google sent me an ill fitting t-shirt

summer river

But who cares, it’s summertime! Haven’t heard back from my editor but I’m sure things are fine. Was laying low because of the heat wave but managed to go to the local 4th of July parade, do some mucking about in the local woods, saw friends near and far, watched a soccer game and got a new-to-me car. It is ALSO a green Subaru AWD wagon but there are several important differences between it and the current machine. The new car has 100K fewer miles. Is a Forrester not a Legacy. And also has: cup holder, power windows, a cigarette lighter (without the lighter part, but with the power part) and air conditioning. Every time I drove between here and MA and was sweaty and forever cranking down the windows at the tool booths and watching my phone battery drain to zero I’d think “There has to be a better way” and yet was waiting for an opportunity to drop into my lap.

And, on the 2nd of July, it did. A woman who lives up the road, whose husband had passed away a few years ago, decided to get rid of the car she never drove. And, instead of doing my general heel-dragging, I got right on it. Called. Made a test drive appointment. Said “I’ll take it.” Took it. It’s nice.

This also means that there is a rusty sweaty old Subaru with roll-up windows for sale, cheap [think three figures]. Comes with a free Google Maps t-shirt.


When I first got my ASKME license plate, a few people thought I’d get unwanted attention from it. I’m not sure what form this attention was going to take, but needless to say, it never materialized. I do get people commenting on it from time to time and I always consider it a sort of “outreach for librarians everywhere” situation. It usually goes like this.

Random stranger: *looks at license plate* Ask you what?
Me: Anything, I’m a public librarian!

And then they usually laugh and sometimes they’ll come up with some sort of reference question on the fly and I give them some sort of answer and we all walk away from it feeling nominally better about the whole thing. Friday night I got back late from my trip to Iowa [which went great, you can read more about my talks and adventures on] and was driving through the parking garage exit/pay gate. It was late and I was a little bleary. When I got to the little kiosk, the guy there was already laughing.

Guy at kiosk: *laughing* Ask you what, dear?
Me: Anything, I’m a public librarian!
Guy at kiosk: *still laughing* Aren’t you precious. Well, could god make a boulder so big he couldn’t move it?
Me: I suppose so, if he existed. Don’t you think?
Guy at kiosk: Maybe so…
Me: I mean, I could get you a citation if you want one….
Guy at kiosk: *laughs* Nah, that’s okay. What library do you work in?
Me: Tunbridge.
Guy at kiosk: *laughs* Well okay then, have a good evening.

I’m not totally sure what the funny part was and I’m not sure if I botched the question and I usually hate it when people call me dear, but for some reason this exchange — in addition to seeing hippies playing Jenga in the airport when I got in at midnight — cheered me, the equivalent of a footsie-wootsie for my well-being.

I would have written, but

Tom Robbins once dedicated one of his books — Still Life With Woodpecker, says Google Books — “to everybody whose letters I haven’t answered” which I always thought was an oddly hopeful phrase. This was back when I thought Tom Robbins was the original redheaded truth-teller and well before I saw him speak at Bumbershoot with a “Heaven Doesn’t Want Me and Hell’s Afraid I’ll Take Over” t-shirt and became uninterested in him, boom just like that. But I liked the way I read that and thought he might write to me. I’ve been on the receiving end of more than I’ve been giving lately, and there’s a reason or two for that.

I was in recuperation mode after a week on the road. The whole trip went great and I was happy to have gone and happy to be back and those two things aren’t always true. I got back in the pool and back to work and to make a long dull car story very short: the steering rack in my Honda basically disintegrated all at once. My excellent mechanic kindly informed me that while he’d love to take my money, this wasn’t really a repair that was worthwhile since I’d soon need a new oil pan and new snow tires and at the end of it I still had a 12 year old car with 160K miles on it. So, I have to go get the car and drive it home without any power steering and see if I can interest the kid next door in it, otherwise it will go up on Craigslist (unless anyone here wants it. It’s much more cheaply fixable if you can do the work yourself). For now I’m driving the green AskMeMobile and feeling pretty happy that I decided that having two cars was a decent investment a few months back. Now I have basically one. So, I spent some time online thinking about buying a new (to me) car, but I didn’t see what I was looking for. I dislike shopping, and car shopping more than most shopping.

Monday I decided to take some of this energy and hit the front yard to get things ready for Winter and with the help of my pal Rick, got a lot accomplished (photos here). Then I went out and kicked a soccer ball around with Kelly and Forrest and by the time I got home, after some beef tacos, I had forgotten that I was in a quandary. Similar thing today. Swam, went to the library, went to Adam and Meredith’s and ate ice cream and pizza and even though I opened my laptop once to see the 31 emails waiting for me, I closed it back up again and waited until I got home to deal with it.

So, I’ve been in intake mode more than output mode lately and as long as I’m getting out of bed and dressed sometime before noon, I’m still considering things successful. I’ll get to those letters I’ve been meaning to write. Soon.