Author Archives: mdeira

Toilet Seats and Library Days

After losing my entire Saturday due to certain health issues, I’ve decided I will continue blogging about my health. Lucky readers! I think when I say things like, “I’ll be writing less about my health and focusing on [whatever]” it’s because I’m feeling fairly good that day. Then I get sick, miss a day of life, and then come here to complain.

In other news, my toilet seat snapped off both hinges around 2 am last night. Today, I’ve just been sort of balancing it. We did get a replacement but I’m not sure it will fit. As I’ve said to others, this is our first floor “guest” bathroom. So it doesn’t really matter…but it does. To me. Because sometimes it can be difficult to go upstairs. I only go to the second floor if I know I’m going to be there for a certain amount of time. Climbing the stairs for a quick pee is not worth the effort. Right now I need to take a shower, but I’m thinking of ways I can improve it. I can take up a small bag of laundry I have, a new pillow, some magazines, and… That kind of thought process isn’t just because of my fatigue, it’s also been impressed on me by the work I do.

Image Credi: Su Ai

Image Credit: Su Ai

At the library, we minimize the number of times an item or group of items is handled. For example, when I first started working, you would check in a book and place it on a shelf, a shelver or clerk would empty that shelf by placing all its items on a cart, then take that cart to the workroom, remove each book/item and shelve it on its appropriate cart, that last cart is put in order by a shelver who, finally, takes it out to shelve. Now we do the following if you check something in: check it in, place it in order & by group on a cart, whoever is available takes that cart to the workroom, puts each item on its appropriate cart, which — when it’s full — goes into the “corral” of carts. Later a shelver grabs the cart at the front of the line, puts the books in order, and then takes it out to shelve. See? We cut out one step but added two more. Wait. What. That’s not right. I must have messed something up. Ack. Don’t listen to me. Anyway, we want to make sure that we don’t just move items from one cart to another and another. That’s just inefficient and a waste of time; however, it’s also physically demanding on those of us who do this every day. No one wants to get what’s called “shelver shoulder,” although it happens to library specialists as well as shelvers.

Speaking of work, I’ve been keeping a sort of “daily highlights” journal based on my day at the library and posting it on Facebook. Here’s the expanded version:

Tuesday, Day One
The return! Once I got to the library and seated myself at the DVD circulation desk (located in a sort of A/V room but it’s still a full-service circulation desk), I felt like I’d never left. I had missed interacting with patrons and I got to do a lot of that today. There was one little cutie pie who wanted to know if the Tin Tin DVD had arrived yet. I had to tell him that he was #27 on the list and we only had four copies. :( But he was a nice kid! I hope people watch & return the DVD as quickly as possible because he’s leaving the country on 2/25. I guess it’s available on Netflix but a lot of families don’t even have the extra income for internet services. Anyway, day one down. HOORAY

Wednesday, Day Two [my favorite day so far]
Felt terrible today and was really dragging. But I survived! Just before I left the library for the day, I got to tell a group of seriously nerdy, but crude, teens to tone it down because now “everyone knows that he walked in on his friend masturbating and was apparently okay with it.” I pointed at one kid, randomly, because I didn’t know which one had the honor of see their friend jacking off. They all said, in unison, “It was him!” and pointed to this scrawny kid with big hair, who was sitting on the floor between two bigger guys and who looked a little embarrassed.

Then they laughed and agreed that what I said was an excellent reason for them to tone it down. And they did, except the one with the freewheeling masturbating friend. I don’t think he could help it though — the volume of his voice seemed to be permanently stuck in that loud, goofy teen boy tone. When I left for the day, they were having a heated argument about Game of Thrones the TV show vs Game of Thrones the books with something about “worgies” (war orgies?) mixed in. Ah, teens! You make me laugh.

Thursday, Day Three
The pain was pretty bad but it subsided with some help. Today, no one got hurt in the library. (That’s me being positive). I’m kind of out of practice with my ABCs but it’s all coming back to me. Like riding a bike: the ABCs. As I was shelving DVDs today, I realized that there are a lot of movie titles that begin with “Crazy” or “Last.” Boring but easy to shelve. That group of nerdy young adults were out and about today, in case you were wondering, yelling “Huzzah!” and discussing swords, Pokemon, and such.

Friday, Day Four
At 3 pm, I almost cried but I was too tired to cry. When I got back to the desk at 2:45 or so, someone had shooed away my teens. To make up for that disappointment, a little girl, maybe three or four years old, marched from the library entrance to the children’s room yelling, “YAY! We’re going to get free books! Free books! YAY! We’re going to get free books!” It was one of the cutest and funniest things I’ve seen and a good way to end my week. Later an older gentlemen said to me, “Well, that smile doesn’t make me feel so bad about paying my fines.” Aw, shucks.

Tomorrow I might post about libraries goodies: I’ve checked out a number of items, but I’ve also bought a number of 25 and 50 cent used books located in the Friends of Library Used Book room. Always check your local library and ask if they have a used book room/store or some sort of monthly/yearly/holiday sale. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find!

Updates on Writing, Updates on Life

I received some lovely news the other day: my flash fiction piece “Stain” has been selected by guest editor Gina Ochsner for inclusion in The Best of A cappella Zoo (Spring 2013). As they state on their webpage, this will be a print-only anthology, celebrating five years of A cappella Zoo, magical realism, slipstream, and flash fiction.

You can pre-order the issue for $9, which will be released early this spring. I’m extremely pleased, of course, to have been included in this special issue. And I found out right when I needed some good news. Even better, I learned that my coworker Robert Edward Sullivan will also have a story included in the anthology. Thank you, A cappella Zoo and Gina Ochsner!

Sorry — no cover to link to at the moment, but I’m sure the art for it will be amazing.

Life updates: Returning to work SOON. Nervous. Cautiously excited about going back, but also emotionally prepared (I hope) if my health gets in the way and everything crumbles around me. Ha.

Books I Love: Two Brothers by Bernardo Atxaga

As a writer, sometimes you find a book, you read it, and you’re left with a sense of camaraderie with the author. They’ve written what you’ve been trying to write, an idea you can’t put into words, an image you’re trying too hard to describe. As a reader, the book leaves you unsettled, you’ve been shown something that is possibly terrifying or inspiring, but always true, something that can’t be undone. Such a book accomplishes everything I attempt to do with my writing and it satisfies everything I need as a reader. Among many, Two Brothers is one of those books.

An early work by Basque author Bernardo Atxaga, Two Brothers is a short novel narrated by a series of animals, who are mystically urged to follow, watch, and intervene in the lives of two young men, two brothers. Once you begin reading, the plot and interdependence of the brothers will probably call to mind Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Me, but you’ll find Atxaga’s story is a fable, rooted in the pastoral landscape of the past, set strictly within a small Basque village. From the start of the book, there exists a quiet undercurrent of dread and, because the novel is short, I’m not going to say much more about it.

Two Brothers

So, go read it –that is, if you can find it. Sadly, it’s out of print. Maybe with the success of his novel The Accordionist’s Son and the recent release of Seven Houses in France, we’ll see a new edition of Two Brothers soon. Oh, and check your library, which is where I found the book, in addition to The Lone Man and The Lone Woman (also out of print). The newer novels and his short story collection Obabakoak are available at most bookstores and online.

Farewell, 2012!

Well! In the past, I’ve written about the highs and lows of the year, but I don’t really want to this year. Instead, I just want to say, “More writing, more pinball!” and to wish everyone a very happy 2013! Hooray! See you in the future!

WRITE

Awake!

I’ve had a few days of insomnia; however, I’ve been doing well managing my energy. I don’t get upset about the insomnia — I’m years past punching my pillow at night trying to fall asleep. If things continue this way, I’ll probably use the amber glasses again. So, overall, this week’s bout of sleeplessness is more of an annoyance than anything else.

Today felt especially long — not in a terrible way but in a productive way. Still, you wouldn’t think I did anything! The house is a bit untidy at the moment, even though I spent the morning cleaning. Oh well! I’m trying to relax about clutter — TRYING. Clutter makes me anxious, as does having too much stuff I find myself constantly weeding materials to donate. Anyway, I cleaned and, most importantly, I organized all my medical receipts, reports, tests, paperwork. It’s not perfect but I know where my copays are, where my paid hospital receipts are, appointments, EOBs, etc. are. I’ve been trying to get this all in order since summer but was avoiding it. A bill I received in the mail today prompted the filing frenzy. Although the bill is small, it came with six pages of visits I overpaid and copays I didn’t dating back to 2011! I haven’t received any bill in the last year and I was told at visits that I didn’t have a copay even though I knew I did. It’s all so confusing. And why does it take my insurance co. one to two months to pay my doctors? Such a complicated, inefficient process. And, according to my math, I believe there’s an error — so I had to find my receipts and do some calculating. I think they may owe me $2.58. Hmm.

Writing and reading have been slow. I did finish a story last week. Time for revisions!

In other news, I managed to take some photos of new items I’ll be adding to my Etsy shop. Old “how to” booklets, vintage wristwatch parts, owl salt & pepper set, linen napkins. I also have a pile of vintage pillow cases with lace edges. Nicely stacked linens make me happy! What else: Mexican pottery, canning tongs, jewelry, and other goodies.


That’s it for now. I’ll try to post before and after photos of some changes we made to the house. Nothing major — mostly painting. Amazing how paint and color choices can change the feel of an entire room.

Okay — ciao, ta-ta. buenas noches, buh-bye, good night!

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