Friday, October 3, 2008

A Week in Review

It's time for another mind-altering edition of the revolutionary periodical A Week in Review.

Back at It
This is the first full week I've worked since the week before my niece's wedding, which was September 12, and I have to say it was exhausting. What's up with 40 hours? And then another job too? Whose ideas was this?

That being said, it is nice to get back to a normal routine. I love vacationing, but I also love, at the end of it, to return to life as usual. My own bed, my own bathroom, a schedule. A person can be in vacation mode for only so long. For me it's about a week, and then I'm ready for my own life back. That's enough time to reap all of the rewards of a break and to feel renewed. But then, of course, after about another week to ten days, I'm not so new anymore...? Maybe a person should have a week on and then a week off.

My niece Mariah turned 16 on September 23. A monumental occasion. I was still on vacation that day, so we went shopping last Monday to find her a present. We had some dinner, and then went to the South Towne mall. Sierra works at the Mervyn's there, so we spent some quality time distracting her from her job, and then started out on our quest. It's hard for Mariah to pick something out. She's a low maintenance kid, which really is a blessing. She doesn't want for much. But, when shopping it would be kind of nice if she wanted something. We looked around for close to two hours before she settled on a large bright green pillow for her bed. Her gift from her parents is the redecorating of her room, and lime green is one of the colors they're using. So the pillow fit in nicely. She seemed happy with it.

I shouldn't complain about it taking her some time to make a decision. I honestly love spending the time with her. Mariah is a treasure. She's beautiful. She has a quiet, kind, gentle disposition. She's a self-motivated and hard worker, which is unusual for a girl her age. She does well in school because she keeps herself on task. And, she gives the best hugs in the world! So love that.

I started a new book by Garrison Keillor called "Pontoon". It's pretty good. Keillor is a brilliant comedy writer, and the narrative moves at a fast pace. It's an easy, entertaining read. My only complaint is that there is too much mention of sex, and some of it too detailed. I'm surprised to find this in a Keillor book. I guess I don't know why that is. Maybe because he does a radio show on PBS that is like something out of the 1950s? I expected his writing to be just as wholesome. That's not the case. Still, I'll finish it. I'm interested enough in the characters to want to know how it all ends.

Mad Men
For a long time now I have not had a show that I consistently follow. I'm not home much, and hardly ever on the same nights each week, so it's hard to stick with something. Over the last few weeks, through, I've become hooked on "Mad Men". For those unfamiliar, it's an AMC drama (is AMC right?) that's received a lot of critical acclaime. I'd heard about it here and there for some time, but it wasn't until my good friend Nicole mentioned it in a blog that I decided to give it a try. She's right. It's great. The thing that I find interesting is that the tone is quiet and subtle. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on. It's not loud with car chases, expolsions, or medical emergencies. It's not outrageously funny. But I find myself so intrigued. What's there is deep and intricate. And the setting in the 1960s makes it seem like visiting another world where all of the women dress beautifully and act like ladies, and your doctor smokes a cigarette while giving you an exam. Astonishing.

Ladies' Night
Heaven help me, it's time for Ladies' Night at the bookstore again. I need to get to the liquor store for something to get me through the evening. Actually, I haven't worked it for some time now. In April and last October I opened rather than closed the store, and the break was good for my soul. I think that I can handle this again.

Ladies' Night isn't what it used to be. Years ago we threw such a big party. The refreshments were great, the prizes were great, we had a great announcer (Tiff :), and women just swarmed the store. We all loved to dread it for weeks before hand, hate it in the moment, and complain about it for weeks afterward. But, looking back on it now, it was kind of fun.

Everything has been scaled back since then. The refreshments are one kind of cookie that we get from the Lion House Pantry, and in short supply. We don't have the big grand prizes for the drawings. And I think our numbers get fewer and fewer. There are still more demanding women crammed into a small space than I care to deal with, but even with that it doesn't feel the same. Over time we lost the staff members that put their whole hearts into the food and prizes. Corporate started playing too big a role and tried to get all of the stores to unify and do the same things, and the rest of us just lost our enthusiasm.

Should I ever leave the bookstore, I'll think about Ladies' Night and remember it like it used to be, and then I'll talk about how much I hated it, and then I'll smile to myself. Those of you who shared those days with me will know what I mean.

I'll close with a quote from a writer named Gore Vidal that I read about on The Writer's Almanac this morning. He said, "Style is knowing who you are, what to say, and not giving a damn."

Thanks, as always.
You are loved.


Kelli said...

Thanks for the update! In honor of all my many memories of Ladies Night I tend to discourage anyone I know from attending when I tell them how horrible the associates find the whole experience. As I look back I also smile! The ladies buffet was the best part! Or maybe the treats from Anne! Maybe it was just the whining that we did that was so fun!

Tiffany said...

Ah, Ladies Night. Those were the days. I have mostly fond memories of those nights, mostly of the food and the companionship of my fellow miserable employees.

Also, I just watched Mad Men for the first time. I think I'll have to keep watching.

Loved your parting quote!