One Last Thing Before I Forget

Do ya like pretty things?

Wanna chance to win something pretty?

Well, do ya?

Go visit the lovely Angela Noelle at her blog where she is giving away a lovely necklace. Details on how to win are in the post.

It Seems Ironic

. . . that I just blogged about breakfast dreams, and tried a juice fast today. . . which probably means I'll be dreaming about breakfast tonight.

Not that I mind. . . if my previous sous chef will return to help.

Anyway, my head hurts a little and I can't seem to assemble my post about Fiddler, so I'm going to shelve it for tonight and see what I can do with it tomorrow.

I am becoming convinced that my brain runs on starch, but maybe next week the nutritionist will come up with some alternative ideas.


Product Review: Attune Chocolate Probiotic Bars

Via one of the dairy-free blogs that I follow, I was contacted by Attune Foods Inc. and offered the opportunity to try some products and write a review. I was sent three of the Attune chocolate probiotic bars for a taste test. I had one a day (which is what they recommend--you don't wanna go overboard with probiotics or your body might get "out of balance").

The first one I tried was the one I was most excited about: Coffee Bean and Dark Chocolate. Oh, yum. There are crunchy coffee beans in it! Loved the texture, loved the mocha taste. I can't say for sure I got a coffee buzz out of it, but I really liked the flavor. This is my #1 pick out of the three I tried.

The second one I tried was the Raspberry Dark Chocolate. I'll admit that I am not the biggest fan of raspberry in general. Blending raspberry with chocolate, though, is a pretty good incentive for me to try it. It's got a "seeded" texture because there are tiny bits of raspberry in the bar and so you get little tart bursts of raspberry as you're enjoying the chocolate. I'd probably rank this one third but mostly out of my personal lack of interest in raspberry. If you're a fan of the chocolate-raspberry combo (coffee, candy, cookies) you'd enjoy this bar.

I saved the Dark Chocolate bar for last. It was maybe not as silky as a high-grade dark chocolate, but it was tasty dark chocolate for way less than what you'd pay for the fancy stuff. It's just the right percentage of cacao and a good recipe so it's not bitter but it's not super-sweet, either. Not to mention it's a satisfying amount of dark chocolate for only 80 calories! Score!

Two things to note about these bars:

1) While probiotics are a bit sensitive to temperature, unlike yogurt which you really need to keep in the fridge all the time, these bars are formulated so that they travel a little better. Keep them in the fridge until you plan to use them, and then toss them in your backpack/pocketbook/lunch bag and they can be eaten at room temperature. I'd say just don't leave them in your car or keep them in your bag if you're going to be out in hot weather all day.

2) Although the bars I ate don't have dairy in the recipes, the bars are made on the same equipment as makes other products that have dairy and/or nuts in them, so these may not be for people with extreme allergies or sensitivies. I'm pretty good with the "made on same equipment" stuff 99% of the time, and I don't think I felt any effects from that, but your experience could be different. Also, all the recipes contain soy if that's a concern.

All in all, I thought the bars were an interesting concept. I liked that they weren't as sugary sweet as I expected them to be--because that pretty much would cancel out the point of probiotics in my opinion. After only three days with them, I didn't notice much of a change in my digestion, but because I tend to take some form of probiotics just about every day, maybe it helped maintain the status quo.

I picked up a few more at the "special" grocery store this week, although they didn't have the coffee one (bummer!). I ate a dark chocolate one on the way home! I figure if you're going to treat yourself to some chocolate, you might as well make it a healthier choice instead of a candy bar. It's almost the same price, anyway. (I don't buy candy bars because of my allergies, and I was shocked when I noticed the prices at the checkout line racks recently.) And hey, if you don't like yogurt but you think you should have probiotics in your diet, maybe this is an option.

It sure beats "candy bar guilt."

(Special thanks to Attune Foods Inc. for the free chocolate bars.)


Not Exactly What I Planned to Blog Today

I've been a little out of sorts all day, because I was awakened by an event not unlike #5 on this list (two years ago already! Wow!) at 1:30 this morning. I was awakened by the growling, but as I was getting out of bed to check on the Cat she let out her rarely-used, high-decibel bloodcurdling scream.

When I peeked behind the curtain to see if anything was on the patio--all the while the Cat is still grumbling and my heart is pounding--I found no four-legged creature there. My guesses:

(a) another cat who was not stalking-ly in love with her (unlike the 2008 visitor);

(b) something of the scavenger variety (raccoon, possum--but not squirrel/chipmunk/mouse, because she silently hunts those);

(c) a big dumb deer who wandered across from the courtyard. (Hey, it could happen.)

So after I reassured the cat that everything was O.K., I stumbled back to bed and waited for my pulse to settle down. . . all the while fuming at the Cat for interrupting the beautiful dream I was having in which I was cooking breakfast with Matt Bomer.

Yeah, I said cooking breakfast. Pretty friggin' hot, right?

Uhhhh. . . no.

I'm beginning to think that G-rated fantasies might mean I need to get away for a while. Or that the universe needs to take pity on a single gal.


I'm Not One to Give Homework. . .

. . . but I need to buy a little time while I take care of some tasks, like watch Fiddler (and file some papers at the same time). Yesterday got a little too crazy--at the last minute I wound up taking my mom to Mass because my dad, who was playing for that Mass, had taken her car after it was discovered the A/C wasn't working in his car as the result of a belt/reel/something problem. (The universe is telling him to stay off the road! Not working!)

Then I drove my parents--Mom driving from the backseat--to Dad's b-day dinner. My brother and SIL came with the younger kids (I think Oldest Nephew was with his dad) so that was fun. I heard all about their bowling adventures from earlier in the day. Middle Nephew (age 4-1/2) is obsessed with numbers so he was all over everyone's scores. Hilarious. And I'm not sure why, but Youngest Nephew (2yo) was quite convinced he knew the burly guy sitting at the far end of the banquette and was practically cuddling up to him. Poor guy was just waiting for his takeout order. Bless his heart for being so nice to my little nephew.

Anyway, some of the library tweeps were sharing this NYT article about a solution to bullying. As someone who was bullied in middle school, I have a lot to say about it, but I need to time to organize my thoughts. But really I'd like to discuss it rather than just give my opinions. So, if you feel inclined, take and read. Comment if you like.


Going Back to an Old Standby

Today's a good day for a throwback. It's the Friday Five! And I've got five stories for you.

1. Somebody turned 13 yesterday. No, not me! I'll give you a hint:

She likes to inspect every package that comes in the door.

You need another hint, you say?

She likes long naps in warm places--above cool places.
This window ledge is over the A/C.

2. I went to my new school yesterday morning to sign my contract and fill out paperwork for insurance, direct deposit, etc. The bad news is that it's been more than a year since my last fingerprinting, so I have to go get fingerprinted again. Hassle. The good news is that this time around, the school is paying for it.

3. Everyone that I've met at the new school so far has been very nice. Word has gotten out about where I went to high school, and so I kept dealing with conversations like these: "Oh, my daughter/niece/cousin went to your high school. She graduated in 2000; did you know her?" Hey, if they think I'm 27 or thereabouts, I'm O.K. with that. Too bad I can't lie if they ask me point-blank what year I graduated.

4. I scored a purple cotton tank top at The Gap for $4.88 (6.97 + 30% off for some weekend special thing). It looks a little like this one, except that the straps tie at the shoulders. It's a size too big, but I got it for sleeping, anyway. The tie straps are functional so that does help with the fit a little. (Of course, I had entered the store with the intention of finding a new white linen skirt after pulling mine out of storage and finding spots on it. Spots the dry cleaner couldn't get out. I don't think skirts are all that big with Gap anymore, though. Pity. I just bid on one at eBay.)

5. A tale of woe about Younger Sister. Having languished in her post-merger job for nearly two years now, she scored a promising interview for this week. Immediately before which she developed laryngitis. She had to ask a housemate to call the people to explain and reschedule. Poor kid!

It's about time for The Soup, so see you later!


Sorting Stuff Out

Not much going on here today--trying to keep cool and take care of things at home. I really am hoping to have the whole apartment cleaned up and organized by the end of July. The desk is looking good, but I had to sort the papers (after tossing about 1/3 of the pile yesterday) on the living room floor, so now I have to figure out where all that goes.

Piece of advice: Don't change jobs and medical insurance every year. Actually, for me it will be twice on the medical insurance change this year, so I have to keep a little bit around for reference (effective dates, card numbers, stuff like that). I bought folders yesterday so I can corral things. It was satisfying to be able to toss the old job search stuff, I must say.

I think I have to go back to IKEA for a couple more media storage boxes. The ones I got a few months ago worked out pretty well. They are green ones to match my sofa.

Other than that, I'm just kind of dragging myself around until Pilates class. There was a meeting for my side job last night that ran a bit late (lots of chatting--and quite a bit of girl talk that as the only never-married was a bit TMI). When I got home, I was a little too wired to go straight to bed. Does that ever happen to anyone else? I also used to get that when I did closing at the bookstore. So I watched a little TV (the plight of these girls is at times heartbreaking and infuriating) and then tossed some thoughts into my journal about a compliment from a grandmotherly choir member and news of a high school classmate that to my surprise made me genuinely happy for her and didn't get me all down on myself by comparison. I hope that's a permanent, positive change.

I also sorted out my feelings about seeking the advice of a nutritionist. I'm at the point where I'm concerned that my weight seems to be creeping up (and it's not like I'm hitting the drive-through or binge-drinking at bars every weekend), and also wondering how to deal with the stress of a new job and sustaining the progress I've made treating my anemia. The fact of the matter is, it's been a while since I initially took off a lot of weight, and between getting older and dealing with a lot of environmental changes, what I'm doing right now isn't working for me and I'm not sure how to take care of the 30-something, teacher-librarian me. The me that doesn't seem to have a lot of energy, even though she wants to work out and get things done, but winds up napping or reading too much. I just want to be healthy and have the capacity to enjoy life.

It feels really selfish to want to do this, though, so I've been debating it for the past few days. I was raised in a family that looks down on things like this--even going to counseling--because it's vain and you're not handling your problems by yourself (like it's implied you should be). Well, I've tried handling this on my own and it's not working out. The advice from books/magazines/websites is overwhelming and often not personalized enough--not that I'm special, but while I am sure there are some general things that are helpful to everyone, between the food allergies and my body/metabolic type, I just find I'm constantly the exception to the "this really works!" advice, and it's frustrating.

The other thing is that, living alone, I often don't want to be bothered feeding myself properly. Why spend an hour cooking dinner when it's eaten in 15 minutes and now I have a ton of dishes to wash? Coffee and microwave popcorn for dinner sounds great! There's the implication that I'm not worth it, and I have to get out of that habit of thinking, too.

So it turns out that my chiropractor's cousin is a nutritionist. I wasn't aware of it (and couldn't tell from the different last names) when I picked up a brochure while I was waiting my turn a few weeks ago, and decided to give her a call. We talked last Wednesday, and I think she could offer me some real structure and guidance. I think she also can help me cut down my grocery bills, because that's something I need to learn now that I'll be getting a smaller paycheck.

When I get home from Pilates, I'm going to call her to set things up. I think this will be the start of something good for me.

I promise I"ll share recipes!


The Oscars Project: Movie #19

(Background on The Cinematherapy Oscars Project can be found here. The following post may contain spoilers! Oooo!)

Welcome to the 1970s and the "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" films (per Peske and West).

From 1972: The Godfather

Summary: Based on the fiction novel by Mario Puzo, this film follows the events that unfold after WWII as a mafia don (Vito Corleone, portrayed by Marlon Brando, Best Actor winner) begins his decline and the next generation in his family "business" comes to power after an attempt is made on Vito's life by a rival mafia leader. In the end, the most reluctant son, Michael (Al Pacino) fails to escape the family legacy and in fact falls into it, hard. You can put a guy into the New World, but you can't take the Old World out of him, I guess. The movie has made a lot of "greatest films" lists and often appears especially on lists of men's favorites. Some lines of dialogue are quoted on a regular basis (e.g. "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse").

You know, for being termed an "epic" film so frequently, and even despite its run time of 175 minutes, this didn't feel horribly long. (O.K., I did fast-forward through a couple of grisly scenes. I knew about the toll booth scene from my college film class, and some of the other nasty stuff gets referenced and/or parodied enough for me to predict when to get the FF button on the remote ready.)

What I liked:

--Good casting, good staging, authenticity in the setting/costumes/props. This film won Best Picture for a reason.

--There are definitely some powerful scenes. One of the other sequences I already knew from film class was the baptism sequence, which is juxtaposed with murders. Michael, as a new godfather (in a double sense of the word) stands in church, answering baptismal vows for his infant godson, while the men who work for Corleones perform what basically amounts to the an-eye-for-an-eye justice that Michael has ordered. It very well could be that in his mind, eliminating those who double-crossed the Corleones is a rejection of what he perceives as "real" evil.

--I admit it, I was transfixed by Kay (Diane Keaton)'s big hair. (That's from a great article on the cast, BTW.)

What I didn't like:

--You already know what I'm going to say: too graphically violent for my taste.

--While I'm at it, I didn't care much for the open sexism and racism (whether by or towards Italians). I know, I know, it's part of the era and culture in which the movie is set, but. . . still. Not fun.

There are a lot of bad things done in the name of semi-vigilanteism and looking after one's own in this narrative. But there's something that, like many of the people who come to the Godfather looking for favors, makes one feel comfortable with him and his code--perhaps that "old-fashioned fatherly shoulder to lean on" that makes one O.K. with "overlook[ing some questionable moves] in exchange for that kind of questionable security" (p. 91).

Overall, though, it's a movie that belongs in your mental cinema catalogue, if not on your video shelf.

Next up: Fiddler on the Roof


Not My Typical Sunday

--Did a lot of singing at church (English, Latin/Greek, Italian)

--Managed to get a slight sunburn during outdoor portion of church event

--Waited with my dad while he called AAA for his car: brakes felt funny to him and ABS light wouldn't turn off. Turned out to be a belt that needs fixing. Glad he got the car towed & didn't keep driving it.

--Realized my videos were due back today, so I watched my first '70s movie (comments on that tomorrow) and returned that with this (recommended by radio movie guy and was good but sniffle-inducing).

--I think I'm going to go back to my book and turn in early. Must be the sunburn!


One Week Since a WSJ Theft

Well, WSJ vandalism, I should say. I just started getting a free 26 week subscription (survey answering keeps me well furnished with reading matter) last week, and somebody took that Friday's edition and spread it all over the lobby, crumpled, with the first page missing (maybe to cover up my apartment number which the delivery people write in ink at the top). I guess the note I posted in the vestibule worked, and I have been enjoying every paper I've gotten since.

Anyway, there's an interesting article in there today about how Broadway shows that are popular in the U.S. or Great Britain get translated to other audiences abroad. (I think Angela will love that picture at the bottom of Wicked in Japan--she was just there!) A lot of jokes or references can be specific to the original culture, but what floored me was that there's much interest in the Legally Blonde musical abroad. Are there blond jokes in other cultures?

Odds & Ends (Mostly Odd) on a Friday

The Cat is doing, well, better in some areas and worse in others. All of a sudden, she decided she doesn't like the special food and seems to express her opinion by coughing it up after a few bites. I checked in with the vet and he said to stop giving her one of the meds because it might be irritating her stomach now that it's done its primary job of helping her not, um, "go all over the place." Ugh. So she's still under surveillance.

I'm sick of air conditioning and the too-hot-to-do-anything-outdoors weather situation is getting really old. I know it's July, but constant mid-90s is not July in Philly, usually. We normally get at least a little bit of a break in between heat waves. And big scary storms that flood everything aren't breaks. It just wipes everybody out because you have to figure out what to wear, what to cook that doesn't generate a lot of heat, you're getting shocked by temp changes from going in and out of A/C, you're wondering if there's going to be a thunderstorm, and so on. There's something I have to do outdoors Sunday, an annual event with my church, and I'm kind of dreading it. Not so much for myself but I worry about the senior people who insist on participating to the full extent in spite of the heat. Maybe they'll modify things a bit for this year.

Being indoors does give me time to take care of things in the apartment I haven't had time to work on, which is good. Sometimes I put a video on and sit on the living room floor to sort papers or write lists or do the checkbook. I haven't watched The Godfather yet, but I've seen the first six episodes of Season 1 of Breaking Bad after Amy Welborn's post made me curious. Also, I've been reading Soulless (it's like vampire/werewolf stuff for grownups--and a little steampunk, I think?). It's maybe not the best writing ever but it's pretty funny at times.

I just got a text message from my cousin's little boy who got hold of dad's phone. O.K., it was more like a single letter texted to me, but it was a letter I like, so I figure it was a hello of sorts.

So, is everybody else dealing with hot weather? If so, any tips?


My Exasperating Day

1. Was awakened around 5 a.m. to feed The Cat. Given how much she'd gotten sick the day before, it was likely she was going to get sick after this feeding. I went back to bed not caring.

2. Got up around 9:30, found predicted unmentionable business by Cat in living room, cleaned it up with vow to call vet.

3. Started gathering stuff Cat got sick all over so I could take downstairs to launder, did check of blanket on bed and found more sick. Hauled everything down and started two washers with leftover quarters from previous day's visit to laundromat (washing bigger stuff soiled by Cat).

4. Made phone call to business manager at new school to schedule time to come in to sign contract. Everything sounded good until she asked me a question about my salary using pay scale terminology that hadn't been discussed with me. I knew only the dollar amount. She said she'd talk to assistant principal to confirm, but it didn't leave me with the most reassured feeling.

5. Called vet; they said the afternoon was fairly open if I wanted to bring the Cat in. So I took a 2:00 appointment and once the laundry was done, I stuffed the Cat in her carrier. She sang along with Glee in the car. (Well, if you consider the Cat sounded like her, maybe she wasn't singing along.)

6. Thirty minutes and $$$ later, I walked out of the vet's office with the Cat, two kinds of medicine, four cans of high fiber/low fat food, and a container to get a, um, "sample" (ew!) that I'd have to bring back to the office. I stopped quickly at my parents' to get some pill pockets (they use them for the elderly cat's meds) and talked to Oldest Nephew for a minute (long story; the reason for his presence is an outrage to me but I'm not allowed to give parenting advice).

7. Cat immediately responded to offer of food when we got home. At first, I thought she was wolfing down the special stuff, but when I looked at the dish after she walked away, it appeared she had pushed a lot of it around the dish. I kind of held of my breath to see if she'd get sick immediately, but she went to her summertime happy place--the patio door ledge, left-hand corner--and chilled out for a while. Later, she finished what was left in the dish and asked for more. I even got a pill into her!

The exasperating day got a little better as it went on. Stats:

Loads of laundry: 2

Phone calls completed: 2

Meals given to Cat that stayed down/in: 1 (and a half)

Pills administered to Cat: 1

Errands scheduled for yesterday, preempted by laundromat trip, that got completed today: 2

Errands scheduled for today that got completed: 3

Errands carried over from Tues./Wed. to Thursday: 2

Cat that climbed up onto my lap to knead and purr (yay!): 1


Oscars Project Bonus + Poll

(Explanation of the Oscars Project found here. This post and/or the links herein may contain spoilers, so consider yourself warned!)

I accidentally watched an extra movie for the 1980s: Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

It wound up being a good mistake; that was a really well done movie. Based on the autobiography of Loretta Lynn, the "First Lady of Country Music," this movie tells the story of how she came from a poor family in a coal mining town, married extremely young, and with the support of her husband and a lot of determination, became an extremely popular country music entertainer while raising a family.

Lynn was played by Sissy Spacek (who won Best Actress) and her husband Doolittle was played by Tommy Lee Jones (now I get why my parents knew who he was when The Fugitive came out--well, that, and probably Love Story). There also was a fabulous turn by Beverly D'Angelo as Patsy Cline. According to Filmsite, both ladies did their own singing in the film.

As a side note, I had a difficult time getting this movie. First, I tried at the video store. It took a few tries before I realized the salesclerk was spelling "Coal" as "Cole" and not getting any results. (Must be a music lover?) Even then, it wasn't available, even by mail. The first time I did a request from the library website, the request just sat unanswered for a week. If there's more than one branch that has a copy of an item, the program funnels it to the first branch on the list (alphabetically) that has it available. Let's just say some branches aren't that great with responding to requests. I had to cancel that request and do a new one, on a different DVD in the catalog. Annoying.
(Save your fingers about Netflix. I KNOW. I probably will have to sign up once I get to earlier decades; it seems to be getting harder to find these films as I go.)

Side note #2: I had it in my head that this movie had aired on TV when I was a kid, and that I had seen that Loretta had lost either a sister or a daughter who had been playing on the train tracks and was crushed by a train. I kept bracing myself for that scene. . . it never appeared. So what the heck movie was it that scarred me for life? Any ideas?
(Update 7/13/2010: See? Somebody else is wondering the same thing.)

Bottom line: I can barely stand country music but I really enjoyed this film. See it if you haven't had the chance to before.

And now for even more fun!

That's the end of the 1980s chapter in Cinematherapy Goes to the Oscars. For the 1970s chapter--subtitled "My Heart Belongs to Daddy Movies"--I've made five selections, but I'd like to let you, dear blogreaders, pick the sixth movie for the set.

I have selected. . .

--The Godfather (reluctantly, but I figure it'll be far less embarrassing to hide my eyes at home than it was in film class)

--One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


--Fiddler on the Roof

--The Sting

Help me decide on the sixth movie. Your choices are. . .

--The Deer Hunter

--The Sunshine Boys

--Paper Moon

--The French Connection

--Kramer vs. Kramer

The movie with the most votes (or, failing that, the best reason) wins. Please submit your choice in the combox. This is gonna be an interesting chapter!

UPDATE 7/13/2010: The standings as of this evening are. . .

2 for Paper Moon

2 for The French Connection

1 for The Sunshine Boys

Anyone else want to try to tip the scales?


Pet Exchange Program

The Cat is driving me crazy lately and I think she needs a change of scenery. Today she is just weird! She did something, uh, inappropriate on a pillow and my first copy of The Wall Street Journal. Is she mad I started reading that? I got 26 weeks for free; what more does she want?

Then the principal of my new school (sort of, still haven't signed the contract) called to say she hadn't forgotten me, they were just busy getting ready for an audit. I'm trying to write down the direct number of the business office, and The Cat is yelling at me! So now the principal probably thinks (a) I'm a crazy cat lady and (b) I am not nice to animals. And she's a nun, so I'm extra horrified that The Cat has no manners.

Seriously, I know she behaves better for other people. . . anybody wanna trade for a week?


Would you take the yap dog the annoying upstairs neighbors have?


More Answers to Being Asked (Nearly) Anything, and WINNERS

I still owe questions from May! I started on the first half here, and below are the last but not least of the bunch:

3. From our fish-and-(baseball)game aficionado Dave E.: Since it's the season, what's your take on gardening/and or houseplants? Is it something you like to do, or is it more to be avoided? And if it is something you like to do, what would be your dream garden?

Contrary to the evidence surrounding me at present, I do like plants and gardening. It's just that plants don't last long indoors, thanks to a certain feline who believes it's her job to destroy them. The catnip plant I got at the school plant sale lasted about a week and a half before I came home to chewed-up sticks and dirt all over the living room rug. She once let a bamboo plant live for seven months before she decided it deserved to die. She must be related to Garfield or something.

My parents have always gardened, so as a kid I would help out sometimes, although probably most of my talents were used for picking tomatoes or cutting parsley. I wish I had learned more from them; I don't feel particularly skilled in gardening--although I'm sure that if I had questions they'd be more than happy to offer advice. While my parents have grown tomatoes pretty much every year, I remember there were years we tried corn and cucumbers--and who could forget the giant zucchini plants? One morning, my mom told us she'd had a crazy dream that the zucchini plants had overgrown everything and were coming for the house!

Some long-time readers might recall that the entire front of the building where I live was dug up in December for a waterproofing project, and I had yellow caution tape and piles of mud and trash for many, many months following that. They did replant some beautiful rosebushes under my dining room (office) window--the recent hot temperatures have been hard on them. I've got just a plain concrete patio right now, which I'm leaving empty in protest until I get the planters that management finally offered to give my patio some protection from the traffic and what-have-you. If I had my way, there would be some nice shrubs, and I wouldn't mind maintaining them myself if it meant I had more privacy. Anyway, once I start putting stuff on my patio and it's not 1,000 degrees outside, I'd like to bring back the pots of flowers I had (usually begonias) and the hanging basket and shepherd's hook. I used to work for a gardening decor manufacturer, so I have some fancy flowerpots. Somehow, I wound up on the mailing list for the Gardener's Supply Company catalog, and there's a lot of tempting stuff in there, for both veggies and flowers. . . so, I have dreams, and hopes for my own garden, eventually.

4. From my IRL buddy and grad school classmate, who never met a cup of coffee she didn't like, Pam: Did you ever have to read Beowulf in Old English? And can you quote the first 12 lines?

As to the first question, no. I do remember listening to an LP of the Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in Middle English, though. That was shocking. It sounded like gibberish crossed with English—the English spoken nowadays, I mean.

The second question I’m going to take to mean, can I quote them in Old English? Not a chance. I remember reading a translation in 11th grade English, but I don't remember what we did with it other than go over it and maybe answer some essay questions. Should I be able to? I mean, is that something everybody else has had to do, and I missed out? I'm curious!!!

5. From our eagle-eyed proofreader and knifty knitter CCR: Do you ever find yourself imagining how you'll blog about something as soon as it happens?

Oh, my gosh, YES. Is that really LAME??? I hope it's just my writer's mind in action, but yeah, it happens a lot. I mean, not all the time, but particularly when something really funny or ridiculous happens. Like the weekend I was helping my mom host the dinner for my great-aunt & great-uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. Mom was making a two-layer chocolate cake for dessert and was fretting about how it didn't look special enough for the occasion. First, she sent me out to the front porch to cut some little flowers. Then, because we needed a couple of other things for dinner, she sent me to the little market up the street. I like this market because most of the cashiers are teenagers from the community--the boys will give you the update on the score of the baseball game if you ask them if anything happened while you were shopping, for example. One cashier told me she remembered when I came to her high school to talk about the summer programs at the library the week before.

Mom had sent me with a short shopping list, but she also wanted something else, if I could find something in the little market, to decorate the cake. So I went to the baking aisle and saw there were number candles in colors that matched the flowers. (Hey, a pseudo-theme. Not bad.) So I picked up a 5 and a 0.

Well, you know they teach cashiers to engage in a bit of banter with the customer. My dear little teen cashier said, "I'm gonna take a wild guess and say it's somebody's 50th birthday."

When I told her it was a 50th wedding anniversary, her eyes got huge and she exclaimed, "Wow!" I'm sure if she thought 50 was an old age, it was even more incredible that a couple could be married still after 50 years. (And my great-aunt & great-uncle married "older" for the times, too!)

I walked out of there with my cute little story and my intended blog post title: "Wanna Know How to Blow a Teenager's Mind?"

And then I forgot to post it.

Once again, I'm sorry for the lateness of these responses, but that takes care of this edition of "Ask Kate P (Nearly) Anything." Thanks to Annie Coe, Amy G, Dave E, Pam, and CCR for playing. You are ALL WINNERS! I would like to send you a little something, so please drop me an e-mail with your address at your earliest convenience. (Pam, you have the option of being treated to some yummy coffee at our favorite little corporate chain, if you prefer. Tweet me a date!)

Things are starting to get back to normal--next, on with the Cinematherapy Oscars Project. I think I might take up a vote on which ones to watch for the '70s movies. Stay tuned!



Well, as CCR put it in the last post, it's nice to be wanted somewhere.

It was hard to have a good time over the long weekend because I had a lot on my mind--in fact, I dropped a tray of brownies as I was walking in the door at my cousin's picnic on Sunday and nearly broke down in tears--but I thought about it, asked a few friends and relatives in the education field, prayed about it Saturday night at the vigil Mass I was cantoring, thought some more.

It's not a lot of money. I didn't make a lot of money from the time I quit my job to student teach through Fall of last year, though, and I got by. Plus, it eventually got better.

My parents told me they wouldn't let me starve or lose my apartment. (My dad might get me or both of us killed if I ever ride in the car with him again, but that's another concern for another day.)

I finally stopped beating myself up for being completely unable to make tons of cash in spite of my degree and talent. There are factors and circumstances beyond my control that are limiting me at this time.

Am I still a bit sad that I can't save for a nicer place to live? Yeah. Am I disappointed that there won't be any big travel plans for a while? Absolutely. Am I going to have to work hard at not worrying my car will blow another cylinder the minute the warranty on the previous resurrective work expires? Totally, and possibly necessitating the occasional use of alcohol (but obviously not when I'm behind the wheel).

But I have to admit that a little part of me is excited about the new job. And it made me feel good that the principal sounded thrilled today to hear me say I'd take the job.




Should I?

They talked to me a little bit, asked me about where I first went to college (mostly because nobody's heard of it and the name suggests, I don't know, radical kinds of stuff).

Then they told me the salary and offered me the job.

I asked for the weekend to think (and pray) on it.

It's not that I don't think I can do the job, really, or that I would have a hard time fitting in at a private school.

It's just, um, well. . . let's just say that coming from one of the highest-paying school districts in the area, I had been preparing myself for taking a job that paid less, but- Wow. It's the kind of salary that would work for a single girl who still lived with her parents (no offense; it's just that I can't) or has housemates sharing the rent. And maybe didn't own a pet. And that's bumped up because they counted my 1/2 year at the public library as a full year of experience.

I really have to see if I can make it work.

Because--let's be honest here--I've got three places so far that wouldn't take me, one that didn't respond to my indication of interest, and another application in at a place that might take a look at me based on the fact that I did some name-dropping. I can't count on anything else's turning up after the 4th of July weekend.

This might be it.

Should I?

Could I?


And All I Did Was THINK It

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty lousy. Maybe it was all those darn medical tests (puncture hole for each arm now, but no bruises for the first time ever). The phone's not ringing. The cat woke me up repeatedly but couldn't figure out how to tell me she barfed up her breakfast in the dining room. There's nothing in the mail but bills, and it was June 30 which technically was the last day of my employment and medical coverage from school. I'm annoyed that I'm not really doing anything for the weekend, and that I got roped into covering Mass for a cantor who actually has plans and doesn't need the money to pay for self insurance.

So I said to myself, "You know what? Nobody's really doing any work this week. Heck, a lot of people have started their vacations already. There won't be any calls for interviews, and nobody's going to make any decisions, until after July 4. I mean July 5." That meant there was no point in thinking about any of that stuff until next week, myself.

Then I went to go use my expiring-today free coffee gift certificate for an iced coffee, beg for another week of Queen Victoria from the library (narrowly avoiding a teen event but of course not the always pleasant Head of Youth Services), and slog my way through pilates class.

Came home, ate dinner, watched Top Chef, was too keyed up from both coffee and pilates and residual lousy-feeling-ness to fall asleep at a decent hour. But, hey, it didn't matter--nothing was going to happen until next week.

Shortly before I ventured out to the laundromat to wash my blankets for their summer dormition, I got a phone call.

Any guesses?

It was last week's school, asking if I could come in for a second interview tomorrow morning.

I'd love to.

Especially since rejection letter #2 (for this interview) arrived in the mail about the same time today. I am not totally bummed out; I just really got a feeling the previous librarian left on bad terms. . . or was being let go because she wasn't crazy about how much the new principal wants to (micro)manage the library. I think I might have been spared some pain there. But still, it's a job I'm not getting. So that's two rejections by mail; one in person (two times, if you count that so-called interview).

In any event, think some kind thoughts & pray some good prayers for me for tomorrow. I'm nervous but kind of looking forward to going back there.

And yes, I'll keep you posted.