Please refrain from reading between the lines

I’ve been working on finding a job like its my job.  Last week when attempting to apply for a position at a small Christian school I was asked to answer additional application questions concerning my teaching methodology and ability to serve the school’s mission.

What motivates you to teach at a liberal arts college? What positive qualities do you have to offer students as a teacher and a mentor?

I thought I was be’n all sophisticated when I pulled together this answer:

I desire to share my excitement for learning with students through my own enthusiasm for librarianship.  Information should be accessible to students for their own pursuits and is the first step to a liberal arts education:  I have worked for this through applications of Library2.0 and teaching metaphors applicable to daily life.  I am to provide students tools, skills, and goals that make research accessible.  From a personal perspective, a liberal arts education holds great value.  Although I hold a Bachelors of Science, it was important to me to learn as much I could from numerous disciplines: my undergraduate college courses focused on media trends, but I voluntarily took classes concerning American authors, feminism and popular culture, floral arrangements, modern Catholic thought, and sexual ethics.   I often draw on this vast array of knowledge while at the reference desk, preparing lessons, or simply discussing politics with friends.  I could certainly discuss the library or media history at length, but the antidotes I picked up from Ginsberg and Burroughs are what make me feel like I can contribute something beyond myself and speak more to society in which I take part.

It wasn’t until later long after I’d submitted the response, that I thought about it again. Let me highlight these words: feminism. popular culture. sexual ethics. Ginsberg.  Burroughs.

Withing 1,200 words I’d managed to make myself sound like a flaming liberal who revels in the work of gay Beat authors above all other American authors.

Need I remind you about the school?: Small. Christian. Conservative.

Well, shit.  I hope they like diversity.



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I know you’ve been wondering, and I am so happy to report that I’ve found my retainer.  I actually went looking for it a few months back, and thought it had been lost to the garbage since I’d moved out of the house.  I couldn’t blame mom, considering I would have probably done the same thing.  I mean really, who wants a 10 year old multi-thousand dollar piece of plastic?

But in a miraculous moment I was going through the bottom dresser drawers at my parents’ new house, and like a tiny gift, I found it in cahoots with an old razor and pumas stone.  I’m embarrassed to tell you that I was ecstatic.  I immediately brought it to the bathroom, gave it a good rinse, brushed it with some industrial-strength toothpaste and shoved it against the roof of my mouth.


Mom was so proud.


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I’ll be home(less) for Christmas

Last Christmas I went out to visit a friend.  It was a few days after Jesus’s actual birthday, but she ended up taking me to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner–because the family hadn’t yet had the opportunity to have their official holiday meal together.

Family was a bit of an understatement.  The table was set for 12, even though there were only four people there that were actually related.  As the evening went on more and more people arrived, eventually filling the table.  Everyone who was anyone was invited.

In the middle of dinner the front door opened.  A man with a thick beard and a dirty coat came in, sat down, and started eating.  No one really said anything to him as shovled food into his mouth.

Did some homeless guy just walk in here?

After a few minutes a politically charged conversation started and Carl (I found out his name was Carl) began adding his two cents. He was quite intelligent and humorous.  I assumed, by everyone else’s failure to react to his breaking and entering, that his presence was a normal occurrence.

When my friend and I left I asked if she’s met Carl before.  She was just as shocked as me when he’d come in–but she had recalled him being at mass a number of times.

A few days ago I got a text message from her: “Saw Carl today.  Looking as homeless as ever.”

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You caught me.  I haven’t run since December 31.  And I’m okay with that.


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when the fun runs out the books step in

On Sunday morning. long before the sun had awoken, the Foeges (including Baby), Mr. White, and I piled into the car and headed south of I-80 toward Missouri (pronounced Miss-OR-e, not miz-ER-e).  Karen had unexpectedly flown home from Ecuador for the week (there was a funeral to attend) and Sunday was an ideal opportunity to make the escapade in her direction.

Arriving at lunchtime, we were greeted with hugs and a table set for 12.  A lunch of homemade bread, vegetables from the garden, and cobbler commensed.  The afternoon gave time for tea and chatting and a long walk in the cold.

Despite the grief of the family, I felt so welcome.  And so very content.  So very content.

We left by 9am on Monday, returning to Chicago and all that was put on hold while we were gone.  I told Karen that it was better we couldn’t stay longer, because there was a very good chance I wouldn’t have left.  “There isn’t much to do in this town,” she told me.  But we both agreed that’s where books take over.

Thanks to you all.  It was a blessing to share such a difficult and happy time.

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Weather to the extreeeeeeeeme

I got out of 6:30 am mass this morning and while bundling up with an additional (and necessary) 5 layers I looked across the street at my parked car.  Is…that….a flat tire?


So that’s why my car has felt so sluggish these past 24 hours.  I had assumed it was just the extreme temperatures.  Oh, I was so wrong.

Things I learned before 8am today:

  1. If you’ve driven on a flat for this long, surely it will make it to the gas station.
  2. The surrounding area doesn’t actually have any gas stations.
  3. I still. hate. paying 75cents for air.
  4. People tend to knock those annoying snow-gunk build-ups off their cars for purposes greater than vanity.  As it turns out, they become ice.  And hinder the turning radius of the car.
  5. The nice ice scraper that Dad just bought you is just that–an ice SCRAPER.  Not an ice pick or chisel.  It WILL break when you hit it against things.
  6. Those chunks of snow all over the road are no longer chunks of snow.  In extreme temperatures they do, in fact, form blocks of ice.  Don’t run them over.
  7. Blue Max makes everything better.


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Last Thanksgiving day my dad went through the Chicago Tribune ads (a normal off-work routine) and pointed to a remote-controlled helicopter in the Ace Hardware ad saying, “Now THAT is a doorbuster deal!  I think I’m going to go get one of those tomorrow.”  My mom and I laughed it off–the thought of my dad in the backyard with a remote-controlled device added to the fact that no one in our household ever steps foot near a retail store on Black Friday was worth a chuckle.

But the next day he came home with a 3-foot long bock and there was great joy as he unpacked is new helicopter and chased it around the back yard.  He was like a little kid–and my mom and I, still dumbfounded that he’d followed up on what we thought was a joke, couldn’t help but peak our heads out the window to watch.

After an hour or so of what might compare to “red-rider-BB-gun bliss” the helicopter landed on the roof of the house.  In an attempt to make it air-born again the ‘copter ended up on its side, unable to rotate the blade, which immediately broke.

The joy was gone.

When he took it to be fixed a few months later the repair shop told him that the counterweight–the part that had broken–was the only non-fixable part of the remote control helicopter.


This Christmas, while opening presents at my brother’s home there was great surprise (and irony) when my brother opened a 3-foot long box from his in-laws.  “Thanks for the remote control helicopter,” my brother said.  “Those things are great.  Just be sure not to break the counter-weight,” my dad warned.


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