Wednesday, February 19, 2014

World Wide Webnesday

I had three whole days off from work, which allowed for a lot of puttering, both around the house and the Internet. While a slightly cleaner house and a lot of clean laundry is the result of the house puttering, here's what came from my Internet rambles:


If you're tired of the usual (affordable but generic) stuff from Target, TJMaxx, etc., and you have a few extra bucks to spend, this global store--partnered with National Geographic--offers some absolutely drool-worthy works of art from all over the world. Ethically sourced (whatever that means) too, it seems.

My sister--fellow lover of lists and planners that she is--texted me this link last week. As far as I am concerned, this is the Holy Grail of organizers. As far as you're concerned, I may or may not have purchased one. 

These days I'm in a Gemini phase of being interested in beading all over again. I haven't purchased anything from these folks yet, but I'm seduced by the selection and the free shipping. Also the tutorials.

Women in the World
"The Lean In Collection", curated by the Getty Images and 2500 "images of female leadership." While yes, it's always awesome for the female sex to be acknowledged by the media (and if that's not the most trite and shallow statement ever, I don't know what is, so sue me. It's late), what's really remarkable is the depiction of leadership. I mean, there are images of little girls at play, women on picnics, women returning home from the army. I'm not saying that these aren't all depicting leadership; what I am saying is that perhaps leadership is a concept much broader than I've ever considered it.

Get your 80s on with this awesome coffee shop cover of Toto's Africa.

Pinterest Porn
Jennifer Jones' I Heart Organizing. (Also a blog.) While this chick is way out of my league when it comes to organizing and a well-run home, she's got a lot of great ideas that seem to be pretty dang feasible. Lots of great tips and life hacks.

Funny and True
32 Things You Learn Growing Up--painfully, funnily true, all of it. My particular favorite: #14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry means I will never wash this--ever." You'll catch yourself chuckling ruefully--and then relieved to know that, not only are you not alone in these thoughts--you're in a very crowded room.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Manic Monday: The Week Ahead

Little City, Big Events

The other night, when I was driving home from work, I drove past Sunnylands, like I always do. Usually, it's pretty dark and discreet, as befitting this formidable estate and playground to presidents. But that evening, I noticed blazing, garish floodlights and spotlights sending up the most intrusive light pollution I've seen since moving out here.

Guess there's a big event tonight, I mused. And then it occurred to me--um, no, no big event, at least not that night. It was, no doubt, the advanced security measures that they take when preparing for visits from heads of state.

Yeah. What? You mean I didn't mention that? So the President of the United States is visiting my city this weekend, having some private, informal talks with the King of Jordan.

It's the second time that President Obama has visited Sunnylands in the past 12 months, and I gotta say, I'm pretty damned proud. So much money and planning and attention has gone into turning Sunnylands into the "Camp David of the West", that it would be such a shame if world leaders and diplomats didn't take it seriously. I mean, anyone can tout a space as being anything, but unless you get the buy-in from the target audience, your space ain't nothing.

Fortunately, Sunnylands is definitely Something. Let's have three cheers for the Annenberg Family!

Whatever your political leanings or affiliations are, whatever you feel about the person who fills the office, you gotta admit--it's pretty damned awesome when the POTUS comes to your city to make world-changing decisions.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Gratitude Attitude: Inspired by (Iron and) Wine

My "angerball" and negative disposition continues into Week 2, so I'm not going to spend any time at all dwelling on all the things that did or didn't happen this week, but rather recap some of the pleasantness that stood out:

  • Mr. Melissa has been cleaning out our garage, and miraculously came across one of my family heirlooms that had been tucked away out there during the move, and never retrieved until now. This book was published in 1935...I have no idea about its provenance, only that it's been in our family for a long-ass time. This charming little book, which now holds pride of place on my coffee table, tells the tale about the kittens Suzz, Buzz, Fuzz, and Agamemnon, and is filled with "unusual photographs of real kittens...made possible only by patient, unfailing kindness on the part of the photographer at all times. "....(One can only assume that this was the prescursor to the PETA-inspired disclaimers in modern films...)

  • I don't really think too much about this holiday, but it's nice when friends think of you, no matter the day. Friends (and colleagues) who think of me on Valentines Day...I love 'em. The pic on the left is a package of Marvel goodies one of my Midwestern Internet friends sent me; the pic on the right is a book that one of my colleagues left on my desk. In case you can't see the title: it's What the Librarian Did.

  • The Music of Iron and Wine: Completely aside from the fact that the name of this band is impossibly romantic, the band itself has charmed me with its sleepy, melancholic music. I'm sure once I start reading the lyrics I'm gonna be as far gone as I was all those years ago when my eldest sister got me into Grey Eye Glances. 

And speaking of wine...

  • Quite possibly the best wine I have ever tasted. With no small amount of trepidation, I picked this up at Fresh and Easy on clearance for $3.98. And I was utterly blown's a red blend, and while it's not terribly dry, it's also not sweet at all. It's surprisingly light and mild, but full of flavor. It is, simply, my favorite wine.

And finally...

  • Absurdly bright pink lip butter from Ulta. The color is all wrong for me (with lips like mine, I've never been very comfortable with wearing vivid colors), but sometimes a little bit of color is exactly what's needed to jazz up a quiet, restorative day of puttering around the house. 
As I go into this next week, I am quietly and desperately hoping that I change my disposition for the better. I always lecture people: "You can't control what people do to you, you can only control how you react..." So, time to put my money where my mouth is...and hope that I don't smear bright pink lip butter every where.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week in Review

In lieu of spending a lot of time dwelling on a week that I'd frankly like to strike from the annals of history, I'm simply going to offer the world at large some great advice that will, in all likelihood, be ignored.

Things NOT to do in your life:

-Give your friend a book called "The Ethical Slut" when her new boyfriend is present

-Waste a lot of time reading boring books. Seriously? Give yourself 50 pages. If you're not digging it, put it down.

-Dwell on the negative shit.

-Lie to yourself.

-Eat a vegetable smoothie that is little more than vegetable pulp. We've got Mr. Melmeister to thank for that.

And with those wise words, I bid you goodnight with the hopes that for all of us, this next week is a better one.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thankful Thursdays: Good News

It's been a long, frustrating kind of week, made worse by my own inclinations towards negativity, and the slow progress I am making on various weekly and monthly projects. But there are little bright spots, here and there. What stands out the most was this morning, when I was on the Info Desk, a friendly-faced, middle-aged gentleman (complete stranger) came up to the desk and said, "I just have to tell someone. I'm so excited. I just got accepted into college. I'm going back to school!"

Even remembering it now, at the end of the day, I get goosebumps of pleasure. I remember that feeling of bursting if you can't share a piece of life-altering good news with whomever you can, even if it's a stranger or someone who doesn't really know why the news means so much to you. And it's true--I don't know just what it meant to him. But I know it meant that much to him, to share his excitement with me. I did my best to put genuine enthusiasm and encouragement and delight into my reaction, and I hope it was enough to gratify him and keep him buoyed until he could celebrate with those who know him best.

Thank you, Mr. Stranger, for including me in your joy today.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Feeling Fabulous: New Clothes

A new blouse from Ross: $8

The feeling of awesomeness and energy that comes from wearing a new article of clothing:


Seriously, I KNOW I am not the only one that feels downright fabulous and even, like, sparkly when I wear something new and pretty. Even a new bra or pair of shoes can do it for me. So I was able to waltz into work this morning with a ginormous to-do list and a fun new blouse and my make-up all done, and was able to feel like I was gonna have a kickin' day. And for the most part, I did. Lots of projects and irons in the fire, but I was able to get a good start on a lot of them. 

At one point today, I was able to make a pretty darned mature--but difficult--decision. The Cap'n pointed out to me today that we'll soon have a new reference librarian to train, and wanted to know if I wanted to do it. I struggled with this, because hells yeah, I want to. I enjoy it, and I feel like it's a way for me to develop leadership/mentoring chops. But the last time I trained librarians, the results were mixed, and anyway, I have to do the event brochure, and I'm going on vacation in three weeks. So, after a brief struggle, I pointed all of this out to her, and then decided, "Let Papa Bear train them," I told the Cap'n. "He's more laid-back than I am--it'll be better for them. And he's on the desk more than I am anyway."

Sometimes leadership means making the decisions that are best for the team as a whole, even if it's not what you yourself want.

If wearing new clothes helps me make things kinds of decisions, bring on the Ross Shopping Spree, thank you very much!

Manic Monday: The Week Ahead

As always, I let the picture do the talking on this one.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week in Review

What I Read: I tore through Sarah Addison Allen's latest, The Lost Lake, in a few hours, but it was The Grapes of Wrath that took most of my attention and time over the last seven days, and rightly so. I wouldn't call it THE Great American Novel, but it is certainly a Great American Novel. Reading it was less of an action and more of an experience--almost as though I witnessed the Great Depression myself. Every American needs to read this book; it is part of our history and heritage, and reading it left me feeling humbled and yet, oddly, honored.

What I Watched: Sharknado was the feature film of Awful Movie Night. This was also the first Awful Movie Night that I managed to be sober for. And do you know, I still have a hard time remembering the godawful jokes we made. All I can say is this: Tara Reid and Ian Ziering, I'm so happy to see that you've kept your acting skills so fresh. No other actors could have pulled off the performance that you guys gave when the hurricane of hammerheads tore through downtown Los Angeles.

What I Thought About: Friends, and how goddamned hard it is for me to make them. Seems like every time I befriend someone in my age range, they turn around and leave the Desert. And because I spend so much time at work, I just seem to want to focus on and enrich my relationships there. Is that normal?

The Good: At long last, I resurrected The Book Maven on Facebook. She went quiet during the whole holidays-my-mom-is-dead-I-sold-my-soul-to-work whirlwind of November, December, and January, but truly, if there is something I like more than books and reading, it's talking about books and reading.

The Sad: One of our presenters died, suddenly, in January. It was an exceptional loss; this man was funny and friendly and entertaining and undemanding and just a delight to work with. So on Monday I attended the memorial for him. The last remembrance came from the youngest person in the room--an art student from his classes, who gave a raw and almost incoherently tearful speech about him. It was the most unpolished remembrance--and the most affecting, not just because of the man we were remembering, but for the honest emotions of youth that, for better or for worse, we smother as we age.

The Ugly: Realizing that things like Awful Movie Night and ABCF Club are, in fact, more enjoyable with a few gallons of wine flowing. Two weeks left of Dry Month!

The Pretty: Seeing the Happy Birthday wish on the monument sign, glowing in the deepening desert twilight on the night before our Director's birthday; listening to the wind blowing through the windchimes on the back patio; and burrowing deeper under the blankets on a chilly Sunday morning. Doesn't matter if I live in Florida or Indiana or California; when a morning is cold enough, your bed is always the coziest place to be.