laptop top, covered in stickers

So hey things have really been okay but I hit a snag which was that I came home from buying a new laptop–a thing I do less than twice a decade and always agonize over for several months–and my home computer had dropped dead. Like literally at the same time as I was at Best Buy arguing with a guy about what sort of charging port this laptop had (I can’t even imagine the type of confidence someone would have to assume they were right when there was an image of the thing ON THE BOX that contradicted what they said. I know I should not go to Best Buy, yes) my computer was at home, failing. I got home and said “Hey look what I got!” and my computer, perennially on, was off. And would not quite turn on correctly again. So, this is all sorts of metaphorically fucked because death has been on my mind lately. However, it’s also a computer not a person, so I had a backup (check your backups folks!) and I knew that if I could work this issue out, I would be fine.

I am a very good troubleshooter and problem solver but my knowledge and my patience has limits. I also hit an “I’d rather toss money at this than take out seventy-five screws and put them back again” wall earlier than some. Long story short, my friends do not share my CUT BAIT predilection and so through the help of several wonderful people–one who sent me RAM in the mail and advice in the email, one Internet friend whose name I hadn’t known until he emailed and said “Can I help?” and we talked on the phone for 90 minutes, and one who had always been my local hero for various problems both logistical and sometimes personal–I now have a computer that mostly works, has a new hard drive and RAM, and all my photos, music, and nonsense from the last twenty-plus years. The screen is being held on by rubber bands until my screen gasket sticky tape stuff arrives in the mail. My dad would have loved this story, it has a happy ending.

I literally have email on this thing from when I was in library school. And yes I sometimes read it over. It’s interesting to me, in my 50th year, to read emails written by thirty year old me and realize sometimes I don’t recognize my former self. Most of the time I do, but occasionally I’m surprised to realize that some event from my past was gone completely until I read about it like I was some disinterested outside observer. I know this is normal.

So today I got up early to restore all my old data back on the thing from my backups (check your backups folks!) and I’m writing the last stuff on my old iMac, a ten year old computer I’ve gotten re-acquainted with but never really warmed up to. I’m looking forward to–no really–sorting through three weeks of digital accumulation and putting everything in folders. I haven’t actually used my new laptop yet because I’m superstitious like that. I figure once I put a sticker or two on it, it will feel more like mine.

Nothing else is really going on (a lying sentence that I seem to say all the time like it’s some sort of tic but I’m committed to it here) other than me being done with travel-for-work and I’m now starting travel-for-family/holidays which I like significantly more. Things mostly work, they’re still a little broken. I’ve been reading books like they’re going out of style and doing a lot of walking in the woods. I’ve worn my sloth head at least twice. I’ve been cooking squash. Cleaning closets. Connecting with librarians. Dominating at local trivia and getting smucked at online trivia. Trying to make every little thing run a bit more smoothly than it did before.

little smiling face carved from a cucumber

the new normal


There’s a lot of talk locally about the new normal. If your house got swept away in the flood and you maybe got a big check from FEMA or other places, there’s still adjusting and a lot of pieces to pick up. FEMA and the local community action places tell people it’s 18 months before things get back to normal and even when you get there, it’s the new normal, not the one you used to have.

I’ve been back on the horse lately. Drove to give a talk in Maine which was really fun and went well. Hid out in the state library awhile afterwards which is a cute little gem in Augusta and where this photo is from. Now I’m home making flight reservations and travel plans and worrying about staying healthy during flu season and idly thinking about buying new luggage and getting a haircut like I always do. Some people count sheep when they’re falling asleep, I design optimal luggage.

Kate and Ned came up here and, with me and Jim, we went to the Tunbridge Fair. It was so stupidly nice to get to spend some time together that wasn’t all wrapped up in memorial services or catching runaway cats or meeting with lawyers or money people. I ate a lot of junk food and took photos of chickens and had a good time out in the sunshine. I’m pretty good at this shoulder to the wheel routine–doing what needs to be done–so it’s sometimes difficult to remember that there are other things I’d rather be doing. I made a new little mossarium. I’ve got a book I’m excited about reading. I have a treadmill [NOT a metaphor] to get back on now that running club is over for the year, I have classes to teach.

I even decided to put my place up on AirBnB, you know if someone wanted to rent it while I was away. I think this unlikely but what the heck. You can see some photos here, they’re burning through venture capital so they’ll send a photographer to your place if you ask. If you’re AirBnB curious but haven’t signed up yet, feel free to use this link and it’s like some hobo ponzi scheme where I’ll get travel credit when YOU travel.

Oh and I’m in the promotion range for trivia, aiming for the C League. If you remember my earlier discussion about my trivia league, you’ll know that this is a very good sign. I even got some leisure in during the Virgo Month of Leisure. I could like the new normal.

underwater lullaby

decker demonstrates good yoga form

Hey when it rains, it rains!

This was what passes for an exciting week around here. I did some socializing in the Boston area at a game night, saw Jim and stopped by to see my Dad (and pets), came back home to find that I was cartoonified on the cover of Library Journal. I finally made that song that I’ve been talking about, since we’re now two months with a broken Google Map. Please listen and enjoy. I may make a movie of it.

I also came back thinking I had to turn right around and write a talk and drive to Utica New York today but it turns out that’s next week. The time sensors in my brain, they are a little busted. I blame May with its five weekends. Utica is next week, so I have some time. It’s 60-ish in my house today since it’s cold and rainy and the furnace has been turned off for the season. If it gets too terrible I’ll just get back into bed with the electric sheets.

I am third in my “rundle” in the trivia league so far this season. If you really like geeky stats stuff you can see the rest of my stats here. If I stay in the top six I’ll move up to the next level, otherwise I’ll footle around in this level some more. It’s been fun playing “no looking stuff up” trivia, but man have I become dependent on ready internet access for a lot of my knowledge lately. Almost every time I miss a question I’m certain I could type two or three words into Wikipedia and find it. I’d love to try a trivia league where you could look stuff up with the presumption that the questions would be so tough that it wouldn’t help. Maybe that wouldn’t be trivia then. In any case, it’s a quick and fun distraction from the book-finishing that is occupying the rest of my waking brain function. Do wish me luck.