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About a week ago, Mark  – of “habitually probing generalist” fame – and I tied the knot.  We were married at the courthouse here on our 2-year anniversary and then out at Lake of the Woods we exchanged vows, surrounded by a few friends and family.

The honeymoon, unfortunately, will have to wait a bit.  Four weeks from now, we’ll be in Sioux City, Iowa – our new home.  As soon as our wedding guests left town, our nice & neat little living room turned into a maze of boxes and packing materials.

I am looking forward to a shiny new job in Sioux City – I’ll be a librarian at Briar Cliff University.  In the back of  my mind, I’m also having fantasies about learning new hobbies from the simple (cooking at home!) to the much more complex (sewing! with a machine!).

Between now and then, we will see Mark’s daughter get married and I will go the ALA conference in D.C. with about 18 librarians from 4 different African countries.  The next four weeks will go by so very fast, I’m already feeling the whiplash.

loom 1 (lōōm) intr.v. loomed, loom·ing, looms
1. To come into view as a massive, distorted, or indistinct image
2. To appear to the mind in a magnified and threatening form
3. To seem imminent; impend:
n. A distorted, threatening appearance of something, as through fog or darkness.
American Heritage Dictionary

Or see this definition from Random House, which I actually found somehow comforting:

n. a mirage in which objects below the horizon seem to be raised above their true positions.

The job hunt. Moving. Making REALLY BIG decisions. My feelings about these things are captured perfectly in the adjectives of the definitions above; “threatening” and “distorted” are particularly nice. Friends and colleagues have pointed out to me (many times) that I have a tendency to look too far into the future and worry about things that aren’t even possibilities yet. This usually means that I’m obsessing about something 5 to 10 years down the road.

But these things that worry me now are only ONE year down the road. One measly year. A trifle more than the 365 days. In other words, they’re just around the bloomin’ corner! And I should be worrying about them, but, oh, the grief they give me!

I came into library science with fantasies of being a well-rounded Renaissance scholar, and I have had a wonderful time dabbling in all sorts of topics. I like seeing the big picture and also being able to focus on the details – like a Google Map. Unfortunately, I don’t see too many want ads out there for “Renaissance scholar” and I’m not exactly clear on what the modern day equivalent might be. Don’t say “reference desk” … just don’t do it. Not listening to you, la la la.

I think back fondly on the days when I was a newly minted high school graduate applying for office jobs and all I needed was a high typing score. But nostalgia is a one-eyed mistress – she conveniently leaves out how much I was paid in those office jobs.

So if you are delighted and happy with your job or know other people who are, I would love to hear all about them. I’m going to need lots and lots of encouragement over the next several months and it’s never too soon to start. 🙂

Let me start by saying this will be a brief post.  However, I will say at least one good thing!

The bad first – last night I went for a long walk.  It was 77 degrees outside, which in Northwest terms would mean a perfect pleasant evening.  In Illinois terms, the temperature doesn’t matter, it’s always freaking miserable.  The air is made of sweat.  You walk through, breathe in, 100% sweat.  Even if you were sitting perfectly still, you would still sweat simply because the Illinois air was touching you.

The good parts – people.  The night before last, Lori and I had drinks with a wonderful bunch of people – funny, sharp, interesting, relaxed.  Exactly what a Saturday night gathering should be.  Mind you, all of these people are imports like us, but that’s just another thing we all had in common… besides all being dog owners with wacky dog stories.  There will never be a shortage of laughs where there are good dog stories.  Tho’ the image of a toddler going all Nietzsche on a Wal-Mart cashier is absolutely priceless.  It even cheered me up after the not-so-perfect walk. Thank you for that, M & J!

26 July 2006, 7:00am

Today I got paid finally from the university – quite a bit less than what I hoped.  And I’m reading Class by Paul Fussell, which has me feeling frustrated and stuck in whatever status I have right now, especially after getting a measly paycheck for 4 weeks of work.

I’m worried about school.  I’m worried about maintaining the relationship with Lori while also performing in school at the level I want.  As far as this whole school thing goes, I feel like I’m just showing up, wide-eyed and clueless, expecting to just take a couple classes and leave with a degree.  I have vague ideas in my head of trying to get two degrees – take Library and Linguistics classes, yet still get done in two years, and have all the knowledge I need to go straight into a professional high-paying job.  oh, and even though I’ll be taking classes all summer in order to get done in a miraculous two years, I also have expectations of doing incredibly prestigious internships during those months.  Throughout all this activity that I’m unprepared for, Lori will still know that I love her and we’ll still spend lots of time together.  And somehow I’ll impress someone so much that I’ll be offered a fellowship in a phd program that just happens to be at or near the school that gives Lori a full-ride to her phd degree.  And we’ll have so much money by then, that we’ll be able to hire people to load and unload the moving truck for us, and our moving expenses will be paid, to boot. La la la la la…
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A few different things to fill you all in on; first of all, the hospital visit for Lori turned out to be not as serious as we feared, though she will be on painkillers and antibiotics for a few days.  There are so many aspects of that hospital visit that scare me in other ways… having to say we’re sisters in order to see her, not being able to hold her hand and comfort her while the nurses were around, not being able to say “I love you, it’ll all be okay” and so on.  And seeing all those senior citizen couples who thought nothing of getting up together when one of them was called… well, we all take different things for granted.

The new house/rental is working out great.  In fact, the landlady left us a wonderful surprise – stargazer lillies, bath soaps, and a scented candle were all waiting for us in the bathroom when we moved in.  Plus a nice little card reading “just a note to say ‘hi.'”  Most of our earthly possessions are sitting in their boxes out in the garage.  We were trying to return the rental truck quickly, and we didn’t want to be surrounded by cardboard in the house, so we unloaded everything into the garage, thinking we would just unpack from there.  We did unpack the essentials like kitchen stuff and clothes, which now leaves us wondering just how much we need all that other junk out there… books, CDs, old papers, photos, etc.  Well, the problem is really not having any furniture to put that stuff on/in.  Anyway…

In addition to the Ag Library (and thanks to one very helpful fellow student called Brandy!), I’m now working part-time at the Rare Books & Manuscripts library for the summer.  About seven of us are cataloging old, old books that have never had a decent record in the library system.  Beautiful ancient old books.  I’ll have to try to take a picture for you all.  On top of that, I’ll have another job for the school year, too.  Can you guess where?  The Modern Languages and Linguistics library!!!  Dream come true for Sara!  Working with the German librarian to update their website!  How cool is that!  The Ag library job is going well – I might get the chance to revamp their website.  As a preview, I turned this and this into this.  Everyone there seemed to like it, so now we just have to figure out what to do with the website as a whole.

We’re off to get food.  Have a great weekend folks!

Okay, I promised to say more so here it is.  Saturday was a super emotional day for us.  We had been told by at least three different people last week that the places we *just* saw in the newspaper were already rented, one landlord told us there’s another rush of would-be renters in late July (coming up!), we’re afraid that we’ll end up in a place much more expensive than we planned, and we’re getting really, really, I mean really tired of living out of suitcases.

Then we go to this apartment showing scheduled at 12:30.  The landlord lives up in Chicagoland.  He bought this place for his son to live in while going to school and has kept it since then as a rental.  It’s a duplex, but the only walls shared by the two units are between their respective garages – bonus.  It comes with a washer & dryer – another bonus.  It’s two-bedrooms, hardwood-like floors, and has a  nice big fenced-in backyard.  To top it all off, it was completely within our budget.  This was meant to be.

The landlord, however, played hardball with us.  Said another couple had just looked at it that morning and were really interested but didn’t want to move in till the end of July.  If we wanted to move in sooner, say next week, then he might consider… hmm… haw… .   Well, this was by far the best place we’d seen.  So we fill out the application then and there.  With the pressure, we agree to the early move in (even though we’ve already paid July’s rent at our current sublet) and then we leave and wait.  And wait. And wait.

We sat through dinner feeling kinda sorry for ourselves.  Rehashing the whole thing over and over to get some clues from things he’d said about whether or not he would rent to us in the first place.  See, we got a little bit of a conservative vibe from him (may or may not be true, don’t know) and we were worried that being an all-girl couple might have scared him off.  And we’re pretty sure that the first couple looking at the place didn’t even turn in an application yet.  Why is the world so unfair, yadda, yadda.

But then that evening he finally called and said we got it, did we want to pick up the garage door opener the next day, and he would bring the lease and keys this coming weekend.  Yes, sure, great, thank you very much.  Only then did we realize just how knotted up we had been inside all day.  With the relief of having a place to go, we felt emotionally exhausted.  Which is silly, isn’t it?  It’s just a rental!  I don’t know what kind of wave of anxiety we were caught up in, or how we got caught up in it, but it was over at least.

Last night we went to look over the place by ourselves.  On the down side, we discovered that almost all of the windows are broken in one way or another – as far as being able to open.  But it’s mainly the storm windows so that should be fairly easy to fix/replace.  On the up side, we let the dogs off leash in the backyard – their first outdoor off-leash experience in a long, long time – and they were the happiest dogs you have ever seen.  They raced each other around the yard over and over, jumped over each other, tackled each other, raced some more.  When we finally brought them inside, Koa propped her snout on the kitchen windowsill, stared out into the backyard and whined, whined, whined.  It was very cute and pathetic.

Oh, and please, dear readers, send me ideas and good vibes for covering/ignoring the mustard-colored paint in the living room and the bad wallpaper in the kitchen.  Lori, don’t worry, it won’t bother me.  I’m just constantly seeing all the things I would change if I were the owner.  The kitchen is actually HUGE – with lots of cabinets and plenty of counter space and a great big area for a table & chairs.  The biggest kitchen we’ve ever had.  And the living room has a nice wide window looking out over the front yard.  More pluses than minuses.  I will get pictures on our next trip over there.

Relief & the Road

Originally uploaded by Librarienne.

Yesterday we finally found our place for August, but we’ll actually be moving in next week since the landlord was desperate to get it rented and we were getting desperate for a place. It’s a big relief and the place is both clean and affordable. We’re on the road now coming back home after a Trader Joe’s trip. To be honest, we didn’t think we were going to get the rental. More on that later.

I've remembered some other things that have stood out for us:

– in most of Oregon, the restaurants/bars have no smoking inside. Nada, nothing, no section.  So being asked "Smoking or Non?" every time we go out still throws us off on this, the one week marker from our arrival.  Champaign-Urbana is in the midst of considering a smoking ban for its restuarants, which has opened an unbelievable can of worms for people around here.  We heard a rumor that the abundance of outdoor seating in downtown Champaign is a direct result of the impending decision.   The outdoor seating is definitely appreciated, and the smoking debate is quite amusing.  

–  even though Illinois borders Wisconsin, the great state of cheese, any varieties outside of cheddar are, like, $15 to $20 a pound! Surely, we're looking in the wrong places.

– along those same lines, we're missing the selection of microbrew beers we had in Oregon.  Well, we're homesick all around.  

– Lori has noticed (and I concur) that none of the businesses here have toilet seat covers in the restrooms.  We could always count on those in Oregon restrooms, but haven't seen a one since east of Idaho.   The details, you know.

We're in a hotel room in St Louis right now visiting a good ol' Oregon friend so I'm distracted at the moment, but I'll be back!

First of all – our internet connection is going to be limited to cafe access for the next few days while we wait for our home connection to get up and running.  

Secondly – mm… where to begin.  There are so many impressions from the past few days here that I want to capture now, while we're still newbies and these differences are still noticeable to us.  I'll try to run through a quick list of Illinois qualities that only an Oregonian would think of as weird:

  • widespread easy-access recycling? uh, no.
  • you knew you'd have a sales tax now, but you might not have known that the tax would vary according to the type of item, the city you're in, and other details we're still learning about.
  • hope you like meat.  Lots of meat. Red meat.
  • everything Oregonians told you about the drastic weather only applies once every other week… in other words, it's actually been quite lovely here.
  • without mountains on the horizon, the setting sun has an additional two hours to be in your face while you're driving; but when you're not driving, this additional sun time is wonderful.  

So those are some beginning impressions of the land.  The apartment… well, there was a whole fiasco with that which I won't get into here.  Suffice it to say we are settled into it now and loving it TOO much.  It's just a sublet.  A sublet place shouldn't be so perfect.  It used to be a grocery store back in the day, and it's still a big, high-ceilinged open space with just slight changes in the floor to distinguish the living room area from the kitchen area from the bedroom area.  All open.  Only the bathroom has separate walls and a door.  I love it.  I love having the whole place connected and open like that.   

Speaking of sublets – this is the first sublet for both Lori and I.  I had very different expectations from what actually happened.  I expected that the tenant would pack up all his stuff, put it in storage somewhere and we would walk into a nice empty place.  But instead… most of his furniture is still in place, all his kitchen stuff is still out and he even left food in the fridge and freezer.  Is this how sublets normally work?  

The cafe visit is almost over.  More moving impressions to come.   

We have arrived

Originally uploaded by Librarienne.

I can’t tell how well this photo came out, but we’re here! Just waiting for the landlady to come with the keys. Welcome to Urbana, everyone.

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