Are You What You Do?

One of my good friends teaches middle school English in South Central LA. She is one of the most caring, patient, and awesome people that I know. The other day I received a burnt out, one her last leg, ready to damn it all text from her talking about how she was re-thinking her choice of career after only 2 years due to being so over worked, over stressed, and underpaid. I sent her this response verbatim:

I’m gonna be honest with you here. That is just life. It’s always going to be that way. I’ve worked 2 jobs for 3 years running myself into the ground, subjecting myself to all kinds of various rejections and snakes in the grass and all kinds of crazy (expletive). BUT the silver lining here is that you do what you LOVE and what you are meant to be doing. Most people aren’t that lucky, they end up working in f’ing box factory or something dismal like that. Just keep your head up. Know that you are making a difference and meeting likeminded people and that things will get easier and better. Just focus on WHY you do it and keep moving forward. Life if good, and you my friend are doing awesome at it.

I re-read the text, and wondered why I couldn’t take my own advice. So, I didn’t quit the public, not yet anyways… Part of me wishes I had. I have my reasons and I’m still trying to push through it all. I think it must be the same with each workplace that you find may be a bit toxic, there’s talk, you see the things that are so infuriating and you share stories. At the end of the day I’m sure we’ve all been in workplaces that felt, after a while, to lose their “charm”. This could be for one, or many of these different reasons:

The relationship to the nature of the work that you do changes

The relationship with one, or multiple co-workers’ changes

The actual job duties and schedule of the position changes

There may be new hopes, dreams or ambitions that make you question the current position

Becoming bored with the same old same old and wanting more for yourself

Hitting that ceiling where you can’t move forward, or upward in your position

Change is inevitable in life. Institutions change, organizations change, libraries change, strategic goals and missions change, budgets change, and people come and go adding to or taking away from a work environment. This happens constantly, to everybody, but I feel like it may just have been a little more chaotic as somebody that has not only one, but two very different work environments (the part-time, multiple job epidemic). Either way, I’m trying to keep treading water where I am until it all clicks somehow.

In the meantime, I look up from the ref desk today and see… is it a sign? Yes, another sign from the library gods.. This book:


How to Be Happy at Work: The Power of Purpose, Hope and Friendships by Annie McKee.

I don’t have a review for this yet since I literally just grabbed it from the shelf, but starting the first chapter, the author mentions that so many people are unhappy with their work situations, and that we often settle, or try to tell ourselves that work just isn’t a place to be happy. I mean that just sucks. I’ve been so rebellious lately saying NO, I will find that perfect place, but maybe I’m just stuck because I’m refusing to see something in myself that is being unwilling.

I saw another thing in Global Road Warrior that made me think this week too. While helping a student do research on verbal and nonverbal communication in Chinese vs. American cultures I cruised over to the stereotypes section of American culture to see what I came up with. There were a few good ones, and a few not so good ones, but this one caught my attention:

Work Hard, Play Harder

When Americans do play they devote themselves to it with an all-out ethic.

Americans like to work to get ahead, but we also know when it is time to relax.

Americans work more hours per week than their European competitors and have far fewer vacation days. Rather than regret this disparity, the Americans see it as an example of why Europe is in decline and America is still in ascendancy. Hard work is still looked upon as an ideal in the U.S., and play doesn’t start until all the work is done. When Americans do play they devote themselves to it with a similar all-out ethic. Americans define themselves by their jobs, and a standard conversation opener is, “So, what do you do?”

(Global Road Warrior, 2018)

This is under the “Stereotypes generally accepted by Americans” section. That last line is what I hovered over for so long… I am one of these people that defines myself by my job, clearly. I am also somebody who cannot separate myself from being emotionally involved in my work, nor do I wish to be. So, I’m still kind of stuck here. I will read this book, and sigh, and keep on drinking gallons of coffee and hoping for the best. I think a birthday weekend and a trip up to Santa Cruz may be just what I need to re-gather my bearings and reset. I like being a librarian ultimately, but nobody likes a librarian on the edge, especially not me.

Global Road Warrior. “United States: Stereotypes.” Retrieved March 20, 2018, from


Rational vs. Irrational Planning / How I became a Librarian in the first place

I’m trying to make rational plans regarding the fact that I am about to, once again, face a big jump into the great unknown. Now when I say this I mean I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to leave the public once and for all. However, the fact that my small two days a week here basically pays my rent every month is not to be ignored. I remember this feeling, during my first year of grad school, let’s flash back to 2011. (The story of how I became a librarian in the first place).

In 2011 I was working a miserable job in real estate that often left me in tears at the end of the day, which was, what led me to going back to school in the first place. I was doing well in my first year of grad school, but it was hard to juggle working full time and doing a part-time load online through the University. On top of all that I was in a lousy relationship living with somebody who really wasn’t very motivated in any facet of his own life, and frankly, somebody I had no interest in spending my future with. I had been applying for jobs in the library world, all jobs that I could find, and getting rejection letter after rejection letter, after rejection letter.

I was stuck. I spent my days frustrated, angry, irritable, and somewhat hopeless while I plundered on doing all those things daily that I knew were slowly killing me inside. I wanted to do an internship which I felt was so important, since I had no prior library experience, but I couldn’t with my 9-5 M-F gig in hell. So, I kept on, saved all I could, worked my butt off and gave myself enough of a nest egg so that I felt comfortable for a bit launching off into the great unknown (with the backup of student loans if need be), AKA leaving my job without another lined up. In February of 2012, I cut the cord, and celebrated.

Many people in my life told me this was stupid. I even felt like I was a bit stupid myself, but I just knew that I needed to do it. It had never felt so good in my entire life to put in that letter of resignation, I felt so free and hopeful and full of opportunities.

But, my smile didn’t last too long.

It was hard to get a job, very hard in fact. What was nice about it is that I at least had a partner that paid half of the rent. This helped quite a bit and may have been one of the reasons we (both) stayed in a bad relationship for as long as we did. The first summer and fall seemed OK. I enjoyed taking my time with my school work, really absorbing it, being present with my studies, which is what I really wanted in the first place. I got to do an internship in an archive which I am so thankful for.  I eventually found a very small PT gig at (of all places) a synagogue, where I made very little money and even less friends. I kept trying and trying, time went on, I watched my nest egg decrease and man do piles of money burn fast.

Luckily, as the synagogue became less and less of a good gig, I landed a PT job at the public in 2013 (where I am typing this from today, the very seat I started in almost 5 years ago) and I could leave the synagogue and work at the public part time only. Things seemed to be looking up, my coursework was going well, and I was getting actual real life public library experience.

Until I got left suddenly and very out-of-the-blue like by that boyfriend. Now, getting left sucks in and of itself, but the bigger devastation for me here lay in losing half of my rent and household expenses. Sounds like a shitty thing to say, but it’s true. Sometimes in adult land we rely on partners for more than just emotional payments. Things descended a bit from there, yeah, they got a bit dark. I remember a specific night where the cat and I went tumbling upside down when I rolled to the side of the Walmart futon and the weight made it topple over, that may have been the rock bottom. I laughed until I cried in my half-empty apartment. It was quite the ride. I kept on with school, kept my head up, and just tried to make it through living on the tightest of budgets but somehow always squeaking by. That was what 30 looked like for me.

More things happened, more changes. I landed a second part time gig at the U in 2015 where I still am today. I gained another relationship that I had high hopes for, then lost it. I had what was close to an emotional breakdown somewhere in there and began therapy and trying to heal myself. I broke addictions, gained knowledge really dug deep down in there and faced some of those demons I had been carrying around for way too long. (That’s wildly oversimplifying it, but I don’t need to bore you with all those details.)

Through it all I was working 6 days a week, and juggling so many new roles looking back I have no idea how I didn’t completely lose it, but I didn’t. Let me tell you, working six days a week when you live on your own and should do all the house things and try to relax on that ONE day, really catches up to you after 3 years of doing it.

If you follow me at all you will know that I’ve had a lot of failure in the library world these last 3 years, most of them very unforeseen. But it’s also reconnected me to writing, which I’ve been trying to push myself to do these last couple of years. Baby steps are still steps you know, they count.

Now I’m at another crossroads, that is pretty similar to the one I had 6 years ago.  I’m spent. Like totally spent, and I need to take time and focus on things that can move me forward, and open doors for me. I have 3 things. Public, University and Writing.  Out of these 3 the public has become a bit of a dead rot. I can’t move forward in my position, and I no longer find much happiness in being here. Worse, it takes up so much of my time that I have no energy to spend looking for other jobs in either writing or library capacities. I feel like I must let it go. But, this means that I literally will only be making enough money with the one job to feed myself very frugally after bills are paid, and god forbid any craziness is needed like dental work or medical stuff because that would just throw the whole operation for a loop. On the flip side I will have a glorious 3 days off a week to recover from this burnout, write, be productive, and think of my next big life move because well, it’s time.

But I’m scared. What if I can’t make it? What if I don’t? I just don’t think those are options. Why do I never consider the What if I die tomorrow? Fear is the number one reason I would think with money being a close second that I don’t do SO many things in my life. FEAR. Just plain old fear. I think about the things I can’t buy like any new clothes or frivolities like smell good candles or massages, all these things I’m able to do now to try to quell the misery that the job that makes me the money evokes. See the vicious cycle here? But we don’t NEED these things and it really doesn’t stack up to much when you weigh it against following what your heart desires and what you know your person needs does it?

It’s like operating without a safety net. I’ve done it before, I’m pretty sure I can do it again. *Sigh* I always thought by 34 I would be settled, whatever that is. It could be that I’m afraid of doing the work all over again. Either way I know all the “rational” plans I have made for myself up until now never panned out, maybe it’s time for some irrational ones.

Some Darker Aspects of Librarianship

Another Monday another tech center stint, cataloging the children’s books I came across one that made me smile with delight. It’s a board book, meaning that it would be appropriate for the TK and under crowd It’s called: Clive is a Librarian by Jessica Spanyol.



It’s brilliant, any book about being a librarian will hit us right in the heartstrings and we will buy it, I’m pretty sure it’s a fact. This book is part of a series called Clive. Some of the books in the series adhere to the Clive is a… format where the young boy goes on different adventures playing make believe that his is a certain occupation for the day. The series includes a nurse, a teacher, and a waiter.

Here’s a link to the series info on Goodreads.

Another thing about these books that hit me right in the feels is that Clive has a cat, a black cat, that he chills with constantly. Suddenly, it takes me away to a library full of cats, where instead of cranky patrons and social problems I can just have a cantankerous cat meow at me until I give it treats. What a life that would be.

This leads me to my thoughts on last week, where I had one of the hardest weeks in my entire existence at the public. In public libraries things tend to come in waves, where you may have a serious problem patron for a week or two, and maybe into months. This happens often because people move around, they show up, and many of them have no place to go for a bit, then they find one, or leave again.

This time we had a mother and her young son, who had just immigrated to this country. They understood English very basically and the child had extreme behavioral problems that the mother would not (could not) keep under wraps. Actually, none of us could. He would run around the library screaming and shrieking, he would grab other children and rile them up, he would take things out of random children’s hands, interrupt story times, set off the emergency exits, jump on and off tables, and finally, he started coming behind our desk and playing with the phones and computers. Parents of the children he was harassing, as well as every single member of the staff had it up to their eyeballs with this one. Look at mom, and all she did was say stop and he didn’t stop. I guess that is what we were all doing. Good cop, bad cop, he just wanted and needed the attention. When we all asked our management for backup they wanted to be “accommodating” and trust me, we all did, but they weren’t the ones in direct line of fire to this kid’s rage path. Have you ever tried to kick somebody out of somewhere and they just blankly stared at you? Said the same thing a million times to some brat kid who is a safety and sanity issue in a public building? I have, and it sucked.

Everybody on desk went through this for two weeks, even when it escalated and I grabbed a full timer they didn’t know what to do. At a certain point last week the kid grabbed me and shook me around and it took everything in me to not drag him back to his mother by the arm. I’m not a violent person, and as a city worker rule #1 is DON’T touch people, but people sure get to touch me. I guess the main problem was he was just a kid, who was bored because he was stuck here for 8 hours a day since they didn’t have anywhere else to go. I felt for them I really did, we all did, but mostly everybody on staff that had to be out on the floor was at our break point.

Which leads to Tuesday. I catch my boss on the phone with emergency folks as I’m grabbing my bag to head out for the night at closing. I think to myself well, this child has finally done it, he’s managed to fall off a table and break something or push a kid and now there’s just trouble. Turns out, it was something different altogether. When doing our closing rounds there was a patron slumped over in a chair, when my co-worker attempted to rouse her she found that the woman was unconscious, and barely breathing. They called the emergency workers, I watched my co-worker give this woman mouth to mouth and literally save her life, and then the EMTs came and took her away. There was an empty pill bottle around, and I really can’t speculate what the pills were or if this was an accident or what, but it shook me and everybody else that night. I do hope that person is OK today, but we have no way of knowing. I can tell you that I have a new found ultimate respect for first responders, because that is intense.

These things happen everywhere, every day and are in no way limited to a library. But it makes me realize that public problems and bigger social issues show up on a day to day basis in libraries (especially public) because are open to all, and we are often a space that people go to when there is no place else to go. Public health issues both mental and physical, addiction problems with drugs and alcohol, lack of resources for single mothers, immigrants, and the homeless population all bleed down into these systems because we don’t have solutions. I work in an area that is not a big city, and the library is in an affluent area, so I’m lucky. Librarians in more urban settings have even bigger fish to fry with the drug problem.

I found this article from CNN that talks about a teen-adult librarian in Philadelphia who has saved 6 patrons from opioid overdoses with the application of Narcan (the article is from June of last year so I can imagine that count has gone up). I am in complete awe and adoration of this woman. I can’t imagine the stress that slamming syringes of Naloxone into dying people adds to her library duties. Other libraries in big cities such as San Francisco and Denver train library staff in the use of Naloxone for this purpose as well, it is both sad and scary at the same time.

Thankfully, they don’t point these issues out in the Clive is a Librarian book I mentioned earlier, or people might look at librarians in a different light. All the librarians I know are the most compassionate and caring people I have ever met, but we are not trained for a lot of the things we come across in our day to day interactions. I’ve had people tell me they were suicidal, ask for help with serious problems such as medical stuff, or legal advice. You see the struggle you know, and the best thing you can do is try to help in the best of your capacity without losing your own mind. As for that family from the last two weeks, I heard they moved to Texas. I don’t know if it’s the truth or not, but in my head I can see him running around another library in his new state, angered librarian in tow.



What librarians do (according to the feds)

Another Monday, another 4-hour long stint in the tech center at the public. I have my cataloging cart to keep me company, and the general public using the computers seem to be well behaved and have all woken up on the right side of the bed (Hooray!). I hope I’m not jinxing myself here, but times like this that it’s not bad at all, just sitting in a computer lab, cataloging and blogging. As I was putting some notated books on the processing shelf in the back I noticed a giant copy of a reference book that was moving from reference to circulating, probably because we are getting an update. The book is called; The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a yearly publication complied by the US Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics that essentially gives a description of, and projected outcomes for specific occupations. The book is very large, so I’m pretty sure that it covers most traditional job roles and titles.


I had to see what is in store for me for the next couple of years. When I flipped to the first page of librarian I found the heading What Librarians Do. Hey! That’s the name of my blog, I had to read on, the US Dept. of Labor answers the question I’ve been trying to figure out the last 4 years in two sentences:

“Librarians help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use. Their job duties may change based on the type of library they work in such as public, school, and medical libraries” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, p.373).

It’s a pretty vague description but I guess I’ll take it as a general entry point into what being a librarian encompasses. It goes on to describe the different kinds of librarians: user services, technical services, school librarian, public librarian, academic librarian, law, government, medical and corporate. The projected increase in jobs to 2024 is 2%, at least it’s a growth but it’s slow compared to other industries. The job prospects indicate strong competition since there are a limited number of jobs, but it’s supposed to turn towards the later part of the 20’s when more people start retiring.

I recently advised a friend who is applying to library school to do so, even if being a librarian isn’t the best “prospect” wise on paper and reports. I remember Forbes putting out an article for the WORST Master’s degrees listing the MLIS as #1 the exact month that I started grad school back in 2011. I don’t know as much as I may complain about the random patron here or there, and the politics that happen all over the place being a librarian really is a pretty sweet gig when you aren’t getting yelled at or having somebody attach themselves to you and suck the life out of you for all their needs of the day (both information and otherwise). Reading on I also found an answer to another question I get asked all the time, do you think we even need librarians? Well, the US Department of Labor sure does, they say:

“However, there will continue to be a need for librarians to manage libraries and help patrons find information. Parents value the learning opportunities that libraries present for children because libraries are able to provide children with information they often cannot access from home. In addition, the increased availability of electronic information is also expected to increase the demand for librarians in research and special libraries, where patrons will need help sorting through the large amount of digital information” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, p.374).

It’s hard to describe a thing in words. I know I try it all the time, but these over simplified descriptions offer a general overview of the world of librarianship and why it’s not going away any time soon. Since I’m bored, and stuck here with this book, I’m going to pick a random page and see what I should have been instead of a librarian….. drum roll please….

Paralegals and Legal Assistants?? Um, yeah I don’t think I would last in the legal world, but they do have an 8% growth outlook. Maybe in a couple years if I’m still stuck in part time limbo I’ll reconsider. Anyways, if you are looking for a new career, or just wondering what the prospects are for your occupation I’m sure your local library has a copy. And like most things, you can also find this information online HERE.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.

The Whys

There are more people in this world that I can even feasibly imagine. There’s a number to it, it may be somewhere around 7.4 billion. Some incredibly high number that I have no idea how to conceive of wrapping my head around. As I’m typing I’m sure it’s gone up just a couple thousand. We will all have different experiences grounded in the same idea of needing love, food, shelter, and (for those of us who are lucky enough to not have to spend a substantial portion of our lives on the absolute necessities to allow our bodies to function at their most basic level) understanding of our own selves and what and who we are.

You hear that a lot you know, from these inspirational social media accounts, and jolly posters hanging on classroom and library walls, be yourself. Just be yourself, and the rest is history.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well it’s not as easy as it may sound, not one bit. There’s a lot of times in life when being “yourself” keeps you from the things you think you want, or the things you may be conditioned to want. That’s when things get weird. Well, did you really want them at all? Who is right, the voice in your heart, the voice in your head, or the voice from your stomach that reminds you, “hey we need to eat every day”.

I’m at this point. This very point where I’m not sure if me being me is a detriment to my life, or something that is going to pan out to be amazing. The only thing I can do now is examine the why of it all to keep me from downright giving up.

So why do I sit here and type words on a screen and dump them into the great wide nowhere?

Because I have to, I literally go crazy if I don’t. Writing is a very basic form of human expression. We all write don’t we, in some sense, every day. So, what’s with wanting to share it, and have people read what I write? I think it has something to do with connection, with healing. When I read things that connect with me I feel like it’s magic. I want to do that. I don’t really care if other people think it’s good or if it’s shit. I don’t care if people sit in their offices and throw every single poem I ever send to them out the window. I can’t care, it hinders me too much. Caring about it makes me want to stick my head in the dirt like an Ostrich and give up. If I can just connect to a few people that need it, that need the friend, the sage, the advice, or just to feel that there is somebody else out there. Something else out there, a similar thread. We are all of one entity, going through the same basic experiences. It’s sharing, it’s talking, it’s expression. So why do we need a formula, or a measure of success from it all? Whatever that is. Is success selling a book, is it being able to do what you love for a living, is it buying a new house, or having people pat you on the back in a room while smoking cigars saying good job old chum you did it, is it getting a degree and hanging it on your wall then paying back your student loan debt for 30 years? Please don’t ask me, because I have no idea.

I started a twitter account where I follow mainly writing accounts. Today I came across this article, and it sparked this whole (above) train of thought in me.

It discusses some new female poets who seem to be catching a lot of heat from people who think their work is too commercial, amateurish, and lacks elements of what makes other poetry “great”. It’s all opinions, conversations, and yes there can be critics. It is allowed. But it really made me think about what I do, and my own feelings of inadequacy about what I put out.

These ladies tell their own stories from their heart, in their own individual voices. I applaud that. I haven’t read any of their stuff (we have it at the public but one copy is lost and the one we have has 2 holds) but I do know that I was asked for Milk and Honey by so many young women at the public that I had to investigate to see what it was. It’s been a commercial success, and some people may think that it devalues the work. It doesn’t. It makes it more valuable. People WANT to read it, people are seeking it out, people are connecting to it, it circulates. Digital platforms and social media are changing the way that creative writing is being shared and distributed. It’s not under lock and key anymore, there are no rules, and for some people that invalidates things. I see a parallel in information that is used academically. The internet is a breeding ground for incorrect and biased information, this is my job to help people determine good information from unreliable information. There is a dark side to such accessibility and openness in publishing.  I just, personally, can’t see how it stacks up when you are dealing with creative works, or art of any form.

The article can be found at the  here

This all goes back to the WHY of it all. If the why is connection and having your true self be heard, accepted, and used for the good of others then I would say these ladies are wildly successful, and role models in fact. It encourages others to use their voices, and to spread their own truths. If the why is having your work praised by those that hold degrees from academia and have studied literature and literary analysis, then yeah, probably not as much. I don’t see how either of these whys are invalid, they are just different.

This is also where all my personal hang-ups about digital publishing appear. Am I just a tool bag with a blog? Maybe. Am I just spewing awful cringe-worthy poems out there into already abundant slush piles of literary journals that nobody probably even reads anyways? Perhaps. What about those things I self-publish, they don’t seem worthy of anything do they? Probably not to most people. I just have to stick to my WHYs and remember that they are as valid as any others.

Ask yourself why you do what you do. The answer may surprise you.


Image obtained from:

New Year, New “Me”?

I love that saying, it’s so hopeful isn’t it? However hopeful, the prospect of the transformation into a new self at the stroke of midnight, or even in the span of 365 days, is just not the reality of it.  The very saying leads me to wonder, is there ever really a new “me”, or is it just the me that was already in there? That me that you always wanted to be, always knew you could be, but for whatever reason, were not?

I knew I had to do a year end post, because I’m a creature of habit and ritual, but since I’ve been off work for the last 10 or so days there isn’t much going on in the library realm. So, on this last day of the year, why not talk about me, or you, or us (you get the picture).

There’s a lot of versions of “me” I’ve met over the last 3 decades or so. But the one that I have managed to get to today is probably my favorite one yet. In my mind it goes something like this… When I was a kid I was exactly who I was. I didn’t worry about money, or beauty, or status. I had a great imagination and I wasn’t hung up, anxious, sad, depressed or addicted. I valued play and nature, and my own sense of wildness and wonder. I didn’t question my own instincts. As we grow up we have things happen to us. Some good, some bad. It seems like what we remember most is the bad, and that each time something just sticks with us that we can’t let go of or forgive or get past we add a layer of protection to ourselves. Again, for the sake of imagination, think of putting on another shirt, or coat, as to protect ourselves from the cold of the world. After the years this can pose a pretty big problem if we don’t remove these protective layers and just keep piling them on. If they get so thick it becomes hard to tell who or what is really under all our defenses, and makes it pretty difficult to move in any direction.

The tricky thing is some people get used to living under all the layers, it’s ok to even like it because it becomes comfortable and known. Some may realize they want out but become discouraged when you can’t get the shirts off all at once but only one at a time, and give up. I think that some people, when they get to a point that they have so much on that they can’t move or breathe, decide they must take it off it, one piece at a time because they have no choice. This takes months, years, an indefinite amount of time really, counseling, substances, mistakes, falling and getting back up. I don’t know if it’s ever finished because it’s a moving target. Maybe three shirts come off, but you put one back on because something new happened and you decide you still need it. It’s demanding work, and lonely work. Only you can do it, and you can’t take anybody there with you.

These versions of me include, but are not limited to:

The me I was

The me I thought I should have been to fit in

The me that said what others needed to hear

The me that didn’t stand up for myself

The me that stopped writing

The me that started again

The me that rebelled and hit my fists against the brick wall until they bled

The me that conformed for security

The me that was angry and blamed everybody but myself

The me that was impatient and unkind

The me that learned compassion

The me that was humbled by my own limitations

The me that demanded perfection

The me that allowed myself to fail again

The me that accepted and forgave

The me that I see in my mind and feel in my heart

The me that (I think) I’m destined to be

The me that I am today, which is well on her way to the above


In honor of being “me” this New Year’s Eve. I’m going to stay in with the cat and eat an entire bag of potato chips while wearing amazing cat pajamas that a dear friend bought me for Christmas. Am I even going to watch the ball drop? Eh, probably not. All I know is this year I’ll be right where I want to be, alone with myself. In honor of being alone with myself, I scheduled an hour in a float pod tomorrow, which is something I’ve always been curious about. What better way is there to be alone with yourself other than spending an hour sealed into a small egg like contraption, floating in shallow, body temperature, salinized water. I hope like Lisa Simpson, that I turn into my cat for at least a couple of minutes. Either way exploring my own inner world has been the key to finding that “me” that’s somewhere in there. I’m intrigued to see what comes up.

Happy New Year’s everybody!!


Image obtained from:×16-xT5LMsYaNsXlZuUrOU

On exes, Christmas, and people who apparently hate earphones…

I’m sure at this point I’m not alone when I say that 2017 can just be over already. Just end, be done, leave, bye…. I’m hoping that 2018 will be a better one for everybody, and the end of this one hasn’t been so bad so that’s a good start.

It’s the last day before break here at the U and the library is a ghost town, most staff have already started the break, and I think I saw 1 person in here when I went to the bathroom just now, but he’s the brother of somebody who works here so I’m not sure if that counts. I’ll say it does, to beef up the door count. Earlier this morning I was recounting an interaction I had with a student who I thought, was being rather rude and listening to a movie full blast on his phone while at the computers where other students were trying to work.

Here’s how that went:

From my desk, which is a reasonable distance, I hear some phone stuffs. I see a kid working on the computer with his phone propped up against the side wall of the computer cubicle, he looks at the phone, then the computer screen, then the phone again. I give him the benefit of the doubt and think, OH, maybe he’s doing a tutorial in excel or something. I’ll let it go. So I do, even though it’s disturbing me, and I know as a general rule if I’m bothered then so are others. It’s on and off a bit for about 20 minutes, then I go in the back room to get some water. On my way back I pass the kid, and hear screaming from the phone, this is definitely NOT a tutorial. I look down and he’s watching a movie. A freaking movie, volume all the way up and no headphones. I stop by his station and look at the screen.

Me: “Oh, I wondered what that was. Don’t you think that’s a bit loud?” *

*My best passive aggressive, oh we don’t really monitor noise, but come ON your level of courtesy and general respect for those around you trying to work is not cool.

Kid: Blankly stares up at me with mouth open

I stand there in a silent standoff for about 15 seconds, then turn to leave, kid does not stop watching or turn down.

Could I have asserted my power more, and been like, HEY you need earphones, or turn that down? Yes, but I didn’t, and I don’t because like most introverts working in the library I hate confrontation and I just generally don’t like policing people. It blows my mind how much people just don’t generally know how to be courteous to others in shared public spaces. Earlier in the week I had a man clipping his nails and letting them fly all over the place at a table in the public. Gross. Stuff like that just riles me up more than it should, especially the newest trend of everybody just putting everything from phone conversations to their music or movies full blast on speaker in all the public places. When did we decide this was OK?

Regardless, my coworker gave me some good advice that I was able to connect to another event this week. He said just forget about it already, that kid has. Every time you talk about it or think about it you are just re-living the event and there’s no reason for that.

Hmmmm. What a sage.

This brings me to the story to something that somebody who showed up recently for me. The holidays always brings the ghosts out the woodwork and I know this, I expect it, but this one was a really old one. Begrudgingly joining Facebook so I could online date was going to bite me in the butt for sure, but I really didn’t expect it to this way. A very, very, very old demon of mine from almost 2 decades ago came up, one that I haven’t wanted to face for as long as I can remember but have been trying to take steps to work through it. Anyways, there were some messenger exchanges, which ultimately led to me giving this long (and rather unsolicited) heartfelt spiel about life and forgiveness and happiness and fatherhood and all the life things which I was proud of. It took a lot of courage for me to do. The response was like, yeah, well we were kids, I apologize too, we should talk more, etc. It looked something like this:

Me: Pouring my heart and soul out, standing up for myself finally and airing out all those old demons I’ve sat on for so damn long, while attempting to break my cycle of trying to fix tragically broken, yet beautiful men.

Him: Yeah it’s cool, same. Hey let’s grab lunch sometime if you want.

Wow. I mean I didn’t really know what to expect. I guess most people don’t know what to do when hitting up long lost exes but it made me realize that I was the only one that carried around this sordid past with him in my head. It was allll me, and I’m sure over the course of the years it’s mutated and changed like a sick game of telephone. It wasn’t the response I wanted, but it helped me finally to put everything to bed here for good which is what I really wanted in the first place. So that was it. The big face off, and it wasn’t nearly anywhere as scary as I thought it would be. We are the ones that have the power to stop reliving the past, especially the parts that hurt us. Like that big scary monster under the bed, all you have to do is tell it to go away and it does. Why? Because you are the one that imagined it in the first place.

Christmas is a season of forgiveness, and the turning of the calendar year is symbolic for new beginnings. Tell somebody that you have been at odds with you forgive them, for whatever reason, however you can. They might not even care, but it will probably make you feel a whole lot better. You might as well evict a ghost to make way for something living.


Tell em Jasper..


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It’s OVER!

This NaNoWriMo bit ends tonight!

Here’s what I learned:

It’s possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days

It feels a bit more like torturous boot camp until you get into the habit

Dear God I hope I don’t fall out of the habit

Now that I’m here I think I need to keep doing this to stay sane

Books are hard as hell to write

Students don’t want to write 50K words on top of all their other finals they have to do (not surprised)


But, I did it! I put myself up to a challenge and I did it. I hit that old word count: 50,000.

Here’s the proof…


My story has taken me some interesting places, ones that I didn’t even know I was going. I was worried I wouldn’t have anything so say, but here I am done with word count and nowhere near the end of the story. I would say maybe a little over halfway, and most of the meat hasn’t been dug into yet. But I have a promising idea of how I want to flush it out. So, what’s next with this strange little story of mine?

Next is printing it out and doing a read through this weekend. I know I’m sorry, it’s killing trees, but I need to go through it hard copy. I’m old school I suppose. Another part to this is that the story weaves through people over the course of some days, and it’s getting a little hairy lining everything up. On paper I can separate them and do them as long streams. It wasn’t necessary before, but I may have to write the second half this way, we’ll see.

Then the next part is just getting the rest out. I don’t know if I can keep up the pace of 1600 words per day, but I need to try to get something down at least every other day. I was able to put off some work goals and demands but now I may have to pay some attention to academic style writing. It will be a gear switch, but I won’t abandon my story. I hope that by my birthday (a little under four months) to have something more cohesive.

Something I didn’t realize is that you have to research a lot of things that you need to see to explain. Here’s my list so far. I need to think about melting metal, and how fires spread. I need to watch something burn. I need to talk more with the younger students (18 or so) to see how they interact with friends, how high school was for them. I need to go to Viva Madrid and watch my friend bar tend, see how she makes watermelon juice, watch her make a Spanish coffee, note the weekend crowd and takes notes on the owner. I need to learn about relationships between older men and younger women, my best friend suggested a movie and I already forgot it. But most of all I need to keep reading, observing, and ingesting words and images and keeping these characters in my head and close to me.

Another thing I plan to do is clean it up a bit and apply for some MFA fellowships, actually just one. I’m putting all my eggs in one basket and seeing if it works out. I may do more later, but for now I’m pooped, and not even sure this is a degree I want. All I’ve learned about grad degrees is that they open doors, but I may need that if I want to be “serious” about writing. Am I ever “serious” about anything? Do degrees really mean anything? All I know is I’m NOT paying for it.

I’m so tired of writing now, so this is a short one. I just wanted to brag a bit and hope that it inspires somebody, anybody, to try something they really want to do. It’s possible, anything is possible, but it’s always WORK. Well I guess that living without food or air isn’t possible, but don’t be a jerk, you get the point. Stop using your excuses and just get out there and do something that moves you forward, even if it’s a little step and nobody cares. I bet that nobody really will care, but you will, and that’s the most important care of all. I promise. It may even take you somewhere you never thought you could go.

I was so excited I wanted to celebrate, then realized that I have nobody to celebrate with and that I’m really tired anyways and just want soup. So, I made soup. *insert party horn here*

The end.

Love in the Upside Down

So you know how I mentioned I started using some online dating apps?

I quit. It kind of looked like this.


I only lasted a week and a half and I just couldn’t do it anymore. If you watch stranger things you will understand this reference (If not, sorry and you should totally go watch it). I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the “upside down” aka this odd version of reality that was kind of dark, confusing, and gave me nightmares. No really, it gave me nightmares.

So let me explain. It’s not that I make myself super accessible to the opposite sex but I’m out there in the world, and ringless. I work in two very public buildings full of all kinds of folks, I go out to bars with friends, or sometimes even solo. I attend weddings, and functions for both work and a vast network of friends from all walks of life and nobody even talks to me let alone asks me on dates. Every person who talks to me wants something, a book, an article, headphones, for me to help them edit their paper randomly at a Starbucks, you get the idea. Ok, I’m not counting the 2 or 3 weirdos that kissed my hand or slipped me their number at the public, sorry it just isn’t valid as being something worth pursuing on my end that could lead to anything.

You can imagine what it feels like to suddenly have people interested in you. Or, what they think you are or could be, or whatever. As I mentioned in my last post, is that the right kind of attention? Well, it may be the only kind we have immediate access to. I got asked a lot of questions, and the one that kept coming up was “What do you want?” I wasn’t trying to be snarky or anything but what I really wanted to say in my heart of all hearts was “To NOT meet a man online.” But that wasn’t going to get me anywhere, was it?

So I had some conversations with amazingly candid dudes that were looking for love. I appreciated the forwardness and truthfulness of it all, but at the end of the day it felt like more of a business transaction or interview, and it was not fun. Some people may have fun, I’m not knocking it for all but just saying for me there was nothing fun about it.

Let’s sift to my two actual (kind of) transactions. I talked with one guy for almost the whole time, and really it was good conversation. He seemed like a really great person, and had a good sense of humor and I kind of got all weird on him once about needing time before we met and he even talked to me after that, which was a major plus. But then, the meeting thing came up again, and I felt like maybe he didn’t really hear me the first time about needing time then said something kind weird that I thought might be one of those passive aggressive cryptic things so I just kind of cut it off there. I mean, I could have been wrong and maybe just jumped ship out of fear and my own personal issues, but I guess I’ll never know. That’s ok though I’m learning to trust my gut a bit more these days. We wished one another well and that was that.

And then, I agreed to meet up with somebody because something about them piqued my interest. Weird thing about this profile is there were 6 pictures that all seemed to look different. I actually on first instinct thought it was somebody that goes to my hot yoga on Sundays based upon one of the pictures and his description. But, who can be sure right? We made plans to meet for coffee on a Wednesday and guess who never showed? Yes, yes, my first actual step out of the box and I got stood the f* up. Ugh.

I waited 15 minutes, then took my coffee on a walk and actually was a bit relieved. I went home and thought, eh, I’ll give the app another night see if this guy actually says something about the no show. Crickets. I deleted that app, and the other one I had and have since been able to resume a semi normal but still rather lonely life. Well almost normal. After the great stand up I couldn’t shake the feeling that this guy is the same person that, two weeks ago, was half naked next to me in a room that was 105 degrees struggling through eagle, camel and locust pose right along with me. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but it was distracting and it threw off my practice. I told some people about my suspicion, and they said to check the sign in list and see if his name is on there. (From our very brief exchanges I do know his first name). I never got around to this, and honestly it seemed a bit weird to do. But this morning…

My regular yoga teacher is amazing, and she knows everybody by name, and will often talk to us in class. So when she was welcoming a certain suspiciously tall 30 something who came in late by first name I almost fell over laughing. Yep, I was right!! It’s the dude that didn’t show, unless by the biggest coincidence in the world this other guy just happens to have the same name. She said his name a couple more times during class and each time I wanted to laugh so hard I just had to hold it all in. I have no clue if he recognizes me, my bangs are back, and I have workout glasses on and horrible outfits and am covered in sweat, but he may…

I’m not mad. In fact this is one of the most hilarious and eye opening things to me about online dating and the “upside down” world. I don’t even have the idea of how I can communicate with this person and perhaps share a laugh about the whole thing. I wanted to but didn’t, what am I scared of? What if he just pretends it all never happened and I’m some crazy lady? What if I make him feel horrible? What if he tried later to hit me up and I was gone? AH! Who knows, we don’t really know one another and we don’t owe each other anything but it’s just so darn ODD. In the alternate universe of the “upside down” where neither of us ever really existed we could complement one another, make plans to meet up with the possibility and intent of seeing if we could actually have a friendly, and/or physically intimate relationship. While here in person, in flesh and the vulnerability of our sweaty yoga practice we are complete strangers. The plane we connected on disintegrated with the push of a delete button.

Online dating is a reality for so many people, and I’m sure there’s many more stories such as this one. I found some interesting stats on online dating in an article that cited a source called Statistic Brain. I’m a bit weary of the site, seeing as it has ads throughout but, the article that used it IS published in an academic journal so… anyways here’s some numbers…

According to this site, there are 54 million single people in the US. The total number of people who have tried online dating is almost 50 million. That is incredible. The online dating companies are becoming quite the lucrative business profiting about 2 billion per year collectively.

71% of the people surveyed believe in love at first sight (yes!), blonde is the most desired hair color for females at 32% followed by brown and black both at 16% (I’ll call that a half and half since those add up to 32) and guess what, 38% of women prefer “nice guys” and the top kind of preferred lady is the “modern career girl” at 42%.

(Statistic Brain, 2017)

For the full site and more info click here

Statistic Brain Research Institute. (2017, May 12 Published). Online dating. Retrieved from



I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m eight days in, one thousand words behind, and I kind of want to cry. I don’t really want to give up, but this challenge is no freaking joke. Even for somebody who likes to write and has a pretty regular journaling habit.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every November there is a semi-gimmicky writing program that urges aspiring writers to pledge to write 50,000 words in the month of November towards a novel draft. Check out the website here:

It’s totally free. You can sign up for a region, go to local meet ups and find inspiration and possibly some writing buddies. If you are doing it friend me…

LRyhs is my name, and please don’t judge me my title and synopsis are not the best, no picture either I’m basically just signed up to be buddies with the works peeps that are also writing this month.

50,000 words doesn’t sound so terrifying when you break it down its roughly 1600 words a day. Well, here’s my first word of advice…

Don’t get behind.

Just don’t please don’t it makes the whole thing too daunting. I took one day off yesterday while already 1,000 words behind. That meant today I was supposed to write 4,000 words. Which I didn’t do in fact, I only wrote about 3,000. It was easy to do though, as I had the day off and was able to hole up in a coffee shop for 3 hours mid-day, that helped. Tomorrow I’m still at the 1,000 lag plus my new 1600 for the day, and guess what, it’s almost tomorrow. Tomorrow just doesn’t stop coming in this challenge. There just comes a point in the day where your writing and attention turns to crap and you just should stop. I think I wrote a line to the effect of Lydia had large brown eyes, the gentlest eyes Nora had ever seen. This made me gag ever so slightly, and I made sure to highlight it and remind myself to go back and rework it later , and hung up my hat for the day.

That’s the thing, you can’t get in your own way here, and as much as you want to hit a number you should try at least, to not just be pumping out trite BS. I know what you are thinking, that’s not writing, that’s not creative, that’s encouraging people to just write garbage so they can hit an arbitrary number and convincing them that anybody can and should write.

Let’s look at it in a slightly less cynical light. NaNoWriMo is a great way to help people get started, to give people a glimpse into how much work the writing process is and to get them in a habit of writing daily, even when they don’t want to. Like starting a gym routine, it’s work, and unless you are some big name person, or a professional novelist this is work you are NOT getting paid for and there may be no external rewards for doing it, ever. But if you want to do it, do it, go for it. Do the work, don’t let anything stand in your way and find others who support you in this.

There are so many layers to writing a novel. The planning, research, mapping, outlining, then the actual writing. I mean the most I’ve ever written was in the 35,000-word range and not only did the writing of it take about four months, and the attempts at self-editing that followed the writing were just atrocious. There’s all kind of consistency issues, voice issues, syntax errors, jumbled grammar, notes to self I forgot to take out, so many things. Which direction was the store? What was that street name again? Do all the timelines match up and make sense? I think that I had like 3 different names for one character at some point and two different names for the same street. These are things that you don’t really think about if you’ve never done a long piece of fiction. I tried to get some pals to look at it for me, but that’s just asking way too much of somebody who already has way more important things to do than read your silly novella. But hey, you have to learn somewhere, and NaNoWriMo is a great way to do just that. To practice, to learn, and to DO something rather than just talking about it. There’s much respect in that.

The reason I committed to this one is that we are trying a pilot program at the U to see if the students are interested in something like this. We put everything together kind of last minute and it’s a bit all over the place but it hasn’t been shall we say “successful” as a program. There is a ridiculous amount of signage in the library, a display case, and a sign with upcoming events. A couple people came to the kickoff party, I wasn’t there to see it I had my job at the public that day, but so far, we have had 0 people show up to our drop-in events. I mean there’s myself, and my co-worker who showed up to write but we were staffing the events so does that count? I say yes, but only to beef up our numbers to 2. Sigh. I mean, it’s tougher in an academic library to do these kinds of programs. These students are already reading tons for their classes and working on midterms and projects and papers and all sorts of things. Maybe asking them to write in this crazy boot camp style just isn’t appealing to them. I thought that maybe we would have a taker or two, but not so far. Oh well, we learned and maybe there will be a next time, maybe not. I suppose the month is only about 1/3 over and anything can happen.

The struggle is real, but so are dreams and goals. There’s leg work, work and work, and more work. There’s mistakes, rejections, doubts, and breakthroughs. I think the trick here may be enjoying the journey, allowing yourself to be a beginner, and having fun while you are at it. I’ll keep you updated on the progress, god bless it if I finish I’m going to throw myself a party. Honestly, a party, even if it’s just me that shows up. I’ll invite the cat, who knows maybe he’ll wake up.

Wait, I just wrote my 1000 words. So what if it wasn’t part of the story, I’m giving myself the W for today.

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