What’s new

I’m sorry — I should at least have a picture or something.

But it’s summer and I’m either working, which seems so very unsummer-like, or doing something.

M and I went to see the Extreme Mammals show at the Academy of Sciences on Sunday, which was fun. We also wandered all over Golden Gate Park looking for the stable, but it seems to be empty.

And that’s about it, really.

I’m sure I’ll have tales to tell in the fall, but at the moment there’s not much going on.

Although, I can really really recommend both Long Way Round and the Kenneth Branagh Wallander series.

And I’m planning a trip to Pittsburgh which may very well involve a trip on the Good Ship Lollipop. That sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Okay. Carry on.

Trips by air, land and sea

Wait, I just want to go over it. I think it’s because it’s so complicated I just want to reassure myself it all works.

  1. K,M and I fly to Massachusetts. My mother is having a big party.
  2. N drives down from Maine.
  3. N drives back up to Maine on her own.
  4. K, M and I fly to Pittsburgh to see K’s family.
  5. Later, N flies from Maine to Pittsburgh.
  6. K, M, N, and I drive from Pittsburgh to Ohio. I think we borrow K’s mother’s car, which means we probably should ship a bunch of stuff ahead of time. Something to think about.
  7. M moves in on the 21st. We hang around until 5 PM on the 22nd, at which point we are politely asked to leave.
  8. We spend that night at a hotel near the airport. Which brings to mind the other thing I have to do, which is make hotel reservations.
  9. K leaves early on the 23rd from Ohio. N and I hang around a bit in case we are needed to purchase something — a fan, some painters tape, who knows what. Or just to say goodbye again. Or not.
  10. N and I drive back to Pittsburgh. I drop N off at the airport. N flies back to Maine. I return the car.
  11. The next day, I take the bus to the airport and fly home.

It’s a little bit insane, but I think it all works.

I also managed to make all the Thanksgiving reservations, too, and it’s a good thing I did because they are already beginning to get expensive. Yuck.

I have not thought as far as Christmas, for the most part. Except that N wants to go to Spain.

Life is complicated, and it shows no signs of getting less complicated.

In other news, N and a friend took the sailboat out by themselves last weekend. That’s a good thing. Dear little sailboat. It’s a little tricky getting it back onto the mooring, but once you’ve done it you see that it’s not so hard.

M went trail riding last night. I think it was beautiful. They went out about 5:30 and were back about 8 — just at dusk. I’m sure it was beautiful — the moon was up and they were riding around in the hills near the stable. She’s never ridden outside of the arena before. I think it was really fun. It must be fun for the horses, too, don’t you think? And no one was eaten by a wildcat — another plus.

I love summer.

Okay, I’m back

DSC02324, originally uploaded by SpruceSt.

Denver is actually pretty nice. They have a real bookstore, the Tattered Cover. I’d forgotten what a treat it is to be in a real bookstore, where the staff has selected books you might like and scattered them around on tables. And, they have lots of big brick buildings that were formerly warehouses or machinery things. There’s an REI along the river in an enormous old building that used to be a power plant. It’s very very dry, and quite high, which is exhausting, and has the feeling that towns in the northern midwest have — lots of brick and very open and very light. I enjoyed it.

And now I am back and we are furiously enjoying summer, as well as making sure we have everything to send M away. We have purchased towels and extra long sheets, a new pair of jeans, a new pair of paddock boots. We’re also trying to make it to every museum in town before she goes. So far we’ve only made it here, but that was excellent.

We leave in less than a month to see family before we drive M to Ohio.

And she’s riding a lot, and also working here two days a week repairing books, which she likes a lot.

So — there’s more, but it will have to wait.

I am in love with Rachel Maddow

What other woman appears on television in unflattering khakhi pants and some odd shirt and — is it possible she had no makeup on when she was in Afghanistan?

And she’s smart!

And she doesn’t act like she’s stupid!

I love her.

She’s going to make gin and tonics tonight. I am interested — I love gin and tonics. Hmm.

Where I’ve gone

Mostly you’ll find me over here for the next day or so. Go on, click over. I’m a little lonely, to tell you the truth.

Conferences are difficult, to tell you the truth. There’s the lack of sleep, and the feeling that you should have done much more than you have over the past year. Also, I think a lot of my friends aren’t here — well, that’s not exactly true. Maybe I’m just tired.

Denver is also an odd city. I can see why my sister likes it. It feels very much like a northern midwestern city — like Fargo, or Minneapolis. I think the altitude makes it seem further north than it is. But it’s actually quite flat, although surrounded by mountains, and it has that flat, treeless, brick feeling that other cities in the northern midwest have. It needs a train to come whistling through the middle of town.

I like it. It’s a good place to grow lilacs, I’ll bet, and certainly black eyed susans.

So there’s the atmospheric horticultural report.

I want to tell you about the Alexandria Quartet. Well, maybe I’ll do it now — I have no one to talk to in any case. You have to read past Justine. I’ll admit that there’s not much of a story in Justine, and that it’s a bit, uh, purple and overblown. I guess it’s of its time. But you have to keep going and read them all — the story is in all of them, and it’s actually a good story. Honestly, you must persist.

Okay — my sad solitary hamburger is getting cold. When the kids were small it was the biggest treat in the world to have a hotel room to myself. I still do like it, kind of, but mostly it just feels a little lonely.

Well, there you go. Guess I’ll go watch CNN all by myself.


El pulpo Paul

This has nothing to do with the octopus. I just like saying his name.

Tomorrow I have to go to the annual conference. It will be fine — I just hate thinking about having to get ready and go. At least it’s not too far away (Denver) so it doesn’t take a whole day to get there. That’s a good thing.

It was K’s birthday yesterday (and Jeanne’s!). We went out for tapas and came home for a fancy cake. Apparently he wants socks for his birthday, so I’ll see if I can find any in Denver.

Eating tapas made me feel more inclined to support Spain in the world cup. (See, I guess it is a world cup post after all!) But then I went to the Dutch team’s website and saw this. I couldn’t really understand it, but there’s something endearing about it anyway. Hmmm.

Return of M

M is coming back today. I have to go to the airport to get her.

I think this trip has been good for her. On her way out, I took her to the airport and went in with her as far as I could and then hung out for occasional consultation until the plane took off, and again the next morning while she transferred in New York from one plane to another and again in Portland when N (shocking, I know) was a bit late to pick her up and wasn’t answering her phone.

This time I spoke with her briefly the day before because, oddly, no one in Massachusetts appears to have the internet. So she confirmed all her numbers and times and then I had to go. I tried to call her back later to go over it again but I couldn’t reach her.

I texted her while she was at the airport this morning and she wondered why I was even awake. She must have remembered to have her passport on hand and figured out how to operate boarding pass dispenser on her own. She let me know when she was at her gate in Chicago but responded with impatience to my probing inquiries about whether it was in fact the right gate.

Clearly I am not needed any more. Given the fact that in about a month and a half we’ll be leaving her all on her own in Ohio, this is probably a good thing. Right?

A story

Here is a story.

When I was young, we drove the 1500 miles every summer from my house in Connecticut to my grandmother’s house in North Dakota. From there we drove back 100 or so miles to my grandmother’s lake cottage in Minnesota, and there we spent the summer.

When I was 16, I got a job as a desk clerk at my brother-in-law’s motel at home and I don’t think I ever spent the summer at the lake again, which is actually a little sad. In fact, I’ve sort of been sad about it ever since.

N and M spent last weekend at their grandmother’s house. N is there all the time, actually, since it’s not too far from where she goes to school. I just spoke to my mother, and I think she’s having a good time with them. My brothers are there, too, and cousins.

My mother can be a lot of fun, but sometimes she can also be a bit of a pill. She’ll complain that people don’t think about her enough or consider her feelings or call her on the phone often enough, even though I generally speak to her about once a week. I think you know how these things go. However, whatever my failings, at least I have done this one good thing, which is make it possible for her to be close to her two granddaughters.

I will remember this the next time she calls and complains that I never call (untrue) or think of her (also untrue). So there.

summer projects

Phew. We have completed our part of a rather massive summer project. What a relief! I actually spent part of the weekend wrapping it up, and I handed it off this morning to the next person down the line and now I actually have time to breathe again.

It feels pretty spectacular.

And I sent out the invitation to the party for people from work that we’re having at my house later this summer and that feels good, too. Hopefully it will be fun.

My friend A, the boy half of the friends A and A, said a few years ago when their kid went away to college that being suddenly kidless was great — like life before kids, except you live in a better place and have more money. I am beginning to see what he meant — we absolutely live in a better place and although it’s hard to say we have more money, given that we’ll be paying two tuitions, watching N this summer makes me remember what it was life to live on $200 dollars a month, and we actually do have more money than that. Hmmm.

It feels like a luxurious amount of time is what it feels like. I assume parts will be boring and possibly lonely, but I am kind of looking forward to all that time, and a reclaiming of my attention. Hmmm. Might be okay after all.

Happy New Year

K and I (its only K and I these days) went to a fourth of July party last night. Some friends of ours are house sitting in a picturesque part of the city. The living room overlooks the fireworks.

It was kind of a fun party. It was fun to be in the city. I liked the longish walk from where we finally found a parking spot. The house was charming. I like A and A’s friends. Although — the fireworks, although probably lovely, disappeared in the fog. And somehow this morning I am haunted by conversations that may not have gone exactly as planned. Odd.

I am probably just missing the kids, who at this moment are probably going for a swim in the warm Atlantic, while it’s cold enough here to be contemplating resuming my knitting.

One of the conversations gone astray had me feeling rebuked at not having stood up for myself and the people for whom I’m responsible regarding our working conditions. The fact is, ours are not even the worst in the library. I think the rebuker is right, and that somebody somewhere has to say, this is intolerable. But it seems odd to me that nobody else seems to have noticed. It’s like we’ve got this contest going on to see who can withstand the worst mistreatment, and to do otherwise is to admit that you’re just not tough enough. Which, honestly, is insane.

She quoted Dr. Phil at me — apparently he says, “You teach people how to treat you.” Which is awful, but possibly true. Well, actually, I don’t really feel responsible for the fact that I’m not being treated especially well, but she is right that I don’t have to put up with it.

Perhaps she has changed my life. I feel sort of bad about the conversation at all — she left right afterward, and it’s possible I was a bit hysterical. But maybe things can be done — actually, I’m pretty sure things can be done, and doing them will make me feel a lot better.

Hmm. I’m going to get her address from A and drop her a note saying, thanks. It is possible you have changed my life.