I’d be lying if I said I thought this was going to be a fix for everything, though I enjoy the share the wealth aspect of Obama’s platform and the fact that he’s so forthright in talking about it that way. I’d like decently priced heath care as well. Living in Vermont means that it’s pretty much academic who I voted for at a national level. It’s nice, still, to like all my national-level representatives in Congress. Then again, the political climate in this state is one of the reasons I moved to Vermont and a continuing reason I stay here.
I spent last night having ice cream with friends by the fire up the road from here having walked there with two laptops in my backpack, one for work (MetaFilter requires more attention during big events, not less) and one for watching streaming video. I spent a lot of the evening watching my friends color in maps of the US, chatting with people all over the world, and listening to the returns on NPR. I walked home last night in a totally quiet neighborhood where most people had gone to bed before the race was called.
Barack Obama is the only president-elect that I have ever met. He came to the Blogger Breakfast when I was at the DNC and spoke to us about the power of the Internet, etc. I remember being surprised that someone running for Senator would even bother to take fifteen minutes to talk to thirty or so web dorks. I remember that he was tall and he smiled a lot. The speech he gave at the DNC was only one of only two that mentioned libraries (Kerry’s was the other) and one of five that mentioned gay people (one of two not given by a gay person) and it was one of the only ones that mentioned civil liberties or really interested me and my self-interests much at all.
Keeping it in perspective, he still voted for the telecom immunity bill and he’s pretty middle of the road for my tastes, but anyone electable would be. I head off to Kansas today to talk about rural libraries and computers and I’ll be curious to get a read from people there — and from Colorodo which is my next step on this trip — what, if anything, they think has changed in their worlds.
October in Vermont is always busy. It’s like holidaytime for most people is the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s but for me, here, it’s October. People visit, there’s a lot of travelling, it’s so lovely outside you try to go outside any chance you get, and my favorite color is everyplace.
Yesterday I went to the Keene Pumpkin Festival to see Jim’s band play and hang out with Casey and Sandee. It was perfect Fall weather, a little warm, very windy and with ominous clouds forming. The day before that I had just gotten back from Kansas where I paid $2.29 for gasoline and talked to librarians about computers and ate more BBQ than I thought could fit inside me. Prior to that, my Mom came to visit and I spent about ten hours lifeguarding, and then before that it’s all sort of a blur.
It’s hunker down with a good book weather coming up, I’m looking forward to it.
I spend a lot of time contemplating what sort of untimely death I might have. This time of year it’s hands down going to be careening off of some mountain pass while I am trying to get just the right photo of the trees out my car window. Some people ski. I do this.
Last night I was out on the little porch right before going to bed and I heard what I thought was a little animal clambering around in the trees, or on the ground, or someplace nearby. I listened some more and realized that what I was really hearing was leaves dropping off the trees and floating down to the ground. I could actually hear fall all around me. Terrific.
I did a little too much running around last month. This month should have a normal amount of running around. I’m doing a training in Lowell next weekend and going to Lawrence, Kansas later in the month. In the meantime, a much lighter work schedule means I get a lot more time when I’m home to walk around and kick the leaves around. I’m surprised it’s even possible but this place is even more lovely in Autumn than the last place was. Big bright yellow leaves right outside my window mean that all the afternoon light is even more golden than it usually is.
I’ve been getting back into the pool, and into lifeguarding. Last month I had the regular “If this is Autumn I must be sneezing” cold which came with co-presenting vertigo (unfun!) and snorfling glarp which meant that moving my head around in a big tub of water didn’t seem like it would add much benefit to my life. Fortunately I’d been riding my bike around lots, so I still feel okay in the fitness department. Being able to walk into town and do all my little errands has been a real win. It was also happymaking to read about my little local independent bank saying they are doing okay in these tough times. I mean, nothing is really “okay” by conventional definitions, but not adding bank failure to my list of pressing ecopolitical concerns is a little something.
I’ve maxed out my IRAs in the past few years because that seemed like the thing to do when I had some extra cash. However, I’ve been one of those “stupid” people keeping a lot of money in my dumb old bank account, getting chided by my some of my savvier investment-scheming friends. That seems to be working out okay lately. Of course, the strategy of just riding out the bad times is something I’m young enough to do, but for anyone thinking of retiring this year or next, this is an ugly bad time to be thinking “what next?” It’s all so terrifically abstract and strange to watch from over here in tiny town. I hope everyone is okay.
For someone who travels as much as I do, you’d think I’d be a better sleeper. I’m one of those people who checks into a hotel room and more often than not is back at the desk within 30 minutes asking if maybe there is another room. I try to be polite, I know it’s a little annoying. Sometimes the room smells funny and makes my throat itch, sometimes it’s right near the ice machine or the elevator, sometimes the wifi is broken, sometimes there’s a noisy party next door. Because I tend to arrive late, I usually get the worst room. Because I travel often, my trips overlap with other big events, often.
This time, for example, a hockey tournament in Marquette Michigan had taken up nearly every hotel room in the Marquette area, or so they told me when I asked for another room. I had hit the sweet-spot trifecta of ice machine noise, machine room noise [room next to pool pumps] and irregular rattley HVAC racket. Not only did this hotel not have another room [“I’ll even take one with a broken TV” I said, I hear this helps sometimes] there wasn’t even another room in the area. I called a few places just to make sure and they all told me the same thing. I took a few benadryls and made a little nest in the actually-quite-quiet bathroom. I’m not proud. I had to work the next day, and if sleeping someplace ridiculous was going to allow me to sleep, then so be it. I care about it being dark, quiet, and warm enough, I don’t care if I have to sleep on the floor.
After the next day of library talks I still had a few more days in the UP so I did a bit more calling. Turns out the Imperial Motel, a funky old-looking place across the street had plenty of rooms. Sure they didn’t have wifi, or a working sauna, or cookies at the check-in desk, or free breakfast, but the room was quiet and dark and warm enough and the nice lady at the front desk, who also lived there, said “Nah we don’t take hockey teams…” I cut a dashing figure running back and forth across the divided highway with my luggage after checking out of the noisy chain hotel but I happily spent my next few days there. I wrote them a nice review on TripAdvisor.
More on the Michigan trip once I’ve gotten some sleep [in the NEW SILVER BED] and settled in some here.
So yeah I got a bicycle which has been mostly fun except like everything else with a computer machine inside it, it’s a little buggy and didn’t take photos of the most beautiful part of my nineteen mile bike ride on Thursday. Yes I said nineteen. No, this is not something you didn’t know about me, this is just a crazy anomaly where I went on what was supposed to be an eight mile ride and didn’t figure out until mile nine that I was still nine miles from home. What do you do?
I just got back from Sacramento and a flyby through San Franciso, talking to librarians about computers. I came home and waited in line behind a woman at the post office who sent something registered mail and was asking how she could tell if it had been delivered. The lady at the post office started out by saying “well you can type this number into the box at usps.com…” and wound up telling the lady “oh just call me and I’ll tell you” when it was clear that blahblahblahdotcom was not really a sensemaking phrase to this woman.
The airlines tried to send me to San Francisco, claiming it was the closest they could get me to Sacramento and gee they were sorry but it wasn’t their fault so no they wouldn’t pay to get me to Sacramento and yeah things are tough all over aren’t they? I sympathized because airline ticketing software makes library catalog software look sleek and modern. I got on the chatmachine and sent out a few plaintive wails to the friendosphere “um hey, how can I get from San Francisco to Sacramento at around midnight…?” and I had a ride before the lady came back with my boarding passes for my new suckier flight. Once I got to Chicago, I smiled and said “I’m a very nice person” to the gate agent of the (supposedly full) Sacramento flight and managed to get the last seat. I’ve been harboring a headcold for the past week or so, so despite feeling like my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head while we were landing it all worked out pretty well.
Now that I’m home I can even breathe out my nose. My friend gets to be a superhero without even having to drive me anyplace [actually he was already my designated driver from Sacto to Frisco (hee) the next day; I met him when he came to pick me up at the hotel – Ashton you are a wonderful man] and I find sometimes my magical thinking can play itself out in the real world with decent results. I’m heading to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Wednesday. The UP is where I have gotten my second highest bowling score of all time. I am anticipating great things.
So I had plans to do a big birthday wrap-up thing here sort of like what I did when I turned 30 but time sort of got away from me. I guess this is not surprising. Here are some birthday highlights
- I woke up to an online birthday card “signed” by hundreds of people. Whole thing schemed by my terrific boyfriend. Yay.
- Pancakes for breakfast with my friend N@.
- Drinks on the porch at Forrest and Kelly’s with my new bike and a lot of neighbors and friends.
- Housewarming/birthday party of sorts at my house with a bunch of other people (mad props to Stan who managed to hit both parties). Super thanks to Andrea and Corey who helped a lot with set-up and cake.
Some photos are here, there aren’t many. Since then I’ve gotten started with travel/speaking with a trip to Potsdam New York Thursday for an all-day training type of thing (notes here) which was fun but exhausting. I hit the travel just right so I was driving home through Grande Isle County at around sunset and had some lovely peaceful views of Lake Champlain and remote Vermont.
Today I’m heading down to Boston to see Jim’s band play, maybe see some friends and my sister and stay someplace a little wrmer. My new apartment has heat included but that heat doesn’t come on until October 1 and it’s been dipping into the low fifties here. Hello electric sheets! Thanks to everyone who helped make my birthday special and wonderful. I feel truly blessed.