28nov03: holiday, more
We slept til 9 which seems like an insane luxury nowadays. I've only got the one phone line so I have been, and will continue to be, mostly offline this weekend. However, here are some pictures of risque bookplates that I took when I was in san francisco last weekend that you may enjoy in my absence.
26nov03: holiday
A thing I like about having a little journally thing, and having had one for a while, is I can do comparative analysis of what I am doing on a certain day [holiday, birthday, New Year's] compared to the past 5-6 years. This year Greg and I are heading up to Topsham, picking up the deli plate I won in a raffle, bringing the Ken Burns baseball documentary, and calling it a weekend. We'll be having friends up on Friday and have no other plans. No cooking, and no family except by phone. The past few Thanksgivings have been a panolpy of different things: visting Greg's family, seeing my friend Anne for the last time [so far], visting Lisa, last T'giving with my family en route to WTO, again in Oregon, and the last potluck Thanksgiving with Jack. Before that, I'm not sure sure, but I do remember one Thanksgiving in Romania where they had promised us turkey and mashed potatoes, but they couldn't get turkey and so we had chicken legs with fries, carrots, and peas. Very sad.

I recovered slower than I would have liked from my red eye flight + jet lag but I seem okay now except for this nagging problem where I wake up automatically at 7:15 every morning. Anyone who wants to bring leftovers to our house on Friday and join us in Buying Nothing, feel free.
23nov03: why I am asleep
[doorway, market street, san francisco] Red eye flights are predictably awful, but sometimes they are better than killing a whole daytime day. I got in at 10 this morning, came home and had a very discombobulating nap, and now I have at least a little bit of time to get ready for work tomorrow and rehydrate. I haven't driven a car in a week and that feels excellent. A short list of what I was up to besides work this week.

I also read four books but have been too busy with the fifth to have written any of them down [up?] yet. There are worse problems than being too busy to do book reports. One of the things I miss like crazy about city living is the amount of reading I got done on public transpo.
19nov03: why I am away
So United Airlines was using our flight as a beta test to see if people would actually buy food on board an airplane instead of getting the standard airline food. If my group was any indication, the answer is "no." Plus they showed us Charlies Angels twice. Hello, I am in California.

I'm here doing a week of work for the Educational Testing Service in my sometimes capacity of scoring leader for the California Achievement Tests. Since I signed all sorts of non-disclosure agreements and because I gave a lot of people this URL, I have very little to say about it except the scoring leaders are a much more interesting bunch than I had thought they might be. I'm not sure why I thought people doing a job like me might not be interesting like me, but I didn't. I have been working with a guy who does boat tours of Alaska, a couple that has a photography studio in New York, a woman who trained horses in Brazil, a guy doing his PhD on Cicero and a bunch of other people I haven't gotten to know well yet. I have a room at the Concord Hilton [I think my roommate arrives today] and I've been spending a lot of time on the BART getting in and out of San Francisco. I get home on Sunday. Concord California has very little to recommend it save its proximity to other places.

I'd like to reiterate our Thanksgiving invite: if you can handle not gorging on food, not being with your family and not watching football over the holidays, please consider coming to our place. Your Buy Nothing Day preferences will be easy to uphold in Central Vermont.
13nov03: why I am dull
I'd like to blame my recent dullness and "I got up and had an egg" posts here on the job. Not the job itself, more like the commute. And not that there's anything wrong with the commute -- though I'd much prefer to live in a library I worked in and never leave -- but it's this: I do all my best thinking in the car. Since I'm mostly in the car when I'm commuting, this means that my thoughts dribble out my ears when I either a) arrive at work [no abadaabada at work, natch] or b) arrive at home and do something else besides type; usually eat, pee, change into better clothes, &c. So, by the time I'm settled in at my desk, staring at the back of Greg's law-school-studyin' head, I forgot whatI was thinking about. I have doglike thoughts of tasty food and warm beds and sunny days long past.

Except today. Today I very clearly remember thinking "I am going to freaking DIE up here" as my commute took me over Killington where there was a crazy windstorm, some nutty temperature drops, and what must be some unique-to-mountaintop phenomenon I had never seen before. It looked like I was driving through two foot deep dry ice. Visibility didn't extend even to the end of my hood. The wind was blowing fast, and every way at once so in addition to blowing all the snow and salt that I liked for traction off of the road it also whipped up all the snow into a little fitful froth, right about where the Long Trail crosses Route Four. Traffic was already going fifteen miles an hour and it seemed like a bad idea to stop, so everyone sort of poked along, sure that the frothy snow spume was going to grow a face with fangs and swallow us whole.

Then I took a left onto Route 107, descended about 500 feet, and it was raining and everyone was going 57 again. It was all like a bad dream.

Sunday I will fly into Concord, California and try to make the world of standardized testing a little more humane while staying in the Concord Hilton and having a roomate. Anyone who wants to whisk me away for some Mexican food or deliver me a carne asada burrito, feel free. You wouldn't believe what passes for Mexican food in Vermont, it's shameful.
11nov03: day off
[damned electric company left tracks in my yard] I am 35 and I think I have just had my first paid day off, ever. Since I am part time, it was just a part-paid day off, but I still coudn't go in since the library is closed. I slept in, roasted a chicken and some tasty organic squash, cleaned my room which is now full of clothes and other stuff that we just couldn't leave behind for the winter, and watched it start to snow. Dressed the small wound I gave myself when I sliced my finger with one of the new knives we brought. I've been so acclimated to the dull ones, I was ill-prepared. Made some musical discoveries which are linked over to the left and stayed inside feeding the fire. It sounds a bit on the dull side but it's just been amazing. I still don't believe I can have a job and a live-in boyfriend in law school and not hate my life, but that seems to be the case.

With the exception of Thanksgiving and the odd weekend when my caretaker goes away, we're in Bethel til Spring. We've got a smallish room, a fastish Internet connection, an adorable guest room, and part-stewardship of a basset hound. What I don't have is an ice scraper so I am that dork getting the ice off the winshield with my driver's license.
06nov03: USAPA & CIPA together at last
I personally think it's better to worry about a talk, or speech, or presentation in concentrated form for just a few days, right before you give it, instead of spread out lesser worry over months or even years. So, that's what I did. For the past few days I've come home and worked on my New Hampshire Library Association talk until I fell asleep. This has made the past few days a little rough [that and all the rain... I feel like I'm in Seattle again] but did not manage to screw up the past six months with idle non-constructive worry.

Greg and I have made Thanksgiving plans to hang out in Topsham and not do much. We both have four days off which is even more than I have over Christmas. Anyone who would like to do not much with us is welcome. There will not be a roast turkey but there may be a meat plate which serves 12-16 courtesy of the Rutland Chamber of Commerce who had a raffle at their last mixer. Could have been worse, my colleague won a "holiday wreath" with imitation dew-dappled eggplants and onions on it.
02nov03: what she said
And also, our neighbor came by last week, banging on the door. We didn't know what he wanted but were a bit concerned because we'd heard some unsavory stuff about him. All he wanted was to tell us to go outside right now and look up at the night sky. In all my years, I've never seen an aurora borealis like that. In short, what she said.
01nov03: the wimp that is me
[astute viewers will realize this is an archival shot and not at all new. we have no leaves on the trees here, it's paractically freaking winter. good show astute readers!] I was telling someone over email that sometimes I feel like a fake Vermonter. On chilly but not rainy Autumn days like today, I get the feeling that real Vermonters are Winterizing their homes and cars, insulating their pipes, stacking their wood, and maybe smoking some meat and canning some vegetables. We gave it our best shot. Greg and I propped a ladder on the side of the house and Greg climbed on the roof to see how easy it would be to clean out the stovepipe with the chimney cleaning tools we were borrowing. The answer? Well it might be easy if we weren't both afraid of heights, the roof, and the house in general. We went about it what I'm sure is the stupid flatlander way which was to take apart the stovepipe and go up from underneath. With the amount of soot we got covered with and the injuries we sustained, we looked like a Three Stooges film but I don't remember quite as much cursing in the the Stooges. That stove cement is really hell to get out of your hair.

I'm supposed to speak at the New Hampshire Library Conference next week and I'm sure this is my passive-aggressive way to leave working on the speech until the last minute, despite having left myself more than enough time to get it done, and done well. There are times when I just watch myself performing these weird acts of self-sabotage and wonder what I am up to.

Part of this is my preparations to become part of the Idle Rich, I suppose. I came into some cash via an inheritance from my Grandmother's estate. Not enough to buy a new car, enough to buy a nice used car. I realize that I spend so much time scrimping and trying to spend as little money as possible that when I have even a small spending opportunity like this one, I don't know how to prioritize. This is what I have: pay all outstanding bills and debts [this is small scale stuff like pay the rest of the plumber bill from last Winter, pay Jane the gas money I've owed her for two years, get all bills current]... and then I'm stuck. The next level of spending is mostly stuff with question marks like: New iBook? New woodstove? New [to me] car? Vacation? Maybe something practical like dental care? Money into my IRA? Barn repair? All are things I want and could maybe make an argument for needing at some point, but definitely nothing I need now-this-instant. I'll let you know if I make any big decisions.
Jessamyn is in...
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