28mar04: sunny day
The weather is even making the dog crazy. He just sort of runs around and barks and doesn't understand why he can't be outside all the time, now that he will no longer freeze solid by doing so. I may have positioned my upcoming events in such a way that the added energy I get by not being cold all the time can be directly applied to the papers I have to write and the presentations I have coming up. I need to start doing this before I realize that I am feeling more energetic and waste all this energy on screwing around, starting big CSS projects, or spending more time at work.

I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but Greg will be working for Jim Jeffords' office this Summer. This is good because it's sort of an interesting job, it's a paying job and -- most importantly -- the Jeffords' Rutland office is a block and a half from my library. If we manage to live in-between our two jobs my commute will go from 45 minutes to one minute, and I'll be able to meet Greg for lunch, even go home for lunch. I don't think I've lived this close to a job since I lived in the Odd Fellows Hall. That job had a few major problems [semi-creepy maintenance man who liked to tell me blonde jokes, for one] but I don't think a week goes by when I don't miss living right where I worked: the free time it gave me; the lack of artificial home/work distinction that I still don't understand properly, and living in the same community that I serve at work. I am looking forward to it, but there's a "can't wait" aspect that is giving me the fidgets. Time to get back to work before it wears off.
26mar04: errata
Since I couldn't figure out how to hack the RSS feed from Feedster to do what I wanted, I just said "screw it" and wrote my own. The Feedster feed will work til the end of March, then it will cease to work, or cease to work well. You have a week to switch to the sexy new feed that is written, like this whole damned journally blog thing, entirely by hand. Please tell me tout de suite if the new one isn't working right.
25mar04: low tech high
[green wood cemetery] This Feedster tweaking thing is going to lead me to blogging software, I just know it. For the meantime, apologies for lack of titles and no datestamping. Ahem.

The road I take to and from work is a two-lane highway most of the way. Lovely drive, but fraught with peril in the Winter since it skirts rivers and perilous drops and other hazards. A windy two lane road also means that if you're stuck behind someone going slow, you'll probably be stuck behind them for 15 miles or so. This happens to me about every other day, I've grown used to it. Yesterday I noticed quite a lot of slow-moving pickup trucks, with some of them stopping by the sides of the road. Since I was well back in the procession of creeping vehicles, it took me a while to figure out what the hold-up was. When one of the trucks pulled over, I realized what was causing its pokiness. The truck bed was entirely filled with a 300-500 gallon plastic tank that appeared to be almost full of maple sap.

Other big news in these parts is that we got a bookshelf! Our landlady was reorganizing and she had a 4x8 bookshelf with no place to go, so we tucked it in next to the bed. We had been sticking our books in drawers and crates and piling them on the precious few horizontal surfaces we had in this small room that has been our home since September. Now we have the untold promise that is a large half-full bookcase. I know it sounds a little -- maybe more than a little -- dorky, but I can see all my books at once. I can bring new books home without being ashamed of being "part of the problem". I can use my desk to actually write postcards and pay bills, not just stash more reading material. This will probably seem less pressing as the weather lightens up and the days lengthen and there are more things to do than read and eat and work and sleep and go for walks. But the shiny new bookshelf really gave us a kick in the ass in the quality-of-life department in this, th esecond cruelest month, and for that I am grateful.
23mar04: techs, high and low
[green wood cemetery] This damned fake-you-out almost-spring weather has got us both ornery. Last night Greg asked me which the cruelest month was, just because he couldn't believe it wasn't this one. But today I went for a walk with the dog and watched him snuffle around the boundary between the snow and the mud and I could see all the new scents he was after and I realized I too can pick up a whole new set of scents when I go outside, more than just diesel exhaust and salted ice, that is.

Livejournal has a new sexylibrarians community which is remarkable in that their hotlinking to a few of my naughty librarian pictures [which I block through nimble use of .htaccess files] resulted in 4,000 404s on this site in the past eight days. Huh.

And, more on the development news here. My booklist has an RSS feed now, with no annoying links to Amazon even. If you have a booklist RSS feed, send it to me. I'm also working on a standards-compliant portal page to all the crap I have secreted in little web-based cubbies all over the Internet. Beginning iterations of this ultimately self-involved and narcissistic project can be found at jessamyn.info.
21mar04: blogosphere, the
[my friends' lovely baby] This site now has something resembling an RSS feed in response to [believe it or not] demand. It's kludgey but workable until I find a CMS that sweeps me off my feet. Until then BBEdit and ftp are working for me quicker than anything else I've so far tried. Speaking of trying, I think I got a tabbish CSS for the front page of jessamyn.com that is cross-browser compliant. Can you check it out and tell me if it goes "ack ack ack" on your particular OS/Browser combo?

This weekend is the Vermont Maple open house weekend, a state-wide event where sugarmakers open the doors of their sugarhouses and show people how it's done. The governor tapped a tree on Friday to kick off the event. In Topsham, the guy who is leading tours is also our tax collector. I love that events that would be city-wide most places like this, and art walks, turn into all-state events here where few cities have the requisite population to pull something like this off. We mostly had Grade B syrup on our oatmeal this morning and we'll probably go for a walk and smell the smoky maple mist later on today. We've had the fidgets lately because it's been snowy for a long time, but at the same time, it's not quite nice enough to go for serious walks yet. Equinox came and went with me snuggled in my bed and not getting up to watch the sun rise this year, again. I find that for some reason I'm always running around like a nut come Equinox-time and so it seems like more of a celebration to sleep past 7 am than to get up early, as much as I love the sunrise.
17mar04: country, the
"You gonna wear green today?"
"I'm Irish every day, I don't see any need to dress up like a freaking leprechaun. Weren't leprechauns little demons anyhow?"
"It's good to be back."

I had a ratty orange sweater that I loved to death in high school and I accidentally wore it on Saint Patrick's Day. I grew up outside of Boston. The gym teacher, Mr. Leary, was working as hall monitor that March 17th and refused to let me go to the bathroom until I received a lecture about why wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day was wrong. That's the first memory I dredge up on days like today. Second is the Hampshire College Marchin' band in the DC St. P parade. The third is seeing St. Bushmill's Choir two years back.

So I drove home through probably the only five hours of snow we're going to get this month. I stopped at the VT Welcome Center and spent some time talking to the guys at the coffee machine about all the assholes who had driven themselves off the road. It's hard to know if they just got to the patches of ice before me, or if my 40MPH-agressively-mellow driving keeps me safe. I'll think it's me until just before I hit that ditch. New York was lively and jumping and it was great to not have to go near my car for four days.
14mar04: city, the
Did I mention I was in New York? More specifically Brooklyn though I'm heading into the city today. I gave a little talk at Columbia at a librarian symposium on Friday and decided to stay in town instead of scoot back to work immediately having spent most of my trip driving. So I'm en route to a Progressive Librarians Guild meeting today. Yesterday I hung out with my friends Robert and Robbyn and their newish baby. We went for a long walk in the Greenwood Cemetery where we saw the Monk Parakeet colony and a bunch of interesting landscaping and grave sites and sculptures. Ate some Carribean food, did some more walking. Got a black and white cookie. You know, New York stuff. It's been fun to just sit and open my laptop and have a wireless broadband connection coming from ... someplace. We also all went to the library, of course. Brooklyn Public is really nice. I'm hanging out tomorrow and then leaving via subway, train and car all day Tuesday. Back to work Wednesday.
09mar04: happy birthday, jessamyn's mom
Happy Birthday to my Mom. Feel free to send her birthday greetings via her contact form. You know except for that one page, and maybe her resume, that woman hand-coded the rest of her website herself. Damned fine. She also taught me to swear, took me to a neighbor's house one late Winter to watch him cook down maple sap, encouraged my love of art and poetry, and taught me why it's important to care about people less fortunate than me. She sent me stamps for Valentine's Day this year instead of candy. How cool is that? Happy Birthday Mom!

Someone mentioned that there was a quote by me in Sun Magazine this month. Alas, the quote is by that other Jessamyn West, but damn if it couldn't have come from me.
You make what seems a simple choice: choose a man or a job or a neighborhood -- and what you have chosen is not a man or a job or a neighborhood, but a life. -Jessamyn West
08mar04: 20
[one of 20] So I know you are all anxious to hear about the Twenty Lobster Office Technique but first a word about snowmelt. Most of the snow is gone, and it went away all of the sudden [to me, since I was away for a few days]. The effect is not unlike that morning-after-a-one-night-stand phenomenon. Something that you recall, somewhat hazily, as being lovely -- in this case, the grass, and ground and walkways -- reveals itself in the light of day to be all fuckered up -- in this case filled with dirt and rocks and divots and dead grass and mud and more mud. This is moderated somewhat by all the cute little sugar shacks pumping out sweet smelling smoke as they cook down their maple sap. It's a rural cliche but I pass maybe ten of these on my way to and from work and it's just real life for me.

Twenty Lobsters works this way: get twenty plastic lobsters of the kind you see in the picture. Mine were 24 for a dime, but I live in a weird capitalist wormhole here somehow, your cost-mileage may vary. In any case, bring them to your messy friend's house and hide them all over their messiest room. Put them places that someone who was trying to clean up would find: in the drawers, under piles of papers, beneath something that needs dusting. Too hidden and it's not fun, too out in the open and your friend gets overconfident and learns no tidying lessons. Tell your friend there are 20 hidden lobsters [raise this number for extra cleaning effect, lower it if crying begins] in the room and if your friend finds them all, dinner is on you. If not, dinner is on your friend.

I didn't really get this to work perfectly at my sister's house -- I couldn't remember how many I had hidden and she was paying for dinner anyhow, but it was a good time and sort of an amusing parlor game that takes place in the little downtimes between the general unfun slogging of papers back and forth that characterizes most office cleaning projects. We also went to Home Depot and I installed some shelves in Kate's closet. Shelf installation was so simple, I retroactively feel like a dork for not having installed shelves on every available vertical surface of my house in Topsham.
03mar04: image
I'm heading out of town tomorrow to wish my Mom a happy birthday, pick up Greg from the airport, and introduce my sister to the Twenty Lobster school of office cleaning [more on this once I determine if it works at all]. I should be packing. Instead, I put together some more pictures. They don't smell like Spring, but they do visually resemble it. Back Sunday.
01mar04: spring bring bling
[kittie in a tree and I want to touch it] It was today. We kept the doors open at the library. The mud was as deep as I've ever seen it [having never been here in March before]. The air smelled like growing things and earth. The roads suddenly got wider. I felt a kind of relaxation that no heater, no long bath, no extra socks, no electric blanket and no wool undergarments could give me. I could have been outside forever and not had the weather kill me. It was also the day that pinapples arrived in the mail [thanks J!], Greg left to see his parents, and I checked extra books out on my way home. It's here, or peeking around the corner. All this time I hadn't known how much I missed feeling like this.
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