27may03 . . . .
rain, guests and BBQing
So it rained most of the Memorial Day weekend. It cleared up enough for us to BBQ but not quite enough for us to sit onthe lawn. Our friends Robbyn and Robert came up from Brooklyn for the weekend to fetch their car and see the place. They were the best kind of guests "Hey look honey, this place is full of BOOKS!" We dragged them all over hellandgone, up north to Bakersfield, over to Waterville, off to Fletcher and back home [with a stop at the creemee place] here to West Topsham. They left yesterday morning and Greg and I -- who are really not used to talking to people other than each other for more than a few hours at a time -- literally lay on the couch for the entire day and read books.
I'm not used to having Memorial Day over quite so early in the year. I have a few work/writing deadlines that are June 1-ish and I figured they'd be coming up Real Soon Now but now I find that I have almost an entire week to get at them. This is not necessarily the good news.
20may03 . . . .
We went to the annual meeting of the Washington Electric Co-op last night. Let me first say that having my electric company on the East coast have the same name as the state I sometimes live in on the West coast is no end of confusing. Also, I have a hard time getting the time difference correct since I am doing opposite math half the year. As a result, I signed up for shifts scoring tests for ETS from 3 pm to midnight, thinking I was signing up from 9 am to 6 pm. But, back to the meeting, there were about 200-300 people there which seems like a good turnout for a power company that serves only 8,000 people. Dinner was all-you-could eat chicken and pasta and salad and whatnot. Six bucks. My mailman is on the board of directors and he gave me a hard time for not putting my mailbox back up once the plow took it out for the umpteenth time. There was some business discussed -- including how we are now fully divested from VT Yankee, you can buy T-shirts showing the co-op's district and declaring it a Nuclear Free Zone -- and a lot of door prizes ranging from $20 off your electric bill to hanging plants to shower radios. Everyone got a 60 minute phonecard just for showing up. We did not win anything, and yet still I thought the evening was a success. I can be pretty sneering about the American political form of democracy we have, but I sure do like the co-ops.
The co-op has an arrangement where we can get long distance service through another telco. I have been debating this. Currently we send our money to MCI using a cheapie phone card, and we spend about $5/mo. The co-op telco costs about twice to three times as much per minute, yet it benefits the co-op somehow. The underlying provider is just as lame as any of the other telcos, though I admit it is tough to beat MCI/Worldcom for absolute lameness. So, the debate comes down to paying more with extra telco fees benefitting my own co-op, or paying less and finding some other way to help the co-op out. I'll probably stick with the phone card unless I can find some way to make long distance calls without giving money to some corporate atrocity one way or the other. Any ideas?
19may03 . . . .
tires all the way down
We have now officially missed the window where we could claim more land in the name of a lawn as opposed to the alternative, seven foot high fieldgrass. I was in a particularly nasty stretch of blackberries -- tring to convince them to let us have a little room for the hammock -- when I discovered that there were a bunch of old tires in their midst. You can't see these at all once spring really hits in full force. I went to pull the old tire out and found another one underneath it... After some trouble extricating that one, I peered into the hole and spied ... another tire! The area with the blackberries, tires and aspens is where the old farmhouse used to be. For all I know after they burned it down, they filled in the foundation with old tires. It's hard to walk for too long around here without tripping over some rotting farm equipment. Greg has some pictures from the walk we took after working outside on Saturday.
So, we called it a day and headed to the bog. The Peacham Bog is one of the largest bogs in Vermont and is a sort of "raised bog" which means that the peat has actually grown above what used to be the surface of the lake. Raised bogs are higher in the middle than at the outsides. We had a map, and supplies, and dressed in layers but we still managed to get lost in that "I really hope we don't have to sleep here" way. We found our way out after a while, but it was definitely an interesting hike -- started out to be 2-3 miles and wound up being more like seven. We saw big moose tracks, a lot of newts and watercritters and snakes, and not another person for 3-4 hours of walking. Greg took some pictures of this trip too.
I found a set-up for my trip to Toronto, thanks to all who had advice.
16may03 . . . .
published author, for real
I usually don't think of myself as being particularly busy in Vermont but maybe that is just a lie I tell myself so I will come back. This has been a busy week.
We went to South Royalton last Frday where we looked at the student housing that VT Law has to offer and landed Greg a very nice little room ["a closet with a bed" was the goal] in a old railroad hotel [tavern in the basement, bathroom down the hall] for $120 a month. The weekend was a frenzy of lawn and garden and wood activity. Then Greg did the back to work thing while I wrote an article on the evils of Clear Channel and went to a VT Library Association meeting where I was informed, much to my delight, that my library signs will be sent to every public librarian in the state of Vermont as part of an intellectual freedom packet. The nice folks from the VLA didn't even know the signs were mine. There must be some way to parlay this notoriety into a paying job eventually. Which reminds me, I am going to Toronto for the ALA conference in mid-June and the gal I was crashing with just decided not to go. Anyone know anyone with a spare couch in Canada's largest city?
Got the book in the mail this week as well. It's small for a $35 book, but it mostly looks good. They did some weird stuff to the art, but damnit it's printed and not too bad! If you can't afford it [and it's spendy, no doubt] please consider ordering it for your library. Katia did the index personally and so there are many amusing little entries that make even the index fun to read [I thanked my roomates and Seattle housepets in the acknowledgements, so there are entries for "Brown Clown, The"].
09may03 . . . .
full report, crunchy with smooth
I am now, finally, no stranger to a good night's sleep. West Topsham appears to be finally joining the 90's and yet I still live enough on the outskirts to not be able to join in. So ... Topsham Telephone [1300 subscribers] now offers DSL, but not where I live. The yellow store down the street has the Sunday NY Times, but I can't get it delivered to my house. They will, of course, deliver it to me by mail, within 1-8 days, for $6/week. Leave it to me to find some way to continue to be marginal, even in a tiny town of 150 people.
There have been some developments. My book is now officially printed and on its way to me. It's available in stores [yes Powell's costs more, they are union and they are a real store]. I wrote an article for Moby Lives about seeing Bernie Sanders which should be online on Monday. And, I introduced myself to the librarians who were on the panel with Bernie on Tuesday and one of them invited me to come to a VLA meeting next week, meet some of the local library folks. Generlly I go to Vermont and I feel all cut off from my "professional life" such as it is. This time I feel like it's the other way around.
07may03 . . . .
flat dead grass
The rain stopped and started and stopped again. It's sunny out now. I have been tossing wood into the shed for the past few days and it feels like the best exercise ever which is good since I otherwise have to get used to driving anyplace that I want to go. Destinations this weekend included the Rummage Sale at one of the the local churches where I got a down vest, a suede jacket, and a hat with a lineman on it, all for $1.45. Total. I don't know why I ever buy clothes anyplace else.
So, the update on my trip is this: I drove from Seattle to Massachusetts in five days, I stayed at a bunch of hotels which felt sort of weird, I saw some friends and family and now I am back to my reclusive habits. An odd assortment of pictures is here. Last year Greg and I made an art of filling up entire days and weeks with the minutae of running a household, reading books, and noodling on computer projects. Now that he has a full time job, I am adjusting to being here by myself for the first time in a while.
Yesterday I went to a sort of town meeting up in St Johnsbury where I got to listen to my State rep. rail against the PATRIOT Act along with a few librarians and the local ACLU guy. Person after person got up and shared what they had to say, pretty much all of which was "what can we do to stop this?" At one point, one of the librarians even showed a sign they had posted in their library which looked suspiciously like one of mine. Everyone laughed like hell and applauded. I felt pretty much in the right place.
Starting to work on plans for the 4th of July party and couch BBQ, everyone is pretty much welcome. RSVP early for prized indoor sleeping accomodations.
03may03 . . . .
color me ridiculous
Arrived here a few days ago and then it started raining. There is a perpetual problem with having a sort of weird house that you go away from for months at a time. You always come back saying "wow, this place is really fucked up" And I mean that in the face-only-a-mother-could-love way. The sheetrocking is awful, there are water stains on the ceiling, there are huge catacombs of dead flies behind the couches, and the place creaks like it's nearly toppling when a stiff wind blows. Add to that the backyard being nearly underwater [it is Mud Season still] and it takes some getting used to. The good news is that Greg beat me here by a few days and had prettied the place up a bit, so I could find my mail, check my email, make coffee, and go take a nap. I'm still adjusting.
The ridiculous part is that I spent May Day -- the worldwide worker and anarchist holiday -- getting elected to a governance position for a nationwide organization that I have had more than a few disagreements with. I am talking about the American Library Association and I am now a councilor. I was even one of the top five vote-getters of all 30-odd of us that were elected, which amuses me to no end. I'm going to give the reform from within thing one more try.
And the upshot is that I can sleep as much as I need to, and do. Greg and I can go for walks in parts of the yard I have never even seen before since the blackberries are dormant and the grass is all pressed flat. We found a stone wall I didn't even know was there.