Saturday, March 31, 2007

My weekend off

Last week, a woman with whom I work at Newton lost her husband very suddenly. It continues to sadden and sober me. If I were to lose Zach, my entire present life would be lost. It's a horrible thought. On a different level, even thousands of miles away and with my childhood past, I can't imagine the devastation and emptiness of losing my father as this woman's two daughters have.

I am glad that everyone at work loves her so much, including many of the patrons, and that her daughters still live at home with her. I hope these things are comforting.

Last night Zach and I attended our first Italian Opera performed by the Boston Lyric Opera Company at the Shubert theatre in the Boylston theatre district. This event was the second of three installments of my Valentine's day gift to Zach. The opera was Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera and to our great surprise and delight, I really really enjoyed it. The English scrolled across screens beside the stage was very necessary and helpful. I am happy that as operas go, this one was simple and fairly lighthearted. I'm perfectly content with baby steps when it comes to classical music and opera.

I just finished Jhumpa Lahiri's _The Namesake_. It's excellent. I recommend it to all who loved the flawless quality of her storytelling in her short stories.

I also finsihed _Bel Canto_. Damn her prose is smooth! Reading her is like swimming elementary backstroke in a lightly rocking lake.

And finally, I have been trying to read another of Jose Saramago's novels with less luck. Judging from the simple but stunning prose found in _Blindness_, I am thinking of blaming _the Cave's_ less clear prose on it's translator. I guess I'll just have to learn Portuguese! (In my spare time of course.)

I rejoice that today and tomorrow I don't have to do a thing for the first day in 12 days!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

At the close of March

there are a few simple things on my mind.
1. Folk music is wonderful in the spring time. It is wonderful in the stacks of the Baker Old Class as well.
2. Audiobooks are a complex experience. I can't listen to serious works like _Mrs. Dalloway_ but I can listen to children's and young adult books. Audio will never beat good old paper and binding.
3. I was accepted to PSU and am pretty cas about it. Perhaps this is because I haven't heard about financial aid yet and it's hard to let go of Eugene and all of the wonderful library studies advice everyone has been giving me lately. On the other hand, I would love to be back in school studying my favorite things- books, and to be on the academic schedule take academic vacations!
4. I'm pretty sure I don't want to be an academic librarian. If I have to do research in English lit., I want it to be my own.
5. After living in frozen New England, my dream European countries are Portugal and Italy. I am definitely one for sunshine and warmth. Also, I think my extraordinarily long limbs are responsible for my not embracing sweater, scarf, and coat weather. Lots of clothes simply cannot contain my unwieldy limbs.
6. Horned melons are mosiac window panes packed into a skin.
7. Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Patchett, Philip Pullman, and Josh Ritter are helping me make it through.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A message from my little cubicle

Today is my second day back to work after our wonderful trip. During our long hours of travel on Monday Z and I were increasingly melancholy with anticipation of returning to the grind of an ill-suited program and a tiring work schedule. Today, my first day back at Harvard, I have been surprisingly upbeat. It could be my trusty IPOD, it could be the sunshine, or it could be the result of a week off. Whatever the case, I am facing the next 2-5 months with courage and somewhat resigned nonchalance. Soon this part of my life will be over. Am I getting the most out of it that I can?
By the way, as if I hadn't enough to do already, I almost let another librarian yesterday talk me into volunteering for the Readers' Advisory program at Newton. I think it would be fun and thought provoking, as well as a good experience for a future librarian of America.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Notes from Abroad the USA

I finally read the famous Paulo Coehlo's _The Alchemist_ on the two airplanes to Portland. The message of the novel probably could not have come at a better time, that is basically- saying yes! to happiness and discovering it in your very own way. Overall though, I must say that the book is basically a fable (easily read in 6 hours)and really not worth $14 (so I'm glad I merely checked it out.)

Eugene Oregon is the city of my desire. Peaceful, simple, terribly green, full of friendly gentle hippies. I love it I do. I love the bus; I love U of O; I love the houses; I love the bakery; I love love the library that has bilingual signs and children's events and a reference desk in fiction called "Reader's Advisory"; I love the green parks and the nearby mountains; I love the rows and rows and rows of bicycles on campus; I love the noon hour of quiet observed by meditators beneath a woven canopy next to the campus bookstore; I love the organic grocery store where dreadlocked cashiers applaud when you bring your own canvas bag. (Actually I don't love that part but I think it's amusing).

Portland is a retro 80's rock song. I get this impression from PSU's older, plainer, white tiled campus, and the "thrift" shop Buffalo Exchange, and the yummy international eatery strip. But I was absoultely dumbfounded by Powell's independent new and used bookstore. Ten minutes after we got there the ache in my arms from holding so many books told me it was time to leave. I found every single Kingsolver book ever written for under 9.00. I also found a first edition Bean Trees that I longed for with all my heart (since we're freaking going to meet her in two months and I could very well get it signed). But I was responsible and decided that having a hotel in Portland that night was important too and Barbara money was spent on a night's sleep and a shower.

I did love the Alphabet district neighborhood. It reminded me a bit of Brookline (MA) and San Francisco. I also am incredibly impressed by the huge forest and park reserves INSIDE Portland. That would be one big point for this green retro city that lies in the shadow of Seattle.

Today we are in Pullman/Moscow and enjoying an empty campus as it is spring break for U of Idaho and WSU. We ate at the best breakfast restaurant and last night we enjoyed wine, tea, and paninis at a perfect collegiate/grad studentesque coffee bar. I have really loved the feel of these two small cities, though I doubt that I will be accepted to WSU as they provide too much financial aid to accept many, especially a treasonous English major who wants to study enthnic literature under the guise of American Studies.

Tonight we will travel further down Zach's memory lane to his gorgeous hometown Coeur d'Alene.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Cities of Desire

Last night Zach, no doubt tired of my ranting uncertainties, wrote down a list of the potential cities of dwelling beginning next year. Then we each individually ranked them according to desirability of living apart from schools. Here's what we have.

Zach: Sarah
1. Portland 1. Tempe
2. Boston 2. Portland
3. Denver 3. Denver
4. Seattle 4. Seatle
5. Tempe 5. Tucson
6. Tucson 6. Eugene
7. Eugene 7. Boston
8. Pullman 8. Pullman

Mutually, our future looks like this:
1. Portland
2. Denver
3. Seattle
4. Tempe
5. Boston
6. Tucson
7. Eugene
8. Pullman

This only matters if neither of us are in school because Pullman is a likely place of study for me. In a week and a half we will visit Eugene, Portland, and Pullman and then perhaps we'll have a clearer picture!