We don’t get many trick or treaters here. It’s the sad truth. There are a lot of apartments around which are probably inhabited by people who used to be students, 10 years ago, but have decided not to move on or have kids.

And the people with kids, I suspect, go to the neighborhood about half a mile a way where everyone goes. I’m opposed to this, but can’t really blame them. Pretty slim pickings on my street, to tell the truth.

But here’s the thing. M is in the living room with three boys, and they arae watching movies.


I don’t know who or why, but they seem nice enough.

So I’m hiding out here in the kitchen.

See yah.

The Day Itself



The preparations.

The result. (Do not notice the rather hasty sewing job. But wasn’t it an excellent choice of fabric? Don’t you love enormous red rickrack? I think I do.)

The long view. (Also, don’t you like the whole thing with rain boots? Sort of the “farmer girl” version of the pinup girl. Also, behind her you can see that one of our pumpkins came to grief. A balancing problem, I believe, and not an evil act. Also — aren’t you impressed with the red snaps? You should be.)


N called in the middle of the construction. I miss her so much! She was shocked that M was planning to be a pinup girls, and horrified that I was going along with it. (N is far more shocked by M’s behavior than she ever was by her own, I have to say, and it was not very different. Still, gratifying.)


Now she wants to go to Russia. (First, she wanted to go to M language school in the Green Mountain state for the summer to nail down her Spanish. The she wanted to go to Azerbaijan with the State department. Now it’s Russia for fall semester. But this is great — the one thing she does want to do is travel, and she’s full of all kinds of plans for fitting econ and calculus 2 and chem 1 in around all these option. One that sounds lovely is that she would be home for the summer, finish calculus, and lifeguard again. How I would love to have her home.


I could hear the bells ringing behind her, and she had to go to class. She said it’s beautiful there. I expressed concern about one school we’re thinking about for M, because it’s kind of out in the sticks, and she scoffed, “Mom, I’m in Maine!.” But she can walk downtown, and this place is really an infrequent bus ride away from anywhere. It’s like where I grew up, which was a fine place to grow up — I played in the woods — but not perhaps the best place to go to college.


Anyway. She sounds very happy, and full of all kinds of plans and motivations, and all of the packages I’d sent had arrived, so she’s well-provisioned with spider rings, skeleton paratroupers, pumpkin muffins and acoutrements for her moose costume.


(Also, she warned M, though me, that the place the teenagers hang out for Halloween is likely to be a zoo because it’s a Friday. Equal parts longing and grown-up advising there, I think.)

Happy Halloween!
Continue reading


It’s possible that I am feeling better today.

Or not.

I think I’m hungry, actually.

Anyway. Here’s the good news.

  • We are having a halloween party at work, and everyone in my office seems to have taken leave of their senses. They’re building a pile of sandwiches in the break room bigger than all of us. I hope they’re tasty, because therer sure are a lot of them.
  • In preparation for this party, I had to go up to the attic to find the huge ugly tea pot and the cream and sugar set, and I found both of them, in addition to a beloved green mixing bowl and the heart pans we use to make M’s birthday cake. So that was good. I still can’t find some fabric I need, though.
  • I have to attend sexual harassment training this afternoon, but I brought my knitting. Yay for good uses of stupid wastes of time!
  • Both my mother and K’s mother are coming for Thanksgiving. (Yes, but wait –) But — it’s not as bad as it seems, since they’re only overlapping by one day, and that day is N’s birthday, so we’ll have a party, and there won’t be much of a sleeping arrangement crisis. I’m just going to take the week off, and it’s actually kind of efficient, and it means we’ll be free, free as birds for Christmas. I’m thinking it will be kind of fun, and especially for N’s birthday. It will be kinds of nice to have them to ourselves, and then if all the summer plans to spend time with K’s family fall apart (and I’m thinking they will, since no one responds to my emails), we’ll just make plans to see them individually and have done with it. I am vacating the role of organizer here, and I think that’s a good thing to do.
  • I hung a picture in my office, and decided to frame another which I will also hang. That’s cheering me up, too.
  • I’m taking tomorrow off. Go me!
  • Bye.


I don;t know why, exactly, but I am heartily peeved at the world.

The internet is too slow. There are people in my office who are getting on my last nerve. M wants to be a pin-up girl for Halloween which I find appalling and distressing beyond any measure of reasonableness, and I blame it all on the kids she’s friends with who I don’t like all that much either. I am counting the days til she’s out of that stupid school and hanging out with smart, non-whiney people who do their homework and wear their own clothing.

The phone just rang, and it’s M — can I hem S’s skirt? Her mother doesn’t know how to sew, and neither does she.

Holy mother of god — it’s not exactly rocket science. Also, it’s a Halloween costume, not an interview suit.

M says — Well, I guess I could do it.

I reminded her that she actually does have homework, and she can hem her own skirt if she’s got so much extra time.

I probably sound mean, but I’m not. If S comes over, I’ll show her how to do it herself. I’m sorry that her own mother can’t help her, but not sorry enough that I’m going to do it for her.

In fact, if S had asked if I could show her, I would have a much different feeling, but that’s not the way she works.

Less than two years.

The bad thing is, M’ll be leaving me, too, but it will be worth it.


My mother says it’s snowing at her house. It’s not snowing here. This has everything to do with me, and nothing to do with the fine state of California, but I am counting the days as well until I can get the hell out of here. I am just not cut out for living at the end of the world in a place with no weather.

Okay. I’m going now before I find any more objects for my wrath. Actually, I’m sure I’ll find them, but at least you won’t have to hear about them.


Happy Halloween!

I am missing N, suddenly.


M and I carved the pumpkins last night, and even thought we did it last year without N because she was out, or something, it’s still something we did together ever since they were really too little to do it.


Also, she’d wanted a care package, so M and I made pumpkin muffins and sent her a bunch, along with some silly halloween things (like pencils, and skeleton paratroopers).

Then it seemed that a piece of her costume was not going to make it to Maine in time, so I went out and got that and sent it express, with some Halloween tattoos and spider rings.


Then she texted me to tell me that she’s going to be playing ice hockey (ice hockey?) and she needed to go buy skates, and, apparently, a mouth guard.

“Great!” I wrote.

“Do you know how to stop in hockey skates?” I wrote again after a few minutes. (I don’t.)

“Also, I need socks, and a pair of spandex shorts,” she wrote again. “Do you want to get those for me?”

“Sure,” I wrote. “What kind of socks?”

“I have no idea!” she wrote back. “Aren’t you worried about me? I am. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“Well, I’m glad about the mouthguard,” I wrote back.


I do miss her. Apparently they’re going to loan her a helmet, too, so when I see her in a few weeks, she should still have all her teeth AND no concussion. That’s good, right?

It’s also kind of funny, because my retirement dream has always been to move to Canada and join the women’s ice hockey team. Now we can do it as a mother-daughter pair. Plus, maybe she’ll be able to show me how to stop!

My nephew is apparently playing hockey, too, but this is the child who was climbing out of windows at 18 months. He’s 7, now, and I’m sure he’s way beyond learning how to stop. Maybe we’ll get him to teach us.


Happy Birthday,Lass!

St. Jerome

Giovanni Bellini St Jerome Reading in the Countryside

Giovanni Bellini St Jerome Reading in the Countryside

Okay, I am working on this rather interminable set called The F2thers of the Ch8rch.

St. Jerome was born at Stridon, on the border of Pannonia and Dalmatia, about the year 347. The first part of his long life, from the year 347 to 379, was chiefly a period of formation and preparation. After spending twelve years of his early life at his native Stridon, he was sent to Rome in the year 359 to finish his literary studies. For the next eight years, from 359 to 367, St. Jerome studied very diligently grammar, the humanities, rhetoric, and dialects. He also took a passionate interest in the Greek and Latin classics, in the philosophers and poets, and, especially, in the satirists and comic poets. These studies, it seems, tended not to soften, but to exaggerate the temperament of St. Jerome who was by nature irascible and impulsive, and sensitive to criticism and contradiction.

Many things amaze me here. Where are these places, and do they still even exist? It seems such a small world and yet probably a rich one. Also, how can we really know the personality of a person who’s been dead 1500 years (this was published in 1965) ? But probably we can, a little bit.

Rubens, St Jerome

Rubens, St Jerome

Anyway. I don’t know much about him, but I have a certain fondness for Jerome. You can nearly always find him in museums. He pretty reliably has a lion, or a skull, or, apparently a red hat. He’s the patron saint of librarians. I really love the depiction of the wilderness, which seems to exist about a mile out of town.

Colantonio, St Jerome

Colantonio, St Jerome

Also, his desk looks a lot like mine. Minus the lion.

(All pictures from Wikipedia. Click on them and they’ll be clearer.)

It’s hot.

It’s hot outside. It’s hot in here. It’s just hot.

Other than that, I have very little to report.

  • I’m getting closer to the sleeve part of the sweater.
  • I’m in the middle of the second to the last of my ridiculous but strangely entertaining vampire books (scroll down to Harris.)
  • It’s Thursday, and we’re all working hard here at the library.
  • I believe M is working hard, too, and her art class is good — she’s thinking about it all the time, which is great. Actually, she has a real interest in costume, and has for some time — by which I mean about 10 years, which is a lot for a 16 year old. Hmmm
  • So things are all just humming along, and there’s not a lot of room for a rich inner life.

Which doesn’t make for very interesting blog posts, actually.

But don’t worry — surely something will come up over the weekend. We’ve got plans to have lunch with an old friend, and I want to take M to the museum. Also, we need to make a box for N, which will probably involve some baking. I’m thinking ginger snaps.

So there’s that.

Happy Thursday.

Gracious heavens

It’s practically 4:30.

I guess I’ve just been really busy, which is not exactly a bad thing.

It’s very windy here, but in a hot way. It’s not good actually. It makes a person think of wildfires and other calamities.

I wish it would just rain already.

I had an early meeting this morning, and we managed to sleep late, so then we were a tiny bit late leaving the house, at which point I realized it was garbage day, which meant that after dropping M off, I’d have to come back and put the garbage out. (I had wondered why my next door neighbor S was rattling around with his recycling while I was getting dressed.) But I did, and I managed to do it all so quickly I was still able to walk to work. Through the windstorm.

And we are having a Halloween party next week at work, which will either be fun or awful, depending. The work party, you know. But I and a co-worker have to leave early to go to sexual harassment training, which, contrary to what you might think, is not training in how to properly sexually harass someone. But it sort of sounds like it is, which amuses me. What it will be is boring, so I need to remember a book.

Now I have to go deal with a hideous set of books called “The F@thers of the Ch^rch.”  Ho hum.


A message from N. She’s ready to come home and she’d like a care package.

I miss her a lot. It’s still a month until she comes home. M and I can assemble a few things to send to her. We have a pumpkin carving knife that’s shaped like a bone that we can send her. And some woolly socks. And maybe we can make her a batch of cookies.

She’s never been away from home on Halloween before.

She also said she went exploring at the mills. She lives in an old mill town, so I wonder if they were abandoned. ?

Sounds interesting.