For the Love of Books

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I just moved. If you haven’t been paying attention, no worries, I barely pay attention myself.  However, this latest move really brought home (ha! Pun!) a harsh truth. I have too many books.  Although, really, are there ever too many books?  The movers who carted my stuff from the old place to the new place might say yes. They might even add in some colorful sentence enhancers.

After my last move, I downsized quite a bit and no longer have the “houseful of stuff” I’ve had in the past. I’ve narrowed down my possessions considerably. Still, it doesn’t seem to have made moving any easier. You see, I had only two different categories of boxes for the movers to sort through: fragile and books. The fragile items include a teacup collection, a vintage/antique plate collection, and other such sentimental possessions. I’d have to say though, the books won. You know, if we’re keeping count. Which I suppose we are.

I loathe giving up a book. In the past, I have donated a select few to a nursing home and a preschool. But in general, if I like a book enough to buy it, I like it enough to keep it.  So here I am, surrounded by books and fragile things. Not sure what that says about my state of being, but there you go.

If I’m honest, there’s really something comforting about being surrounded by books and if you’re an avid reader, I’m sure you can relate. I guess it’s why I love libraries and bookstores, and my own “not quite to the hoarding point” collection. I’ve always dreamed of having a library the likes of which are scene in Beauty and the Beast.  There’s just something about mountains of books that feels like home.

To start, there’s the soothing smell of an old book. Hell, even brand-new books have a comforting aroma. I’m willing to bet that you know exactly what I’m talking about. Next, there’s the satisfaction to be found in a page flip. As you progress further and further into a tale and flip a page, a feeling of accomplishment that’s almost addicting always follows. I’m not even going to get into the sheer excitement of delving deeper and deeper into a good story and the need – the absolute need – to find out how it ends … I mean, that would probably be showing a bit too much of my “crazy.”

To say I owe a lot to books is probably also showing a bit too much of my “crazy.” Doesn’t make it any less true though. I’m able to look back and see every book, every story, every adventure, and connect it to the time in my life when I first read it. When I need to reconnect to that time in my life or that feeling, I re-read certain books. Some books are just “comfort food” for my soul. Others take me on an adventure or thrill me with the ghosties that I love so much.

Heaven for me would be my own little kingdom of books, books, and more books. Nerdy? Yes, but it’s my thing. We all need to find that thing in life that brings us joy and, for me, that’s books.

Beauty is as Beauty Does

I think YouTube’s beauty community tends to be a bit underappreciated. Underneath the drama and obviously forced collaborations lies a community that inspires me. No, seriously.

It’s easy to forget that the talented young people on YouTube do more than apply makeup under carefully positioned lighting. These influencers run a business. Although it looks like fun, I imagine that they work hard. I’m not sure if it’s worth multi-millions a year hard, but still. I can’t even get my life together to buy groceries and gas in the same week, and here these people are, figuring out contours and crafting the perfect cat-eye all while maintaining cosmetic sponsors worth more money than I could ever hope to have … and that includes my “win the lotto” retirement plan.  And have you seen the ones that can curl their hair WITH A FREAKIN’ FLAT IRON? I didn’t even know that was a thing. It’s impressive.

I can’t do makeup for shit. I’m horrible at it. But I do find myself giving the tutorials a try from time to time. Is it always a successful recreation? Ummm, no. Is it a hell of a lot of fun to try? Absolutely. Well, mostly. Okay, usually. Fine, if I’m being completely honest, it can be almost as frustrating as driving in heavy traffic, and we all know how I am when I’m driving in heavy traffic. One side of my face ends up tolerable and the other side, well, it turns out different, shall we say.

I still like watching the videos though. The whole thing with social influencers profiting from these beauty tutorials is a relatively new phenomenon.  Back in the day, if you wanted to learn how to do makeup, you experimented with a best friend (makeup… yeah, we’re talking makeup here…sheesh, get your minds out of the gutter, people!). Or had a visit with your friendly Avon or Mary Kay representative – and the pushy sales pitch that went with it. The lovely Elizabeth Arden coined the phrase “makeover” and provided the service in her salons with many others following suit. However, this was – and remains – an unattainable decadence to many, if not most. Now all you need is a WiFi connection and boom! you’re on the road to a perfectly contoured and highlighted night out on the town.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that a lot of you are rolling your eyes right now. YouTube in general, and especially the “influencers,” are an oft-maligned group. However, much like the song lyric sites that save us all from embarrassment during our daily mobile concert commute to work, online tutorials (makeup or otherwise) are changing how we access information and learn new things… and they’re making this information available across the board. And given the fact that the individuals who do these sorts of things have managed to snag jaw-droppingly lucrative sponsorships as recompense for their time, I can’t help but think this younger generation has got it all figured out.

Long Distance Call

I will admit, since last October, life has been weird. I appreciate all of you sticking with me during my “sporadic writing phase.” It’s kind of like Picasso’s “blue period,” just not as… well, blue. Or paint-y. Definitely not as paint-y. Or hanging in a museum. Okay, fine. So, it’s not like Picasso’s blue period. Happy now? Sheesh.

Today would’ve been my Dad’s 78th birthday. Yeah. It’s still all so strange. We had his memorial last month. We’d been holding off for a number of reasons, not least of which, we simply did not want to officially say goodbye. There were military honors, and they gave my Mom a flag. One of his siblings spoke about his life. It was a lovely ceremony. I wanted to speak as well, but my severe anxiety, as it so often does, got the best of me. I think my Dad would’ve understood though. Neither of us were known for lengthy conversations, though we knew the love was there. That, we had in spades. As they are wont to say, we have closure, whatever the hell that means. All I know is, my heart still hurts.

And now, it’s summer. In our family, we all knew what that meant.

Hope the fishing’s good where you are, Dad.

Take a Number

Just this week, I found out that I owed a fortune for a missed EZ pass violation when I tried to renew my registration.  I paid it by phone and was told I had to go to the MVA right then because the lady who took my payment was sending over a “clear notice” for the flag and it could only be done that day.  OOOOOOkkkkkkk… I was in jammies since I was gonna stay home all day and work. Because, of course I was.

Off I go to the MVA.  About ten minutes in to the drive, I see a car parked to the side of the road.  It registered in my brain that it was a cop and I was going, well, warp-speed, just as his lights came on.  Why hello officer, hope you’re having a nice day. Why no, I don’t know why you’re stopping me… And I must’ve looked particularly pitiful, bonus points for not having time to do my make-up properly, or else he had bigger fish to fry, because all I got was a warning. Little did I know this was just the universe lulling me in to a false sense of security.

My Google maps tried to loop me in a circle to get to the MVA.  Luckily, I remembered it had done that the last time I went to the MVA, and I was able to keep from going too far down that rabbit hole again.

Get to the MVA and see that it’s national let’s all go to the MVA day.  Who knew?

MVA Hell started when I was instructed to wait in a line to find out what line I should wait in.  I had to pee when I went in but refused to go after being in line cause I didn’t want to start over.  After about 45 minutes I finally get to the front and the person in charge of the line pulled up my account to see that the lady who took my phone payment hadn’t sent anything over at all, even though she had told me I HAD to got to MVA that day or the world was going to implode.  Go over to the EZ Pass counter, they say.  It’ll be fun, they say.

Next stop for me had to be the restroom.  The disgustingly dirty restroom with no TP and no paper towels. Whatever. I’ve got kids. And dogs. I’ve handled worse.

I come out and head over to the EZ Pass counter line.  After twenty minutes I am told that I needed to go up to the bill payment collections counter with my confirmation number that the lady had given me over the phone (that I had taken with me despite the lady on the phone saying I wouldn’t need it, cause I’m obsessive prepared like that).  UUUUPPPP the escalator I go where I immediately found myself in another line.

After 15 minutes I realize this line was not an official line. I look around to see the “take ticket” sign and plod over to grab a number.  It was like 1006 or something, with the “now serving” number on 4.  After sitting for another 20 minutes, someone comes out and I ask (beg) her to tell me I was in the right place.  Not exactly; she hears what I need and sends me to the bill payment collections window… which is apparently different from the bill payment collections counter. I don’t know, people. It’s the freakin’ MVA.

I was in that line for about ten minutes.  The lady at the counter … there was no window, and trust me, the irony was not lost on me despite my ever-growing frustration … pulled my file up, saw the fines had been paid, gave me what I needed and instructed me to go back to the EZ Pass line. What I needed just happened to be the same confirmation number I already had in hand, just handwritten by the clerk on a piece of official MVA scrap paper.

Down I went, back to the EZ Pass line.  After waiting in that line for what seemed like an hour – though was likely just 15 minutes, I was told that I hadn’t needed to be in that line, I needed to be on the other side of the room waiting to pay my flag and administrative fines.  First, of course, I had to go back into the original line and get a number.

From there, it was the typical waiting around. As if I hadn’t been doing that enough already.  I don’t know how many of you frequent the MVA, but the waiting area is sort of like a twisted Survivor game.  Alliances are made and broken, betrayal (well it’s YOUR fault you went outside for a minute, back of the line, pal), bartering (yup, I’m number 7345.  I see you’re 8736, I may be able to help you out.  What’s it worth?).   Entire romances begin and end there (we didn’t know each other when we came here this morning, now we’re getting a divorce.  Meet Jim, our son, he’s graduating from college next year).  Tempers flare because there are no snacks (why don’t they allow a hotdog stand in there, is what I want to know), and online identities are stolen (well, duh, they name the Wi-Fi “use at your own risk”).

Finally, I get to see someone and thankfully she was very kind. I know, I know, I was just as shocked as you, but it’s true. Anyway, my paperwork (if it can even be called paperwork, since it’s all maintained in cyberspace) was straightened out with the simple press of a button and I was finally free to be on my way.

Next time I go to the MVA, it will be for my license renewal.  That’s simple enough though.  I snagged the instructional pamphlet on my way out of the MVA and I’m reading it as we speak.  Wait. What the Hell is a “Real ID” and why do I need my birth certificate, social security card, first born child, and the middle names of my great-great-great grand parents?

Screw this. I’m taking the bus.

Breakroom Philosophy

The end of last year was, well, let’s just say, less than pleasant. The beginning of this year is on the same track. I find myself wishing the year away because, in a word, I’m tired.

So. With that said, let me recount to you a conversation I had with a coworker this morning as we spoke briefly over a percolating coffee pot.

Me (sighing): Good grief, will this year ever end??

Co-worker (bright and cheerful):  It’s only Wednesday.

Me: …

Co-worker: …

Me: … Ummm, yeah, that about sums it up.

And so it does.

Future Disappointment

I remember watching the Jetsons years ago and being so excited for a future with flying cars, fully automated kitchens, and robot maids named Rosie.

Instead, here we are. With sex robots and Taco Bell delivered to our door.

All is not lost, though. There are some real-world inventions that I never would have imagined as I watched George walk Astro on the conveyor belt outside their floating apartment complex.

The Wine Rack: Ladies, rejoice. The Wine Rack is a bra that you fill with wine. It comes with a sipping nozzle (no, it’s not there, you perv! It’s on the side of the bra). You can carry your own booze with you anywhere you like.  This is as hilarious as it is genius.

The Better Marriage Blanket: Otherwise known as the fart blanket. Allows your husband (because we all know women don’t fart) to pass scentless gas.  This is going to save marriages because, according to a survey I just made up, farts are responsible for 62% of all divorces.

Rear Gear: At last. A solution to the annoying problem of your dog or cat having a butt.  No lie, these are stickers to put over the hole in your dog’s rear end.

Baby Mop: As someone who puts rags under her shoes to mop up spills because I’m too lazy to bend over, I applaud this one.  Stick this to your baby and as he crawls, he is polishing your floor. Sheer genius.

Diet Water: Not even going to try to explain this one. Apparently, getting fat by drinking water is a real issue.

Vertical Bed: You know, if you need to nap in line at the grocery store.

TV Hat: Wear your TV hat as you sleep standing up in your Vertical Bed.

Banana Slicer: Of all the fruits on the planet, the hardest to master is the banana.  Thank God someone invented this handy banana slicer.  For your added pleasure, you’ve got to read the comments on this one.

Neck Pro: Because having a licensed chiropractor to treat your neck pain is so “last year.”

Face Flex: Apparently, you can use this medieval torture implement to tighten and tone your facial muscles.  Scroll down the page to the short video.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

Seriously though guys, if we are ever going to have flying cars, end world hunger, and achieve world peace, we need to do better than this.

Ok, so, I know you’ve been waiting for me to comment on the sex robots, so here is my take. They have male and female sexbots, and, well, honestly, I’m not sure it’s a bad thing.  Although I am concerned about the “try for 30 days, money back guarantee.” Just ewww.

As for me, if they make a male robot who does dishes, cuts the lawn, and changes the oil in my car, I’m all in.