Before I start this off, I’ll disclose that I am a lib’ral agnostic. Or pinko commie, whatever you want to call me. My husband is a big time Protestant (it runs in his family like Lupus). He also votes Republican. I swear he didn’t when we met. He said he didn’t care about politics, which to me translated as “ready to be converted to Liberal Democrat.” This didn’t work out so well. We also decided to raise the girls in the church. I figured they’d have an easier time of it than I did if they just believed what everyone else did (We live in Texas). Of course, I forgot they also had me as a parent. I honestly try not to push them into any one belief, whether political or religious, because I know that has the ability to backfire like nothing else. But some things they’ve come into on their own, or somehow absorbed in other ways. Observe some of their wisdom.
“If God created everything, who created God?” – asked by Thing One at around age 6 while I was driving down the road. My answer: “Good question!”
“This kid called me a hippy. I think hippy is only an insult to Republicans” – Thing One
“Republicans. Pfft.” – Thing One
“Our president is BaraaakObahhhma.” – Thing Two
“We had a class election. I voted for John McCain cause he broked both his legs in the war and I feel sorry for him.” – Thing One, age 8.
“Today our teacher finally got mad and yelled at our class that Obama was NOT going to make us go to school on the weekends so shut up about it.” – Thing Two
Thing One: You must be submerged to be fully baptized and go to Heaven.
Me: What about Moses? He was in a desert.
Thing One: That was before Jesus.
Me: Okay, what if YOU were in a desert and there was no water. Would God reject you?
Thing One: (annoyed) Mommmm, you’re making my head hurt.
At a book fair in 5th grade, Thing One chooses a biography of Obama and announces loudly, “I’m going to read this to find out what’s true and what’s not. I’m tired of these dumb Republicans being so mean to him!” (I’m thinking, hahaha, you mean the Republicans that are totally surrounding us?)
When Thing Two was four, her preschool teacher caught a cold.
Thing Two: (walks up to the teacher, puts a hand on her arm) Jesus will heal you. (then walks off just as mysteriously)
I’m putting on makeup one morning. Thing One is around ten, I think.
Thing One: Vanity is a sin.
Me: That hardly seems fair. I mean, should a vain person go to the same hell as someone who murdered lots of people?
Thing One: (thinks about it) Maybe there should be an in-between place for some.
Me: You mean like Purgatory?
Thing One: What?
(Meanwhile I can’t wait to tell my husband she’s now Catholic.)
Thing One: The teacher asked us to say which things we didn’t want in life. I chose wealth.
My husband: Wealth is not a bad thing.
Thing One: Dad. The Bible says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to get into Heaven.
The anti-war song “War” comes on the radio.
Thing One: Mom, it’s a Democrat song!
Thing Two (age 7 or so) comes out of Bible class with a coloring page. She shows me her picture of a religious prophet done up with a Trident and waves of water.
Thing Two: Look, Mommy, I made him into Poseiden!
Me: Cool! Don’t show Daddy!
Thing One (up late one night): Mom, sometimes I lay awake and I wonder about God and how can all this be real and what’s really going to happen to us when we die and stuff. And these thoughts just go all swirly in my head.
Me: I’m sorry. You came by it honestly.
I’m trying to get the kids ready for school.
Me: Get the heck out of bed!
Thing One: In Sunday school, they tell us that heck is as bad a word as the other one.
Me: Then I should have just said hell, huh?
Preacher talking to the children: Kids, what is the most beautiful thing you can think of? (prompting them to say Heaven)
Thing Two (at age two): Penguins!
Later we get a newsletter from the church. The preacher laughs about how a kid said chickens were beautiful. Thing Two is incensed.
Thing Two: I SAID PENGUINS!
I’ve researched a lot of different workout programs. That’s what I do. Obsessively research. Everything. It’s a handy disorder for library work, but not much else. Last time I let you know that I’d narrowed it down to Yoga. Then I figured something out. There are eleventy-billion versions of Yoga.
The first time I experienced something like this was when I started learning about penguins. Thing Two has been crazy about those wacky birds since she was two years old. There are like 17 different species of penguin. Of penguin. I mean, seriously? Yes. They range in size from about a foot to four feet (the well known emperor penguin). I bet you didn’t think you’d get penguin facts in a yoga post. That’s just the kind of extra oomph I offer you in my blog.
Anyway, so I’ve checked out lots of yoga books and videos. And I’ve bought some too. Also yoga accessories. You can buy lots of yoga crap as it turns out. I’m all into that. If you’re going to go into something, go all the way I say. That’s why I paid money for a cushy yoga mat and two foam blocks. For my HEALTH people. There are tons of other products I can
waste my money on invest in if I choose. More on that in a later post.
First I have to tell you about the different kinds of Yoga. According to the women’s health site there’s Anusura, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Lyengar, Kundalini, Restorative, Power, Furby, Tatooine, Hokey Pokey, and more! I might have made the last three types up. Bikram is yoga that you do in a room turned up to 150 degrees. That way your body becomes like Plastic Man’s and you can do all sorts of poses. Also you can see all sorts of colors as you dehydrate out all your brain cells.
I’m thinking that’s not my type. I don’t like sweating. Power Yoga was also quickly eliminated. Power Yoga is basically the Western way of screwing up an Eastern tradition. Someone said, hey, let’s take the worst parts of Yoga, stretching people’s bodies to the limit, rip out all the relaxing, spiritual parts, add in a lot of aerobic crap and market it to Type A Americans. That’s why Jillian Michaels has a Yoga video. Jillian. She is not what I associate with inner peace. More like extreme horror.
Hatha seems to be the most common type, at least in my area. It’s fairly basic. There’s stretching and meditation, but no chanting and chakra stuff. That works for me. I also like Restorative yoga, which is great for stress relief. You lay on pillows and breathe. I’m all for laying on pillows and breathing. In fact, I rather consider myself an expert at that. I might open a studio soon.
I did learn about one other type of Yoga in detail. I got a book from the library on Kandalini Yoga. It was a nice, pleasant book with soft, relaxing colors. Sure she mentioned lining up your chakras and chanting om and stuff, but eh, no matter. It looked okay. So when I saw a video of this type of Yoga at the library, I thought why not?
Oh, my peeps, there were so, so, so, SO MANY reasons why not.
First off, I should have taken a clue from just looking at the cover of the video. It was called “Fat Free Yoga” which is a rather odd title. Are they saying no fat people should do this? Or that they have somehow removed the fat out of the yoga routine? Is this a diet Yoga video?
The girl on the cover looked like a recent graduate of a hippie concentration camp. As you can see in the picture, she sits in front of a purple swirling rainbow vortex of some sort. The cover mentions something about a Matrix menu. Trust me, the Matrix is not just in the video menu.
I took it home and popped it in the machine. The Things decided to help me review this video. Pretty soon they are going to run from the room as soon as I turn on the television. In the beginning, we zoom into a white room with a woman sitting on a shaggy, round pink bath rug type thing centered in the middle of flower petals. Normally you hear gentle, non-distracting music in the background, but here we’ve got some Indian tune. I actually like Indian music, usually, but somehow this theme makes me think of those old 60s videos with people smoking pot and yammering about the universe.
She says nothing in the video, but there is a disembodied voice that speaks to you, and it’s not at all creepy. It’s also, interestingly, a male voice, which gives you the vibe of some guy peeking in her window and reporting his observations. A guy who first smoked a little crack.
Our bony little Yogi is wearing dog eared ponytails that I normally don’t see on people over twelve, and a little spandex outfit that’s way too small for her. Maybe she borrowed the outfit and the ponytail holders from her little sister. She also made the mistake of tanning herself a Cheeto orange and not investing in a bra. Let’s just say it was clearly a little cool in the room.
She starts out cross legged, looking somewhat normal. This is the last time she does this. Soon she opens her mouth and starts chanting oma lama ding dong or something to that effect, punctuated by Lamaze style huffing and puffing. I half expected her to give birth to a pea sized baby. At one point, she began panting like a dog. The Things crowded in closer. “I’m scared, Mommy,” reported Thing Two.
But this was only the beginning. After the breathing, chanting stuff, she starts to shake her head back and forth. And not gently either, we’re talking whiplash inducing whipping of the head, back and forth, until you half expect the head to go flying off her neck. Soon you start hoping this happens. After the head shaking, she goes back to the huffy breathing and chanting. Then just when she’s calmed down, she hops up and starts swinging around some more. I sat, fascinated. I’d never seen anything so incredibly bizarre before.
It’s really indescribable, which is why I encourage you to check it out. I included a clip here from youtube, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the insanity. Suffice it to say, if that’s Kandalini Yoga, I think I’m sticking to the basics. More on my adventures in Yogaland later. Now I leave you with the spookiest Yoga chick on the planet. Enjoy.
Back in January, my loyal readers – all like two of you – might remember me mentioning that I was applying for another job in the library. Specifically, I was applying to be an official librarian – a reference librarian. So I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat wondering if I got it. The answer is no, I didn’t, but not because I was rejected. I rejected the process.
Because, you see, we just now found our candidates. In July. Seriously. Last summer, we lost a librarian, and another moved to a higher position. So two candidates needed. 75 people applied. Again, seriously! I’m thinking these people must not have realized where we are. They probably got confused and thought we were one of those big universities with money and stuff, located in a city with people and entertainment and not so many cows.
So I was a bit daunted by this, but what the heck, I could hack it. But time at a university moves like a penguin. If you’ve ever watched these birds, you know they aren’t exactly speed demons. They waddle, and spend lots of time huddling together. That’s what happens here too. We’ve needed these two positions filled since last July. For six months the position was “frozen” (like a penguin homeland) until they decided to open it again. But that was just the beginning. They then had to come up with a job description. And post it. And wait for applications. And cry when they realized that by leaving the position open for an extra weekend, the number went from 55 to 75 applicants. Which just goes to show how bad our economy really is.
The position, while a huge raise for me, is not what most would consider highly paid. But the little addition of “salary commiserate upon experience” doesn’t exactly tell people “Even public school teachers are paid better than this.” With all these candidates, I figured they’d find some scientific way to eliminate people, like say all candidates with names starting with M. But no, it is required that every single application be reviewed and assigned a numerical score. Every. Single. One.
No one person could do this without losing all mental faculties. So a committee is formed (remember the huddle?) of seven people, only one of whom is not on staff. So this means about half the staff was involved in the hiring process. Of two people. Who will make less money than a public school teacher. But it’s not about the money. It’s about the prestige that a title like “librarian” brings with it. I mean, sure, you could be a lawyer making six figures, but if you’re a librarian, you still get to do research, only you make a tenth of the salary. Awesome!
As time dragged on, I felt my stress-o-meter go up. I filled in at this position since they were short handed, and to give myself experience. Unfortunately, this experience showed me that not only is this a rather difficult job, it is also extremely annoying. I’ve done reference work before, but not with university students. It turns out that university students have a lot of questions. And they will come up and ask you for help with everything. You might help twenty people in an hour. And the questions range from “Where is the bathroom?” to the more complex “Why is the computer melting?” Let’s not forget the phone either, which you’re expected to answer. Upstairs, at my regular position, most of my phone calls come from people trying to reach somebody else.
It’s tough when you’re sitting at a desk that is literally labeled “Reference” and you know absolutely nothing. They’ll ask you lots of homework questions, and after a while, you’re willing to just do their homework, because you have no idea how to explain it. That is, if you understand how to do their homework. One student I helped was an ESL student working on law, which meant I had to try and translate two different languages. My brain was pudding by the end of that session. And then there’s the issues with the computers and printers. The I.T. people downstairs have locked us out of most computer stuff, for good reason I’m sure, but unfortunately this keeps us from being able to access things we need, like the ability to put a travel drive into the computer. You have to call them when a student needs to use a travel drive to upload their homework. Every. Single. Time. I’m pretty sure most of I.T. assumes we’re all brain dead, although they are usually polite enough not to tell us so.
I’m not a real people person. I am what you call “introverted” which translates to “nerd”. It’s not that I hate all people, just most people. More than once, when a student came to me with a question I wanted to ask, “What???” Sometimes I would work on my Jedi mind powers, trying in vain to direct the students away from me with my mind. “You do not have a question. You want to return to your dorm . . .”
So anyway, this experience combined with the length and stress of the application process, caused me to change my mind. And just in time. We finally brought two people to campus to interview, and only one ran away screaming once she realized where we were. Luckily, the next candidate we interviewed decided to come. I’m not sure what they told her, but it had to be pretty good. In a funny twist of fate, one of our new reference librarians has the same name I do. So it’s like another me got the position, only this me is younger and more accomplished! Yay!
Seriously, I wish our two new people well. Maybe in a few years I’ll be ready for that step up. For now, I’ll waddle back to my safe little cubby in Special Collections. Which turns out to be more special than I ever realized.