All it takes is a few people to say “Oh you’re turning 50, I’ll send you 50 postcards” to turn a normal mail day into a postal snowstorm. Which is to say, I greatly enjoyed getting all this mail. I think yesterday may have been the first day I had a mailbox without a postcard in it. It was a great celebration and an all around good time. Thanks to everyone who wrote.
For some reason I’ve been busy. I say this every time like it’s a surprise, but this time it really sort of is. I decided “No airplanes” for the rest of 2018 so I could chill and not get into a talk-agita phase. So I assumed I’d have tons of free time. No! Lots of meetings, most of them fun. Helping plan the future course of the VT Library Association, the Randolph Conservation commission, and giving privacy talks in VT and NH.
It is nice to know I’ll be around for all of October and won’t be writing one of those plaintive “Why am I leaving Vermont in October?” posts. That said, Grace Paley had some stuff to say about this. I heard this poem at my first official Vermont Humanities Council board meeting which was more fun and more interesting than I thought it would be. I hope we can do great things.
Side note: I think some of my optimism and good cheer can come from the fact that I had SHINGLES (Welcome to 50 Jessamyn! Why thank you, it sucks) which was, briefly, an incredible amount of pain that I am no longer in. So every day I wake up painless, I am thrilled. My over-50 friends, get your vaccinations!
Here are some Fall Equinox Greetings from my good friend Matthew. I hope the season is treating you well.
Leaves are falling. Deadlines are looming. I am beginning the long process of putting my Topsham house up for sale. The weather is amazing. And I’m typing as little as I have to.
This may be the first September in recent memory where I’ve felt like I’ve done more actual relaxing and recreating than working and travelling. Kate and Ned came up this weekend and we did belated birthday stuff which included the Tunbridge Fair (some pix with my new camera), quite a few tasty meals, a dented can store recon mission, mouse escapades, birthday cake with candles and some folks over, a little closet reorganizing, some internet noodling, music listening and one ferris wheel ride. I’ve got one more little social visit before this weekend is officially over. Then I’ll be making plans for next weekend which is a Trip to MA including boyfriend visiting, the Big E, lasagna, and I’m not sure what else.
Didn’t have much else to add. My job has started and is working out well. September is lovely except for whatever low-level leaf mold allergy I have that is making me all blinka-blinka-sniffle-sniffle. I’ll be fine. September equinox is on Tuesday. I got the heat turned on a few weeks early. I am ready.
Now that I go over to isc.ro for Scrabble, I get to play Scrabble almost daily and not have to click through the morass that is facebook to get to play a game. Here is a great video about how to win at Scrabble. It will not help you beat me, however, because I’m one of those nerds who lets you look words up. Jim and I play most evenings. We’re well matched.
This weekend turned out to be shorter than it was going to be. My colleague Josh bought one of those All You Can Jet JetBlue passes and is scooting all over the country going to MetaFilter meetups. This past weekend was Boston, Portland Maine and Montpelier VT. I was going to go to all three as well, but on my way to Boston I decided I felt oogy and went home and slept for 12 hours instead. I stopped by the doc on the way — gotta love being able to get an appointment in 20 minutes — and he laughed off my fears of the flu. The next day I rallied and went to Portland Maine for a fun meetup and grabbed Josh and brought him back to my place.
We did the normal Vermont things: pet llamas, ate pancakes, looked at leaves, took photos of chipmunks. The next day my boss Matt came to town and we did more of the same [check out this amazing photo he took] and then went to a big meetup in Montpelier which was a whole ton of fun. I got to meet more nerds in my neighborhood and introduce some of my IRL friends to my online friends and vice versa. We had a big mod slumber party at my house and then Josh and Matt got up the next morning to head to New Orleans where they are now.
I’m tidying up the house for my sister and her boyfriend’s arrival Friday. We’re going to the Tunbridge World’s Fair and hopefully have a little bit of time eked out to have some birthday cake. I should also be receiving my birthday camera which has slowly been making its way from my Dad’s place to mine. Yay for extendo birthday remix.
All of this is to say that while normally I’d be all “Awww Josh gets to go on a big adventure and I’m stuck at home!” Being home in Vermont in September is actually pretty terrific.
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 got a whole new outlook on garbage, mine in particular, when I had to carry it to the dump myself. In my own car, with my own hands, etc. I feel the same about the leaf explosion that is so popular around here. I love it, same as everyone, but the leaves in my own yard, the ones that come from these big beautiful trees, require moving. Last year Ola hadn’t quite left yet and so did most of the trim and mulch work herself. This year it falls to me. The good news is, I’m really enjoying it, a lot. The bad news is, it’s a LOT OF WORK to move each leaf just across the street. Also it’s starting to get really cold. Today I bought gloves and mulch, the slice across my middle finger reminding me that grass is sharp. Mulch is on sale, it’s that cold out.
And back on the topic of mail and writing. I got a lot ready to go this weekend. I packed and prepared four of my books — $84 straight to the EFF, yay for tiny fundraisers — and mailed a friend a box of lawn clippings that I suspect he’ll like. I wrote a letter to my Topsham Postmistress saying that I guess it was time I closed out my PO box there and stopped paying for it, and then I filled out a change of address form and checked the “permanent” instead of the “temporary” box on it. I mailed a copy of The Thin Man to a stranger on PaperBackSwap and I got my inbox down to normal levels by sending a few thoughful and overdue replies.
So today, oh my! I know that karma is mostly in my mind and that nothing I actually did this weekend was what caused my mailbox to be full of wonderfulness. Logically, I know this to be true. The mail I got today was sent before I even started my weekend reply-to project. And yet, there was something about feeling that not only did I get awesome mail, I halfway deserved it, that made the rest of my day shiny. What follows is a vaguely dull-to-others list of what I got.
- A letter from my friend who I sent the weeds to, full of news and XO signoffs
- An AskMe t-shirt from a relative stranger in just about my size and bright green
- A thank you note from the librarian who invited me to speak at NELA
- A check from my Mom whose domain I renewed over the weekend when we couldn’t figure out her password at Gandi (always make your kids your technical contact!)
- The phone bill, I love $19 DSL
- A silly reminder from my bank that they cashed yet another Canadian check for me
- A random birthday type present from an old friend including a top-notch Belgian chocolate bar, a tiny box of shells from Capetown, a card and my 128MB USB drive that I had lost at her house last December. Also a stick of RAM, for no reason I could fathom. I wish I could say that the drive contained something fun, but it was just class notes from last year.
I woke up today and it was freezing, frosty, frozen outside so I’ve switched the house into Winter mode which means closing all the inside doors, putting the weird little area rugs back around, locking all the doors but the side door, preparing to stop using 75% of the house, and buying plastic for windows. There should be one or two warm days left when I can put it all up. Today I just noticed the sun and the shade as I drove around. Sunny places were warm, shady places were still a little icy, or maybe they just felt that way to me.