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Monday, June 11, 2012

Questions... without immediate answers

I certainly don't want to let this blog go extinct, but I am losing momentum.  Big time.

I really liked how it was a log of all the things we were doing with the house, all the trips we went on, all the little things that happened.  I really liked how it was very much like a journal, at times very personal but not quite a real "live journal."

People from work read this blog now.  Perhaps they always did; I really never bothered to inquire or pay attention to that.  It's not like this blog was a secret or hidden away.  Anyone could have Googled it and found it.  But for some reason now that I know that people from work are reading it - and now that I have a position at work that gives me pause about what I am actually posting online for anyone who bothers to Google me to read - I am just not as motivated to keep this up.

I know, I know.  What's the harm in posting about the things that I post?  The 24-year-old in my says that I should not be ashamed of what I think or feel, that it's okay to have it all out there on the Internet for anyone to read, because I am who I am and it doesn't matter.  The thirty-something in me says the same thing.  But in reality I just don't know if I believe that anymore.

Maybe I should go back to scrapbooking.  That might actually be more fun, and is certainly a lot more private.

I'll think about it.  In the meantime, enjoy some photos of my recent trip to Nantucket.  It was our tri-/quadrennial family weekend to the island, where several women from my mother's side of the family get together in a B&B for a couple of nights.  We walk around town.  See the historical sites.  Eat a nice meal.  Enjoy ourselves.  We missed Alice, but she gave us a beautiful weekend this time.  It was a good trip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicago - very cool (literally)

Chicago has been on my list of places to go for quite some time and I finally got there!  Last month!  Yes, Doug and I were there over two weeks ago.  Time just has been whizzing by.  The next thing I'll know it will be Halloween and I'll be pigging out on bags of candy corn.  Can't wait!

But Chicago.  My great-uncle lived in Chicago for years and years and always talked about how much he loved it.  I know why he loved it so.  The people are friendly, the food is very, very good (you would not ever go hungry in Chicago - quite the opposite - you would likely become quite large!), there are plenty of museums and cultural activities, and lots and lots of learning opportunities.  Plus the architecture is pretty amazing, and not just the Arts & Crafts and Prairie School stuff, f0r which I happen to have a huge fondness.  All of it - the skyscrapers and all.  You get an eyeful everywhere you turn in Chicago.

I finally made it out to Chicago due to a conference (Ivies+ Access Services Symposium).  Conference was half-day Thursday and all day Friday.  Doug flew out Friday night and we extended the trip with me through Monday evening.  We flew back home on Monday night.  It was a whirlwind tour of the windy (very) and chilly (VERY!) city, but we both rather liked it (did you expect anything else from us?).

We liked it for the following reasons, though there were many other reasons why we liked it that didn't make it to the photostream below.  Reasons like: its relationship to railroads and connecting the West to the East; its status as the hub of agribusiness; its diversity; its proximity to the biggest lake I have ever seen in my entire life. But, being mindful of your time and my time, I'll limit the rest of my comments to the photos below.

Reason 1:  Hot Doug's

This was our much anticipated lunch at Hot Doug's, one of the many famous Chicago hot dog shacks.  We waited for one and a half hours in the cold (yes, it was cold - very cold!) for these hot dogs.  Worth it?  Probably.  The hot dogs were really very good.  The food we had in Chicago in general was really very good.  Mexican (but not Rick Bayless), diner breakfast at Lou Mitchell's, German at the Berghoff, deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's... Wow.  I ate a lot!

Reason 2:  Medici on 57th (and really all of Hyde Park)

To keep with the food theme, let's talk about Medici on 57th, a great coffee house/bake shop and attached cafe.  The baked goods were delicious, the yogurt parfaits not too sweet, and the sandwich selection was enough to make me wish I was currently a big sandwich-eater.  Felt so at home there.  If I were a Hyde Park resident I'd make that place my home.

The cole slaw, too.  Could have eaten more of that, and I'm not normally a cole slaw fan.

Reason 3:  Libraries

At the conference we spent time in the Regenstein and Mansueto libraries at the University of Chicago, and they were impressive.  I suppose it's time for me to admit that I'm not a fan of the physical space of the library in which I currently work (though it has some good points), and am also not a fan of space of the flagship library here.  From the outside the buildings look okay and fit with the historical feel of the yard.  When you step inside you a) feel like you're in grandma's fixer-upper house that's being sold as-is (my library), or b) feel like you're in a tomb (the flagship).  I gravitate more towards the open spaces and the bright and light spaces of these two libraries at UChicago.  Or maybe I'm just drawn to the idea of The Library Under the Dome.

....... Okay, so in case you are wondering, I started to write this post two weeks ago.  It's been a busy two weeks.  Started a new job, finished a class, am stress-eating my way through it all.  But I can't give up on this blog!  I've got to persevere.  It's so nice having this as an archive of our lives, if only just small snippets of our lives.  So I will press onward and finish talking about Chicago so that I can move on to other topics.

Was I done with Reason 3 yet?  Libraries?  I think so.  Moving on to...

Reason 4:    Architecture

Chicago is known for its architecture in ways that other cities are not.  I had read Devil in a White City, so the names Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan were somewhat familiar to me before I got to Chicago, but they mean more to me now.  You could spend days - days! - wandering the streets of Chicago and marveling at the structures and the art built into each street.  Amazing.  Walking down Michigan towards Wacker you are struck by this view:

And that really doesn't do it justice.  I wish I had taken more pictures of the buildings themselves.  The Marshall Field building, the Carson Pirie Scott building, the Rookery... all of these deserved way more time with my camera than they got.  And so did the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.  We toured the Robie House, which was really interesting, but that's all the Frank Lloyd Wright that we got to see.

I am a huge Arts & Crafts fan, and because of that have an affinity for Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School, which means I was pretty much in my glory in Chicago.  Really, I think that if Chicago were a bit warmer and a little less windy I'd be job-hunting up a storm.

Reason 5:  Art

What's not to love about art in Chicago, too?  Chicago is a center for learning, good food, architecture, and, of course, art.  I could have spent days at The Art Institute, but we only spent a morning (Lincoln was pretty upset about that, too).

There was also a lot of sculpture and open-air art to admire, too.  We saw the large Marilyn Monroe statue, before it was dismantled and moved, as well as two of the Calder works.  I especially enjoyed the giant, shiny bean, though.  That was definitely my favorite public art piece (outside of the famous Chicago sign).

I think what I liked the most about The Bean (or, officially, Cloud Gate) is that it's a mirror.  You can see yourself in it, along with the Chicago skyline, all the other tourists who are standing there next to you, and all the fingerprints of everyone, young and old, who have gone up to The Bean for a closer look.

I liked The Bean for the connection it gave me to the city.  I felt one with the city; I felt like I was interacting with it in an up-close-and-personal way.  I really liked The Bean.  But then, I really liked everything about Chicago.  Well, except the cold weather.  And the wind.  So much wind!  Really, if it were just a little warmer there and not quite as windy I'd be job-hunting up a storm. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Explaining me (or at least starting to).

Forgive me.  This will be a text-heavy post.

As you know, I am reading this book called Quiet, about introverts, and it's finally getting to the heart of the matter, at least as I see it, because it's finally talking about the traits of introverts and the value of introverts, but in the larger world and not simply in the confines of the workplace or business.  I'm now learning about introverts in their social realm, and as children, and I see myself in these descriptions.  It's almost like a mirror image.  So yes, it seems to me that I fall far on the introverted end of the spectrum.  And what I am really enjoying about this book is that it's allowing me, for perhaps the first time, the opportunity to think that this is okay.

Really, for probably my whole life I have thought that I am deficient, defective, needing to change.  I am too quiet, too shy, too scared and fearful of people and the world.  I have felt like the proverbial fish out of water, a dull-colored freshwater fish trying to swim in the saltwater oasis of brightly-colored tropical varieties.  As a teenager I was told told that I was depressed and started my experiment with antidepressants and social workers.  This continues, though the drugs are not pharmaceuticals and are instead new-age-y homeopathic remedies.  What I have learned over these years is that I am not depressed, not clinically so, but am instead quirky, introverted, and socially anxious.  I've also been blessed with a quick temper, though I believe that less and less and more and more believe that I have a lot of energy that is simply not being productively and meaningfully appropriated, so by the end of the day I am tired and frustrated and the energy is expelled in entirely the wrong way.

In fact, my energy is being spent trying to be something I am not, and trying to survive in an environment that is not best suited for me.  Because who I am, this me that I am, is not deficient, defective, or needing to change.  I am just fine the way I am, but I have spent my whole life trying not to be me, or feeling like I should be different.  Better.  Someone other.

I have always been told, whether directly or indirectly, that I needed to be more vocal.  More social.  More aggressive.  Speak up more, Rosanne!  Rosanne needs to participate more in class discussions.  Rosanne, you could never be a professor; as a professor you would have to speak in front of people and you can't seem to do that.  When grades in school were partially based on class participation, I knew that I would score low in those areas.  That type of grading was not incentive for me to push myself; it was incentive for me to retreat further into myself.  But look at that language!  "Retreat further into myself."  As if I am an army in defeat.  But this is how one like me feels in these situations.  Defeated. Like I should surrender.  Surrender for simply having a different style and a different comfort zone.

Where am I going with this?  Wow, I could go so many places.  I could write a lengthy memoir entitled Confessions of a Real-Life Introvert.  Maybe I will.  If one-third of the population is introverted, then maybe my memoir would sell.  But that's slightly off-track.  Where am I going with this?  At this point in my life, as an adult, I can pretty much construct my life in any way that I want.  I can choose to do what makes me comfortable.  If I like to do x then I can do x, and chances are that there are other people who like to do x and with whom I can connect over x.  If I thrive in a particular kind of environment and a particular kind of work or cause is meaningful to me, I can make that my professional passion.  However, I haven't done this.   I have not, as an adult with free will and choices, constructed my life in this way.  I am still, in so many ways, trying to be someone I am not and trying to fit my square self into a round hole.  And this bothers me, unsettles me, makes me absolutely insane each and every day.  I think about this obsessively every single day.

You'd think that as a librarian I'd be in introvert heaven.  Surprisingly, this is not the case.  Professionally I have not been in a niche that really allows me to thrive, that allows my real self to shine.  I play at being someone else. I really liked the research that I did at my first professional job.  I loved the fast-paced nature of it, the fact that I could sit at my computer and puzzle through these questions, find the answers, fill my head with so much information and data in the process, and then write it all up and send it off, only to start on the next request.  Once you introduced the element of being in charge of my fellow researchers, once you removed me from the research itself, I became much less enamored with the job.  I always knew that the environment as a whole was not for me, did not fit who I was or my personality, and that each day I was pretending to be something and to believe in a particular kind of life that wasn't really me, but the work itself allowed me to get through and past that.  Once that work stopped I really couldn't be there anymore.  (I remember one night sitting in my bedroom crumpled on the floor, with elbows on my knees, face in my hands, back against the wall, staring into space with tears streaming down my face because I simply did not know who I was anymore and did not know how I was going to continue being that person.  That was a low point, one I hope to never repeat.)  It was quite literally psychologically killing me. I eventually left, taking this new role in an academic library, and even though this role is different and certainly more in-line with who I really am, it's not the best fit.  The fit could be a lot better.  I still go to work each day and do a lot of pretending; I still come home each night completely drained of any positive energy because my energy has all been spent trying to be engaged and interested, trying to get through ten hours of non-stop people interaction.  I have no "restorative niche" in my day.  My door is always open, people are always talking to me, always asking me about things, always expecting me to be on and to have the answer.  I put so much pressure on myself to connect with people - talk with the students, counsel my staff, set up meetings, agree to things and projects that I don't want to do and don't have an interest in - and this is just hard for me.  Very hard.  Very draining.

So I'm determined now to find something that will allow me to have these "restorative niches," or will simply be the appropriate environment for me so that I won't have to act quite as much, so that I will have energy left at the end of the day.  I am determined now to change my thinking, to think no more that it's me that I have to change but instead think that I have to change my environment, my path, so that my real self can thrive.  And maybe I can pursue reference or cataloging if that's where I think I'm best suited. I never seriously considered cataloging despite the fact that this was my favorite class in library school because I always thought that I had to push myself to get outside of the backroom, to get into the public side of librarianship, because catalogers were all weird, strange,and entirely antisocial (and I had been told all of my life to be more social, and I had been told throughout library school that the "modern" and young librarian needed to be an outspoken advocate for library services).  Because of this, how could I with good conscience pursue cataloging?  But what if catalogers simply like what they do and are good at it? And what if they are the backbone of a good research library, because without the quality of their data the library is pretty much garbage?  That sounds pretty great to me, and far less judgmental.  That's the kind of thinking that I need to have, that more accepting thinking.  It's that direction that I have to move in, and reading and embodying the points from Quiet is a first and important step.

But before I leave you, one photo as a reward for reading all of that text:

My "real" self would love to make these crocheted washcloths.  My "real" self would love to learn to crochet.  One day.  I'll get there.  In the meantime, my "real" self will simply drool over the photos.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Weekly Roundup

Time for the standard disclaimer - nothing much has happened lately, so my apologies for the a) infrequent blogging, and b) humdrum nature of said infrequent blogging. Life these days has consisted of (in a not-so-random order): working, stressing out about work, eating my weight in nuts and dark chocolate, cooking, cleaning up the dishes after cooking, yelling at Doug for not cleaning the cat boxes regularly, and occasionally reading. Yep. That about sums it up.

Because everyone likes a blog post with photos, here's a photo about working:

I took the photo this morning on my way in to work. It was a little before 8:30am, and it's Easter today, so the Square was especially quiet. A bit eerie, actually. I'm not used to being in Harvard Square that early on a Sunday morning; even when I get to work during the week at 7:30am it's busier, with buses, people walking around, joggers, tourists snapping photos, etc. This was just strange, and nice, because I felt like I could soak more in, like I could take my time. I thought to myself, "How nice! I bet it will be quiet at work, too!" I quickly discovered that it wouldn't be. No student workers for the opening shift, and no student workers for the next shift. So I spent my morning as the only staff person in the whole building, running around helping with reference stuff, getting the newspapers put out for those eager readers, checking items in and out, and calling student workers to ask why they weren't at work. Yes, I gave up my brother-in-law's fantastic cooking to call irresponsible college kids and tell them to come to work. And no, I'm not bitter in the least.

Moving on. Here's a photo about reading:

That's the book I'm currently reading, albeit incredibly slowly. I'm a third of the way through, almost half-way, and it's pretty eye-opening stuff. On the one hand, little of this is really new for me, at least the larger ideas. Some people are introverts, some are extroverts. Western society has evolved to reward extroverts and introverts often feel inferior, defective, almost diseased. (Those are my adjectives, not hers, though they are not too far from what she describes). Introverts will never become true extroverts, no matter how hard they try. Yet I find that there are smaller details that I find fascinating. Details like that I was likely born this way, but that everything from my parents and their parenting style to my friends to the town I lived in nurtured my introversion. That I am shy and introverted, but I didn't necessarily have to be both. That I was likely an orchid child, and it's highly likely that if I had a child it would be an orchid child, too. That there are introverted and extroverted animals, which means that evolutionarily there is some benefit to introversion (otherwise it would not be a trait to survive in species over time). I'm learning a lot about myself. While I am more than a little annoyed that this book is written with the main purpose of explaining to the extroverted business world that introverts can be and are invaluable members of the organization (introverts are valuable to a lot more than the business world!), I'm glad it's been written and I'm glad I'm reading it.

And this leaves me with... what? A photo of cooking? Cleaning? Sleeping? Yelling at Doug? Eh. Who wants to look at photos of that.

I had all kinds of things I wanted to write about when I thought about blogging. I was going to write about how I don't understand what the point of Google+ is and how I feel that it's just another interactive website that's supposed to get me connected to other people so that I can survive and thrive in an extroverted world. I was going to write about how Doug put on the original Swedish-language version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and promptly fell asleep, so now I have this movie blasting at me in the background, this movie that is exactly, minute for minute, the same as the English-language version and even the characters are virtual twins, but I am too lazy to find the remote and turn it off. I was going to write about how I'm two-thirds of the way through the interview process for a new position at work, one that is more responsibility and higher-level management than my current position, but I'm not sure exactly what the job entails and I am still trying to figure out if I want the job because my current job may not exist anymore or because I am eager for something that seems like it could be more involved and engaging.

Yeah, so I had all of these things that I was going to write about. But now I find that I have lost my steam. Sherman's next to me, Doug's snoring (he's sick), and I can't understand a word of what's blaring at me from the TV. Yes, it's time to pack it in and just go to bed. Until next time, patient readers!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good times, not-so-good times.

The weather was just great a couple of weeks ago. Or was it last week? I can't remember. My memory seems to be failing me these days, but that's to be expected. I'm older this week than I was last week, after all.

But the weather was so beautiful last week. Doug was in Washington D.C. for our early summer weather, and it was warmer here than it was in D.C. It almost cracked 80 degrees one day here. It was too hot too soon - all the flowers bloomed and now they're all gone (which seems fitting, since today I'm wrapped in two wool sweaters as I look out into the wet and gray weather. It's only something like 40 degrees right now. Good-bye summer!). It was such a tease, but so nice while it lasted! I took walks outside during work and it felt so freeing to get outside without my jacket, hat, and gloves. I took leisurely strolls to meetings that I had across campus. One of these strolls brought me through Harvard Square, which was nice. It was great to see everyone out and about, wearing their shorts and flip-flops and sunglasses, sipping their iced teas and frappuchinos. It was the first time this year that I looked longingly at people riding their bikes.

There are real die-hard urban bikers in Cambridge, riding in the rain and snow and freezing cold. I don't envy those people; in the dead of winter I am fine not riding my bike. But when the weather gets nice, that's when I start to wish that I lived somewhere bike-friendly. Can't ride to work from Dedham! I'm trying to hatch a plan to remedy that, though.

Anyway, so the weather was really nice. But my Aunt Alice couldn't enjoy the nice weather, couldn't get out to her garden or open the windows to listen to the birds, because she was in the hospital. As a matter of fact, she may have been in hospice by that point. She passed away this past Saturday, early in the morning. What did she die from? A variety of things, and, as she felt, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that she was never going to be able to leave the hospital in the kind of health that she wanted, so she chose to forego further tests and treatments and called for comfort care only. She just turned 70, on February 27. She was so young. She will be sorely missed.

I have lots of memories of my Aunt Alice, especially from childhood. Going to her house was always a treat. She was not a woman of many words, and was a quiet force - fun, but I wouldn't have called her jolly. Definitely the North on the family compass, though. The family matriarch. I knew that even as a kid. Auntie Alice's word was the final one, and maybe even the only one. She was very wise.

I am so glad that she gave me and Doug some of her wonderful craftwork when we moved to Dedham. I will always have these to remember her by, along with photos and memories. But these two pieces of counted cross-stitch are so symbolic of her. Down-home. Crafty. Content to sit and create and think. I never really thought about this before, but some of that may have rubbed off on me.

So it was a sad week, going to her wake and funeral. I am sad for the whole family, because we lost someone very important to all of us, but I am most sad for my mother. My aunt was my mother's best friend. I can't imagine how it must feel to not have her there. This is one of the reasons why relationships are difficult for me - what do you do when they are over? How do you cope? I don't know. Things like this are hard.

But, in the midst of all of this, my mother and I celebrated our birthdays, and for the first time in about three months I had sugar. Real and concentrated sugar. In the form of everything! Jellybeans, jelly fruit slices, pretzel bread (oh, glorious pretzel bread), apple crisp, and, of course, my birthday cakes.

Wow, those birthday cupcakes were absolutely wonderful. I cannot wait until the next holiday or birthday so that I can have more.

So yes, I rang in my 33rd year eating cupcakes and jellybeans, petting my cats, planning my future with Doug, and thinking about life. Pretty typical things for me, and fun. Very fun. It was a very me day. And now I can get on with the year.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Keeping busy.

Do you ever wonder how you spend your time? Time passes so quickly. So incredibly quickly. But, for me at least, when I try to quantify how I am spending my time I am often left wondering what I am actually doing in those spare few hours between work and bedtime, or on those weekends at home. I often feel as if I have so little time, but maybe I have more time than I think. Because all it seems that I do is work, school, cook, and take pictures of the cats looking silly. That can't possibly fill a life, can it?

Case in point: this past week or so.

Cooked: Corned beef and cabbage dinner, in honor of everyone's favorite Irish holiday, St. Patrick's Day. It's on St. Patrick's Day (and also Thanksgiving) that I am so glad that I am not a vegetarian. The salty-beefy flavors of this festive meal are just too good to give up.

Schooled: Wrote my first research paper in about six years. Actually, probably longer than that. Seven or eight years, since I don't consider a lot of the papers that I wrote in library school real research papers. I had to reteach myself Chicago style citations, though I could have used the MLA format. Is all of this coming back to you, too? I had to pull all of this stuff out from so deep in my memory banks. Too much other useless info has crowded its way into my brain.

As mentioned, this paper was a case study on Sara Baartman, the Hottentot Venus, and the drawn out debate over the repatriation of her remains to South Africa. Museums can cling so strongly to what they consider their possessions, but I find this somewhat offensive when it comes to human remains. How does someone "own" Sara Baartman's skeleton, her brain, and her genitalia? Unless she willed these parts of herself to the museum, then they don't really own them. And she didn't will anything to anyone. And she's not a science experiment.

So that right there, in one or two nice and concise sentences, was my whole paper. If I had just handed that in I could have saved myself a lot of work!

Silly Cat Photos: Sherman is often a photogenic cat, though no cat is as photogenic as Sasha, just as no cat is as soft as Sasha. Sherman, however, isn't always lounging around on the bed looking cuddly and sleepy. Sometimes he's laying on the floor crazily grabbing at some random piece of string, or sometimes he's sitting on his favorite chair with his tongue sticking out.

I don't really know what to say about Sherman. He's darned cute, but he's also just so darned vacant. I really do believe that when he had his neck surgery the vet went a little too far into his neck with the scalpel and took out some of his gray matter, too. Sometimes I am amazed at the things that he does. But, we can forgive him most things, because he's just such a dope. And dopes are cute. And we like cute things. So therefore I guess we like dopes.

I, however, also like flowers. Like, really, really like flowers. I have little interest in putting the work in to grow them, but I certainly do like them when they sprout up in my yard. So, I guess I can now add to my list of things that I do to waste spend my time is "look at flowers." Spring is officially here, but even still, we have had an unseasonably abundant and early crop of flowers sprouting. This photo of some of the lovely purple crocuses in our front garden was taken a week ago, and you can see that already some of the blossoms had gone by!

Today when I went out to the front garden to look at the crocuses I was saddened to see that all of the blossoms look like those wilted ones. Now what do we do? What will bloom next? Without cookies and ice cream all I have are flowers to get me through my days. I suppose there are worse habits.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daylight Savings Strikes Again

We lost an hour today to Daylight Savings and, as usual, I am up later tonight because my internal clock is out of whack. I should be glad - this gives me time to blog. I won't be glad about it come 5:30 tomorrow morning when it's time to get up for work.

I haven't much by way of news. No new home improvements like the new light fixture from last week; no new glasses to unveil; no snow to complain about. This is what one might call a slow news week. I did make two interesting discoveries, though, both yesterday.

Discovery #1: I am getting older.

I discovered this when I came across this photo in my stationary drawer:

That's me and Mike circa 2001 when Doug and I first moved to Boston. I was painting my room in Dung House when this photo was taken. I was 22. That was ten and a half years ago. I look different. Mike looks different. And that time seems like a lifetime ago. I'm not going to say they were the good ol' days, because there were a lot of things about my time in Dung House that I wouldn't necessarily want to repeat, but still. I remember a younger me with some fondness, and I'd like to go back in time and give that me some advice.

I'd advise her to just do whatever it is that she really wants to do, regardless of where that might take me or how little money it might make her. I'd advise her to meet as many people as possible, to have as many experiences as possible, to travel to as many places as possible, and to greet every new face and every new place with a smile. My furrowed brow, the creases in my forehead that I am desperately trying to minimize with day and night creams, would have been much easier to counter back then. Hindsight is 20/20.

Of course, if I went back in time to tell my 22 year-old self all of those things then I may not be here, and there is a big, very big, part of me that believes that everything that you do, all of your experiences, lead you to where you are right now. And where I am right now (sharing a comfortable chair with the most unassuming of my three cats, typing on my little laptop purchased with money I earned from my good job that affords me the opportunity to take the class for which I have been doing readings and research all afternoon, seeing out of the corner of my eye my husband playing on his smartphone and petting another of our three cats) is pretty good. All of those experiences led to this, and will lead to where I want to go next. I made a declaration to Doug about where that somewhere is, and what I want to do when I get to that somewhere. That 22 year-old me, who is now this 33 year-old me (just about, anyway), just needs to keep doing what she's doing. It seems to have worked out okay so far.

Discovery #2: Tiny prune pieces are fun.

I have always liked prunes, but I have not always eaten them with the gusto that I am now eating these tiny prune bits.

I'm a sucker for novelty foods, and these diced prunes (cleverly disguised as "Plum Amazins") are an ingenious way to get people like me to eat more of an otherwise pretty unexciting food. Pretty soon I'll be touting the merits of bran flakes and Metamucil, like all good 80 year-olds. Like I said, I am getting older. This is what old people do. We talk about prunes.

However, this coming week I'm going to be talking about, or at least reading and writing about, something a little more interesting than prunes. I have my first paper to write for my history of museums class, and it's proving to be very difficult to get back into the swing of writing actual research papers. After much reading and learning how to navigate the way-too-complicated e-resources portal from my library system, I now just have to hunker down and get it done. In case you're wondering, I'll be (briefly) exploring the exhibition of Sara Baartman and her remains, their eventual return to her native South Africa, and what this particular case-study means for the display and repatriation of human remains on exhibit in museums. I have to be honest - I never really gave much thought to seeing human remains displayed in a museum, remains like the skeleton of a "native," or a body part in a jar. When seeing these displays I would read the accompanying text, observe the display, and move on to the next object. But that's the kicker - the display, the object, was human. A human being at whom I was gawking in a museum. Probably displayed next to a dinosaur skeleton, or a stuffed giant armadillo, or a bunch of arrowheads. Have you ever thought about that? How disrespectful that is, to display human beings - or worse yet, pieces of human beings - next to animals, or inanimate objects? This is why I am addicted to learning - there is a real rush to being exposed to and changed by new ideas.

Okay, Brownest Cat. Time to collect you and head upstairs. There's more learning to be done, but this time from our cozy bed.