career fail + valentine’s ideas

I was just on the front desk for four hours straight and my brain is fried syrup. People just kept coming and coming and coming and the last one seemed to have wandered in off the street wanting to know what happened to her long lost father. My response was so inadequate to the occasion (huh? we can’t really help you) that I’m just smacking myself right now. I might have mentioned that she could contact the National Archives. Or the Library of Congress Genealogy Room. They are, after all, just a few blocks away.

But I was elbows deep in two article searches, a legislative history, and one of the weirdest (but also most interesting) requests I’ve gotten here yet, all while trying to track down an intern who distractedly gave me the wrong number to reach her, which I then distractedly tried to call. It was our own help desk. My colleague was like “Sarah, why are you calling me from 10 feet away?” Whoops. Well, all those reference wrongs have been reference righted but I am still beating myself up for not being more useful to that fatherless woman. Professionally I am under no obligation to assist the public (I like to call that policy NIMJD for “NOT IN MY JOB DESCRIPTION”) but as a human being, I like to help. I took myself off the reference desk, poured a glass of cold water and am returning to baseline normal. Young lady, I am sorry. I did manage to refer her to her local public library, and hopefully someone who is not burnt out and knows something about genealogy will be on the desk.

On to happier topics, Valentine’s Day. For couples, I think it’s mostly dumb, especially to make some kind of big g-d deal out of it and cry if it’s not “perfect” but generally I think a celebration of love that’s rooted in substance abuse and sexual misconduct is a great idea. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve always like red and pink together.

this looks good and you know it


Last year Eric and I got a lobster pot from Tacklebox  in Georgetown and let me tell you, it’s a good way to liven up your evening and avoid the crowds.  The only thing that’s a pain is picking it up, but really nothing says love like a couple of live lobsters on a bus, especially if there’s a transfer involved. Really, what could be more romantic than getting a one pot dinner, putting it on the stove, and listening to the lobsters hiss and steam while contemplating the failed romances of Woody Allen.

Soon your mind will wander blissfully from the traumas of the present (“is he still attracted to me?”) to the faraway traumas yet to come (“if I adopt a baby, will he marry her?”). But you won’t have to worry for long, because soon it’s time to figure out what the f*** to do with a lobster. If you are anything like me and Eric last year, the answer is “panic wildly and start stabbing.” If you are anything like me and Eric this year, the answer is “buy a g-d nutcracker.” Apparently this helps, so, look into that if you go the lobster pot route.

My only other idea for a romantic meal is tacos, since that’s what my old pals Patrick and Stacey made for dinner after they  went to City Hall in Detroit and closed the deal. They may be the most romantic people in the history of love, after all, Stacey made a valentine for her truck. I’d post a picture but don’t have permission (though I’m going to ask). But, check out the truck love story and subsequent valentine below:

So, there are a lot of ways and things and people and places and reasons that we love and a girl and a guy handing each other roses at an expensive restaurant doesn’t even rate. One of my favorite Valentine’s Days ever spent was watching my friend Pamela’s appearance as an extra in Step Up to the Streets.

She had gathered a good group of friends together for a pre-game show so we all got to reminisce about how long we’d known each other, and when we all first met, and our first impressions of each other over many rounds of Guiness. It’s good to remember why you fell in love with your friends to begin with. Any night that begins like that and ends with a dance off is bound to be a good one. It’s always good to include friends, family, pets, and vehicles in your plans if possible.

Still, Valentine’s Day is important to me in the romantic sense too, and there’s a story behind that which I may share at some other time. It’s specific to Eric and I can’t let this date pass without remembering what a freaking stalker I was three years ago today. WOW. Let’s just say it was clear at that point that we had one of two destinies, be together forever or I get arrested. The jury is still out.

SO, besides ye olde faithful lobster pot, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. My coworker gave me her latest Southern Living, from which I cribbed this recipe for chocolate dipped caramels. It looks like a lot of hassle, which is great because it’s just the type of meticulous project I enjoy focusing on with the laser like intensity of a meth head. They also had a great looking recipe for french toast, which would be a good way to soak up some week old bread I have on hand from last week’s baking frenzy. I’m also thinking I’ll make a red velvet cake this weekend, reserve two slices for us and freeze the remainder for my coworkers on Monday. Looks thoughtful but really it’s so we don’t eat an entire cake by ourselves in a week.

Another cheap activity- Eric pointed out that it might be a good time to refresh the photographs on our walls. Despite the AVM crazyness, we did have a lot of good memories in 2010 and it will be good to be reminded of that. Here’s one I’ve already decided is going in the kitchen:

from the farmer's market in Nashville

I am still looking for good sites for handmade valentines and I may post them if I find any. Rule 1 is “I’m not making anything that involves me going to Michaels” and considering my limited crafting materials at the moment, this won’t end well. I hope Eric likes twigs wrapped up together with pipe cleaners and hot glued felt scraps.

Right now we are headed off to dinner and a movie (Cedar Rapids) and tomorrow there’s an action packed romantic day of laundry, pet supplies, and me meeting my coworkers for a simulcast of King Lear, because sometimes going away is the best gift of all!

Sunday is full of surprises and Monday, LOBSTER POT. Have a great weekend.

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