The Lost Library Book

Here’s a story for you. Once upon a library book….

Back in January, Kelly had me come in to her class to do a book talk for her students as the official kickoff to “I Love to Read” month (which is February). I’ve done this for years for her. I bring in a ton of books from different genres and talk to the kids about what the genres mean and what types of books they can read. It’s a ton of fun, the kids love it and learn a lot.

Then I leave the entire pile of books with Kelly for the kids to use and explore and play with. Now, I would not do this for just anyone. The books are checked out to me, so I’m responsible for them, but Kelly loves the library as much as I do, and she’s very responsible with the books. YEARS we’ve done this and never had a problem.

Of course, this year, there was a problem.

She kept the books and the due date slip and returned them all by the date. As she returned, she checked them off the list to make sure she had them all. She didn’t. There was one missing. She looked for it. And looked for it and looked for it. The kids cleaned their desks, scoured the room, looked at home, this book is missing.

Kelly had told me all of this from the minute she couldn’t find it, so I knew. I fully believed that she would find the book. I figured one of these little kids had it tucked away somewhere and it would turn up. But, it’s been 2.5 months now and it still hasn’t turned up. Kelly offered to pay for the cost of the book, because it is in fact lost.

I’ve been renewing the book this whole time, hoping it would just turn up. But, it’s been so long now, Kelly is sure it won’t. Last night, I went to the library with the intent of paying for the book. There are no more renewals, so I just wanted to deal with it.

I explained this story to the woman working there. She said, “did you get a bill?” Um, no. I didn’t even know they did that. Honestly, I’ve never lost a library book in my life, so I have no idea how this process works. I only know it from the librarian end, how to handle payment for a lost book. And I only know that procedure for Anoka. She said that after a period of time, she thought 30 days, but wasn’t sure, the system would send me a bill for the lost item. At that point, she said, I can come in and pay for it.

Now, I wasn’t trying to be difficult, but I asked “why do I have to wait?” I explained that the book is 100% lost and we’ve been looking for it for months already and I’d like it taken care of. At this point, she is staring at me like I’ve grown another head while talking to her. She explained that until the system registers the book as lost, she can’t accept payment because there is nothing to pay. I’d really like to know who comes up with these things. That’s not true. She should have the ability to mark the item as lost, forcing the system to add the charges to my account. Thus, allowing me to pay for it. But, whatever, it’s not a huge deal and I wasn’t there to make trouble. So I just said fine, that I would wait until I get the bill.

Then she asked if she could call me with additional information, she said she wanted to talk to her boss today. She would find out the details of the this procedure. I couldn’t believe she didn’t know them, but I agreed and gave her my cell phone number.

She kind of hesitated and then she looked at me and said, “thank you for being such a conscientious library user.” I asked what she meant, because it is kind of an unusual compliment.

She said that it is extremely rare to have people step up and take responsibility for something like this, usually it is a fight that the library loses. Now, having worked in a public library myself, I can understand that, people don’t usually take responsibility. They claim they returned it or they accuse us of making a mistake or whatever. But this situation has nothing to do with being a librarian. I told her, “well, the book belongs to you, you trusted me to take care of it and I didn’t do that, so I am responsible for what happens next.”

She nodded and said, “that’s what I mean, very conscientious, so I just wanted to say thank you.”

And that made my day. And they still won’t let me pay for the book yet. When I get the bill, I’ll take care of it, because I am a conscientious library user. And it was nice to be recognized, but nicer still was the fact that I know I somehow made HER day just by doing the right thing.


Happy Birthday, Kelly Jo!

Today, on your 35th birthday we are going to celebrate by listing 35 things that were created AFTER you. So, without further ado, here are 35 things that you are older and more awesome than….

35. Plinko

Invented in 1983.

34. Roller blades

Invented in 1979.

33. Ryan Lochte

Born in 1984.

32. The Moonwalk

Invented in 1982.

31. Sweet Valley High

First published in 1983. Did you love them as much as I did?

30. Hooter’s

No, seriously. We are older than Hooter’s. God Bless America

29. Cabbage Patch Kids

Created by Xavier Roberts in 1982. I think that might actually be a picture of my Andy….

28. Cell phone

Was first marketed in 1979…an original ad.

27. Disposable contact lenses

And, yes, that photo creeps me out. First invented in 1987. When did you get your first pair?

26. The Disney Channel

First launched in 1983. Imagine, if that hadn’t happened, Miley Cyrus might have never been famous. Honorable mention to Miley Cyrus…

….born 1992.

25. J. Crew

Somehow this retailer has only been around for 30 years…

24. Viagra

Believe it or not, until 1998, men had to get erections the old fashioned way.

23. Sony Walkman

TPS-L2 headphone Stereo Walkman

Invented in 1979. Hard to believe that this was the epitome of cool. And the precursor to the iPod…

22. Macaulay Culkin

For some reason it’s weird to me that we’re older than Kevin McAllister. Born in 1980.

21. Tom Cruise going crazy

Remember when he was the coolest guy alive?

Oh, yeah. And long being a staple of our friendship, he had to make the list.

20. My Little Pony

Invented in 1983. And now popular again, Arionna loves them…above is her favorite, Rainbow Dash.

19. Garbage Plates

Also known as a sampler platter. Technically, these have been around a lot longer than you, but the name “garbage plate” was not trademarked until 1992. So I’m including it, because it’s your birthday, and you love the sampler platter. Or garbage plate.

18. Microsoft Word

Released the first version in November of 1983. What on earth did people use to write before that? Oh yeah…paper.

17. Mario Brothers

My brothers and I used to play this on our original Nintendo. Some of my very favorite childhood memories. Oddly, this year there were STILL kids dressed up as Mario and Luigi. I guess they are still cool after 30 years.

16. Baby Got Back

Weirdly, it seems wrong that we were old enough to listen to this when it came out in 1992. But stranger still is thinking that this song is old enough to drink.

15. The minivan

  Hard to believe that this didn’t exist until Dodge invented it in 1983. And now, some of us can’t live without one….
14. World Wide Web
was not invented until 1989. Sometimes my parents will tell me how when they were kids color television didn’t exist. But, luckily, I can say “ha! at least you HAD a tv, when *I* was a kid there was no INTERNET!” I was 15 before I ever surfed the web, I remember doing it for the first time. You?
13. Bon Jovi
They didn’t form until 1983…sometimes I’m sad that I lived the first four years of my life without hearing them…
12. Nicotine patch
patented in 1985, but they didn’t hit stores until 1992.
11. Compact Disc
Compact disc.svg
Can you believe it? We used cassettes.
bonus picture there, just for you.
But, anyway, the CD was invented in 1982.
10. Text messaging
Yeah, until 1996, a year before we graduated high school, this was not an option. (and yes, that is a REAL text of ours..guess which one is you?)
9.  Air Jordan
Founded in 1984. I can think of dozens of boys who would show off their Jordans and pretend they could jump like that.
8. Guess Jeans
I think you had a pair…right? I did not. I always wanted a pair though.
7. Prince William
The most famous prince in the world, who will likely become King of England in our lifetime, was not born until 1982.
6. Forrest Gump
This movie was released in 1994. I can actually remember DRIVING to this movie, the first one ever. Granted, I only had my permit, so my mom was with, but I remember. And it was July…so you couldn’t quite drive yet. As a matter of fact, only a couple months after this release, we would meet Jesus.
5. Justin Bieber
Yes, yes I did. I put the Biebs on the list. He wasn’t born until 1994…which means…technically, we’re old enough to be his *cough* mother.
And also, because if not for teen boy idols like…..
then the Biebs wouldn’t be the success he is today. Plus, it was another excuse to insert a Jordan Knight reference for your pleasure. I’m all about you today….
4. D.A.R.E
DARE was created in 1983. Quick, Kel, what does it stand for?
Did you get it?
Drug Abuse Reistance Education. And unless I’m nuts, we were in DARE together in the 5th grade…right?
3. New Kids on the Block
Formed in 1984. Yeah, I know, you expected them to be #1, but I like to keep you on your toes. Plus, this is not news, but #2 was…at least to me. And #1…well, you’ll see.
However, they are #3 because I’m grateful. This band gave me a lifelong friend, I’ll always be loving you forever, because of them.
2. The Chicken McNugget
Seriously, this one SHOCKED me. How in HELL can we be older than chicken nuggets? They were invented in 1983.
Are you ready?
Here it comes….
1. Olivia
That’s right. Born in 1979, you are, technically, 4 months and 1 week older than me. And that is not one of my favorite pictures of me, but since I am in YOUR chair, reading to Team 214, I thought it was the perfect way to tell you how much I love you, no matter how old you get.
Happy Birthday to my “oldest” friend in the world, who will never be old, so long as she listens to New Kids on the Block.
Love you, Kel!
And, just because, here are a few of my favorite Kelly posts.
I was going to do 5 posts….but she’ll appreciate it more if there are only four.
Happy 35!

Day of Friends

A few weeks ago, my mom got a phone call. A little voice asked when Simon was going to visit. Evidently Christian missed his friend and took the initiative to set up a play date. It was a lot of kids. Simon, Arionna, Camden, Victoria, Christian, and Brecken. The kids are all big enough now to go and just play, without being watched or entertained, so it’s pretty wonderful. Kelly and my mom and I just sat in the living room and talked, while cuddling on the babies.

 The babies. They are only a month apart in age. They played and chilled. Auntie Livi got some good cuddle time:

I call that one “Armful of Babies”.
Brecken and I were having fun practicing our clapping.

We fed the babies lunch, I gave Brecken his first macaroni and cheese. It was nostalgic, because I fed Christian his first cheeseburger. Evidently I have a thing for giving babies their first taste of forbidden foods. Brecken is sitting in my family’s antique high chair, my father’s family has used that since before my dad was born (and dad is about to be 60!) there aren’t any straps or anything, we use a towel to tie the baby into the chair. Kelly thought it was awesome and took a picture to send to Mark.
It was such a fun day and great to spend time with all the kids together. Before our friends left, I was insistent upon getting a photo of all six kids together.
Here’s how it went. First, the boys wanted to hold the babies. The girls were disappointed.

Arionna won’t smile and Victoria is on the fringes. But all four boys look great.
Try again.

Now Victoria has moved closer but her hands are in her face. Arionna still won’t smile. Christian’s smile is fading, but what I like is that he is looking directly at me, while every other child has shifted their focus to Kelly.
Take 3:

We have now shifted the babies to the girls. Cam is still being a champ, looking and smiling. Brecken is doing his own thing. Victoria is no longer visible. Christian is still maintaining solid eye contact with me but we’ve lost Simon and still no smile from Arionna.
Take 4:

Probably my favorite outtake. Victoria, sweetie, what are you doing? Arionna finally cracked a smile, but it’s aimed at Kelly. The big boys, while being wonderful during this whole thing are clearly fading. The smiles are more forced and less pronounced. I think Brecken is screaming at me to stop with the pictures already. But Cam…still a smiling champ.
Take 5:

Honestly, as far as it goes, this one isn’t bad. If I had had to settle for it, I would have been okay. You still can’t really see Victoria, no one is looking the same direction, and Christian has completely resolved to stop smiling. But, the two babies look fabulous. I know they are tired of this, all of them.
And so I said “one more” thinking I probably had something workable. I did not (see evidence above), so I am glad I took that one last photo.

When it comes to getting SIX kids, ages 7 and under, including two infants, to look and smile for the same picture, I think this is well beyond as good as it gets. It’s sweet, they all look happy, everyone is (mostly) smiling. I’m very happy with this photo. There’s nothing quite like seeing the children you love all gathered in one place.
Thanks to our wonderful friends for giving us their Saturday. We should definitely try to manage it more than once a year!

Lent Letter #28

Dear Kel,

I’ve been saving my letter to you for the day you had the baby. Trust you to have it on a Sunday, the only day I don’t write them!

The point of all this is to talk about the greatest influences in my life. That whole description is you. Has there ever been a friend with a greater influence on my life? Maybe it’s because you had a head start, but I don’t think so. I think it is because you are such a force of nature. I’ve always felt swept along in the current of Kelly. Which might sound strange, but that’s how it feels. When you do something, you do it 150%. You charge forth and bring everything within you and make your whole life about what you are doing. It’s amazing to experience.

I’m not like that. I’m quieter. I don’t get swept up in things as easily as you.

Until you taught me how. Now, when I do get caught up in things, I know it is because of your influence on my life. I know it’s okay that I’m obsessed with Christian Kane, because you showed me it’s not only ok, it’s actually awesome.

Yet, for all this influence, for all your passion, for all you do, it is me you turn to for help. It’s me that you ask for advice. I’m the one that you turn to. I’ve grown more confident in my ability to help, in the advice that I give, because of you. I’m comfortable being the one that people come to for advice because I’ve always been that friend, for you.

These are two very opposite ideas and somehow they fit, perfectly. They describe you, to a T, the extremes. But they also help define me. You help define me. It’s not always easy with us. Sometimes it’s been downright awful. But, you know what? It’s always been worth it.

Yesterday, you had a baby. A beautiful new baby boy. I know that while you’re struggling with these new challenges, I’m not worried. It will all work out and you will handle it, as you do everything else. Efficiently, furiously, powerfully, emotionally, with strength and love and determination.

And when you need something, I’ll be right here.

It’s how we work. Always have. Always will.

Thank you for being part of my life,


Love List

In light of it being Kelly’s birthday, here are some things (other than her) that I love.


How the US really lives.


If CK were a DEMON

pronunciation | ma-mE-la-pin-ya-ta-pI

The word of the day

Because it made me laugh. And it is oh, so true!


Because Elena voted awesome. I was torn between “awesome” and “creepy”.

I would like this chair in my basement.

I would like this man in my basement. Bed. Whatever.

The internet can be a generous and giving friend or a jealous, fickle mistress. Today, we’re friends.


Sail Away and Ride a Cowboy

Happy Birthday Kelly!

Last night, I took Kelly out to dinner for her birthday. She chose an Italian restaurant in the Mall of America. Tenucci’s or something. The restaurant was mediocre at best. The goat cheese and kalamata pizza was very good, and Kel reports the lasagna was good, but that’s about it.

However, that is not the point. The point was dinner with a good friend, presents and shopping.

Let’s start with presents. My mom started, in the spring, knitting a scarf for Kelly. Just because she saw some yarn and thought, “Kelly would like this”. She’s very sweet. So she gave Kelly a beautiful handmade scarf for her birthday “to keep her and the baby warm”.


I think Kelly liked it. She was really touched my mom would make her a customized gift. Who wouldn’t be?

After that, I gave her my gift. Which I’ve had for AGES.


(I remembered to turn the flash on) She’s torn between excitement and laughter in this photo.

This is what she’s looking at:


It says “My Two Favorite People, Mommy and Jordan” with a picture of Kelly in her NKOTB gear and Jordan Knight.

I mean, really, it doesn’t get much cuter than babies sporting NKOTB paraphernalia.

After dinner, we hit up DSW. Kelly was disappointed that the clearance room was too picked over. I was in the market for a pair of black, “every day” boots. I struck out. However, I did find brown “every day” boots. And bought them. My feet are very happy right now.

We did a “quick stop” at Bath and Body Works, mostly because they closed in 8 minutes when we walked in the door. Kelly stocked up on her favorite holiday scent, Winter Candy Apple. I stocked up on my favorite all-time scent, Cherry Blossom. They were debuting their new scent, Forever Red. We both liked it, but it’s super expensive. More so than all their other scents. So I bought mini-perfume samples of it for Kelly and me. Win!

Then we headed out.

We got back to my house and Kelly said, “oh, we forgot to ask the waitress to take our picture!”

Remember last’s year’s Kelly-montage? I actually asked her, “do we not take pictures on YOUR birthday, Kel?” Turns out, we might not! But, thankfully, the iPhone reverse camera helps out. But, you do need good lighting for those. What to do when it’s 10:00 pm?


Stand in the mini-van’s headlights, of course!

Happy birthday, and have a fabulous weekend!

Therein to be content

When my sister was pregnant with Arionna, my absolute favorite moment of her pregnancy was when she invited me to be present for her ultrasound. I’d never seen one before and to me, it was a magical moment where I got to see my niece before she even made her way into this world. I’d always thought it was so generous of Emily and Chad to invite me along. It was their only ultrasound and their first ultrasound and a moment they were willing to share with me. I was honored.

When I told Kelly this story, she invited me to share in her ultrasound, for baby #3. Mark and Kelly have decided not to find out the gender, and she had an ultrasound scheduled. She was bringing the kids so Victoria and Christian could see their new little sibling before he/she makes their way to this world. She agreed to let me come along. It wasn’t easy, I had to arrange things with two different jobs, but it was worth the effort. To me, being able to see inside, to hear a tiny heartbeat, to see the baby move it is a beautiful and sweet and gentle and tender moment that never goes away. (Perhaps not when you’re six or when you’re four, but for sure when you’re thirty-three). I thought it was incredibly generous of Kelly to allow me to come. She took that moment that could have been a precious memory for her and her children and expanded it to make room for me.

Here’s a live shot of it happening. The tech is Kelly’s good friend, Molly, which is extra cool.


This was the 3rd shot in response to “show me how happy you are about the new baby!”. But still, so cute.

Last but not least, the money shot.

Here’s the little tweety, I call Allyken, waving hi to the world. That slays me. Ultrasounds are truly incredible.

It was a beautiful afternoon and the effects have lingered beyond into the next day.

There are few things as miraculous as a new baby. Except maybe an old friendship. Thanks, Kel.


*Title is an excerpt from the following quote

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” ~Helen Keller