It's cold in Alexandria.

Work is fun and crazy like the day before Christmas in an elementary school.

I am a little too distracted by it all to really think of anything that I've been pondering. I'll have to do that tomorrow.
I have to get my Illinois drivers license,
and since I'm from out of state,
I have to take the written test. It's funny,
because I haven't studied for this type of thing since I was 13. I'm actually learning a lot. I know the rules, but there are a lot of suggestions on safe driving that I should keep in mind.

– If your gas pedal becomes stuck, hook your foot behind the pedal to free it. If it is still stuck, shift into neutral and brake gently to slow down. (I wouldn't have thought of shifting into neutral during that panicky moment.)

-If you are in a crash that involves a power line or power source, stay in your vehicle. If you must leave (say, because the car is on fire), jump away from the car with both feet. Do not touch the car and the ground at the same time.

-" … whistles and bells are allowed <em>only on authorized</em> emergency vehicles." Kids, this means that you cannot add fancy-schmancy bells and whistles like neon undercarriage lights or sunroofs. This is not true. The manual is referring to actual bells and whistles. It's just funny that the two words are also a phrase my dad uses.

– "No motor vehicle may have a television set that is visible from the driver's seat."

There you go.
I finally found an online group of Young Adult public librarians. I joined their listserve,
appealed for their help in finding a masters program,
and today was flooded with suggestions of colleges based on attendance in the '70s.

I was hoping the overwhelming consensus would be that U of Hawaii was the only way to go. As it turns out,
midwestern schools are where its at.

Now I just have to calm down and not freak out about purposely going forward in life with a plan. It's kind of nerve-wracking. I'm not used to it, and I feel like a skittish pixie. Long-term planning freaks me out and makes me want to run in the opposite direction.

Let's see- the opposite direction of a YA public librarian would be … scamming old people out of their pensions?
<P><FONT color=#663366><EM><FONT size=5>Adventure:</FONT></EM> <BR></FONT><BR>Last night Jason and I went to the close-by movie theatre to see Blade III,
or Ocean's 12. By the logic of starting times, we narrowed our choices down to the first two, and then logically decided that we'd rather engorge ourselves on the first two Blades before ravaging the third. We came to this consensus outside (it was 5 degrees) because that was the only place the movies were listed. On the frontis of the building were the ticket booths. There were scarily dressed mannequins with newscaster wigs sitting to attend to us. We walked inside, and learned that we purchase the tickets (and by 'tickets' I mean 'receipts for popcorn') from the concessionaire. She radioed back to her co-worker to see if Alexander was going to be played. She warned us that the Alexander theatre was "one of the colder theatres". Jason and I had both worn hats and such, and decided to go. </P>
<P>Little did we know that the temperature of the room would hover at 45 degrees for the duration of the movie. </P>
<P>Factors that did not help:<BR>1. We were the only people in the theater and our body heat was sucked upwards to the cavernous ceiling.<BR>2. Alexander is 2 hours and 56 minutes long.<BR>3. We could not snog and grope each other because we were wearing too many layers of clothing and could not maneuver.</P>
<P>I looked like a ninja all wrapped up, and we were both sitting on our hands to keep them warm. I didn't even have the heart to eat my generic sour patch-type kids.</P>
<P><EM><FONT color=#663366 size=5>Abstract view:</FONT></EM></P>
<P><FONT color=#000000><STRONG>Theory or Possibly Fact: Duress makes some situations more tolerable.</STRONG><BR>Example One:<BR></FONT><FONT color=#000000>If Jason and I had to sit in a cold cold room for a half hour, we probably would have stayed 15 or 20 minutes before deciding to leave. Knowing that a three hour movie was our goal, we sat with a surprising amount of&nbsp;patience. </FONT></P>
<P>Example Two:<BR>Allison&nbsp;and I went kayaking, and after two days of self propulsion and mosquitoes, we&nbsp;had hardied up the ability to handle&nbsp;a higher level of duress. As the rain we paddled in turned into a storm, we calmly and without complaint hauled&nbsp;our awkward equipment&nbsp;in trips up a muddy path with nettles and a steep incline&nbsp;to wait, in the above-mentioned rain,&nbsp;for our ride.&nbsp;</P>
<P>Example Three:<BR>There&nbsp;were several times during AmeriCorps*NCCC that I found myself amazed at my ability to persevere. Firefighting, with smoke-filled lungs and bleeding hands; building a metal shed, with high winds and freezing temperatures; cutting back trail in WV, hiking for miles and miles and miles each day hacking at rhododendron and mountain laurel. I look back and can hardly believe I completed my tasks. </P>
<P>Perhaps this comes as a shock after having spent a large portion of my life thinking that I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to. I thought the punishment&nbsp;from failure would always hurt less than the daunting task. Thanks to the brain, which continually amazes me, I've learned that I can handle a lot more than I estimate.</P>
<P>This theory was brought to my attention again by watching a documentary on the Burning Man Festival. Those who plan for months and sacrifice to spend time in the hot, dry desert enjoy it much more than those who fly in.</P>
<P>There ought to be more short stories based on this theme. If anyone writes one and posts it as a comment (200 word minimum, you harpies) I'll knit them a pair of mittens.</P>