Wednesday, March 14, 2007

random

bunches has been going on in my world. but completely unrelated, as i was getting a cup of coffee just now, one of those weird combo words hit me: egadfly: someone who is constantly, indeed to the point of irritation, pointing out things which are horrible or ghastly, using generic outrage as a cover for the inability to make real conversation. we've all known this sort of energy vampire.

also, the house is for sale. i am breaking my lease in New Castle as well, so who knows where i will land.

can this be true?

no lie, there i was, talking with David about wanting to plant flowers, visions of windowboxes dancing in my head. And i had to admit how much i am enjoying the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day.

did i mention i have a purse now, too? a real one, not the shruken backpack i have been carrying for a bit. [kn0w1 said perhaps i shouldn't be putting my backpacks in the dryer anymore. sheesh!] honestly, a purse. and it's lime green.

what next -- a manicure??

Friday, March 09, 2007

libraries and shelter

i loved working in a library. i truly did. and when i worked there (it was an academic one), i worked with Nancy Collins, research librarian, and paragon of all things wonderful, in my humble opinion. It is because of her that i wanted to go into library science, that i began really to delve into the issues of information provisership, librarianship, and what it means to be a library.
From Jaime:
For the past two weeks, the library has been in the front page news almost every day. Last night, the Library Commission met and agreed to hire a security guard for the downtown Central branch, something many large urban libraries have done.


i was talking with Nancy Collins at the Salem library (where she now works and where i use the net quite a bit while looking for a job, checking email, working on the thesis, etc.). she said that the influx of teenagers from 2:30 until closing has made her bitter and "ruined" her life. i'm not kidding. and she said that the friends she has at the downtown library in roanoke get threated with knives or to be shot "at least once a day." most of the folks are mentally ill, and she said that the real degree for working in the library was teen counseling and mental health. in her opinion the majority of the users are those folks so marginalized by society that they can't afford or don't otherwise have access to standard avenues of information.

Frankly, with the bleak job market and the equally bleak mood i've been in lately, i feel as though i fit right in.

just the other day when i came in, the computers were all full (there are 16 of them) and while i was waiting my turn i helped a woman my age fill out an online application for food stamps -- she had just gotten custody of her granddaughter, who turned five in january. it boggles my mind. i wonder if this is what benjamin franklin had in mind when he formed a public lending library?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

one ringy dingy

what a weird day. for starters, i had a whole bunch of phone tag come in yesterday. i began to wonder if there was something weird brewing in the astrological weather. a lot of the messages were confusing or seemed to be out of touch with my reality, a sure avoidance factor for me. but instead of avoiding everything, i dutifully copied the numbers down for the VEC, the guidance counselor at school, and the contact at the temp agency. i don't like phones, i don't like answering machines, and i don't like people talking indistictly or rudely to me. it's my way.

First i called the woman at the VEC, who is still not answering her phone (i left a message at 8, then at 9, then another at 9:30. i plan to call each half hour until i get her, as it seemed a matter of some importance and timliness from her message -- how do people without phones or long distance service do this?)

then i called the guidance counselor, who was snippy on the answering machine about not having heard from me yet. He's not available (again) until 11:30. [how it is my fault that i can't call when it suits him is beyond me. but no matter, i'll keep trying. do other people take the day off from work to deal with stuff like this?]

honest, i'm trying to be a responsible citizen.

the good news is that phillip and i seem to be starting talks about the wednesday visitation routine, which has several kinks in it from eveyone's point of view. finding a better solution should be less than horrible, since there hardly seems to be a worse one imaginable. even when we both told the judge last week that we would prefer earlier times, there was no formal change. good to know that we are doing it ourselves.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

$20, same as in town

When i was getting lunch at the coffee shop across the street, i asked how much the pop tarts were. "Two dollars, same as at school." O, ok, i. . . . uh. Wait a minute.

Now, i know i'm not totally wrinkled or anything, but this is starting to get out of hand. Michael thought i was "seriously not that old," a compliment coming from someone who can't legally buy beer yet. When David and I were in the grocery store, buying plenty of food including a bottle of wine, the cashier asked to see his identification, and then asked if we were married. I made a dead-pan, sacrastic answer that we giggled about later in the truck. But then he pointed out that the kid really did think i was underage.

Come on. This is beyond the pale. A bit flattering, perhaps, but it does tempt me to say "should i just send in my son to buy it?"

Aunt Barbara mentioned that i didn't look "nearly old enough" to have the level of education that i do. It was difficult not to point out that I took the decidely scenic route on the educational path. There comes a point where it goes beyond nice or flattering, and i start to wonder if people are questioning my maturity (such as it is) or my competance.

Anyway, here's to youthful vitality. May it serve me well in my interview tomorrow.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Worm Moon, but where? -- March 3

Tomorrow's full moon is known as the Worm Moon, but the big news is what you won't see: the total Lunar eclipse will be visible throughout the continental U.S.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

thinking inside the classroom?

what next -- families with health care?

"If you want kids to read, and you want to teach them how to read, they have to have time reading." Frankly, this sounds like a great idea as far as i'm concerned. I wonder how positively this will affect the number of students who go to college, not only because they have the time with the teachers and are more likely to achieve college-bound scores, but because they had a good time. Anyway, bully for Massachusetts. This initiative takes the essence of the No Child Left Behind Act and manifests meaningful results.

RANDOM ASIDE: this little tidbit sparked a whole slew of thoughts, notably ones that have to do with the ethics of the family from a utilitarian viewpoint. Lo and behold, i was on the path to the thesis once again. This is what i have so far, and i keep adding in little bits as i find them. it doesn't seem like much from here. I'm doing it anyway.

Finding a meaningful way to address what to do with children, both school age and younger, is an issue "of significant public interest."1 The average American school-aged child spends more time in daycare than ever.[note: what are the average number of hours spent in daycare by school aged children? what percentage of children are in daycare? how many children bear the after school responsibility for younger children, are left home alone, or are otherwise unsupervised?] An initiative to make those hours safe, creative, educational and positive is a huge one, for the child and for the family itself. In the United States, nearly seventy percent of women with children are employed.2 [note: what percentage of children are in daycare?] Child care is a "major expense" for American families.3 The average American family currently spends an exorbitant amount on daycare, often the equivalent of rent. 4 Having a longer school day will most immediately have a positive impact on the poorest of families with school-aged children.
From Among the 22 percent of working poor families headed by single mothers who paid for child care, 40 percent spent at least half of their cash income on child care, and another 25 percent spent 40 to 50 percent.

Among the 9 percent of working poor families headed by married couples who paid for child care, 23 percent spent more than half their cash income on child care, and another 21 percent spent between 40 and 50 percent. 5




1Table 9-12 — Use of Paid Child Care Arrangements for Children Under Age 5 Among Families with Working Mothers, Median Weekly Child Care Expenditures, and Percent of Family Income Spent on Care, by Poverty Status and Family Income, Spring 1999"

2 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor StatisticsWomen in the Labor Force: A Databook (2006 Edition), Spetempber 2006, Table 6.

3Linda Giannarelli & James Barsimantov Child Care Expenses of America's Families report, Urban Institute.


4The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies Breaking the Piggy Bank: Parents and the High Price of Child Care, 2006.

5Richard Wertheimer. "Poor Families in 2001: Parents Working Less and Children Continue to Lag Behind," (May 2003), a Research Brief.




Other Resources
Cost of Child Care in the United States

Lino, Mark. 2006. Expenditures on Children by Families, 2005. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1528-2005.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'Gwnewch y pethau bychain'

Do the little things.

Tomorrow commemorates the patron saint of Wales, St. David, who was born in the sixth century at Henfynw, Cardigan. He is represented by the Welsh symbol of the leek, which is said to have protected the countrymen in combat, turning the tide and wresting victory from their Saxon enemies during battle. In honor of St. David, i think i'll plant a bulb of aromatic leek, and maybe make some Mushroom, Leek, and Potato Soup.

I admit it: i'm a sucker for all things Celtic, like most. I get fascinated by Interlace work in general. One of my favorite of the particularly Welsh traditions is that of Love Spoons. I am such a dip. The best part of the Celtic tradition (like any) are the stories. There's a lot of confusion about the origin of all things Celtic, where they came from and what they mean. Bradley W. Schenck, who has some amazing designs, often gets "origin" questions, and i like his answer:
We monkeys have a natural tendency to want to assign meaning to things. That's got nothing to do with whether the meanings were there already.
These patterns in their historical form were not symbols, and didn't represent specific ideas.

Anybody who tells you something else is probably trying to sell you something.
Yup, that's a keeper, not only for the meaning of Celtic interlace, but for darned near anything.