did not take any pictures or make any mental note of the whereabouts of ANYTHING before they shoved it around willy-nilly

9. a sneaking suspicion that I should have been the one to take pictures or make a mental note of the whereabouts of my furniture

10. a sudden compulsion to keep checking Medline Plus for information on the dangers of solvent exposure.

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

New carpet = excitement

I HATE summers in this library. It's just too damn quiet. You know what most librarians hear from patrons all the time?

Patron: Wow, I'd love to work in a library. It's so nice and quiet.

More like very nearly freakin' intolerable. You know what I love? Brisk business. Lots of people asking questions, lots of problems to solve. Throw in a printer jam and a network foul-up, and I'm giddy.

I sat on the desk for four hours yesterday and only encountered one person who opened the door, exclaimed, "What the hell!", and bolted.

I have no idea.

You know what most librarians hear from their non-librarian co-workers all the time?

Non-librarian co-workers: A slow summer must be a great time to get caught up on things.

More like a great time to consider jamming my letter opener into my open palm. Today I thought I'd "catch up" on reading the comments in the suggestion box. There was one. It said, "The copier is a rip-off, yo!"

The only thing that made me feel better was seeing that the student took the time to correct his original mis-spelling of "rip" with White-Out.

Now, this need for activity contrasts mightily with my Home Life. When at Home, I prefer to have nothing going on. One or two plans in the works, maybe, but nothing more. Otherwise, I get stressed. I start to FREAK OUT. I wonder WHERE ALL MY FREE TIME IS GOING. When will I EVER HAVE TIME to do the things I want to do in life. Like achieving world peace. Or finally getting to rent the ever-loving taking-their-sweeet-time-releasing-it fifth season of The Sopranos from Blockbuster.

Dammit.

So you see, I've recently learned that both activity or a lack thereof can make me cagey and prone to violence. There is no good solution, except for the Home and Work worlds to remain separate and for each maintain the desired levels of bustle.

Desired:

Work: 10 Home: 0


Current reality:

Work: 0 Home: 1,562

The only thing I have to look forward to next week is the likelihood that my library will be getting new carpet, and my director prefers to remain open for business. Now this might create some bustle that I can really sink my teeth into.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The rise and fall

Okay, the blast from the past will have to wait. I forgot to look for the RQ diary... will put that on The List.

The library has been quiet today. It's exam week, and students are mostly studying madly and don't need much help from us. Boy, does that take me back. Gearing up-- and surviving-- exam week felt like climbing Mount Everest. Except that while I imagine I would not like to climb Mount Everest (mostly because I can't stand to be cold), I strangely did enjoy the chaos of final exams. The Sanka! The lack of sleep! The holing yourself away in the remotest of library stacks, furtively highlighting and scribbling flash cards and sneaking fistfuls of Golden Grahams cereal to subsist. Ahh, I loved it. And if I was one of the lucky ones to have 3 or 4 exams in one day? God, the adrenaline rush!

Funny thing about getting older. Self-censorship dimishes significantly as the years go on. Yes, I can openly admit now that I was a Nerd who loved a good 8-hour study marathon. Openly admit it in my anonymous blog...

SO... what to do when managing your best friendship gets to feeling like gearing up for exam week? (here's where you all fill in for my journal/husband)

My last post was about a fight I had with my BFF. Lesson Learned: calling someone in the middle of the night after your anger has been simmering for a good 4-5 hours and dumping on her, then saying goodnight and hanging up, will only come back to bite you in the ass.

BFF and I had decided last year to take a vacation together. I think the idea first sprouted at least a couple of years ago, but she had some personal goals she wanted to reach beforehand to make it a celebratory event. When I got the green light from her, we started planning.

So we went on our vacation in April. A cruise to the Bahamas. We couldn't wait, and as we were riding the bus to Port Canaveral I realized how good it felt to be excited and happy together. Excited and happy about the same thing. And because that felt striking, I realized that the feeling must have been missing for a while.

I admit I was anxious before the cruise. I made the stakes high. I wanted this to be a trip that would be fabulous and remembered as this great thing we had done when we were young. I was hoping BFF's frustration tolerance would be higher, that she wouldn't sigh or snap or get upset, so that I wouldn't have to feel angry/sad/bad and figure out how to deal with it.

Things went very, very well for the first 3 days. On day 4, there were some Minor Incidents. Including one where she got frustrated with me and stalked off to another part of the room. When I followed her and asked, "Did I do something?" she said that it was because we were being too indecisive and going back and forth with "What do you want to do?" "Well, whatever you want to do..."

Another time, we were going to hang out by the pool. She'd said she wanted to find some chairs poolside, so we went a-hunting. All of them were taken, so we went to the upper deck and found two together. I pointed out that we could turn the chairs so that they were facing the lower pool deck, rather than the ocean. She said no, that's ok. A few minutes later she asked, "Well, do you want to turn the chairs around?" I said no, I just suggested it because I thought she was upset that there hadn't been anything down by the pool. She bellowed, "I was not upset!!"

"Okay!" I said. "I'm sorry!"

Sheesh.

Anyhow, a few of these incidents peppered our last two vacation days.

On the last day we get to the Orlando airport, where we were prepared to spend a couple hours waiting for our flight. BFF suggested checking on an earlier flight, which seemed like a great idea. But then I realized that my hubby, who was to be our ride home, would not be home from work yet. We discussed finding another ride, but realized that even if we got to my house, we didn't have keys to get inside.

BFF asked if my husband could leave work earlier, if maybe my mom could come get us. I said that maybe, but I didn't really want to ask them to change their schedules around. BFF was not happy about this. She didn't really say anything, but I could tell that she thought I was Wrong. Standing to the side, sighing, pursing her lips, not looking at me. So, I borrowed her cell phone and started dialing.

Turns out that hubby could not get out early enough to pick us up, but he could meet us at the house and let us in. Turns out that my mom, who had the day off, was willing to pick us up. Problem solved.

But I was mad. If I don't want to ask my husband to miss meetings and change appointments at work, then I shouldn't feel pressured to do so. And if I don't want to ask my mom to drive for essentially 2 hours (to the airport, to my house, back to her house), then ditto. BFF's explanation was, well, that's what friends and family are for. You ask when you need a favor. My feeling is, when what you're asking will cause inconvenience, and you know the people will feel badly about saying no, then you don't ask. Especially if the only difference is waiting for a couple of hours in an airport. It's fine with me if BFF wants to, but she can do that with her own family members. Let me approach mine (or not) in the way I feel is best.

So at some point I got fed up and exploded. I was sensing frustration coming from BFF and I finally exclaimed, "What?! What is your problem?" or something rude like that. She came back with, "I don't know what to do for you", and stalked off.

When we finally arrived at our gate, I was trembling, I was so angry. She kind of put her stuff down but didn't really look at me. She said she was going to get some coffee, did I want some? No.

Finally, when she came back and sat down, I waited for her to say something. When she didn't, I said, "Can we talk about this now?"

So... the talk. Hooooo boy, I was trying to stay calm and remember all those good communication techniques I learned in social work school.

Me: BFF, sometimes when we are together, I feel anxious when you get frustrated.

BFF: You perceive that I am frustrated!

Me: Well, if what you were showing wasn't frustration or being upset, I don't know what it could be.

BFF: Well, I'm not.

Me: Sometimes, when we're planning to get together, I'm even anxious in advance, worrying that something like this will happen.

BFF: Well, if you're so worried about something that hasn't even happened yet, maybe you're creating the thing you're anxious about!

Okay. So now we've established that what I'm observing and upset by is a product of my imagination and I've created it all myself.

It was excruciating. I wanted to be mature and communicate effectively, and most importantly, make it all okay. But sometimes I also wanted to yell, "Are you kidding me?! Listen to what you just said!"

So the midnight phone call came to bite. I can't remember what I said, but BFF exploded with,

"Well, what about you! You call me in the middle of the night and say something like that to me, and I don't know what you were thinking, that maybe you would get my voice mail or what!"

Me: I was so upset by that incident that I couldn't sleep. And I needed to tell you that.

BFF: So fine, you call and unload it on me and then I can't sleep all night!

Touche. That is a valid point. And looking back, I know she is right. That was a lousy thing to do. And very immature.

Me: Well how am I supposed to know that upset you so much! You just go on and pretend like everything is fine; how am I supposed to know if you don't say anything!


But the most interesting and disheartening thing to come out of this was the fact apparently BFF perceives that I think I am better than her. This just slipped out, and then she kind of pretended that she didn't say it. But I wasn't going to let that drift away. If she said it, then I needed to know what was backing it up.

Me: (incredulous) What have I ever done to make you feel like I think I'm better than you? What? Because I don't think that, and if I've made you feel that way, I need to know what I said or did.

Her eyes instantly teared up. She blamed it on allergies, but any time the topic of "I'm better" came up, the same thing happened.

BFF: I don't know. It's silly. I'm embarrassed to even bring it up.

I can't even remember now, but I think she finally admitted that she doesn't think that I have a superiority complex, that she thinks it's just her own insecurities coming into play. But she finally gave me an example of a time when she felt I was playing the better half.

BFF: Well, remember the time we went to Firefly after your conference?

Me: Yes...

BFF: And we ordered some kind of fish as an appetizer?

Me: Oh yeah, the tuna.

BFF: And you said that the tuna was sushi-grade...

Me: ?

BFF: ...as if, you know, "Since you don't go to restaurants like this, let me explain it all to you..."

Me: Well, I just thought it was an interesting fact... I rememberd the first time the waiter explained it to me, and I enjoyed knowing more about the food, so I thought you would, too..."

BFF: I mean, I'm not mad, I was even laughing about it the next day with a friend of mine. "She's explaining the tuna to me, and I'm like, 'I have had tuna before!', like 'I know I don't eat in nice restuarants a lot, but I have had tuna...'"

I know I was supposed to laugh with her, and be glad that she wasn't "mad" about the Tuna Incident, but I just felt... humiliated. We were on the plane by this time, so I kind of laughed and then turned to look out the tiny window so she wouldn't see my eyes filling.

I really felt cut to the bone, for a few reasons, I suppose. That she took something I said in a moment of passion and enjoyment and turned it into a commentary on her supposed lack of culinary experience. That the dinner at Firefly had burned in my memory as a really wonderful evening in the city with her, and then I found out that it wasn't. That she was making fun of me with a co-worker, laughing at something I had said with only the best of intentions.

I felt so foolish. And worst of all, I realized that there is some kind of infection in our friendship that is breeding bad feelings. The problem is, I don't know where it is or how it started. And I don't know how to heal it.

Labels:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It's been a while...

I had a feeling this would happen. Here it is, almost 5 month since my last post. Believe it or not, I used to journal every day. I first got hooked when I ripped open the balloon-print wrapping paper on my very own Ramona Quimby Diary. I should dig that out and post some of my musings from the elementary school days. The only thing I'm certain of is that I wrote "KEEP OUT-- and that means you, Robert Dunbar!" on the front page. I think I also called him a dum-dum. My apologies, Robert. I have no idea what you did to offend me so, but I'm sure my wrath wasn't justified.

[as a paranoid person I did briefly consider changing Robert's name, but I figure there must be dozens of Robert Dunbars in the world. Wait, I'm a librarian-- let me research this...

...just as I suspected. A quick search on switchboard.com pulled up over 100 Robert Dunbars. Whew.]

I continued to journal all through junior high and high school, and all of college, too. You know when I really stopped? After I got married. Journaling used to be a release for me, and now my husband does that for me. Somehow I'm not inspired to write about something after he and I have spent an hour discussing it.

Okay, get ready for a blast from the past in the next post...