Dream Job Daydreaming..

I got a pretty amazing text today from a friend tell me that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is hiring for a librarian. Holy mother of pearl. I got that text, and within two hours whipped up a new cover, tweaked the old res and send in the application. When you see something like this you jump on it, I can only imagine that everybody in the known universe is going to be applying for this one.

I think that often people have a narrow view of librarianship and what kind of jobs you can find in the field. There are libraries everywhere, at zoos, botanic gardens, museums, churches, schools, pharmaceutical companies, big businesses, historical societies, and the list can go on and on and on and on. It is always to the dream to meld all your passions into one gigantic ball and make enough money to live at the same time, and this, well this would be astronomically cool.

I do live right here in reality. I understand that I’m just starting out, and applying to something like this is pretty much a shot in the dark, but you know, if you don’t put your name out there how will you ever know.

The museum has a library and archives that is accessible by advance appointment only.

They have a really cool tutorial on how to navigate the online searching and finding all the things. If you scroll down on the research guide you can even search particular artists, a Bruce Springsteen subject guide, I’m dorking out, but if you love music, and you have a second, poke around at these, its fun.

They have archival collections, but the material is only available in person. They don’t appear to have any digital collections, which is bumming me out a little because I’m of the computer age and want instant gratification. I get it though, with items and memorabilia of this kind, it could easily taken off the internet and  be used without permission commercially, so a digital collection doesn’t seem suited for a library like this. Just another example of how different kinds of collections and their accessibility is defined by the library and the items it holds.

So far I’ve worked public library, academic library, and special interest library, academic archives and special collections, but I have yet to step foot into thinking about music librarianship. I wouldn’t say that the RRHOF library IS strictly a music library because it has normal library materials and archival items as well as sound recordings, but there are places that just strictly catalog and keep collections of music. The difference between this library and a normal one is that it’s all treated like one big special collections unit based around the subject of music and music history, I’m pretty sure none of the items circulate.

OH my god they have handwritten Erasure set lists, ok ok, see it’s a rabbit hole I can search all day. Even if I don’t get this job, I would like to at least add this to the very very long lists of libraries that I need to visit before I die.

Re-branding or Evolution?

Like everybody else in the known universe right now I am watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. I read the book (actually reviewed it here) about a year ago and thought it was great, so I was really excited to check out what they did with the series. I won’t laundry list the differences between the book and series, (most of which I don’t agree with but hey, that’s what Hollywood does) except one that really kind of got to me on a personal level.

I just watched the episode where Hannah joins the poetry group at the local library. How does she find out about this poetry group? Well, a young, hipster, male librarian wearing a scarf in her school’s gymnasium tells her about it. What? He wasn’t anywhere in the book? Anyhow, he gives this speech about how people stereotype librarians to be these small, gray haired old ladies and that it’s not really how it is anymore, that the profession was “re-branding” itself.

My first instinct was to get annoyed. Very annoyed, but only because it hit so close to home. Maybe it’s one of those things where you buy a blue car and start seeing blue cars everywhere but I have been seeing a lot more of librarians mentioned in the media. First of all that weird show where they time travel what the heck is that all about? Then there was some crack about librarians and the way they look when I was watching season 2 of crazy ex-girlfriend, and now this. The more I thought about it though, the less annoyed I actually got, realizing that I did in fact fit quite well into this new “re-branded” type of librarian.

The use of the word “re-branding” is actually where I felt the rub, it’s such a big term used in business , and I don’t like the thought of being part of a brand or contributing to one. If you do a quick google of library AND re-branding you are going to get quite a bit of info, it appears to be a hot topic these days. The way I feel about it all is that libraries should be anti-corporate and independent of politics such as making money, or selling themselves. I know that patrons are the reason that we get funded, I get that we should be offering more technological services and provide the public (or students) with further reaching services but don’t call it re-branding, call it evolving. We aren’t selling ourselves, we are adapting and expanding to public needs in order to serve our communities and patron bases.

That’s only addressing the library, not the librarians themselves. Now it seems we have jumped from one stereotype of the library worker to another. One of a grey and aging woman behind the reference desk filing and shushing people to one where a hip young person dashes around the library brimming with poetic fervor while being tech savvy and fashion forward all at the same time. It’s not a bad thing, but again, I feel it’s more of a natural evolution in terms of what kind of personalities are drawn to working in libraries. What are the goals, aspirations and strengths of this new generation of librarians and how can they bring these skills to the table to help serve their patrons? Well, it’s just a natural transition if you think about it, old ways phasing out to be more in tune with the new. It’s not that one generation is better than the previous, it’s just that things have changed and change is constant, especially with technology being so heavily relied on as a part of our everyday lives. I work with many different generations of librarians at both jobs, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses in the field which allow us to learn from one another and grow together as a team towards a common goal. I love those white haired older ladies that were doing this before there was even the internet, and I love my 20 something’s in the makerspaces who I swear have brains that are half computer. We are diverse crowd serving a diverse crowd, and I like it that way, without grouping us all into a “brand”.

In my short searching around I found a movie that we have streaming through the U called: The Hollywood Librarian: A look at Librarians through film. I have a plan to watch it this week, and I’ll give my review sometime soon. It’s from 2009, a bit older than I’d like, but I’m sure still has some pretty interesting insight.

this party is to fire!

Being a weekend lady here at the U I miss most of the action of the week. Sure, there’s still students here on the weekends, but it’s busiest Monday Through Wednesday, tapers off Thursday, Friday is dead, Saturday is hit or miss being either super slow or super busy, and we pick back up Sunday for all those trying to get their homework ready for the week. I usually come in Thursday morning, make my rounds and ask people what I missed.

This morning I was in for a treat. The daytime circulation supervisor had a story for me. He was sitting at his desk, which is behind windows and a sliding door that is usually open, meaning that it’s pretty out of the way and most people don’t go back there unless they are an employee or affiliated with the library in some way. He’s sitting at his desk, when a student approaches him and introduces himself. Then, the student who looks like he may or may not belong to a fraternity hands him a flyer for a party. I guess you may be wondering, well what the hell is so funny about this? 1) If you knew library people you would know that we probably don’t look like we want to party, especially when we are like 10 years older than the students so the fact that he purposely singled out my co-worker and went out of his way to give him this flyer is just weird 2) You have to wait until you hear the hype written on the front of the flyer, It’s so good that I couldn’t make it up if I wanted to.

Here is the flyer itself, it appears to be a concert show:

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The first band is named Victor Hugo (library points for that one ONLY). Right below the info is this blurb, I will write it here exactly as it is on the flyer:

Your gonna party so hard

your dancing and your mind

will explode on fire you’l try to call

200 firefighters to extinguish the flames

but no can will be able to

extinguish the heat because this party is to fire!

 

200 firefighters can’t even put out the flames after your dancing and mind explode from the party? Wow. That’s amazing. I think I may have to go and check this one out! I just want to kind of see dancing exploding all over the place, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed that before. Just have to be careful because no can will be able to put out those flames, maybe if you called 300 firefighters?

OH College. I’m going to be laughing about this one alllll week.

Ponzee and Pop-paap

Today my co-worker brought in a super cool XP-pen digital drawing tablet that he let me play with. I think he got it for like 20 bucks on amazon, or something to that effect. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after I got the hang of it, it became pretty darn fun. I’m not much of an artist really, but just playing around with it gave me something to do on this super slow Sunday.

Here’s our first creation. Ponzee and Pop-paap. As you can see Ponzee is a Panda, and Pop-paap is a kind and pretty Popsicle. It’s a collaboration piece, I did the panda, he did the pop.

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Playing with this thing has re-inspired me to write a children’s book. So I did. A super rough 6 pager called The Black Hole in the Library. Here it is, my first crack at it.

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Well that’s pretty much it. I did ask him to bring it in next week, so maybe I can do another installment. A series perhaps of library mishaps. I suppose it could always end in them closing the library for safety reasons, I don’t know why I find that so entertaining.

Cats and Buttered Toast

One of my best friends is having a baby shower early June, and in a clever twist, her sister in law has asked guests to bring a book for the baby instead of a card. OH, how perfect is this request. Build the little one a library with personalized messages from the ones who will love him and watch him grow. BOOKS, just books, I love it all.

Whenever I go to a kid’s party I’m that lady that brings books. I don’t buy toys, or clothes, or anything like that I bring books. If it’s a baby shower, sometimes I bring my go to Read Along Handbook by Jim Trelease –  as a part of the gift in an attempt to guilt the mother into reading to her child. Really, it’s just generally handy for book suggestions.  For kid’s birthdays its books, books and more books. The public has an awesome friends of the library where you can find, odd, offbeat, marvelous children’s books for .50 cents to a dollar. There’s really nothing like watching your friends and/or acquaintances open your gift to find such original treasures. I’m sure most kids would rather have a princess dress, or skateboard or something much cooler. If this is the case, then don’t invite me to your kids parties because they are only getting 5$ of strange literature out of me. So there. Am I being rebellious? Maybe a little, but I think the consumerism, especially for kids, is way out of control these days.

So what did I find today in the Friends?

A picture book called Mac Side Up by Bob Elsdale. I got it mainly because it has a cat wearing a backwards hat on a piece of toast on the cover, but as I read it gets better.

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The whole book is a play on the buttered toast always lands butter side down and cat always lands on its feet thing that was so popular like 15 years ago, you know, that thing.

Anyways. This cool cat decides that he is going to see what happens if he straps a piece of buttered toast with the butter side up to his back. With the help of his radical ferret friend (who wears sunglasses) he embarks on a stunt to try to get to the bottom of this hypothesis. Which is stronger, the fact that the cat always lands on his feet, or the thought that buttered toast always lands side down??? Well if you want to know, you will have to find a copy of this god knows where. I will give you a spoiler though, in the end, I think that felines may prevail.

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**Also at the end of this book there is a two page explanation of how there were no animals harmed in the making of this book, and how they position the model animals and surrounding images so that they are in no way distressed in the process (YES!)**

Back in the library saddle..

I’m back from vacation!!! YES. It was wonderful and relaxing and everything that I hoped it would be. 9 whole days away from, well, library patrons. I was thinking before I left about the fact that I spent probably 70% of my waking life in libraries these days, it was nice to get back to nature and get away.

I will mention that I only visited TWO libraries on this trip. Monterey Public and Berkeley Public (I would have went to UC Berkeley’s but it was Easter Sunday and it was closed). They were both pretty cool, but the highlight was definitely Berkeley’s 5th floor, the music and art floor, where they had a large and well-conditioned vinyl collection that you could check out. YES, that you could check out. I had never seen that before, so it was a cool sight. As a plus we missed the civil disturbance up there by a day, there were still some trouble makers in the park downtown wearing all black and hoods and waiting for somebody to start something, but nobody did. We got some sour beers, and Ike’s love and sandwiches and were on our way unscathed.

It’s my second day back to reality, and I started my week here at the public. Having a fresh start has made me ultimately less impatient with people and things, which is good. Right now I’m in the tech center, observing the two bodies that are in here while I type away. Uneventful is good, right? In the public sector, yes, I would have to say so.

There are a couple of things I promised myself I would do after I got back from this trip. One of them was that I need to spend more time out in nature. I spent a day in Yosemite and it was so amazing that it literally brought me to tears. I wept just looking at the rivers, falls, and mountains. I also got a breathtaking cottage out in the forest where I just got to sit and hang out with the trees and frogs and bears (the latter of which I never did actually see). Then as a last stop, Lake Tahoe. That blue green water, pine trees that stretch up to the sky, and 5 foot snowbanks left on the street where our cabin was. It was a rough winter up there, but they really needed it. In a promise to myself to stay more in tune with nature in the middle of a city, I bought an annual pass to the botanic gardens up the street from my house. It’s not quite the move to the remote log cabin in the forest I’ve been dreaming of, but it’s a start.

Here’s the best panorama I took at Emerald Bay:

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I did return from my trip with a minor disappointment today. Some poems I sent out to get published were, gratefully and kindly deemed “not fit” for the publication. The road of writing I’m sure is paved with all sorts of rejections and try agains, and thanks but no thanks. It’s a building process I know it, but today it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would (I can actually FEEL my skin getting thicker). This is such a good thing, as I didn’t really know what to expect as a first try. It feels good that one small no isn’t the end of my world. I get kind of caught up in the rejections I butt up against, you know, job searching, relationships, friendships, etc. The fact of the matter is that these happen to everybody, we all have these walls to climb over and well sometimes you just don’t make it and there really is nothing else to do but try. Especially when it’s for a good cause, AKA something you love to do. Maybe everybody already realized this and I’m just last to the party. Anyhow, glad to be back, and working again. Let’s see what kind of library craziness comes my way this month. Finals are coming up, and we always seem to get some stories around here with the crowded study tables and all-nighters at the U. As I type this a drunk patron (one of my regulars in the tech center) walked in and asked me how to spell Mormon, he is yelling as he doesn’t have good hearing, he types the spelling into a text on his flip phone, then leaves my desk to sit down and log into the computer in the front row. Now, we will have to do the 30 minute long song and dance where he can’t remember his yahoo password for the 1,243rd time. But, he means well bless his soul, and we’ve been here before. Wish me luck.

Time..is..on my side

Today is day 8 on the current work streak, I feel like I’m losing it a bit. We are closed here at the U for Easter Weekend (Good Friday) included, and I am going on vacay for the next 10 days. I’m super stoked. I’m super excited, but excitement for me, leads to nervous energy, leads to bouts of anxiety.

I suffered a big one last night, and have a major emotional hangover today. Anxiety like this, to me, feels like going down a long staircase. You miss a step, and fumble a bit, grab the railing and gain your bearings. You think to yourself, good job self that was a close one. In congratulating yourself you miss another step, but this time, despite your best efforts grabbing out at the railing and thin air, you find nothing. You fail to regain your footing and start to tumble down and down and down, until finally you hit a hard numb floor which is the root of all your fears and obsessions. The top of the staircase is just the normal everyday things, like not being able to find rain boots. This is where it starts. Each step below the seemingly small problem goes deeper and deeper down into your psyche where all these demons live. I’m pressured, I have no time, I’m tired, this never ends, I grind my teeth in my sleep, I’m going to die alone, loans, bills, shitty job market, rejection, toil, my car windows don’t roll down anymore, will anybody ever love me, is the cat going to die, and finally, the best one:  What the fuck is wrong with me and how do I stop it? It escalates pretty quickly.

Well, I don’t know the answer to all of these questions, or how to stop worrying over everything. I think it all boils down, for me, to a couple of things; the need to have control over situations, and the lack of feeling safe. It’s not a panic attack, more like an anxious spell. Where, when presented with a small problem, that I am very capable of fixing, I become useless and freak out.  A big part of me sees that I am blowing things WAY out of proportion, but another part of me just isn’t able to stop it.

I found some stats on anxiety from the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a big problem, and for anybody that has experienced it knows that it can be rather debilitating. The thing I found the most interesting was that the average age of onset was 31.

Here is the Fact Sheet if you are interested.

Here’s what I did to console myself last night. I ate dinner with a tiny fork and spoon that I stole from various brunches, binge watched friends, ate half a box of almond cookies that my bestie let me take from her house, put on a lavender face mask, and listened to Enya. Yes. Enya.

I’m a good meditator, and like to do it. But it just wasn’t happening last night. I just kept thinking who is this lady? So I started researching Enya and her life. She’s sold over 60 million records, never toured once, and takes around 7 years to make each album and lives in a castle in Ireland. She’s super private with her personal life and never married and never had kids. She’s one of the best-selling artists ever from Ireland, and the most popular artist in the new age genre. What an enigma of a lady. You know you’ve heard her songs before, in commercials, movies, just around. I put on her greatest hits and the first one was Only Time. I think I listened to it 4 or 5 times. It’s simple; time is the only thing that knows what’s going to happen. That’s it. Not you, human. Anxiety is a lot like living in all kinds of doomed predictions and frantic what ifs. All I’ve learned from life is that I have no idea what is going to happen next, I can take a guess every now and then, but usually I never see what is coming.  I’m trying to remember this Enya soaked lesson when I have my spells, the subject of time. I always thought it was my enemy but really, I think it might be a pretty good friend.

Also, if you have a minute, here’s that video (over 60 million views I guess people have caught on before me), it just might be impossible to not have it calm you down just a little:

 

Vacation pics to follow. HOORAY!

National Institute of Mental Health. (2017). Generalized Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. Retrieved from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/generalized-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml

Westward HO!

This year the U received a rather large donation of California History books that I have been cataloging over the last couple months, and the other day I came across one that wasn’t already In the OCLC system, meaning that it’s rather obscure.

It’s a book yes, but more of a self-published kind of book. Like let’s type something up with raw sketches and go down to Kinko’s or some small printing press to have it photocopied and bound with one of those annoying plastic spine things. I love this though. Today we have blogs, such as this one, and Kindle Direct Publishing where you just simply upload a book to the interwebs and it’s done and out there. Thirty years ago it took a little more work than that, but it didn’t stop people. Which goes to show you if you think that what you are putting out is important enough you will do it.

This particular “book” is called: An Authentic Wagon Trail Journal of 1853: From Indiana to California which is essentially the diary of William Richard Brown that was typed up (including grammatical and spelling errors for authenticity) and published in 1985 by his granddaughter Barbara Wills, who also signed the cover page WOOT!

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The best thing on earth to do with these kinds of things is read them out loud with your partners at the ref desk in old tyme voices which I did a little bit yesterday, and ended up becoming the inspiration for this post. The entries are wonderfully short and to the point. I gathered some excerpts from my favorite passages:

March 28, 1853

…Towards evening we came in contact with four drunken Irishmen. They wanted to fight. We got out of our waggon’s and made them take water. We were met by Capt. Meek about six miles from the railroad city who had come out a horse back to meet us. We put up for the night at Ryneld’s Hotel, 3 miles from Indianapolis. Ham and eggs for supper. Weather cool and cloudy. Distance traveled 18 miles.

May 4, 1853

…Still raining hard, half soaked and our whiskey nearly out. Crossed the river without much trouble and encamped on its banks in company with 6 other wagons…

May 12, 1853

Left at 9 oc, traveled over more rolling prairie wagons behind and before us. Weather clear and warm. Had a fine dance after night. Made a distance of 14 miles.

May 29, 1853

It rained very hard all night and give us a complete ducking. We rose and it was still raining. Took a cold bite for breakfast…

And in the end, it really doesn’t say much about if he got to where he was going. So, it’s kind of anticlimactic. There is another random entry that was written on the back of the diary, assumedly after the fact:

We all look dirty and sun burnt and really feel ashamed of our appearances.

When dealing with History primary sources like diaries are so interesting to me. First of all the way they talk. The things they think are important. Obviously a good stock of whiskey was especially important to this waggoneer. He also talks a lot about suppers, mainly ham and eggs, or cakes of some sort. There is a lot of violin music and dancing after dark. Actually, despite the Indians and the lack of running water this whole thing doesn’t really sound so bad.

I think a lot about the Gold Rush, and western expansion in the United States when I do the cataloging because many of the books are about this time in our history. Could you imagine it? Tomorrow your best friend is like… Hey, there’s this whole other side of the country that we just found out about, and if we can get there slowly, with all our possessions and families in wagons then we can be rich by digging stuff out of the earth. But, I forgot to mention the road is barely charted, and there’s a bunch of indigenous people that may be friendly or murderous, and all sorts of terrain and livestock challenges. There is no cell service there, and no turning back once we start, you will have to sell your home and anything else you don’t need, but hey it will be one heck of a ride and maybe we will get rich. Are you in? These people were brave as hell and I salute them.

Another thing it also reminds me of is my favorite computer lab game in elementary school. Oregon Trail….

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It was so realistic, it gave you and/or your family members some rough outcomes. I always broke a leg or ended up with dysentery or whatever.

Either way, throughout history we have relied on brave people, “trailblazers” and such to lead us into the next stage in humanity. It’s interesting to get a peek inside the heads of these people only to see that they liked whiskey, dancing, and food just as much as the rest of us. We may think we are so much more advanced than people from the past, but are we really? We are probably more similar than we think.

 

Brown, W. (1985). An Authentic Wagon Trail Journal: from Indiana to California. Mokelumne Hill, CA; Horseshoe Printing.

Picture credit: http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/oregon-trail/screenshots/gameShotId,3587/

Another trip around the Sun..

I just got through with birthday week, and all I want to do is sleep for about 2 days straight. I love that I have so many people in my life that want to celebrate with me, and take me out, and do things for me, it’s amazing and I’m so grateful for it all. But I’m old now, and nothing proves that to me more than going out night after night for about a week capped off by the twelve hours I spent at Disneyland yesterday. If you want to remember how old you are, just do that for a day then see how you feel 10 miles and hours of line standing later. It was worth it to be exhausted today, it was a great time. Even with all the people in the park Disney just does such a good job of making you feel like you are in an entirely different world, which I think we all need every now and again. They certainly don’t call it the Magic Kingdom for nothing, but I’m sure some people would argue with that.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I always feel a twinge of sadness around my birthdays. It could be a couple of things, that old nagging feeling that another year has gone by and you aren’t exactly where you thought you would be by now, the fact that you are one year closer to death, or maybe your expectations for how the day would roll out didn’t exactly live up to your standards, somebody important to you forgot about it, or you just realize that as you get older that it’s just really another day that marks the passage of this construct we call “time”. A year, another trip on this planet making a rotation around a gigantic ball of gas.

With all this brewing my dear friend recommended a book to me to read as a good and easy “birthday read”. It’s The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. Now, I’ve heard about this book before. It’s some kind of new agey, connect with the universe, life quest, you are where you need to be type deal. I get asked for this book quite a bit at the public, and we have about 5 copies in storage meaning that it circulates a lot. I grabbed one, to see what it was all about. I took it into tech with me and started reading on a Tuesday night around 7. I read the whole last hour of work, then when I got home until about midnight, when I just couldn’t read anymore and I was nearly done with the book. I finished it up the next morning, making it probably close to about a three and a half to four hour read.

I really enjoyed the story, it was simple, it wasn’t filled with all the good things there was some plot and some hardships. It was realistic (for the most part) and relatable, and showed how life isn’t necessarily what you thought it would be, but it is what it is supposed to be. The main “hero” of the story meets some interesting life guides along the way and runs into his fair share of obstacles and epiphanies, but naturally these lead him to end up in a better place than he probably could have ever imagined himself. It’s easy. There is just one thing in life and that is to find your purpose and follow it, the rest just happens. I connected with it pretty hard, but even if you don’t it’s an easy read, and entertaining.

Here is a link to the reviews and book info on goodreads, just a quick glance shows that a lot of people didn’t really care for it at all, mostly people who thought it was drivel, or just self-help BS. Jesus, people have a lot of hate for this one. But, you know, sometimes it’s good to just read things for yourself, and if you check it out from the library you aren’t losing anything really, except a bit of time. I actually bought a copy to gift to one of my favorite student workers who is graduating, so hopefully he doesn’t think it’s as bad as those reviews and not want to be my friend anymore.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/865.The_Alchemist

While I’m on the topic of out there spacey kind of new age books you would find at some sort of vegan coffeehouse in LA, here’s another super cute one I just finished (mostly illustrations) and plan on re-gifting to a friend:

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Sakugawa is an amazing artist/author from California who also blogs about health and wellness on top of her comics and books. I’m so glad I stumbled upon her, and plan to keep on following what she does, here’s her site if you want to check her out. You should.

http://www.yumisakugawa.com/

A Bee in One’s Bonnet

It’s Friday, it’s spring break. Not much happening around these parts today, and there hasn’t been since Wednesday. I a lot of copy cataloging done for the special collections, and worked with the archivist to clean up our digital collections landing page. I almost blew the building up yesterday trying to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator which was interesting. But, I got by with a little help from my friends, and ended up making a pretty cool new header for our online stuff. All was not lost, but today it’s hard to feel motivated. Cataloging is fun, but it’s an ongoing job, it’s never going to be finished. Sometimes that gets me down. I’m never going to get through all the piles, it’s impossible there’s always more books, more information. I guess in another way that makes me happy that the flow of information, knowledge and entertainment is so abundant.

The upside of all this weeks working is that I have a weekend off. What? A whole weekend? A Saturday AND Sunday like the rest of them? Yes. So I’m here doing my roulette early and to wish everybody a happy St. Patty’s Day. Since the weather in So Cal has been so nice, I decided to celebrate a little early last night, and go drink beers on outside patios. This could be what is contributing to my overall resistance to be enthusiastic this morning, but I think I will start to perk up in an hour or so. I have given myself the assignment of finishing my coffee and drinking a gigantic bottle of electrolyte water by the time 11:30 rolls around, it’s doable.

As I was grumping along towards my office this morning, I found a book that jumped out at me ever so sarcastically from the reference shelf. It’s called: Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries: And Other Delicious Sayings by Anne Beltran.

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Here’s the sayings I opened up to today:

The proof is in the pudding. You cannot be sure that you have succeeded until you examine the result of your efforts.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. People often mean well but do bad things. (Can be a strong rebuke implying the person you are addressing did something bad and his or her good intentions do not matter).

The rotten apple spoils the barrel. A bad person influences everyone he or she comes into contact with, making them bad too. (Also the cliché a rotten apple, a person who is corrupting others.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. People cannot do what they know they ought to do; people are not always physically capable of doing what they are willing to do. (Biblical).

(Beltran, 1997, p. 206-7)

What are these sayings really? Advice, warnings, and casual conversational phrases we use to describe situations that we all face in life? There is something about saying things in such a way that resonates with us. As humans, we don’t always point blank say what we mean, and I think the reason is that the story or real life example that we attach to it may help us understand the lesson that the words are trying to say to us on a deeper level. For me, it’s something in the visualization of it, and how I relate it to things I’ve known in my various experiences. I actually really like the proof is in the pudding and use it quite often even though it may be a little antiquated. I don’t eat pudding on the regular, nor do I think making it is some enormous feat that would warrant a sense of accomplishment that you indeed could do something amazing as mixing water with some powder and letting it sit in the bowl in the fridge for two hours. But it makes sense to me. Like hey, you can say all this crap, and act like the actions you are taking mean something, but the results are what really matters. The results are where the truth lies. So stop talking about it and be about it, make sure your pudding is full of proof.

Of course the road to hell one is pretty common too. It reminds us that “intention” is not really what matters, it’s where the deed or action ends up that makes the difference. Like the time I meant to save a bee that was trapped in my house, but ended up ripping off one of his legs, and probably ultimately being the cause of his death in the process. I wanted to get him outside and back to his happy bee life, but I really was the major contributing factor in his death (I still feel guilty about it months later). But does the fact that I MEANT to help matter, nope? The bee is still dead.

Sorry bee, I really am.

So what’s your favorite saying? Is there one that you use often, just one that comes to mind that makes you laugh or reminds you of a situation you are facing in your life? Say it to somebody today, see if they understand what the heck you mean by it.

Bertram, A. (1997). Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries: And Other Delicious Sayings. Lincolnwood, IL; NTC Publishing Group.