Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cheating on my Library

My Porcine Pal

My Porcine Pal

I have a confession to make:

I’ve been going to a new library to work. I love, love, love my local branch. But I’m driving five miles past it about once a week now and setting up my laptop at another branch entirely.

For one thing, it has a pig. The Covington pig, to be precise. In the greater Cincinnati area, painted pigs dot the landscape. Cincinnati was once the pork hub of the Midwest (much as Kansas City was the place for beef to be), and it’s nickname–Porkopolis–lives on. Runners from around the world come here for the Flying Pig Marathon runs. We love our pigs.

But beyond the pig, the library has…total strangers. I know my local branch like the back of my hand. The librarians greet me by name–heck, they don’t even scan my card anymore. They just tip-tip-type and pull up my account.

But my NEW branch is full of people who don’t know me, don’t know what I am doing in that corner, and never ask the most dreadful of all questions, “How is the new book going?”

I know that someday that will all change. They’ll start greeting me by name and I’ll ask questions about their grandkids.

And then, like the drifter who is born to walk alone, I will move on.

(I’m sorry if you’ve got Bon Jovi stuck in your head now. Really I am.)

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Gift Giving

(Spoiler alert: If you are my friend, Crys E. don’t read this post until you get a surprise shipment.)

Some people love to send cards and gifts. Some people are really good at it. They carry their friends and families in their hearts and minds all of the time and always find the perfect thing to send.

I know these people are out there because I’m fortunate enough to be loved by them, but I am not one of them. We could analyze my psyche and character all day (and maybe decide that I’m a cold-hearted sociopath), but if you don’t live in my home, you will be lucky to get a call from me on your birthday. Christmas cards go out about once every three years.

When I do get it right, it’s almost always a spontaneous accident–and often has to do with branding. A friend just named her baby “Piper” and it turns out that there’s a cheap perfume at walmart in a really cute bottle by the same name. Momma’s going to get a bottle of that–and while she may never wear it, she’ll love having it on the shelf.

And my other friend in the gifting arena is Amazon. When my friend’s chihuahua lost his eye last week (SERIOUSLY, CRYS! STOP READING RIGHT NOW!) she posted her little pirate on Facebook.

Did you know that “chihuahua pirate” turns about two dozen items, four of which ship for free with a $35 order? Yup. Little Paco is getting (I WARNED YOU, CRYS!) a pirate costume, TREASURE ISLAND WITH LOTS OF DOGS book and a plush toy bottle of Barkardi Rum.

What about you–are you an organized, consistent gifter, or do you, like me, hit it on the fly? And what gift have you given that you are most pleased about?

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Friday, September 19, 2014

25 Years Later

I’m taking a break from packing, cleaning and rubbing in tan-in-a-bottle to post this morning. While the dishwasher and clothes dryer hum away, I’m busy getting ready to go to my husband’s 25th high school reunion.

I also graduated in 1989, but to be quite honest, I don’t remember a dad-blamed thing about my senior year. All I really remember is how high I’d sprayed my bangs, and how it took a gazillion bobby pins to hold that mortarboard on the back of my head (because flat on top–ugh! It would have squashed my hair!)

Do you know what I do remember about 25 years ago?

‘Course not. But I’m gonna tell you.

I remember the footage of the Berlin Wall coming down. I remember the crowds. I remember David Hasselhoff standing on the crumbling wall, singing “You’re the Voice” (which Heart also covered. Or maybe David covered Heart. Hard to say). I may actually be conflating two different events, but I’m not sure…because, you know…25 years!

I remember being a bit sad and resentful. Not six months earlier, I’d been to and through that wall. In my rural Missouri hometown I’d never seen graffiti like the West Berlin side of the wall–such an explosion of color, words and art. And on our day trip to East Berlin, I’d marveled at the contrast. The concrete was clean and bare. The streets were clean and bare. A couple meters of concrete and what seemed to be two completely different cultures. If only they’d gotten to it sooner, I complained. If only I could have been dancing to David Hasselhoff while hundreds of people broke off chunks of concrete.

Because I’d ended up in a direct swap on my exchange program, the German boy who’d stayed with my folks while I was abroad came back to visit some months after the fall of the Wall. He gave Dad a blue/green painted chunk of concrete, which gathers dust in my parents’ basement to this day. At least I have that.

What about you? Have you ever had a near-miss with history? Or were you ever privileged to bear witness to the stories we now print in our children’s textbooks?

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