2018 highlights reel

an old lithograph with a very old balloon hefting something into the sky that the caption tells me is a fireworks display mechanism

I forgot about a wrap-up thing I did last year. I think I was waiting to wrap up my “work and money” post and then I totally forgot. My memory took a sharp downturn with the shingles no-pain meds (which are otherwise fine and do what they say on the tin) and so I’ve been learning to roll with it.

Hi, here’s something I was going to show you earlier! I started keeping a sort of highlights reel of my months, so I would have all my links in one place and so I could keep track of things better. I often forget my own accomplishments, or the sequencing of various events. I use Medium because it’s a pretty great writing experience, even though I have concerns about the accessibility of their platform (not accessible and they don’t care, this is a bad look) and their overall long term strategy. But hey if the link is here I can always find it in the Internet Archive, right? I’m aware there’s probably a short list of people who want to read about my 2018, especially since my mom isn’t around anymore, but I like reading about other people’s years, so who knows?

Without further ado, and mostly for future record keeping, here’s a brief list of what I did in 2018. I’ll be honest, it was a fun year in some respects but I’m happy to see the end of it.

Summer wrapup

math triangle thing

So I got back from Westport last weekend just in time to go the Scully’s for their annual BBQ that can not be beat. And then BAM I was home with class starting in two days. I was a little surprised that school started so soon, so I was only sort of prepared. I missed the orientation because I was at a baseball game so I was a little out of my element. Turns out I have an ID and a key and even a fractional office in the same building as this cool art math triangle thing. I teach one class which is called Web Development but is really more like HTML and CSS. My students are over half CS majors but a few equine studies majors. The class is set up to have two hours of lectures (?) and two hours of labs. I have 34 students. It’s been challenging for all the normal reasons and some digital divide reasons. Here are some photos of the VTC environment that I work in.

The last ten days have been a little busy. I spoke to the White House. I was briefly on Science Friday as a caller. I recorded a podcast talking about the White House talk. I opened a lot of mail. I taught for almost six hours.

I also just got 800+ images off of my phone (I save them all until I get home, my archiving system is ridiculous so I will not share it with you) so I can do a little “What I did this summer as determined by my photostream because my memory is shot” bit here.

  • Did my only kayaking in Ferrisburg (VT) with Kristen and visited the clan up there before I left Vermont after the 4th.
  • Enjoyed getting occasionally buzzed by a local immature red tailed hawk (I think) when I got to Westport. It eventually grew up and wandered off.
  • Fixed the labelmaker, got rid of the old lawn tractor, failed to get rid of three giant television sets, fixed the wifi situation and the sink faucet.
  • Had a great Thai meal in Providence with a bunch of MeFi folks.
  • Walked on the beach, swam in the ocean.
  • Did outdoors/wilderness training for women in MA with Kate and Deb and Andrea. Shot a bow. Enjoyed it!
  • Several trips to the Claire T. Carney Library at UMass Dartmouth including getting a tour which included the basement!
  • Fixed up the mailbox with stickers with our name and some mermaid reflectors. It’s nice.
  • Explored new restaurants with Jim and with Kate. Had a chow mein sandwich. Worth trying, probably will not have another one.
  • Went to an all new (to me) movie theater with Matt and Jen and saw the regrettable but fun with nerd friends Jurassic World.
  • Saw Ed at the Cranston Library and all the great things they are doing.
  • Tried to go kayaking in Cambridge but wound up going to Castle Island instead since it was windy. Free parking! In Boston! Amazing!
  • Hosted Tim and Pam and Deb and John and Susan and Kevin and Karen and the Childnado Crew (Dave, Lizzie, Alex, Eli, Tex, Beth, Jillian, Spencer, Dan, Kathy, Max, Henry and Sophie and later arrivals Dawn and Elliot). Special visit by Colin, Gina, _____ and Brixton
  • Watched the Red Sox powerfully lose to the Cleveland Indians.
  • Had dinner at One Main with Virgil and Nicole and was thrilled to find they have real beer flights now.
  • Met Ronni’s new dog, Cory Bean who is a Dandie Dinton.

I’m heading back down to Westport next weekend because hey it’s my birthday. I decided that instead of doing a Labor Day blowout as in previous years I was just going to hunker down with Kate and Jim and do what my dad used to call The Nothing. I vaguely remember liking it.

me and my underwear

Every time I travel I think “I should make a packing list…” and yet I don’t have an account on one of those list-making sites and don’t want one. So, for my posterity, here is my packing list for future reference. This time around — trip to Clearwater, Kansas and Denver Colorado — all I forgot were my headphones. Not bad. This is presuming a work trip; for pleasure trips I don’t really care what I remember and forget. At some point I’ll put this all on an index card.

Clothes & etc (backpack)
– one nice outfit per talk
– one knock-around outfit for every two leisure days (wear same outfit to/from home incl. heaviest sweater/jacket)
– one extra pair of socks/underwear/t-shirt/hoodie
– pajamas, tops & bottoms
– belt
– cold weather? hat, scarf, gloves
– swimsuit (always forgotten when I need it)
– jewelry
– laptop & sleeve

Toiletries bag
– benadryl
– melatonin
– toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
– moisturizer
– just in case: theraflu/dramamine/ibuprofen/acetominophen
– matches/smokes
– earplugs
– hair tie
– warm weather? razor

Tech bag
– dongles for video/ethernet
– cord for laptop
– EVDO card
– camera & charger & card reader
– cell phone & charger
– slide-show clicker
– headphones

– wallet w/ relevant transit passes/frequent flyer cards
– printed list of phone numbers & maps
– keys w/ USB drive
– pens
– folder for receipts
– power bar for plane
– velcro tie-down
– little flashlight
– safety pin
– something to read & spare something to read

Amusingly, money is rarely something I need to bring with me. I think I spent maybe seventeen dollars in the past five days that wasn’t paid for with plastic. With ATMs everyplace, this is less important than, say, a safety pin which is actually damned hard to replace.

three point status update

There is a website I sometimes visit that is for chatting and nonsense and every so often there is a status update thread where people tell you about what or how they are doing in bulleted list format. If you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that I love the lists. I also find that somewhat arbitrary constraints are sometimes good to get you motivated when you’re staring at a blank piece of paper [or text entry box]. And, as always, by “you” I mean “me” You can tell more about people by what they choose to include or not include usually than by whatever the actual facts are on their list. That said, here is mine because it’s about time and because I have news.

  1. Ola is coming back in the first week of July. Like for real. Her youngest son is getting married in the end of July and there will be a lot of people tromping in and out of here during that month, I suspect. I am looking forward to seeing her, it’s been a while. I mentioned to her that I had only killed a few of her houseplants, so I am optimistic about the whole transition.
  2. That said, I’m in love with living alone so I’m moving to Randolph (one town over) where I’ve found this great mother-in-law apartment. I have a handshake agreement to move in August first. More details on that as they emerge. I can always use help moving, but truth be told, I don’t have much stuff. What I could use is someone to help me build a platform bed of some sort.
  3. I’d like to say that I’ll be closer to work but the big news is that RTCC decided to stop funding the drop-in time [and library outreach] that I was doing so I’m not working in Randolph anymore except for the occasional lifeguarding and library fill-in stuff. More details on that over at librarian.net. I feel pretty bad about it. Not personally because I’ll be fine and I have enough work and I was feeling a little underappreciated and underpaid there. No, I feel bad about it because I felt like I was doing great things and making a difference and I’m annoyed that for whatever reason — and I know, money issues are real, especially in this neck of the woods — the program wasn’t sutainable. Drat. I have more than enough work and other activities to keep me interested and involved, but I’ll be looking for more things to plug me in to the community. Chances are high I’ll pick up more regular librarian work but nothing is certain yet.

So, those are the plates that I’m spinning in the air at this juncture. Mostly good.