the siren song of the road I didn’t take


Late Thanksgiving means fewer days of somewhat aimless dread between now and the great holidaytime EXIT door which is New Year’s Eve. Actually I’m doing pretty much fine this year. I’m participating in some random holidaytime stuff [gift exchange via Elfster and a card exchange with internet friends] as well as some real life stuff. I’m getting enough sleep and almost enough exercise. I’ve seen some good movies and the weather has been very accomodating.

This photo is a current one of my house up north. I finally took Jim to see it over the long Thanksgiving weekend. It did its siren song job on him and he was standing in it looking around saying “Wow this place is really neat” at the same time I was grabbing a few Scrabble sets and moving towards the door saying “Get out before you decide to live here for the next decade!” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I feel at some point I made a choice to go from living in a drop-dead lovely place as a vulnerable slightly lonely hermit to living in a pretty great place where I have friends and a job and I run into people that I know when I go into town to do errands. I have a feeling I will enjoy no longer owning this place up north, but I could be wrong about that.

This weekend Kate is moving to her new house up the road from where we grew up, a dynamite place in a cute neighborhood with a funky name. I expect to be spending some time down there and thereabouts over holidaytime between Xmas and New Year’s in case other people are in the area and want to say hi. I have a car with a magical trunk; things you put in it just disappear. Helpful this time of year. There’s a spectacular bonfire in town here on the 19th, contact me for details if you’re in the area.

Jim’s birthday is Monday and it’s the one event of all of them that we’re not spending together though I did send him a fun package of loot. If you’ve got a free minute or two, please wish him well on the facebook or the twitter or I’ll send you his email and you can send him your favorite YouTube video from the seventies.

cocooning and entropy

Christmas Bird Count chickadee

Wikipedia has an entry on cocooning. While I’m pretty “whatever” on Faith Popcorn and her pronouncements about society, I think this staying home and doing a little more navelgazing than usual is part of the December day-shortening and air-coldening. I’m pleased to report that my apartment stays decent temperatures and relatively draft-free in Wintertime which makes it the first place I’ve lived in Vermont that does that. I finally bought a shovel which means I’ve accepted that there will be several more months of snow. Even though I’m indoors more, I’ve been trying to make it count by doing that pesty crap that is really only possible when you’ve got several hours of indoor time and only low to medium cognitive functioning (I’ve had a bit of a cold).

So, this weekend after some nice dinners and movies and blah blah time with friends, I hunkered down to

  • make hard drive backups
  • read some books – my booklist is at an eight year low this year which concerns me
  • send out holiday cards to my card exchange list
  • do nearly 500MB of system updates
  • learn to use bittorent so I could watch Canadian television
  • finally move all my MP3s from my standalone ancient iMac.

I had done this MP3 project once before but then never moved the files from my laptop which later dropped dead. The iMac isn’t on the network so there was a good deal of sneakernet activity in all of this, but it’s now done.

I had the strange sort of upbringing that causes me to feel actually virtuous when I decrease the disorder of a system. This is reflected in my professional choices, certainly, but it also makes Winter much less of a slog because there’s always something around here that could be better organized, and adding the digital realm to the To Do list makes this an absolute certainty. I’ve got a lot of social time coming up — a Solstice bonfire, a New Year’s Eve party, family time, boyfriend time — so watching the birds and squirrels from the treehouse for a few days doesn’t seem anti-social at all.

happy whatever

rabbit rabbit

As predicted, the Solstice in Vermont was a cloudy day that I spent running around with gritted teeth, working. However, at least one little library will have wifi for Xmas because of my efforts. Then I got some time off. Working at a high school means high school holidays are my holidays so no more classes or drop-in times til the new year. I took the bus down to Kate’s place and we’ve been hunkered down with cats and holiday food watching the snow all melt.

The photo is from a trip to Ikea that we took on Sunday to see if we could get and assemble a guestroom bed. My job when I come down here is Chief Motivator for Slightly Difficult Seeming Tasks, so I said “Hey let’s go now, how hard could it be?” and surprisingly, I was right. So we stumbled around a not very full Ikea two days before Xmas, got a bed that was totally decent and super cheap, and put it together in about an hour, even though we couldn’t and still can’t find the drill. Kate had to work on Monday and I walked into Davis Square in the bright sunshine and got four sweaters for about $20 because the thrift stores here have clothes I can actually see myself wearing. Thrift stores up my way just mean I’m wearing something my neighbor is likely to recognize.

Last night we hd Chinese food and wrapped a few things and had to check through our email archives to figure out what we did over Xmas 2005. Of course, searching my Flickr archives would have netted results a lot more quickly. Today we’re heading over to my Mom’s for bagels and lox and tomorrow I’m heading down to my Dad’s to fulfill his one Christmas wish: a clean basement. Back at the end of the week to go to my friends’ NYE party which is open to pretty much anyone. Anyone needing a NYE plan in the Northeast, feel free to email me for details. I hope this day finds you doing what you want to do.