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I just got a call.

From a woman who’s known me since I was nine.

And I have a new job.

Which is a hell of a lot like my old job.

Same library.

Some of the same tasks.

But more money.

And responsibility.

And a different schedule.

I am now the proud owner of TWO WEEKENDS A MONTH.

If you’ve ever tried to plan anything with me, you might recall that I work every single Saturday. Half at one job, half at the other. And every other Sunday. Which makes for the classic thirteen day workweek. Have you ever tried it? It’s really something. But now, I am to be ushered into the world of One Sunday A Month at the Library. I’m still stuck with every other Saturday at corporate job. But may hell freeze over before they discover that the library doesn’t need me on Saturdays anymore, because before I could bat an eyelid, I’d be on the schedule for every Saturday.

Also, I’m going to the beach this Sunday. Let the wild rumpus begin.

Last Friday I worked at my library’s book sale, which is really just an excuse to sit in a hot gym with a bunch of your favorite coworkers and shoot the breeze (really, where did that expression come from?) and alternate between tallying up people’s totals (one woman spent over Three Hundred Dollars. I’m sure she’s going to resell them, but still. At 50 cents to a dollar apiece, that’s a hell of a lot of books.) and “straightening” the tables (a euphemism for browsing). I ended up with a modest thirteen titles, which I shall list for your enjoyment. Because who doesn’t love $1 books?

In the “Silly Me, I’ve Already Read That” column, we have:

1. Animal Dreams &
2. Homeland and Other Stories by Barbara Kingsolver (“I’ve read everything…by Barbara Kingsolver.” I will read anything this woman writes. And reread it.)
3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. (Worth a reread at some point.)
4. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. (I’ve already reread this once, and boy does he do a lovely book on tape, but it’s a gorgeous hardcover. Could not resist.)
5. The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. (It’s fantastic. Newbery Honor. Enough said.)

In the “Um, Don’t You Already Own That?” column:

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (It’s nicer than the copy I already had, plus I lent that one to my sister and now she can just keep it.)
7. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. (This is to give away. Anyone want it? It needs a good home.)

In the “Venturing Into Untrodden Territory, Yay for Me” column:

8. Childe Harold and Prisoner of Chillon by Byron (It’s a gorgeous tiny hardcover, and Byron cracks me up to no end – “And thus they plod in sluggish misery,/ Rotting from sire to son, and age to age.” Allegedly I’ve read part of this, but not the whole thing.)
9. The Jump-Off Creek by Molly Gloss. (It was apparently an Oregonian Book Club Selection, and the previous owner was one Helen Keller. Too much to resist.)
10. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. (I’m not at all principal characters and begins with a funeral.)
11. One True Thing by Anna Quindlen. (Isn’t this supposed to be a bit of a tearjerker? Worth a try.)
12. Adam Bede by George Eliot. (Because I loved Silas Marner and I haven’t yet worked up the courage for Middlemarch.)
13. The Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Fadiman. (I once checked it out of the library and have had an eye to purchasing it ever since. It is “a stimulating and irresistible guide to one hundred books and authors which will help you, over the whole of your lifetime, to understand what the greatest writers of Western Civilization have thought and felt,” according to the front cover. Because I don’t have enough to read. And isn’t Clifton Anne Fadiman’s father?)

fruit smedley
Originally uploaded by jessmonster.

All eaten, except for the jam.

I’m going too long inbetween spurts of writing and it’s making me feel that Everything Must Have Significance. Whatever.

If you’re feeling nosy or know Kate or happened to be there, you can check out bridal shower photos on my flickr sidebar. I have to tell you about where we had the shower, because I’m having a serious case of house-lust.

Last year, a family at church bought a lovely historic home outside of Portland. They were just about to move in…when it burned down. (I think it was a freak accident.) So on the same spot they rebuilt almost the same house. The same look & feel & style, but, you know, better. Because now they don’t have to worry about old-house problems. And they have as much storage as they want. And modern bathrooms. And walk-in closets.

Plus, they happen to have just about perfect taste. If you’re anything like me, you love to look at houses. And think, “I would keep that, and repaint that, and move that, and wouldn’t it be better if there were a window right there?” I don’t think I would change a single thing in this house. Paint, furniture, artwork, layout. I want to move into their lovely cool blue guest room. Which I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures of when I had the chance.

Anyway, throwing a shower is simultaneously a Lot of Work and Not So Hard After All. Because you really just need guest, and food, and a location. Check, check, check.

In other news it is still HOT. I work in a warehouse where the air does not move. Where it is still unbearably hot when I leave work at 9:30. Fortunately I also spend some time in an air-conditioned office, but by that point I am already sticky with sweat. I swiped the spray bottle used to mist plants in the office and took it out into the oven with me, where the water quickly reached room temperature and I could barely feel it hitting the back of my neck. I’m thinking of patenting a thermos/spray bottle for situations like that. Something to keep the water icy cold.

Yesterday I mainly subsisted on popsicles and pudding pops. I got up early this morning in the hopes of Getting Things Done while it’s still cool, but I haven’t made it any further than my desk. Oh well.

According to Google, it’s 90 degrees. In other words, summer has arrived. For the longest time it didn’t feel like June. I’d say that, and whoever was around would say, “oh, but it’s always cool and rainy in June.” It wasn’t that. It just didn’t have that almost summer feel. Now it does. My hands smell like tomatoes and feta cheese, I’ve been laying on the living room floor, reading Spook and getting covered in dog hair from the rug. It’s too hot to feel very hungry, and too hot to seriously contemplate the bundt cake I’m making for Kate’s shower tomorrow.

I love summer, and I love to complain about it.

A couple weeks ago, while I was sitting through my brother’s high school graduation, I had this great blackbird-style post planned. There would be lots of photos

mixed in with commentary on what other attendees were wearing, and how you can pick out the recent arrivals from Eastern Europe by their faces and the way they dress (the boy below is no recent arrival, from the Ukraine or elsewhere).

And I would somehow manage to pin down all the thoughts about “are there any kids here who are desperately embarrassed by their parents?” Not in the way that all seventeen & eighteen year olds are embarrassed, but in deep, terrible ways. I hoped not. And there would be pictures (but there aren’t, because this isn’t the post I wish it could be) of the event staff at the university where this took place, fierce little old ladies who lived to track down all users of airhorns. Who created a human wall with their small bodies to prevent eager family members from jumping the graduates as they exited the building. There would also be observations about how many students I recognized from their volunteer work at the library, and the prominence of shaggy hair in the combined bands.

And oh, how I would rip into the student speeches. The boy who’s heartrending tribute to the family of a dead classmate was horrifically marred by poor grammar. The speeches where, rather than continue to listen, I turned to the program and read every single name. There would have been a lot of mocking of names, but I had a desperate fear that the parents of Waldo William Wiffers (name invented to protect the innocent, but not that far off from the real thing) would be sitting behind me and would proceed to rap me over the head with their camera and blow their airhorn in my ear. (Fear not, the mocking was accomplished afterwards, over Mexican food.)

I would tell you about my favorite speech, the one where a bouncy young near-graduate announced, “We are about to enter the world.”

I insert a paragraph break to let that sink in. Are you with me? We are about to enter the world.

That poor, poor boy. He has no idea that he’s been living in the world for the past eighteen years (unless he is, perhaps, not of this world?) Oh, the youth of today! Are children really being raised to think that they aren’t part of the world? That they are not part of the greater union of humanity? Oh, Bartleby! This, in my humble opinion, is precisely what is wrong with our society. And the educational system. That kids are so damn separated from what is going on.

Now, I’m sure this poor boy didn’t mean to imply what I read into his statement. I know that. But it’s a symptom. Too bad I didn’t have spare copies of the Teenage Liberation Handbook to hand out as they walked out the door.

Mom in cherry bowl
Originally uploaded by kathy.

Story to follow.

And I’m pretty sure she’s reading me Green Eggs and Ham. She thinks I can see the pictures, though.

“Now I’m gonna read you another book!”

It’s 12:45 in the morning and I’ve hit that last little bit of wired energy before you crash and burn and sleep like a log. I thought I was really tired an hour ago but then I realized I hadn’t checked my email in a couple days, and maybe the world had ended and I hadn’t noticed, and then the computer sucked me in and chewed me up. And it says it won’t spit me back out (I’m a little on the tough side) until I blog.

Unfortunately my brother hasn’t downloaded the zillion pictures I took on his camera today, so I can’t brighten things up with some quality self-portraits (taken while at the top of a ladder in a cherry tree – I was sure one picture would be of me falling backwards off the ladder). I came home tonight with cherries, a yogurt container full of raspberries, and two jars of homemade strawberry jam (courtesy of Kitri and her mother). It’s fruit central.

I also managed to steal my sister’s sweater (it went so much more nicely with my outfit than hers). I was wearing it, and talking about how I wished it were mine, and how I could steal it. And then I said goodbye and walked out the door and she didn’t bat an eyelash. We’ll see how long it takes her to notice.

Apparently, I am a snob. Some of you will be rolling your eyes, thinking “of course she is, has it taken her this long to figure it out?” I’ve known for a while, but it really hit home yesterday when I turned up my nose at margarine and instant oatmeal. But, I’m not a snob just for the sake of being a snob. I’m not the kind of snob who insists on best quality, unsalted, etc. butter. But, I do insist on butter (okay, I put margarine on my bagel. I was desperate). I have standards.

Butter. No margarine. I need butterfat on my toast, not oil.

Raw Milk. I drink raw milk by the glass, but I can’t imagine drinking a glass of pasteurized. I could use it on cereal, I suppose, but I don’t eat much cereal these days.

Coffee. Strong. Half & half or cream. I could be worse on this. I might moan when I drink inferior weak ass coffee, but I’ll drink it in a pinch.

Oatmeal. Real oats. With raw milk on top.

Stamps. I judge people who pick out tacky, cheesy stamps. Harshly.

Bread. I get it from the bakery around the bakery around the corner.

Shoes. If you look uncomfortable when you walk, 99% of the time, something is wrong. Hideous sneakers are also not the answer, and should be worn only when exercising.

Books. You can imagine.

Tea. None of that fruity nonsense. With honey. Sugar in a pinch. Boiling water is essential. Tea should not come in contact with a microwave.

June 2006

Flickr Photos