Letters of Appreciation: #1 Mid-Columbia Library

Dear Mid-Columbia Library,

Though the first letter is a lot of pressure, I have chosen you to start with because you're at the top of my mind. I must mention that despite writing to you first, my letters will be in no particular order; I do not appreciate your organization and services more than I do, say, my family. It's just that I was thinking of you and it seemed as good a time as any to express my appreciation.

Thank you for your services. Thank you for being convenient, both in location as well as offering so many books for digital checkout. You have saved me hundreds of dollars both in book costs as well as gas, and so many measures of frustration and probably quite a few hours, too. Being able to go online to request a book, to download it, and loading ebooks onto my Nook or audiobooks onto my iPod, for free, is amazing. Not having to go to the actual library is a bonus, as it allows me to spend my already limited time reading the books you offer, not running annoying errands to pick up or return (or keep track of) your tomes. You have given me the ability to do more of what I like (reading) and less of what I don't (driving unnecessarily). This is invaluable to a grad student whose recreational time is relatively nonexistent, so thank you. I am grateful that you exist.

Nerdily,
Amanda

Appreciation and Gratefulness.

In general, I'm a negative person. I'm a hopeful pessimist, and I am bitter more than I am grateful. These are things I would like to change about myself, but it seems about as easy as changing my feet into fins, or my hair into leaves. You might remember that I'm getting my Masters in Social Work degree, and, as a requirement of this program, at my university, at least, a Social Work and Religion class is required. Another thing that I am not is comfortable with discussing religion or spirituality, particularly with a room full of relative strangers. Thankfully, for the most part, this class is broken up into smaller, more easily tolerable pieces like forgiveness, callings, and gratefulness.

Yesterday, the topic of discussion was gratefulness. Appreciation. And I realized that I don't appreciate as much as I should, and I express appreciation to those around me even less than that. So, as a way to notice more often the good in life; to find something, even small, to appreciate about the day or week, and train myself to be more positive, I'm going to write letters. One hundred letters, over however long it takes me to write them. One hundred letters of appreciation on this blog, and shared, when applicable, with those about whom they are written.

Nine Things About New England:

(I am spending three days in Massachusetts and Connecticut this week for work. This is my first trip to New England, and it has been informative.)

1. In the Boston Metro Area, I can't not think of Julianne Moore on 30 Rock when I hear women speaking. Particularly when she says, "You're a wackadoo, Donaghy."
2. We have driven all over MA and CT, and I have seen not a single Starbucks.
3. I have, however, counted as many as six Dunkin' Donuts locations in a five minute drive on the same street.
4. Scrunchies appear to be in vogue here, though I'm not sure if it's a trend resurgence or a holdover from the acid-washed days of yore. I have seen countless examples, including many young and apparently otherwise fashionable women who turn around to reveal ponytails in scrunchies.
5. It is much, much colder than I was expecting. I brought a thin fleece with me. This was a mistake.
6. The hotel clerk who was asked for "good, close" restaurant recommendations last night included McDonald's in his list of options. I think he needs a refresher on the definition of the words "good" and "restaurant."
7. I have absolutely no idea where I am at any point in time, geographically. This part of the country is, embarrassingly, just a jumble of tiny states, in my head. I have made a mental note to remedy this.
8. The only thing I have purchased, souvenir-wise, has been a Bruins jersey for Chris. This is another thing I have added to my "To-Remedy" list.
9. Tomorrow I leave for home at six a.m. Because I am still on Pacific time, it will feel like three a.m. Ouch.


Currently... 4/7/11

Reading:
Bossypants

Devouring:
See's Vanilla Lollipops

Listening:
Adele, 21

Marking (up):
Post-it Super Sticky Gridded Note Pad

Trying:
Mio Water Enhancer

The Difference

...between then and now is, surprisingly, a lot. If I were to give you the condensed version, I'd tell you that I graduated in December from my BSW program, and that I'm signed up to begin an MSW at another university in June. I'd tell you that aside from hockey scrapbooking and bedroom redecorating, I haven't been very creative. I'm mostly okay with that.

I'd confess, in a whisper, after you were sworn to secrecy, that I started Weight Watchers in September and I've lost 37 pounds as of this writing. I'd say that I started, after years of doubting whether I could actually do it, the Couch to 5K program, and that I surprised myself by actually enjoying the running part - the walking part of the intervals is the part I dread.

I would squeal as I said that my husband and I are finally going on a honeymoon: just after our three year wedding anniversary, we'll be taking off on a seven day cruise to Mexico. This will be our first vacation together, and as I am wont to do when something I'm excited about is very far away, I have been obsessively planning. For example: I have researched, chosen, and purchased some motion sickness medication (Marezine), found the bag we will take onto shore (Ameribag Healthy Back Bag), and made a Google Document listing things to pack (A surge protector! Dryer sheets!). It's entirely possible I'm ridiculous.

So now you're caught up on me. What's new with you?

Baby Matt's Felt Name Book, Part II

Back in July, I posted the beginning of Baby Matt's felt name book, and never put up the rest of it. Probably because I suck (and/or forgot). Here goes:

The cover page. The black is glittery felt.

The wonky dedication page.

M is for Mittens.

A is for Apple.

T is for Tree.

T is for Train.

H is for House.

E is for Eggs.

W is for Whale.

He seemed to really like it - so many different textures to touch and colors to marvel at. I'm told that it's been put away for now, but that he does get to look at it (with help) occasionally.

What do you think? I'm pretty proud of myself for not only finishing it, but doing so before his birthday.

Allison's Mini-Swap Package

My friend, Allison, and her girlfriend, G-Jet, write some pretty awesome zines. Awhile back (before Christmas, at any rate), Allison and I arranged to do a mini-swap: crafts for her, zines for me. Here's what she got:


A cable-knit cuff/coffee cozy.

The aforementioned knitted thingy, as modeled by my water glass.

Some bubble magnets made from old paper. The one in the middle is from The Cider House Rules, and the end ones are made from maps.

Yeeeah, I Think I'll Go Die Now.

With no access to my craft photos, I offer you up an embarrassing exchange, which took place approximately one month ago:

SCENE: Hockey team Booster Club Christmas party; near the end of the night. I see the team captain, for whom I am scrapbooking, and decide, heart in my throat (because although he's barely older than a teenager and not exactly famous he's kind of a celebrity in my world), to introduce myself and put to rest this crazy anxiety already. He is getting a glass of lemonade when I approach and tap him on the shoulder.

ME: Hi, I'm Amanda. I just wanted to say hi and meet you [ED NOTE: Saying hi IS meeting someone, moron.] because I'm doing your scrapbook this season.

(MY BRAIN: I can't believe I just said that without stumbling over my words! Kind of redundant at the beginning, but still!)

CAP'N: Oh, hi! You're doing my scrapbook, eh [ED NOTE: for he is Canadian, of course]? Did anyone tell you about my scrapbook curse?

ME: Curse? No, what is it?

(MY BRAIN: Please say that you've never gotten a scrapbook because the curse is that no one ever finishes one for you so that my book is the best you've ever gotten because my beginner book is possibly not great.)

CAP'N: Everyone who gets me for scrapbooking gets pregnant while they're working on it. I'm four for four, now.

(MY BRAIN: We... are now discussing sex and/or my uterus. This diverged into strange territory pretty quickly.)

ME: Ha! That's hilarious.

...HUSBAND enters.

ME: This is my husband. He might be interested in hearing about this curse.

CAP'N: [REPEATS CURSE]

HUSBAND: HAAAAA.

ME: Yeah, so... we'll get working on that for ya!!

(MY BRAIN: OMG I JUST TOLD HIM WE WOULD BE HAVING SEX FREQUENTLY. ABORT, ABORT!)

ALL: ...........................

ME: Wow, that was awkward. I don't know why I said that.

ALL: [AWKWARD LAUGHTER]

Fin.

Ennuigator.

So I missed a post yesterday. I think that disqualifies me from Nablopomo, but I care not.

Such attitude has been characteristic of this day; it was a day of nothing great or terrible, but entirely "meh." I keep hoping to get inspired or at least act a fool and have something to report, but as the days of the week blend into one another and I spend them all sitting in front of a monitor, I'm afraid I just don't have any exciting stories.

School starts tomorrow; I am making entirely too big of a deal out of two (easy) online classes and one (likely to be easy) class on campus, once a week. I also have an internship to complete this semester, but it doesn't sound as though that will be particularly challenging, either. I think this is what senioritis feels like; a total state of ennui when school activities or assignments are involved. As I was never a senior in high school, I wouldn't know, but if it's this? I'm glad I missed it.

Oh! Here's something. Remember that time I told everyone I was using various Philosophy products and to keep on the look-out for fabulous, gleaming skin coming from this direction?* Well, after about a week and a half, I started having... effects, you could say. If, when you said effects, you meant that the lower half of my face had dry patches and, eventually, discolored burn-like THINGS that made me look gorgeous, indeed. Luckily, if I slathered enough Vaseline on, stopped using Philosophy and any makeup that wasn't on or around my eyes, I looked like a slightly greasier and more scarred version of myself. I switched to Aveeno for Lepers and my face is almost back to normal, if a little scaly.

GREAT STORY.

Maybe tomorrow I'll finally post some crafts, or something. Isn't that what you're here for?





*It was implied.

Testing...**

...Blogger's post via email function. If this works, it will be so fabulous. I can't access Blogger at work or from my phone, so now these lame posts will be twice as easy for me to make!*






*This totally counts as a Nablopomo entry, right?
**It worked!!