Endings and Beginnings III: a marker in the middle

For those that may not know, I like marking time.
I celebrate my favorite authors' birthdays, my friendship anniversaries (when I know them, that is),  and season changes. When a special tradition hits a mile marker, like the 15th week in  row that my good friend sent me the same meme on a Friday morning at 7, I celebrate that too.
I mark serious events too, letting myself be aware in the moment, the day, that so many years ago I was in a certain place, and then life changed. I mark these days the way my parents marked my height against the wall, standing next to the previous graphite smudges to see how tall I've grown.

On the Desentimentalization of Christmas, and also, Why I need Story

The sermon was titled "Keeping Satan in Christmas". How's that to catch your attention? The thesis was simple, however. The pastor referenced the cries to "keep Christ in Christmas" and "remember that Jesus is the reason for the season" and argued that its not enough to merely remember that He is the reason for the season, but to also remember why this is the case. The text was 1 John 3:8 which reads:
"The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work"
And HE DID JUST THAT.  He came and He defeated Sin and Death; He defeated our mortal Enemy.

Catching Up

Hello, old friend... how long has it been since we last spoke? There have been times when I've meant to sit down and tell you the beauty, the ordinariness, the simple rhythm of my days, but those times were never destined to be. But here I am now--and there you are--I'm here, you're there; neither of us are going anywhere, so I know you won't mind if you let me sit and tell for awhile.

I meant to tell you about the small wilderness driven through every day; the creek-bottoms, where the mists lie low and the sycamores grow tall, exposing their bone-white winter arms. I meant to tell you last year of the beauty of the sycamores; of how--wherever they are--there, I am strangely connected.

Jonah to Joy

It started out a Jonah day. Nothing was right with my soul, as I drove to work with many thoughts weighing heavy, and a tight chest cough to boot. On top of that, my assistant director had texted me from home, letting me know she was out with a fever. I couldn't run the library by myself, and make my schedule daycare visit and the day just seemed impossible. When I got to work, I texted my mom, cried while booting up computers, and prayed that someone would come through to manage the library with me today.

The situation looked a little brighter when I remembered the phrase "Jonah day" from Anne of Avonlea. When the things that trouble me are named, I can look them in the face and bear them so much better than when they are unknown and unnamed. With a name I hold more power. Remembering Anne's Jonah day in cheered me a little. Imagining my favorite heroine's in similar circumstances usually has that effect on me.  I pulled my copy of Anne of Avonlea  when I got home tonight, first inhaling the scent of Bantam paperbacks that has been my favorite since I was small (I firmly hold that certain publishing houses have different scents, and I would like them all bottled, please) before scanning for the chapter I had in mind.  Anne's Jonah day was much worse than mine, I find, she experiencing troubles as a new teacher, and disciplining her students.  Marilla (Oh, Steady One! oh, Marilla!) comforts her, saying,
"You take things too much to heart, Anne. We all make mistakes... but people forget them. And Jonah days come to everybody." 
She also offers tea and plum puffs. Dear soul.

My day improved when my director came in early so we could open up the doors. And when my daycare of the day had kids eager to participate in my stories. And when, over lunch, my coworker Caleb started an intense fandom debate with me that continued throughout the day. And when my baby sister called me from home 'cause she wanted to talk to me. And when I joined my sister's artist group for a senior show.
And of course, when I finally made it home to sit and pull out my old friend Anne, and write.

There's joy in this ending.


Remember this someday...



Remember that once you sat in a kiddie chair and cried because grown-upping was hard, and monday was hard, and then you toughened up and you did it anyway. 
Remember when you realized (again) that you don't have to know it all and do it all... yet. Everything--responsibilities, knowledge, authority--comes with time; and the very nature of experience is that you've experienced things. (This sounds like a obvious statement, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.) 
Remember that once, you didn't know the first thing about taking your car to the repair shop, getting insurance, or retirement savings plans, but you asked and researched and learned. 
Remember when you drove to Walgreens for a thermometer in the middle of the work day because you paranoidly (but somewhat wishfully) thought you had a fever. After the beeps, the little screen only read 97.3.
Remember how every day your arrival at home was a insane balancing act to see how much you could bring from your car with out dropping any of it, and how you always regretted that decision when you met a locked door.
Remember the piles of books you eventually *did* have time to read.
Remember the weekend hours spent catching up on the TV shows you never knew about as a kid.
Remember finding the teacup and saucer in its many, mottled shades of blue on your nightstand and how you couldn't wait for that inaugural cuppa Tardis blend.
Remember how two months seemed like years... remember that someday two years will seem like a few months.
Remember, and don't forget.

Welcoming October


I'm drawn out of the house, out from the quiet comfort of my living room and enveloping couch to the concrete wall of porch, by the rush of wind in the trees. Those trees--some have to be near a hundred years old--shade and enclose the neighborhood in a safe little pocket. Here, in their domain, it is dark already, dark enough for automatic lights to flick on. Look a little beyond their reach however, and the sky still shines day-blue. Here, we're just one tiny world nestled inside a larger one. I feel small, but comfortable in my smallness.

I pull my knees up to my chest, sitting on the wall. The wind makes another swoop down the street; I can hear it as it stirs the leaves in its approach before it even touches me, lifting bangs from forehead, sending me into shudders. I won't go in for a sweater, though. If I go in, the moment is over; the magic is gone.

Are all Octobers this windy, or is just it this particular one? It doesn't matter. What matters is that October is here, and with it, Autumn.

Autumn (O kindred spirit of seasons), you have been long awaited. Welcome back, dear friend.


Pinterest discoveries, Glen Keane, and Christian Art

I'm blogging right now mainly to keep myself from interrupting my studious roommates, who probably don't appreciate my little-fun-facts-learned-on-pinterest updates every two minutes.

So let me set a scene for you.

This is me. Toy Story t-shirt, comfy pj pants, sitting crosslegged in Hannah's Plaid Chair with Matilda the Macbook in my lap. (Yes, that's her name; don't judge.)

My phone beeps with a text message every so often, as Once Upon a Time is airing tonight with the first look at Anna and Elsa--(Yes, *that* Anna and Elsa.)--in Storybrooke, and my Jor is keeping me updated on its non-horribleness. (We had feared greatly that our favorite characters--our very Disney Dopplegangers--would be butchered by ABC.)

Since I can't watch the episode myself till it comes up on Hulu, I satisfy my Frozen craving with a Disney concept art curation session... on Pinterest of course. As usual, I let the pins lead me, in that beautiful down-the-rabbit-hole way that my pinning habits seem to follow. I tumble into a Wonderland of rosemaling and costume sketches by Brittany Lee, then my interest is piqued by a bit of Claire Keane work on the side; I haven't seen much of her Frozen work. Her Frozen sketches are, inevitably, overtaken by art from Tangled, Rapunzel's golden locks replacing Elsa's snowflakes. The farther I scroll, the more Claire's work becomes interspersed with that of her father, Glen Keane, also a Disney animator and concept artist.

And then I make a connection.

One small caption states Claire Keane's relation to the great comic strip artist, Bil Keane--her grandfather--known for Family Circus; everything clicks together. The wheels in my head start cranking, remembering, recognizing, drawing a firm line from one dot in my present to a tiny dot in my past, and the picture is complete. I remember Adam Raccoon, the main character of a series of pictures books, little Christian parables for kids. Of course, Glen Keane wrote those. I remember it now. I remember thinking as a kid how cool it was that the author of those books was connected to that favorite comic strip. Now, I think how cool it is that he's a Disney artist, too.

So, naturally, I now search Glen's work. I want to know what he's worked on other than Tangled. I turn up Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and Tarzan. Then I find this video: (Watch it! it's short!)

I'm in tears as I watch it; for as long as I can remember I've had a strong emotional reaction to the Beast's transformation scene in Beauty and the Beast. I loved the rainfall with its sparks of magic, and the way that the Beast is lifted up into the air, cocooned in his cloak, his hands... feet...then finally, his whole person being transformed from beast to human, with a great display of light radiating forth from every part of him. In my mind, I always held that scene as an picture of how we as Christians should be when made new in Christ. The symbolism of light--letting the light of Christ shine through my life--was easy to hold on to. I understand a great many things better through stories. But I always thought that was just my personal interpretation. I had no idea then that the animator at his desk, drawing this iconic scene was thinking almost just that, and this discovery tonight was gold indeed.

To be a Christian artist doesn't necessarily mean depicting literal Bible stories. More often it means letting what you know to be True about God influence the stories we tell, the images we create, the music we write. Even though the message isn't blatantly stamped across the page, screaming "I'm Christian!", it will still resonate true in the hearts of those who seek truth, pointing us back to God.

You go, Glen Keane. Thank you.

Psalm 84:3
 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.

Peaceful, restful, thankful Saturday. Very chill: involving cozy socks, and the polkadot pajamas my mom sent in a care package. I love just *being* at the end of the week. I love having a full time job that makes my just being time so much sweeter. I love coffee.

I've been working on things... coming soon to the internet near you! want a preview?
no posts... yet!
I'm working on the design for a dedicated book review blog... part of a personal goal to have a deeper connection to the books I work with, and to build a resource for readers advisory. :) 

Tonight: sister time, and a Tom Hanks movie (The Terminal). Because Tom Hanks. Did I ever tell you that the default voice in my head for reading male voices is his? yep. #WierdFactAboutSarah
On that note...
Author out.

If you're happy and you know it...

We're coming into the pre-fall stretch right now. I haven't seen the clear blue sky due to grey cloud cover for a couple days, and you know what? I'm totally okay with that.  I took my lunch yesterday with a cup of Sonic coffee (because Humboldt has a sad lack of coffee places) in the little corner park across from the library. I love that park because I'm the only one I've ever seen there. Its mine, all 5 benches, the perfectly manicured lawn, the dancing children sculpture and all. I sat there reading (The Magicians by Lev Grossman), texting my best friend about writing plots, and contemplating the manic pixie dream girl trope in movies and literature. I'm still working out my thoughts on that one. The breeze was cool; my coffee was hot; all was well with my little world.

***

Today saw the first tights of the season in my wardrobe. I decided to channel my inner Amy Pond, with shorts and tights and converse, and oversized sweater. Add in the Tardis blue nailpolish I had applied the other night, and my "I Am the Doctor" mix cd in the car, and you get one very happy Whovian running errands around town.
In case you were wondering, I'm very happy that season 8 is airing and I have friends with cable to watch it with.

***

Final word for the day (and, gosh, just let me thank you all for letting me blather on in my old rambling fashion today) I was just looking at my blogger stats, and saw that this will be my 100th post. wow! I've also noticed different viewing trends of late... non-United States in particular. With the exception of a couple of hits from Austria (which I'm attributing to the fact that a friend of mine spent a month there this summer), I haven't any idea if those views are real people or just silly bots, trolling the webs. So... if you're out there, reading this, no matter where you are, or whether I know you or not, would you leave a comment? How'd you find my little corner of internet? I'd like to know. It'd just add to the happiness.

--S

running over


It's when the freshly ground coffee, deep brown and fragrant, nearly overflows the canister I pour it into that I realize that I am as rich as Francie Nolan.

My hands also overflow with the tasks I want them to do... task that are not chores but privileges to carry out: letters to reply to, packages to send, reading for a class. I can't figure out which I want to do first.

I keep my eyes open, my ears tuned--every sense awake and alive--ready to take in each beautiful moment I can, the small and ordinary along with the grand and majestic: from the final moments of what my memory knows as the Steadfast Tin Soldier piece on my car stereo (Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2, Opus 102, Allegro), to the curl--just perfect for twisting round fingers--that somehow survived a busy day full of movement, to the fresh, blank notebooks that lay on my nightstand waiting to be filled with stories and thoughts.

My cup runs over.

Scraping the Fence

There's four of us in this old house, Meriwether, as its called on occasion, after the name on the historical marker out front. I like to say (well, just starting this afternoon) that I live with artists and vagrants--sort of. My three housemates are various visual art majors; I'm the writer that lives in the attic. Terribly romantic, no?

Anyway...

There's a cast iron fence that encloses our itty-bitty front yard--a rusty, patchwork cast iron fence. Our landlady said lower rent if we cleaned and painted it, and we said "why, of course!"
We are artists and vagrants after all. That type is generally starving*. Anything to save a dime.

So we're all four out in the yard on a overcast Saturday afternoon, armed with wire brushes and scrapers and good attitudes. We team up on a segment of the fence: two inside, two outside, attacking the iron posts with a vengeance, moving onto the next section only when we all agree to call it good.

We're chatting and scraping and laughing, and occasionally crying out in pain as a thumb gets smashed or knuckle scraped. The overcast sky lets loose some rain every now and then, but we keep working. On the front porch, the teacher-boyfriend of one of my housemates is grading papers and keeping us supplied with music.

I learn about the neighbors, the girls telling me the nickname they've come up with for the old man down the street, half deaf, who's always mowing his lawn. Old Yeller they call him.

We're all four so close together I'm almost afraid of my scraper slipping and gouging the eye of my partner 'cross the fence. I decide to scrape down, instead of up.

A man walking down the sidewalk carrying business cards asks us if our dad is home. Do we look that young? We look to the teacher-boyfriend on the porch--does he look that old? We're college students, we tell business-card man. He moves on.

We wave to people who drive by, some smiling at the sight of us, some looking away with a sour face after our display of friendliness. "They're thinking, 'those silly girls, working in the rain'" my sister says.

Old Yeller stands in his front lawn at the end of the block, hands on hips, just watching in our general direction. We turn and watch him back.

We're beginning to wonder why we're getting the attention of the neighborhood.

Teacher-boyfriend on the front porch points out his simple observation. They're not amused at our work in the rain, nor the laughing at our ambition for taking on such a gnarly old fence. The fact is, we're all four still working as a unit, one fence segment at a time, standing close together. Four men would each take a different side of the fence, and work alone. It's the female logic that's been amusing the neighborhood.

There's nothing wrong with giving people a little entertainment.



*I speak figuratively of course; we are not, in fact, starving.

Well, *That* happened...

It would seem that new children's librarians are front page news around here. I had kind of hoped this would be buried somewhere next to the Dear Abby column, but I guess not. :/ Anyway, since it DID happen... I thought I'd share it with you. 

In other news: I have three new friends, all aged 6 and under, all of whom like Frozen and coloring and hugs. I like that. :)

I've Got a Garret (and other thoughts from this past week)

After a full week of living in this house, it finally happened; I woke up this morning to rain on the roof. Now, rain on the roof in a normal room is a wonderful thing on its own, but, dear reader, I don't have a normal room in my new home; I have a garret. At its highest point, the ceiling in my little garret is 6 inches above my head, and it slopes down to about three feet one side of room, and four on the other. The door-frame is of such a height that when I stand at full stature in it, the lintel presses down gently on my head. There's a solitary window at the gable (not green, sorry!) that overlooks the porch roof and street. In short, this room is just my size, fitting not only my body (which favors small, cozy spaces) but my spirit as well.
I've long loved the idea of a garret room, having fed on Little Women as a girl.  Jo's garret is her place of inspiration, and of refuge--the place she runs to to scribble away on her manuscript and escape her troubles alike. It is my highest hope that my own little garret room will be the same to me.


In the past week, I've been settling in to both my new living situation and my new job, and there's one thing I keep telling myself. I remind myself of the non-transience of this new situation. Yes, nothing is forever, and nothing is permanent, but compared to the past four years of college, where I knew the expiration date was steadily approaching, this is for-good, till God leads me elsewhere. I tell myself that I need to let that knowledge shape me as I settle here, from the little things like buying real bookshelves, instead of making do some ghetto-college-kid fix, and putting the flour and sugar in canisters instead of leaving the bags rolled up in the pantry, to big things like pushing myself to actively involve myself in a church even when I'm exhausted from a long first week. This is life now. I want to live it fully engaged, like a whole human being.


 This looks like not hitting snooze on my 6 am alarm, and eating breakfast for real. It's learning to balance work and life, because 1 week in, I already find myself bringing work home with me in my mind. (Lets just say I woke up at 2 a.m. the other morning stressed about planning a future program that isn't even on my timeline yet).
It's recognizing that I have this wonderful opportunity to do and be anything and anyone right now, so I should just do it.

I'm looking forward to the times of refuge I'll spend in this room, like right now as I sit here in Lucy Maud, writing and listening to the rain mixed with Thomas Newman's heartstirring strings. I'm looking forward to the Becoming that awaits me in these next few weeks, and months... and years.  I'm looking forward to living the life abundant that God has planned for me.

Milestones: First and Last Night

That first cold night,  I slept in this spot on the floor, as the moving truck would arrive in the morning. I carried a notebook with me, in which I was scribing a childish fairy-tale, about princesses and pigs.

Tonight, I write in this corner of my empty room again, because I like to leave behind markers on my road; and I like it when things come full circle.

December 17th, 2007 to August 8th, 2014; Almost seven years. Here's to being a mature and responsible adult who doesn't live under her parents roof.

- Sarah

My Friendly Ghosts

"Have I told you about my ghost theory?" I asked as we made our way up the big hill behind the school. 
She, who doesn't think me odd when I suggest a walk to visit my favorite tree, isn't at all fazed by this question. 
"No..." she answers, implying her willingness to hear this theory of mine. 
So, I tell her about the ghosts I see.

Now don't look at me like that, I don't claim to have seen spirits -- malicious, friendly or otherwise -- rather, my "ghosts" as I like to call them, are the indelible marks that some of my strongest memories have left on the fabric of time and space.

I had been visiting one of my best friends from college and her husband, a sort of birthday-celebration/last-spontaneous-road-trip-before-I-move-even-farther-away-and-start-working-40-hours-a-week visit. They still live near our alma mater, as he works for the school, so aside from seeing them that weekend, I was also visiting with all my old ghosts.

Here's how I see it: its like taking a time-lapse photo of one location that highlights just the past iterations of myself in that place. I can look at a favorite spot and see myself there a hundred times. That favorite tree I mentioned? Past selves ramble all around its trunk: picnicking in the April violets, posing for pictures in a sweeping gown, stooping to pick up a fragile yellow leaf to press in my journal.

Four years of adventures -- and misadventures -- in such a small town and small campus means there's more adventures, and consequently more of my ghosts, per square mile. Whenever I return, I run into myself everywhere. Sometimes, on these meetings, I wince and apologize to my former self for my awkwardness, my faux pas and blunders. The strong emotion of anxiety in those moments make them stick out more.
Other times, I  climb a railing or clear ivy off crumbling brick steps  to keep company with a peaceful ghost. Sitting in comfortable old hideaways and perches, I can recall the phone conversations, the journaling, the extended periods of reverie there, and I am calmed by the remembrance.

You may wonder if indulging this wild of fancy of mine is healthy; if, perhaps, I'm dwelling on the past too much. I don't believe so. It helps to see where I've been, to hold up my past as a measuring-stick to my present, just to see how much I've grown. As much as I may reminisce and get nostalgic over the pleasant times I've had, I know that they came with trials that I would never wish back. I'm through them now, having moved on to new difficulties and growing pains.

I would never have become the Me I am now, were it not for who I was then. And for that reason, I'll always welcome a visit with my friendly ghosts.

It's Been Really Quiet at More Scribblings...

Its not that I don't have anything to say...
its just that sometimes I just don't trust myself to say the right thing. 

So I abstain.

***

Here's to having the right words again in August.

Sights, sounds, smells.

There's a rhythm to the morning turning on of the computers: power button, monitor, power button, monitor, power button, monitor, all the way down the row in alphabetical order, making the L-shaped bend between computers E and F. Then the logging on. User name, tab, password. I move down the row at a brisk clip, not unappreciative of the aural differences in the clatter of keyboards under my fingers. Computer H belongs in a movie, as it has that perfect late-night-blogger, genius coder, Nora Ephron penpal sound that's somewhere between a click and a clack.

After that, I conducted a canon of Windows welcome sounds with the trio of circ-desk computers. #tinydeskconcert.

***
In the big, picture windows that flank the fireplace, I can watch the storms clouds roll in, unload their glorious bounty on our roof (more wonderful clatter) and roll on out. The great, grey mounds of cloud build and disperse three or four times over the course of my shift, accenting the bright summer foliage of the trees down our hill. I always marvel at how the colors of the world always look more brilliant with the gloom of a storm behind them.

I'm not the only one who dances with glee at the sight. Abby and May both love the summer storms too, maybe as much as I do.

***
Laminating is a joy beyond all other joys. The hot film fusing to the sparkling new dust-jackets of our recent book order smells like hot glue guns and happiness. The finished product is a yards-long sheet of plastic that has spilled over the counter and onto the floor, folding over on itself multiple times like a sheet of ribbon candy. For the next hour, the work room is filled with the sound of three sets of steel scissor blades slicing the plastic, cutting covers down to size. Three sets of vocal chords sound behind the industrious clamor, as chatty tongues often accompany busy fingers. Before I know it, every cover is ready for its book, and the last minute of my workday has been eaten away. Home now, back again tomorrow.


Hodgepodge

*Can* I write a post than that is shorter than my usual length of "very long"? Also, will I ever remember that I have the wonders of formatting here on blogger and therefore don't have to use asterisks to denote italics? (Probably not for a long time. "Oooldd habits die hard, when you got, When you got a sentimental heart" Thanks Zooey. Thank you for that.) Also, what demon bug keeps biting my ankle?

These are the questions that I will not try to answer tonight.

Tonight, I  write a hodgepodge.

(OOH! 11:11! QUICK! MAKE A WISH! *squints really tight and wishes* >.< Ok, 11:12, back to your previously scheduled broadcasting.)

I've had many half formed thoughts that I've considered fleshing out and writing on, but none of it has been happening, so here I am, sewing a scrap of calico to a strip of flannel to make a crazy-quilt of words.

Things I've considered doing lately:
Stopping my car on the side of the road to fill my arms with black-eye susans on my way home from work.
also
Going to a movie all by myself.  (Didn't because of reasons.)

Conclusions I've come to:
95% of Irish lads are heartbroken 75% of the time. This is 100% based on the music of the High Kings.
also
Scotch tape may smell pretty darn good, but book-laminating-film is the queen of all library supply smells.
also
People should stop writing vampire books.

Completely random news bulletin:
Slowly but surely I'm learning html and css. I feel pretty cool when I'm typing up line of code, even if its still pretty awkward. This is to fuel my never ceasing quest for the perfect blog look.

This is almost too long to be short now. I will never stop attempting to use asterisks to denote italics. I still don't know what demon bug is biting my ankle.

Hodgepodge. over and out.

P.S.
Have you ever wanted to read a book that feels like sitting in a tree on a brisk Sunday afternoon in autumn? Read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Its just as delicious as the title promises. Full review to come soon.









What *Would* I Do Without Her? : An Ode to an Unlikely Friend

I was sitting there in the corner of the loveseat with a hurt in my heart and my phone in my hand. Having just sent up my plaintive distress call, I clicked the center button every time the screen went dark -- as if the lit up screen would bring me a reply sooner. My "I'm having the sads because of reasons" text was quickly answered with an encouraging, "better things are to come."  As the short serious conversation with my (former) roommate gently eased into some general, playful cheering-up, which took the form of surprisingly appropriate references to Frozen, I asked myself again the question I've been pondering for some time now (and will likely continue to ask for some time to come): What *would* I do without her?

I don't really think anyone in our circle of college friends expected Jori and me to mesh as well as we have; the two of us are really very different. She usually looks like she stepped off a fashion shoot, I often look like I fell out of a children's story. I'm a Yankee, she's a Southern Belle. She's only got one sibling, I've got eight. You get the picture... but it was recognized that beneath the outward differences, we each needed other. I'll admit, it took a little while to get going -- when I first met her, she went home every weekend (the-ex-we-don't-speak-of being the main reason) -- but there were the weekends when she was roommateless, and I'd tote my pillow down the hall to sleep in the empty bed, just cause she didn't like to sleep alone. That began the wistful talks of planning to one day be roommates, but only after circumstances were right,  so as to not offend or hurt feelings in the delicate balance of a suiting dorm life.

I'd accompany her on late night trips to Walmart, as her Atlantean instincts told her that all Walmarts are inherently dangerous (a sentiment that I can understand, but don't hold to myself), and she'd listen to me pour out my days woes, offering advice and encouragement where needed as we drove -- once even sitting with me in the parked car as I bawled, head against the steering wheel, because I just *didn't* know what to do. She'd console and promise to make me tea as soon as we got back to the dorm.

Something you should know about Jori: Her tea-making abilities are actually a magical power.

I'd let myself into her room on the mornings we had French together and sit on the bed approving outfits and reminding her of the time, till we finally made it out the door. She'd keep me sane in that utterly *insane* class, writing surreptitious notes and helping me keep track in my record of the professors quirks.

I've watched all her 80's movies with her, while she has genially tolerated my Doctor Who obsession. Even better than tolerating, she even makes an effort to cater to it, (short of actually watching it, which we didn't have time to... academics first you know.) sending me Tardis pins, and learning to recite the Hello Stonehenge monologue with me everytime I felt like belting it out around the townhouse.

She will always be my number one wing-woman, heart-guard, and Russian mafia of one. Seriously, dear readers of the male persuasion, please consider yourself warned: If you even come close to breaking my heart, she *will* stay up nights trying to plot the best way for you to meet an untimely demise. I'm very sorry. I'm trying to break her of it, but its the going is hard.

I will always be the one that can coax her hair in to the perfect braid, and she will always know best how to do an emergency blemish cover up when I've got a date.

I know I've said it probably a thousand times before, but she's the Elsa to my Anna, the Marianne to my Elinor, my unbiological sister and best unlikely friend, and I really *don't* know what I'd do without her.


Life is a playground, but it takes a lot work / You better learn to love, or it'll tear you apart, / cuz in the end, we are measured by the size of our heart, / and we can't do this alone.

The Library Girl Rambles Again!

...if I continue in this pattern, next Tuesday I'll write a post titled "Return of the Rambling Library Girl!" then next, "Brain-Child of the Library Girl" and so-on, spiraling downward into that awful chasm of wretched sequels. I promise not to do that though.

First things first, (do you ever find yourself using a phrase that in your mind you associate with someone else and feel like you should cite it as a quote? I do. But I shan't.) ...Happiness is a cup of Tardis-blend, all warm and berry-sweet and velvety-vanilla and much, much bigger on the inside. But that's not what I'm meaning to ramble about tonight... It was just foremost in my mind, its taste is lingering on my tongue, having just set my empty stoneware aside on the nightstand as I begin to write.

As I was shelving tonight, my fingers skittered across the spine of a book, read long ago and almost forgotten; however, as soon as I saw the title, I could immediately remember where I was when I read it. There are a few books that hold this strong bond with place and time in my memory so that re-reading them--or sometimes merely seeing their covers again--will call forth the friendly ghosts of past reading selves.

Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle was the book on the shelf this evening that sent me back to a dentist waiting room. All those times as a kid when we all went to the dentist and knocked out 5-6 cleanings in one day certainly lent themselves to getting much reading done. After all the Highlights Magazines had been read cover to cover, I usually settled into my library book, and could wipe out a good chunk of it in the time remaining. Why I specifically remember AoE  and not some other book, I'll never know. One does not simply figure out the why of ones thoughts, reader.

Other book memories? why, yes, of course I'll share!

I'll never read Many Waters by Madeline L'Engle without remembering the One Day Plague that hit our household while we were living in Florida. It was one of those stomach viruses that you just had to resign yourself to, eating absolutely nothing to order minimize discomfort when the inevitable struck. The living room looked liked a battlefront infirmary tent, with pallets laden with the wounded and dying strewn across the ground. I read MW cover to cover that day, in between doses of sickly-pick Pepto, and warm showers to soothe the ache and chills. Despite what you might think, the pairing of sickness with book didn't turn me off to that story forever; rather, its a testament to Ms. L'Engle's powerful storytelling that it was able to draw me away from the misery of illness and carry me through, leave a happy memory in its wake.

Celendine, a faery-story by Steve Augarde, finds me in bed on a rainy afternoon, having cried hard and slept harder after dropping my best friend off at the airport. The weight of the heaviest comforter, the cloak of the low grey sky and my complete immersion in the story distracted me from my depths of despair that day. Again, the unpleasantness of that moment has become one of my best memories; in every grey and dreary day I remember the security of the covers wrapped tightly, and the story holding me tight and wish I could recreate it and escape all over again. It hasn't happened yet, but I always hold out on that hope.

The Great Gatsby, the most recent addition to my reading memories, was consumed over spring break in the enveloping depths of our great, green loveseat. I was keeping house on my own for my older brothers and dad that week, while my mom and the youngers were away. When dinner was taken care of, and house tidied, I would fish the slim paperback out of the cushion, where it had retreated in my absence, and hunt down my purple-clipped mechanical pencil--the one that was lovingly tracing out choice sentences to remember later--and join dear Nick Carraway in his observing and befriending of the great Jay Gatsby. Unlike some of the other books I've recounted here, there was no element of misery to this reading. Everything was well at that time--almost even better than usual. The situation and the reading both were perfect. I suppose there is a twinge of sadness, of longing to have that exact moment back over and over again, to discover my kinship to Nick, to fall in love with Daisy's voice, Gatsby's smile, all just like it was the very first time. But, time is sadly linear, best beloved, and we must move forward to experience new things, read new books, only pausing to back at the past with a smile, and a gladness of heart that it did in fact happen.

My mom has come and gone from my room just now, finding a seat in nearby Lucy Maud to hear my work stories from the night, then heading off to bed. The whole house is silent, still. Here in the aloneness that is oh-so-not-lonely am I most alive. I could conceivably scribble on for hours more, had I more intimate knowledge of the reader on the other side of my screen; I have, on occasion, found myself in that place of deliciously wild inspiration that lead me on into the wee sma's (as Anne called those early morning hours). But not tonight, reader; not tonight.


The End of Day Ramblings of a Library Girl

This morning I sat at the knitting table in my hometown library with the handful of ladies--all like second mothers, or maybe close great-aunts, to me--that make up our Tuesday morning Coffee and Chat. Somewhere between the director's youngest son's graduation from medical school, and the benefits of air-drying laundry, the inquiring voices turned to me, the second youngest member of the group (second youngest, only because 10-year-old Sophie made her rare visit today).  "How's the new job?" "Oh! you found a job? Where?"

I have to parcel my answers out to the various corners of the table. "I'm a part-time assistant at the Cheatham Library" I point north, to the county seat. "I start this afternoon, and I'm really looking forward to it!"

The ladies--the great-aunts--they know a few things about me: that my hands will try any needlework that my eye takes a fancy to, and that my heart lies in libraries. They congratulate and cluck over me, agreeing that I couldn't have taken a more suitable position. One of the aunts saw the joy in my smile and eyes as I talked about my excitement for this job in particular and libraries in general, and brought it to my attention. This is what makes me think that I've made the right career choice: I feel most alive when in a library.

***

And the first night on the job was great.

I was given a drawer for my things, (with my very own name on it), a schedule, a rundown of operations, and a "don't hesitate to ask questions" and was set free. I stood in the middle of the circ-desk, turning 'round acclimating, feeling slightly awkward for all of two minutes; then, a family came and left armloads of returned books--that, I knew how to handle.

First night and I didn't even have to shelf read-- that's a good omen. Shelf-reading means there's nothing else to do, and I'm desperately trying to be useful on the clock. Despite what people may think, just because I work in a library, doesn't mean I get to sit and read when I'm not scanning your card and books. Though, when I did shelve returns, I found my hands falling back into the natural rhythmic moments of spine-straightening and book-end adjusting. These books and I will know each other well soon.

There was a mockingbird in the fireplace chimney, singing sweetly for our benefit. Just one of the perks of a country library.

I defined "geek" for a child-patron, who was wondering about our "Geek the library" campaign.
He geeks comic-book superheroes.
I geek libraries. And Doctor Who. And John Green. And Knitting. And... maybe I shouldn't get started on my obsessions.

Name me another library that plays Happy Trails on a boom-box right after the 15-minutes-till closing-warning. Seriously, I want to know if there's another that does that. Honestly, when the Abby, the assistant director hit play after her announcement to the handful of computer users, I had one of those surreal moments where I could have sworn I was in a movie (the one that Nora Ephron wrote and directed about my life--I know its out there) as I shelved Veronica Roth books in the YA section with the beautifully orchestrated strains of that old cowboy song swelling about me.

I live a glamorous life in my own small way.

Treasures, Letters and Library Cards

Dearest Reader,

This has been a ridiculously chilly day for May, one that I've spent tidying about my room, nursing a cup of coffee, organizing my yarn stash, and inevitably, coming across boxes to look through and get lost in. Today it's the small pink rubbermaid tote that holds years of memoribilia: birthday cards, letters from my longest standing penpal, scraps of cloth that came from who-knows where, and other trinkets. A small pink chiffon gift bag with ribbon drawstrings hold a smooth rock--once a worry-stone that I kept in my pocket--and two bits of sea glass, scavenged from somewhere on the Gulf coast.The stone heft in my palm, admiring its ideal roundness before slipping it back in it's bag. 

Here's three library cards--the ghosts of libraries past--Onondaga, Gadsden and Cheatham. The signatures on the back, "accepting responsibility for all material borrowed on this card" range from childish to teenager-y. I pull out the Cheatham card, as I've just been hired at that branch and I'll need it.

A glow in the dark star and a canceled stamp float around in the bottom of the empty tote as I begin to dive into the letters.

Inside a 5"x8" manila envelope I've found three delightfully sappy letters-to-be-delivered-Someday. This is a long standing tradition of mine, to write to future versions of myself or friend, or to people I haven't met (or so I believe) yet. Even among my present folders and papers that fill my writing crate, I keep an envelope To My Someone. These old letters, however, are addressed to myself and two of my oldest friends on our wedding days, and were written when I was 15. (Which, by the way, was my favorite age to be, and the age that has probably most shaped present Me). Despite the strict instructions to not open before the set day, I've read mine over and over, laughing at myself more and more as I grow older. 15-year-olds have funny ideas and inclinations, but I love my 15-year-old self all the more for recording the dreams I had then of getting married... Someday. The only reason I don't shred and burn this this letter out of sheer embarassment is the last paragraph, which I will not be sharing with you. Suffice it to say that despite the immature imaginings of a 15-year-old girl that pervade the majority of this letter, there is yet a hint of knowing and wistful sweetness that I will most definitely want to revisit on my wedding day.

Over 80 percent of this totes contents are letters from one of my oldest and dearest friends. When we lived in the same state, she and I began write letters even though we saw each other at least once a week at church, and sometimes more. When my family moved away, I don't know who took it harder, me or Erica. The habit of letter-writing, which had been merely a novelty till this point, became a necessity as my family had no computer and emailing wasn't much of an option. I'm so thankful for these letters now, as they mark so much growth and becoming, and immortalize the little girls we were together. We had a silent period for a few years, where the mailboxes weren't as frequented, but we've ended the hiatus recently, picking up pens and paper again even though we both have facebook and cellphones and all the modern communication conveniences. Nothing beats the thrill of tearing open an envelope to read the words that your friend put on the page with her very hands. You just don't get more personal than that... and "whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal," isn't that right Ms. Kelly?

Till next time friend, I'm yours.

Sarah

Visiting With Old Friends

There are times when what I need most is to hear from my oldest and dearest of friends... the ones that have been with me since childhood, go with me no matter where I move, and will stay with me no matter what happens in life. We're so close that we can just pick up from wherever I am in life and just go, no matter how long I've neglected them. They always have something to say that reminds me of who I am, and what I'm about.

Meet Alice, Anne and Luna: three of the kindred souls who have long helped me be me.

What have they had to say recently? Well, here are a few words from them that have Named me of late:

“I can't help flying up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as soaring through a sunset... almost pays for the thud.” --Anne
I always find myself gaining an exhilarated sort of hopefulness when faced with a new possiblities--lately, this has most pertained to job interviews--no matter how hard I fell in disappointment after the last failed attempt, I rise just as high the next time. Being an eternal optimist can lead to a lot of bruises for sure, but I've found that they heal fast. 

“It will come sometime. Some beautiful morning she will just wake up and find it is Tomorrow. Not Today but Tomorrow. And then things will happen ... wonderful things.” --Anne
 I mentioned being an optimist? Yes. I look to Tomorrow with the greatest hope in my heart. Tomorrow and Someday are two of the nicest words in my language.

“All life lessons are not learned at college,'she thought. Life teaches them everywhere.” --Anne
Girl, don't you know it. Though some of the most important ones I've learned have been at college.

“Tears don't hurt like the ache does.” --Anne
Sometimes it just helps to cry. Cry it out, friend. 

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." --Alice
I look to Yesterday so often, wishing to have it back in one form or another, but Alice is right... no matter how much I want to I can't go back because I'm the same as I was then. 

"Curiouser and curiouser." --Alice
Plot twists. Life is full of them. Acknowledge them and move on.

"I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir, because I'm not myself you see." --Alice
Those days are wretched, aren't they, Alice dear? But we always come 'round in the end.

"She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)." --(about Alice)
I've the same bad habit; however, I'm learning to listen to myself. It's slow going, but at least I'm making progress. 

"You're just as sane as I am." --Luna
Yes, you, reader. You may think I'm a little odd with my friends and all, but look at yourself--how are you odd? Embrace your inner quirky every once in a while. You might like it, and I won't judge. 

***

The Anne of Green Gables Series is by my beloved L.M. Montgomery
Alice in Wonderland is by the inestimable Lewis Carroll
The Harry Potter Series (in which you meet Luna in book 5) is by the queen of fantasy, J.K. Rowling

If you haven't read any of the above, I suggest you start now. MAKE HASTE!

23 // A Random Assortment of Facts About the Author

1.) Sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder if I actually exist..... then I snap out of it.
2.) I have a red speck in my right eye and a freckle on my right index toe. If you ever need to positively identify me, those are the keys.
3.) I believe in fairy tales. 
4.) My favorite word is "archipelago" (Mmm... just say it, let it roll off your tongue... don't you love it?)
5.) My cinematic soul sister is Kathleen Kelly.
6.) I had an essay published in a young writers anthology last year. Kinda proud of that.
7.) I speak fluent Fangirl, specializing in the dialects of Whovian, Nerdfighter, Potter and Austen.
8.) I share my birthday with Tchaikovsky (also, I can never spell Tchaikovsky right the first time.)
9.)Favorite author: Madeleine L'Engle
10.) I over-think things, 99.9% of the time.
11.) I plan to go to grad school to be a librarian (and yes, you have to get a degree to be a librarian.)
12.) I am really a superhero. When I am not being the mild mannered blogger that you know and love, I am called Dewey Decimal girl, and there is no bibliographic emergency to big, (or small) for me. (Superpowers include: Bookfinding, and Super-Glare)
13.) I am an unabashed Celtophile (thanks Da!)
14.) I love the old fashioned feminine arts of needlework (knitting, sewing, embroidery... you name it)
15.) I have a thrift store armchair named Lucy Maud; sit in it at your own risk; I will probably kick you out.
16.) My personal style: Either Jane-Austen-Librarian-Chic or Confused-Pseudo-Hipster or Just-Fell-Out-Of-A-Children's-Story-Probably-One-That-Involves-Talking-Animals. It depends on the day.
17.) I'd rather take a Shelfie than a Selfie.
18.) Coffee is my love language (next to words of affirmation and quality time... seriously, if you take the time to bring me coffee and talk nice to me, I'll love you forever.)
19.) I love writing, but I hate proofreading. I'd rather fold a basket of my brothers mismatched socks than proofread even my shortest blog posts.
20.) I'm addicted to parenthetical statements (and dashes--I do love a good dash)
22.) I'm incredibly happy with a rainy day
23.) I love making lists.


And there you have it. Maybe you'll get 24 more facts this time next year. We'll see.

~S

On How To Be Lovely

Like many girls (and yes, many guys too) I am a big fan of Audrey Hepburn, looking up to her not only as one of the most beautiful and talented women to have graced the silver screen, but also as a beautifully wise human being, and excellent role model.

My favorite of her characters is Jo Stockton, the book-shop girl and amateur philosopher of  Funny Face, who suddenly finds herself smack in the middle of the fashion world.
You'd have that dreamy look too, if you'd just been kissed by Fred Astaire. *swoon*
One of the lovely Gershwin songs of this movie musical, a duet titled "On How To Be Lovely" in which fashion magazine editor Maggie (played by Kay Thompson, the author of the Eloise books!) is instructing the newly blossoming Jo on how to respond to reporters after the fashion show, echoes many of Audrey's own philosophies of how to be, essentially saying that a cheerful spirit is the best way to win people over.


Musing over this, I have to agree; there is nothing more becoming than a smile and a cheerful attitude. I find it easier to like and be likable with a sunny disposition, rather than a rain-cloud spirit, and its a philosophy that we could all stand to hold to more often.  In the words of the wonderful Roald Dahl:
 "If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Thank you for your wonderful influence, Audrey, and Happy Birthday!
~S




Trees and Poems

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree. 
-Joyce Kilmer, "Trees" 

The first poem I ever wrote was on trees. Figuratively and literally, now that I think about it... ('cause paper... made from wood... okay, I'm done.)

No, you don't get to read it, for two reasons:
1.) I was like, seven, when I wrote it and despite the fact that my grandparents ooh-ed and ahh-ed over it then, (as grandparents are required to do by the Universal Laws of Grandparentdom) I'd be mortified for anyone to see it now.
2.) I lost it somewhere over the course of the past 15 years.

I love trees in general, more than any other growing thing... This is probably a by-product of growing up on Anne of Green Gables. The first time we meet her she's contemplating the idea of spending the night in a cherry tree (which I think would be amazing were it comfortable...)
... but some some trees are just kindred spirits. Like this one:


 Isn't she beautiful?  Yes.

Happy Arbor Day!

-Sarah

P.S. Isn't it wonderful that Arbor Day and National Poetry Month both belong to April?
I love April.
P.P.S Read all of Joyce Kilmer's poem here --> "Trees"



Late Night Scribblings: Elevenses

I think that hobbits everywhere would agree with me in saying that elevenses are just as acceptable in the evening hours as they are in the morning.

That being said, I've been feeling rather hobbitish lately, so when First Brother Alex stood up and stretched--after our movie was over and the youngers had slipped off to bed--and announced that he could really go for some french toast or maybe just scrambled eggs, I looked up at him from Lucy Maud* and told him I'd make some.

Pre-Bryan Sarah would not have even thought of making french toast at 11 p.m., but I am no-longer that Sarah. Three years of last minute, just-before-curfew fast food runs, all-nighters spent with a bowl of ramen in the hall, and late-night soul talks over mac'n'cheese have taught me that late-night food will sometimes be the best you'll ever eat... through probably more for the events they accompany rather than the nourishment.

So, in my best burglar-hobbit manner, (I'll have you know, best beloved, that I'm an expert at quiet goings and doings) I gather frying pan, eggs, bread, and that serving platter with the lip that is just the right dimensions for not only beating eggs, but sopping bread. A splash of half-n-half, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and zero set-off fire alarms later, there's two golden stacks of french toast, one for each of us, which we proceeded to scarf down in contented silence.

Random fact you should know about me: Whenever I eat pancakes, waffles, or french toast--you know, those flat breakfast-y foods that are usually presented in a stacked manner--I always eat the bottom one first, kind of cutting out from underneath the top layers till its all gone, then I proceed with the next one up until I reach the top. I don't know why I do this or when I started, but for as long as I can remember, that's how it's been.

I've no grand French Toast Philosophy for you tonight; I feel that I've philosophized too much of late (even if I have kept most of it to myself). These are just the ordinary scribblings of a mad-woman ("We're all mad here...") who's up late, enjoying ordinary things like french toast, good music, the sound of a clacking keyboard, and the emptiness of a quiet house. I thrive in the wee sma's, when there's no-one but me and my imagination.

yours in late nights and elevenses,
-S

*My little blue armchair. Yes, she's named after L.M. Montgomery... yes, I named my armchair.

"Frankly, I'd read [his] grocery lists"

This week has been National Library Week, that one week in April that I look forward to year round, because it gives me an excuse to geek out about my future career even more than usual. It just so happens that today, "Support Teen Literature Day" has arrived with perfect timing, as it coincides with the solidifying of my recent musings on the subject of a favorite YA author, the wonderful John Green.

John Green, writer and youtuber, makes up half of the vlogbrothers (Hank Green, his brother, is the other half), hosts the Literature and History portions of the Crash Course education series, and is the author of Looking for AlaskaAn Abundance of KatherinesPaper Towns, and (most importantly, in my opinion!) The Fault in Our Stars.

I first became acquainted with John Green's writing Spring semester 2013, when I picked up TFiOS one weekend for some homework-break reading. The story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two cancer-survivors who meet in a support group, held me in thrall and was surprisingly not as predictable as you might expect a story about cancer patients to be. Aside from the story itself, (which left me with all sorts of Feels) I loved Mr. Green's style. The man just knows how to say things. The book is full of one-liners that have been the stuff of dreams for typographical artists on tumblr and pinterest (...one liners, which I just realized have not made it to my quote tree yet. That's being remedied tonight.)

After that first reading, I didn't pick up another John Green book until this winter, when I returned to TFiOS for a re-read, and decided that I should expand my Green experience. As of yesterday, I've read all four of the aforementioned books (in reverse order of printing date). TFiOS remains my top favorite, and I enjoyed PT, but AAoK and LfA didn't quite grab me in the same way. Despite my personal preferences, I could see what makes these books stand out from others as good Teen Lit. Green's characters all struggle with some sort of existential question, those questions of being that every person faces at some point in their life. Augustus fears oblivion and dying without having done anything meaningful in life; similarly, Colin (AAoK) wants to matter; Margo (PT) wants to be seen for who she is; and Alaska (LfA) questions the suffering and pain of life. There's some deeply philosophical stuff in these books that you just don't find very often in typical Teen Lit. I don't know exactly what Mr. Green's personal faith/worldview is, but reading his work from my Christian worldview has given me plenty of opportunities to look at the questions his characters asked in light of my own beliefs, and goodness knows, I like a book that makes me think.

Now, before I give my "go forth and read" I must say one thing more. As a librarian-in-training-meets-conservative-homeschooled-kid, I often struggle with the idea of censorship and what should/shouldn't be read. All of these books I've talked about have situations and language that I do not endorse, but as a discerning adult (Wait, did I really just say that? When did I become an adult?) I have been able to sift the chaff from the wheat, as it were. To concerned parents I say this: know your child. I wouldn't recommend these books to my 17 year-old brother, cause he wouldn't get the "why" of them, but every kid is different. To teens: Be discerning and engaged. Think.

Ok, now I can say it. Go forth and read!

your friendly neighborhood Teen Librarian-in-Training. (Gosh, I can't wait to drop the "in-training" bit.)

Sarah

P.S. The title of this post is a quote from TFiOS  from a scene where Hazel Grace writes her favorite author and tells him, "Frankly, I'd read your grocery lists" when asking him to write more. It sums up my feelings toward Mr. Green's writing very well, so I thought it appropriate.
-S



Late Night Scribblings: On Imagination, Hope and Waiting

Dearest Reader-mine, I suppose I should feel bad about inundating you with so many words so close together, as this makes four April posts within the first 10 days, (and I'm probably not done yet) but, I don't. Not really. When I have to write, I just have to write, and since this is the medium through which my thoughts flow best at this time in my life, here I am. 
-S

If my life were a BBC sci-fi drama (and yes, this is a thought I often have) I'd wake up tonight to pebbles hitting my window and a Tardis (plus operator, cause Tardises can't throw pebbles) in my front yard. Now, lest you think I've lost my mind completely to my fandom, allow me to explain. Here I am: a girl in her twenties, living a comfortably mundane existence; studying for exams and filling out job applications. I know there's more to life, somewhere beyond my little sphere; however, I just haven't quite reached the time in which it's right for me to step out, (nor have I found the way out for that matter; I'm working on that). But I know I'm almost there. I can feel it tonight. Yes, I'm on the cusp of an adventure I think; whether its an adventure that involves being a time-traveling companion, or just finally growing up I'll leave to your imagination.

So, I wait for the event that will set off the chain reaction that will send me on my way.  And in my waiting, there's hope. I've discovered lately, that where there's hope, there's imagination, and vice versa. The one feeds the other: hope perpetuates the imagining of splendid dreams, and those dreams in turn fan the sparks of hope that I hold in my chest, keeping them alive. Without one, I think the other might die.

And so, here I sit: twenty-two, flour on my face from late-night baking escapades, still wearing my apron, cup of tea beside me. Without the company of my dreams, I'd be quite lonely tonight. However, I've got them in my head, and hope in my heart--hope that soon I'll find the path to that great Somewhere I'm headed toward.

--The Girl Who Waits


I love...

-Earl grey tea in the morning, with the bosom buddy. Sometimes I choose my tea blend based on my health, or on what I'm eating with it, or on its smell; today I chose it because the tea-tag color matched my skirt. Yellow.
-The violets that are everywhere, just begging me to pick whole handfuls of them. Today, I want my bridal bouquet to be nothing but violets. Tomorrow, I'll probably change my mind back to lily-of-the-valley again.
-The extra springy-green of the leaf buds on the tips of the trees, as well as the white-green of the half-bloomed dogwoods, the brilliant fuchsia of the red-buds, and--oh my goodness!--that glorious growth of forsythia I passed on the side of route 68 on my drive home.
-A squelching tramp across a marshy field, and everything that resulted from it, including my sopping wet converse and socks.
-The fact that "April" is a much gentler and lovelier word than "March" is, and how their respective months follow suit.
-The heavy white paper and sharpie pen I used for my Monday letters this morning. The paper just sounds right when folded and unfolded, like a letter in a period drama, and the pen didn't smudge under my left hand as I wrote.
-The tree that sparks music in my head whenever I see it, cause its just that wonderful.
-John Piatt's English toffee lattes. I nearly cried from happiness/homesickness for Harmony House at just a whiff of its magical aroma as I cupped mine waiting for it to cool this afternoon.
-The joy of knowing that I'll be sleeping in my own bed tonight after a weekend away



The words I live by: “Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” ― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


P.S.  -Holst's Venus. Jupiter gets its fair share of well-deserved attention, but attend for a few moments, if you will, to the dreaminess of this piece. Its even better at night in a quiet car, but then, most music is. (My favorite part starts at 3:51,  and gets even better at 4:35)
 

Anne and Alice and Me: Window Reflections

I lay draped across my sister's bed by the window, just being, watching the heat lightening in the north-
eastern sky, and willing my aching body along in its slow recovery from the one-day plague that has been on its conquering journey through my family this week. Occasionally shifting my focus from the goings on outside the window to the window itself and the reflections within, I was reminded of Anne Shirley's reflection friend, Katie Maurice, who lived in the bookcase (which sadly housed no books, but china and jams instead) at the Thomas' house, and in my moment of Anne-ish-ness I suddenly saw my reflection as a complete stranger. I wondered if we'd be friends.

The window girl was sprawled across a bed of her own, studying me intently, so I studied her back. Her eyes were quietly serious, her mouth calm. These days my own eyes feel tight with worry, and more often than not my youngest sister asks if I'm angry, giving me reason to think that I scowl more that I might mean to. The window girl had grace for me however, as she held her gaze steady and didn't glance away from me, understanding all the stress and questions I'm sure she could see. She's the friend I'd like to be.
***
I looked past the window girl and into her life, at the warm pink glow of a flowered quilt on her bed, half obscured by clean laundry and half packed backpack, at the posters on the walls. Her existence seemed to be a colorful one. I wondered at what I might find beyond the open door of her bedroom, were I able to step through the glass. Would it be "all flowers and sunshine and fairies" like Anne imagined Katie Maurice's world to be? Or would it, like Alice's looking-glass world, be a confusing backwards place? My world resembles Alice's more often than not, though I'm not sure I would take the utopia that Anne dreamed of were I given the option. Though Jabberwocks exist in the looking-glass world we are told that they can be slain (oh, how I'd like to meet that darling "beamish boy", slayer of monsters), and because of this I take hope.
Now I'm quite certain of it; I wouldn't be content with the perfection of Katie Maurice's land. What are flowers without the dirt and weeds, or sunbeams without the storms, or fairies without the dragons? Quite dull, I suppose.


Who'd I like to be:
Alice, Anne or Me?
Reflection holds a separate world;
She's the same, yet a different girl.
Through the looking-glass.





***
Credit: poetic form is the invention of my pal, Jonathan. He blogs. check it out. => scarlequain


Words to the Unnamed...

Dear You,

It's nearly midnight as I sit here writing to you. I was studying biology just now and drinking coffee, just plugging away at my work, when all of a sudden I was hit with an inexplicable heaviness of spirit. You know, the kind that you feel in your heart that makes you want to burst into tears. I'm no more or less stressed than usual (not even by the biology materials that are dominating my workspace at the moment)... so, its not like I'm not okay... its more like I felt that somewhere out there, someone else is not okay. And that's not okay.

I don't know who you are, or if you're even reading this. I don't know if I even know you. I stopped to pray just now, whispering the name of every person who came to mind, but also keeping in mind the unnamed and unknown.

I don't know what you need, or what exactly you're feeling at the moment, but know this, best beloved, you're just that. You're loved. I love you in the small way of my human heart and, far better than that, my Father loves you in the greatness of His.

I hope that these words aren't mere platitudes, written only to ease my own heaviness of heart,  but instead an earnest prayer for the one who needs it tonight.

I pray that tonight you find rest and awake to joy tomorrow morning.
I pray that you know you're not alone.
Dear unnamed, unknown someone: be well.

--Sarah

***
From my mouth to God's ears...

Late Night Scribblings: All About Pride and Prejudice


My Dear Reader,
I've been in such the Jane Austen mood recently, that this afternoon, after waving off cousins who had been visiting for the weekend, I told my mom that I was planning on watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice after lunch. So we did. Or, rather I did... the rest of the family floated in and out of the room over the course of the five hours and two disc masterpiece that is BBC's adaptation of P&P.  It's been ages since I've devoted myself to that one, and I don't think I've ever done it all in one go, so I think today might be a day for the Annals of Sarah Peden.  (March 23rd 2014. Still no life. Watched Pride and Prejudice for 5 hours straight and didn't feel guilty about it.)
***

I've nothing really profound to say after this wonderful afternoon of immersion in Regency Romance, but I had a couple thoughts I wanted to write down... in no particular order.
***
Comparing the different adaptations in my head, 1995 (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) is still my tippy-top favorite. Because dialog: gahh... straight from the book, straight up Jane Austen, beautiful, witty, genius (seriously genius) ...ok, recovering powers of speech, pardon my sudden but inevitable lapse into Fangirl....
Had I been reading instead of watching a movie, I'd have been underlining all over the place. (The last time I read the actual book was a while ago, and before I gained an affinity for marginalia.) It's not cinematically showy like the 2005 version (Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen) but it's detailed and book-accurate, and as a lover of the story first and foremost, I will always go with 1995.
***
Mary's singing though... I can't help but laugh and sing along, every time.
I always feel so sorry for Mary Bennet... Especially when Mr. Collins comes around. You can see her in the
background trying awkwardly to get noticed by him. They would have been perfect together.

And Kitty, too! The poor misguided girl got the backlash of Lydia's folly, and no hope of a suitor on the horizon.... but here's what I'd like to think happens: After the weddings of Jane and Lizzie, Kitty meets Colonel Fitzwilliam... and its perfect. He's respectable, and a cousin of Darcy's AND in the military. What else could Kitty want?
***
Of all the sister relationships in all of Jane Austen's works, I love that of Jane and Lizzie best. (Sorry Jori, Marianne and Elinor are wonderful too, but they don't understand each other as well as Jane and Lizzie do.) I love how they're constantly confiding in each other, (really, the best conversations are had while braiding hair. I know this from experience) and the surreptitious glances across the parlor that just convey so much. 
Perfection. :)
***
Jennifer Ehle. Let's just talk about how perfect a Lizzie she is.
That sweet smile... those sparkling eyes (very important, as Mr. Darcy is supposed to be transfixed by them)...
She has a constant decorum in society (unlike the sloppiness of Kiera Knightley's Lizzie), but when outdoors and alone, she runs and skips and plays with the estate dog. Yes. Just, yes.
***
1995 might be criticized by some of my sex for not having enough romance, but I'd like to say that it's there. You just have to be aware of it. It may not be romantic in the sense of roaming the heather fields at dawn in nothing but your nightgown where you just happen to meet your true love who is also roaming said fields, upon which meeting he professes his love to you in a half-dying sort of way (sorry Matthew MacFadyen, just stick to being Arthur Clennam, I like you better when you're jolly, not melancholy).
And by the way, such behavior is so. not. Regency. appropriate.
The romance of the 1995 film can be summed up in a couple of words. Not the standard Darcy speech of
"Allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" because, really, that proposal doesn't count. He hadn't gotten over himself yet, and practically insulted her family while proposing to her. But rather, this moment occurs when, after Lady Catherine DeBurgh has come and gone, Darcy comes to visit with Bingley and they all go for a walk. Lizzie and Darcy start talking (FINALLY), apologizing for their respective behavior towards each other. It comes out that he still loves her, but more so... and she's had a change of heart towards him... and in that moment, he addresses her as "dearest, loveliest Elizabeth" not, Miss Bennet, or Miss Lizzie or any other address but "dearest, loveliest Elizabeth."

And in that moment, I (sitting with knees drawn up to chin in my little blue armchair) clutch my quilt about me even tighter, and emit a little "eep!" of joy at the sheer wonderfulness of those three words that are more romantic than all the pre-dawn trysts in the world.

I can't help it. I've been swooning over this story since I was little, and it only gets better with time. Goodnight, dear reader. I'm off to dream happy dreams of Someday.

your faithful scribbler,
Sarah


On Accidental Learning

Yesterday I accidentally learned about dodecaphony. Please note that I say "learned about." Do I understand it all? Not by a long shot; but I have new concepts floating around in my brain that have never been there before, and as a result, have discovered new thought-roads that will inevitably lead to more new and exciting concepts that are just waiting to be learned about.

But, oh dearest reader, through the portal that this text forms on my page, linking me to you, I can see you looking at me in an odd way. You're wondering,  "how in the world did she manage to learn about Schoenberg's method of composition that strives to equally utilize all twelve notes accidentally?"

Well, it all started when I was derping about the interwebs... on youtube, going to look up the theme music for the Redwall animated miniseries, (which, now that I think I about it, I never got to... whoops!) And as happens when you're subscribed to 33 channels, I was greeted by a slew of new videos and video suggestions.  I wasn't really in any hurry, so my slightly ADD brain and I chorused in harmony, "squirrel!" and clicked on a video from Vi Hart, about doodling fractal dragons in math class, which led to another one of her magnificent videos, this one about dot connecting. Before I knew it, I'd completely fallen down the rabbit hole of wonderful math philosophy, which landed me here, at Vi Hart's Twelve Tone video. (Its 30 minutes long, so  don't start watching it now, but please do plan to watch it. It's fascinating.)

Now, this post is about learning, not dodecaphony, so I'm not going to go into that at all, except to say that its kind of wierdly awesome. And strangely mathematical . Watch the video. Later.

This is how my brain works: something interests me; I look it up. In the course of reading about the first subject, I see something else that interests me and I look that up. And so on. Curiosity and distractibility are my modi operandi and Google is my weapon of choice. (P.S. Always Google with discernment.You're gonna need more than just a grain of salt... try a cup.)

Do I retain everything I learn in my accidental learning adventures? Not always. I'm no Sherlock with his vast mind-palace of useful information ready for recall; my mind is much smaller, more like a card catalog that points to the information rather than the shelves of information itself. (Though if I had a mind-palace I would like it to look like the Tardis library) Most of the time I just retain enough to make me dangerous... but even that little bit is better than nothing at all. As long as I remember that the information exists I can always go back and look up keywords to find it again. Sometimes one of these tidbits will be kicked around in my mind until one day it finds its use when someone asks me a questions relevant to that information; then I excitedly pull that card up in my brain and am thrilled to answer or point in the right direction. I guess you might say that I was born to be a librarian.

So, Where was I going with that? Nowhere really. Just musing over how my thoughts happen here. It's a wonderful, wide world to be thinking in. :)

 yours in accidental learning,
-S

On Pie

Its Pi Day. March 14th, or 3/14 or 3.14. Pi!
Of course, for those that love wordplay, that also means its Pie day. When I poked my head into Dad's office this morning to inform him of the date, he inquired after the possibility of getting pie with dinner tonight. (I'm playing housekeeper for the week, as Mom is visiting Grandparents with the youngers.) I think I can manage that.
I stood at the kitchen sink washing up breakfast dishes, enjoying the feeling of aliveness that comes with hot water running over my hands (as well as the baseboard heater blowing warm air on my bare feet) and doing a mental inventory of what we might have in the house for making pies. My thoughts of "what should I make?" triggered a long forgotten memory of one of my favorite childhood games.

Witch and the Pie (sometimes known as Pieman, Pieman) is hardly the kind of game you'd expect a family like mine to be playing.*  But my mom played it when she was little, so therefore we played it.
The game has different rule and forms, but this is how we played it: One person is It, she (or he) being the Witch (or wizard) ,while the rest of the kids would be the Pies in the Bakery. The Pies all sat on the front steps, deciding which flavor they'd be--anything from traditional fruit and custard pies, to more... creative choices, like Mud (we thought we were so clever)--while the Witch waited, safely out of earshot. When everyone was set in their choices, the Witch would approach the Bakery, and knock. Here's the scripted dialogue--

W (with a crone-like voice): Knock knock!
P (in chorus): Who's There!
W: Do you have any pies? (The "ies" sound must be inflected upward with increasing pitch)
P: What kind do you want?

At this point the Witch would start naming off types of pie; when she hit upon one that had been selected by a Pie, the unfortunate thing would then take off running, frantically circling our little white World War II era house, with Witch in hot pursuit. The Pie was safe if she made it back to the Bakery un-touched, but if the Witch overtook and tagged the Pie, the Pie became the Witch for the next round. Simple, Sweet, Scary. We played it endlessly.
***
I decided on Apple Pie with a lattice crust, because food should be pretty, vanilla ice cream on the side.
Happy Pi(e) Day!


footnotes:
*I mean, we categorically rejected Harry Potter (until I was 18, but that's another story) and taped together the pages of a picture book that contained illustrations of a witch because it might scare and corrupt (we cut the tape one day when I was in highschool, because after Lord of the Rings, how scary could it possibly be?) By the way, this is not meant to be seen as casting aspersions on my family. These are the stories that, I feel, add character to my life, and I wouldn't change a thing. If you come to my house now, you can join the philosophical discussion on the virtues and vices of Harry Potter and cast your eyes upon the relic of that picture book. Its going on 23 years old. 

Commonplace Notes

If I wrote it down, it must have been Important...Or so you might think.

I grabbed my cell phone to log a quote from the episode of Doctor Who that James and I were watching last night, and was drawn to the other notes in my cell phone notepad. I always forget that they're there, until I decide I must record something... when said recorded thought just joins the other hidden notes. Its a shame that I forget about them, as they were obviously important enough to me at the time to want to remember them. So, I've decided to go through and try to remember when and why I made these notes... you know, just in case something important is brought to mind. It should be fun for me, and you, dearest reader-mine, may just learn something about my crazy mind and how it works.

1. (Last night's quote, which, ironically perfectly fits this exercise.)
"Nothing is ever forgotten, not completely, and it something can be remembered, it can come back." --The Eleventh Doctor, "The Pandorica Opens"
this is when the Doctor is talking to Amy about Rory... she's forgotten him because... technically due to the wonky cracks in the universe, he's been erased from all time... but PSYCH! he's actually just become a Roman... it's very distracting. (can a Whovian get a fist bump for that reference, please? thanks.)

2. Hedgehog in the Fog
Luge ramp in the yard
Rite of Spring
Drogo's Waltz?
Sabre Dance
Swan Lake
This is a list I made while watching the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremonies... mostly music to look up later... and a memory note, (my dad made us a luge ramp in our back yard when we were little. Jealous? yeah, I thought so. ;)... I have no earthly idea about the Hedgehog bit. 

3. Joan: Wry and Cynical
June: sweet, "my greatest joy is getting new cleaning products. I don't tell people that often"
character notes on the ladies at my knit group... I'm gonna write about the people of my town someday... beautiful people.

4. Till all the seas go dry
Danny Kaye, the Tchaikovsky Song
Music notes here... I think "Till all the seas go dry" is from "My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose"... the Robert Burns poem... And Danny Kaye, one of my favorite old time actor/singers... he apparently became famous on this "patter song" which showcases his ability to spit out many complicated words very quickly. 
He's fantastic. 

5. In matters of importance, style, not sincerity is what matters.
I have a bad habit of not citing my quotes in my note taking... O.o ...but Google being the modern convenience that it is, a quick search reveals this to be an Oscar Wilde quote from The Importance of Being Earnest which I've seen 3 times with in the past two months... movie version twice, Hilltop Players production once. I have no idea why I wanted to remember this line...

6. pearl harbor, summer solace, last of mohicans, alice.
More music notes... I have a lot of music notes it would seem...what do this things have in common? they're all albums that play on my favorite Pandora Station. Type in "Little Women (film score)" and you'll get essentially the same experience. :) 

Are you getting bored yet? oh silly peanut, you have my permission to leave at any point. This is not mandatory reading. There will be no test at the end of the year.

7.  Buried in a blue plaid polyester suit with a bolo tie, huge chunk of turquoise.
I know this has its source in "things I hear at knitting group" but I can't remember who said it... character notes. This man must have been interesting.

8. Seeing Redd-- Beddor
book notes... the next book in the Looking Glass Wars series (a retelling of Alice in Wonderland) first book was fantastic... was obviously trying to remind myself to get the second book. Consider it done, dear Sarah-from-the-Past.

9. On Reading Woolf. Long juicy sentences, like blackberries to be savored at length leaving seedy semicolons stuck in your teeth.
Ok, please don't laugh at me. Please have a heart for a poor, dear girl who sometimes tries to be poetic... especially when she's bored stiff at work, and letting her mind wander about. Yes, I remember exactly when I thought and logged this line. No, I don't remember why I was thinking about Virginia Woolf. Yes, I thought it was rather brilliant at the time. Yes, I still do think (albeit kind of sheepishly) its rather brilliant. No, I'm not  very humble, thanks for asking.

10. A half finished book is like a half finished love affair --Cloud Atlas
movie quote. don't watch the movie, its a little odd. more than a little odd. but this line was perfect. I have 8 half finished love affairs on my nightstand at the moment. eep. I'd better work on that.

11. The White Stripes "We're Going To Be Friends"
American Authors "Best Day of My Life"
Mumford and Sons "Hopeless Wanderer"
Mumford and Sons "Sigh No More"
still more music notes... all jotted down while at work in IT this past semester... all of which cheer me up... all of which can be found on my Senioritis playlist. Enjoy. ;)




And Last but (most certainly) not least... a roommate quote. hehheh. She's lucky I didn't have more of these...
12. The way to boy's heart is through the stomach... and the Bible. --Jor
I don't even know.  who knows why we have any of the conversations we have, but they make sense to us in the moment, and that's all that matters. My sister in everything weird and wonderful... that's my Jor for ya.

Well, there you have it, a glorious cornucopia of randomness from the Stuff Drawer (being my family's term for that one drawer where we keep just Stuff) of my mind. Maybe this will become a blog tradition, I don't know... say, every so often, when I remember to look at my cell phone notepad again... oh, that reminds me of a question that's always plagued me: How many times makes a Tradition? Hmm? Think on that and get back to me.

yours ever,
S