Here are photos of the places I slept in 2015. Another short list. Now that I’ve solidly put my dad’s place on the my “projects and hobbies” todo list, I travel to other non-dad’s-place places less. So even though I didn’t go to too many places in 2015, I was away from home for several months. Which was fine.
Here’s the short list. Twelve places plus an airplane, six different states, one non-US country. Stars indicate multiple visits to the exact same place. Past years: 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 2007, 2006, 2005.
- Stow MA* – stayed at Kate’s place quite a few times, very nice guestroom, constantly improving.
- Aboard a British Airways flight – we got upgraded to business class, very nice.
- London UK – I got the bottom bunk in the tiny bunk bed room and found it quite to my liking.
- Westport MA* – stayed in a few different beds in this house (three? five?) and was here most of the summertime
- Raleigh NC – visited Steve and Heather and went on an actual vacation
- Amherst MA – saw Matthew and Michelle on my way down to Connecticut
- Groton CT – decided to stay in an AirBnB instead of a hotel, it was … fun and weird (and htis is me deciding to sleep in a hallway, the place itself is quite nice)
- Burlington VT* – saw Dave and Linda when I was in Vermont for VLA and again for ComicCon
- Boxboro MA – visited Mom when I was planning to stay in a hotel with Jim and the hotel was full of children. Good decision.
- Bangor Maine (2) – gave a talk to a bunch of fun librarians and had SO many pillows. Stayed at a hotel across the street the next time.
- Pasadena CA (2) – stayed with a friend and then at a snazzy hotel while I was there for CLA
So for whatever reason I decided I wanted to learn how to make those serious business hair buns the same week it turns out that I need glasses for reading. I’ve always been of mixed feelings about my perfect vision. Like, yes it’s good to be able to see when you wake up and all the rest but for someone in my line of work it’s good to have glasses! And I’ve got too much dignity (most of the time) to wear ones I don’t need. As this picture shows not having a need for glasses doesn’t mean I don’t HAVE glasses, I just rarely get to do anything with them.
On the first of December I woke up like I always do and did some reading (this book about the Metric system, really good) and I felt more than usual “Gee it’s taking my eyes some time to warm up this morning” and then I remembered my Pile of Random Glasses and sure enough, looking through one of the many pairs made all the words on the page that much clearer. People who knew my dad knew that this was sort of an ongoing joke with him. Eye troubles and multiple pairs of glasses and eyedrops and shirts that had to have pockets so that he could carry all of his glasses around. Jim is getting to be a bit like this. Now it’s my turn! I have at least a few pairs of these glasses that work for reading, so I have them placed next to anywhere in my house that I read. This is a total of about four places. If I am smart I bring a pair with me.
So then there’s the bun thing. I’ve been half-assing hair buns for a while and decided I wanted a nice way of putting my hair up that didn’t scream “I half-assed this!” So I asked my librarian friends about how to do a bun right and the answer surprised me: you use socks. Or you can anyhow. So I tried it and it’s fun and stupid and most of all it looks AWESOME WITH MY GLASSES. So that is it. The end. I made a YouTube playlist of useful bun videos. It’s been a long sometimes rocky year but I hope to be ending it on a high note.
So my shoulder is still healing and I have become a master of speech to text techniques on various devices. I tell myself this is just me getting better at my job, but I am a little sick of it and I wish my shoulder would heal more quickly. I am doing more or less all the stuff, exercising, not doing the things that bother it, trying to sleep in the right way, leaning on the hot water bottle when I can. However, the thing that’s probably really going to help, jumping into the pool and getting some exercise, has been a little out of reach because I came down with the two-week cold thing that everyone has.
And really, I like to think of myself as resilient, but the last two months have really been trying. I’m writing this now, or rather dictating this now, because I finally feel like I’ve turned a corner in a meaningful way maybe for the first time in months. After a few weeks of occasionally canceling class, and occasionally missing out on sleep because of coughing and other various maladies, I’m happily back in the classroom and happily sleeping at night without the assistance of 3 to 5 types of cold medicine. Everyone who has had to interact with the walking zombie that has been me over the last two months, thank you for your patience and your kindness.
On the bright side, I have gotten an awful lot of reading and movie watching done. I’ve been interviewed for two really interesting podcasts that have been transcribed that you might like to read (rumblestrip, circulating ideas). I put a new and improved daybed in the living room just in time to go spend a lot of time in it with a hot water bottle watching the birds while drinking a lot of tea. I’ve given a few short talks, even with my hoarse voice, to the Rotary club and the New England Library Association and both went great. More to the point, I’m remembering what being me is like. I’m aware that the aging process means I’m not gonna wake up every morning feeling pain-free and full of energy and vim forever. I’m just hoping that as things decline they’ll do so gradually and not all of the sudden during my most favorite season for basically no reason.
Got home from work today at about 6:30 and was like “When did it start getting dark so early?” And I know this is a thing a lot of people have been thinking, but except for the lunar eclipse, I just haven’t been paying much attention to the outside world and I’m looking forward to being more present in my own life and the lives of others real soon now.
So hey, that Virgo Month of Leisure… I guess if you call lying around a lot watching a bunch of movies leisure then I think I did a good job. The downside is that I did a lot of this because I have some sort of pinched nerve or pulled muscle in my shoulder and it makes doing things with my primary mousing arm a bit of a challenge, if not outright painful. I’ve mostly shut up about this online partly because I don’t want everybody’s helpful advice (trust me, I am doing all the things) but also because I’ve been spending a lot of time minimizing online time in general. I mean I still read and participate a little bit, but I mostly do it through touchscreen interfaces and speech to text, and pretty much have not touched a mouse in a week except what I need to do for class.
Class is going really well, except for the unfortunate aspect where I have to put together a bunch of slides and labs and exercises each week and spend a lot of time writing on the whiteboard which is suboptimal for healing. Students are neat and interesting, VTC is a great place to work, and it really is fun to have a place to go and do your job instead of sitting at home in pajamas where everything gets filtered through a technology hole of some sort. Real life people have their own sort of challenges, and it’s a different set of challenges than the ones that I deal with with my mostly Internet jobs.
I’ve been doing my share of stuff too. We did a table at Vermont ComicCon which was really well received and a bunch of fun. I just got back from an overnight trip to Bangor Maine where I got to give a talk to a bunch of enthusiastic librarians and got to see some beautiful scenery. I was interviewed for two separate podcasts this month, both of which I think are really interesting. And you can listen to them here.
The rest of the time I’ve been trying to stay idle which is hard. I have watched a lot of movies, I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve gone for some walks outside and sometimes just laid around and stared at the ceiling, and I’ve done stretching, a lot of stretching. The weird thing about whatever this injury is is that it’s kind of hard to narrow down what the specific thing is. And, of course, doing things like ComicCon and driving to Maine are not necessarily good for the shoulder, but are very good for morale (and the pocketbook).
So if I haven’t returned your email or done that thing I said I was going to do, it’s probably because it involves some sort of mouse work. My apartment is perfectly suited for just lying around and looking out the windows and watching the birds, unfortunately my brain is slightly less suited for that. I’ve got more stories to tell about birthday mascot suits and librarian cosplay, but it will have to wait a little longer until I’m back at the helm.
So I got back from Westport last weekend just in time to go the Scully’s for their annual BBQ that can not be beat. And then BAM I was home with class starting in two days. I was a little surprised that school started so soon, so I was only sort of prepared. I missed the orientation because I was at a baseball game so I was a little out of my element. Turns out I have an ID and a key and even a fractional office in the same building as this cool art math triangle thing. I teach one class which is called Web Development but is really more like HTML and CSS. My students are over half CS majors but a few equine studies majors. The class is set up to have two hours of lectures (?) and two hours of labs. I have 34 students. It’s been challenging for all the normal reasons and some digital divide reasons. Here are some photos of the VTC environment that I work in.
The last ten days have been a little busy. I spoke to the White House. I was briefly on Science Friday as a caller. I recorded a podcast talking about the White House talk. I opened a lot of mail. I taught for almost six hours.
I also just got 800+ images off of my phone (I save them all until I get home, my archiving system is ridiculous so I will not share it with you) so I can do a little “What I did this summer as determined by my photostream because my memory is shot” bit here.
- Did my only kayaking in Ferrisburg (VT) with Kristen and visited the clan up there before I left Vermont after the 4th.
- Enjoyed getting occasionally buzzed by a local immature red tailed hawk (I think) when I got to Westport. It eventually grew up and wandered off.
- Fixed the labelmaker, got rid of the old lawn tractor, failed to get rid of three giant television sets, fixed the wifi situation and the sink faucet.
- Had a great Thai meal in Providence with a bunch of MeFi folks.
- Walked on the beach, swam in the ocean.
- Did outdoors/wilderness training for women in MA with Kate and Deb and Andrea. Shot a bow. Enjoyed it!
- Several trips to the Claire T. Carney Library at UMass Dartmouth including getting a tour which included the basement!
- Fixed up the mailbox with stickers with our name and some mermaid reflectors. It’s nice.
- Explored new restaurants with Jim and with Kate. Had a chow mein sandwich. Worth trying, probably will not have another one.
- Went to an all new (to me) movie theater with Matt and Jen and saw the regrettable but fun with nerd friends Jurassic World.
- Saw Ed at the Cranston Library and all the great things they are doing.
- Tried to go kayaking in Cambridge but wound up going to Castle Island instead since it was windy. Free parking! In Boston! Amazing!
- Hosted Tim and Pam and Deb and John and Susan and Kevin and Karen and the Childnado Crew (Dave, Lizzie, Alex, Eli, Tex, Beth, Jillian, Spencer, Dan, Kathy, Max, Henry and Sophie and later arrivals Dawn and Elliot). Special visit by Colin, Gina, _____ and Brixton
- Watched the Red Sox powerfully lose to the Cleveland Indians.
- Had dinner at One Main with Virgil and Nicole and was thrilled to find they have real beer flights now.
- Met Ronni’s new dog, Cory Bean who is a Dandie Dinton.
I’m heading back down to Westport next weekend because hey it’s my birthday. I decided that instead of doing a Labor Day blowout as in previous years I was just going to hunker down with Kate and Jim and do what my dad used to call The Nothing. I vaguely remember liking it.
So thanks to my friend Andrea, me and Kate and my other friend Deb all went to a Women in the Outdoors program this weekend. It was a one-day event put on by a local (Auburn MA) fish and game club. You show up early in the morning and take wilderness/outdoorsy classes all day long. I learned to shoot a bow and arrow in a friendly supportive environment and even (once) got a bullseye! Kate took this photo. Jim supplied the color commentary. We did some other fun stuff like learned to identify turkey signs in the woods and build a makeshift shelter if you’re trapped outdoors. Some of the best parts of the day were the parts that weren’t even part of the actual classes we took: seeing a bunch of HUGE snakes swimming in the water and talking to trappers about “nuisance beaver work.” It was also sort of fun watching the falconer try to get her kestrel out of the tree, but it may not have been much fun for the falconer.
So my continued efforts to Do Summer Right and stay offline a bit more and socialize a lot more have been going well. The accessory parts of the house–garage, garden shed, basement areas–have been organized. I feel much better doing this sort of thing when I feel it’s me and my hobby and not me and my unpleasant tasks. We’ve been slowly de-accessioning some of the things in the house that are old, non-functional or just not for us. Anyone need a 15 year old 99 pound television set? I didn’t think so, no one does.
Some of this is also distracting myself from the fact that I’ll be teaching my first ever college class in August: HTML and CSS to about 30+ VTC students. The class is taught in a lecture/lab format which some people think is the way to do it and some people (including myself) think is nuts. But I’m up for trying it and I’ve been trying to maintain enthusiasm and excitement for this which is good for keeping anxiety and impostor syndrome at bay.
My other summer hobby appears to be lobbying to get the right person elected to the Library of Congress. I made a website called Librarian of Progress and recently wrote an article fleshing out some of those ideas. Ultimately this is probably the most important librarian job opening that will happen in my lifetime so I sure hope the people who are selecting the new Librarian of Congress make sensible choices and aren’t just swayed by big companies who are lobbying out of greed and not concern for the cultural history of the country. The thing about the big political machines isn’t really the voting so much–I also have an article I’m writing about my compromise position on anarchism lately–it’s the machinations that never get voted on.
The shift from Vermont to Massachusetts is always sort of weird. I feel like I get amnesia for a week or two and I forget what size I am and bump into everything. Then I spend a few weeks cleaning everything up (last year it was pruning junipers and this year it’s been cleaning the garage and basement) and then I settle in to summertime. I’d been back in MA for a few weeks and came up here to Randolph for the 4th. A great but incredibly busy time and (knock wood) everything worked. I saw friends, met a new baby, ate hot dogs, hosted people, was hosted, made some new professional contacts, petted a bunch of pets, watched the parade, got some good sleep, went walking with Jim, bought a library table, opened mail and marveled at how GREEN everything is up here. I even got out on a kayak on Lake Champlain (thanks Kristen!) which I’d never done before.
So today is reversing the flow, getting into the car and puttering back down to Westport where my calendar is empty of social stuff but full of work for the next five days. I like work. But I like it even more when it follows a lot of play.
Photos of some of the clean up efforts.
Photos of the Fourth of July parade.
[note, despite title, that photo is actually not me but I sort of wish it was]