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I got me some new kicks up in Chicago!

Pink, strappy, cute-as-a-button! Photo proof for my Primarily Phlegmatic and Secondarily Sanguine new friend. :-)


I also got pants, shirts, capris, and this new skirt. I heart new clothes. :-)

"Information Desk, may I help you?"

You know you're doing something right when you get FOUR separate emails in one day from friends and family requesting research on a book, tourism bureaus, a movie and a quote from literature.

Either that, or my friends and family are idiots. ;-)

(Just kidding, Mum!)

Hello, one and all! I have returned from my sojourn in Chicago, and have much to update and photos to share (of course)!

But first, let's get to the really important news and links I missed while I was gone...

*As always, Jennifer Weiner (one of my fave authors and fellow blogger) has a spot-on interpretation of Terry McMillian's recent divorce announcement.

*Things You Can Learn about the Plot of the Next Harry Potter Book Just by Looking at the Cover Art (via Bookslut)

*I missed the meltdown, but now I can relive it.

In other news, I seem to have had two casualties from my Chicago trip: several of my potted plants, and my beloved iPod. *wails*

If anyone wants to a) buy me a new iPod b) fix the one I have c) pay for a new computer when I finish kicking this one, I'd be most appreciative. ;-)

Chicago was a blast, albeit hot and exhausting. I'm feelin' all geeked out now that I'm back. :-)


*Barack Obama rocks.my.everlasting.world

*David Sedaris rocks.the.rest.of.my.everlasting.world

(I got to see both of them speak at the conference)

*8734058735 pounds of free galleys received

*Got to see my best friend Megan

*Ate big food

*Played in multiple museums


*Almost getting kicked out of said museum for looking too young and not "librarian" enough

*The throwdown that almost happened at the hotel checkout

*The lack of air conditioning the first day at the conference center

*The lack of buses to the Scholarship Bash

All in all, a good time. And on the library's dime. Nice.

And, of course, the obligatory photos...

Welcome to chaos, librarian style!



"Baker and Taylor" for all you library geeks...


Me and "Sue" at the Field Museum...


The haul from the FIRST day...

Jessy and me...not your typical librarians...

(Are we flying to Middle Earth? *snickers*)



You know you're flying from a "big city" when the airport parking shuttle is a golf cart. Oh yeah, baby...


My best friend (since I was 4, anyway), Megan and I...


(The rest of the photos are here. Note: the desks are work related. I'm not fixated or anything.)

Such a great trip!

After a field trip to another library yesterday for a Reference Roundtable (with this pretty view of the Mighty Ohio River), I'm getting ready to rock and roll out of TinyTown to head for Chicago - home of the American Library Association Annual Conference this year.

This is always known as WCFoL by my girl Denise.

(Windy City Full of Librarians)

Hopin' for good times, cool photos photos, and, of course, lots of free galleys. See you all in a few days!

I can truly say that no two days have been alike in all my time at the library.

What did you do at work today?

I held an alligator.


I petted a dove. I stroked a blue tongued skink. I cuddled a skunk.

Every day is certainly NOT the same.

(Silly Safaris came to give a program at the library today, and they totally rocked. If you are an Indiana library, book 'em! They are great!)

My friend Becca married her fiance Kevin this weekend. I was part of the wedding party, and I've uploaded photos from the rehearsal and the wedding itself. It was outside, it was lovely, it was sunny, it was perfect.

Short ceremony, brunch, champagne and a great atmosphere. Such a great day...

And Becca made a beautiful bride.

(click the photo to see the entire Flickr set of photos)

I met a lot of great people, I cried, I ate cake, and I was home by 1pm. Perfect. :-)

As if we didn't know that.


Courtesy of the New York Times (registration required - use BugMeNot for a login):

Law enforcement officials have made at least 200 formal and informal inquiries
to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters
since October 2001, according to a new study that adds grist to the growing
debate in Congress over the government's counterterrorism powers.


"What this says to us," said Emily Sheketoff, the executive director of the
library association's Washington office, "is that agents are coming to libraries
and they are asking for information at a level that is significant, and the
findings are completely contrary to what the Justice Department has been trying
to convince the public."


In addition, the survey found that 66 libraries had received informal law
enforcement requests without an official legal order, including 24 federal
requests. Association officials said the survey results, if extrapolated from
the 500 public libraries that responded, would amount to a total of some 600
formal inquires since 2001.

Good news, Mum. I don't have any cavities.

God, I hate going to the dentist.

Bad things about today:

  • It was Monday
  • I had to go to the dentist
  • I had to work a weird shift
  • My La Femme Nikita Season 3 DVD didn't arrive

Good things about today:

  • I got to see one of these (by far my favorite farm machine):

  • I sat outside on my swing after work, devouring a fab new book (review forthcoming if I ever finish the other 400 pages), and watching the moon slowly rise. Incidentally, the moon is doing cool things this week.
  • I found the coolest thing courtesy of Bookslut today...an Italian trailer for a book. A book trailer! How sweet is that? And why don't we have more in America? Granted, the trailer wigged me out a bit the first time, but makes me want to know more about the book. The thing that gets me about the trailer is the haunting music that plays. I've searched and searched to find out what the music is...if any of you reference-y type folks can find the song, I'll be forever in your debt. Seriously.
  • Mary and I went and checked out Cousins Subs, the new restaurant in town. Yummy subs and even yummier ice cream! And they have snifty outdoor seating, which I'm all about in this nice weather we're having...

T'was a good day, after all.

(But for that pesky dentist...)

Time for a little NASCAR teenie action, since I've lusted after musicians lately, but not sports figures...


Jimmie and "Big Johnson" celebrate Father's Day

In other news...


Be still my heart. Rawr. ;-)

Exciting news, y'all!

I was recently hired by the local newspaper to act as a story correspondent, and also as a weekly featured columnist! Yay!

About a year and a half ago, the lady who wrote the "what was happening in town 50, 75, 100 years ago" column retired, and the paper has been inundated with requests for the column ever since. Beth, the editor, asked me if I would be interested, and naturally I jumped at the chance.

My "debut" was this past week, and so far, no one has said anything mean to me, so that's nice. *grin*

I've revamped the column a bit for my own style: new year span (10, 25, 50), new style (bullets and snippets of info), and a new title: A Wrinkle in Time. I thought it was literary and cute. Just like me. ;-)

Beth said some nice things about me as she "reintroduced" the column to the readership - on the FRONT PAGE of the newspaper. I told you this column was big news...

"I am so excited that Marissa had decided to begin a history column...We've been looking at ways to get back it back into our pages...but just hadn't found the right person to do it until Marissa came along."


And now, the photo proof of my debut as a journalist. The folks will be so proud:

Yes, the picture is heinous, but I'll live through it.

Columnist Marissa, signing off...

So, I decided to postpone watching the NASCAR Michigan race today in order to watch at least the first part of the F1 United States Grand Prix, taking place in Indianapolis today.

The GP is the only race I haven't attended at the Brickyard, but it's on the "to do" list with my brother-in-law sometime.

I'm glad it wasn't today.

I was shocked and aghast to see half the field pull off and PARK THEIR CARS in the garages after the obligatory parade lap.

Six cars competed in the US Grand Prix. Six.

(And Schumacher won. What a screaming shock.)

To learn more about the brouhaha, check out this SI story. This takes "tire wars" to a whole new level.

I have several thoughts, beyond sheer annoyance, at this whole scheme:

  • I don't blame those fans at all for walking out, booing, or throwing things in digust. I would have left after 10 laps as well.
  • I bet Tony George had a few choice words for the FIA, and for the teams involved.
  • I can't believe Michelin can't manufacture a tire that will hold up. I can't believe they didn't see problems on the horizon. I mean, it's not as if F1 is a multimillion dollar enterprise with sound investments in their future or anything.
  • I can't believe this is all over a chicane. Mostly because chicane is one of my favorite.words.ever.
  • I can't imagine how sick those drivers must have felt to get out of their cars and have to walk away because of "team orders". They just want to race. You know they do.
  • I wonder if F1 will return to Indy in the future. If nothing else, this display has better insured that F1 will never be a force in America and what fans they had cultivated as probably as disgusted and annoyed as this occasional fan. They may have just cut off their nose to spite their face when it comes to the (potentially lucrative) American market.

I think David Coulthard (Britain) said it best from the racer's point of view:

"I feel terrible. I have a sick feeling in my stomach," David Coulthard said after pulling out of the race. "I am embarrassed to be a part of this. The reality is that mature adults were not able to come to a resolution that would have allowed us to put on the show that everybody wants to see in Formula One. It is a very sad day for this sport. I am so, so sorry for what we've done."

I've decided if I ever join a bookclub (that I don't lead, and thus can just speak me mind in), I'd like to be like this one:

Satan's Bookclub

Just kidding...sorta. ;-)

In other news, my book club is reading Nickel and Dimed this month, and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It's an interesting, thought provoking book. You'll never look at Merry Maids or Wal-Mart the same way, that's for sure.

Jaleh made mention of the book in her review of 30 Days (which I'd really like to see) and about getting by on next to nothing. I'm right with you, girl...it's a shame that Congress can't see the poverty that exists in every one of their districts, and yet do nothing about it. I realize a lot of the impetus is because of small business owners who would be unable to afford the raise, but there has to be a way out. Between low wages and then the health care crisis, I don't honestly know where we're heading...

However, as Bush continues to dig himself into a Social Security PR nightmare, I was thrilled to see his approval rating dropped another percent, down to 42%. 42% of America think Bush is doing a good job as President. And yet, this is the same country that elected him last November. Astonishing.

And embarassing.

I say we run Bill Clinton as vice-president next time around, and then have the president stand down a couple days into office. Believe it or not, that's legal.

Unless we can get Hillary to run this time around...with Evan Bayh, maybe? ;-)

But I digress...

This made me laugh pretty damn hard.

Queer Eye for the Undead Guy

Oh, how I miss Spike...


Depeche Mode have announced details of a massive European tour for 2006.

The tour, their first in four years, will be to promote their as-yet-untitled new album, due around the same time. Prior to the European dates, the band will play a six-week tour of North America.

I have loved Depeche Mode since I was 15.

Seeing them in concert was one of the best nights of my life.

I lust for Dave Gahan.

Rare is a day that I don't listen to at least one DM song.

This new geeks me more than you can imagine.

It freaks me out that I found this article while playing...you guessed it...Depeche Mode.

I think we need a celebratory picture of Hot Dave Gahan (tm):

This teenie moment brought to you courtesy of Marissa. And now back to your regular programming...

Ha. And my mum thinks I have too many books!

Book lover, collector turns silo into unusual library

(link via Bookslut)

I love saying book silo. Not quite as sexy as nuclear silo, but probably a little safer.

I pretty much just stick to bookshelves, piles of books here and there, and books all over and under my coffee table, on my bedside table, or shoved against a wall in a jaunty row. What unusual spots do you use for book keeping?

Pickup Lines by Holly Jacobs

I've been reading either really heavy or really long books lately, and felt the need for a quick and fun read - hence, Pickup Lines.

This novella length story actually reminded me a lot of a NaNo-type novel. Short, to the point, cute enough, but unmemorable in the end.

Mary and Ethan are both chosen to participate in a contest to win a pickup truck. The catch? They have to live in the truck until someone caves and gets out.

Bet you can't guess what happens next! ;-)

Cute, fun, fast, but in the end, out of sight, out of mind...

Rhymes with Witches by Lauren Myracle

This is one of the darker YA books I've read in a while, but overall it was good.

Jane longs to be popular, to be accepted, to be one of the Bitches (think the crowd of girls from Mean Girls. But is the popularity worth the sacrifices?

And Myracle does mean sacrifices.

Scathing, harsh, and with an uncertain ending, this is probably a truer picture than we want to believe about high schools and the lengths we go to be popular.

Librarians go all gooey when a baby girl comes to visit us at the library.

This is Baby Emma, Mary's granddaughter. She's precious. And she's the first baby I've ever held. No joke.

(But not in this picture - I'm actually getting to be more of a pro by this point, because she's just so CUTE!)

I admit it, I'm totally hooked on this show.

I've always loved to dance, and grew up taking ballet and jazz classes. I took ballroom dancing at university, and absolutely loved it. I danced many a Friday and Saturday night away at IU at the best bar in town with the best DJs and the best "shake it" music.

I wish I were a "star" so I could be invited on to show the world some moves.

After I lose about 1807087345 pounds and sprout legs like Rachel Hunter's, of course. ;-)

Still, it's a fab show and I'm really enjoying it!

(Don't know about you all, but I'm pulling for John O'Hurley. He rocks the house.)

Is there anything else worthwhile to watch this summer? I'm totally out of the TV loop right now...

From The Guardian:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House voted Wednesday to block the FBI and the Justice Department from using the anti-terror Patriot Act to search library and book store records, responding to complaints about potential invasion of privacy of innocent readers.

Despite a veto threat from President Bush, lawmakers voted 238-187 to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that allows the government to investigate the reading habits of terror suspects.

And now, for a Lego-themed post, in honor of Eric and Megan's engagement!

This man sculpts and mosaics entirely in Lego. His portfolio RAWKS! (link via Maire)

Have a few minutes? Or more than a few? Why not create a Lego-head for yourself? Or better yet...a whole Lego-person! (link via LiB)

You know you want me.

Note typical Marissa features: scarf, big chest, skirt, ponytail, book, cuppa coffee and pasty skin. No wonder everyone thinks I'm such a babe. ;-)

Dog by Michelle Herman

I'm going to go off on a tangent here.

I love dogs. I mean, I LOVE dogs. I've wanted a puppy of my own for as long as I can remember, but lifestyle choices prevent me from doing so (I rent, I'm not home, I go on vacation, blah blah blah). That doesn't make me want a dog less.

So HOW could I possibly pass up a book with THAT CUTIE-PATOOTIE WITTLE PUPPY ON THE COVER????

Okay, I'm done being 8 years old now. ;-)

This novella struck a nerve with me - it features a lonely professor in a small midwestern town who lives a structured, uncomplicated life. She has no friends, no family, no connections, and no idea how she ended up where she is. On a lark, she types in "adoption" in a search engine, and the next thing she knows, she has Dog.

I may want a dog, but I don't want the rest of this sad tale. Well written and poignant, I think it was a good fable as to how to be open to more than yourself, how to love another, and how to find yourself a little more each day.

Plus, cute as hell puppy always makes a book better. ;-)

Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson

I think this is such an interesting thesis for a book...Johnson makes the case that more complex video games and television shows have actually changed the way we use our brain, making us "smarter".

Johnson cites IQ tests, different gaming modules, complexities of television plot lines and more in making his case, which he does convincingly. I enjoyed the book, but I found I absorbed it more when read in smaller doses, as it tends to get a bit repetitive (at least to me!).

I'm not a gamer, and I never was, but I can totally see the points Johnson is making, and as for comparing 24 to Dallas...genius. :-)

Back Porch


So, because of the whole England extravaganza, I missed out on primo flower planting time.

Pros: able to buy flowers at 50% off with no other customers around
Cons: left with the stragglers

Naturally, I'm willing to take a chance, so I swoop up el cheapo flowers during my long lunch on Thursday and throw them on my back porch - still in their little plastic containers, with the hopes that I will plant them this weekend.

Little did I know that the little plastic containers all fell over, preventing even a drop of rain from hitting them during the next 36 hours.


At about 9pm on Friday night, I was flinging dirt around, spraying water everywhere and mentally screaming "LIVE!" at my valiant little plants.

So far, I don't seem to have any casualties, though the tomatoes aren't lookin' too hot right now.

I'll keep you posted, as I know you are on the edge of your seats...

In other news, isn't my snifty porch swing, well, snifty?? :-)

If you look over there on the right side of this blog, there is a new link to my "book review index". I'm going to add in all the titles I review on this blog (in alphabetical order by author, bien sur) so I can keep them straight!

Book Review Index

I haven't added any pre-blog titles, but you can still read my reviews dating back to 2002 over at Belletristic...

You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls by Lauren Catuzza Grandcolas

This sort of book is always right up my alley! I love books with great ideas, inspirational thoughts, and the can-do attitude!

This isn't a book you read word for word...instead you flip through the pages and browse, mulling over ideas and trying to decide how best to earn the badges, which range from fly solo, redo a room, sing out, scuba dive or firewalk. There are even merit badge stickers in the back of the book to "earn".

Though I dismissed a lot out of hand, I love the idea of possibility exuded by this book. Poignantly, the creator of this book died on Sept 11, so her sisters moved the publication forward, and proceeds benefit a scholarship set up in Grancolas' name.

If you get a chance, flip through this book!

How To Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life by Kirstie Alley

I think maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind when I read this book. I know it's supposed to be cute and funny and inspirational, but mostly I found it...ugh.

Too crass, too unfocused, too annoying, too...something. Other folks who read it though it was hilarious, but apparently I was not in the right mind for this one.

I applaude Kirstie and her efforts to "remake" herself, but this book didn't really make me like her more...

I know you've been waiting to see a photo or two of the England trip, and I've finally finished the travelogue!

Here's your chance to see about 987240587 photos from our amazing trip, and to hear a bit about what we did during our 2.5 week visit.


I hope you all enjoy them. :-)


This week, Mary came over and showed me how to use the sewing machine I've had languishing in my house for months! I can't believe how easy it is! Why the hell have I been hand piecing for the last 2 years???

I promise to take photos of all the things I create on it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go make a quilt while the Pocono race is on...

Guess what I got this weekend!


It's a Casio Exilim Z50, and it rocks the house! It's tiny and lightweight, and takes rockin' pictures! I can't wait to start using it!

Expect a lot more photos in ye olde blog...

Dead Run by P.J. Tracy

I have been a huge fan of this mother-daughter writing team since picking up Monkeewrench a couple of years ago, and they have done it once again!

This is a mystery you will tear through in a day....great, complex, interesting characters, a twisty, turny plot, and a "hold your breath" type of book until the resolution comes around.

Sharp writing, great plotting and kickass characters make this writer a winner - and one to watch. If you haven't read P.J. Tracy, do it!

Now, as I said in my previous post, I'm extremely proud to be part of the TinyTown community.


Each week, the thing I most look forward to reading in our weekly county (not city) newspaper are the sheriff reports, because they never fail to make me smile.

I know, it's mean and shallow, but I can't help it.

This week's gems (typed exactly as published):

Caller sick and tired of neighbor kids driving recklessly.

Mother having trouble with caller's ex-husband-to-be

Juveniles in area and hollering

Caller lost several keys on key ring

Caller's friend is traveling from St Louis and took a wrong turn somewhere. She is on a road with no houses and lots of grass along the road. Caller wants deputies to look for a Red Chevy.

It doesn't get any better than that in TinyTown...

It's a remarkable view, really.

You see all these people crowded into a high school track, and most of them are wearing maroon shirts that proudly proclaim them participants in the Relay for Life. Lots of folks are just wearing street clothes, and then there are the occasional cowboys, clowns and cheerleaders.

But those aren't the shirts that draw your eye.

It's the bright blue shirts intermingled with the rest that draw your gaze.

They are cancer survivors.

They are called onto the track one by one - by name, and by number of years of survival.

They range from 42 years to 2 weeks of being cancer free.

They are an amazing, diverse, smiling group - strangers all, but with a common tie.

They are survivors.

The music swells and the Relay begins with this group of proud blue shirts, all walking together, circling the track and helping each other along.

Among them is my mother.

I can pick her out of the crowd easily - not only because of the gait I've always known or the familiar shirt she wears, but because of the jaunty chapeau and wide smile she wears.

She finished chemotherapy three weeks ago.

She starts radiation next week.

This is her second bout with breast cancer in six years.

She walked around a track without aid.

She never stopped smiling.

And I never stopped crying.

All the work, all the sweat, all the long days and nights, all the begging for money, all the hassling of coworkers, all the begging, all the creating, all the cursing and all the toil is made worth it for this one moment, this one circuit of the track.

This one smile.

And all these tears.

I've never been more proud to be your daughter.

Postscript: As of 10pm on Saturday night, my town of 7500 souls had raised over $92,000 for cancer research and recovery. I'm proud to have been a part of the executive committee for two years, and to have been invited back again for a third.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

I just read my first Hiaasen book a few months ago, so I thought it was time to read his Newbery Honor book, written for YAs.

As is standard in his adult novels, Hiaasen packs this novel with quirky characters, a Florida setting, snappy writing and a fun plot! This time, a middle school boy tries to save owls, make friends, stand up to bullies and cope with Florida weather all at the same time.

A fun, fast read - great for YAs!

Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year by Esme Raji Codell

This is a wonderful, wonderful book.

Easily read in just a couple of hours, this is a diary account of Esme's first year teaching in an inner city public school. She talks about her classroom ideas and initiatives, her students, her idiotic administration, and her own personal struggles with being a teacher.

This book will remind you of that *one* teacher that changed your life, and will help you remember why.

A great, inspiring read!

More Book Lust by Nancy Pearl

Pearl, librarian rockstar and action figure guide, as written a sequel to her delightful Book Lust.

Using the same format and style, Pearl tackles new categories of books and gives the reader lots of cause to scribble titles and authors down to add to their "to be read" list!

Fun and filled with great books!

Just a Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise by Wil Wheaton

As a daily reader of WWdN, I wanted to read Wheaton's book, which features a number of excerpts from his wildly popular website.

Honest, real, heartbreaking and funny, this is a fast and furious read, and really makes the reader emphathize with this conflicted and talented man. You squirm through auditions, struggle to pay bills, try to get away from Star Trek, only to be sucked back in, and live life day to day right alongside Wheaton.

I'm really glad I read it, and feel like I "know" Whaton better as I read his blog day after day...