on my radar
This is a picture of Jami. She is from Missoula and has been staying at my house since I've been in Seattle. She worked the protest today as a medic -- helping people who had been tear gassed or shot with rubber bullets, etc. She got hit on the head with a tear gas canister while helping someone back to the medic center and bled like a stuck pig. She'll be fine.
As I write this, a civil emergency has been declared in Seattle. They set a curfew of 7 pm in the entire downtown area and anyone without WTO identification will be arrested. The National Guard is coming in and there is a whole bunch of shit still going on downtown. There is no bus service in downtown Seattle tonight. I headed out when the tear gas started to filter into the Pike Place Market. My eyes hurt. I wasn't really mixing it up on the front lines, I was mostly hanging back and assisting people who needed help. For a large part of the day, I was carrying a green flag which indicated I was in a "low risk" area, so if things started to get hectic, anyone who positively needed to not get arrested or tear gassed could follow me to someplace safe. Later on I helped people who had tear gas in their eyes make their way back to the medic areas.
Downtown Seattle is trashed. Lots of graffiti and dumpsters in the streets and broken windows everywhere. Ths is kind of too bad since the primary purpose of the protest was non-violent direct action. I'm sure this will only serve to cement peoples' association of anarchism with violence. The question most people asked me today -- I was wearing a big tag that said "Ms. Information, ask me a question" -- was "how does this all work?" Once I explained all the training and preparation and tactical planning that went into it, folks invariably said "wow, you guys are really organized!" as if this was a big surprise.
On Wednesday I got a bug up my butt to go mess with the WTO instead of spending a holiday weekend with the woodstove. I've been in Seattle since Friday night working every day, all day, with the Direct Action Network helping them get their action tomorrow morning [I report at 6 am, ouch!] off the ground. True to form, I'm the one that alphabetized the baggage claim and mostly worked at the welcome desk with big orange letters on the front of my overalls that said ASK ME. My voice is completely ragged, though I have been eating good vegan food for three days.This whole event is the Burning Man for my set. Lots of interesting and talented people finding ways to creatively manifest their politics. There's lots of stories that I've got in backlog, but mostly now I just need to get some sleep. There was a really neat street procession yesterday up on Capitol Hill. Pictures are in the archive here. I head back to Vermont on Wednesday.
Some really good, nearly live footage of the event is going on at the Independent Media Center.
I am well fed and safely in Boston. I rarely laugh as much as I do when I'm with my Mom and/or sister. Today we dragged up a bunch of boxes of old family ephemera and snickered ourselves silly as my sister did a dramatic reading of her morose junior high poetry "...my dog is deceased and my cat is old...". I found these tidbits:
[a note from my Dad to friends circa 1962]
"I rode a camel in Cairo -- I met an expatriate in Khartoum -- I am rounding out my life -- regards"
[my kindergarten report card, 11/12/73]
"Jessamyn is a quiet child and quite shy at times about sharing her news and experiences with the rest of the group. She gets along well with her peers and has many friends. She shares toys and materials willingly. She is able to sit still, listen and follow directions. It is difficult to tell if Jessamyn likes and enjoys kindergarten activities -- at times she appears to be in a world of her own."
Yesterday I blasted bagpipe music in the backyard and went for a long walk. Today I drove around with the windows down. Tomorrow I go to my Mom's and spend Thanksgiving with family members for the first time in a decade.
I'm bad with holidays. I don't know how to behave. I think this one will go okay. Maybe being in the country has made me reflective, or maybe being relaxed has made me kinder, or maybe being by myself has made me crave company of any sort, but I've been feeling thankful for my family lately. I know I can be a bit of a wiseass from time to time, and I'm still going to avoid Christmas like the plague, but when I listen to my friends tell me about their holiday plans with their families -- and often hear the dread or just apathy associated with that -- I realize I'm looking forward to seeing mine. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here's why I'm thankful for my family:
Other things I am thankful for lately, in no particular order: rubber cement, the Pixies, my incredible good luck, four-wheel drive, wood, my camera, chicken soup, the postal system, the moon, variable speed drills, the color orange, sharpie markers, small dogs, anyone with a sense of humor and my friends, even those without senses of humor.
Full Moon Fanaticism!
We are having an indian summer of sorts this week, which coincides nicely with the coming of the full moon. So, I can finally be outside again, even though there's some snow on the ground. I played lacrosse in my front yard with Matt yesterday. I've always said that the personal ad equivalent out here in VT is spending a lot of time in your yard and waiting for people to drive by. "SWF, 31, enjoys lacrosse and hopeless barn renovation projects...."
A lot of snow fell off the roof earlier in the week. I didn't know what the noise was at first, it just made a lot of scary noise. So, I locked my doors and armed myself with the machete until I figured it out. This was a bit of a problem when I went out the next day to get my mail and realized I had locked myself out of the house. I don't even think I have a key...
With the leftover pile of snow, I made a snowcatmonster . Fierce, huh? It must have served some totemic purpose because today I caught my first mouse in my mouse-kind trap. I fed the quivering mouse some peanut butter, gave it a pep talk ["the good food is at the neighbor's house..."], and walked it down the road a bit.
Did I forget to mention that the lie was that the other half of my roof fell off? I kinda held this 'til last because there have been some crazy storms up here and I wasn't quite sure the rest of the roof would stay on. But, this weekend the roofers finally came and finished the tarping [after I threatened to call the attorney general on them] and so I have renewed faith that the roof may stay on and even get fixed. Incidentally, it was the roofers who told me that word on the street is that I deal heroin out of here...
This has been a weekend of picture taking. First, I made granola. I had a pretty good recipe and I added some maple syrup and a bunch of vanilla and now it is to die for. Even the mice think so, they completely made away with the spoon I used to stir it up with. Then Dave and Nicole showed up. Dave is a photographer and came to use the barn as a set for some of his pictures. So, he dressed Nicole up and, with the help of some prostheses, they took a bunch of pictures. Then Matt showed up who was living here last year and is currently residing in Bolivia. He brought some presents and a lot of stories of life in Cochabamba. We fired up the woodstove and drank Nicole's cocktail concoctions -- Sourpusses -- and played Scrabble. This morning we headed out to the Sunday morning tradition -- the P&H Truck Stop and the Keep on Truckin' Cafe, where we ate all we could. As soon as I finish this up, I'm going to run around in the backyard -- it's 50 degrees and sunny out here, better take advantage of it.
So I went to take the test to become a census enumerator? Why? Because I'm good at counting. Because I like standardized tests. Because I want to create an official yet misleading paper trail for when I go underground. I don't know, it just appealed to me. The state of Vermont is going to hire almost 5,000 people to help them count the rest of the people. This is about 1% of the population. I never filled out a census form when I lived in the country, but I guess instead of just mailing the form to you and waiting for you to return it and hoping you don't use it for kindling, they actually mail it to you and come by to pick it up. Or come by to interview you. Or come by to interview your neighbors. My town has the distinction of having had a larger population in the 1780 census than in the 1980 census.
Back to the test. There were about ten people and we all took a 28 question test that was essentially a literacy test disguised as a skills test. Example question:
Okay, those aren't the actual answers they gave, but they are close enough. They give you scrap paper. They let you take the scrap paper home. I used to work for The Princeton Review, we would always try to take the scrap paper home. If you don't like your score, you can retake the test. The same test. And you can write all the questions down on the scrap paper that you can take with you. Do you see what I'm getting at here? The guy who gave the test gave us his home phone number so we could call to get our scores. He called me at home instead. I got a perfect score. He asked if I would be interested in one of the "better jobs" [enumerator bossman instead of poozly old enumerator]. I said I would think about it. You know, it's some kind of crime to not answer the questions an enumerator tosses your way. This might be fun....
Did you see 'em? Did you see 'em? It was eighteen degrees outside and I schlepped out to my porch in full snow gear at about 11:30 to see if I could see the meteor showers. I had already determined that going outside before bed, even if it's just to take pictures is a good idea anyhow. I stood and looked up into an almost clear night sky and watched the moonshine light up my snowy backyard on and off as the clouds passed it. The underside of my chin got freezy and I started to head inside after about 15 minutes and just then I saw a brilliant meteor cut completely across the sky from north to west, staying lit up for a really long time. I went inside, took off all my gear, under which I was already in my pj's and trundled up to the loft and slept, dreaming of meteors zig zagging by just above my head.
Don't know if it was because of this or what, but I have been in a state of intense euphoria all day, despite today being damned near exactly like yesterday, and a normal breakfast of coffee and oatmeal. Twinkly knees. Permagrin. Singing in the library. This can mean one of two things: 1) I am going to be getting the flu pretty damned soon 2) it's Spring. For obvious reasons, I'm banking on Spring. Just in case, I'm going to take a really hot bath and eat tons of garlic. While I always thought it was strange that people find the smell of garlic offputting ["hey, you smell like food... c'mere!"] it did occur to me that out here I can sleep with it in my socks [another folk remedy] and no one will mind, at least until my houseguests arrive this weekend.
In-depth report on my application to be a census taker tomorrow.
For some nutty reason, when you search Webcrawler for realdoll, my site comes up fifth.
Real snow today, in the sky and on the roads. I left the library around 3:30 to try to get home before the roads were icky, no luck. As I was fishtailing down the main street of Barre, I saw some poor kid out in his Driver's Ed car. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and persevered. I had previously pitied the folks stuck behind the snowplow, going 30 miles an hour, but realized today that they have the best driving of all. I made it home okay with no incidents, passing all sorts of cars and trucks on the sides of the road, some on purpose and some obviously by accident. When I got to my driveway, I tried to turn the truck around to leave it near the mailbox and wound up doing donuts on my front lawn. Fortunately, shifting into four wheel drive is pretty simple and I managed to get it where I wanted. I walked inside re-thinking all those Sport Ute TV ads I had previously made fun of. Four wheel drive, mmmmmmm.
Note for people cleaning out fridges: carrots can hide under the Sealed Snack Pack drawer, beware!
A new look! Easier on the eyes, I think. I moved my computer from the cold backroom to within about six feet of the woodstove and I find that the lack of hypothermic conditions is making me more productive. If this looks like hell on your browser, please let me know the specifics.
Correction to yesterday, if this snow lets up, I will have a great view of the meteors. It has been snowing since I woke up. I have parked my car at the end of the driveway to minimize the amount I may have to dig it out. Accumulation looks like about 8-10 inches so far. Earlier in the day, I dressed up in all my outdoor gear and went out to play in it. Not really sticky enough for snow people, not well-dressed enough for snow angels, not deep enough for snowshoeing, and I'm too lazy for sledding. I'll try again tomorrow. For tonight, it's more wood in the stove -- which I haven't had to re-light in four days, this is so cool -- some of the books I picked up in Burlington, and a few more letters typed up on old Quiet De Luxe.
In response to my plea for guests, my friend Jordan came to visit. We tried on the bear mask and took some pictures. We've also been discussing the hunting brochure I picked up on Thursday: The Vermont Guide to Hunting [tag line "set a good example, be a thoughtful hunter", I wonder who won the contest to get that to be the hunting slogan this year?]. It has information like this: "Gray squirrels are generally ignored here by hunters, while in the southern states they are considered a real challenge and a delicacy." Maybe it's just me, but isn't that kind of like saying "...while in the southern states they allow you to marry your sister"? Jordan points out that the human brain is mostly fat and sugar which means to bears it's basically a donut.
Jordan beat me at Scrabble by one point. I had a four beer handicap. He describes this place as the world's biggest clubhouse.
Leonid metor showers are on Wednesday. If it's not raining bloody hell like it is now, I should have a really good view of them.
I had forgotten a really good part of Thursday's trip. By the time I was headed home, I hadn't spoken to another person in nearly 24 hours. I was tuned into some poppy radio station [watch for upcoming entry on How Pop Music Saved My Brain...] and there was this great song with the catchy refrain "sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell" I guess it's by Cake. I sang it all the way home. In other pop music observations: are there two hit singles now that include the line "put my tender heart in a blender"? I swear these guys must all drink at the same bars or something.
Today is the official opening of deer hunting season. Pickup trucks are filled with men and dead deer. The local churches are all sponsoring Hunter's Breakfasts where for $4 you can eat enough food to keep you warm in your camo gear all day. I would go to one of these -- I am making a concerted effort to eat breakfast lately -- except they start at 4 am and only go til 8. In Seattle, I sometimes had to set my alarm to get out of the house before noon to grab some Belgian waffles at the Illiterati before it closed, and I still maintain that 4 am is a bedtime not a breakfast time, even out here. The P&H truck stop does have an all you can eat breakfast buffet tomorrow, and I seem to recall it's open til noon.
Total frickin' godhead! Yesterday was a holiday and thus no mail and no library gig forcing me to find new ways to be productive with my less-than-ten hours of daylight. So, after I finished building a bench in the woodshed and loading the house with wood for the evening, I headed into the Northeast Kingdom in search of 45 N latitude and 72 W longitude. Why? Check out this site. I packed a bag with my GPS, digital camera, an apple, a Pete Krebs tape, small plastic pig, bear mask, map of VT, sunglasses, and rough directions. On my way out, I stopped at Ruth's Boutique because I noticed it was open. Ruth's is actually a barn about five miles from here. When the door is open, you can drop by. The barn is piled high with clothes. You stop in, knock on Ruth's door and say hello, then go into the barn and rummage. You can take whatever you want, free, the only caveat being that you should drop something off as well. Last time I was there, I got a pair of overalls. I also had my eye on a Persian lambswool coat and was hoping it was still there. Alas, it wasn't, but there was a nifty blue snorkel jacket that fit me like a charm. I took that and a brown wool hat [boy do I love hats now that they all fit!] and moved on towards Holland.
Holland Vermont is practically in Canada. The radio stations are mostly in French and the sides of the roads are all lined with 4 foot high sticks to show the plows where the roads are once it gets really snowy. My map showed one road going through Holland. Once I got there, there were a few more roads, and amazingly they almost always turned where I needed them to. The last three roads I was on, for about ten miles, were dirt and I was afraid I would wind up in someone's driveway facing down a tractor. Watching my GPS count down the numbers, I pulled over at exactly 72 degrees W longitude. I crossed the road and headed into the woods. After wrestling with a lot of trees and listening to dogs barking not too far off, I located the confluence in the middle of a river. I took some pictures, forgot about the bear mask and the plastic pig because it was too damned cold, and headed out. I drove home during the twilight gloaming where all the mountains shine purple and everything gets that super-quiet feeling about it. My achievement should be memorialized here within the week. In the meantime, there's more pictures in the archive.
More new post-barber pictures residing in the archives. Please come visit me so I can take pictures of someone besides myself.
It's a good thing that I look a bit more normal from the neck up because I am beginning to look like Frankenstein's monster everyplace else. Nothing like being clumsy to make a woodstove into a truly horrifying scarmaking machine. I work at the Barre library part-time entering books into their new online system. When I push my sleeves up I now have weird scars on both my forearms right where the stove gloves end and my pink forearms begin, alarming the children. I could be smart about all this and push my sleeves down before I mess with logs, but old habits die hard and I haven't quite learned the careful respect for fire that I should, yet. Besides, it's warm in here. The scars are in addition to the wood-carrying bruises that also dot my forearms. For reasons unknown, I bruise really easily -- I've started upping the niacin in my diet which is supposed to help -- and until I bought a wood carrier, the pokey logs made a mess of my already messy forearms. Fortunately it's winter, or close enough, and so the bruises on my legs that I get from walking into the piano in the dark [it sure is dark here at night...] don't show. The damndest thing is that most of these abrasions and contusions don't hurt, they just look gruesome. This is Dog Girl, signing off...
Getting back into having the house to myself is taking some doing. I've been working on little fixit projects: rigging a light switch for the woodpile [ever tried to hold a flashlight with your arms full of wood?], getting a wood carrying thingdoo, making a little 'zine about the roofers, making chicken soup [from scratch!] and, of course, rearranging the furniture. It hadn't been sitting quite right with me until I went out to mail my zines. It's pretty cold out tonight but all the stars are out and it's completely dark except for the light noise created by the house. I walked down my driveway -- more of a rut in the grass really -- after getting all heated up starting the woodstove, which I did from coals from last night which always feels cool. I found my way to my mailbox, and left the flag up for the mailman. Then I walked back, feeling my way up the porch steps and opened my door to a bright toasty warm house with Pete Krebs playing in the tape deck and the sumptuous aroma of chicken soup blasting forward at me along with the incense I'd lit previously. Home home home. Feels good.
[see #4 below] At the clinic last week, I was a nervous wreck. I had a spot I couldn't identify and may have kissed someone with a cold sore.... The doctor listened very seriously to me as I freaked out at him "there is NO way....." and then told me to take my pants off. The joy of going to a clinic is that there is no pretense along the lines of the doc leaving, you taking off your pants and covering yourself with a sheet behind a curtain, the doc knocking when he comes back in as if you might have company, etc. I just dropped 'em and got on the table and he looked: "Where?" I pointed.
Then he started to laugh.
"Doesn't look like any kind of herpes I've ever seen" he said, still chuckling. "So, it's not herpes? Or could it be some weird kind?" I said, still a bit panicky. I had already kissed my future sex life goodbye and was thinking of becoming a nun. "It's not herpes," he said, smiling "get out of here"
The pumpkins were in a pickup truck in Montpelier with a sign saying FREE or something to that effect. I took three and felt a little like the person going into the pet store and buying guinea pigs to feed to my snake. I took them out into the backyard and shot them. Rather, I intended to shoot them but wound up cutting my hair instead. I shot some pumpkins last week. Or were they squash? See #5 below.
Anyhow, one of the things I like about Vermont is that you can just stand on your porch and shoot your [or someone else's] 9 mm out into the backyard and no one cares. In fact, if you listen very closely, it sounds like other people start getting out their guns and shooting them in their backyard too. I had never really held a gun before although I had been intending to learn. Seemed like a good idea and though when you live out here you don't really lock your house up, or even your car, the thought of personal protection does cross your mind. I have this to say: guns are fun. And loud. And not terribly scary, especially if you are learning from someone who seems to know what they are doing.
When I was younger I went to an amusement park with my Mom and we went to one of those shooting galleries where for 50 cents you can shoot at a whole western scene and things will light up or the skunk will wiggle or the piano player will play when you hit their targets. My Mom picked up the pseudo-rifle and just nailed every single target, even the moving ones. I was amazed. She spent summers on a farm and had learned to shoot. She taught me how to sight down a rifle. I have a problem in that I'm right handed and left eyed so I had to learn to sight with the other eye. My performance improved immeasurably. I am not a terribly bad shot. While I am not heading out to the gun shop right now to start building my arsenal, I may in the future. You have been warned.
I'm in Boston for the weekend. Had to get a couch, get some espresso, get a haircut, get some companionship, see some movies, get some sleep.
Yesterday I went to the barber [See #2 below] to have him give me a more stable haircut. When I cut my hair on Monday, it was more the result of a lot of deliberation to get rid of my hair, not an intentional move towards another haircut. As a result, I wound up looking not unlike my Mom. Not a bad thing, just maybe not me. So, on to the barber...
I headed into Davis Square and went to the first barber shop I saw & sat down. I was the only woman in there and while there were no big stacks of Playboy magazine, I still felt a little silly. I had even bought a skirt the other day [realizing I didn't have a single skirt in VT] and so felt extra girly. I swear when my time came to be next in the chair, all the barbers moved extra slowly so as not to get me in their chairs. Snip ... snip ... snip. Finally, some poor guy couldn't hold out any longer and I sat down in his chair. He had not just a comb over but a sweep-around -- hair from the back of his head swept forward over the top and sides of his head in enormous batlike wings. This was the man I was trusting to give me my first haircut in twelve years. I said I wanted a longish crewcut and he went to work. Clippers, talc, little napkin at my neck, three kinds of scissors, hair goo, the sideways glance mirror, the green cape, the whole deal. Every now and then he would lean over and half-whisper something to me when he wanted to talk to me, as if the other barbers might give him a hard time "... I wish I had hair like yours ... so thick..." The whole deal took about 40 minutes and cost me a total of nine dollars. I tipped big, he told me to come back any time.
Time again for four truths and a lie, Vermont style:
Details on all truths to come...