I can not tell a lie, when I did my last year in cities I thought “Eh, I can top that.” I don’t think I’d like to recreate the frenetic craziness that seemed to buzz around a lot of these trips, but they sure were fun. 2006 saw me get to my last US state and flesh out my list of states I’ve given library talks in. I slept away from home on 52 occasions, sometimes for a few days in a row. I have pictures of all the beds but one. Here is the list. Stars indicate multiple visits to the same place. Numbers indicate number of distinct guestrooms at each location. Idea from Matt, who got it from Jason who apparently has visited the town next to mine, recently. I expect to see him at the Sugar House one of these days.
Bethel, VT (aka home)
San Antonio, TX (3)
Somerville, MA *
Houston, TX (2)
Westport, MA *
San Francisco, CA * (2)
New Orleans, LA (3)
Jamaica Plain, MA
Boxborough, MA *
Braintree, VT *
Burlington, VT * (2)
The Dells, WI
Los Angeles, CA
South Lansing, MI
jessamyn, abada abada
I just got out of the tub. I’m heading to dinner at friends’ in a few hours. I packed my sister off towards home a few hours ago. We had a great time helping each other out with dopey projects and also just hanging out, eating good food and constantly remarking on the weather (“weirdly warm out isn’t it?” “yes.”)
For my part, I helped her get her snow tires on, buy and wrap a few presents, get a new ringtone for her phone and inspect her weird toe problem for signs of danger (there were none). For her part, she helped me have a dinner party for 13 people (a success!), get flannel sheets on my bed (warm!), move some furniture around, and pay my health insurance bill. We went for a few walks, a few drives and drank a ton of coffee. We swapped a lot of music so I’m currently listening to the Grand Theft Auto Vice City soundtrack and I bet she’s listing to some woodley woo guy-and-guitar music.
She has to work on Tuesday so she’s heading back home today. I’ve got plans for today and tomorrow, very low key, involving very little driving and NO AIRPORTS. Airport avoidance seems to be one key to enjoying the holidays this year. Television avoidance is another. I’m pretty sure I can put the brakes on the “Christmas every day” scorekeeping once Christmas is, in fact, over though I must admit that it hasn’t been much of a hassle.
Happy holidays, however you’re celebrating them. I’ll spend the next week wrapping up the year and also the DECADE since this week marks ten years I’ve been keeping this journallish bloggy thing.
jessamyn, abada abada
So I’ve been experimenting with long shutter exposures on my camera and going out at night and trying to take some pictures, just me and my trusty flashlight freaking out the neighbors. Well it might be freaking them out if everyone didn’t go to sleep around ten, so unless I wake the dog up, I’m good. The weather has been creepily mild but even so I’ll stay up working, then take a bath, then go outside with the steam flying off of me and take a few pictures. There’s room for improvement, but it’s a fun new project.
So this evening, I worked until 8 pm, teaching my last Microsoft Word for Beginners class. I got home and done with dinner by 9. At about 9:05 the power went out, just as I was IMing with a friend asking me how slutty she should dress for her client’s holiday party. All the lights went off leaving me staring into the face of my glowing laptop, IMing to nowhere.
Luckily, I knew where the flashlight was thanks to my recent late night forays. Luckily, Ola is a nutty candle hoarder. Luckily she was also a decorater meaning that there was a fully functional kerosene lantern in the kitchen, just sitting there looking pretty. There was also a “you plug it into the phone jack and it works” phone in the house. So I copied down some numbers from my laptop and settled in among lantern light an a ton of candles to make a few phone calls. I like to pretend when there’s a power failure that it affects everyone else in the whole world, but apparently my friends in Randolph weren’t even affected.
When I was a kid power failures meant 1) eat all the ice cream, STAT and 2) each toilet has one more flush, use it wisely. It took a few power failures out here, before I got that it was okay to use the plumbing whenever you wanted, and there’s not much in the way of ice cream in the freezer anymore.
Before I got too cold and decided to light a fire, the power came back on. I would have taken a picture or two of all the flickery candles but the batteries in my camera were dead from too many late nights with the long shutter.
jessamyn, abada abada, powerfailure, candles
I just installed wireless in the Tunbridge Public Library today and am quite pleased with myself.
For readers of this who are friends with Greg, he had a bad bike accident last week (just him, no cars involved) and cracked his hip/femur. I found out through a pretty roundabout way involving someone from work posting something to a VLS mailing list that a friend of Greg’s read and emailed me. I called parents, called the hospital where he was having surgery, and raced up there just to make sure he wouldn’t be alone. The good news was, he wasn’t. We’ve been keeping in pretty cordial but not super-close touch and he has a great network of friends up in Montpelier who were already there and on top of things. I’ve stepped back into the background again, but people should contact him directly to send well-wishes, offers of support or whatever. His family was up this weekend but he’s going to be hobbling around for a while now. There’s an “end of an era” feeling to this whole incident, but not really in a bad way.
Ask Metafilter has been getting some more press especially in the wake of Google Answers folding. If you’re somewhat curious or you don’t understand why I talk about the place so much, you might want to read what NPR, the Chicago Tribune or Anil Dash (the evangelist at Six Apart) has to say about the place. I know they’re all “Blah blah blah Matt Haughey” but I help run the place. Another media mention is me talking about Wikipedia in our local paper Seven Days.
I’ve really felt like being able to hang out at home and focus has been great these last few weeks. Even the ramping up of the holiday season has been pretty much a non-event for me. Kate’s coming up for the weekend before Christmas and I think I’ll be making some soup. I can’t say I’ve terribly missed the bazillion santas that are usually around here, and the creche didn’t make an appearance on the town common this year. I swam 3.5 miles in the past seven days that ended yesterday which is a new high for me. I’m hoping to end the year on an up note and it’s looking good so far.
jessamyn, abada abada
A friend IMed me yesterday and said “Your blog misses you.” This is funny, since I see this friend fairly often, but I got the idea. It’s a big black box, me being here in this house when I’m not travelling or teaching and when I’m hunkering down with a writing project I all but disappear from the nets. There has been big news, mostly not mine, but some small victories, which were mine. I’ll start with news.
– Ola has gotten her Peace Corps assignment and will be spending the next few years in Kiribati. I did not even know the name Kiribati before she told me this and now I’m trying to scheme a way to visit her.
– I’m going to be up here for the holidays, though Kate will be coming up for a few days pre-Xmas. Anyone else who is in the area and wants a nice (though chilly) place to hang out, drop me a line.
– I added a new nice photo of me to the Wikipedia article about me. The photo is also on Flickr. I am still in search of the perfect headshot.
– I returned my Dish Network appliance and related hardware. I wrote a funny story about it over on Vox.
– I have managed to cover a large number of windows and doors here with window plastic which seems to be having some effect on general freezingness around here. I even had a question about the window plastic — it says the plastic should be 62″ wide, mine was 31″ wide; I could see what the problem was but not how to fix it — and called the Frost King people on the phone who actually called me back today and told me how to separate sticky plastic (hint: use stickytape)
– My friend Forrest (who lives at this house) was buying thermostats for his new house and I got one also. The Bethel place now has a programmable thermostat! Programming this has made me realize, again, how my schedule is not like the schedule of others. There are zones like Morning, Day, Evening and Night. In my life there are zones like Awake and Sleeping. And sleeping doesn’t take place across the midnight today/tomorrow divide, it all happens in one day. Side note: I do have to do something about this sleeping late thing. I love it, but I think it’s prudent to get as much daylight in your eyes as possible in December and January. I am sleeping through daylight.
– Christmas every day plans proceed apace. Lately there has been a lot of incoming mail and some outgoing holiday cards. I’m not usually into cards — I like getting them but tend to not give them — but this year there was a card swap at a MetaFilter spinoff site I spend time at. I decided I wanted in and learned to use my photo printer to make some nifty postcards. I explained this all to my boss Ruth, how it was fun to make cards for strangers and she said “You know Jessamyn a lot of people send cards to people they know.” I said I’d consider it for next year.
– I was invited out for soup not once but twice last weekend which was totally delightful. I’ll have to make some soup.
jessamyn, abada abada
It seems like I’ve spent all week with people from MetaFilter, but really the people who are part of my real life here also seem to be part of MetaFilter. The weather stripping and insulating plan is going great except that it was 65 degrees today which made me feel a little silly unscrewing all the outlet covers to put little draft-pluggers in there.
Also, I swam a mile today which is today’s “make this day RULE” item. I usally swim a minimum of a half mile whenever I get in the pool and usually swim a little bit more. I’m up over two miles a week any week I’m home for more than four days. However, the pool has been flakey since I got back. Today was a perfect storm combination of good temperature, good breakfast, good sleep and good space [i.e. mostly empty pool] so I kept going past my previous best of 32 laps all the way to 36, a solid mile. It took almost an hour. Then I went home and pretty much died and I’m still staggering around a bit but at least I’m not thinking “almost there…”
Yesterday’s Column A event was serving on the Advocacy Committee of the Vermont Library Association. You can read more about it over on librarian.net but we’re working to ask the state of Vermont for 1.6 million dollars for Vermont’s libraries. Vermont currently does not fund its libraries at a state level. This is a big deal, and one of the more challenging things I’ve worked on this year.
I’ve been moving some furniture around the house, mostly swapping hutches and decluttering some of the spaces I move around in at the expense of some of the spaces I barely use. I unpacked my bag for what I think will be the last time in 2006 and finally got rid of the spare toothbrush in my laptop bag. I feel like I’ve finally got to the end of a really long stretch of waiting. Not that there aren’t other things to anticipate and get excited about and work on generally, but there’s a lot of spare time around for contemplating, reading and reflecting as well. Here’s the article about Ola that was in the local paper. I sure hope she’s having a good time.
jessamyn, abada abada
I am serious about this. This is what I did today. I gave myself a ton of weather stripping, window plastic, outlet and switch covers, and a cover for the fan in the kitchen. I spent a leisurely evening putting tape around every window in the place. I am not joking. Ola is a wonderful woman, granted, but she would always insist that it was more important that things look good than that they work well. So, we have cupboards over heating registers and drafy windows without curtains. I do not care if this place looks like girl-in-a-plastic-bubble-land this winter, it will not be freezing.
jessamyn, abada abada