Slightly more exciting than last year, but not a lot more. I stayed at my mother’s house as we were cleaning it out a LOT this summer. Most weekends for two months. And I stayed at my sister’s place a few times. And I stayed at my dad’s place twice. That’s the report. Compared to last year–zero days stayed anywhere else–it felt like a lot, but still no weird hotels, quirky AirBnBs, or any other fun travel. I have a tentative plan to go give a live talk, pandemic willing, in New York this summer, will be interesting to see how close I get to it.
Well this post is pretty simple this year. I stayed at my dad’s house on December 30th last year, woke up and drove to Randolph and have not slept anywhere besides my own bed since then. I haven’t gotten on an airplane since late 2019. I’ve only left the state four times and that was just to go hiking or walking with Jim. Am not thrilled about most of this, but mostly resigned to continuing to try to do the right thing and see what I can do to help other people’s 2021 not be as much of a shit show as 2020 was for so many.
Really serious about staying out of airplanes now. Two airplane trips this year. A low key summer not feeling terrific. Lots of time doing more local stuff and not regretting it at all.
- Westport MA* – here most of the summer, in many of the beds
- Stow MA* – visiting my sister
- Cambridge MD – a great quickie trip to a great conference
- Meredith NH – another great location for a conference, less-great hotel
- Grafton VT – weird old inn, intensive conference
- Burlington VT – staying with friends for an overnight for a humanities conference
- Tampa FL – really quirky AirBnB with lovely folks
I went to Florida a few weeks back which will be the last time I get on a plane this year unless something wacky happens. Thinking more about carbon footprint stuff even though I am doing solidly well in that regard because I have no kids. It was a good time, pictures are here.
I was well-hosted by the library school at USF. I gave a talk that I really enjoyed which was well-received. I felt good enough to walk around some which was nice, wear shorts and smell smells (it’s 17° here now). I’ll get paid eventually which is also my feeling about the CNN article I wrote in August, and the smaller article I wrote for Online Searcher after that. Freelance cash flow is a bit of a crapshoot.
I also stayed in a funky AirBnB suggested by my host which was great in a lot of respects, but especially because parts of it were maybe a little broken. I’m always at loose ends when I travel alone, and so it was fun to have some simple little puzzles to keep me occupied (think a dog trying to get kibble out of a kong). So while I was there I…
– got the TV back online and attached to Netflix
– also got the TV out of accessibility mode so it would stop reading every Netflix title to me
– cleaned the filter of the hot tub which was full of leaves
– figured out which scented candle was setting off my allergies
– stopped the toilet from running at night
– figured out how to make Alexa stop listening to me
Things I did not figure out included…
– how to make the glowing orb in the hallway stop pulsing in various colors
– how to plug in my phone near the bed without moving a very large mirror
– where the extra towels were
All in all I was nervous about the trip because it’s my nature and because I’m still not really feeling optimal. It went well and now I’m just back on my normal bullshit, going to a ton of meetings, helping people with computer stuff and trying to stay warm.
This picture is actually my sister’s bed, which I did not sleep in, because I was bad at taking photos this year. This was the year I said “No more travel!” after the summertime and mostly meant it. I did only three airplane trips this year and actually forgot to take a photo of the most exotic place I stayed, a sort of dorm room situation in Hawai’i. I wish I could say I enjoyed all this travel but it was sort of a down year for me and I didn’t rise to it. I took good pictures and I generally had that “Sitting in the backyard wrapped in a blanket” feeling to a lot of it. Sort of safe and comfortable but also sort of pining for home.
- Boxboro MA* – here a lot doing various cleaning things. I do love this room.
- Westport MA* – here most of the summer and many of the holidays
- Toronto ON – wanted to stay at a friends but he was very sick and this trip was both enjoyable and a total bummer
- Montréal QC – my friends’ new house, super fun
- Brooklyn NY – the funniest looking bed with the best hosts
- Manoa HI – ups and downs here, I wish this excellent place was not right next to a bus stop
- Canandaigua NY – -this was a good trip but I should have stayed in a little motel
- Stow MA* – Kate got the guestroom up and running again! Always great to stay here
- Washington DC – a funny little hotel right by the train
Last year I spent a lot of time away from home but it wasn’t great for travel per se. I spent nearly two solid month’s at my mom’s place before and after she died. I can’t quite say that I enjoyed it, but being in one place, in that place, was useful for me. 2018 is going to be a year of less travel I think. I’ve got two airplane trips planned and I’m not planning to add any more.
- Niceville FL – a great way to kick off the year with some sunshine and friendly librarians
- Cambridge MA* – Deb’s place is always good for the soul
- Toronto ON – a weird AirBnB and a great visit
- Toronto ON – Gabe’s duplex was a better resting place
- Stow MA* – chilling post-Superbowl at Kate’s
- Westport MA* – planned to spend more time here than I actually did
- Montreal QC – a catsit and a trip that was supposed to be a vacation with Jim
- Crystal City VA – a fun library conference and a chance to see a lot of library friends
- Washington DC – MeFites put me up and showed me the town, so lovely
- Brooklyn NY* – wound up here twice, the couch is fine but the love is great
- Brooklyn NY – hamsters!
- Weir’s Beach NH – Fun Spot was one of the year’s highlights
- Cambridge MA – another catsit, another funny little bed
- Concord NH – I spent a lot of time sleeping not far from home
- Boxboro MA* – moved in and did not leave for a while
- Edmonton AB – a great conference center
- Edmonton AB – the swank apartment of an old family friend
- Baraboo WI – place was as weird as it seems but the conference was grand
- Saratoga Springs NY – Liked this Hilton, loved this conference
It’s been very nice to have a summer that isn’t mostly spent managing my and other people’s grief (with exceptions for the untimely demises of Boo Radley and Fred November) or my and other people’s broken ankles. I feel like I went at this summer with an aggressive zeal that is really not my usual tack but has been working out okay. As I wrote earlier, I did a lot of hiking. Now I’m a little worn out by hiking and have been doing a bunch of socializing. At some point in the past five years I have been slowly shifting from being more extroverted (I get energized by being with people, I get ootchy when I am alone) to introverted (I lose energy by being with people, I recharge batteries by being alone). This is probably a side effect of having an internet job and a steady boyfriend but also of just getting older. Time speeds up, I have more things on my own that I want to do and the places that I want to do them are not on anyone else’s beaten path (see also: hiking). But in any case, there’s been a lot going on.
– My friends from college are now at the point where their kids are old enough to happily travel. My dad’s place is sort of the perfect destination resort for the under-12 set, so we had a great weekend having a cookout, playing kid-bocce and making the best use of the giant beanbag imaginable. Two photos of the crew are on Flickr (1,2). The bulletin board here is covered with kid drawings and the patio is covered with cryptic chalk scribbles (is that a bat? a spider? a spiderbat?).
– My friend from high school (has it been 28 years? wowie!) and her wife were up in Vermont for their annual lake trip and I got to hang out and play robots with their son, toss tennis balls with the pup and learn all about bread ears. Our quiet evening together was interrupted by a badly sprained wrist (not mine!) so I got to hang out with Mr. 9 while everyone else took a trip to the emergency room.
– My sister and I decided to play Grown Up Ladies and we bought a couch together to put at Dad’s place and I finally got to go to Jordan’s Furniture after a lifetime of hearing their radio and TV ads.
– I performed my first wedding, for Rich Fairbanks and Rachel Westbrook. It went totally well. When I was a little kid one of the first non-family non-parents-of-friends couples I knew was the couple that lived next door in our two-family house: Rich and Rachel. When Rachel told me she’d met a guy she liked and told me his name, I had a good feeling about it. I included a photo and the service on my Vermont JP blog. If anyone wants to get married in Vermont and needs an officiant, I’ve got two and a half more years before I need to run for re-election and I think now I know what I’m doing.
Upcoming excitement includes a trip to Nebraska (shut up!) to talk to librarians about technology and then some friends visiting from far away (North Carolina via Maine) and then the usual People Up For Labor Day. If you’re reading this and you’re in the South Coast area and you’d like to have a hot dog with me, drop me a note (email preferred) and I can send details. I hope to do one more update before the Virgo Month of Leisure, but if the past few months are any indicator, I may be a bit busy.
Oh and a note about this image. I came back from a walk with Jim to find this little set of drawers and five wine glasses on my steps. I thought it was maybe from Rachel but it turns out it was from my landlady Ronni who has been deaccessioning some things. She tossed in this wonderful gigantic dictionary, remembering just where she got it on the Lower East Side some 40-50 years ago. I’m not sure where I’ll put it, but I just love the way it looks.