There’s free wireless at the Manchester airport!

So — since last I wrote —

I drove down to RI to see Lynn. I’m glad I did — she’s insanely busy, but we did have time for about an hour’s conversation. Maybe 45 minutes. But it was good. I also hung out with her son for a while, waiting for her. He’s grown into this tremendously funny kid. It’s good to see.

Went back to my mom’s house to find her itching to go. I’d kind of wanted to hang around for a while and tinker with the boat a bit, but she was all fired up, so we took of the next morning for Bath, which was lovely, and then for St. Andrews, N.B. the next night (similarly lovely), then back to Freeport the next night. We could have taken Nora out to dinner had we known she was back, but she’d lost her phone charger — so we saw her the next morning.

She’s going to be lonely. I remembered a few days ago the time she changed schools, for 4th grade. She was miserable for 2 months, and for some reason I had to keep baking her apple pies. She’s the sort of person who needs a best friend. With one best friend, she’s fine, and can make a million other friends. Without one, though, she feels really really lonely.

All the advice given to parents was sort of on the order of — your kids will be okay, you need to back off, they need to make mistakes, you need to let them make mistakes.

It’s good, I think. I think a lot of the advice is given for the sort of helicopter parent that I’m not. (Really! I’m not. Trust me.) But I also think that currently, they’re sort of aware that the first few month in a new place where you know no one is a little hard. That’s good — they’re aware of it. We’re aware of it. I think even the students are aware that it’s to be expected. It’s not like you’re the only one who has no friends.

It was great having my niece along, too. She’s just graduated, and she was able to give N all kinds of advice.

I wish I’d had more time with her alone, but all in all, it was probably okay.


This is fantastic — I’m charging my phone and writing a pot, all plugged in. Huh.

We stayed in Portland last night. It’s a nice town, actually. Hmmm.

Things with my mother are a bit worrisome. She broke her leg in May. It’s healing well, but it’s been a slow process, and puts her in the unenviable position of needing someone to drive her around to dr’s appointments and the grocery store, etc. My niece graduated in May and agreed to come up and stay with her. I think she’s been there since July. It’s fantastic, actually. I don’t know how my mother would have survived without her.

Well, I do, actually — she would have had to ask my brothers and sisters-in-law to drive her around, and they’re fairly busy all ready.

I think, however, that she’s been a little hard on my niece. I think she’s a bit more crotchety than usual, plus she’s not all that sympathetic with a person who has just graduated from college and doesn’t quite know what to do next.


So there you have it —

Down to one

Well, I’m at a Barnes and Noble in Walpole, MA. It’s been an eventful week and a half. We’ve flown to my mother’s house, vacationed (although not nearly enough), shopped for essential items like a fan, and a huge shampoo, and many many hair ties. We’ve spent a day at Narragansett beach. We’ve taken the little boat out a few times, and kayaked to all our usual haunts. We’ve gotten into the world’s largest rental van (if you need a really great minivan, I can recommend one. It’s huge, reasonably efficient, you can fit a lot into it, and it’s not horrible to drive) and driven Girl 1 up to the college of her choice.

Poor thing — I’d forgotten how really really shy she is.

She sat on her bed and said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

“Just this,” I said. “Unpack.” So Girl 2 and I unpacked for her, and stuffed her clothing into her drawers, and made her bed, and she put books on the shelves and hung up dresses and put school supplies in the appropriate drawers. By the time we left, it looked pretty good, although sadly in need of decorations, but I think she’ll want to do that herself. We went to the bank, and got her an account, and then it was time for her to go to a meeting by the puddle, which is a lake, and it was time for us to leave, so we drove down to Giant Boot mail order retail store and wished it was not too late to buy her some rain pants and a pair of rain boots. But I guess it was.

Later, Girl 2 and I drove by her room (which we could identify because it has a fan in the window!), but it seemed that she was not there.

We never met her roommate. I hope she did.

This morning we drove down to the coast and had breakfast and went to the beach, although I realized that things will be different now. Girl 1 is my ally in watery things. She would have insisted we go in the water. But K was worried about time, and Girl 2 would have gone in, had Girl 1 been around to make her. As it was, I stuck my feet in, and as I suspected, the water in Maine has nothing, coldness wise, on the water in Northern California. Relatively speaking, it was warm.

I’m going to miss her desperately, and I hope she’ll be happy, and that school will go well.

We think (M and I) that she’s missing her boyfriend, although they broke up when they went to school. He’s a really nice kid, though, and it seems not impossible to me that they’ll un-break-up. Or anyway, that they’ll stay good friends.

And I’ve just dropped M and K off at the airport in New Hampshire. M starts school tomorrow, and I’m hoping that goes well, too — She’s being very grown up.

Everyone we ran into has been so friendly — the woman at the market in Topsham where we bought the elusive sewing kit and used the bathroom; the woman at the bank who was so excited by the diversity in N’s college town, and among the students. (It’s not that diverse, but she comes from a place called Stockholm, Maine. Look it up on a map.) And you can park there. It’s not even a thing to worry about. K spent a summer at a building school in coastal Maine. We walked around the town today and fantasized about moving up there. I could retire, and then work as a small town librarian. K could be an engineer there, although he says he’s never taking another licensing exam again, which might make it hard.


Now I’m on the second leg of my trip, where I return the van of wonder and get picked up by my niece, and then she and I and my mother drive around New England, ending up on Saturday at N’s school, to kiss her goodbye one more time. This might be great, or it might be disastrous. I’ll let you know.

And now I guess it’s time to head down to Providence to return the van. I’m having one last dinner with my college friend Lynn, which I’m looking forward to. We’re not really used to such extended family togetherness anymore, and I think we were all about ready to get back to our separate ways.

Okay — got to run.


Okay, I’ve had enough. I’m taking tomorrow off.

N has sort of packed, but packing in this case means rolling every piece of clothing she’s ever owned into small rolls and crammingthem into three suitcases. I think she might want to leave some stuff behind. Her room won’t be that big.

“But I don’t know what I’ll want to wear there!” she says.

Which I’m sure is true …

The other thing is that I’m filling out all sorts of tangled statistical forms. If it were just how many books we’ve cataloged, that would be easy. Sadly, it is not.

My brain feels like cold spaghetti.

Also, I’m reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. At first I liked it, and I still like it, but like all his other books, fairly soon into it you start thinking he’s too clever for his own good. Metaphors and similes abound, but they tend to actually keep you at a distance from the book. I can’t help but compare it to Out Stealing Horses, which was such a quiet book, but which completely wrapped you up in itself. I’d be standing in the kitchen fixing dinner, and I’d have a vague memory of having been somewhere wonderful, and then I’d realize that I was thinking about the world of that book. It was a dreamy, leafy sort of book. The Michael Chabon book is bright and peppy, but runs the risk that you might be so exhausted by the verbal pyrotechnics that you give up on caring about the characters. I left some of his previous characters rotting in the world’s fair globe.

It’s like when someone is trying to tell you a story, and they keep interrupting themselves to qualify what they’re saying, and they’ve never even told you the first basic premise.

Okay. Now I’ve got to go.

Look, Harriet!

me, too!

White Knight
White Knight
Take Your Secret Self 1 Step Beyond today!
Created with Rum and Monkey‘s Personality Test Generator.

Going 1 step beyond I would be rescuing damsels (or damsirs?) in distress, standing up as a champion for the underdog and/or righting every wrong you could possibly imagine. I am the incorruptible cop, the brave friend of little children, and the one who will constantly save your ass from your own repeated idiocies. When I die I don’t need statues in my honor, just name your children and dogs after me. That would be pretty cool.

Quiz via the Lass and Harriet the Spy.

The other side

fall shoes

fall shoes

It seems like things may in fact be better, as they often are after a big fit.

I have so much to do before we go away — both in terms of getting N ready, but also just getting some stuff done at work, and also cleaning the house. I realize how very much I hate getting ready to go away. Once I’m away, I’m fine, but I realize that I do have this big thing about leaving. It makes me a little anxious.

Okay, a medium amount of anxious.

But also, I’m so ready to finally go on vacation, and then to come back. I ordered a pair of fall shoes from zappos ( see above) and we ordered some boots for N.

N's winter boots

N's winter boots

So it feels like we’re getting ready.

Now I’ve got to get busy …

And furthermore

Well, some kind of conversation happened, and things are at least tolerable. Kind of.

I was right about this being brought on by N going away. It reminds me of something someone in college once told me about people and their relationships with their parents — that it was much harder for people who had a difficult family life to sort of get over their parents. Well, it’s also true about parent deaths, I think — it’s much harder on people whose parents die before they’re sort of achieved an easy relationship with them. That’s so clear with K and his dad. Anyway — N is leaving, and I will miss her like anything, but I have no doubt that she’ll come home again. But I think we have a good relationship. I hope — god knows she might go away and realize all of my faults and never want to come home again. But she’s been away, to Spain, for instance, and then she has come home. But K feels like she’s leaving, and he’s never been able to straighten things out with her.

But the other thing is, and there’s no way he would agree with me about this, it’s mostly about him. I want to say it’s nothing she’s done, and then I check myself to think again, and really, I do think she’s done nothing other than grow up.

So it’s something he’s got to figure out, and maybe that, and the passage of time, will fix things.

Summer of shit

Apparently, that’s what the son of one of my colleagues called it, and I actually sort of think he’s right. Apparently, the whole quote was, “This was supposed to be the summer of fun, but really it’s the summer of shit.”

heh heh heh.

K is mad at me, because I was not taking seriously his communication problems with N. Actually, I do take them seriously. I just suggested that if he was going to talk to her about it, he might achieve better results if he didn’t yell. Apparently, this was an insulting and unfeeling thing to say.

I think, actually, that this is all brought on by the fact that she’s leaving. He feels that it’s now or never. I think, actually, in my unfeeling and unthinking way, that it might be better to leave things alone, and perhaps by Christmas, or by the time she’s 30, they’ll have forgotten the fact that they can’t talk to each other.

I’m also sort of mad, because I don’t want my last week with her home to be focused on drama and turmoil. I’d rather worry about whether or not she has enough wool socks.

There was probably a time in my life when I thought feelings were more important than wool socks, but I’m not so sure anymore. Or maybe, to me, wool socks are feelings.

I’m also hoping that all this upset does not carry over to our week at my mother’s house. A sulking K will not be a fun thing there, either.

It will particularly not be a fun thing for me. My mother has her own great capacity to be a giant pill.

Anyway. I’m sort of confused. My approach generally has been to stay out of it. If people wish to sulk, fine, but don’t expect me to participate.

It’s kind of like living on a volcano, though. You can pretend you’re ignoring it, but you’re not quite.

Anyway — there we are.

Who knows — maybe they will talk and all will be better. Rainbows and unicorns will rule the land. I’m sure it’s happened before.

Luckiiy, we’ve got Lucy the cat keeping all the stray hair ties in line. She’s just chased a very dangerous one up the stairs. So there’s that danger managed.



  1. It’s cold out.
  2. My brother was supposed to come for breakfast, but now he’s not.
  3. M was supposed to go take a practice test, but now it’s postponed until Friday
  4. Guess I should go outside and pull weeds.
  5. K has the radio on. Lately, I really hate the radio.
  6. Guess there are other things I should be doing …

This town

Another post from my neighborhood e-list. It’s about the grocery store, let’s call them S. They want to expand. Apparently, they have a website about this expansion, and you can leave comments about their proposed design. Someone posted the following message, and then sent it to the list.

I just sent them this message:
Unfortunately, your lights blast into my house all night long and I have
to move a piece of furniture before I go to bed to block it. The old
S is an eyesore, period. The new S looks pretty ugly to me
too. I’m for more trees and less ugly commercial complexes. I hope you
choose solar for your electricity at least. We converted our house to
solar. Thank you.

There is something so typical about this. I’m sorry the lights blast in to her house all night long — that must in fact be awful. But here’s the thing:

I hope you
choose solar for your electricity at least. We converted our house to

The people in this town tend to think that 1. they have found the correct path, 2. it’s sort of unusual, and 3. they’re going to tell you about it, which is a favor to you, and then you should do the same.

There are lots of reasons for the S to use solar energy. The fact that this woman has converted to solar is not one of them. But to her it’s the most important one.

Oh, and 4. it would be good if you would admire them for their independent and morally correct action.


My next independent and morally correct action will be to take a shower. I advise you to follow suit. You won’t be sorry.