§§29jun04: time, out of
One of my all-time favorite things about being in my thirties is the realization that everyone is slowing down just a little bit, same as me, at least among my peer group. I had my eyes opened to this when I played adult wiffle ball a few weeks back. This weekend, it was listening to a bunch of us piss and moan after playing a good few hours of WhirlyBall at my friend Ari's batchelor party. When I woke up with a truly ugly bruise [from the seatbelt] on Saturday morning, I spent some time lamenting my lost youth and bounce-backability. But when Beth and Tex got up and were also grousing about their aches and pains, and then later that evening when we met up with everyone else who was sore and wounded, I felt a little bit better.

I got to wait in line behind Senator Leahy when I was at the airport heading to Chicago on Friday. Apparently, being a big shot Senator won't do you much good if you insist on flying in and out of a rinky-dink airport like ours, his luggage was still MIA. We managed to spend more time waiting for late flights than being in the air, and slept through the Chicago earthquake because we were so damned tired, but we expect to be back and rested come this weekend.
§§25jun04: time
It's strange getting used to living near a regular church bell. I definitely feel pressure of the work ethic implicit in a big chiming clock.
Pre industrial society was task oriented–workers did what had to be done and no more. Once the cows were milked, they were milked, once the field was dug, it was dug. Their work was not calculated in demarcated time. Time was measured by the length of a prayer, or the way the sun fell across a door. From the 14th century, however, public clocks were erected in town squares and church bells rang out the time of day. Household clocks for the wealthy were common by the mid 17th century, but clocks with minute hands only became widespread at the end of the century, and precise pieces were only available at the end of the 18th century. These developments in demarcated time allowed for a disciplined industrial workforce, in which workers were paid for their time rather than by task. It took several generations for the new time centred work discipline to be internalised, but eventually a clear demarcation developed between ‘work’ and ‘life’.
If we're out the door after we hear the bells ring seven, we know we may be late for work. If we're still awake when the bells ring midnight, we know we're going to be groggy in the morning. I generally sleep pretty well in Vermont, but the chiming of the hours does give me a bit of anxiety if I'm awake to hear it. Greg says it sounds like this to him at four in the morning.

{bong}
aren't
{bong}
you
{bong}
asleep
{bong}
yet?!

We're leaving for Chicago in a few hours to attend a wedding, see family and curb a wee bit of this wanderlust that is gripping me now that I have regular work. Back in time for the party next weekend, please consider attending.
§§22jun04: places that once were
The house two doors down sold to some nice couple. The place next door is still for sale.

Greg and I knocked a few more towns off of our list of Vermont's 251: Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading, Bridgewater and Barnard. I also made a very elaborate map thanks to the outline maps on Jared's page. The drive was an insane comedy of errors where we were denied more things than allowed of what we were looking for, but I learned all sorts of crazy stuff about Vermont's history, the car didn't get stuck on the old snowmobile trails that the gazetteer called "roads", and we saw all sorts of baby animals which is a highlight of any rural country trip. Here's the list of Permits and Denials.

Denied
  • Amity Pond Natural area - you know you're in trouble when the directions in your guidebook includes a "turn left at the gas station" indicator. We got hopelessly lost up on lovely Skyline Drive and didn't have our hearts set on the 2.6 mile hike, though it would have been nice.
  • Plymouth Five Corners - apparently a ghost town of sorts, we saw information about this when we headed through Reading [because we just wanted to take a gander at the Felchville post office, once I explained to Greg what felch meant]. However, once we got to where the Five Corners were supposed to be, all we saw were a few scary looking meth-lab-esque RV trailers and two "roads" that appeared to be vertical, muddy, and boulder-strewn. We headed back the way we came, though we'd love to go back and take a look at the place where they once found gold in Vermont.
  • The sign for the Arthur David Wildlife Management Area said that there was a stone arch bridge of unknown origin "up the road on the right." We never did figure out where that was. It had one of those helpful maps where all the scenic points and the "you are here" locations are indicated by red dots that have all faded to invisible in the sun.
  • The Calvin Coolidge homestead was closed, the Billings Farm Museum was too spendy, though you could have a baby cow eat your shoelaces outside for free!
  • Dana Hill wildlife viewing area, we saw the dot on our road atlas, we saw the hill, we saw no way to get there from here
Allowed
  • Colby Pond - waiting for us when we came back from "Five Corners" and it was full of fat little bullfrog tadpoles in all stages of development... tadpoles, tadpoles with legs, frogs with tails, frogs.
  • Someplace up a mountain in Bridgewater someplace, a tiny baby deer stumbled in front of our car. Since we were only going about 20 mph, we stopped and got to take a good look at her gangly spotted self until she bumbled back off into the undergrowth.
  • Once we got tired of looking at stuff, we were only about six miles from home.
We drove almost a hundred miles and were never more than about 25 miles from home and only went over the same road once [and that was by mistake]. I'd love to be able to do this almost every weekend, though this weekend we're getting on a plane to go to Chicago for a wedding.

Email or IM me if you need a gmail account. If you live near here, The Benders are playing for free four doors down from our house on Thursday.
§§16jun04: won't you please?
[church + tree in strafford] The house next door is for sale. Two family Victorian, a mirror-image of this one pretty much, restored and fancy, 210K. I know that's not peanuts, but I'm always sort of stunned at how depressed the real estate market can be out here. The house two doors down is also for sale for even less, and it's even fancier. If I were in the market for a house, which I thankfully am not, I think I might opt for the bank on the coner. Four apartments [maybe even a big safe] and a fancy wrap around porch and a price that's just barely in the six digits. While a few houses for sale in a small town like this always seems like opportunity, too many houses for sale can often mean doom. We're teetering on the edge of doom here, I hope someone nice moves in next door.

Our other next door neighbors have a teenaged son who plays baseball for the town team. He's the local kid my landlady hires to bring in wood and mow the lawn. She goes to his games sometimes - his parents don't seem to go much - and this weekend we went with her. Sitting out on the wooden bleachers on a lovely spring day watching a bunch of teenagers run around a big open field is really one of life's sublime pleasures, and "our" team even won.

The weekend wrapped up by going to Strafford [one of Vermont's 251 that I hadn't been to yet] to see William Sloan Coffin speak along with Nils Daulaire and Thomas Powers at the local town house/church. Activist stuff in small towns is interesting because more often than not it takes place at the church and more often than not, the average age of attendees is well above mine rather than half mine, like it used to be in Seattle. Coffin is 90-someodd years old and has had a few strokes that make his speech a little unclear, but it was amazing to watch him capture the assembled group of about 200 people and tell them why they should be against Bush's unjust war. Inspiring.

My Fourth of July party is happening on schedule in a few weeks. Please consider attending and bringing a friend or two.
§§10jun04: just thinking about reagan today...
[tiffany globe taken from WTC site] Highlights from "An Investigation Regarding Removal of a Tiffany Globe from the Fresh Kills Recovery Site" [pdf, 620K] from the DoJ Special Reports page that I am reading to assist me in procrastinating from writing another article about the USA PATRIOT Act.
"We found that the FBI had no written policy on what could be taken from recovery sites. One person... told us there was an "informal policy" that permitted ERT members to take small pieces of the granite building facade as mementos. He said he thought the ERT members also could take what he called "tourist trash" which he described as small items such as refrigerator magnets with the WTC logo."

"We also learned that FBI personnel have taken mementos from other recovery sites such as the bombing of the Alfred J Murrah Federal Building and the Unabomber's cabin." [elsewhere in this document: "elk antlers, shingles and other pieces of the cabin were taken by FBI personnel"]

"OPR found that [name blacked out] exhibited poor judgement in removing 70-80 pounds of material from Fresh Kills and he was suspended for ten days, at least in part for taking material from the site.... Another OKC ERT member [name blacked out] told FBI OPR that he also took two or three patches that said "WTC Security" from destroyed clothing in the debris. He said that everyone was taking a few rocks."

"Special agent [name blacked out] pointed out that she had seen US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on 60 Minutes holding up pieces of building from the WTC and Pentagon attacks, saying he kept those items to remember the terrorist attacks. Through an inquiry.. we confirmed that Rumsfeld has a piece of the airplane that flew into the Pentagon."
§§09jun04: the subtle shifting
So after two days of getting up at 6, taking turns for the shower/shave routine, slugging down some breakfast and coffee, carpooling to our public servant jobs, working, coming home, making/eating dinner, ironing, checking email, reading/movie watching and going to sleep, I can safely say that I think I preferred the boyfriend-in-law school routine. I may live to regret those words, but 6 am wake-up is just one of those times that no matter how well-rested I am, I'm a little bit of a zombie the rest of the day. Some may say that this is a good thing at jobs like mine/Greg's.

After all of the winding back road driving around we did this weekend, I thought it might be fun to see what level of penetration I've gotten in the "251 club" roster [inspired by this blog]. I've locally cached a version of the list and am trying to remember where I've been. When people ask me why I became a librarian, I can point to days like this and say "It was 85 degrees and sunny outside one June day and I willingly chose to stay inside and obsess over this list. What career choice do I have?!"
§§06jun04: we belong to all of them
[cherry blossoms at my Dad's] So Greg took his loyalty oath yesterday in order to be on Senator Jeffords' staff for the next two months. This was the same loyalty oath that I crossed out most of when I had to take it in order to be a VISTA volunteer at Seattle Public Library. Since VISTA gets government money and since there was a concern that since we chose to work with the poor and pretty much be poor we were pinkos, everyone had to say the oath, or some of it. I swore to uphold the constitution which generally I feel okay about. Greg has to also defend the US against all enemies, foreign and domestic. As long as I don't become one of those domestic enemies in the next two months all will be well.

This weekend we saw three sets of friends, drove about 200 miles never leaving the state, helped with some wiring projects, bought and delivered baby gifts, played fat bat wiffle ball [like the adults do, no running, beer held in non-domainant hand], visited my house in Topsham [still standing!] and got home in time to muck about a bit before the first public-servants-carpool-to-work morning which is tomorrow, and early.

We've also confirmed dates and locations for this year's 4th of July shindig. My place in Topsham. Friday the 2nd through Monday the 5th. Camping or limited indoor space. Sarah is my caretaker/tenant for the Summer and Fall while she takes classes at NECI so prepare for some new faces and some tantalizing home made dandelion syrup which is actually much better tasting than it sounds.
§§04jun04: they belong to all of us
I do a lot of thinking while I'm driving. On days I go to work, I spend 1/8 of my day or so in the car. The coming of Spring means that where I used to see houses, I now mostly see trees. I can drive for miles and just look at hills that look 100% tree-covered. Even though I intellectually know that people live in those hills, I can't see them. When you see a big green hill with a house on the tippy top of it, the instinct is to say "Huh, I bet that guy has an excellent view..." and think of the hill as someone's backyard, of private property. But, when you see a hill covered in trees without another person in sight, it's like a place to go, a place you can walk around, a place for everyone. I spend a lot of the time on my drive home looking at hill after hill completely covered in trees thinking "This belongs to all of us."

I'm on a long drive up North to go to my first ever baby shower [they promise the weirdest game there will be horseshoes] and some long-overdue visiting of friends who now live an hour farther away from us in our newish location.
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