Saturday, December 31, 2011


I lied to you.  I wished you all a happy end to 2011 and then signed off as if I would not write again in this calendar year, yet here I am.  It is December 31, 2011 and I am blogging.  Of all the weird things to do.

My week of vacation is finally nearing its conclusion.  It really has been fabulous as far as vacations go despite my lack of adventurous travel.  Other than Christmas family voyaging to the farm last weekend, I have stayed at home (my OWN home) and tried to get a handle on the large amount of stored crap that I have accumulated.  If I were more industrious, I would probably have more to show for it.  But as this was also my vacation from work, I didn't want to take it too far.  Plus, I still have tomorrow and Monday to work, right?

In the end, I was able to take seven boxes of clothes and one large bag of shoes to Goodwill yesterday.  I have thrown out at least that many bags of garbage so far with many more to come.  I knew that I should have bought the extra large black garbage bags, but I went for the white kitchen bags.  Big mistake, it turns out, but I am using them anyway.

Of all the pleasures afforded by spending a week relaxing in the shelter of one's own home, nothing can quite top the bliss of sleep.  When I work, my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m.  It is dark, cold, and the thought of getting ready to spend another day working in an unfulfilling job is not always very motivating.

I know, I know, I should be thankful to even have a job, blah blah blah.  However, now that I am officially done with my graduate degree and can go forth into a new career, it seems that the universe has decided not to let this happen.  I know that I need to be patient, but I have been ready to move on for such a long time that every minute I spend not doing what I have dreamed of doing feels like wasted time.

So I guess if I had to make a resolution for 2012, it would be to finally move out of my corporate drone status and into a fulfilling work within a library or library-like setting.

Last night I had a strange and unsettling dream.  Not that most of my dreams are calm and serene, but this one left me with a strong sense of disappointment.  This led me to ponder the nature of most of my dreams.  I don't know about everyone else, but my dreams have never left me with a sense of fulfillment or true happiness.  There is always something missing.

What does it all mean?  Darned if I know.  Is it a representation of my waking life?  Maybe.  Or maybe I have been watching too many episodes of "Bones" this week.  I finally made it through the sixth season, so I am almost caught up to the current episodes.

But tonight I will leave my hermitage and venture forth into society to celebrate the end of 2011 and the start of 2012.  I will do this with the same people I do this with every year and I suspect that I will have a good time.  Beverages and food will be consumed, games will be played and loud noisemakers will be sounded at the end of the countdown.

For now, I will enjoy a few more hours of restful bliss in my own home with my own very affectionate dog.  I hope that you all have a lovely final day of 2011 and a beautiful and hope-filled start to 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cleaning out my closets

So... it's been a while, has it not?  I wish that I had a great excuse for not writing, but quite simply, I have been enjoying my vacation.  Christmas was a bit hectic, but the past few days of sleeping in and spending the day putzing around my own house have been lovely.

True, my big plans to totally clean and organize my house have not gone as quickly as hoped, but I have my stack of boxes ready for Goodwill and am slowly but surely making progress towards cleaning out my closets.  As a student of archival practice, I have found that one of the best approaches is to be willing to make use of the discard pile.  Although, somehow I have found that despite the number of bags of discard I have removed from my closets, my guest bedroom still looks like an explosion site.

Tomorrow, I intend to deliver my Goodwill donations, just in time for year end charitable donation claims.  I will then continue to work my way through the mess.  It is always surprising to see what I deemed worth keeping ten years ago that I would never dream of holding on to now.

Thankfully, I am not completely out of time on the work front.  I am taking a break to attend a New Year's Eve party, but I intend to come home on New Year's Day and work through my extra day off on Monday.

If you are concerned that I am working through my vacation, do not worry.  I have been taking plenty of breaks to watch my new "Bones" DVD's and I am happy to report that Lena and I have been on several walks and are getting a great deal of quality time.

I doubt that I will write again before 2012, but I hope that everyone has a happy and safe New Year's!  See you next year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I am BACK!

Well, readers, I made it almost three whole days.  I gave up caffeine altogether for health purposes, and now that those issues seem to have been resolved, I am back on the hard stuff. 

Actually, I fully intended to keep caffeine-free for the entire week, but today was just too miserable.  My sleep patterns have been much deeper lately, which is possibly good.  The flip side of this is that waking up has become torture.  Honestly, if I didn't have work or any other interruptions, I could have slept soundly until at least noon.

Unfortunately, another side effect of this abstinence has been constant splitting headaches.  I have taken Tylenol, Advil, you name it, but to no effect. 

If I was in a position to sit at home and stare at the walls or nap, this would not really bother me much.  Unfortunately, my vacation does not start until Friday, so I have work to do. 

After a period in which I pretty much just stared blankly at the computer screen and willed myself to stay alert and awake followed by a weak attempt to supplement my coffee habit with herbal tea, I caved.

This is not a total catastrophe.  I actually need to do this.  You see, my canine friends have given me a beautiful Nespresso Pixie for graduating with my MLIS degree, and I cannot disappoint them by letting it go unused. 

If you do not know what a Nespresso Pixie is, go ahead and Google it.  But to summarize, it is a little espresso maker that utilizes little "pods" of coffee that one orders online.  Sort of like a Keurig, but it only makes espresso.  Really excellent espresso. 

I must admit, I initially scoffed at such a contraption.  As a former barista who has worked hard to perfect the art of a perfect shot of espresso, I had serious doubts that such a simple process could yield good results.  When my mother, herself a barista, announced that she was going to buy herself a Nespresso machine with her saved up tip money, I was again skeptical.

Keep in mind, this is the same mother who went out and bought a lovely high end espresso machine back in the 90's with the intention of making her own espresso drinks and therefore saving money on daily coffee shop visits.  Said machine is presently residing in my kitchen cupboards and may eventually make its way out to the farmhouse someday.

The problem with the original espresso machine was not that it failed to work properly.  It turned out a fairly consistent product and was fun to use.  But when it came to maintenance and clean-up, it was found to be somewhat problematic.  It is one thing to maintain and clean the big machines at work; it is quite another to take this on in one's own kitchen.  Long story short:  it is messy.

So when my dear mother told me of her plan to acquire a new espresso brewing device, I urged caution.  I knew full well that my words were meaningless to her, judging by the gleeful glint that appeared in her eyes when she spoke of the new machine. 

In one last bid at preserving sanity, I accompanied her to the store.  Apparently, my mother had already been through to scout the product, because the sales lady knew her.  They went through all the bells and whistles, concluding with a sample.  We came home with the machine along with an electronic milk frother.

For our inaugural run, I let my mother make me a drink.  Although I was loathe to admit it, it was very good.

Since that time, I have let go of my prejudice against the Nespresso.  I have even become the primary user of the machine in my parents' home, oddly enough.  So much so that my mother is constantly reminding me that I should contribute to the purchase of new coffee.

When I was asked what kind of gift I would like for graduation, I was momentarily at a loss.  Then it hit me:  I could get my OWN Nespresso!  So I asked, and I have received.  For comparison purposes, it should be noted that my brother asked for and received a very nice digital camera for his DVM graduation last spring.  This should give you a good idea of our respective priorities, although I am pretty sure that his girlfriend would not turn away her own Nespresso machine... which gives me an interesting idea.

If anyone is curious, I now have a very impressive array of coffee-making paraphernalia in my home, should anyone ever care to come and visit.  I have:  a small Mr. Coffee brewer, a good quality red espresso machine, a stove-top Bialetti coffee/espresso maker and a Nespresso Pixie.  So if you're ever in my neighborhood and are in search of a good cup of coffee, come on by.  There is a very good chance that I will be able to help you out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

One, two, buy me some shoes

So not only am I on a temporary caffeine fast, I am also supposed to up my fiber intake.  All of this diagnostic information comes from my own searches on WebMD, of course, so who knows.  Like I tell everyone who asks me if their wounds look infected, I am not a doctor.

The only thing I can say for sure is that medical issues sure are bothersome.  Especially ones that require me to give up a normal daily habit, even if only on a temporary basis. 

Tomorrow is graduation.  I have spent surprisingly little time worrying about this, and that may have been a mistake.  Yesterday, I settled on a dress that I already own to wear underneath my gown.  This was after I started to worry that I needed to make a quick run to some local shops for a last minute purchase.  My next problem was footwear. 

Yes, I do have some nice shoes already.  They work perfectly well for most occasions.  Unfortunately, most of my dress-up outings do not involve walking across a stage in front of hundreds of people while wearing a flowing robe to accept a degree.  While being photographed and potentially videotaped.  Gah.

Thankfully, we have yet to receive our major snow cover for the season and it doesn't appear to be on the horizon to happen before tomorrow night.  This means that my footwear decision does not need to accommodate snow or ice.  Yay. 

In the interest of sanity, I have decided that I need to wear flats or very low heels.

Sadly, I do not possess any comfortable shoes of this nature.  So I have turned to my friends at Zappos. 

Oh, wait.  And I also need some new comfortable work-appropriate shoes. 

Unfortunately, these two needs did not coincide at the right time.  Last night, I went online to Zappos and found a pair of reasonably priced and cute black shoes which I promptly ordered.  Now, you may be thinking that I was nuts to assume that said shoes would arrive in time for graduation, and you may be right.  I may be crazy.

But a girl can hope, right?  Zappos is known for being insanely quick, right? 

This morning, I received an email from Zappos.  It was not to inform me that my shoes had shipped, but to congratulate me on my elevation to VIP status on their website.  Among the many free benefits, I am now entitled to free next day shipping. 

Had I received this recognition 24 hours earlier, I would have my new shoes right now.  No such luck. 

In my supreme wisdom I decided that I had a few options available to me:

1.  Order the same shoes AGAIN and return the pair that arrives later.
2.  Order a DIFFERENT pair of shoes than the first and keep both pairs.

I went with my second option.  This is mostly because I hate returning things, even when the company offers free no-hassle options.  I do not understand the psychological underpinnings of this propensity, but I suppose you could trace it back to my grandmother and her constant gift-giving adage, "You can always return it."  This phrase was often uttered either before or while a gift was opened.  Who knew that it could have lasting effects?

Anyway, my second order is due to arrive tomorrow.  My other order should arrive by the end of the week.  I will be keeping them both.  For now, I am wearing my old beat-up shoes with my new ninja socks.  That's right, you heard me.  NINJA.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Give me caffeine or give me...

So you made it through my bizarre entry concerning tiny camping trailers and miniature animal dolls?  Good for you!

Well, it is Sunday evening and I am on the verge of starting my final week of work for the year 2011.  Amazing!  This past weekend was not too wild, but that was OK.  I have been feeling a little off for the past several days, and I needed an opportunity to take a break.  So far, my biggest problem seems to be that I have not quite accepted that I am now done with homework.  Forever.

Without saying too much about what has been causing me some of my "off" feelings, I am afraid that I may have to temporarily go off of one of my daily addictions:  caffeine.  This may render me unpleasant, but maybe no one will notice a difference.

So keep an eye out for any violent outbursts from me and remember to run for cover if necessary.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Memory lane

So thanks for putting up with my late-night-post-class-euphoric rant.  I think I am just about over it by now. 

Now begins the next chapter of my life.  The one in which I start my career, start paying back a much larger amount of student debt and figure out how I will ever get out from under my mortgage.

Excited?  Same here. 

There are many things that I could write about now.  Job searching, Christmas cookies, jewelry, etc. 

But not today.  Today I am going to share an amazing discovery with you that will either confirm my identity in your mind as a complete lunatic or a charming sentimental fool.

As a child, there were few things that I enjoyed more than playing with dolls.  I know, you're not impressed or surprised by that.  But wait.  It gets better.

My love of dolls was not limited to Barbies or action figures.  I had all sorts of toys.  For me, however, the grand supreme apex of awesomeness came in the form of dollhouses. 

I had two of them.  One was hand-crafted and made for Barbie-sized dolls.  The man who built it took care to create upholstered furniture, install carpeting and even put up wallpaper.  This thing had a walk-in closed complete with full-length mirror for crying out loud.

This dollhouse was later given to my second cousin.  I have no idea what has happened to it since, but as she is now in college, I suspect that it is long gone.  This saddens me, but at least I know that someone else found use for it after me.

My other dollhouse was of a different variety.  In a fit of inspired craftiness, one of my uncles decided that he was going to purchase a kit and construct a beautiful Victorian-style dollhouse for me.  If one were to follow the instructions and complete everything, the result would be amazing.  The scale was not large enough for Barbie, but it still could have been cool.

Unfortunately, my uncle did not work fast enough, so while the exterior was painted and all the walls were constructed, everything remained largely unfinished.  But I didn't care.

Turns out, this house was perfectly sized to use with my second favorite set of dolls: the Sylvanian Family.  Apparently, these dolls are still being made, but they are not marketed here in the U.S.  Or so I thought.

On a recent trip to a local toy store, I discovered this.  It appears to be a web-ercized version of my original collection for todays Internet-savvy American youth.  Lest you think that I have a problem with this, think again.  Then, feast your eyes on THIS.  Do you see it?  The camper?  To be more specific, the camper that looks like a SCAMP??????????

Do you know how much I love Scamps????  If not, you do now! 

I first discovered them at the MN State Fair many years ago.  They bring out all the sizes for people to walk through, and I fell in love. 

Let me clarify something for you now.  I do not like camping in general.  I hate sleeping in tents.  Something about the ventilation issues and heat regulation combined with the fact that there are no bathrooms... 

But a SCAMP... now, I would be willing to sleep in one of those!  Plus, they are cute.  Don't they look like little red and white beans? 

So now, here I find a small-scale version of one of my favorite things that has been designed for a doll that resembles a favorite toy from my childhood.  If anyone is still looking for a Christmas gift for me, you now have two very good options.  For those of you who have tighter budgets, the doll-sized version is fine.  But if you really want to make my holiday season, give me something I can take on the road.  If you're curious, I would really prefer the models with bathrooms. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Big Finish

Good news!  I can now say that I am "officially" done with classes! 

Of course, the final night was not without a few surprises. 

First of all, as many are aware, when one graduates, one typically wears a garment known as a "gown" or a "robe" for the ceremony.  In high school our gowns were red.  In college, they were bright blue.  Now I have finally gone professional grade with a black robe.  The only other difference is that my sleeves are ridiculously long.  Apparently this is normal for Masters degree robes.  Hm.

Anyway, protocol at my university states that all gowns are to be picked up at the campus bookstore.  No problem, right?  Sure.  Except that this bookstore has the least convenient hours possible for graduate students who typically are only on campus in the evening or on weekends.  Weekdays they close at 4:30.  Many weekends they are not open at all.  You do the math.

Ever the conscientious student, I looked at the calendar schedule and thought that the bookstore had hours last weekend.  Due to a misinterpretation of an acronym on my part, this was not true.  So when I stopped in on Saturday before class, they were not open. 

I inquired at the nearby Information Desk for advice as to how to pick up my gown without taking time off work to come in for it.  The kind and helpful attendant on duty suggested that I call the bookstore on Monday and ask them to leave my gown at the Information Desk so that I could pick it up tonight before class.

So I did.  I spoke to someone on Monday who said that she would "check" with the manager, and that someone would call me back.  When no one called by Tuesday, I called again.  This time, the girl on the phone confirmed my request.

Tonight, before class, I stopped by to pick up my gown.  The semi-sleeping girl on duty sleepily informed me that she did not know of any gown waiting to be picked up.  After a cursory search of one cabinet, she informed me that it did not look like the bookstore girl had done what she said she would do.  She did attempt to call over the the bookstore (which had closed 20 minutes earlier), but no one answered.  She then suggested that I do a walk-by, just in case I saw anyone. 

No dice.  If I said that I was frustrated, that would be an understatement.  I retreated to my classroom and fired off an email to the representative at the bookstore.  To my surprise, I received a quick response.  Apparently, she had personally delivered the gown to the Information Desk on Tuesday.  She informed me that they had it but if I would like it to be sent FedEx to me, they would do it.

Luckily, I was still on campus, so I picked it up later.  So all my rage was for naught, but it still helped get my heart pumping in time to give my final presentation. 

Everyone really pulled it together and presented quickly tonight, which meant that we were done in just over an hour (a new record).  So just like that, I am done.  It was strange, walking out with my friend to our cars like we do every week.  This particular friend and I have had almost every single class together, but she will not graduate until May.  Will we ever see each other again?  We're Facebook friends, so perhaps. 

So now I just have to wait for the ceremony.  Then I get my vacation.  And my job search continues. 

How does it feel to be done with graduate school?  Nice.  It feels nice.  Was it as hard or easy as I thought it would be?  Yes.  Did I enjoy it?  Mostly.  The important thing is that I stuck with it all the way through and I still want to work in the library profession.  I think that is a pretty big accomplishment by itself. 

So that was my final evening of class, documented for the ages.  Time will reveal what final grades my professors will give me, but at this point I almost do not care.  Almost.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stigmata or stupidity?

My head is about to explode from over thinking about Dublin Core and MODS metadata schemes, so I am giving my brain a rest by writing on my blog.  Is that wrong? 

Last night I had an interesting experience.  I arrived home a bit later than usual due to an after work hair appointment.  Lena was revved up and ready to go, so we went out for a dark and damp walk through the neighborhood.  When we arrived home, I fed her and then prepared my own dinner.  Nothing fancy, just a frozen dish from Trader Joe's.  But it DID require the use of my stove, so I was able to avoid my microwave for one evening at least.

Anyway, as I sat down to enjoy my dinner, I happened to catch sight of my right thumb.  I know, it is not like it's normally hidden, but I generally don't pay much mind to my fingers unless they are sending me pain signals.  Apparently, my signals were misfiring last night, because I was shocked to see that there was caked blood all over my knuckle. 

Actually, at first I was not alarmed.  This is because my first instinct was to assume that it was chocolate.  Had I been anywhere near chocolate yesterday?  No.  Was it close to the stove as I made my risotto?  Not even close.  At this point in time, there is no chocolate in my house.  At least not that I can see. 

Why did my brain jump to this conclusion?  Probably because it is usually the correct answer.  I love chocolate so much that I have been known to smear it on my face and hands while eating it without realizing it.  So that mystery is explained, but it did not turn out to be the answer last night.

When I finally made the realization that it was my own blood on my thumb and not something edible, I was momentarily shocked.  As I had not experienced any kind of pain, I was not completely convinced that I had really cut myself.  So I went and cleaned my thumb.  The results were a bit surprising.

At some point between arriving home from my walk and sitting down to dinner, I managed to cut my thumb in two places; one directly below the nail and one right on the knuckle.  The wound generation obviously was not spectacular or noticeable, and it must have occurred early into meal preparation because things were dried and clotted by the time I saw them.

Are you less than amused with my weird story?  I guess this is what counts for entertainment in my life these days.  That and receiving a call from my mother asking if I know the location of one of their TV remotes.  Calls like that are difficult for me because they cause me to want to go on an all-out rampant search of their basement to find the missing object, but I cannot because I am 45 minutes away and staying in for the night. 

So in the end, we are left with two mysteries that are unsolved for the moment.  I still do not know how I managed to mangle my thumb without noticing and I also am unaware if my parents were able to locate their missing remote so that they could watch my brother's senior piano recital on the DVD player.  Lest you find that to be strange, it is a recently received recording of my deceased brother's senior piano recital, so it's special. 

Two more days until my LAST DAY OF CLASS.  One more week until GRADUATION.  Nine more days until VACATION.  How will I handle all this excitement?  Will I accumulate any more mysterious self-inflicted wounds?  Wait and see!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Instructions and commentary

Here is how not to write a blog entry:

1.  Feel guilty for not updating.  People are probably clamoring to read what you have to say, after all.
2.  Log in to Blogger.  Start to write about how sorry you are that you have been lazy.  Also write that you are updating on your dog's condition. 
3.  Get distracted.
4.  Decide to write a blog about your love/hate history with clothing. 
5.  Get distracted.
6.  Finish up your Christmas shopping in record time.  Think about blogging on the subject, but get distracted.
7.  Freak out because you are graduating in less than two weeks and you still have some big assignments to finish.
8.  Go to your mother's jewelry party and spend money.
9.  Consider writing about the insane amount of jewelry you will have when everything finally gets here after being on backorder.  You will be blinging like nobody's business, man.
10.  Think better of it. 

So, here we are.  One more class to go, people.  True, there is a considerable amount of work to be completed for said class, but after a work session with my partner on Saturday, I feel like we are on track to finish well. 

If all continues as planned, I shall be graduating on the 20th.  I have no idea what I will do with all my time.  Wait, yes I do.  I will be amping up my job search because once I have the degree in hand, I will be qualified for ever so many more postings.  At least in theory. 

Although I am awaiting the arrival of one more package, my Christmas shopping is nearly complete.  Online shopping is the BEST!  So maybe some of you love the hustle and bustle of the stores, malls and their associated parking lots, but they turn me into a regular Grinch.  The lines!  BLAGH!  The shoving!  BLECH!  The parking spot stalking game!  RAGE!!! 

Instead, I have opted to rely on the pleasant delivery folk of UPS to do my bidding and bring the items I buy directly to me.  Sort of like... Santa Claus.  Magical. 

If I had to pick one thing that I am MOST looking forward to this Christmas, it is playing Just Dance 3 on the Wii.  It appears that everyone in my family is getting this game this year, and I am SUPER excited to try out the new moves.  Am I a nerd?  Maybe.  Maybe you have to be there. 

Also, apparently my uncle has a sneaky plan to take my brother ring shopping.  Although he will have to be crafty if he wants to find a jewelry store that is open on Christmas Eve...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lena's got the fever...

Well, I knew that it was only a matter of time before it happened.  After all, the holiday season is upon us in full swing now that there is a decent layer of snow on the ground. 

In case you were not aware, there are few things in life that fall at the low end of my tolerance spectrum.  Nicholas Cage is one of them.  Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" is right there as well.  Every time I hear that wretched song, my insides recoil in unison.  Blech. 

I heard it today, dear readers, while sitting at a Houlihan's restaurant.  Perhaps I should have known better as I am fairly certain I have heard this song in the exact same location played in years past.  I guess I have not learned my lesson.

Very well, the pain is past and we can all move forward.  Right?

This weekend has been full of surprises.  On Friday night, I arrived home to find that my dear Lena was having some problems with her foot.  The irritation seemed to be limited to her dewclaw on her front right foot, but she also seemed (to me) to be a bit warm as well.

Naturally, I placed a call to my vet brother for some reassurance and advice.  He carefully asserted that it was not an "emergency" and that I could safely wait until morning to try to bring her in for a regular vet visit.  His concern was that she could already have an infection and that it would be best to have the wound examined as she was clearly having none of my attempts to view it myself.

So at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, I promptly called my vet clinic and made an appointment.  Unfortunately, time was a bit tight on Saturday as I had a date to meet with a partner for a group assignment at 10:30 before our 3-hour class at noon.  Yes. 

Luckily, they were working on schedule at the clinic, so we were in and out in good time.  Turns out, she was running a temperature, so she got a shot of antibiotics and some pain meds and we were on our way. 

I am happy to report that she is doing much better and is back to her old self.  For better or worse.

Friday, December 2, 2011

In which I make a startling discovery

Just when I think I am starting to become moderately tech-savvy, something happens that makes me realize what a noob I am about most things. 

So last night I was in class and my partner and I were trying to figure out how we could create a shared folder to hold the photographs we need for our final project.  I had them all on a flash drive, but the only way to share that I could determine would be to email them. 

This is probably not the worst idea in the world, but it isn't the greatest, either.  Personally, I have a slight aversion to receiving picture by email.  Not because I don't like to see the pictures so much as I do not like the amount of room said digital items take up in my inbox.  When they fill it to the point that no other items can be received, I get angry.

You wouldn't like me when I am angry. 

In our befuddlement, we made our way to Google Docs.  My past experiences with this platform have not been great, so I was hesitant.  My partner went out and created a shared folder in the hopes that we could perhaps upload photographs.  Turns out, we could not.

BUT WAIT.  In my all-seeing wisdom, I noticed along the top of the menu bar a tab labeled "Photos."  Curious, I clicked on it.  It took me to a "Picasa" page.  As I had never delved this far into the rabbit-hole before, I was unprepared for what I found next.  I ALREADY HAD PICTURES IN ALBUMS ON THIS SITE.

Crazy, right?!?!  Well, buckle up pardnah.  Turns out, the long tentacles of Google work in mysterious ways.  Somehow, Googlezilla had managed to archive some of the pictures that I have uploaded for my blogs.  Not ALL of them, mind you, but a good amount of them. 

It turns out that this program was exactly what we needed for our picture sharing, but I still was quite shocked at the finding.  I then proceeded to make good use of it. 

Over time, I have somehow managed to accumulate pictures on my work computer.  I don't really know how, but I suspect that there was emailing involved.  Some are pictures that I do not really care about, such as company softball team action shots.  However, there were a few from company parties that I wanted to keep.  Rather than email them out to myself, I opted to test out this Picasa thing.  Score!

As a final note, it does appear that one can perhaps order prints of one's pictures through this site.  It has given me an interesting idea, but I will leave that secret alone... for now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I have a problem.  It started out simple enough; just a few suggestions from well-meaning friends. 

"Hey, Megan!" they cried, "You should check out  It's really fun."

So I did.  Hence, I now have a problem.  After months of slightly obsessive browsing, I finally took the plunge and made a purchase.  It was not a bad experience, but I have to hold back from going off the deep end on this stuff.

How do I know that I have a problem?  A good question.  When making my family Christmas gift list this year, I included a few Etsy items (along with their links) for purchase.  Gah.

In other news, I survived the Coffee Breakdown 2011!  It was certainly nice to have the Caribou for backup, but our repairman arrived as I was leaving today, so unless there is a part that has to be ordered or the machine is beyond fixing, things will be back to craptastic quality as usual tomorrow.

Where am I going with this entry?  Another good question.  I have no idea.  I just felt compelled to share.  Good night! 

Coffee catastrophe AVERTED!!!!

Apparently, the Russians are my biggest fans.  Not that I obsess (much) over blog stats, but I have noticed a heavy uptick as of late from a webcrawling site in Russia.  While I would love to assume that my writing resonates with the Russian reader, I suspect that it may be a bit of a spammy glitch.  But whatever.

This morning I awoke with a very heavy sense that if allowed I could sleep for another six or seven hours.  Sadly, this realization occurred while my alarm was going off for the third time, so it was not a possibility.

I rationalized that I would be able to drink coffee heavily upon arrival in the office, and this is honestly what got me through my morning routine. 

When I arrived at work, after removing my coat and starting up my computer, my next move was to grab my coffee mug and fill up for my first round.  Sadly, as it turned out, our coffee maker is having technical difficulties; mainly, it cannot effectively heat water to the point that it is at a decent temperature for brewing coffee.

Can you imagine my distress?  Thankfully, my manager took quick action and sanctioned a Caribou Coffee canteen run.  So in the end, I not only get my coffee fix, but I am also not stuck drinking the swill that usually circulates the office on a daily basis.  Joy!

You know, I just deleted half of what I had written.  I was going to delve into an evaluation of a family scene that played out this weekend the focused on my brother and his marital future, but I think I will back away from that topic.  Let's just leave it with the fact that I am well-caffeinated for the day, and THAT is a very good thing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have decided that it is not worthwhile to apologize when I do not post as often as I would like, so if you have genuinely missed me, too bad.  It appears that many bloggers like to take extensive breaks from generating new material, and while this is frustrating for me and my entertainment needs, I think in this case I will be a follower of the trend.

Thanksgiving is now complete; I managed to get TWO fantastic meals out of the holiday, so I was pleased.  My first was on the actual day with a small contingent of family where the highlight was the hilarious revelation made by my 17 year-old cousin that she intends to have 5-6 kids someday.  Oh, and she will be done having said brood by the time she is 30.  While I could not let this pass without some sort of comment, I think that I was kind.  At least I hope I was kind.

As is often required of me, I returned to work on the day following Thanksgiving.  It is not really as bad as it sounds, except for the fact that I work in the middle of a major retail hub, which meant that driving in and out of work was a bit hampered by the fact that there were many extra drivers on the road.  It was almost enough to elicit a "Bah, humbug!" out of me, but I resisted.

My brother and his lady friend arrived Friday evening, and we enjoyed a quiet evening at home with my parents.  Oddly, it was an evening free of engagement chatter, which was probably a relief to them. 

On Saturday morning, we awoke and prepared to leave for our second Thanksgiving celebration out at "the farm."  This was truly a momentous occasion for us as it marked the first time that my brother and I have slept in the old farmhouse in nearly 20 years.  Thankfully, we survived.

My brother tried to convince his girlfriend that the house might be haunted, but as it turns out, no one has ever actually died in the house.  Everyone always ends up at the nursing home.  I tried to bring the chill factor back by reminding them that most of said deceased relatives are buried about one mile up the road, so it would not be too much trouble for their ghosts to walk over for a visit, but no one was buying it. 

In all, the highlight of the weekend was probably making toast in the farmhouse kitchen.  It has been a very long time since food of any kind was prepared in that room, so I chalk it up to a major accomplishment.  This week my mother will christen the new shower which marks an event of an entirely different nature as it has been even longer since anyone has showered in that house. 

As much as I enjoy Thanksgiving, it has put a serious drain on my academic motivation.  This is a problem for me as I still have two rather large assignments due before I can truly say that I am done.  So my focus now must be to try and keep on track to finish well.  Then I can relax, take some time off and resume the job search.  Who knows, I may even try my hand at baking again in all my future free time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Take heart

Last night I had to fight the urge to blog, which was difficult because I was really bummed out and wanted to share it with the world.  In the gray and dismal light of day, I am not sure that I really feel much better, but at least it's not Monday any more.  Right?

The reason for my bummed out feelings rested on the receipt of a letter that I was sort of expecting to receive but was disappointed to get it nonetheless.  It was from that library up in the boonies that I had sent my application materials in to earlier this month.  While I definitely fulfilled their requirements to apply, apparently there were a lot more people who were even more qualified than me.  This means that they will not have time to meet with me due to all the other people they want to meet instead. 

This bums me out for more reasons than just the obvious one, which is that I just wasn't good enough on paper to warrant an interview.  The other part of this that is depressing and mildly alarming is that this job is not in the metro area, and I assumed (apparently incorrectly) that the applicant pool would be smaller and therefore less competitive.  It seems that I have grossly misjudged the desperation of my fellow librarians, and I fear that this does not bode well for my career prospects.

The only glimmer of hope that I can hold on to at this point is that perhaps graduation will improve my prospects.  If there is one glaring issue with my credentials (other than lack of library work experience) it is that I am not technically done with my degree.  So all those job descriptions that list the degree as a requirement are actually not available to me... yet. 

It took me a while to locate this little particle of possibility.  Before that, I was deep into a funk that was not limited to my feelings about the job market but to the dating and housing market as well.  It sounds like I could really use a vacation, doesn't it? 

Well, it so happens that I am in luck.  Due to the fact that I am required to use up a certain amount of vacation before the end of the year, I will have a quite substantial amount of time off in about a month.  Combined with holidays and weekends, I will not have to work in 2011 after December 22 and will not have to return until January 3, 2012.  Crazy, right?

Sadly, I will not be taking any tropical vacations during this time.  Instead I will likely be spending time up at my aunt and uncle's cabin in Wisconsin and possibly some more time out on the farm.  If they can get the shower to work, that is.  Otherwise I will be spending time at home, curled up with some books and my dog, getting extra sleep and looking for jobs.  Oh, and cleaning.  Probably.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini advice request

So I have a couple of quick questions for you. 

1.  What do you think of the new layout?  If you were wondering, it is my own rendering of my dog, Lena.  Try not to all rush out once to order your copies.  But I think it's a pretty good likeness.

2.  How long does it usually take for orders on to ship?  If a seller has over 3,000 reviews that are 100% positive, I am assuming that they are pretty good about getting things out, but if I decide to order something for, say, a Christmas gift, I want to know how far in advance I should do it. 

I realize that my blog is not a really active forum for people to submit suggestions or advice, nor do I assume that any of my readers are avid Etsy users, but on the off chance an expert stumbles upon this entry, I would appreciate the assistance. 

That is all.  Take care.

So how do you REALLY feel about that?

No one likes to be annoyed.  Yet, somehow for various reasons we put ourselves into situations every day that we know ahead of time are guaranteed to cause us a great deal of annoyance.  Sometimes it is unavoidable; we may be required to endure it because of a commitment or contract through place of employment, marriage, blood ties or travel routes. 

I am no exception to this rule.  There are days that I wake up and tell myself that today is the day that I am not going to let myself go to this place mentally.  I will force myself not to feel annoyance.  This usually lasts until I get in my car and start down the road to work for the day.  Road rage and stupid drivers abound, even here in "Minnesota Nice" country. 

Even if you try to be non-confrontational and drive safely in the right hand lane while maintaining a safe distance between yourself and the driver ahead of you, there will always be that one person who feels entitled to weave in and out of lanes, never signalling, riding up on your backside and gesturing obscenely to you that you are not moving fast enough to allow them to continue at 120 mph when the speed limit is 70.  And you are already going 75.  In the right hand lane.  Of three lanes of traffic.  Go figure.

Not that this happens every day, but it does occur more often than it really should, which is never. 

If you can make it through the morning commute without incident, count it as a blessing.  But your annoyance pitfalls are far from over.  Everyone works in different environments with various corporate (or non-corporate) structures.  However, unless you work from home (in which case you have already avoided the driving annoyances of the day), you will have to work with other human beings.

If you're very very fortunate, you will love the nature of your work.  You will find the actual job that you perform to be stimulating and worthwhile.  This may in some ways compensate and overshadow any slight annoyances you may otherwise experience in a day and you may go home at the end of the day basking in the glow of your good fortune. 

However, if you are less than fortunate in the nature of your work, this may not happen for you.  Ever.  It may manifest itself in different ways; a coworker who fails to competently perform their job duties, a colleague who blatantly flaunts their lack of adherence to company policies, or one who simply does nothing all day.  Sometimes these behaviors are just annoying by themselves, but in the worst cases, they create more work for you.  When all of these behaviors are rolled up into one person, it is impossible to avoid or ignore.

It is hard to keep annoyance from creeping into your brain when faced with these situations.  Perhaps if you are an experienced Zen Master, you can do some deep breathing and power through.  Or go to your "happy place" and let the irritations run off like water on a duck's back.  If you are capable of this, you are a stronger person than most.  Congratulations.

For me, I find that I am capable of this kind of magnanimous behavior about once every three months.  True, I rarely verbally or outwardly express most of my annoyance, but it is still there, simmering away deep in my brain.  It does help to have a confidante at work; someone who knows what you're feeling and is probably experiencing the same emotions.  Call it a support system if you will, but having at least one person like this nearby is possibly a lifesaver, at least it is for me. 

Does this entry have the feeling of a Monday rant?  Actually, it is not.  It is not a reaction to anything specific, just a general observational essay.  I am hoping to make a transition into the group of fortunates who really enjoy the nature of their work some day soon.  It hasn't happened yet, but the fact that my graduation is now LESS than one month away has me thinking to the future and the possible positive opportunities that await. 

So hopefully that helps to leave this entry with a positive note, but in case you need more encouragement, here are some nice words from one of my favorite characters of all time:*  "Follow your dreams.  You can reach your goals; I'm living proof.  Beefcake.  BEEFCAKE!!!!!" 

*Bonus points if you get the reference!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Talking shop

Here we are on a lovely snow-covered Sunday afternoon.  But don't worry, it won't last long.  The afternoon, I mean.  Possibly also the snow as I hear temperatures will be back up in the 40's by tomorrow.  Too bad that is not in time for my drive home today.

Oh well.

So it was an interesting weekend for once.  Let me tell you how it went.

On Friday, I had the unexpected good fortune to be let out of work just a tiny bit early.  This was helpful as it allowed me time to drive to downtown Minneapolis, find parking and meet my party for dinner.  After a briefly terrifying wait near the corner of 7th and Hennepin for my parents who decided that they were going to wait for me at 6th and Hennepin but not tell me (ha ha), we got things started.

As a long-time single gal, I have not had a great deal of experience in the realm of hanging out with the coworkers of one's significant other.  I am told that it is not always the easiest thing to do; sitting there listening while everyone "talks shop" while smiling and pretending to care.

For my Friday outing, I found myself in an interesting variation of that type of event.  In addition to my parents, I spent the evening with several of my father's coworkers and their spouses.  It wasn't as painful as you might imagine as they are all nice and welcoming, but it was a new experience for me.

We ate at a new-ish restaurant, and the highlights for me were the drinks and the mole sauce.  It was probably the most "authentic" Mexican food I have ever had, but also the most expensive.  Thank goodness for parents.

After dinner, we attended some comedy theater at a local institution that has new digs, The Brave New Workshop.  It was funny, entertaining and exciting as we were seated in the row immediately in front of the stage.  Thankfully, we were not asked up on stage, but it was still a very intimate way to take in a show.  I am not sure I would recommend these seats, but the show itself was definitely a good time.

Saturday morning was nothing too special - just my last day of internship.  A little sad, but a promising sign that the semester and my graduate school career are nearing their conclusions.  After internship, I had class.  By the time I walked onto campus, the sky had started to drop an odd hybrid of rain and ice pellets on the ground, but we were promised snow, so I was not surprised.

By the time I walked back to my car two and a half hours later, there was a good covering of about an inch.  The roads were not fun, but I followed my instincts honed by years of driving in such messiness and took it slow and easy.  I made it home in one piece to find my mother and a couple of her friends already busy in the kitchen.

The rest of my day was consumed with eating, drinking, talking and listening to my mom's former coworkers "talk shop."  The fundamental difference between this group and Friday's was not only age, but relative size/importance of their "shops."  Hint:  my father's group was older and they work for a major medical facility in the Twin Cities at the administrative level whereas my mother's group were all in their early 20's and work for a coffee shop chain.  Yeah.

Thankfully, everyone made it safely home last night and I was able to get a full night's rest.  Tomorrow I return to start another work week, but it's Thanksgiving week, so I not only get a day off of work, I also get a week off of school.  I know you're all jealous, but try to contain yourselves.

If anything half as exciting as this weekend happens before Thursday, perhaps you will hear from me again.  If not, have a lovely holiday and I hope that everyone is able to eat to their heart's content.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What goes on in my life

Don't you hate it when people who blog don't update as often as you would like?  I know it bothers me, but maybe that is because I have fallen into the trap of always craving new and interesting things to read and expecting people that I do not really actually know to consistently fill that need.  Selfish, no?

So here I am at the end of another week.  It has not been extraordinary in most ways, but just for fun, let's do a recap.

Monday.  From what I recall, I got up, went to work, came home, took Lena for a walk and worked on my homework.  Pretty productive, if you ask me, but not very exciting.

Tuesday.  It started the same as Monday, but instead of crashing in my own bed come nightfall, I moved myself and my dog to my parents' house for the night.  More homework was probably done somewhere in there.  But wait, I forgot an important detail.  I went to Target on my way home and purchased a hat.  Not my normal head covering, but a felt purple concoction that one of my coworkers found and told me about as it matches my purse. 

Wednesday.  Work work work.  Then a quick stop to pick up my mother and then off to my third jewelry party of the season.  You would think they would be paying me for this by now.  The highlight of the party was during the "purse game" in which contestants are given a letter and must race to produce an item from their purse that starts with said letter.  I rarely win at such things, but in the course of the game, I found that I had not yet removed a very odd item from my purse.  It starts with an "S," so I just waited patiently to see if I would be given an opportunity to share.  And I was.  Everyone was impressed.

Thursday.  Worky work work work again.  Then off to the bar for a quick drink with a coworker to celebrate one of our compatriots last day and new life in the frozen tundra of North Dakota.  Then school for three hours.  I do not know how I survived, but I did. 

Friday.  Work, of course.  Due to some strange arrangements made by my parents, I am going to a comedy show tonight.  This is fine with me, but it is with some of my father's coworkers, which is weird to me.  The crew is meeting at 5 p.m. for pre-show drinks and food at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.  As I must remain at work until 5, I will not be joining them immediately.  I will also be driving down alone and parking.  Not that I have not done this before, but I hate paying to park.  So that will be nice.

Saturday.  My last day of internship.  Sad.  Then, three hours of class.  Next, PARTY.  Well, quasi-party.  One of my mom's friends is coming over to make dinner at her house, and we are expecting a random assortment of guests throughout the evening.  I don't really care because I get to have cheesecake.  Oh, and apparently the weather people are predicting snow.  Is that exciting? 

Sunday.  Sleep in (hopefully).  At least until 9 a.m., if possible.  At some point, Lena and I will depart to return to our ancestral home, hopefully not having to contend with icy roads.  Although, given that the outside temperature is still teetering above freezing, I doubt any residual precipitation will remain. 

So there you go, my life as it stands at the moment.  Oh, and if you were wondering about that item in my purse... you'll have to wait.  I think I will wait for another entry.  Any guesses?  (My mom was there so she cannot make a guess.  Because it wouldn't be a guess.  It is a known fact to her.  Right?)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Achievements and possibilities

It is pretty sad that this is noteworthy, but you should all be excited anyway.  I have avoided my pattern of procrastination!  You see, I have an assignment due this Saturday for class.  It is not terribly difficult (in my opinion) as it does not involve citation because it is a practical document. 

But witness my foresight in planning this one out.  The assignment is due Saturday at noon.  I have my internship on Saturday morning.  On Friday night, I am going to a comedy show.  On Thursday night I have class.  Tonight I have a party.  This all adds up to the fact that I will have little to no time between now and Saturday to write an entire processing handbook.

In some circumstances, I would view this as a challenge and attempt to take on the assignment in the wee hours of Friday night.  However, this time around, I decided not to risk it.  I started the paper... last weekend.  By now, it is pretty much done, with perhaps just a proofread and a final summary needed. 

Aren't you proud? 

In other boring news, I did something unusual yesterday.  I bought a hat.  Technically, I have purchased hats before, but they are usually somewhat practical.  As I live in the land of subzero windchill, I have amassed quite a collection of knitted winter hats.  My particular favorite is my sock monkey hat.  Not only is is in the height of fashion but it also has ear flaps. 

For this purchase, I drifted a little closer to conventional fashion.  Yesterday, a coworker of mine remarked that she had found a hat at Target that would match my purple purse perfectly.  She almost bought it, but held off.  I was curious, so yesterday I made a quick stop on my drive home from work to check it out. 

Sure enough, there it was: a cute purple felt hat that was very reasonably priced.  My next step was to try it on.  This is always necessary for me as I come from a family of large-headed people and traditional ladies hats do not always fit on my oversized noggin.  As luck would have it, this one actually fit.

You can guess what happened next.

So now I own a "real" hat.  Now I just have to remember to wear it.  It really is more of an in-between season hat as it is not warm enough for winter and too warm for summer.

In other news, I am a little geared up right now.  You see, today is the deadline for a job I applied for, and I am hoping against all hopes that I at least get a call on this one.  It is definitely a big deal as it would require relocation, but based on the job criteria and requirements, I know that I am qualified.  At the very least, it would be nice to get a chance to test out my interview skills.

The silly part of this is that the location and situation have been on my mind constantly since I found the posting.  In my head, I have been mentally mapping out the logistics of such a move and I am ready to either move forward with it or just let it go as a non-possibility so that I can find something else to obsess about.    Like Christmas shopping.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Smooth sailing

That last entry was pretty serene, wasn't it?  Don't worry, I am not trying to make a segue into some sort of diabolical rant about PMS or centipedes.  Although, I did kill one of the largest centipedes I have ever seen this weekend.  It was hanging out on the door to my parents' lower level bathroom.  I know that I should be all "live and let live" about these things, but it was indoors and it was CREEPY.  But don't worry, I went all Wild Kingdom on it and I am sure that it's demise was swift and relatively painless. 

I am proud to say that I was somewhat productive this weekend.  I got a very good start on my paper that is due this weekend, which is saying quite a lot for a chronic procrastinator.  My parents were out of town for most of the weekend, which may have been helpful as it left me with only canine companions for distraction. 

This morning on my way to work I had a bit of a sonic "moment of zen."  Apparently Peter Gabriel, (of 80's fame) has released a new album of "covers."  Oddly enough, they are covers of his own songs.  The twist that he puts on these versions is that he performs his vocals with a full string orchestra.  This morning on the radio, they played the new version of "In Your Eyes."  Truthfully, not my favorite song of all time, but hearing it in this new way was almost... majestic? 

Maybe this sounds silly, but it seems that I am getting some sort of cosmic reminder about my former life as a cellist.  Aside from this morning's radio rendition, I also attended a funeral last week for a former coworker where a cello was used to accompany a singer who performed during the service.  It was an unexpected reminder of why I was drawn to the instrument as a child. 

You see, in my school system, we were allowed to select a stringed instrument to learn when entering the fourth grade.  There was no question in my mind that I would participate just as there was no question that my instrument of choice would be the cello.  It wasn't high and annoying like the violin.  It had heft, and it looked cooler to play.  So for three years, I played the cello.

My career ended in seventh grade when I was forced to make a decision about my musical career.  You see, in fifth grade, we were allowed to choose a wind instrument to play in band.  As you may have already learned from this blog, I played the clarinet.  It was not impossible to do both band and orchestra at the elementary level, but in junior high, choir entered the picture.  In order to work in a full schedule, a student could not take more than two music classes.  So, if I wanted to participate in choir, one of the instruments had to go.

I wish I could say that I thought long and hard about it or that it truly was a difficult decision.  But it wasn't.  Orchestra simply was not as cool as band and choir.  There was also the fact that I rented my cello but owned my clarinet.  Honestly, I think that I just saw more of a future in band and choir.  Also, most of my friends were in those two classes. 

Looking back now, I hesitate to say that I made the right choice, even though I am pretty sure that I would do it all again if I had to go back in time.

Speaking of time, I think I should probably conclude this entry and spend some quality time with my dog.  She is giving me "the look."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Not much, but it will do

If it turns out that my future job does not observe all Federal Holidays, I will have to try very hard not to be upset.  For the past decade, I have enjoyed this benefit.  Today, for example, I am honoring my country's military veterans by not working.  It does seem a bit odd that I am reaping the benefit of this holiday when it seems that perhaps it should be reserved for veterans to enjoy the privilege, but I don't make the rules I guess.

So in honor of those currently serving and those who have performed their service already, thanks.  Especially to my cousin, John, currently serving in Afghanistan and my good friend Kevin who is in basic training.  You are brave men, and I pray that your service will one day bring you back to us so that we can thank you in person.

Aside from not working, today has been nice.  I had the house to myself as my mother did a trip out to the farm and my dad had to work.  I watched some episodes of "NCIS" as I felt that a show with a military theme would be good for the day. 

The rest of the weekend looks pretty calm.  A little interning, a little homework.  Should be nice.  This week is the deadline for one of the jobs I applied for that I am quite interested in, so hopefully I will hear something either way on that front soon.  I hate all the hurry-up-and-wait that comes with the job hunt. 

In case I decide to slack off some more, I hope that you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Darkness and privacy concerns

Good news, folks.  The predictions of the weather-people did not come true.  There was no snow last night.  Nary a flake!  This made me extremely happy as my morning commute was not impeded in any way. 

Now that our clocks have been adjusted, darkness falls much earlier in these parts.  This can be a hard adjustment for many, especially as it makes 5:30 p.m. feel more like 10 p.m.  Walking my dog now occurs entirely under the cover of night.  Our morning stroll has been dark for a while now, but now our evening perambulations have an element of dusk to them. 

Of course, now that the sprinkler systems are turned off, it is a far less treacherous journey, but I am going ot have to invest in a mini-flashlight so that I can locate my dog's droppings for disposal.  You have no idea how hard it can be to locate them in a neighborhood where the streetlights turn on and off at will.

I forgot to mention something important that happened yesterday:  Lena and I celebrated our ninth monthiversary!  Yay!  We did not do anything special to celebrate, but it was still an important milestone.

On a different note, I have decided that the networking website, LinkedIn, may be possessed by demons.  Why else would I consistently receive "invitations" and "suggestions" for people that I only know tangentially?  What I assume has happened to many people is that this demonic program somehow leeches into their computer and email accounts, where it secretly accesses any and all email addresses ever used or received.  It then sends out an "invitation" purporting to be from the member, inviting others to join them on the website.  Usually, the sender has no idea that the message has been sent.

I don't know about you, but I find this to be disturbing.  It could be considered a breach of privacy.  In fact, I am fairly certain that it IS somehow ethically questionable.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can it be?

There is a dirty, nasty rumor going around in news-bringing circles.  Brace yourselves:  tonight we may have snow. 

(Dramatic pause.)

Let it sink in.  You knew it was coming.  You heard about all the terrible snow storms out in other parts of the country, but you didn't care.  Now it is your turn.


OK, OK.  So it is only supposed to be two inches of accumulation, and you KNOW that it won't stick around for long.  It is way too early in the season for that. 

But it's so inconvenient.  The first snow of the season always causes Minnesotans to have a group memory lapse and either decide that they need to drive 2 mph on the freeway or that they can still just zoom along and cut people off like they normally would without consideration for the fact that the laws of physics are slightly altered on surfaces bearing frozen precipitation. 

Oh sure, we'll get used to it.  By mid-February it will be no big deal.  But in mid-November, I think we all hold on to the hope that perhaps the first snow will not take place until Christmas Eve.  Or later.

Some years, this hope is realized.  But after last year and the heavy accumulations we had, I am not silly enough to think that it is likely. 

In preparation for this possible snowfall, I have taken the precaution of placing my snow boots in the trunk of my car.  Next will be my heavy duty mittens and hat.  There does come a point when I am wearing this stuff every day to every place that I go, but until we have a solid six inches on the ground, I hold my ground.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hot mess

So I do appreciate that my blog stats have been strangely high as of late, but I suspect that this may be due to several different blog crawling websites passing through, if my stats are to be believed.  Go figure.

We have now come to the week of the month where I find myself a hot bubbly cauldron of split second mood changes and misplaced anger.  You all had best keep your distance.

It starts with this morning.  Mondays are never my favorite, but I can usually bear them with a degree of tolerance.  But when one is forced to spend one's time in close proximity to someone that drives them to the point of bang-your-head-against-the-wall insanity, it gets a little dicey.  Mix in a healthy dose of hormones and you have a lethal mix. 

If you really want to have some fun, throw in some terrible news.  This time around, it is a former retired coworker of mine who passed away this weekend.  This coworker was a favorite of mine for many reasons.  First, he was just a great person.  Second, he reminded me of my grandfather, or someone who would have been friends with my grandfather.  His sense of humor was without equal, and that is always of high value in the workplace.  Due to his retirement, I have not seen him for a few years, but shared memories and stories of his exploits still float around the office.

In the midst of digesting this news upon entering the office, I received a call from my former Internet provider.  It seems that the credit card I had linked for payment expired and renewed recently, and they were looking for their $4.95 payment.  If you are wondering why I am still paying a former Internet provider, it is because I wanted to maintain my email address until I could be sure that I had changed over all my accounts and other important information to new places.

The representative on the phone was not rude, but I was not pleased to be called at work as if I were being pursued for collections.  So great was my displeasure that after paying the delinquent amount, I promptly requested to cancel the account in full.  Perhaps this was a bit drastic as the rep did offer to cut my cost in half (to $2.47) if I would stay for another month.  I refused, of course. 

It did give me momentary pause to wonder about the desperation of this ISP for business if they were willing to accept such a small amount to keep a customer.  True, I have been a customer for nearly a decade, but it is time to move on. 

All in all, a pretty boring day, wouldn't you agree? 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

But I'm so TIRED!

Greetings.  It is now almost 9 p.m. on Saturday night.  Or 8 p.m. if you're already turning the clocks back.  For some reason not quite clear to me, I am exhausted.  If I follow through with the current trend, I may be in bed at the same time as many young children.

Of course, sometimes children are granted an exception to stay up late with the girls, in which case their bedtime can be later than 11 p.m.  Now that I think about it, this may be why I am so tired right now.  I partied way to hard last night with my friends and my friend's daughter.  I know there was pizza.  I am pretty sure there was tea.  And I am absolutely positive that there were frosted cake balls.

Now that we've figured that all out, I am off to bed.  Good night!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good news

Good news:  my finger is healing nicely.  I even used some anti-bacterial salve on it this morning.  Are you impressed?

Also good news:  today is Friday.  True, tomorrow I will spend the majority of my day either at my internship or in class, but at least it is some variety.

As predicted, my mother was amused by the fact that I had inflicted fingernail related injury upon myself.  I am nothing if not entertaining.

I received some good news this morning.  It seems that I may not be forced to spend the entirety of my evening trapped in the basement with three dogs and my father while my mom and her book club cronies yuk it up in the rest of the house.  You see, one of my oldest friends is coming to town with her husband and two adorable children, and some of us are going to meet her for pizza tonight.  Yay!

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that I will likely have to spend some time in the basement as I believe the dinner plans fall earlier than later and the book club ladies are known to party quite long and hard.  I only hope they leave some jalapeno dip for me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


My mouth is tingling.

Wait, is "tingling" a legitimate word?  Let's spell check it out!

The answer is:  Yes, it is legitimate.


Now to the obvious question:  Why is my mouth tingling?

The answer is:  Because I just ate a sandwich with hot peppers.  Technically, not only hot peppers, but other "hot" vegetables as they were all pickled/spiced in the same hot brine.  Love, pure love.  You know those Mentha lip glosses that you can buy at Bath and Body Works?  The effect is like that, but stronger.

Hopefully, by the time class starts, the effects will have worn down as I would hate to subject my classmates to the fiery dragon breath I have going on.

Grievous Injuries

This morning, I grievously injured myself. 

No, it was not related to a motor vehicle.  It happened in the office. 

No, there was no office equipment involved.  I will not be collecting any kind of worker's compensation.

How did it happen?  With a great deal of trepidation, I will tell you.  My mother and brother will enjoy this story, so Happy Birthday, Mom.

When I speak extemporaneously, I tend to make good use of my hands.  As in, I like to gesture dramatically with them.  I have been known on occasion to smack my hands into things like walls, counters and people, but that is not what happened today.

I cannot even recall what I was saying when it happened, but somehow, my left hand pinkie finger collided with a finger nail of my right hand.  It should be noted that my nails are not long; I cut them just last week.  Nor are they jagged as I filed them carefully.

Somehow, in this collision I managed to deeply gash and would the top of my pinkie.  Blood began to ooze forth immediately as I stared blankly at the somewhat painful wound.  At first I thought, "Bah!  It's not that bad!"

But the blood did not stop.  I gave in, went to the supply closet, grabbed the Band-Aid box, and went to the sink to wash up.  After displaying my now gruesome gash to a couple of co-workers, I carefully positioned a bandage to stop the blood. 

Now, to take a little side note, I don't know what it is about Band-Aids that is so fascinating, but it seems that all children go through a phase where they are obsessed with wearing them.  I don't know if we all have a secret desire to be seen as wounded or brave, but I held a constant hope that some catastrophe would befall me and necessitate a really awesome and highly visible Band-Aid solution.

Back to the story.  OK, wait, sorry.  One last sidetrack.  Although the sheer act of wearing a Band-Aid was always cool by itself, there was always extra cache for being able to see blood stains through the padded area.  Gross, but true.  Otherwise, how were people to know that you were legit? 

Alright, this time we're back to the story.  I mean it.  So, the first Band-Aid I applied quickly soaked through.  While I know that this would not be a big deal as blood does eventually clot, it is not exactly seemly to look like a bloody mess in a professional environment.  So I changed the Band-Aid. 

Now, this would normally be the kind of thing that fades in importance over the course of the day, but unfortunately, the cut is located on the pad of my finger and is thus irritated every time I type, which is something that I do on a fairly regular basis on a regular weekday. 

As I know that no one feels sorry for me in this situation, I will not share much more.  Except that I should probably tell you why the origin of this injury will be of particular satisfaction to my family.

I am the oldest child in my immediate family.  I am the only female child in my immediate family.  When we were young, until my brothers reached puberty and the accompanying growth spurts, I was taller than them.  This equated to the fact that I was physically more powerful than them as well.

Like most siblings, we occasionally fought, especially me and my brother Michael as we were closer in age and therefore much more likely to be in competition for things in life.  When our fights turned physical, it was not to hitting, punching or slapping that we turned.  No, it was usually hair-pulling, biting and scratching.  The hair-pulling was mostly him.  The scratching was mostly me.

On many occasions, I utilized my fingernails to gain dominance with mixed results.  The main advantage to scratching is that it is truly painful and can be a powerful deterrent.  The main disadvantage is that scratching leaves marks.  Sometimes it draws blood.  Both outcomes are difficult to deny to one's mother who has come to stop the fighting.  End result?  Megan gets in trouble.  No matter that I did not start it or that my scalp was still numb from the severe yanking that was done. 

It also did not matter if scratching was not my intention.  The most famous incident took place when we were visiting our cousins in Texas.  While playing in their pool one afternoon, I found myself floating comfortably on the inflated inner tube.  As flotation devices were limited, we were taking turns.  I had only been on the tube for a few minutes when Michael decided that he did not want to wait his turn and approached me menacingly, threatening to flip me off of my perch.

In what I will only justify as self defense, I reached out to hold him back.  In my attempt to push him away, I misjudged the distance and only was able to swipe at his exposed chest.  With immediate horror I realized that my nails had made contact with his skin and that my maneuver had drawn blood.  As I knew the outcome, I ran.  I believe I hid behind a fence while my brother triumphantly raised his voice to tattle on me. 

My mother was again less than sympathetic, but I do not think that I suffered greatly in punishment.  This was probably because we were guests and she did not want us to look bad in front of extended family.

Even though I was not punished (aside from losing my turn on the tube), this story has been brought up over and again throughout my life whenever my family wishes to demonstrate my violent nature. 

So they will only find it fitting that today I have wounded and drawn blood from my own hand unintentionally.  Although I doubt anyone will send me to my room for it this time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reasons or excuses?

I really should make an effort to be a better blogger.  As of late it has become my habit to write long and (in my opinion) boring entries, lose interest and then let them languish in post purgatory forever and ever.  Amen.

While it is probably open to discussion as to why I have not felt like my work of late is good enough, my opinion is that it may be due to several top reasons. 

1.  Weather.  Late fall is always a bit dreary.  Don't get me wrong, I adore these temperatures, but all the grey can really bear down on one's soul.  Oh, and the fact that Daylight Savings is late is probably also not helping much.

2.  Work.  This is a twofold reason.  First, my current job continues to drag severely on my soul.  I have known that this saga is coming to an end for a while, but now that the end is near, it has become more difficult to withstand current conditions.  Second, the new era of my career is still up in the air.  I do not have any super promising leads, so I am left to wonder about where I will go and what I will do.  Or if anyone in the big wide world will ever want to hire me.

3.  School.  Truthfully, my workload this semester has not been onerous.  I have had no difficulty completing assignments thus far and I do not anticipate a problem with any assignments remaining.  While I have been a bit frustrated with one of my instructors, I know that the semester is almost half done and her effect on my life will be over.

4.  Other.  There are some interesting and some frustrating things going on right now in my life or close to my life.  I am not at liberty to discuss them, but they are influencing me nonetheless.

Now that I look at these things, they really are excuses more than they are reasons.  I should resolve simply to get on and write as much as possible and just hope that nothing I say is too crass, offensive, stupid or boring.  How about we start tomorrow?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Triumphant Return

Oh where, oh where have I been?  Not publishing blog posts, that's for sure!

Notice that I said not publishing blog posts.  I have indeed been writing them, I just get to the end of them and just... sort... of... stop.  Not that there has been nothing noteworthy to write about in my life and not that I haven't had the time.  I actually had a long and scintillating essay outlining my opinion on kissing and date etiquette, but it always ended up being kind of a drag. 

To give you the concise version, I find the current trends in kissing to be a bit disturbing.  In my experience, most boys are unsure of how long to wait.  While one would assume that this would lead to a comfortable waiting period, it seems that they have all come to the conclusion that the second date is when you do it, no matter how well you know the person or how much you actually like them.

Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time a guy went in for the kiss before I was mentally ready for it...

Lest you think that this subject arose from a recent incident, be assured that it did not.  It actually came from a conversation I had with a male friend who amazingly enough admitted to me that he has never "technically" kissed a girl.  Don't ask me to explain the quoted use of the word technically.  It pretty much just means that he has never had the guts to kiss a girl.  Even though he has dated and gone out with some of the girls for as many as a dozen dates. 

Anyway, enough.  I refuse to get pulled back into that discussion again. 

So what else is new?  My semester is half over!  October is almost gone!  I am applying for more jobs!

Actually, I am not applying for tons and tons of jobs just yet.  I know that I still have a good couple of months left in my education before I can seriously entertain the thought of moving to chase a good position, but it doesn't hurt to start looking.  This is how I came across an interesting possibility. 

Although you may have forgotten, I was not always a suburban city-dweller.  Most of my formative years were spent in the semi-rural regions of Minnesota.  Willmar always gets top billing, but we did live in a few other places.  In fact, both of my brothers were born in a town other than Willmar.  OK, OK, so all three of us were born elsewhere, but my brothers were born in the same elsewhere as one another.

In the interest of protecting my potential privacy, I shall not name the town.  I don't want to jinx anything.  But let it be known that there is a library job available in this city and I have applied for it.  Honestly, I have no idea if I will be considered, but then again, I don't know what kind of competition there is for library jobs out-state. 

For a long time, I have had a great deal of stress surrounding the idea of working outside the metro area.  Mostly because of my housing situation.  Then I had an epiphany.  So maybe I just had a conversation with a knowledgeable person who helped me to land upon a very possible solution:  property managers. 

You see, my house can simply not be sold right now.  The market has sucked away every penny of equity I had and then some.  Some people might look for a way out or even just walk away from their debt responsibility.  But not me.  I will not do it.  Unfortunately, I likely cannot afford to keep paying the bills for the place if I need to be paying the bills to live elsewhere.  The thought of renting it out had strong appeal, but how to manage tenants?

Then some brilliant person (I honestly cannot remember who) suggested that I contract with a property management company.  They could not only take care of finding and screening tenants, but they could be the people to take care of any issues that may come up after the fact.  I have priced out a few places, and once I follow up a bit more, I think that I may have found my solution.  Who would have thought?

Now, don't worry.  I am not putting all my eggs in one basket.  I am still going to keep looking in the Twin Cities to see if I can't find a way to stay local.  But I cannot tell you what a freeing thought it is to realize that my stupid townhouse will not doom me to a life of second choices and lesser options in my life. 

This brings me to another interesting part of the debate over moving away, especially to a rural area.  What would I give up to do this?

1.  Convenience.  I have become so accustomed to having nearly everything I want at my fingertips.  I realize that the Internet has opened up options in this area, but I will have to re-learn the basics of life without easy access.  Things that I take for granted such as being able to take my car in for free oil changes at the dealership will be a thing of the past.

2.  Friends.  Most of my closest friends live in the Twin Cities area.  Not that some have not moved or threatened to move far away in the past, but I will need to figure out how to build a new support system in a new location.

3.  Media.  So I know that they have Internet and TV elsewhere, but will my favorite radio station play somewhere else?  Can I get access to high-speed Internet that will allow me to stream their programming?  Will my smart phone work in the new town?

4.  Lena.  I have a dog.  She needs to have space to move.  I would love to be able to live in a place with a yard, even a tiny one, but if I end up in a metropolitan area, that may not be easy.  If I live in a rural area, this could be a non-issue, but still a consideration.

5.  Housing.  I have always assumed that I would not buy another house as long as I still own my current one.  However, if the new location is somewhere without a great deal of rental options, I may have to consider other ideas.  Could I become a land baron?  Maybe!

These are just some of the many things that run through my head as I contemplate a total upheaval in my life and change in venue.  It is exciting and terrifying all at once.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

To blonde or not to blonde

So the completion of my major tasks was not quite as epic as I imagined, but it is still nice to be done.  That paper/grant proposal?  Yeah, I knocked that thing out in about three hours.  It helps when one does the research ahead of time. 

Now things are (relatively) back to normal.  I have an obscene amount of reading to do by Thursday, but it's really not a big deal.  Oh, and I am getting my hairs cut and colored on Tuesday... a MUCH bigger deal.  Not that I will be doing anything different (one inch off the bottom and highlights on the top layers), but I always imagine that someday I will go for the gusto.  In other words, I may decide to finally work with rather than against the direction my hair seems to want to go.

As you may or may not know, I have always been considered a blonde.  As is the case for many natural blondes, age has altered the intensity of my blonde-ness, leaving me with what is commonly known as a "dishwater" color.  It's not quite brown, not quite blonde.  Just dull.  My hairstylist informs me that this is due to the fact that as we age, we tend to spend more time indoors.  This keeps us away from the rays of sunshine that did such a wonderful job bleaching our hair and darkening our skin as youngsters.

Underneath it all (or so she tells me), my hair still wants to be blonde.  This is based on the fact that when she puts in the color/bleach, I do not need to sit under a hair dryer or even wait all that long before my hair "comes up."  Lucky me, right?  If only this willingness of my hair to revert to its desired shade resulted in some sort of discount.  (It does not.) 

So every time I get my hair done, I take a moment to consider what would happen if I took the opposite direction and lowlighted my hair.  As in, become the unthinkable:  a brunette.  Perhaps not truly a brown-headed person, but become less blonde.  Would it work for me?  I am not sure.  My coloring is quite fair and well suited to lighter shades.  But then again, I always have found the brown hair with blue eyes combination to be rather striking. 

This inner conversation will continue for the next couple of days until I finally sit in my stylists chair and simply nod when she asks if I want "the usual."  She knows just like I know that my blonde days are not yet over. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Be afraid

Tonight I shall take on a truly epic task.  No, I will not be running a marathon.  I will also not be scaling Mount Everest.  I will not even be baking a cake.

No, tonight I will be writing a mock grant proposal from start to finish.  As long as it takes, that is how long I will be working, for said document is due.  For class.  Tomorrow. 

I shall not be able to utilize some of my more common procrastination techniques on this one, even though class starts at noon.  This is because from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., I will be interning it up big at my internship.  Before that?  I will be doing my best to wrangle the dogs in and out of the house while also feeding them.  By myself. 

Are you scared for me?  You should be.  The next time you hear from me, it will all be done.  DONE, I tell you!!!!  HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

Modern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a girl.  This girl spent most of her time staying at her own humble house in the middle of nowhere and at the home of her parents, which was located in the middle of everything that was cool and happening.

Every time that the girl prepared to visit the home of her parents, she packed a suitcase.  Much thought went into the packing of this suitcase; special clothing was required for the time that the girl spent toiling to make a decent wage.  Due to lack of imagination and cooler temperatures, the girl's wardrobe mainly consisted of varied shirts paired with black or dark grey trousers. 

This meant that the greater portion of suitcase preparation went towards selection of shirts and blouses, not pants. 

One extra special evening, the girl packed her suitcase as usual, but upon lifting it noticed that it was markedly lighter than normal.

"Dear me!" exclaimed the girl, "My suitcase is light as a feather!  Oh well, it must only mean that I have become tremendously more efficient in my packing abilities."

Unperturbed, she secured her suitcase into the rear storage compartment of her car, escorted her fluffy young canine companion into the back seating area, and left her home in the middle of nowhere.

Twelve hours later, the girl was finishing her morning preparations.  As the final step of readiness, she opened her suitcase to select her clothing for the day.  After choosing the purple blouse with ruffles, she reached in to extract her trousers.  Mild inattention quickly turned to dismay when no pants were to be found.  She wildly threw aside all other items in the suitcase in hopes of unearthing the desired item, but luck was not with her that day.

In the midst of this chaos, the girl's kindly mother appeared in the doorway and inquired as to the source of such alarm.  When the girl related her dilemma, her mother offered the use of her pants.  Normally, the girl and her mother did not share the same size or style in clothing.  However, the mother had in her possession a pair of pants with an universal waist made of elastic magic. 

So this is how the girl spent the next two days wearing her mother's pants of elastic magic to work.

The End

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What is up

Third time is the charm, right?  I have been trying to put together an entry after several days off, but I just can't seem to get it going.  And if you're wondering where I have been for the past few days, don't get excited.  Nothing fabulous happened, I just haven't had creative inspiration.

Speaking of creative inspiration, I need to muster up a bit more in the next few days because I need to write up a mock grant proposal due on Saturday.  Lest you worry too much, note that I said mock.  As in, not for real.  It IS going to be graded so I would (of course) like to do well; therefore, careful preparation is needed.  However, it does not require much by the way of outside research; I must simply carefully read and address the required elements of the grant outline.  No problem, right?

Let's see, what else, what else?  Ummm... this week marks the midway point of the semester!  This means that I am a mere two months away from complete and total completeness:  graduation.  My last day of class is technically on the 15th of December, which means that class-wise, I am less than two months away.  But graduation is on the 20th, so not quite.

In other news, an interesting piece of information has come to my attention.  It seems that my collegiate alma mater is looking for a new reference and instruction librarian.  The posting is a little old, but it is listed as "open until filled," so I figure they would have taken it off their website if they were not still looking.

So, I may just apply.   But here's the thing.  My alma mater is located out of state.  True, it is still in the Midwest, but not in a neighboring state.  My driving time estimate would put it in the 8 hour range.  BUT.  It is a beautiful campus.  It is in a lovely and charming town.  And it is in relatively close proximity to Chicago.  Oh, and I still have friends and acquaintances who live in the area. 

Not that I am counting on anything, mind you.  They do want someone with a completed degree, which I technically do not have... yet.  But... it would not be the worst situation in the world.  If I had to relocate out of state, it would be nice to go to a familiar place.  I could even pretend to relive my college days.  On the other hand, it could be a little depressing to be there without all my old gang around.  I would have to make an attempt to recruit them back to the area.  Hm...

Other than this, the only other new thing to report is that I have changed up Lena's daytime television programming.  I have had her on a steady schedule of "Rocky & Bullwinkle" DVDs, but these do not automatically loop when complete.  This means hours of her listening to the main menu sound effects.  My "Friends" DVDs, on the other hand, DO automatically loop.  So... she will be listening to the sounds of my early 20's.  Complete with a laugh track.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Killing time

Hm.  Well, right now I am sitting in the library of my school, killing some time.  You see, my class does not start for another hour and a half.  One of my group members is here now, but he is downstairs in the classroom working on a different part of the presentation.  Our third member is due to arrive in about 30 minutes. 

When we are all here, I expect that we shall gather to discuss the order of presentation, what should be added and what should be deleted.  Our motto has been to "keep it simple," yet our instructor has given us a full hour for our presentation/discussion and another full hour for our in-class exercise.  I highly doubt that we will be testing the limits of this time frame, but it really would be a shame if we finished everything in under an hour.

By now, I should be far enough in the program and comfortable enough with the subject matter to not get frazzled by the thought of presenting in front of a group.  Especially as I will be up with two other people and our audience is made up of six classmates and one teacher.  But still.

The other "big" event for today was the Career Fair.  In anticipation of an afternoon potentially full of interesting and fruitful conversations with employers, I decided to take a half day at work.  I departed at noon, stopped at Office Depot for some professional-looking shiny black folders to hold my 15 resumes, and left. 

When I arrived just before 1 p.m., I was dismayed to discover that most of the parking spots on campus were already full.  This may simply have been due to the fact that it is a Thursday and the undergrads are here and in class, but the Career Fair may have added to it just a bit.  After stashing my car at the far nether regions of campus, I trekked across through the (finally) fall-like weather to the building where the event was taking place.

In the interest of stifling any negative experiences, I stopped in the campus convenience store for gum.  Waiting in line with the undergrads, I started to feel out of place.  Old.  Boring.

Gum purchased, I went up to the Fair.  I had to "sign in" which consisted merely of making a name tag, entering a raffle and getting my free pen and business card folder.  I did manage to baffle the girl behind the desk when I replied "graduate student" to her inquiry as to what "year" I was.  In the end, she decided to call me a Senior.  Nice try, girlie, but I still feel old now.  Of course, the fact that she thought I was an undergraduate and therefore ten years younger than I really am could be a compliment.  Oh well.

As for the Fair itself, there were a good number of organizations present.  Unfortunately, most of them were not looking for graduate caliber employers.  Certainly not with a library science focus.  I did manage to give out two resumes, collect information for the job posting websites of two major companies and put my name down on a list for the Children's Museum.  Apparently, they may have a need for a library person/archivist in the future. 

Essentially, what I walked away with was a sense of disappointment.  Most representatives were quick to say that even though they were not looking for anyone in my area of expertise, I should certainly check out their websites and subscribe to their postings.  As if I had not already done so.  Should I have been prepared for this lack of interest?  Maybe.  Except that in the pre-published lists of attending companies that was distributed by the school, we were also provided with the lists of majors that the companies sought applicants from.  And guess what?  Library Science was listed for quite a few.

In their defense, the graduate programs at my school are not highly publicized.  Even within the school, the undergraduates receive the most attention as evidenced by the fact that the food services and coffee shop are rarely open on the nights and weekends that most grad students are on campus. 

But whatever.  It's over, right?  Now I just have the presentation to get through and it will be Friday. 

The truly unfortunate part of this whole ordeal was that I took a half day off at work when it was not necessary.  When I found myself done with circulating the Fair by 1:30, I had to find something to do.  Luckily, my school is situated near some interesting shops.  I have always wanted to explore these shops, and today was as good a time as any to do so. 

My first stop was Starbucks, for I greatly needed nourishment.  After that, Barnes and Noble.  Two book purchases later, I traveled across the road to Patina, a local store that sells merchandise that I can only classify as "gift-y."  I fully expected to see a large Halloween display and was momentarily shocked to see that it was actually overshadowed by the display of Christmas ornaments. 

Normally, I shy away from such blatant and obnoxious early-season nonsense, but my defences were down today, folks.  I managed to score three ornaments for three dogs.  I still need to find one for my brother and Heidi's dog and new kitten, but I am on the right track.  Oh, and I also bought a pair of peacock earrings that are awesome.  And two magnets. 

Merchandise in hand, I returned to my car and drove back to campus, uttering a silent prayer that parking would be available in my normal lot.  My prayers were answered, and I returned to school.  After a brief call to my mother to inform her not to buy any ornaments for the dogs because I had them covered, I hauled my scholarly butt back inside. 

After checking my classroom and finding the door locked, I retreated to the library computer terminal center, which is where I sit right now.  My third partner is due to arrive in 15 minutes, so I think I will continue to wait.  Clearly, my other partner has found a way into the classroom and is working there.  Or he has decided that he simply does not want to hang out with me while we wait for the other girl to arrive and is using this as a way to avoid being awkward.  I can deal with it.