Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Stream of Consciousness Post About Books and Blogging

BUT FIRST, an explanation, a confession, and an apology. As we roll into 2010, Idiosyncratic Life is in its ninth year of blogdom. NINE YEARS. Yowza. I've been writing here a long time. Except, well, I've kind of been NOT writing here, as of late. A bunch of things happened in 2009 that were kind of unbloggable. A lot of it had to do with my job and the company I work for, and well, it was prudent for me to make my feelings about being on that particular roller coaster an off-limits topic for the blog. That's not going to change.

Also, I have a confession: I had weight loss surgery. I didn't want to blog about it at first, because I was feeling very, very private about it. I'm much more comfortable talking about it in person now, and so, it doesn't seem like it needs to be a secret. In fact, there are times when I wish I would have chronicled that journey here, because like everything else in my life, it's been a quirky, idiosyncratic ride. Some of the blog fodder has been GOLDEN. Example: Joel and I got into a mock, slappy fight during a seminar because I peeled a "Maximum Weight: 1,000 lbs" off the Special Chairs for the Morbidly Obese in the bariatric surgery center and stuck it on my pants. Joel hates when I get down on myself about my weight, period. As such, putting a "Maximum Weight: 1,000 pounds" sticker on my pants was Not Okay with him. Operation Slay The Food Demons is far from over, so maybe I will start to write about it here occasionally.

The thing was, the surgery happened right after I had a whole new influx of readers as I was building up Milestone and exploring what it would take to be a full-time wedding photographer who advertises pro-actively for clients beyond three or four degrees of separation. That said, right now I'm designing a fancypants album for a client who is also my "friend from the study abroad program in London's best friend from high school's maid of honor." I still love you, word of mouth brides!

With all the new readers, I was worried about balancing the personal and the professional here. I thought about starting a whole new blog just for my photography and/or password-protecting "Idiosyncratic Life." I tried that, briefly, once before. I didn't have time to juggle two blogs, and I always feel sad when blogs on which I've lurked for years suddenly clam up with passwords. So I didn't.

But then I went all... vague. So I'm going to write again, and I'm going to keep posting my photos here, whether they're from my vacation in Hawaii or my most recent event for clients. I hope that this will be okay. I hope that the people who know me in Real Life will enjoy seeing what I'm shooting, even if it's not people you know personally. And I hope the people who've hired me to photograph their families will come to know me better, to laugh at my foibles, and understand that my passion for life and my passion for photography is one in the same.

I write the way that I talk. This is my real voice; it's the way I sound on the phone and in person and in long, wordy emails. I've been too quiet here, and I'm back.

Gwen posted a meme on her blog about books and libraries. The challenge is to write 15 Things About You and Books." She wrote, in part, about the public library in our hometown. Two other people chimed in with clear memories of the children's section there. There were Bert and Ernie statues (probably more like giant stuffed animal type decorations) but in my preschooler mind they were HUGE, so statues it is. And that's where my comment, which turned into a full-on stream of consciousness entry, begins.

I remember Bert and Ernie, and I totally remember how the Lancaster Public Library smelled. I remember being so proud to get my first library card. I always wanted to check out "Strega Nona," every week, without fail. My mom eventually told me to pick something else, that I could own my very own copy of "Strega Nona." We went to B. Dalton at the mall and bought it, which BLEW MY MIND. I had lots of books at home, and we went to the library a lot, but I never made the connection that I could, like, go out and get a specific book and then BUY IT! No way!

I loved scratch'n sniff books, where there's a little scented patch on the page. I had a Sesame Street scratch'n sniff book in which a key part of the plot involved Big Bird accidentally getting sprayed by a skunk. I think the skunks where in cahoots with Oscar the Grouch somehow, or they were attracted to his trash or something. I still remember what the skunk smelled like in the scratch'n sniff book. I was moderately obsessed with scratch'n sniff stickers, too. There used to be a store in Park City that sold educational toys and stocked every, single kind of scratch'n sniff sticker. The store was down in the lower level of the mall, where the food court is now. There used to be a roller rink there, too, and a big fountain in the middle where the little circular stage is now. II liked watching the skaters and then BEGGING my mom for scratch'n sniff stickers.

I don't know how many more times I can type the words "scratch'n sniff" in this comment. I'm remembering now how Kelly kind of... um, changed how I thought of the concept of "scratch and sniff" in 8th grade. This was during her Sam Kinison phase. Ahem.

I also remember devouring books, particularly the Young Adult serials: BabySitters Club, Sweet Valley High, the 1980s Nancy Drew "updates." I was never patient enough to wait for the newest books to get to the library, so we made trip after trip to Encore books, which was between Pharmor and Petology in the strip mall near where the Olive Garden and Borders are now. Encore also sold those cool color-changing markers. Crayola has their own version now, but for a while there, Encore was the only place to get them. Did you know they're updating and re-releasing both the Sweet Valley High books and the Baby-Sitters Club books? I sort of feel like it's my feminist duty to be pissed at the fact that the new versions of the books describe Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield as "size 4s" instead of "perfect size 6s." What the hell? I guess six is the new fat. Whatever.

I'm interested, though, in the way that they're updating the Baby-Sitters Club. The article said something about how Stacey won't have a perm, but rather, "an expensive, trendy haircut." And how will they re-write "Book 2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls." The entire plot hinges on the fact that, well, neither caller ID nor *69 had been invented yet. And what will Claudia WEAR? The books always described her style, which was more or less over the top 1980s. Any book narrated by Mary Ann always rhapsodized about Claudia's parrot earrings and turquoise stirrup pants and lace gloves with the fingertips cut-out.

Also? Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I always secretly wanted something bad to happen to Stacey with her diabetes. After I saw "Steel Magnolias," I couldn't WAIT for her to have a "Drink your juice, Shelby, drink your juice" moment. The Internet tells me there was a book titled, "Stacey's Emergency" which came out after I moved on the V.C. Andrews books (paging Dr. Freud!) so maybe she did.

Scholastic is also releasing a prequel to the Baby-Sitters Club series in April 2010. It's all about Claudia, Kristy, Mary Ann and Stacey before Kristy had her Big Idea to start the club when her mom couldn't find a sitter for her brother David Michael. A prequel? You know, I'd rather read a "Where Are They Now?"

Mary Ann: Home schools her kids, rescues feral cats, frets over peanut allergies.

Kristy: Never worked out her daddy issues. Divorced. Wears a visor to her children's soccer games.

Claudia: Artist in the Village. Has transferred her junk food addiction to smack. Gay.

Stacey: Boy Crazy Stacey becomes obsessed with her wedding and tries to make the old members of the BSC be her bridesmaids. Has diabetic fit brought on by wedding planning stress and has to "drink her juice."

And with that, you should vote in the new poll below. I haven't done one of these in ages...


Judy said...

Welcome back! I've been checking every day for a new entry! Lots of times your entries really make me laugh and cry at the same time. I'm trying to add more humor and laughter in my life!

Lauren said...

Seriously, Ang, I am literally IN AWE of your memory. Pharmor! Petology! Claudia's parrot earrings! Reading your blog, I remember them all...although I never would have been able to dredge them up on my own. Amazing.

Lesley said...

So happy you're back! I always love reading your entries. I'm going to have a public blog up soon for my Etsy stuff, and I will definitely put you on my blog roll (if that's okay of course!).

Jillian said...

YAY! I've missed you! :)