January 2009


Apparently there was a mild earthquake here in West Seattle this morning around 5:30 a.m. I was conveniently knocked out on my mattress on the floor in my bunker… didn’t notice a thing. In fact, I think there could be a nuclear explosion and I wouldn’t even notice it down here. It’s a strange reality never seeing the light of day …. I see there is light outside but it’s only via the filter of the concrete window wells that are covered with chain link wire covers…..  this is the perfect place to become a vampire. Which I am. I sleep until about 11 every morning (unless I happen to be working) and stay up till about 1 a.m. every night, despite taking all kinds of sedatives and drinking (just a little ….that’s improving) red wine….  I just refuse to go to sleep….

In other news, I am making lists. Things like cancel gym membership, cancel cable, write letters to family members, clean and organize the garage, return overdue library books and dvds, get dressed, walk the dog, buy groceries, beg forgiveness on not making my car payment this month, take a shower, walk to the car to accomplish some of the aforementioned items.  And work on a plan to get the hell out of Seattle. A two year plan. I know, I know…. I’ll still be there no matter where I go…..  but Panama sounds good to me right now. Puerto Rico? Somewhere with warm sunny weather…..

Now back to that list…… 1. shower, 2. get dressed …. 3. ambulate.

That’s actually a title of a book my sister gave me when I graduated from Library School, but it was an architectural study of libraries…. little did I know of the true drama that goes on in the public library.

Here’s a little bit of my day today: I was late again. I will not elaborate on that. So the day started out rough. I’m feeling really crappy to boot. Then I found my friend Sue’s obituary that has finally appeared in The Times and after reading it, I was so overcome with grief I had to leave the building and hide out back sobbing for a while. Then a bright spot: Simon, a young man from Kenya who is the most gentle and polite person I’ve ever met came into the library. Last time I saw him he was losing his host-family and looking for help finding a free or subsidized place to live. I was afraid he had moved somewhere out of the neighborhood and I wouldn’t see him again. Some people just touch your heart and there’s no explaining it. Perhaps it was his gratitude for the help I offer or his amazement that he could actually bring his own books into the library to read if he wanted to. Or maybe it was just his beautiful face and lovely accent combined with a need for assistance acclimating to this confusing society in which he has landed. I haven’t asked how he came to be here….

Then a long time patron, an elderly lady who I have found extremely annoying over the years (I’m going on 10 here) came up to the desk looking for one of our other librarians. We’ll call this lady “J”. J has been declining mentally, noticably, over the years but now she has reached full blown dementia. She can’t remember her e-mail account or her password. She thinks her library card number is her e-mail account. She is frustrated and angry and confused. I have softened in my approach to her, of course. I just have to sit and listen and tell her it will be okay. She is moving to assisted living with her equally demented husband and they will not be in the neighborhood much longer. I can’t say I’ll miss her but I definitely feel badly for her…

Then there was the headline on the local paper about 600 dogs being rescued from a puppy mill in Snohomish, 80% of them pregnant. Truly enough to send me scrambling through my purse for some valium….. none there….. oh well.. I’ll just pop another anti-depressant….

This is just another day in the life of your nieghborhood librarian on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Some things make me laugh, others make me cry. The rest is all just life on parade…… and now, for something completely unrelated…..

UPDATE: Something quite unusual and beautiful happened right at closing. A cute little college boy was asking for Lewis Carroll books and I ordered him a few. He was with a friend and they were enjoying a bit of reparte that was going on between me and a regular patron who I joke around a lot with, lots of inappropriate, unprofessional banter….  So I order the books for him and he comes back to the desk asking for post it notes  and then tape. He went over in the children’s area and was acting weird.. lingering…. surreptitious… I thought he was up to some guerrilla performance art or something.  After he left and we locked the doors I went to investigate over in the area where he had been, expecting to find post it notes with odd messages on the childrens’ books. Instead, I found a beautiful piece of smooth round glass with blue and white swirls.  On the back was taped a sticky note with “thank you library” written on it …..  sometimes I think god (whoever god is) is talking directly to me but I’m usually too blind and deaf and caught up in my own head to hear it.


So I’m driving to work today in a state of sheer panic over the overdrafts that are headed my way at the bank, again, after shelling out $380 for car repairs this week.  I’m listening to NPR.  A guy from Slate magazine is discussing good stocks for investment  now that Obama is in office. Obama has an I-Pod, so invest in Apple. Obama vacations in Hawaii, so surely people will be flocking to Hawaii to catch a glimpse of him and that hot bod in his swmsuit,  so invest in Hawaiian Airlines.  Target has a designer that is helping with some redecorating at the White House, so Target looks good too because we’re all going to want to have that Obama style aren’t we????  And last, but not least, there’s some company that runs gyms all over the country to which Obama has access for his frequent workouts.  Since folks  will surely want to hop on the treadmill next to the pres,  memberships are going to soar, so invest there too,  ladies and gents.

I just want enough money to cover my overdraft charges for the month. I never ever in my life had overdraft charges with any bank. Until the last few months where I figure I’ve paid close to 800 bucks or more in said charges.  I keep borrowing money from my ex-husband, who is not really my ex-husband yet because we’ve been too lazy to file the paperwork, so technically I’m still his legal liability if I go under…..  he has no money either since he works as a custodian and he’s about to drop dead from the hard work at age 59…..  but still he lends me money from the home equity line of credit he took out on the house. Yes, he got the house…  I got the crappy bunker style apartment…. long story……

Now pardon me – I have to go and invest all that money I don’t have in whatever operation breeds the dog that the Obamas choose for First Dog.  Or just start breeding them myself.  Puppy Mills for Obamaniacs !!!

I know it’s bad form to start a post you can’t finish or even present in a reasonable fashion but I want to get this down before it slips away. I guess I could be watching the inauguration but I’d rather be sleeping. Then again I can’t stop thinking about Sue and Phil P. Two dear friends who have both died within the past months. Phil died this past summer of a heart attack and Sue died this past week from cancer. I was married in their home. A beautiful little mansion up on Interlaken Drive overlooking Portage Bay. A house that was always filled with people, music, food and drink. I house of a certain Southern gothic drama because Sue had her roots in the south although they were lifelong Seattle denizens. Phil was a genius who worked the last part of his life from home on some supercomputer project, often never getting out of his pajamas. He designed the machine that cut the tiles for the Space Shuttle Explorer exterior. I never knew that until it was mentioned at his funeral. He was too humble to ever brag about his accomplishments. He was a bluegrass musician who played with some big names but he never really talked about it. He and Sue had two beautiful children. The lovely red haired daughter Katie who was a bit of a fiddle prodigy herself, now married with two beautiful babies of her own. And the handsome Philip who I had a crush on when I was 39 and he was only 19…. I made out with him in the dining room one night after many drinks. He’s a grown man now, successful and still gorgeous. I always said if Sue knew she would have killed me with her bare hands. Now she will never know because she is gone. I want to post a picture here but my computer is not cooperating so it will have to wait.

I dated Sue’s brother Jeff for a while. Jeff is a fairly well known artist and sculptor. I will never forget Sue’s response to the news that we had paired up: “I give it three months….”   was her brutally honest take on it.  I think we made it about 6  months.  Jeff is still close in my heart. When I got married I was 4 months pregnant so couldn’t drink at the wedding but still I bought a very expensive bottle of champagne  to have one little toast but then forgot about it in the rush of the day. Lamenting the lost toast later to Sue she said “don’t worry, we’ll drink it when you get divorced..”  Again, speaking truth in her biting humorous way. Of course, the marriage didn’t last, but we drank the champagne before the divorce.

I moved away to go to library school 11 years ago. I lived in South Carolina and then North Carolina before returning to Seattle in December of 1999. I would call and make plans to see Sue and Phil but never made it to their new home which was all the way out in Lynnwood (jesus…. at least a 30 minute drive for christsakes, you know how that would inconvenience me…such a busy girl).. I never saw them again until Phil’s funeral last summer. Sue was so sedated and beside herself she didn’t even remember seeing me there, although I sat with her and hugged her. I talked with her several times after that. She had cancer for a long time but told me she planned to see her grandchildren grow up and she wasn’t giving up. Last week she died. She’s gone. The Poths were amazing, epic characters that I cannot do justice to sitting here in the early a.m. with a hangover and no ability to figure out what any of life means. Friends are precious. Acknowledge them before they go. Live life to have as few regrets as possible. That is all i know. And that isn’t much.  Here’s a link to her obituary, written by her incredible children.

Life has taken some odd, unfortunate and even curious turns lately. During December I experienced something similar to Dante’s various levels of hell. Mostly self-induced. I have ended up with some disrupted vertebrae, a slight hand fracture and a stark and rather bleak harsh look at my life. It ain’t pretty folks. My obsession with the boy has made it very tough to focus on the real work that I have to do but I think the obsession is lifting. And life is going on.

My friends that need me still call. I call them back randomly….. if  I can or if want to. The point is that they are my friends and they understand. My best is what they recall. For that i am grateful. Life is relentless. A plea or a challenge? An insidious question…….? And the mechanics breaking down around me as I speak…. the car, the computer, the all…….. at least i have a roof over my head for now….. i know grateful…………………

So I am overwhelmed by the news. I am overwhelmed by the events happening all around. I have a new therapist who suggests I turn off the tv for a while, and stop the blogging, the facebook chatter…. just put it all down for a while. Until I am ok with myself and can deal with my own crap, there’s no way I can do anything in the world but add to the chaos. So….. with that said, here’s a little blog post. Just a tiny one. Today my “to do” list: get Scout’s nails clipped, go to Burien for my MRI, call my doctor to schedule blood tests, watch a tiny bit of news, watch Horton Hears a Who, read, go to bed and prepare for a 5 day run at work after not working forever… and there is good news! My best friend Mikey is going to be joining the staff of my branch library. He is awesome. He is a real librarian. He is my best gay boyfriend. He is going to find out what a messed up branch I have been working in for 10 years…. oh dear…… well, he will fix it. Yay.