30sep05: me, history
Couldn't give blood today because my hematocrit
was a percent too low. This is too bad for a number of reasons:
- This is the first time I've been able to donate since the Red Cross tightened its rules about people who had been to Europe. Since Europe is now more than ten years behind me, I'm at last eligible to give.
- I refused to give the Red Cross my social security number when they went to look me up on their laptop saying they didn't need it and they weren't getting it. This set off a short but somewhat contentious "what's your problem" discussion with the nice man with the stethoscope. I am still undecided about appealing my previous social security number issue with my health care card. I've exhausted all non-extreme measures.
- I eat a ton of damned iron! I eat spinach several times a week. I love lentils. I'm not even a vegetarian! They gave me a big sheet to read [oy there was so much reading involved in giving blood, I had to read the same list three times just to make sure it was a new list each time] about how to get more iron and the only thing I can think of is that I drink a lot of tea and eat a lot of nuts, both of which inhibit iron absorption. Off to the store for some kiwis I guess.
- My blood type is AB+ which is at least a little rare. It may be true that lately, like the post 9/11 environment, the Red Cross may not actually need anyone's blood, but that's not one of those things that they'd be telling.
So yeah, no civic good for me today, and I didn't even go swimming. Now here's something I think you'll really like. My Dad
has been putting a lot of his old slides [which have been digitized] on to Flickr. There are some classic "don't miss" shots of me and other family members that I'll pull out here:
- Me in 4th or 5th grade. You can tell by the swim cap. I had tubes in my ears and couldn't go in the water without it. I also had braces at this time, and later in the year broke my arm. This was possibly the low point of my entire life, right about this point.
- Sleeping? Tripping? I don't know what is going on here. This is our long-suffering Labrador, Botticelli.
- I used to be able to sleep anywhere. I also used to be a redhead, and I've always messed with my toes.
- Kate and Jess play the "let's pretend you're blind" game as I tape her eyes shut. I have no excuse, other than being five years old.
- The last family vacation in a Mom-Dad-Sister-Me sort of way. Tell me if you can't look at that picture and see it coming?
- Best for last: Xmas 1973 maybe?
That's it for lists for today. Autumn is coming in catastrophically with huge windstorms
that have been knocking all the leaves off of the trees before they even really change and sometimes taking the trees with them
. Note to tourists: stay home. Note to friends: come visit anyway.
At some point I may just need to admit to myself that I update this page weekly and leave it at that. I'm in the process of getting over some snorfly thing likely related to leaf molds and probably also my steadfast refusal to ackowledge said leaf mold as a sign of impending autumn. It's a bind. I love autumn, but I loved Summer so much that I'm sad to see it go. I haven't loved a Summer this much since I was back in school I think, and I even had a job this time around. In any case, we've been roasting and eating garlic, buying whole chickens, and packing wools socks when we go to the pool, so like it or lump it, it's autumn.
I went away for such a quick trip this week I didn't even update the "where is Jessamyn" blurb. I was invited to the Alternative Media Day
at Johnson State College to serve on a blogger panel. Cathy talks a little more about it
in a preview post and since I type this all by hand, you'll have to follow her hyperlinks to meet all the nice people I had lunch with and talked shop with. I had overestimated how far it was to Johnson [and I like to pretend I live in the 1850's some weeks] so I arranged a stopover on the way with a gal I'd met over email when she was looking at buying a house in Vermont and had asked me a few questions. Catherine has since moved here, her fiance Joe has bought some trucks, their dog
has met all the neighbor dogs, and she's already volunteering at the library. I got to eat great food and hear stories about their impending wedding
which, contrary to Catherine's concerns
, I actually found really interesting. Hearing about people's wedding plans is a great way to get to know folks you don't know too well. I had a fun, relaxing time, slept in an amazing guest room
and then hopped over to Johnson in my usual meandering way. I drive with a highlighter pen near my gazeteer
now so that I can try to take new roads as often as possible when I go new places. I can also make notes like "scary as hell rockpile masquerading as a road!" to remind myself never to try going down Beacon Hill road in Chelsea ever again.
Rick and Sarah
popped by for some tea and a peek at the rummage sale yesterday [three t-shirts for 50 cents for us] and it felt almost like we lived somewhere populated. Then we went to the pool today and got the entire 85 degree bathtub to ourselves for half an hour -- note to self, no more going off the diving board until you can breathe through your nose -- and remembered that this is the time of year when Vermont seems full-up. This is both because people are out and about and tourists are visiting but also just because stuff happens when there's an audience for it, even if some of that audience drives giant RVs slowly and does seventeen point turns in the middle of the road. I don't have anyplace else to be.
A few people have sent me the link to the recent news story
about Germans being told not to smile for their passport photos so that they won't screw up the elaborate biometric facial readings that I guess are part of the new passport deal.
I'm on a plane again, heading homeward with a stop-off at my Mom's place. A lot has been going on. First off: I won't be heading to Australia next winter. This is the good news and the bad news. The bad news is, well, Australia is excellent and I'll always sort of wonder if I should have done even more to assure myself some work out there. The good news is that I won't be going because they are funding some other forward-thinking program with teens who will teach tech to seniors, and that's going to be great. Also, Greg won't mind me NOT being gone for three months. Also, I can now speak at the Texas Library Association
conference in April easily, and maybe even go to the Public Library Association
conference in Boston in March. Oh, and this also means I can stay at my job -- the job I love -- for one more low-paying year where they will be delighted to have me.
Indiana was much more fun than I thought it was going to be. Bloomington is really pretty and the students & staff I hung out with [Elijah
!] were fun company and thoughtful intellectual colleagues. Plus they gave me a t-shirt with a frog
on it. The Indiana Library Federation
folks were sharp and interesting and made for a great audience. My pal Michael
and I who have previously mostly connected in the online world got to work together and spend some quality time together. My two talks were well attended, well-received and well-covered. The notes, details, photos, and live-blogs of it are listed on this librarian.net post
Speaking of blogs, and I have been a lot lately, Google launched a blog search. As near as I can tell it doesn't include this one. This may be because I handcode the RSS feed. It may be because I don't use blogging software to write it. It may be because there was something I was supposed to have done to get this ball rolling. In any case, it's been a strange half-decade watching this personal collection of notes go from journal to blog, and go from being the most popular piece of the jessamyn
real estate conglomerate, to taking a distant back seat to a blog about librarians. I know, it suprises me as well.
14sep05: smiling versus happiness, indulgent hypothesizing
I'm writing again from the road, or rather the air, en route to Indiana to give a set of talks and hang out with some librarian pals. As I went through the security process, which I am stoic about but don't really enjoy, the security guard asked me to smile. Actually he told me to, twice. The first time he was friendly about it, the second time he was a little exasperated. The same thing happened when I went to get my ID so that I could use the pool. The lady taking the picture asked, then demanded, that I smile. The resulting picture is not pretty, it is a face of frustration and submission. It is not a smiling face.
I have a pleasant enough blank face and I am generally a happy person. I smile when I am happy. I smile when I am working as a way of making myself approachable and making other people comfortable. However, I don't tend to smile when I'm lost in my own thoughts (which is often) and I don't tend to smile in ID photos because I have a bad fake smile. If I have to have my picture taken for an ID, I am generally not happy about it. I'm always polite, but rarely overly friendly, to people in positions of power that I am required to deal with, state power especially. This has been a problem I've had ever since I was a kid. People wondered why I was so unhappy when generally I just wasn't smiling. The parents of friends, for some reason, seemed to love to hassle me about not smiling which, of course, is a guaranteed way to ensure a lack of further smiling. The dentist would hurt me and then try to cajole me into smiling, perhaps to make himself feel better. Now that I am an adult, people telling me to smile infuriates me for no patently obvious reason.
It's an oversimplification to say that I don't like people telling me what to do. I do what I'm told generally at the airport, and at the DMV, and in the pool, and it's no big deal. However, outside of the standard rules and etiquette -- which are always sort of in martian language to me, but I can learn and obey them -- I'd like to feel free to be myself. I think one of the reasons I love Vermont so fiercely, is that I don't feel the same pressures to be like other people. I am rarely teased about not "getting it," or being spacey, or wearing my pajamas until 3 pm. Quirkiness is not just tolerated but in many ways it's appreciated and even nurtured.
This was a lot of words on a few very small events in my life recently, but it may help explain all the pictures I took
during the parade, the White River Valley Festival, the Soup-a-Thon and the talent show at the East Bethel Grange. The airport doesn't make me happy like the old men tap-dancing make me happy, but that's a lot of complexity to explain to the guy at the TSA metal detector.
09sep05: the hole story
Thanks to rising gas prices, the Vermont Transit
bus that used to serve our area is going to just keep on driving past our exit, removing the twice-daily trips north and south of here. Greg and I can just pony up a little more at the pump, but for people without cars, this was one of the few ways they could get from town to the airport, the DMV, or just to a city with a department store. There is a local bus
that exists mostly to take Medicare patients to the doctor that can fill some needs but man, what a pisser.
So we got back on Tuesday night late and Greg had five classes on Wednesday and I met my deadline today. Here is a brief summary of what we did.
: up before the sun to head to the train station where we took a lovely train ride along the Hudson river to get to Penn Station at lunchtime. After a quick trip into the NYPL SIBL
for some internet and a restaurant recommendation, we trekked into deepest Brooklyn and set up camp with our friends DJ and Adriana. We met their stray cat, ate some food, watched some quality cable and slept fitfully in the hot hotness that is particular to NYC apartments where all the windows are at one end or the other, and often closed.
: Picnic in the park
where we met all sorts of people that work for Google or elsewhere [or did not work at all] and played with dogs, ate pizza, and generally sat around loving the big city and the public transportation. We meandered down to Coney Island where I treated Greg to a ride on the Wonder Wheel
which was sort of surprisingly scary. Walked on the boardwalk, saw men catch fish, bought cold water from a guy on the street. Ate Mexicon food at a restaurant at a time of night when nothing in Vermont is open besides the gas station. Slept well.
: Got up and slowly got bagels and an iron and then farted around ALL DAY until we started getting the fidgets to get dressed for the wedding. I brought three dresses to DJ&A's because I couldn't choose and hate to dress up. DJ said the 75 cent one looked the best, so that's what I wore to the wedding at the NY Botanical Gardens Snuff Mill
. The wedding was fun, the company was excellent, and the ride to and from [in a car! I was in New York City in a CAR driven by someone I KNOW!] was invigorating.
: DJ&A went to another wedding event. It was also A's birthday and she was on the phone talking in Spanish when I got up. We went to Robert and Robbyn's to spend some time before Robbyn went to Seattle, and after Robert got back from Houson, but before
Robert went to Minnesota. Shopped for brunch food. Ate food at an Ecuadoran place with the adorable and charming Elsie & parents.
: Up! Bagels! Cinnamon Rolls! Brunch! 15 adults & two babies! Parade! Rotisserie Chicken! Bar Trivia! Of course this is where it gets interesting. It's my birthday. I'm at some random Brooklyn Bar and it turns out that I know people there
. I know other people think my life is like this all the time, but it really is not. Anyhow, the other people there were MetaFilter folks, who won the $185 bar trivia pot. We went home and ate leftover pound cake and went to bed. Nice birthday.
: Slept in, hung out, went downtown with Robert, Elsie, Greg and The Luggage and got ourselves to the train eventually. Leisurely trip home. Came back to some cool weather, some bright stars, an empty quiet house and a bed that had been missing us.
Is this your life, where the only time you can squeeze in some updates is when you are desperately procrastinating on a project that has a deadline that is measured in hours, not days? If so then welcome to my Virgo Month of Leisure world. In any case, I am home safe and sound. I had a great time on my trip thanks to the small contributions of a large number of people and the large contributions of a few folks. I had a birthday that couldn't be beat and I have deadlines that can't be ignored, so more from me in a bit. You can see my photos of the trip here
and a really excellent collaborative online gift from a wide range of friends and well-wishers here
The Virgo Month of Leisure
snuck up on me while I was busy working. As usual. As of right now I'm on a train bound for New York where Greg and I are going to attend a wedding, hang out in the big city, and have a birthday brunch for me in Brooklyn. Greg gets back just in time for his five-class day at school. I'll be doing computer classes, software training, and drop-in times at the lab. When we got back from Westport last weekend, we had a few days of cold weather so now even though temperatures and humidity are up, I'm firmly in Fall mode.
As for the rest of it: how I got this lousy picture on my pool pass, how Greg's first week of school has been, what my winter plans are, it will have to wait. I'm uploading this at a "laptop docking station" at a fancy downtown library
and the last thing I want to do is stay inside and type all day when there's falafel
to eat outside.