Archives for posts with tag: life

gift

For my thirtieth birthday, amongst other things, Stuart had this bracelet made for me. He asked the designer to put 808.02 on there. It’s the Dewey Decimal Classification number for style manuals. Actually, 808.02 is the DDC for “authorship and editorial techniques,” and 808.027, “editorial techniques,” is where cataloguers are instructed to class style manuals, but that was getting excessively clunky (and I had to log into OCLC Connexion to find that out) so 808.02 it is.

I asked, upon opening the gift, what the DDC number was for. So sue me, I knew the 800 class is literature! That’s more than most people who aren’t librarians or sixth graders could tell you. Stuart said, “it’s for style manuals. Because you’re so stylish.” He’s just being nice – it’s also because I love rules. I love grammar. I love the way different organizations or cultures have sprung up around the correct way to create a bibliography, and why. How for different applications, there are different ways of organizing information and displaying it. There’s a good reason why I love library science. It’s because I love order.

This is one of those teachable moments, realizing how much I love order and organization. I’m thirty now! It’s okay to be obsessed with taxonomies! That’s just who I am! Another thing I am is a woman in her thirties, starting to think about family. And babies. Ohhhh, the kicking ovaries. Ladies, you tried to warn me.

I’ve been stymied as to why a woman already aware of her desire to start a family would suddenly FLIP A SWITCH just because of a birthday. And it’s not, to clarify, that we’re going to have a baby tomorrow. The dog and the graduate degree are enough for me right now. But what’s the difference between spending all of my twenties happily, calmly aware that I was going to have children someday, and turning thirty, where I can’t even look at pictures of my friends’ babies without getting all broody and making funny faces at Stuart? (Although, have you met Esme? You’d want one too.) Seriously, the other day, I found myself cuddling Nano in a distinctly …. swaddling … manner. What! The! Eff!

But today, I was talking to my therapist and I hit on it. In my twenties, starting a family with Stuart was something I was going to do in my thirties. In a very rigid, time-centered way, it was Tomorrow. I wasn’t in my thirties! Oh, guess what. Now I am in my thirties, which means that clock is suddenly labeled Today. And while nothing else, empirically, has changed, everything has changed. This is the decade we’re going to do this … and here we are, in that decade. Someone get me a to-do list! (Don’t worry, that to-do list starts with: Finish Degree.)

Which goes back to my first point, stepping slowly away from all this Heavy Stuff (although feel free to empathize and extemporize on your own clock systems if you have them). I am 808.02! I am your friendly neighborhood organizer. But Stuart also pointed out, I could easily be Greek myths and legends, which would be 398.20938. What would you be, if you were a DDC number? You don’t have to be a library nerd to play along – give me a general category you think would work and I’ll see if I can’t tease out the right number for you. My nerdy expertise could be your new charm bracelet!

There’s too much space in this apartment when Stuart’s not here. The poor guy has been working non-stop for two weeks, dragging himself in every day for twelve hours and then on the weekends. It’s madness. My mother asks me about it in shock, like, there should be a law! I agree.

Nano has spent the weekend wandering around the apartment aimlessly and then flumphing in random spots. Sometimes I catch him waking up with an idea in his flimsy little brain, like, I’ll check the bedroom, I’ll bet that’s where he is, and then off he trots, full of confidence, to the bedroom. I hear him execute his patented jump onto the bed (three times taller than he) and then sort of slink back into the living room, like he’s hoping I won’t notice he got fooled again. He’s like a goldfish*.

I’m sort of like Nano, with less blonde moments and more gadgets. I watch stupid movies and weird television, like that Sarah Jessica Parker atrocity (I know, WHICH ONE) and The L Word. I read too many blogs. This weekend I spent half my time online catching up on Antonia‘s archives (sorry if that’s weird, A.) I don’t want to do anything social, because I like being social with Stuart, or at least, I like knowing he’s doing something fun if I’m being social without him. I do the dishes more when he’s working late, because if there’s anything sadder than spending too much time alone in your apartment, it’s doing it with a sinkful of dirty dishes.

And last weekend, I even ran away to Miami! Well, not really, I hated going without him, but I wanted to visit Mom in her new apartment before she comes up here for two months in Rhode Island, Dealing With The House, which is very caps-lock, since it’s really a little depressing to be in that beautiful old pile without my dad around. You can hear it in her voice. Miami is better, with its salty air and Latin vibes and double-wide doors to her apartment, with the French conversation classes and the dinners with my brother who is right down the road.

Miami is good for me, too, because it’s such a delicious sin compared to New York. I love the unrepentant enjoyment that town has with itself, like it just looks at itself in the mirror and goes “que rica!” and saunters out the door. It’s the way it flips up the floppy brim of its hat, from its perch on the beach, Mai Tai in hand and stares up at you (New York, with your grump and your garbage smell and your chaos) and sort of blinks, shrugs, and invites you to its yacht party. Miami! Mi-yaaammmi! You are so good to me, even if I affect a terrible Latin accent that’s a cross between Hank Azaria in Birdcage, and Al Pacino in Scarface, anytime I land on your shiny beaches.

So between last weekend away in Miami, and this weekend at home on my saggy couch, I’m pretty boring, right? Wait until school starts again and I start yammering on about metadata. I’ll just show myself out.

*I realize this is a myth. It’s too awesome not to be true. Leave me alone over here with my fantasies of cosmic silliness.

In two weeks, we will board a plane to Santa Fe for five days of vacation. We’ll do what we do best on vacation – I will obsessively read the travel guide and poll everyone I know for the best restaurants. Stuart will effortlessly learn the orientation of the city and navigate the transit options, and he’ll know when I’m twenty minutes exactly from full-bore hangry. For as much as I love the day-to-day of our lives together, I relish the chance to travel somewhere new with Stuart. Our best complementary attributes engage.

But I’m burying the lede. The day we travel westward is my thirtieth birthday. On August 31st, I’ll pass from my twenties into my thirties. Let’s take a moment here, shall we? Let’s eulogize this properly now.

My twenties were the least wild of all possible twenties. I remember a few truly debauched and distraught moments: having to stop for French fries at a diner on my way home from the Russian Samovar because I was too drunk to find the subway. A few ill-advised romantic choices, usually thanks to the Internet. Being sad but dry-eyed in the Port Authority watching a particularly fragile piece of my heart leave town.

But I remember some miracles, too. My first apartment, full of lazy brunches with the wittiest, most uproarious friends you can imagine. The feeling of looking out over the city from my 42nd story office window at 22 tender years of age, fearless and gutsy and happy. Knowing I hadn’t figured it out yet, but knowing I’d found the place and the people that would get me there in style.

And the best: finding Stuart.

And the worst: losing Dad.

I’m not particularly worried about neck cream and creaking bones and the loss of the excuse to shake my ass in clubs. I didn’t spend much of my earliest adulthood doing that anyway; I was too busy talking to these fascinating people I know and learning New York City like the back of my hand.

I will miss nothing about the last ten years except the person who made it so much better. But I gave him a 4.0 average in grad school and the sight of me happy, married, and his daughter through and through.

My thirties will bring me new facets of family – first, with Mom finding herself new paths in the world, and then, hopefully, new layers of family between Stuart and me and some unnamed zygotes (one day).

My thirties will bring a new career, one that I could not be more excited about. I am surprised it took me so long to realize that although writing is my first love, my great tool, that it is not my best-suited career. I am bloody thrilled to be joining the ranks of the world’s organizers, disseminators, knowledge finders and suppliers. Librarianship suits me like bespoke. I hope some day (perhaps I will be saying this as I go into my forties) to pass on the skills I’m learning and will learn, to get my PhD, and to do research and educate future librarians. Let’s get squee-ish for a second here: HOW COOL IS THAT?

My thirties will bring me more clarity about friendships and relationships. The lessons learned by fire for the past decade – be honest, be kind, don’t apologize too much, work hard for the people you love, be loyal, forgive – are already solidifying into canon. This feels good.

I have learned a lot about myself through the eyes of those who love me. I have figured out many of my best and worst impulses. I’ve learned to be proud of what I’m capable of, and I’m working on being at peace with my flaws. My thirties can hopefully be a time to focus more outward.

So Santa Fe will be a celebration and a page-turning. I will keep doing what I am doing because although life is not as perfect as it was before my dad died, it’s still pretty damn good and that’s okay.

I would love to hear you, blog friends, tell me about turning thirty. I’ll take it all to heart; there’s nothing I love more than research. Best thing? Worst thing? Most unexpected change? Thing you miss most from your twenties? Let’s hear it.

a girl and her dog

It’s been six long months since winter, since the worst and toughest days. I’d like to think – why is that in my nature, that I’d always like to think? – that there’s something I’ve learned here, that I’ve put my pencil down and finished the exam and now this is what I’ve learned.

But in truth, there’s little I’ve learned through winter into spring and now that we’ve tumbled into summer except that grief is a thing I will have to endure with as much grace as my reserves can muster. I have learned that it can be less often but not less potent. I have learned that I miss my dad no less today than I already did six months ago, the day he died. I have learned that because of our extraordinary bond, it’s okay that this part is the hardest, but that other parts are easier – the parts where I have no regrets and I know where I stood, which was in a place of real and abiding love. Where I still stand, actually.

I’ve learned who I can rely on to check on me a little more than usual, and who I have to forgive for being unable to cope with loss. I have learned that I can be tough and competent when I need to be, when Mom needs me to be, but that at home, with my tears buried into Stuart’s shoulders, I don’t need to be any kind of competent or tough, I can just be bereft if I want to be. I have learned that Stuart is my rock, well, I already knew that, but I know that without him I would have long ago needed a dive mask to get through the vale of tears.

And I learned that as the sun warmed our corner of the earth, I got through more days with more smiles, and now I’m doing better. I’m less irrational, I’m less afraid of the unknown, un-dad-approved future. I’m more vulnerable, still, I am still a delicate fucking flower compared to the Weimar tank I used to be, but I’m better. And now that it’s unbearably hot out, and I can’t remember how cold and frozen it was in December when I didn’t think the world would ever warm again, I can’t believe it’s been six months and the hardest six months, at that, and there isn’t anything to show for it. Not exactly.

through the trees

So back when I still had a head reasonably screwed on, I nonetheless decided to coincide a trip to Boston for BFFsie’s wedding with ALA Midwinter because, apparently, I like a challenge.

I’ve been dreading it for a week; squirreling my head away from the conference materials sitting on my desk, I simply couldn’t bring myself to Plan such a thing as what to do in two days at my First Ever Professional Conference.

Turns out, all you have to do is show up and know you have a few fabulous fellow Pratthattanites to flounce around with. With which to flounce around. Whatever, I’m tired, it was a lot of work, all that flouncing. Not to mention those margaritas with lunch and all that raiding the ARC piles* like a very well-dressed scavenging horde**. Plus, I got to flounce with BDL, a fellow library student and New Yorker who agrees with me on critical issues pertinent to librarianship like “why do I have to order extra cheese with my fajitas?” and “I expected bagels at this event”. In my book this makes her top shelf.

Tomorrow I fully expect Al Gore to ask me to check myself before I wreck myself, environmentally speaking. Aw yeah.

*OMG so much bookswag. Tomorrow I will be strict with myself and only visit vendors that offers products about which I want to learn, instead of flinging myself at the Penguin Booth and just licking all the books.

**SO well dressed, was my gang of ladies. And full of brains. Librarian chicks are awesome.

This morning I made a perfect pot of coffee (two tablespoons to six ounces of water, STUART) and ate half of the perfect vanilla cupcake that Lavina sent me home with. Ever have cupcakes for breakfast? You should. I’m thinking of following it up with croutons for lunch.

Noon will mark the point in this day off where I have to decide if I’m going to
a. sit around watching Instant Netflix and eating bon bons
b. tidy my room and do laundry or
c. go to IKEA and look at closet organizing solutions

On the one hand, I think, I should be as lazy as I can because in the next week I’m
a. having a wisdom tooth removed
b. going to boston for a library conference and
c. a wedding and also
d. coming back to start my third semester where I’m in
e. two demanding classes and also
f. serving as graduate assistant to my highly intelligent knowledge org professor.

On the one hand, I’m reluctant to rob myself of the very last bon-bon/netflix chance I have until May. On the other hand, will sitting around eventually lead to depression and malaise? Is there a third hand?

Do you like this new thing where I open a blog window and just yammer on until I come to a reasonable stopping point? It’s like 2003 all over again.

I took his old pencil case out of his desk, the day he got too sick to fix. It’s a tartan fabric, flat and long, with holes in all four corners. It’s got leather alongside the zipper. I’m not sure I meant to bring it back to Brooklyn, but then I did. There’s a dime in there, it’s from 1941, and it’s got Hermes on it instead of Kennedy, obviously.

I think he’s had it most of my life, the pencil case, since I remember the privilege of borrowing it when I was young. But I’m sitting at our coffee table looking at it, and I realize I don’t know where he got it. My mom might know, most likely, because not all the questions I have are unanswerable, but I can’t ask him.

I think about how I felt the day he died; fragile but full of light and grace, full of unrealized sorrow, and so hyperaware of all the love around me. I felt so lucky to have known him.

And now I feel so bereft, so heavy, so unable to ask him questions about the pencil case, or whether there’s a maximum I can contribute to my IRA this year, or whether we did alright with his funeral. I don’t know that I want that lightness back, now that the sorrow has arrived, because I know I have to go through this, I have to put my head down and get through it. I just keep thinking how upset he would get when I cried about anything, and now he’s not here to tell me not to cry because everything is going to be fine, even if it will be.

I got woken up this morning at 6 because I was having a dream where a classification scheme whose origins were shrouded in mystery was killing people that tried to use it. It may be that this is a sign that I am too immersed in library school and I should back away slowly, but I’d rather think of it as a psychological alarm clock reminding me to get up and finish my paper for today’s cataloging class, wouldn’t you?

I’m in this phase now – maybe we can call it a superhero complex – where I feel an almost limitless capacity to do anything you give me. Which means I keep taking on new ventures. Secretary of a student organization! bring it on. Why don’t you add a graduate assistantship! And maybe an internship! And maybe some methamphetamines! I will admit, it’s going to have to slow down eventually, and I’d like to think I know my limit, but it may be that my Type A personality is at the wheel and I’ll only know my limit as it speeds by me and then I’ll get a B.

Which is my worst fear, by the way. I guess before last year my worst fear was, I don’t know, dying a horrible death before I ever bought a pair of Paige jeans, but now my fear is getting a B. Oh, I’m also afraid of the mouse that I think is in the empty pizza box in the kitchen, but we all know who’s winning that fight (the mouse). Now I’m afraid of getting a B. And maybe this is making up for years of never really caring if I got a B (cf. high school and most of college) and  I can’t tell if I’m simply this committed to my new chosen field of study, or I’m just becoming aggressive in my old age, but I’ve got this shiny 4.0 average that I’ve never before been in possession of and I’m determined to keep it.

Just when it doesn’t really matter, too! You can argue that a 4.0 in high school will get you into a decent university and a 4.0 in university will land you a good graduate program but what does a 4.0 in a graduate program get you? Tea and cookies with the Supreme Allied Commander of Librarianship? Who would that be, anyway?

So I’ve been working really hard on my classwork, but still in that Me way, where I schedule the time to complete an assignment around, let’s say, the last 20% of time in which I can feasibly accomplish it. I see my upcoming week in these chunks of time that have labels like “work on HTML for 654” and “do research on Moys” and “finish the $@#@ minutes for that meeting already”. Which is to say, I’ve gotten really realistic about how long it takes me to do things, so I rarely cock up and give myself too little time, but I’m always on the knife edge of turning out good work against a limited and shrinking clock. Like waking up today at 6am to finish a paper that’s due this afternoon. A four-page paper, to be fair, but there’s that 4.0 sitting on my night-table shrieking at me like a deranged academic fairy.

I’ll tell you one thing for free, though, I’m not packing the deranged academic fairy for our trip next week to Puerto Rico. A few months back, Stuart and I realized we had a massive chunk of air miles from all his DC jaunts, and two big milestones in the fall: his 30th birthday and our 5th (!) wedding anniversary. So we started saving for some worthwhile trip, and that turned out to be two days in Vieques (swimming with the bioluminescent plankton!) and two days in El Yunque (our first rainforest!). I’m pretty proud of how we’ve scrimped and saved for the trip, not to mention my BITCHING spreadsheets, you want to see? Wait, you’re surprised I went to library school? – where was I.

Oh yes. Beach. Rainforest. I’ll tell you all about it when we get back, promise. Until then, can someone babysit my fairy?

It’s spring, bitches! Just in time for summer. Some elements of the past month:

  • finished with my first semester in school, definitely the right decision to go back to school – it was moderately stressful, particularly from mid-March to last week, but I really enjoyed every minute and loved the challenge (shut UP, Simon, it was NOT that easy). Plus I learned a bunch of stuff, ask me about reference! and the Type-A in me is excited that I finished it with a 4.0, pretty sure that’ll be the only semester I can say that. I’ve never in my academic career done that well so I’m gonna brag a little, mmkay?
  • I am currently obsessed with: getting a new (old) bike, the color yellow, long scarves, gold shoes, trader joe’s lasagne, delicious library 2, the new yorker, nars blush, and good margaritas.
  • finally spent the day at May‘s for our much-missed writing/dogs/lunch date, in anticipation of this Friday’s rooftop Salon Esse, last of the season. Writing groups are awesome, especially when combined with drinking. I know that fire was a bitch and all, but this apartment (now neighbors with Robin!) is incredible, perfect for our writing dates, which is a pity since
  • I’ve gone and ruined my lazy summer by getting an internship here, so from mid-June to mid-August I’ll be working five days a week between that and my regular part-time job. SUMMER LAZY FAIL!
  • But I’m excited, people, oh so excited, to be working in a gorgeous old law library on awesome projects with a director who’s really keen to show me the ropes and teach me new stuff about librarying in a library. Oh yes. I just used it as a verb.
  • Have I mentioned we’re going to San Francisco to stay with the incredible PickardJohnsons and visit the Alameda Flea and Napa and the seals and the cable cars and AL-CA-TRAAAAAZ (*note: may not actually go to Alcatraz, may just make Eddie Izzard jokes constantly) and maybe drag these gorgeous people and their baby out to coffee?
  • No? I didn’t mention it?
  • Well then now is the time to start leaving me dozens of comments about your favorite places to eat/shop/walk/drink/boogie in San Francisco. I am sure in five short days in early June we will manage all of them. We’ll just forego sleep.
  • WHAT? I know it’s June. I know it’ll be cold and raining. The tickets were like no dollars. Shut up.

Okay, I’ve officially updated my blog on the goings-on of my life for the past month. I’ve left out the part where I ran for student government and lost (what! I know.), the part where we paid a bunch of money to a nice lawyer man for a stupid immigration thing for no good reason (that story is hilarious, let me tell it to you over three bottles of wine), the part where my bestie is moving to London and I’m both jubilant and crushed about it, the part where the dog threw up in the car a bunch, and the part where our apartment is still an unholy mess because I’ve been in grad school and Stuart has been slaving at work.

Don’t ever say I don’t give you the good stuff at pH, in bullet points, and with a minimal amount of excessive capitalization.

So I have a lot of dreams.

Three nights ago I dreamed that I was traveling through a post-apocalyptic city with a group of nameless friends and Nano; we found an unoccupied apartment and hunkered down and I remember trying to open a can of soup with my keys, and wondering whether the glass doors that led to the balcony were safe from marauders. Two nights ago, I dreamed that I discovered by best friend’s fiance was cheating on her and what’s more, unrepentantly, and I had to be the one to tell her about it a week before their wedding. I also dreamed I worked at the UN library. Then last night, I dreamed I was once again running the orientation for interested students at my college paper, where I was EIC; then I dreamed that I was a rabbi trying to convince people that the Holocaust was about to happen again. I woke up halfway through a dream where my friend’s boyfriend was standing in my bathroom, chatting to me while I showered in a turquoise prom dress. I remember hoping my mother didn’t walk in as she’d legitimately think it strange.

I’m not telling you about these dreams in that, oh, look at the crazy things I dream, anyone want to interpret them? sort of way. I’m just wondering whether anyone else dreams this vividly, this crazily, every night. Some mornings I wake up exhausted from them. Is it something in my diet? Is there some sort of homeopathic remedy I should look into that, I don’t know, dampens the timbre of my dreams? Conrad once told me that kava kava makes you dream crazy, dreams like the ones I have all the time. Don’t even get me started on the one about the cat hookers.

It’d be nice to wake up and not have any memory of how crazy my brain is when it’s unleashed on my imagination.