Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SIgh of relief

My friend made it through his bypass surgery. I'll feel better when I know he's awake, which at the rate the hospital is communicating may take some time. His wife was sitting in the hospital _with_ the liaison person who was trying to get information, but the hospital wouldn't give the liaison any information and instead, called the patient and (his wife)'s home and left reassuring messages on the answering machine.

I imagine the dog was glad to hear things had gone well, though.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunny with cold breeze

My father usually asks me how I am and I usually tell him what the weather is like. I have known women whom you would ask the same thing and they would tell you how the kids were. Both of these seem to me to make perfect sense. I think I am fighting a cold but basically I am fine. It's fifty F and blue of sky with a few puffy white clouds. Yesterday it rained a lot.

Doug (who has another job interview coming up, although at the moment he doesn't seem terribly desirous of a different job and is treating the interviews as interesting sources of things to ask people _he_ has to interview) is away for the weekend. I am glad it's cleared up today.

Autumn is back in the Loom(less) Room. Only one more person lately has been sure she was her cat, and then realized Autumn was not the right brown tabby. I do wonder what's happening to brown tabbies in Canterbury. Sarah wondered yesterday if Autumn had been dumped for being pregnant, but since other than eating really a LOT she has no sign of such an alarming condition, I doubt this (and people are more accepting of unplanned kittens nowadays, aren't they?). Next week we will go and get tested for kitty diseases and establish whether or not she has been spayed. It would be a welcome savings, and being a cat if she hasn't been spayed she probably is pregnant. God forbid.

Friday we had a big workshop at work,for 'prophetic preachers.' My life and Div. school experiences suggest the best preachers are always trying to get better and the woman from Yale sounded excellent. I was doing hospitality and trying to keep the potato chips flowing, which was quite satisfying. Throughout this, it was Jessica's-down-the-hall's last day on the job. We had a trip to the Elegant Ewe and beer and dinner to look forward to. At 10 a.m. she had wondered if it was a bad sign that she wanted the beer THEN, and her day, of course, became more irritating. She said she was going to march down to the yarn store and give them her checkbook.

We both survived until then. Our friendship survived the even more perilous moment when Kelly and I Confronted her and said she should not be wearing ice blue and periwinkle when wearing nice reds and russets made her look _wonderful._ And the yarn she bought to make the Kimono Sweater was lovely enough to eat or roll in, and at least the rolling will be much easier when she has knit it up.

I committed a skein of Red Willow Mountain Goat because it is finally cold enough to think realistically of warm socks. I am poised to make a pair of Monkey out of what I am pretty sure is Wild Raspberry Twizzle, but that will require attention and my brain is not at home these days (or many others, actually).

On Saturday, Sarah came over to knit and hold a gun to my head. As a result of her efforts, I tidied (and she tidied) my bedroom down to floor in several places, and I started some needle-felted stars for the workshop she has, ah, persuaded, Doug and me to do for Shaker Village. Needle felting is one of the best crafts I know, in that to be vaguely competent you don't need much tuition, a fortunate thing for any students of mine (only you need not to bleed on your creation, which is less of an issue in knitting). The equipment is cheap and you get to play with colors. She left to go make scary noises for Haunted Village Tours and I watched a curiously sweet movie called "Fido," which is well worth a viewing. It's about love and fidelity and the Meaning of Life as movies usually are. Religion and ethics make brief, dignified, and appropriate appearances. And it has Billy Connelly making Lurch noises.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why trusting the universe gives me such a headache

'When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive' and all those trusting remarks about synchronicity. I want to be that kind of person. So I say, look, universe, I have a place in my life for a cat. Nothing happens. In true American style, I haul myself to animal shelters, undertake Marten and Toby, lovely cats both with some quirks and incredibly effective bloodlust (house full of Mafia-style warnings like chipmunk head in the living room, leg in the far kitchen....). Excellent cats. I still want a nice sane kitten, preferably a queen.

The universe, doing rather badly by some of my friends --last summer's woman with lumpectomy has just finished radiation, doing fine, now her husband is having bypass surgery on Halloween; you wonder if the fun ever stops and then you hope not, to say nothing of all of Southern California) does not have time to cough up a kitten.

A sweet cat shows up in Canterbury Shaker Village, whom Sarah feeds and cultivates. After some days and some discussion, the cat strolled into the cat carrier (! ?? !!!!) herself on Monday and began to spend a quiet few days in quarantine here, provisionally named Autumn. Sarah put up a poster.

We had the slightly weird, mostly okay last archaeology lab before said cardiac patient's surgery last night. Sarah appeared and said the cat's distraught owner had turned up, clutching the poster and saying "Miss Tucker ran away just after I moved here, I'm so glad you found her, her brother misses her so much!" Sarah drove to my house and picked up the cat and I reflected how tired I am of loving beings that are not mine to love. (You can insert the appropriate Christian, Buddhist, fatalist remarks about how _everyone/everything_ is on loan, etc, but some beings are on even less of a loan than others.)

Turns out the cat I have been calling Autumn is not Miss Tucker at all. So Autumn is going to spend the next few days in Sarah's bedroom in Canterbury, not amusing her two queen kitties one little bit. Doug and I are trying to remain open to either bonding with Autumn or being delighted her people have her back (this cat has been deeply loved, unless she is a Bodhisattva cat). We have two brown female tabbies lost in the Canterbury area in the last couple of weeks, God knows where Miss Tucker is, and her brother still misses her.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I wish I weren't thinking about this. All the time.

It's Blog Action Day (it will be on Monday, anyhow) and the theme is the environment. At the very least, both the goldfinches (and the other passeriforms and aves in general, and in fact life on Earth) and the fiber bearers (sheeps and camelids mostly, most of whom are domesticated) need fairly specific ones. I had not realized that the two in my title were so opposed, one being wild and one being mostly domesticated. One being part of the ecology and largely dependent, one being a part of the ecology that gets really a lot of technological help and, given enough, will degrade the environment in which it lives well beyond the area's capacity to carry it.

I love a good polarization.

People are part of nature. We are a reflective part of nature, which allows us to do things to our environment ("I could farm here if there weren't so many trees"), and eventually to consider what it is we are doing ("I can't farm here now that it doesn't rain... I wonder if it has something to do with the lack of trees?"). The latter has only become widespread as people have spread into all the habitable ground and the effects of intense exploitation have become unavoidable. It is only a recent part of human life to HAVE TO consider ourselves part of our environment; most of the human experience has been about most becoming part of the humic layer real soon.

I like people, many in particular and quite a lot of things about us in general. We are learning so very much about how it all works as we realize how easily it can all stop 'working,' in the sense of 'working the way we like it, with food, air, water, charismatic fauna and flora,not too much dengue, a good place for Moore's Law to operate.'

There probably need to be fewer of us and we really really must take Stuart Brand's words to heart: We are gods, and we may as well get good at it. There is nothing we can do that does not matter. (This is frankly a drag.)

I have been weirdly cheered by Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe something will go better. The whole world situation suggests that none of the Marvel superheroes (or the DC ones), the Mission:Impossible team, UNCLE, or the Avengers are answering their calls (go Google them yourself if you're so young you don't know).

If I have a talent other than ineffective kindness and grammar-fascism (I rather like this link but the site may be crap)it is biblography. Not much idea how you should live, but lots on what you might read:

Historical and relevant (and not terribly encouraging):

The Long Summer, By Brian Fagan. You settle, you get used to the climate, you grow, the climate changes. Most of you die or migrate. Repeat.

by Jared Diamond. Do trees prefer totalitarians?

A Forest Journeyby John Perlin -- really brought home to me that you have to burn something.

by Charles Mann. What was my face before my great-grandparents immigrated? The only book on American history I have really been excited by.

Pretty good fiction:

Forty Signs of Rain
Fifty Degrees Below
Sixty Days and Counting, all by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Link to a list of links for Blog Action Day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Well, it's still raining

And I suppose I can't protest much, but I will if it rains all week and all weekend, too. The leaves up north were lovely, and they aren't bad down here, but it's the kind of gloomy weather that makes you not care, even if you can see the leaves. I did, however, get the Octoberfest blog entry up, once the State remembered to bring the chip into work. I hope to get a better link but the generic site one will have to do.

Sarah and I met and knit for an hour after work since I am having social withdrawal after all the people last weekend. I know, if I were sensible I would go to Rhinebeck, but the house might fall down and I would be really, really broke, and even more overstashed than I already am.

My cat thinks it's time for me to go to bed and he is probably right.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In the works

I am back from a really lovely long weekend in the White Mountains digging holes and taking pictures of dirt and rocks (soil profiles and artifacts). I have most of an entry written and I hope to get it up at the NH Underground blog this evening (no link until there's something to see), after I have retrieved the pictures I want from the State, Whose camera I was using (the rocks and dirt belong to all of NH, after all).

I have finished my mother's socks.

My milk stout, upon mature consideration, is undrinkable.

Corned beef hash is unknown in France and not widely known in Quebec. It's very tasty.

Keum Boo is not all that much fun if you are not an abstract person and keep trying to make _things_ with scraps of non-adhering gold leaf.

Hold a good thought for Doug the housemate, who has an interview possibility.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Deep breath

I made spaghetti sauce before work. I stayed calm at work (so did my boss, even though he had forgotten I was leaving for an early weekend) and I am told the #10 envelopes will work fine. DEEP BREATH.

Jessica at the end of the hall
has a new job, so she will be LEAVING ME ALL ALONE THERE in early November. But I'll be fine, sitting there in the dark.

I punted lab and went to the supermarket to get healthy snacks and the cocoa Dick forgot. And cat food and Kitty Litter (not the TM kind)and Asterix's drugs and a bottle of propane for the Tripod of Orodruin, which boils one's tea water real quick of a frosty morning. And some of it all is in the car and soon, honestly, I will get the rest.

Probably not much updating will take place in the next four or five days. Some knitting, with luck.


I am still employed and my boss is uninjured. The poor man wasted a ream of 11x17 paper (one side had one orientation, the other had another; America is not ready for this)and said he felt sick, and I thanked him for making me feel better. We also had a tacit truce because he has not figured out Microsoft Publisher and I have (to some extent).

I am not ready for Octoberfest and not really happy with the gold on the ring I am Keum-booing (a Keum Boo-boo?) but life is okay.

Here is a really spectacular hummingbird picture. I didn't take it but it lifts my heart.
And Here. The photographer is a firespotter and there's a story about him in the newly-free New York Times.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Perhaps it will get better

Okay. The weekend was great. I also acquired gingko leaves to play with in the silver clay. I returned home and went to work to find that the 200 envelopes I ran through the magic mail function had the wrong return address on them. My boss, already unhappy because it took me so damn long to generate the list he said I ought to have been able to make in a few minutes, got to stick 200 return address labels over them on Friday night.

He also found we had roughly 10% of the envelopes you put in when you send an appeal out. This resulted directly in my printing and stickering 2000 self-addressed envelopes yesterday. Even 500 is a lot. I called to find out what size envelopes the mailer wanted. She said bigger was better, 9's would do. Staples does not have 9's, so I got 10's. 4/5 of the way through the boss suggested the 10's would stick out of the mailer. I said she said bigger was better, and Staples had no 9's. He said I ought to have gone somewhere else and not assumed (he barely managed not to make his usual remark about how assuming "makes an 'ass' of 'u' and 'me,' " which I didn't find endearing the first time). I don't think there is anywhere else in Concord.

If the 10's don't work I am going to offer to resign. I can't stand much more. We communicate badly; he can't believe I don't think and remember everything the same way he does. Much of the time, he knows a lot more about running a non-profit (not surprisingly). I am also doing things like forgetting how to do weird things in Word in less than six months. Some of this may relate to a certain amount of stress, since we are running on the boredom-punctuated-by-panic business model.

He is right, we ought to have had more envelopes on hand. If there were anything to say on my side, it would be that he has been saying we would be sending out a mailing since the beginning of August, and as of yesterday at 5 pm, he had not yet written the copy. The inelasticity of my brain has not allowed me to make it automatic that the word "Mass mailing" should lead to a nice complete list of useful stationery, since I tend to think "Oh God, ACCESS," even though Access is behaving a bit better for me (after nearly 2 years, we are beginning to get along better).

He also wants me to be responsible for tidying the supply room, which is unfortunate because he has a much lower threshold of messy and if he didn't go in and tidy it I would know what we had on hand. The disposition of the boxes changes daily and not always in a useful way. I think it is nice for him to have something concrete to do and if he wants to disarrange the supply room it's fine with me, although I wish he would not hide things.

I had planned to leave work at two, go to the grocery store, the bank, and pick up some more fresh silver clay,get the cat's prescription, then go home, make spaghetti sauce to freeze for the archaeological weekend, use the gingko leaves in the clay before they dry out, and do a major kiln firing, as well as cut an intricate piece of gold foil for the class tomorrow (today).

I left work at about 5:00, reached the bead store at quarter past five (it closes at five, I thought it was six, but not always true...), but the nice woman had already let a family in and we all promised to leave quickly and we were all cheery and happy. I drove to the bank, endorsed my checks, and found I still hadn't got my ATM card back in my wallet. I drove to the vet, who closed at six, arriving at five past. I went to the small local grocery store which has a poster of the local buffalo it sells, perfect for dig spaghetti sauce, only it is usually out of buffalo, it turns out, which makes the times I have bought it there before relatively unusual. I bought cholesterol-laden, ecologically unsound ground cow and went home. It was 6:30 and I didn't actually do anything productive except help Doug throw back the tide of dangerously full wine bottles in central New Hampshire.