link to it 28mar06: back from boston
Somehow we managed to have a successful trip to the big city and come back here to the Loveliest Place on Earth just in time for the weather to finally get right for sugaring (cold at night, warm in the daytime) which has cheered people up considerably.

My MBTA karma continues unabated. This time I arrived at South Station to find that they had switched over from T tokens to Charlie Cards and I had to exchange the former for the latter to get through the turnstile. There were some surly T employees to assist us with this problem, one of whom bitched me out directly. I spent all my tokens (I have extras at home and bring them with me when I go to Boston, I am a nerd) on passes only to find that no other T stop in the system that I used in my travels (Copley, Prudential, Davis, Downtown Crossing) would accept them. So they have two mutually exclusive systems in place at once and, like all true religions, each one is acting like they are the One True Payment Method. They offer this helpful chart. I was thinking bad thoughts about the T when we went in to go suit shopping with Greg and this is why it took us an hour and a half to get home. Apparently the MBTA has a Customer Bill of Rights [who knew?] so I'm asking for my $1.25 back, even though what I'd really like is that hour of my life back.

For me, it's so cool not having to drive anyplace that I'll take almost whatever the T can dish out. We went to Keezers and got Greg a really smart looking suit for less than $60, then we went to Filene's Basement where we rolled our eyes at bizarre Italian get-ups and found Greg another suit for slightly more money. I only wish we'd been better fed so we could have stayed longer and had more stamina. Now I am done with suit shopping, hopefully forever. Much thanks to my sister for coming along on this little three hour tour. We took her out to dinner for an early birthday celebration and between the four of us got six different kinds of meat from Blue Ribbon BBQ.

This all happened after the three days of library conferencing which I talked more about over on The high point -- besides getting to hang out with my friend Andrea and seeing other folks who I don't see often enough -- had to be seeing the senior editor from MAD Magazine talk about censorship, thus giving me an excuse to use swear words and this excellent picture.
link to it 20mar06: spring
[ice on the river]
Because I'm generally optimistic and okay with my lot in life, I sometimes forget how my life is different now than it was before I moved to Vermont. Sometimes I remember. We went bowling in Barre for Sarah's birthday, something I don't think I've done since I've moved here. Suddenly, I remembered that when I lived in Seattle I used to bowl all the time. I would regularly (weekly?) get together with a bunch of people and drink beer and hang out in hipster bowling land. I did have some sort of muscle memory, I guess, because I did fairly well and got a 153 one game. I also remember, now as I'm typing, the sore muscle memory and the way my middle finger gets all wrenched out of place when I bowl. It was a real pleasure to get together with a group of people someplace that wasn't someone's house, or a bar, or a library conference. I had forgotten. Now I remember.

Greg and I went for a walk yesterday and I took some pictures. We've had the bizarrest excuse for a winter this year and I don't know whether to be happy or sad about it.
link to it 18mar06: health
Oddly, the thing that has signified our household's return to mental health has been... shopping, as well as the same amount of exercise. Ola has been going to Curves, eating well, losing weight and being really happy. Greg just took his thrashed bicycle in to the bike shop yesterday where he was told that it needed a complete overhaul because he's been riding it so much. I've been keeping track of my swimming and I've already gone five and a half miles this month. Of course it's just back and forth miles and if I were on the road I wouldn't have even swum to work yet, but it's keeping me feeling pretty okay. However, it the shopping that's odd.

As you read in the previous post, I hate to shop. I hate stores, I hate people in stores and I hate unfettered capitalism and the marketing of desires generally. I'm a pretty happy person -- and there is stuff I like such as books, food, warm socks and postage stamps -- but shopping to me is only a necessary evil. So, when it's grey and gloomy outside I don't do it at all. Then one day around when the buds were coming out on some of the trees, I said "Crap! there are things we need!" So thanks to the miracle of online ordering, we got a 250 GB hard drive ($100!) and a bunch of writable CDs. I got a travel sleeve for my laptop and some old postage stamps on eBay. Greg has a new pair of sneakers and some lounge pants. My Dad sent us some Valentine's Day apples and pears a bit late. So, we have an impressive stack of boxes and no longer feel like we're hunkering in our miserable little room waiting until we can go outside again. We're making CDs for friends and backing up our trove of movies and teevee shows to the hard drive. I can use my laptop without burning my lap, and I'll have stamps in hand for sending off postcards on my quickie trip to Boston next week.
link to it 16mar06: ramping up
Next week starts travel season for me. I'm going to Boston to the Public Library Association conference, then to Houston for the Texas Library Association conference, then to New York, then to Ohio, then to Greg's graduation and there are a few more places on the list over the Summer. It's been a while since I've done any traveling (six whole weeks by my estimation) so I'm ready for it.

The post town meeting times have been good around here. All of the libraries I work with have operating funds for another year. The cafe that tempted us with free baklava opens tomorrow and should change the social face of this town somewhat. I've had more people come to drop-in time at the technical center's computer lab this week than I had in all of February. People are slowly moving their bones. Even though it hasn't been a particularly nasty Winter, there's something about the lengthening days and the muddy roads and the returning birds that kicks people in the behind saying "Get out of your house."

My Mom visited this weekend. We set her up with a birthday blog as well as some homemade magnets that I somehow neglected to take any pictures of. She took Greg out shopping for some dress clothes (visible in this picture) as an early graduation present. I tagged along because it seemed like the thing to do. I'm not sure when I became completely and totally unable to exist in any sort of shopping environment, but after one department store and three shoe stores I was ready too die and/or kill someone. I think I used to be able to do this. I know I am unable to do it now. I wonder what other subtle changes have come over me after three years of rural living with no months-long Seattle interludes?
link to it 08mar06: happy birthday Mom
It's my Mom's birthday tomorrow. I'm seeing her this weekend, so no crazy Flickr stunts like last year, but if you want to wish her a happy birthday I'll forward any well-wishes.

Greg and I went to town meeting yesterday [his photos, my photos]. There are four or five New England towns that have at least one photo of their town meeting up on Flickr. This year was a bit less contentious than last year. Instead of being grouchy with each other about the Iraq war resolution, the town united to get grouchy with the Governor for taking money out of the state's education fund to use for whatever it was he used it for. I'm still a registered voter in Topsham since I own property there, so I sat on the sidelines. High point, besides just the feel-good saying "hi" to everyone in town was the news that a new cafe would be opening in town next week, our first. The people from the Second Cup Cafe really knew how to turn on the charm and brought free food [baklava, home baked cookies] and coffee to the town meeting for everyone to sample. I now officially love them. I'll tell you about the grand opening next week.
link to it04mar06: by the numbers

Adjusted Gross Income ..... $18,464
Taxable Income ..... $10,514
Total Tax .....$ 1,307
Total Payments .....$ 2,152
Refund .....$ 845
Effective Tax Rate .....5.45 %

Adjusted Gross Income ..... $ 14,874
Taxable Income ..... $ 6,674
Total Tax .....$ 749
Total Payments .....$ 1,081
Refund ..... $ 332
Effective Tax Rate ..... 4.34 %

In my mind, this means that 2005 was a better year than 2004.
link to it03mar06: the end of february
[trees on the side of the road]
So now that it's no longer February we have to stop eating so many donuts, try to not stay up all night watching old television, and get out of the house more, get dressed more, do more. You get a free pass in February because it's a short month and the days are short and it's just too much Winter with not enough hope, though relatively speaking, this one was mild.

My second Word for Beginners class was yesterday and we learned to cut and paste. Here are the students in my class. No names, just titles:
  • a 95 year old woman who just got her first computer
  • the bus driver from Dartmouth Coach (took me a while to figure out how I knew him)
  • my doctor's Mom
  • a man from vocational rehab who is taking the class to help him learn computers to re-enter the job market
  • a woman who is new in town and lives in a little town outside of Bethel
  • a woman who works at the hospital who complained jokingly that the Acceptable Use Policy didn't allow her to swear.
It's been fun so far but very very slow. I like working with new computers users and the teaching job pays about five times as much as the formerly-AmeriCorps job. I love not working for AmeriCorps anymore, now I can register people to vote!

Greg had another in a series of dental appointments the day after we went down to Brattleboro to check out a job he was interested in. Between that and the far-flung libraries I deal with as part of my circuit rider librarian job, I put nearly 500 miles on my car this week. That's too much. As we try to figure out what we'll be doing for jobs next year, I'm very very clear that I don't want to commute. Travel? Sure. Commute? No.

My goal for this month is to update more than once a week. Shorter updates, more frequently, you read it here first.
Jessamyn is in...
the archives

last month | archive

09mar... mom b'day
22mar... PLA
30mar... Kate b'day
26apr... TLA
04may... Greg b'day
08may... SLA
18may... OLC
20may... graduation
01jun... RILA
??jun... wikimania
31jul... SAA
20sep... NDLA

more? more?