Monday, December 31, 2012

A Clean Break

Today marked the official retirement date of one of my colleagues.  He was is (good lord, he didn’t die, he just retired!)y low-key guy so he didn’t want any sort of retirement party, going-away soiree , or even a cake – which kinda sucked for the rest of us because we like parties, soirees, and cakes – but it wasn’t our retirement so we didn’t get a vote.  We did get to sign his card though.

Before everyone dispersed for the Christmas holiday the week before last, a few people stopped by his cubicle to say their good-byes privately.  Well, as privately as you can get in an office of cubicles – the sound barrier box wall nothwithstanding. 
I teared up the couple of times that I heard someone say good-bye to him. 

I’m such a sap. 
I said my so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good-bye late in the afternoon.  I told him to make sure he comes back to visit.
His response took me by surprise.  He said that he probably wouldn’t – he likes clean breaks.

Clean breaks?  Huh?  I can’t even comprehend that.  I don’t break from anything.    
I hold onto the past until well after even the past moved on. 

As I moved into my “officially-as-of-December 31, 2012 former” colleague’s cubicle today, I thought to myself, you know, maybe he’s right.  Clean breaks are healthier.  And not so messy. 

So, I’m making a clean break from 2012.  There’s no looking back on this year unless I want to remember something really really spectacular.  (Okay, maybe I’ve gotta work at the clean break thing.)    

It’s full-steam ahead for 2013.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Arrangement (n) 1. The process of organizing materials with respect to their provenance and original order, to protect their context and to achieve physical or intellectual control over the materials.  2. The organization and sequence of items within a collection
                                                                                                                Society of American Archivists Glossary

If there is no discernible arrangement, then enter the word ―Unarranged.‖
                                                                                                                The Standards
One of the most important concepts in my line of work is that of arrangement.  One can preserve an arrangement.  Or impose an arrangement.  Or even perfect an arrangement – place the emphasis on the second syllable because if you have a perfect (emphasis on the first syllable) arrangement, there is really no need to perfect (back to emphasizing that second syllable) the arrangement. 

Arrangement is my favorite thing as an archivist.  It’s a lot more than just making sure the folders, err files, are in A-B-C order – although, admittedly there is a bit of that – no, arrangement is the physical and intellectual act of organizing materials so that they are accessible for use.  It helps the people who ultimately use the materials.    
There is an order, a sequence, a pattern.  Things make sense.

Then there are the materials that have no order, no sequence, no pattern.  It is all unarranged.  Some theorists call that original chaos.  It’s up to the archivist to impose an order or leave it in its original chaotic state – and just, you know, write a folder list. 
Arrangement is not my favorite thing as Denise.

I look at my purse, my home, my life and all I see is original chaos.  Everything is   

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I Want for Christmas

My Christmas list was due to my mother by last Friday.  I got it to her late so there’s a chance that I’ll be getting stuff from the “As Seen on TV” section of the store kinda like last year when Santa gave me a Wonder File that was supposed to organize my life in wondrous and amazing ways.  Seriously, a file folder can do that!  And it probably would have, if I had ever opened the box.  Who knows?  Maybe this year, I’ll end up with an Alluma Wallet or a Ped Egg!

I don’t want you to think I’m a greedy materialistic person.  In fact, for the past couple of years I have advocated against giving presents for Christmas.  I thought we should shift gears and give experiences like trips or adventures or Reenact Your Favorite Eighties Movie Nights.  The fact of the matter is I’m an independent woman of independent means so if I want something for myself, I usually get it for myself.  Basically, if I want a monkey, I get a monkey.  (My new favorite line that I stole from the newest reality show sensation “Sin City Rules”) 
But it’s Christmas time and my mother NEEDED a list, folks.  So, I started thinking about what would make this season magical for me…you know like when I was kid.  So…here’s my list –

A meal schedule.  Remember in elementary school when you knew what you were going to eat for lunch every day because it was nicely printed out on a colorful calendar?  How awesome was that?  Someone already had it all figured out for you – chicken nuggets on Mondays, tacos on Tuesdays, square pizza on Wednesdays, and something Spork-able on Thursdays.  Now, I’m getting better at the whole cooking thing and I don’t even mind going to the grocery store.  It’s just the whole planning part.  So, like just schedule all my meals for me.  Except no tacos on Tuesdays.  I always brown-bagged on Tuesdays.
A hobo bag.  With an actual hobo to tell me whether or not the hobo bag is authentic.  How cool would that be to open up a hobo bag and have a little hobo pop out of it?  It’s like a Jack-in-the-Box only it’s a Hobo-in-the-Hobo-Bag!

Perseverance.  My mom says I don’t have any so I figure she can buy me some for Christmas.  I try to develop it on my own but then I never follow through.  Probably because napping is so much easier than persevering.  So, Mom, stick some perseverance in a box and let me open that on Christmas morning.  Unless, you know, I don’t get around to opening all of my presents.  Wait, what happened to that Wonder File? 
Reset my iPod.  My brother and I share iTunes – the legality of which I’m not entirely sure of but that’s neither here nor there.  Anyway, I have about 500 songs on my iPod.  450 of them are Kenny Chesney songs.  My brother hearts Kenny Chesney big time.  So much so that he even has the Kenny Chesney Christmas album on his iTunes.  Who even listens to Christmas albums anymore?!  The last Christmas album I had was New Kids on the Block and it was one of those big black record things.  Anyhoo, do you know what’s like to be getting my Top Gun (soundtrack) on and flying my Mighty Wings into the Danger Zone when all of a sudden Kenny’s begging the Boys of Fall for Another Beer in Mexico?  It’s like – gimme a break!!!  But ever since I added my iPod to my iPhone, iConfused.  And so the Kenny torture continues.  So, you know, resetting that would be awesome. 

While we’re on the subject of music, would someone other than me please admit that that “Christmas Shoes” song is ridiculous.  That would be a great gift.  Look, I’m sorry – especially to my friends who admit to crying when this song comes on – but I just don’t buy this song at all.  The kid doesn’t need Christmas shoes for his mom!  It’s a SCAM!  Daddy’s saying there’s not much time because the cops are on their way to catch the little grifter!   Have I crossed over the line to full Grinch-hood?  In my defense, I do mist up when I hear “Silent Night.”
A hovercraft. 

So, there it is – all I want for a magical Christmas.
That's not asking for too much is it?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Sign of Peace

Indescribable.  Incomprehensible.  Horrific.  Tragic.

There are so many words and yet there are no words to describe what happened on Friday morning. 
As we begin to learn more, as we start to put names with faces – and those faces with birthdates – it will only get harder. 

There are no words. 
During the Catholic Mass, parishioners shake the hands of those around them and whisper “Peace be with you.” 

And so those are the only words that I can summon on this weekend of unimaginable heartache.
Peace be with you. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Megan Ashley

The week before last, my friend sent me a link to check out.  I’m going to paste it here – you can copy and paste it in your browser to read the article if you want or you can just read the link itself -

Wait…I’ll bold and enlarge the important part –

My pal knows I have a thing for dolls.  I mean, who wouldn’t?!  Dolls are awesome.  People with dolls are even more awesome.  I am a person with lots of dolls.  Therefore I am lots of awesome. 
If you read the whole article or still receive the American Girl catalog, you know about “Special Sparkle,” the page in the catalog that features special accessories for American Girl dolls including fashion boots (although, sadly, no fashion sneakers), sporty sunglasses, a wheelchair, an epi pen, and a hot pink hearing aid.

Well, I’ll be!  Special Sparkle me (and my dolls) from head to toe! 

A hearing aid for dolls?!  What a novel idea!

Well, um, not exactly. 

Let me tell you about Megan Ashley. 
I got Megan Ashley when I was seven years old.  She was a special order, special delivery just for me.  She wasn’t like the rest of my dolls – she had a cloth body, brown yarn hair, a pretty pink dress, leg braces, and gray hearing aids that were stuck to her ears with Velcro. 

Megan Ashley was Special Sparkle before Special Sparkle was cool.

And, obviously, so was I.  

Megan Ashley and Me
We're forlorn not because we were
going into surgery but because
we missed General Hospital