The Cat is having a very special day today!

She has come a long way through the past year:

Right after her last birthday, she was underweight but still feisty.

In November, her fluffy kitty belly was making its first appearance in a long while.

Shortly before Christmas, we took a long walk down memory lane all the way to her first Christmas.

In January, she found a super-convenient spot to nap.  (For her--not for me!)

And in between all that, she lost her hearing and took up singing at 4 in the morning on the kitchen counter!

For her birthday today, she. . .

Watched an e-card from Mom

Took (another) nap

Let me get her a drink at the local watering hole

Savored the Early Bird (chicken) Special Dinner

Enjoyed an after-dinner cocktail

Figured she was ready for bed

Turned in for the late afternoon

Declared, "No such thing as too many naps!"

Happy birthday to my sweet, fluffy, little-old-lady-in-a-fur-coat roommate!



Nursing a Chocolate Hangover, of Sorts

Still processing everything that happened last week, with the leadership program and- well, something else.

But here's what I do know:

1.  Roomie situation that I was dreading turned out to be awesome.  She even bought me wine before dinner one night (and hotel bars are seriously overpriced, I learned as well).  We have a common love of decent coffee so I returned the favor in the a.m.  Her school isn't far from my home so hopefully we can get together in the future.

2. Actually, pretty much everyone at the program was awesome.  We had some of the smartest, most experienced coaches and mentors there are in our organization (if not the entire field).  On top of that, we all had been selected out of a sizable pool of applicants, so it just felt as if I were sitting in a room of people with a common passion, and smarts.  Refreshing.  My team's coach wrote each of us personal notes and on mine she said she saw my confidence.  Blew my mind.

3. Overall, I really like the regional team in which I've been placed.  I did have one minor incident with a teammate--but then again, the person seems to be an unintentional offender in general, as a few other teammates sympathized, not to mention we were under a lot of pressure to produce a project in a short amount of time.  Late nights after long days don't agree with me.

4. Hershey takes their brand and their candy seriously.  Our rooms were in the Hershey's Kisses Tower.  "Chocolate-themed decor"?  They weren't kidding!  We slept on sheets embroidered with Kisses, looked over from our beds to the candy-wrappers-underwater photography on the walls, and used a bathroom wallpapered with Kisses-printed paper.  They hand you chocolate when you check in, and put candy on the tables in the meeting rooms.  I partook of none--I didn't need allergy problems on top of not sleeping well--but for the most part was served well at dinner and lunch.  Sometimes I got a better dish than what everyone else had.  But, you know, with fruit for dessert and not peanut butter cup pie.  Darn.

5. I learned a couple of new technology things in addition to all the other stuff, and I also had to be honest with myself that I need to figure out Skype and GooglePlus hangouts if I want to keep up.  The only people I knew who used Skype when I was in library school were people with relatives on the other side of the world, and GooglePlus wasn't a thing yet.  Still not quite convinced it is.

6. Even though The Cat hissed at Mom (or stared at her, telepathically willing her to leave), for the most part The Cat was O.K. with my being away.  Maybe her memory is so bad she just thought I was taking a long time to get home from work.  She did seem really tired the night I got home, so maybe that last night without me was kind of bad.  Actually, I myself didn't feel terrific coming back--run-down and feverish--but the next day I worked at the public library, and on the weekend did more rearranging/de-cluttering at home with Mom's help, and did the big feast day thing at church yesterday.  On to the next things.

7. The next things are (A) Someone has a birthday tomorrow and it's not me, and (B) Possibly good career thing on Wednesday that needs prayers and positive thoughts.

And how were your respective weekends?



My Life, June to Now

I've been collecting a bunch of small things in order to make one interesting post.  So, what have I been up to?

  • End of school year: Everybody passed (my class, anyway), nobody died during Field Day (and I didn't have to keep anyone out for not returning books/paying overdues--it's the only consequence that motivates, sadly), as of right now I still have the same job, and there are at least two positions that need filling because people retired/moved up.  We said goodbye to a number of families who are transferring; the student body is going to look and feel different come September.
  • Summer Camp: I taught two weeks right after school ended.  Just two kids the first week for typing which was not bad because they were nice girls and loved the "reward" of playing on the library workroom's semi-antique typewriter.  The second week was a little crazy because there were seven girls, some on the way young side who got a bit whiny, but I think they had fun learning about American Girls-related history and doing crafts.  They got hooked on playing Puss in the Corner once they learned it.  Eh, gave me some extra money to get through the summer.
  • End of Summer Camp: Well, the day before camp ended, right after I'd left for the afternoon, the library's A/C unit leaked out and died at the back of the library, ruining the ceiling to boot.  (Books fortunately were spared.)  I tried my best to ignore it as I conducted the last day of camp in the front of the library.  I plan to go back and check on things later this month and I hope it all has been fixed. (Please, Lord, let it have been fixed. Properly.)
  • Vacation: I took a bit of vacation after camp ended: read books, did doctor's appointments, slept in, tried fixing up the place (it's getting there).  Picked up several substitute shifts on the Reference Desk at my public library side job.  I also did the Fast Metabolism Diet, which wasn't always easy but not too terrible.  I cooked a lot, which was fine because I had time to do it.  And I'm down about 10 pounds and I just feel leaner.  Zipping pants I haven't been able to wear in a while, but not back to my ideal healthy weight.  I'll go back on it again when I get back from Leadership Program.
  • Family: A couple of weeks ago, Younger Sister came to visit, and she picked her wedding dress!  I definitely will have more to say about that over on the SOSOB blog, and now I have the full details of how she lost and found her engagement ring, so I can tell that story, too.  She and Mom also helped me fill out a profile for online dating.  Don't get excited--so far, the average age of men looking at my profile is late 50s.  I've already gotten my first encounter with a dipstick out of the way, too, so. . .  not looking too promising just yet and PLEASE GOD WHY CAN'T I MEET SOMEBODY NICE AND NORMAL IRL?  Ahem.  Well, I tell myself Summer is a stupid time for dating and Fall will be better.
  • Leadership Program: Remember this news from oh-so-long ago?  After I post this, I have to go pack because I'm leaving tomorrow after early Mass.  Headed out to Hershey (yup, the Sweetest Place on Earth of which I can't partake thanks to milk allergies) for four days, to do what looks like "Leadership Boot Camp" on paper, but probably will be a fun and educational challenge.  I'm nervous about all the new people, not to mention nervous about leaving The Cat (who will be looked after by Mom), but kind of looking forward to it.  I think it's going to give me the direction I've been praying for the past year, possibly more.

So, posting might or might not be light--who knows, it might be a nice "sanity break" to talk to people outside of the training.  There will be internet access, and I do hope to respond to comments--I might wait until I get home at the end of the week to do a new post--and possibly you might see a tweet or twelve.  (Pretty sure you can look me up by my email address, but if not, drop me an email and I'll give you my Twitter handle.)  See you soon!



Finally Sitting Down to Post

(This post is linked into the Not Alone series whose topic appropriately is Social Media this week!)

Hi there.

I finally got my head together and have the mental energy and coherent thought-power to compose a real post.

Seriously, it was not looking good this past month--and currently I am in the throes of end-of-school-year absurdity (including a hilarious story about the summer reading list which I'll save for the end)--and I received my sign to slow down and take care of myself.

I got a ticket.  Not for doing anything bad, as I am a cautious driver, but I actually was spooked by the "cop trap" I passed on my (not usual) way home after forcing my exhausted self to go to the gym.  So I panicked and didn't stop long enough at the stop sign for the officer's liking.  Fine.  I know everyone says to fight it but I just do not have the time and energy to spend anticipating and going to a hearing which with my luck would be scheduled for the only time in July I'm out of town.  I had a paycheck coming from my side job at the public library for just over that amount, so I paid it.

And then slowed everything down.

First, I have been spending more time with my new mattress (love it! It's NOT crazy to buy one from a shopping channel!) and find I am waking up less in the middle of the night.  There also was the blessing of my upstairs neighbor's moving out mid-month, which gave me permission to ignore The Cat's meowing if it occurs before 4 a.m.  There's no need to quiet her if there's nobody disturbed, aside from me.

Of course, this getting-a-little-more-sleep thing meant I wasn't reading your blogs, either, so I'm VERY SORRY and I will be able to catch up as my schedule eases up in the next couple of weeks.

I have seen a few of you on Twitter--microblogging has been about all I've been up for lately--so if there's any reader who's on Twitter but not followed by me, let me know what your handle is.  I'm not doing any personal updates on Facebook other than the occasional book or cat story.  However, I am looking forward to posting a "Last Day of School! Woo hoo!" update at the end of this week.

Overall, I'm choosing to do things that are good for me.

One of those things was to "friend" a couple of classmates from college (my first college).  They're both married, have kids, but I didn't keep in touch.  Right after college, I saw them get married and have their first kids and just felt myself fall farther and farther behind in terms of life's milestones.  Even when I sent friend requests to them, they were like, "Oh, you finally joined!"  Actually, I'd been on for over a year, and it felt like a backhanded compliment.

Yeah, sometimes Facebook doesn't help with the self-judgment.  I see things happening in other people's lives are that sooo great and ahhh-mazing--and I don't measure up.

Until I realize that people only post what they want people to see, or to get a reaction (likes, accolades, sympathy, whatever), and it's a tiny portion of their whole lives.  It doesn't have the purity of a personal interaction.  I still prefer the face-to-face or phone conversation (talk or text). But social media still helps me make sure Younger Sister is alive (and attending a concert tonight with the housemate and the fiance', apparently), and I get to chat sometimes with Oldest Nephew (the only minors I'll friend are relatives, obviously).  I guess it'll be useful in the future once I figure out what I'm doing on there.

I still like blogging more.  It feels more controlled in a way, and on top of that, I get to tell my stories.  I can't do that on Facebook, really, and at present I don't have many people IRL to hear my stories, either.  I'm hoping that the things I'm doing now not only help sustain me but also lay a hopeful groundwork for future events.

I'm not going to lie: Someday I want to be one of those Facebook users who gets to change her profile to "In a relationship with _____"; "Engaged to ______"; "Married to ______."

But all that seems really complicated to me right now, so for now I'll be content with an intermittment/lurking presence, enjoying my friends' kids and seeing how much they remind me of their parents, and going one friend at a time, one cat post at a time.

Or you know, ranting about how the summer reading list was sent home to the 7th grade families with TITLES ONLY. . . and one parent who didn't do a sensible search wound up with her kid looking at NSFW this instead of the correct book.

Which had the administration breathing down my neck--um, excuse me but my list which is posted on the school website is 100% detailed!--with nonstop phone calls and e-mails.

O.K., that made me want to disconnect everything and move to a cave.




Learning an Entire Mass Setting in Less Than a Week

(that would be so the Director of Religious Ed doesn't kill me at practice for school's Big Deal Mass), and recovering from a post-Easter stomach bug, and getting ready to go to conferences for my leadership academy and library stuff. . .

Needless to say, there's been a lot going on.  I'm not one to thrive off pressure, so I am trying very hard to go with the flow and trust that things will go smoothly and everyone will be happy.


More soon!  I have to tell you all about the Missing Then Found Engagement Ring Miracle.  And other stuff.

Stay tuned!



In Spite of the Date, I Have Legit News

Remember the nomination I mentioned here (good item #2), and the application I slaved away on?

I have been selected!

The letter says that there were something like three dozen or so applicants (they can take only 21), and they made the choices blind (numbered the applications) and scored with a rubric.  And I was ranked among the top 21!  How awesome is that???

Yeah, it probably doesn't hurt that I'm above the average age for "newish" librarians.  But hey, that probably means nighttimes at the hotel during the summer workshop could be fun times.

So tonight I signed all my paperwork and sent it in, and the next step is about a month from now.  There's a "meet your mentor" event.  I can hardly wait.

Especially after getting a dose of this all morning.  I have been praying so I guess it could have been way worse (like all day).

It's nice to be able to talk (and think) about good things for a change.




Not Alone Series: Deal Breakers

O.K., so I have been lurking at a few "single Catholic gal" blogs for several months now, and I thought I'd start joining in by linking up in their "Not Alone Series" which is hosted by two very nice bloggers, Jen and Morgan.

Their theme for this past week was Deal Breakers, and by coincidence I ran into one of mine when one of my many Older Patron Fans at the public library offered to fix me up with one of her kids.

What I didn't mention was that she was Jewish.  Not surprising to me because she said she used to live in my hometown which has a huge Jewish population.  But interesting that she still wanted to set me up without asking first if I was Jewish. Maybe it didn't matter. Which is very cool.

I didn't have a problem with her son's not being Catholic.  (Especially when I am about to gain a non-Catholic brother-in-law, who am I to say where a person can or cannot find love?)  Sure, a difference of religion will not be easy to manage in a relationship and a marriage, but it doesn't spell doom.

Not being into religion at all, or having a real problem with it, would be a deal breaker for me.  Even if at the outset he said, "Yeah, I don't really get it, but you go ahead and believe what you want," a discomfort and/or resentment can grow, on both sides.  It creates a separation.  My faith informs my way of life, so if you don't get why I am the way I am, or why I do the things I do, that's a problem.  Plus I would get tired of attending religious events alone all the time. Especially if I had to take the children. 

Which brings me to another deal breaker.  As I said in my previous post, the older patron lady told me her son didn't want children.  I'm not sure if I understood because she was rambling so fast but she might have been telling me it had broken up his marriage (!) and the ex-wife had remarried and had kids now.  Unless she was talking about a daughter.  It was confusing.  But anyway, I told her I was a solid Catholic girl, so oh well.

Look, even if I get married ten years from now and can't bear children, I will be open to children.  And sure, I don't know if it will be feasible to adopt or foster for us, but the openness has to be there.  At the very least, I've got four nephews (a godson among them now) and a niece counting on it.  I work with children on a daily basis, for pete's sake.  

And along the same lines, not to offend anyone and I promise I am not judging because it's a private matter, but wanting to use contraception would be a deal breaker for me.  The one ex-boyfriend started getting very interested when he heard a rumor that the Vatican was contemplating allowing condom use to prevent the spread of HIV in Africa.  (Never happened.)  

I don't know what he thought that would mean for us who live in North America, but it gave me pause.  It's just not in keeping with how I feel about my health and my relationship with my husband.  I'm glad I didn't marry him because he seemed to believe children would steal my love from him and we'd all use up his hard-earned money.  I'm serious.  (Hilarious side note, he's married now and has children. I can only hope that he found someone who helped him deal with all those money, love, and sex hang-ups, but I wasn't going to compromise my values.)

If I may expand on that previous deal breaker, I think just looking for loopholes to suit yourself is a deal breaker.  I have a strong love of justice (hellooo, LIBRA) and I think letting stuff slide because it's not convenient to your lifestyle isn't cool.  I'm not talking about just the big stuff, either.  You shouldn't "borrow" the WiFi from your neighbors because they were "dumb enough" to leave it unlocked and "deserve" to have others use it without paying.  Or leave work fifteen minutes early on a regular basis because no one notices (or you THINK no one notices).  That kind of thing.  I just don't go for that.

All righty, then--I hope this piece came off more as a reflection of who I am and what I need, and not as a big judgmental piece.  Oh, and one final thing: If you don't have a soft spot for cartoons (not that you have to be a full-on brony), forget it!

I mean, some of the cleverest things and greatest pieces of wisdom are found in cartoons.  Right?