Wednesday, March 14, 2007


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.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

library land

i'm still waiting to hear from the temp agency regarding a contract or three. pressure is getting tight these days, and i know i should be more freaked out than i am but for some reason i simply can't muster the energy for anxiety. off-the-wall as it might seem, i have a sense of calm that is hard to shake right now. irrational, but true.

i feel pretty confident there will be some sort of secretarial position in the coming week or so that i can take on while i pursue other, more meaningful paths. building a home ranks top of the list. because, as i was reminded yesterday, it's all about knotwork.

david and i drove down the mountain this morning talking, really communicating. the drive from New Castle town to Salem has become special to us both, and i'm hoping that any job i get will coincide in such a way that we can continue carpooling.

this morning i'm in the library once again, with an interesting book, a cup of coffee and a half bag of snacks. while it might look to the world that i'm just passing time, i'm doing some serious thinking, here.

i like it.

also, while i was doing some account maintenance, i came across today's horoscope. it bears repeating, no matter what your sign:
You might have the chance to connect with long-lost friends, which could make you feel a greater kinship with others today. Just being able to see people who have been in your life for such a long amount of time might give you a sense of belonging. You realize that there are people who accept and care for you no matter how far away they may be. Perhaps by telling your loved ones today how much they mean to you, you can increase this feeling of connectedness. You might call, email, or visit someone today that you have been thinking about but haven't had the chance to connect with, letting your friend know about the role they have had in your life and what they have brought to it. Bringing old friends into your life in this way collapses the time you have been apart and strengthens the bonds that exist between you.

Keeping up with our old friends cultivates our feeling of belonging in the world, for the people who have known us for a long time often accept and love us for who we are. When we know that there are people who don't expect anything from us, it reminds us that we live in a community of people bound together by love and experience. Letting our loved ones know how much we value this connection allows us to reinforce this sense of unity and togetherness. By connecting with friends today you will nourish your relationships and feel closer to others.

Monday, February 26, 2007

rainy days and mondays

Actually, rainy days are some of my favorites.

This weekend was possibly the best time in my life yet. No kidding. Nope, no particularly stellar event or anything, just a wonderful sense of contentment and peace. David and I did silly things around the farm, and I swear I've never felt so alive and wonderful.
  • We took the boys out to the Crossing Logs with the youth rifle and the pistols. We shot a milk jug and some tin cans and all in all had a great time teaching them to shoot. Tiger is mostly a fan of the rifle, and Dragon likes it too, but he likes the .40 pistol best. It will be a while before he shoots anything other than the rifle of course, but we wanted them to understand why the pistols aren't coming out any time soon. Tiger has a healthy respect for the kick of the .40. I hadn't ever shot a .22 rifle before, and i found out i'm pretty good. Not that it really matters; just getting to shoot is fun: being accurate is bonus.
  • i drove the tractor. i love driving the tractor and it would be on my List of Cool Things even if i just drove it across the field, but this weekend i turned the poo pile so it will be good soil for the garden come Spring. i was working the up-and-down lever and the tilty-bucket lever and going forward-and-back and scooping and moving and dumping and doing it all over again, David nearby talking and smiling and making me giggle both with his encouragement and at myself. By the time the pile was moved from Point A to Point B (some three yards or so away from Point A), i had declared myself the Princess of Poo. Well. It made me happy, anyway.
  • We played Junior Trivial Pursuit. Think that sounds easy? It's not. I won by the hair on my chin, and we laughed mercilessly.
  • Through a strange turn of events, we ended up at Uncle Charlie's farm drinking tea and talking with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Barbara. Man. Let me tell you they are cool folks. And to watch them with each other is a real treat. They have been together for 40 years, and are still quite a couple. They have this non-verbal communication that only they and dogs can hear, and it's cool to watch. They invivted me back, and somehow i feel like i have gotten a little gold star of approval, and i'm as happy as a little kid. David tells me that they play chess; i can't wait to watch a game.
  • We brushed the horses after we fed them. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is.
  • We napped in the barn on a few bales of hay. It was C O Z Y.
  • We watched Pale Rider. I am quite a fan of Michael Moriarty's speech in the middle of the movie and will be looking for a clip of it.
  • We also watched O Brother, Where Art Thou?, another great movie i had never seen. We have concluded that the purchase of the soundtrack is not optional. Quoting the movie at random and strange points through the weekend was fun too. ["of course it's Pete. Look at him!]
  • We went to Ruby Tuesday's as a family on Sunday night. It wasn't a big deal, but it was warm and calm and comfortable and very together. These are the things worth living for.

Friday, February 16, 2007

long time coming, been a long time gone

Hey kids and welcome back to the heidi show.

Living out in the country is an amazing thing. I swear that the boys haven't had school in forever. [The difference between this and home-schooling is *what* again?] Despite nearly losing my mind while they were out, the mountain was perfectly gorgeous on our icy Valentine's. We visited Nana and then headed back up, noting how often the sun through the ice-covered trees looked like something out of Narnia.

Ethan's bad behaviour has resulted in a lack of daycare, so this morning i spoke with the bus coordinator about which bus comes out to our place. meanwhile, my contract ended, so i've been busily looking for work. things being what they are, i'll likely be waitressing soon. Drop in and grab a cup of coffee at my table.

Friday, January 19, 2007

cool, uncool, and a question

UNCOOL: Tiger is at work with me today because he was suspended.

COOL: I'm going through Project Gutenburg finding something for him to read when he is done with his assignments.

QUESTION: What book would you take from the Gutenberg site first to bind and put in your own collection?

Monday, January 15, 2007


i know it's going to sound self-absorbed, but these days, i have my own dream: that people will do what they are supposed to, that they will communicate what is expected of others, and that they will be honest.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

wages of illness

While the House was passing the minimum wage increase, i was being more ill than i have been in years. The stomach bug that started with Tiger last week and Dragon this weekend finally bit me, despite my best efforts to avoid it. David was a dear and reminded me that i was loved even when i felt (and often smelled) horrible.

Today I was making mental notes about what to discuss with Tiger since minimum wage is one of his topics that he really got involved in from our homeschooling days. It's funny, because i ought to be at home instead of at work, feeling my stomach cramp and my bowels rumble. But i'm a contractor and i don't have any benefits. I look forward to the day Virginia follows California, Massachusetts and Vermont's examples, which will free us all from the shackles of employment-for-healthcare that currently reigns not only in this commonwealth but in this country.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

let it snow

More than just flurries, indeed. Dragon and i had a fine time feeding horses and tromping through the falling snow while Tiger and David did the tennis thing. Afterward, we all cooked and hung out and checked on homework and the like. Martina-from-work loaned us season one of the live-action Wonder Woman series (yes, the one starring Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner), which we watched while we ate dinner, a rare treat in our world.

This morning the fireplace was glowing, the covers inviting and it was more than only a little difficult to get in gear. Mountain roads had snow and gravel, and school was cancelled. Charlotte-the-jeep played in four wheel drive, the boys gleefully hopped into daycare to play with their friends and David and I sallied forth to be responsible members of the capitalist economy.

Can we go back to the bit with snow and fireplaces and flannel?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Yay! Snow Snow snow.

Actually, the snow hasn't really started to happen yet, but all of a sudden like, it has gotten crisp and cold. Tiger is having his tennis lesson tonight, and i'm hoping that there will be an Accumulation of snow on the mountain overnight. Horses, barns, snow, hot chocolate, fireplaces, flannel . . . . i'm all set.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

welcome to 2007

The new year came in a glorious weekend. Rain, wonderful food, shooting, old movies [Young Frankenstein and Underworld], laughter, love, philosophical ramblings, you name it: i was happy and content beyond measuring.

Which is good, since today i realised that i can't afford my life. most people give up things at the new year, but i've already done a lot of leaning in my life: i've given up the house, smoking, drinking, my dog; i've canceled subscriptions and cut back on nearly everything. Now i'm at the point where i'm thinking of giving up everything else, which means the cell phone goes first (it's super expensive compared to everything else), especially since i can't use it much when i'm not at work without incurring huge roaming expenses, and text messaging is out altogether. Unfortunately, there isn't a library in the town i now live in, so i'm without any net connection as well. ah well, such is the price of being independent.

there are a lot of upsides to this and i'm liking them: carpooling, thinking more creatively about food and utilities, the whole ball of wax that is my life. somewhere i have a copy of the book The Number and i'm thinking it's about time to get it out. At this rate, my number might be very small, or i might be ignoring it to the point of getting it way out of hand; i have no sense of things anymore. I do know that more than any other goal i would like to have an emergency fund. I'm not very good at these sorts of things, so i've set up a savings account at the credit union where i can just put money in and forget about it. it doesn't have to be a lot, it just has to be forgotten, you know?

it's a year to find out how little i need and what i can do with the rest of it. did i mention how many books i have yet to read that i already own?