this is me


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]

the 56 step plan to cooler sleeping

summer swallows

So I’ve been in Westport for a few weeks now. The days sort of run together which is the good news/bad news. I know what day it is because of my work schedule but not always what week it is and June has me all confused because there are five weekends which seems mathematically impossible. ALA is happening in Chicago which I’m sure is going to be a terrifically good time, but I am missing it. I swear I will go to another ALA conference when there is one within driving distance of where I live.

And speaking of driving, it’s really terrific to not have a broken ankle this summer! I have a FOAF (friend of a friend) who needs a car driven from Vermont to St. Paul MN and I’m going to take a mini vacation (as opposed to a Mini vacation) and take a little road trip right after the 4th of July parade in Randolph.

In the meantime, I’m teaching myself how to prune with a pair of loppers, a stepladder and an unruly wisteria. So far so good, I think. And Jim and I managed to get two kayaks on the roof of my car and go kayaking in the Westport River which was a thing I thought might be impossible. I mainly thought this because I had to break down the whole enterprise into steps–and there were a lot of them–and then think about the myriad ways things could go wrong. Which brings me to sleeping.

I’ve always been a weird sleeper, I like a ton of blankets, absolute dark and absolute quiet. I’m happiest of the room is cool and not too muggy which is a thing you don’t really get to choose in the middle of summer when you live nearish to the ocean and your bedroom is over the garage and right under the roof. I like to sleep in a hat because it’s bright in the morning. So one of my many routines here is to close up the room in the morning and then open it up at night to get the cool air in. And then manipulate the air with a number of fans for optimal air exchange. I’m too much of a cheap hippie to get an AC unit. I can get the room about ten degrees cooler in a few hours which is usually okay.

Unlike my place in Vermont which has eight windows total, the place I sleep in Westport (the “cottage” the set of rooms around and above the garage) has twenty-two windows, two doors, five ceiling fans (with two directional settings and three speed settings), one exhaust fan, two free-standing fans (with two directional settings and three speed settings). Most of the windows have curtains, some have two sets. So trying to figure out what the optimal setup is for this situation requires manipulation of a lot of variables. And the weather changes. All of this is to say that once I’ve hopped all over the place opening and closing windows and curtains and switching fans on and off and making them blow backwards and forwards, I am usually pretty tired. Some people count sheep.

consistency of memory

sunset seashell

A decade of having a little bloggy notepad of what I’ve been up to means that sometimes my memory doesn’t work totally right. It’s like when you remember things that happened in your childhood that you have pictures of, but not the other stuff. I make an effort, but at this point working on memory tricks seems to be more work than just writing more stuff down.

I got home from eleven days away last night. The memory thing is that somewhere en route from (my amazing friend) Michael’s house in Texas to Logan airport, I lost my Mac’s power cord. I’m pretty smiling-buddha about most of my posessions. I do my best to take care of them but I try to maintain equanimity when something goes wrong. In this case I was sleepy and sort of buzzed-out from a really good time at the SXSW conference and I have no idea where my power cord got to. I called all the lost & founds — after a week of talking about usability, finding out that I could only figure out if someone found my power cord tomorrow was astonishing to me “but I’m in the airport where I lost it NOW…” — but no one saw it. And, to be fair, if I had a job in the airport lost and found and someone brought in one of these Mac power cords that retails for $75, you can bet I wouldn’t be giving it back either. At any rate. I got myself a new one in Massachusetts and promptly forgot that I even lost it. I also lost my long maroon scarf (how can you lose a ten foot scarf?) and that’s bugging me a little more, actually.

My trip was great and included a panel discussion in front of a room of ~800 people, my telling an old bad drug story (never before linked!) at the Fray Cafe, some quality power-eating with good friends who I don’t see often enough, and then a trip back through MA where I saw my Dad and helped a friend move and did a little of the Jessamyn-magic on Jim’s full-o-stuff bedroom. The long quiet bus ride and drive back from the bus station is like a three hour airlock between people-time and quiet-and-cold-Vermont-time. I’ll be turning around in a week and heading down to DC — actually Crystal City Virginia which is a terrible name for a not very interesting place — and in the meantime it’s back to classes, swimming, bird feeding and getting some of my brain back. Here are some photos of where I’ve been: Westport, Austin. They help me remember.