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How can I be tired after spending all day sitting in my yard and making money off of stuff I don’t want anymore?

It went in stages.  The joy of a cup of coffee and a blackberry-topped cheese danish.  The boredom.  The beauty of cash being handed over for things I’d forgotten I owned.  The chatting with neighbors.  The constant taking off and putting on of my sweater as the sun played hide and seek.  The finishing of The Book Thief.  The rearranging of stuff.  The questioning of people’s taste (“why did that guy buy the ugliest knick-knack and leave behind this relatively nice one?”)  The loud fake conversations about how great this stuff is and what a bargain!  The reminiscing about times we wore certain outfits that are now for sale (“that was when he wrote the ‘sorry I’m a gerk’ note”).  The counting of money.  The boredom.  You get the picture.

Now my room is pleasantly emptied (although it still manages to be cluttered) and I’m thinking an eggshell blue on the walls, rearranged furniture, and a rotation of art.  I live for this stuff.

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This is Kate’s sugarbowl. Currently for sale for $2 at our upcoming yard sale. It could be yours!

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This is the jar of nasty refined white sugar. There’s also a bag of turbinado somewhere in the recesses of the cabinet. Apart from baking, we mostly use honey and maple syrup for sweetening. Although I really should switch to a better sugar for baking, too. Sophie tells me I will taste the difference, and I believe her.

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That mouth!

via BB-Blog

I went through a blissful couple of weeks where I was devouring books in a heartbeat and activating all kinds of goodness on my library holds list (it’s hovered between 24 and 25 titles (the max allowed for staff) for many weeks now). I felt that I was making Progress and that I could Save the World through Swift Reading of Good Books.

Then I hit some kind of a snag, where suddenly it appeared I’d been too optimistic, because my basket at work was overflowing (literally) with gorgeous, fat books to be read. Plus I already had a bunch at home.

Here’s what I actually finished this week:

The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson. Leila doesn’t lie. She recommends good stuff. You might think obits are depressing or boring or blah blah. Don’t. The book is great, even if it doesn’t turn you into an obit reader (but really, what’s your excuse?)

Here’s what I’ve been reading and haven’t finished:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I do believe my favorite part is the narrator. This is one of those books where reading reviews & such isn’t really helpful. You just need to jump in and see if you like it. But how could you not love this?

After telling us how a character will die, the narrator says:

Of course, I’m being rude. I’m spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don’t have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It’s the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me.

I’ve also spent some time with Chew On This by Eric Schlosser and Downriver by Will Hobbs.

Making eyes at me from my shelf are Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, Yellow Star, Saving the World, and Havoc, in Its Third Year. This is of course not to mention the two items still sitting in my basket at work or the twenty-five items currently on hold. Or the gazillion and two recommendations I receive every day.

Legend has it that my grandmother was Marilyn Monroe’s butt double.  Like I said before, this doesn’t make any sense to me.

1.  Why would she need one?

2.  How did my grandmother end up doing it?

My grandmother was a double in another movie, Northwest Passage, which was filmed near where she was raised in Idaho.  If I were all on top of things, I would scan the pictures we have of her in costume (Joey?  please?)  For this story, I cite my sources as Cousin Di, who heard it from my uncle and great-aunt.

In one of the train scenes, near the beginning, there are several shots of Marilyn’s back side.  Apparently, one of them is my grandmother.  I tried to figure out which shot it could be, but I think it’s one of those things I’ll just have to take on faith.  My grandmother’s derriere was superior to Marilyn Monroe’s.

I’m back at my usual post. It just now occurred to me, after spending several minutes looking up addresses, checking email, and reading blogs, to turn the fan towards me. My forarms are sticking to the laptop. I just had a piece of blueberry tart (take one cooked, cooled pie crust, add one container of mascarpone cheese mixed with a couple tablespoons of lemon curd, and top that with about two cups of blueberries mixed with a couple more tablespoons of lemon curd. Chill. Devour.) But that’s not stopping me from wanting an ice cream bar. Or a popsicle. I was at Albertson’s today to buy lightbulbs (the single light in my room has been burnt out for about, oh, a week) and I thought to myself, surely I must need something here. I have this problem, though, where the stuff at most grocery stores doesn’t look like food. This is it. I’m a grocery store snob. But Haagen Daz vanilla & almond bars are the same everywhere, so home they came with me.

And I’m completely rambling! Yay for the heat!

*This joined my family of favorite phrases after reading The Reptile Room.

It is now necessary for me to use the rather hackneyed phrase “meanwhile, back at the ranch.” The word “hackneyed” here means “used by so many writers that by the time Lemony Snicket uses it, it is a tiresome cliche.” “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” is a phrase used to link what is going on in one part of the story to what is going on in another part of the story, and it has nothing to do with cows or horses or with any people who work in rural areas where ranches are, or even with ranch dressing, which is creamy and put on salads.

Yesterday my little brother commented (in person, not blog commenty) that I hadn’t updated in a while.  Frankly, it’s been too hot to spend any time near my laptop.  I could barely stand being in my house last night at 10 pm.  In fact, I couldn’t.  I retreated to the freshly installed air conditioning at my parents’ and my mom’s new imac.  Which doesn’t expell heat onto my lap.

This was, afterall, the weekend where I actually agreed to work extra so I could spend more time in the air conditioning at the library.  Of course, the AC came with a price.  Normally, for the past year or so, staff has been parking a block or two away to leave the limited library parking for patrons.  Then, with the construction next door, they closed off one sidewalk.  Which just meant crossing the street two extra times if you went to get coffee on your break.

Then, they closed off the other sidewalk.  Leaving two options: walk around an entire extra block to get to your car or coffee or lunch.  Or, cut across city hall’s lawn.  The way I see it, they authorized this construction/road work.  In return, their grass gets trampled by hoardes of librarians.  Fair deal.  Right?

But this weekend was extra special.  The temperature was hovering around 100 with humidity at what felt like 90%.  Like being in a gross sauna, where a lot of dirty people had been sitting and sweating.  Anyway, you can imagine.   Add to the mix the Farmer’s Market (a good thing) and this summer festival thing the city puts on (read: carnival rides and a small town parade where the library has a float and people throw candy).  The farmer’s market took over our usual parking lot.  The street where our back-up parking is located was closed for the festivities.  Which means parking at the other end of town (literally.  Although technically still not that far away).

Crowds + Heat + Humidity + Bad Parking + Sidewalks Closed + Proximity of Carnival Rides + A Heavy Book Bag =  Me Thinking “Why Did I Agree to Work?”

I remembered when I stepped in the door with my delicious iced coffee (from the place that used to be across the parking lot and crossing one street and is now two blocks and three street crossings away (one way)).  Blissful blissful cold.

Up soon: the story of how my grandmother may or may not have been Marilyn Monroe’s butt double in Some Like It Hot.

(Not that she couldn’t have done it, but why would MM need a double?)

I’m thinking of doing a weekly book recap or something like that.  You know, because I need one more way to keep track of what I’m reading.  I already write titles, authors and date finished in my pen & paper notebook, plus I started a freakish excel file of everything I’ve read over the past two years (since I started the notebook notations).  But sometimes I forget to blog about what I’ve been reading (horrors!) so I’ll throw it up here, too, in a spiffy category.

This week I’ve read:

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff (why haven’t YOU read it yet?)

The Wright 3, Blue Balliett (art, hidden clues in the fabulous illustrations, a mystery)

The First Part Last, Angela Johnson (I barely managed to get it home from the library before I’d devoured it.  Finished it standing outside Mio Sushi waiting for my to-go order)

The Thin Place, Kathryn Davis (finished in eery synchronicity with babelbabe; pleasantly layered)

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster (“it goes without saying,” but didn’t quite live up to the hype)

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This week is coffee machines.  Ours is a stunning combination of stovetop, kettle, and French Press.  There’s also that handy coffee grinder, but it lives at New Seasons next to the Batdorf & Bronson.

So, new space. Spur of the moment decision when blogger wouldn’t let me write about my bruises.

Yes! Bruises! Here is how it happened.

Sophie and I went for a bike ride. The last time I was on a bike was, oh, approximately ten years ago. It involved a French host sister and being freaked out by traffic and a blow-out fight about how I didn’t smile enough. The last bike I owned was built for a seven year old.

Riding a bike after ten years? Is not as easy to remember as riding a bike. People tell you that about all kinds of things, that it’s like riding a bike. You don’t forget. Pay attention, I’m hear to tell you otherwise. It’s hard. It involves several embarrassing minutes in the street outside your house, trying to swing your leg over and keep your foot on the pedal and get some balance and not hit that car that just turned the corner. And having a three year old ask why you don’t just ride it.

And then you finally get going and you’re coasting and taking the corners and navigating mild traffic and not wobbling too much and trying just to make it to the bike trail, and you’re going through your first tight spot and you panic and are suddenly on the ground under the bike. But you’re fine, fine! Just a little scratch on your arm, and starting is much easier this time, only two tries, and lalala look at me bike almost six miles! This is fun! Except for the death grip on the handlebars and the dust outside the cement factory. And you make it home, walking your bikes up the hill because really, let’s not take this exercise thing too far.

Your reward is a most perfect latte at the Ugly Mug, where you sit all cozy for a while. And then you stand up and think, oh, I am a bit creaky here in my hips, that’s interesting. And then you start noticing how you don’t really have much of a scrape on your arm, but more of a series of small bruises along your forarm (one of them conveniently located right where it rests on the edge of your laptop). And you say, I think I bruised my hip, actually. And you go take a look at it in bathroom mirror and sweet mother of God.

You are so disgusted that you don’t ever want to see it again. But you can’t stop checking on it whenever you go to the bathroom. You even engage in some hysterical laughter at work (a combination of being at work too long, perhaps too much caffeine, a touch of hunger, and the color of your bruise). Arnica helps. But, this bruise will be with you faithfully for quite a while.

NB.  My July archives are still back at the old garish.

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Flickr Photos

I love how much Ben loves vacations. I do not love half hour car naps on the way home.

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Everything was a "fish," even the sea lions.

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