Coming Soon to A Blog Near You

Hey, guys, I’m not dead! I know, it may have seemed that way, but I’m still here, though it was touch and go one night over a pint of Rocky Road ice cream.

Now, I have good news and bad news. I’m going to throw the bad news at you first so we end on a happy note. The bad news is that Sarah’s Brand New Chapter is going to the Happy Blogging Grounds where only the spammers lurk and comment in the eternal virtual sleep. I had thought about revitalizing the old blog by calling it, “Sarah’s One Laundry Load From Insanity,” but someone probably already bought the url because that is freaking comedic gold. This will be the blog’s swan song, though feel free to share your favorite post of mine as we end a beautiful era here. Or maybe I’ll just read all the old posts and get all teary eyed and start to drown my sorrows in ice cream instead of the humus and carrots I’m supposed to be eating.

But in good news -

A new blog has been birthed tonight, which sounds kinda weird and inappropriate as I’m reading that out loud, but I’m going to go with it as I haven’t birthed an actual kid yet. (I know, Mother, you want to be a grandmother someday, but today is not that day.)

It was inspired actually by my blogging friend, the extraordinary Julie Dineen, months ago when she suggested that I try to niche myself and suggested something to do with my job as a library assistant and the humor I attempt here. I’ve been ruminating on this idea and have decided to chronicle my journey to becoming a legitimate librarian as I am applying now for the Fall 2015 semester in the University of Washington’s MLIS program! My job has a great tuition reimbursement program now, and I have a family member who is willing to help with the initial costs, including the orientation held in Seattle. So I’m doing it. Woohoo!
I wasn’t sure I was up for the blogging again, but work has been providing more than enough fodder for blogging. I knew as I ran to the trash can to dispose of a moldy book with drawings of nude men in sexual positions that I probably should start blogging again. People need to understand what I actually do all day.

Not this -

I bill people for crap like this -

image

And then argue with them about it ’cause they “totally checked it out that way.” But, I also get coupons given to me and compliment cards that say I rock at customer service so it’s all good.

So you need to go to Confessions of A Future Librarian to check out the new baby blog. Follow me at @sarahbalding88 as always for updates and library-related humor. And if you don’t have a library card, get on that pronto. Because free. And awesome.

Love,

Sarah

Inside the Head of the Blogger: Reader, Beware

So my dear friend Sarah of The Sadder but Wiser Girl challenged me to fill out this questionnaire. I contemplated it, decided I’d do it, then promptly forgot it existed until today  -  when, bored out of my mind from being flat on my back due to messing up my back at work and then getting rear-ended to add insult to injury, I found it and decided to share a bit of what is going on in my head. I also thought it might buy me some time while I try to get my blogging act back together.

1. What am I working on?

Currently, I’m trying to keep my head above water at work. I have lost or will lose a couple key employees that I supervise, which means I’ve basically been running around like a crazy person all this month. I am also about to take on a paying project outside the library designing an online class for my former employer because “I am the best he’s had.”

*Cue warm and fuzzy feelings*

However, this will mean that I’ll probably be working about 60 hours a week. I have agreed to such a schedule because I am, in fact, insane. Once I figure out my way through all that, I’m starting the process of getting another master’s degree, this time in library science, on the city’s dime because they just reinstated tuition reimbursement. Boo-ya! One of my co-workers tells me that the online program at the University of Washington is the way to go so wish me luck, peeps!

And if you were talking about writing, not much in that area due to my brain turning to mush. Recently, I have exchanged my writing time for mindless reality TV, but I’m trying to get back to writing consistently again. I have thought about possibly saying goodbye to this blog and starting up a new one with a niche and other such fanciness, but we’ll see. :) It is hard to come up with a niche when you are horrible to average at just about everything. :P

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Well, if I had to put myself into a niche, I’d probably find myself with the humor bloggers. I usually just write about things that make me laugh, so my work differs from everyone else because I have a weird, dry, twisted sense of humor. Usually, this involves either library-related humor or stories about the stupid stuff my klutzy self does, like drop popsicles on my chest or get my keys caught on my pants zipper.  I think there are plenty of humor bloggers that are leaps and bounds funnier than I could ever dream of, but I simply write and hope that somebody laughs.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Life is stressful, y’all, and we all need a laugh, myself especially. I find it very easy to get down and depressed, convinced that everyone hates me and I suck at life. Instead of drowning my sorrows in strawberry ice cream, I try to write humor. Sometimes, this is hard when I’m feeling crummy, but I am determined to keep trying. I hope that my blog posts reach you, my readers, when you are feeling down. Whether you laugh with me or at me, if you are laughing, I’ve done my job well.

4. How does your writing process work? 

Step 1 – Open up browser – one tab for WordPress, one for Facebook, one of cute cat pictures, and one for Pinterest.

Step 2 – Get distracted by Facebook and/or cat pictures for at least an hour.

Step 3 – Close other tabs after realizing I haven’t gotten any blogging done.

Step 4 – Stare at the “Add New Post” page, hoping that inspiration will strike.

Step 5 – Stare at the wall, the door, and the pile of clothes on the couch that needs folding hoping one of them will give me inspiration.

Step 6 – Either give up or write a blog post about my lack of domesticity.

Step 7 – Forget to share it with people so nobody knows I wrote anything. Sad days.

Okay, in seriousness, I usually try to take notes on Post-It Notes or in my phone of post ideas when inspiration strikes and then find a quiet place to write the whole thing in one sitting. Sometimes, I’m a good writer and let it sit for awhile and do some proofreading, while other times (like at 2 AM when I have to work at 8 AM the next day) I just send it out in the world wide web and screw all the advice wiser bloggers have given me. I love using Feedly and subscribing to all sorts of humorous blogs to get ideas for my own blog, or at least, funny things to share on Twitter. My best work is usually in the wee hours of the morning with faux rain and thunder as my background noise if I can’t get the real deal. Chocolate also helps; I’ve tried recreating these situations with hummus and Wheat Thins, and it just isn’t the same.

So that’s my four questions – and now, I am supposed to nominate three blogs I love – who can either follow in my foot steps and fill this out  or not. I don’t care. :) I just want to know I think you are totally sick, awesome, thebomb.com, and totally rad. And if you didn’t make it on this list, don’t be sad because I’m only supposed to choose three, and that is like, super hard, y’all.

Aussa Lorens - Aussa is my hero. She’s one of those “leaps and bounds funnier than I could dream of” bloggers whose blog I stalk constantly and cry from laughter when she talks about Trash Cake or tells her tales of living at The Hovel. But even though she is BlogHer famous and I am a peon, she regularly comes over and comments on my blog posts. Which makes me love her super hard. Aussa, I am forever and always going to be one of your groupies.

Misty’s Laws  - Oh Misty, you have been here commenting and cheering me on virtually almost as long as I have been blogging on WordPress. Your blog posts make me laugh, and every time I see a poorly dressed person, I think, “Misty would love to see that.” She found out my love of Princess Bride and gave me a ROUS for Christmas. She has the biggest heart and makes me feel like I am actually good at this whole blogging thing. I heart you, lady.

Melanie Shebel of Code Gurl - Melanie is my new favorite person. She blogs about blogging, and she’s awesome. She and I have connected more over on Twitter than here on the blog, but she makes me laugh and has encouraged me to keep at the whole blogging deal. If you have any questions about how to be a better blogger, check her out!

And that’s all, folks! Hope to be back to blogging soon.

Love,

Sarah

 

Do It Yourself Spam Comments – Not Sold In Stores

While many of us bloggers have a way with words and a few of us think we’ll be the 21st century’s T.S. Eliots and Mark Twains, many in the world are not so gifted with the art form of writing coherently. As they try to type two-finger style, they are typing “your” when they should have used “you’re” and “defiantly” writing comments that end up in our spam folders because they actually meant to write “definitely.”

There is hope for the Michael Kors enthusiasts and the penis enlargement industry thanks to a misstep from the spam community in sending me the Rosetta Stone of spam comments instead of their usual gibberish (kdjf;alkjf;ladkjf;lakdjf;ldj is not a legit comment) or telling how my article about my sudden distaste for bacon is informative to their research. As I’m not currently making any money blogging, I’m going to start a spam generating business by selling off several page long document that was hiding in my spam folder, usually retailing for $69.99, now retailing for two easy payments of $19.99 plus shipping and handling. I’ll include a teaser for all my loyal spam bots as well as my legitimate readers.

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} {online|on-line} {more than|greater than}
{three|3} hours {these days|nowadays|today|lately|as of late},
{yet|but} I {never|by no means} {found|discovered} any {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing} article like yours.
{It’s|It is} {lovely|pretty|beautiful} {worth|value|price} {enough|sufficient}
for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view},
if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made {just
right|good|excellent} {content|content material} as {you
did|you probably did}, the {internet|net|web} {will be|shall be|might be|will probably be|can be|will likely be} {much more|a lot
more} {useful|helpful} than ever before.|
Ahaa, its {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {discussion|conversation|dialogue} {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} {here|at this
place} at this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}, I have read all that, so {now|at this time} me also commenting {here|at this place}.|
I am sure this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} has touched
all the internet {users|people|viewers|visitors},
its really really {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} on building up new {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}.|
Wow, this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is
{nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, my {sister|younger sister} is analyzing {such|these|these kinds of} things, {so|thus|therefore} I am going to {tell|inform|let know|convey} her.|
{Saved as a favorite|bookmarked!!}, {I really like|I like|I love} {your blog|your site|your
web site|your website}!|
Way cool! Some {very|extremely} valid points! I appreciate you {writing this|penning this} {article|post|write-up}
{and the|and also the|plus the} rest of the {site is|website is} {also
very|extremely|very|also really|really} good.|
Hi, {I do believe|I do think} {this is an excellent|this is a great} {blog|website|web site|site}.
I stumbledupon it  ;) {I will|I am going to|I’m going to|I may} {come back|return|revisit} {once again|yet again}
{since I|since i have} {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} it.
Money and freedom {is the best|is the greatest} way to change, may you be
rich and continue to {help|guide} {other people|others}.|
Woah! I’m really {loving|enjoying|digging} the template/theme of this {site|website|blog}.
It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s {very hard|very difficult|challenging|tough|difficult|hard} to get that “perfect balance” between {superb usability|user friendliness|usability} and {visual appearance|visual appeal|appearance}.
I must say {that you’ve|you have|you’ve} done a {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|fantastic|excellent|great} job with this.
{In addition|Additionally|Also}, the blog loads {very|extremely|super} {fast|quick} for me on {Safari|Internet explorer|Chrome|Opera|Firefox}.
{Superb|Exceptional|Outstanding|Excellent} Blog!|

 

I know that after reading that tiny excerpt that you will be delighted to send me all sorts of money, and you can click here to wire the money to my secret PayPal account. And for those of you who comment on this blog post, you will be sent a free gift of your own personalized spam note with a variety of different wordings and endings, like your very own  choose your own Goosebumps stories. Example:

Kate,

{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, I {log on to|check|read} your {new
stuff|blogs|blog} {regularly|like every week|daily|on a regular
basis}. Your {story-telling|writing|humoristic} style is {awesome|witty}, keep {doing what you’re doing|up the
good work|it up}!|
I {simply|just} {could not|couldn’t} {leave|depart|go away} your {site|web site|website} {prior to|before} suggesting that I {really|extremely|actually}
{enjoyed|loved} {the standard|the usual} {information|info} {a person|an individual} {supply|provide} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {visitors|guests}?
Is {going to|gonna} be {back|again} {frequently|regularly|incessantly|steadily|ceaselessly|often|continuously}
{in order to|to} {check up on|check out|inspect|investigate cross-check} new posts|
{I wanted|I needed|I want to|I need to} to thank you for this {great|excellent|fantastic|wonderful|good|very good} read!!
I {definitely|certainly|absolutely} {enjoyed|loved} every {little bit of|bit
of} it. {I have|I’ve got|I have got} you {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} {to check out|to look at} new {stuff you|things you} post…

Sincerely,

Sarah of Sarah’s Brand New Chapter, SPAM Queen

 

It’s an offer you simply can’t refuse. :)

 

Love, Sarah

 

Library Karma

I cringed as soon as I saw him impatiently waiting behind the sweet old lady with her spiral notebook of books to read. I hoped one of my co-workers would save me from the surly old man, but I was not to be that lucky today. He handed me the worn DVD case, and in a force of habit, I opened it to check for the disk inside.

“I found this in the back seat of my car,” he grunted, handing me his card. I scanned his card and revealed a whole host of notes for a gentlemen who had quite the rap sheet with the library staff. The DVD in question – which we call “Catching Fire” instead of its real name to protect the guilty and because I love that movie – was listed as the movie in question in the most recent encounter with this gruff man, and I had been the unfortunate recipient of his wrath last time he had visited our branch.

I immediately recalled this incident as he had slammed down his stack of DVDs and had told me that he “would not pay for this DVD” like he did the last time, and that we people needed to do our job properly. He couldn’t believe that we were incompetent enough to let this happen not one but two times and took out all his ire out on me. I had marked “Catching Fire” to a claims returned status, which is library speak for “we don’t know the heck where it is, and you probably lost it, but it’ll calm you down until you find it,” and he left in a huff as I wrote a note warning whoever was unlucky enough to encounter him next.

And here he stood, unrepentant and impatient, wanting to get this “taken care of as soon as possible.”

It took everything I could to keep myself from smirking or making some sarcastic retort as I cleared his account and checked the item in. As I was finishing, he then pulled out a solitary, loose DVD and plopped it down on my desk. It was none other than “The Hunger Games” (name also changed), which happened to be the very DVD my supervisor had made him pay for three months earlier that he swore up and down he had returned, and we had lost. I had to literally choke back a laugh as I made the connection, and he pulled out the receipt for it, demanding his $16.00 back.

Between the policy of no refunds after 60 days and the fact that he hadn’t actually returned the case that went with “Hunger Games,” I placed the DVD back in his hands, and as sweetly as I could, told him I couldn’t take it and told him it was all his now, an answer he did not approve of but did not argue with me about thankfully. I took his silence as a close to apology for belittling me last time as I would probably ever get.

Call it karma or due recompense, but either way, I couldn’t keep smile off my face as he turned and strode away from the circulation desk. Another victory for the library staff.

The Home Invader

The house was empty and quiet, save the quiet hum of the central air conditioning running in the background. I was on the couch, worn out from a sleepless night before and a busy day, and I was grateful for the time alone to just chill and stalk people on Facebook. I was just about to share a funny library story on Facebook when I heard a slight rustle.

Startled, I looked around to see what was making the noise. Nothing. Everything seemed to be in its place  wherever I had left it after a long day strewn about the house. I went back to my smart phone, wondering if I could download an app that would do my folding. I heard the rustle again, this time closer and definitely from something in the brown paper bag by the door filled with Wal-Mart bags my husband assures me he is going to someday take to work to be recycled. All the hairs on the back of my neck stood up straight. Something had invaded the privacy of my home with its sole goal to cause me mental and emotional anguish.

I was just about to either grab the giant fly swatter or go hide in my bedroom when I saw the beast emerge. Easily two inches long, the cockroach was climbing the wall of my living room, quickly scaling the cream-colored drywall and out of my reach about 2 inches from the ceiling. I stood frozen to the spot, flashbacks to when one of this mammoth’s cousins found it amusing to drop on my head at midnight and causing me to end up in the hallway crying and rocking back and forth.

If that happens again, I thought, my hands shaking and my eyes fixed unwavering on the rapidly advancing cockroach, I will absolutely lose my ever-loving mind. Ryan might as well check me into the psych ward now.

Luckily, or unluckily (I’m not quite sure), the cockroach had decided to descend, scuttling within arm’s length of me. I saw my chance, and I grabbed the nearest empty glass and quickly trapped the now-scrambling and flailing monster cockroach as he tried to escape my clutches. I was trying not to hyperventilate as I slid a piece of paper between the wall and the glass so I could trap him for Ryan to take care of him once he got home from studying at the library. The cockroach responded by defiantly  defecating on the paper and then throwing himself at the glass, causing me to scream and retreat to the safety of the couch. We stared at each other; I gave the beast my most fearsome librarian face, usually reserved for the loudest and most annoying of patrons, while he twitched his pinky-long antenna at me and tried to escape.

But, alas, he was unsuccessful, much like his comrade who hid in my couch last night and nearly made me cry from fear and alarm. Victory was mine, and all six-legged and eight-legged animals ought to remember his crushing defeat before distracting me from my Facebook again.

 

Carbs Are Freaking Delicious

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I’ve spent 20.2 minutes of my life today, whichI can never get back, reading nutrition labels and Googling how many pushups I have to do to atone for my chocolate addiction.

(The answer is about 49 more than I can do)

image

I have been counting calories like a mad woman, eating salads that taste like tears and death covered in curry sauce to lose the flab that has called my waist its forever home. I log onto My Fitness Pal and record every food I eat including that sugar cookie I ate for breakfast one morning. And I’ve come to realize something –

Carbs are a butt ton of calories, y’all. And this is depressing as the former Queen of the Carbs because I could eat carbs all day if I didn’t care about my weight.

The signs of being a carbaholic have always been there. My mom recorded a home video of me and my older cousin as preschoolers feeding bread to ducks. Well, Jenny was, at least trying to, as she threw entire slices of Wonder Bread into the pond. I, on the other hand, stood apprehensive while eating the plain white bread. Freshly baked rolls, homemade macaroni and cheese, and fluffy mashed potatoes are my downfall, their Siren song beckoning me as I begrudgingly put green beans on my plate.

I try to make better choices. I eat undressed cheeseburgers, scantily clad in only lettuce instead a beautiful sesame seed roll, to save a few calories. I pass on the garlic bread with my spaghetti. I hid the Kraft Macaroni boxes where I can’t find them as easily and consume its powdery cheesy goodness. But, guys, all I really want to do is eat an entire serving of garlic knots without being judged and without it taking up residency in my butt.

Is that really too much to ask?

Love,

Sarah

Got the Serious Smacked Out of Me

The humor hasn’t been strong with this one recently. I feel like whenever I do want to write, it’s about serious things like depression or debates about the meaning of life, or it’s ranting about how ridiculous some people (and their driving habits) can be. And while it is incredibly cathartic to write about, it makes for nonsensical, maddening blog posts so I delete them immediately after finishing.

Which is part of the reason you’ve experienced silence for the last month.

Tonight didn’t seem to be promising in the humor department. I worked a couple hours – managing to not give every person who walked into the library my death cold – and then headed off to the movies to see The Fault in Our Stars with my husband. And while I won’t give any spoilers, there was lots of crying and unnatural, guttural noises coming from our row.

And that was just Ryan. (Okay, maybe me)

Naturally, my Facebook-addicted self had to see what exciting things happened this evening while I was gallivanting about the town. As I read, I saw that my sweet brother-in-law had tagged me in a comment. Curious, I clicked to see what he was harassing me about today as he always finds a way to poke fun at me, his one and only sister-in-law.

See screenshot below.

funny screenshot cropped

 

This afternoon, I had sworn to myself that I am really going to lose this weight I’ve been lugging around all winter for way too long and downloaded all the weight loss apps as Google directed. Apps to record my steps, apps to keep track of my weight, apps to keep track of my sleep patterns, apps to record what food I’m eating, and apps to tell me that “Holy crap, a pack of crackers has 120 calories in it” and I should probably just eat a celery stick instead – if it promised to make me a sexy, sultry size 10 again (or maybe an 8 if I’m feeling really crazy ambitious), I downloaded it. Many of these apps were of the Runtastic variety, though the only time I run is if something is chasing me, and even then, I get a stitch in my side and die first in the zombie movies.

One such app trains me to do push ups, recording one each time I touched my nose to the phone screen. That didn’t go very well, as I kept hitting the exit button, and shutting the darn thing down in the middle of my reps, y’all. So, I gave up and got ready for work, thinking nothing of it until I got home this evening. Yeah, cursed little app decided to post my one push up attempt on Facebook. Most exercise gurus post things like “Yeah, did 200 situps and benched like 300 pounds today,” or “Just came back from a little 10 mile jog tonight – #feeling lazy,” but I just posted that I did one push up when I’m sure I did at least 3 that the blasted app didn’t record. I was only a little bit embarrassed, and my loving husband comforted me by leaning up against the wall for support as he laughed at me.

So, I figured what better way to officially declare that I’m back to blogging then another post sharing something hilariously stupid I did to make you laugh at me too. It is safe to say I’ll probably never get my act enough together to ever run out of posts, a fact which I’m sure you all will enjoy.

Love always,
Sarah