Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My poor neglected blog!

Wow, it's been so long since I've posted here. So sad. When I'm at home I often think of things to write, little things like a description of our Christmas tree, or a blurb about my mom or the holidays, or even the cuteness of watching my daughter feed my husband popcorn at night ("Here comes the airplane daddy!"). Unfortunately by the time I get to my daughter to bed I'm exhausted, and when I get to the computer at work in the morning other things take over. So my thoughts vanish from my head, unwritten, unsaved, erased from memory in a day or two as my brain turns to fog and mush. It's sad really. I wonder will I get my writing life back when my kid gets older, or will I have to wait until I retire from my thankless job? When do I get to be that writer? While I know it's true I had quite a life of my own before I got married, and I'm certainly enjoying this stage of my life now- married, young child, house, job, and all-- I know there is more to come 20 years from now, 30 years from now, whenever... and maybe then is when I will write. If I'm not too blind, and too crippled with arthritis to do it of course. Or dead from cancer. Maybe I'll just go crazy before I get to the finish line like so many others have before me. We're all a little crazy anyway, right? What's a little more? So here I sit with my blog. Gmail, Facebook, my favorite Mommy message board, and some work stuff all in tabs open before me. Headphones on, music from the 70s in my ears, and I write. Killing the time between now and eternity.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Having problems with blogger

I'm having some problems with Blogger. I'm trying to change what blogs I follow and the system isn't letting me change anything. Can anyone help?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Abby loves the snow

On Saturday we got a little snow. Abby wanted to go outside immediately and make a snowman. I knew it would take a while to accumulate though, and I wasn't even sure it would stick. So we went Christmas shopping instead. On Sunday morning though the snow was still there. Abby barely made it through her nebulizer treatment, and couldn't wait to get outside. "I love winter! I love snow!" We got out a sled and got her all bundled up and went outside. Turns out our little side yard, that we don't use for much, is a good spot for sledding. If we aim the sled JUST right so that we miss the tree, the utility pole, and the drain pipe, she can get a pretty good ride down the hill. She loved it! Then she was pulling the sled around, talking to it, and filling it with snow. When she got bored with the yard, I took her up the street for a little walk and we played down by the association hall. She made some snow angels, threw snow at me, and just generally had a blast. That was with only 2-3 inches of the stuff. I know we're going to get more, maybe tonight or tomorrow. Hopefully we don't get rain to wash it all away. This is one VERY happy kid!! I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow. The digital camera needs the memory card cleaned out (today's project) so I didn't get any pictures on Sunday.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The smallest library in the world!

I came across this today in reading my library news and got a kick out of it. With budget cuts hitting everyone, and small towns trying to build bigger and better libraries at the same time.... a town in England made a library out of a phone booth.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hanging it up?

Am I hanging it up? It sure looks that way. After a couple of months of trying to post every day, I went 2 weeks without a single post. Looks like my hopes of doing a blog on a daily basis have gone away.

I do hope to still occasionally check in here, but it seems like I am not being the regular blogger that I had hoped to be.

We had a quiet Veterans Day, staying at home. Then that weekend we found ourselves picking apples on a Sunday afternoon. I've never picked apples in November before. It sure has been a warm month. This past weekend gave us another Sunday to enjoy the outdoors. Abby and I played in the yard for several hours, on the swings, the slide, just general running around. Her favorite game these days is "House" where she gets to be the mom, and I get to be the big sister. It's not a lot of fun for me, but I indulge her as often as I can because I like seeing her use her imagination and doing pretend play.

Thanksgiving is still up in the air, we'll see what happens. I did get a new netbook so hopefully I will be able to keep up on my RSS feeds and other things better during non-work days if I can drag myself out of the house to an internet connection.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. I'm not sure if I'll be raking leaves, visiting family, or just hanging out somewhere with the kid and the husband. I hope I'm doing something productive. The weather forecast is supposed to cooperate with being outside. We may not see a parade or do something actively to show our support for Veterans, but I carry the thought in my heart anyway.

Preschool is closed so I won't be at work. I guess that goes without saying maybe.

Hope you all have a good day.

Sprout again

A very professional sounding woman from PBS Sprout called me today and called me a liar. She said that Sprout has always carried toy company advertising in the "fourth quarter" and that the ads are aimed at the parents, not the kids. I say Bullshit!

Sorry. Those ads are aimed at the kids and I don't care what Sprout says. I asked her if she had a preschooler at home, but she didn't want to go there. I don't blame her. In the end we did not agree, and she held her ground that Sprout is not going against their policies and has carried toy ads for the past 4 years. Maybe they have had those ads for the past 4 years, but my daughter wasn't in preschool then and we weren't paying attention.

Monday, November 9, 2009

PBS Sprout is violating their promise not to market to kids!

We have been devout PBS Sprout watchers. We are particularly fans of Nina and Star and the "Good Night Show". "Caillou" is one of Abby's top 2 favorite shows (the other being "Blue's Clues"). I like "Kipper" myself, and watching "Kipper" is often a part of our nightly bedtime routine. A few weeks ago we got Tivo in the bedroom because "Kipper" didn't seem to be on at the right time for us. Sure,it cost some money, but the show is on twice from 6pm-9pm and I didn't like missing the first showing and then having to wait until 8:45pm for the 2nd showing. So we got the Tivo.

Now for those of you who don't know, PBS Sprout is all about children's programming. A lot of the shows are made by the same people who produce Sesame Street, and there are no ads DURING the shows themselves. Still, there is a need for them to show some advertising and they have done a great job of doing this by advertising to the parents instead of the kids. We see ads for health insurance, garbage bags, vaccuum cleaners, credit cards, and debt solutions. I am used to this. It's boring, but I tolerate it because I know they have bills to pay.

PBS Sprout has promised, has written in stone practically, that they will not market to our children.

So what happened????? All of a sudden I'm seeing ads for Hasbro,Playskool, and "Pillow Pets". I'm furious! Suddenly my daughter needs a Pillow Pet for Christmas, maybe more than one because there are several kinds. I looked up PBS Sprout website today, and the pledge is still there and yet I saw the ads myself.

So please, call or email PBS Sprout and tell them to DITCH the ads aimed at the kids!! If they don't do it soon, I'm going to ditch PBS Sprout, and probably my whole Directv subscription in the process.

"Does PBS KIDS Sprout include advertising?

Yes, PBS KIDS Sprout is advertiser supported. However, advertisements will never interrupt a program, and we only feature messages targeted to parents and caregivers, not the child viewer."

Please help me get the message to them. This is NOT acceptable.
Thank you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Serves me right for not reading the whole story first. I was going to post about today being the birthday of Sesame Street because I saw something on Google. Well, the birthday isn't until the 10th. Google is just starting now with Sesame Street things to celebrate for a whole week. Big Bird's legs were in the logo on the Google home page.

I also pulled up some YouTube videos, but I didn't listen to them because I'm at work with the sound off. I just assumed that they were the original Sesame Street songs. I posted on on Facebook, and my mother in law told me that there was non-children friendly vocals. OOPS! I deleted the post.

Dumb me! So listen and read before I start spreading the news I guess. Duh!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This space for rent!

Well it's almost the end of the day, and I was SO sure I was going to get to the Halloween pictures today. I was also sure I was going to pay bills during my lunch break, especially since I didn't bring a lunch to work today. Didn't achieve either one. Oh well. I guess my brain is on vacation or something. Not sure who would have seen the pictures if I'd put them up anyway.

If there is anything you'd like to hear me rant about, post about, research for you, whatever.... let me know. I'm running out of things to say.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Recap of the weekend

I guess I've pretty much thrown out my whole M-F themed post thing. It didn't seem to be working. More and more I am just posting about whatever tangents of family updates that I feel like posting about. I still like the Writing Wednesdays, but even those have been not so great.

So I did my hair on Friday, and Friday night I tried to wash it out. Saturday morning it still felt sticky though, and I still had paint on the back of my neck and stuff, so I decided not to do it again for Saturday night. Abby saw what I had done to my hair, and decided she did not want pink hair for herself. Just as well. Now it's Monday and I think it's out of my hair finally. Still need to wash my hairbrush though because that is looking pretty pink.

We did trick or treating in Montague (MA) Center, and had a blast. Saw some of Abby's friends from school, a coworker from the library, and a lot of people out having a good time. I'd never seen hot dogs and beer given out to trick or treaters before! We did attempt Shutesbury first, but no one was out yet at 5:20pm so we went to Montague. We had a little rain, but it didn't seem to stop the crowds. Great time! I hope we do it again next year. We might even look at houses in the neighborhood if we get serious about selling ours. I know they have internet there at least.

We didn't go to the Fairy Princess Garden. Abby wanted to find a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch so we spent Saturday afternoon looking. Never found one. Ate lunch at the BlueBonnet Diner in Northampton and watched the train inside and all the staff was dressed up too. Finally got a pumpkin from a roadside stand and brought that home just in time to make a jack o'lantern before going out.

After going to Montague, we drove up to Shutesbury but by the time we got there Abby was too tired to get out of the car so we went home. Pretty good meltdown at home from being so overtired and hungry, but we finally got her in the house. She gave up most of candy, more than I thought she would. I'll probably offer to give some of it back later. Didn't go to bed until really late, which helped with the time change in the morning.

Sunday was my dad's birthday. Abby decided early in the day that she wanted to stay home and play with her toys. In the morning she went outside to play in the leaves. I went grocery shopping and she stayed home with Aaron. When it came time to go to dinner, she still didn't want to go so I went by myself. Aaron and Abby stayed home, did arts and crafts, and had dinner etc. I had dinner with my dad and his friend at a Chinese place. Then we went to the hospital to see my grandmother. She was admitted on Saturday, but I heard she should be heading back to the nursing home today or tomorrow. Hopefully nothing serious.

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. She's in Florida so obviously no party for that.

Did I cover everything? I hope so. Hope you all had a good weekend!
Thank you Montague for a great Halloween!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Family Friday- Happy Halloween and Happy Birthdays!!

Tomorrow is Halloween and my daughter wasn't allowed to wear a costume to school today, but oh well. It also happens to be the birthday of one of the toddler room teachers. At the last minute we came up with a little gift for her. I dyed my hair, or actually asked my husband to spray paint my hair pink and purple today. I will wash it tonight. I don't know if I'll do it again for tomorrow or not. I'm pretty sure Abby and my husband frown on me acting so silly.
We will go trick or treating tomorrow, but where is still uncertain. Might be Shutesbury, might be Montague. I also found out about a Fairy Princess Garden or something like that happening during the day in Greenfield. I'm hoping we can go to that too.
My dad's birthday is Sunday, so we'll meet him for Chinese food, with his friend Marie, on Sunday night for supper.

Time change this weekend too!!!

My Mother in law has a birthday on Monday. Happy birthday G! If you read this.

Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Well I got the letter, and it was a bad one. When the letter came, I read it, handed it to my supervisor, and repacked my bag. I stopped packing though. I did not clean out my desk and clear off the walls. I have a mortgage, a husband, a daughter, a car payment... it would be selfish of me to walk out. SO I stayed all day. I'll probably be here tomorrow too. There's nothing I can do. I sent a reply back to the man in the administration building asking for some clarification, and he gave it to me, not very kindly, but he gave me the clarification. What's done is done, and there's nothing I can do except wait and see. Nothing has been finalized yet. I haven't been turned down for my reclassification yet. I've just been told that the Director doesn't think I deserve it.

Meanwhile the Governor announced the 9C cuts today, and I'm worried that my father might be laid off from his job. Regional libraries got hit, and I heard the Bookmobiles are closing at the end of the year. I also read that the Governor is expecting about 1000 lay-offs statewide. It could be worse I guess. He is also hoping for furloughs. A 9 day furlough would be tough to swallow. I'm not sure we could absorb that, and I know tonight that the kid and the husband will want to go out because it's Thursday and by Thursday they are both feeling a little bit cabin feverish and tired of just going from work/school to home and back again. Meanwhile I'm worried about our jobs and everything else.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be in a better mood, but right now I'm just... defeated.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Writing Wednesday= Naw, not today

I'm not up for writing today. I haven't been in a good groove all week. Hopefully tomorrow I will get a copy of a letter from the Director that was sent to the central administration. It will say what the Director thinks of my job performance. Depending on what's in the letter, and how it's worded, I may or may not take Friday off as a mental health day.

If I do, I'll probably go somewhere with internet access. I might be tempted to Panera for breakfast, but I might end up somewhere quieter after that.

Have to get past tomorrow first. If it's a good letter, I'll be at my desk on Friday I suspect.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tangent Tuesday- In the neighborhood

We got a notice on our door last night that there is going to be a meeting at the Town Hall this evening. It seems that our neighbor has an unlicensed dog which has caused a lot of grief for us and others as it roams around unleashed and unattended. We've complained numerous times to the dog officer and to the police and have never seen results. My husband will go to the meeting tonight, and I will stay home with the kid. I'm interested to hear what happens.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Misc. Monday- Family and the weekend and H1N1 vaccine

On Friday we managed to get Abby to the pedi's office for the H1N1 vaccine, only it turns out she has to go back again in a month for a 2nd dose. I hadn't realized that. So I guess it won't be affective until sometime after Thanksgiving. There's a lot of H1N1 going around. I hope she doesn't come down with it before then.

After the shot we took her out to ice cream. She decided she wanted Green ice cream so we went to Friendly's and got pistachio. She picked out all the nuts but enjoyed it otherwise. After that we had some errands to do and didn't get headed home until around 8pm, and then Aaron got called into work. Abby and I waited in the car (she had the dvd player) while he worked. Fortunately it was a quick fix.

Friday night, around 2:30am, the power went out. Woke up Saturday morning and still no power. Finally decided that enough was enough and headed out. Neighbor said something blew up in Wendell. Figures. Tried to get to Montague Book Mill, but needed to detour in North Leverett as someone had hit a tree or something. Discovered roads I didn't know existed, but we finally made it to the book mill. Got a cup of coffee and sat down, only to have Abby throw a tantrum about wanting a hotel room (since there was no power at home). Took her out screaming, got the coffee to go. Power came back at home and the electric company called my cell phone to tell me so. Finally got home Saturday afternoon. I should mention it rained all day Saturday and it was just generally an awful day.

Saturday night, Aaron went out as usual, and power went out again. I called him as fast as I could and he found out that it was going to be a quick fix. By the time he got home a few hours later it was back on again.

Sunday the sun was shining. Decided that Abby was staying home for the day so Aaron and I took turns going out. While I was getting groceries, she napped in his lap. While he was out, I took her for a long wagon ride to the other side of the lake. 2.5 miles later and I am tired and sore today.

Anyway, that's the weekend. Still don't knwo what we are doing for Halloween yet.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Family Friday- H1N1 again!

Well Hallelujah! Abby's doctor called last night and they have about 20 of the H1N1 vaccines available so I will be surprising Abby with an early pick up from preschool this afternoon and another flu shot. Poor kid is going to hate me. She has already been saying she didn't want another one since she got the seasonal shot.

Hoping Aaron can get one today too, but not sure if they will have enough. No chance they will have one for me. Oh well.

Not much planned for the weekend. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, and Abby is looking forward to her toys. My husband has some shopping he wants to get done so either we'll all go to the Big Mall or Abby and I will stay home while he goes. I guess we'll just be playing it by ear.

We went out last night for Chinese food and then I got gas for the car. Also stopped at the Dollar Store so Abby could get a puppet, and since it's next door to Staples, Aaron ran in there and spent a few bucks too (under $10). All together, mostly dinner and gas, we spent almost $100. Wow!It sure goes fast some days, and it's not even a pay week.

Have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Topical Thursday- H1N1 again and books...

We are still waiting for H1N1 vaccines. This is starting to bother me. I am wondering why UMass isn't offering them yet. My daughter is high-risk and really want to get them, but I haven't seen or heard of them being available yet. Grr...

On a completely unrelated note, I noticed that it was a year ago today that the announcement came out that Jeffery Amherst Bookstore would be closing. Sad that we lost an independent bookstore. I've been pleased with Amherst Books since we switched over to them at the library, but I think the Jeffery Amherst space is still sitting vacant downtown. Too bad. Was a great store, and I'm sure it's missed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Writing Wednesday- Rather random poetry

Once again I'm taking the random route for my writing assignment this week. Today I've chosen 7 words from the blog "One Minute Writer" and put them together. I actually had a dream last night that one of my coworkers had done this so it's been on my mind all afternoon to give it a try. I think I'll do a poem.

Here goes--
Once upon a time
there was a nursery rhyme
Where a super hero went to a circus
The t-shirt that the superhero was wearing was
red and green
and very sparkly.
The superhero had an obsession
You would never guess what it was
He was obsessed with magazines
and would trade a day's worth of superpowers
to get them since he never carried cash.

---the end

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Tangents- Diversity, role models, and women

I was in a meeting earlier today at work and the subject of "diversity training" came up. Some say that it's a waste of time because people either understand it, and get it, and don't need the training OR they have closed minds and won't go to trainings either. However, as someone else in the meeting pointed out sometimes diversity sneaks up on us. Do I think of Polish-American history as "diversity training"? Well, I don't know. Usually when I think of "diversity training" I think of GLBT issues, black/Asian/Latino issues, or Judaic issues. I don't always think of age, weight, European things etc. And since I consider myself to be open-minded, I might not sign up for a diversity training anyway.

However, I'm one of the lucky ones. It's only been within my lifetime, or close to it, that people of color, women, and gays and lesbians have seen equal rights. The Civil Rights movement happened just before I was born. E.R.A. was happening in the '70s when I was a child. Same sex marriages are still being argued for in the States today.

So after that meeting I went to our staff intranet and saw a posting for an event at the National Yiddish Book Center that got my attention. On the list of speakers is Sonia Manzano. She's not Jewish or Yiddish, but she's coming to the area with some others as part of a program called "Selected Shorts". Most of us know Sonia as "Maria" from Sesame Street, and her daughter Gabriela has been on the show as well. Sonia is a woman who has done some great stuff, and is truly a role model. As a Hispanic on Sesame Street in the 70s, she was part of an interracial cast that was part of the foundation of the show. She's won Emmys and other awards for nearly 40 years. So here's a tribute to Sonia, well not really a tribute. Just some links, and a nod of the head toward everyday women like her who aren't always on the "A" list of celebrities, but who have done amazing things.

Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Becoming Americans
Part of the Fall Encounter Weekend

Host Isaiah Sheffer, Sonia Manzano ("Maria" from Sesame Street) and Laura Esterman perform stories by immigrant writers.

The National Yiddish Book Center
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building
1021 West Street
Amherst, MA
Phone: 413-256-4900
Tickets: $15

And here she is blogging for Obama--

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mundane Monday- Blogs of interest

Good morning! We had a quiet weekend with more snow and rain yesterday. Really not much going on so I did a search in Google for today's date to see what I could come up with. I found a couple of fun blogs that I thought might be of interest to my friends.

The first one is very random, silly Japanese things, like Hello Kitty, and banana holders and other stuff. Check it out if you're in the mood for some silly, and apologies for the Japanese singles ads along the side...

The other one is actually more relevant to this blog. It's about books. Cool books that I might actually read. Check out this one for some reading suggestions, and some great links too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Family Friday- Misc stuff

Not much going on right now. Abby has a sniffle, and we're all kind of tired and run down. We've been eating out a lot this week partly because we never got around to going grocery shopping.
It snowed this morning, and we saw frost for a few other days. In other words, it's COLD! I did see some photographers out during the morning commutes though. I guess frost and fog make for good pictures. I always like seeing the fog on the lake, and I guess I'm not the only one. Another guy was taking pictures of the frost in an overgrown field. Pretty, I'm sure. I'm not sure if I'd ever be able to capture it just right.
Of course everyone has heard about "Balloon Boy" in the last couple of days. I got sucked into the drama a bit on Facebook and really thought he was going to be found dead. Now I understand he was hiding in the attic and did it for the tv show and the publicity. I think his parents put him up to it, if I am hearing the story correctly. Poor kid! Whacked parents!

I don't know if it was a message from the Internet Gods or what, but the power at my work desk just went out about 25 minutes ago, and it seems it's just me and the department printer that are affected. I was going to say more on this post, but I'm just deleting it. Hopefully I can get this published from my laptop before any more disruptions happen! glad I have my laptop today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Topical Thursday- Blog Action Day : Climate Change

Well the last I saw there were over 8,000 blogs participating in this event. I'm sure there is a lot of interesting things being said about Climate Change today. I'm no expert on the subject, and I know that not everyone believes that the climate is really even changing. It's all a political thing or something. Anyway, if you're interested in hearing more about it, go on over to the site and click on the links to the many, many, blogs that are participating in this today.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writing Wednesday- another short piece

The woman with long dark hair sat in the corner of the restaurant, talking loudly into her phone. "No I will not pay that! No, absolutely not, and they better deliver" and then she closed her phone. Back to her companion who sat staring blankly at the menu, she slammed the phone into her purse and then picked up her wine. Sweetly she said "Now where were we?" He continued to ignore her, pretending to be choosing between the different entrees on the menu. Stalling until his mind cleared again and he could face her. Another wasted Tuesday night, but what else was there to do?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tangent Tuesday- still catching up with stuff

Wow, what a weekend! We're almost done with things. Tonight we will have dinner out again, after Abby's flu shot of course. I'll be picking up some pictures this afternoon too. I dropped them off at CVS this morning so I could get some printed ASAP.

We did manage to do more than I thought we would. Friday night we had dinner at Pete's Seafood in Greenfield. A little girl there liked Abby and came over to our table to meet her and try to be friends. We'll probably never see her again, but it was cute. On Saturday we went to the Ashfield Fall Festival and went to all the tag sales and everything. We skipped the Town Hall and the Grange hall, but we did a pretty good walk around most of the outside stuff, the church, and the library. We left around lunch time and went to Shelburne Falls. Shelburne Falls was busy too for the holiday weekend. Finally found parking and walked across the Bridge of Flowers. Tried to get lunch at the Village Restaurant but it was standing room only. Went down to the Foxtowne Coffee shop and got lunch with pie and ice cream for dessert. Yum!!
On Sunday we headed up to Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain. There are other orchards nearby, but this is the biggest and most advertised. Went on a wagon ride, picked apples (Abby's first time), visited the animals, and bought some small pumpkins. The restaurant was packed so we headed back to Greenfield for Chinese food for lunch.
After a nap in the car, Abby played outside at home and in the neighborhood until dark. The kid has a great imagination. She found a big pile of sand and made a giant slide, a rocket ship that eats candy, and a castle. We also took elevator rides, walked on the sidewalk (imaginary), and went to pretend stores. Lots of fun, and hard to get her back in the house when it got dark.
Since Monday was a holiday we had time for even more fun. In the morning we slept a little late and then did some baking with the apples. We made muffins and cookies in small batches. Then in the afternoon we went to Brattleboro, VT and walked around the stores there- free popcorn at Sam's, and went to the parks too. On the common Abby had fun putting leaves in the water fountain and seeing if they would sink or float. On the walk back down the hill Abby sang songs and made music. Then we had an early dinner at a riverside restaurant and got to watch the Amtrak train go by too. Abby had a blast. Before heading home we walked through the Coop and played a game of I-Spy. She fell asleep in the car since she hadn't napped and missed the deer that we saw in the dark.

Today we'll do her flu shot this afternoon, pick up pictures, and have dinner at Pete's again. Haven't done grocery shopping all weekend so we'll have to pick up some milk and bread on the way home.

I should mention that all of this activity isn't just because it was a great fall weekend, but it was/is also because we've been blessed with a visit from Grandpa Ron. He's been staying with friends since Thursday night, and will be heading out tomorrow morning. I think we've done a good job of wearing him out with all the walking, but hopefully he's had fun watching Abby play and having time to talk with Aaron.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Family Friday- Columbus Day weekend ahead of us

Columbus Day weekend is ahead of us and my father-in-law is in town. We haven't seen him since July 2008 I think. Abby probably doesn't remember him too well although I've been showing her pictures to try to refresh her memory. Tonight we'll meet him for dinner and then after that we'll see what we plan. I think he's around through the middle of next week.

I do hope to go to the Ashfield Fall festival tomorrow. I always look forward to that. Sometimes I see old friends and family there, and I also like the tag sales and just the general energy from the crowd. It's so much fun! I'll be sure to bring a camera too. If my father-in-law joins us I know he'll have his, and his pictures will be better than mine.

Not sure what else we'll do. I told my husband we could go to an apple orchard or just go for a walk somewhere. There isn't much to do inside though, and the weather will probably be cool. Hopefully we'll get the rain out of the way today and have a clear weekend.

Last night the 3 of us went to Target and got a baby gift for one of Abby's teachers. Amanda is due to have a baby boy in November, and today is her last day teaching. Abby will miss her. I'm sure the baby shower at school/daycare will be fun.

On Tuesday afternoon Abby will get her flu shot for seasonal flu. Still working on getting H1N1 done. We were supposed to do her flu shot yesterday but they ran out. Now they are holding a dose for us. We didn't want to do it today because of dinner plans tonight.

Have a good weekend all! I probably won't post again until Tuesday.

Bonus Post- "The Dragon at the Edge of the World" by Charles White

Often when I come into work I see a gray-haired man sitting at a table writing. Usually he has a cup of coffee with him, and sometimes he has some books that he is taking notes from. Often though he is just there with a notebook and a pen and his coffee. I don't see a laptop or an iPod or anything else. By lunchtime he is gone. I've never said one word to this guy, but I have asked some other staff about him. Finally someone told me who he is. His name is Charles White, and he published a book this summer. He seems to be working on another one. I admire him for being a writer, for coming in every day, and doing his thing. Like I said, I know nothing about him except what I see each day.

Today, Dan P, who works out at desk where the public can actually see him, gave me a link to Charles's book. It's on Amazon, in Kindle form, and on Lulu. You might be able to buy it in some other places too, but mostly it's self-published or published on demand. I'm not sure if the library will ever get a copy even though I suspect it was written here, with research that was done here. It's historical fiction.

If historical fiction is your thing, check out "The Dragon at the Edge of the World". Looks interesting to me. Dan is hoping to get a signed copy for himself. Maybe then I'll get a peek at it. Here's the Lulu link--

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Topical Thursday- National Poetry Day!

It's National Poetry Day today in the UK. I've written a lot of poetry in my life, and occasionally been asked to recite some. I remember once for a school assignment I had to find a poem and recite it. I can't remember what grade I was in. I know that most of my classmates chose poets such as Dickinson, Tennyson, Poe, and other great classics. I went a different route. I picked up a book of children's poetry from the Buckland Library and got stuck on "The Purple Cow". It's short, it's simple, and it was fun. My teacher was not amused, I remember that. I'm not sure if she made me redo the assignment or not, but I remember the poem. I didn't know the name of the poet until today when I looked it up.

So in honor of National Poetry Day, I present to you the Purple Cow--

from Wikipedia-
Purple Cow is the name of a well-known poem by Gelett Burgess, written in 1895:
The original "Purple Cow," from 1895
I never saw a purple cow;
I never hope to see one;
but I can tell you anyhow;
I'd rather see than be one![1]

And from You Tube--

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writing Wednesday- the bald man at the roadside cafe

Writing Wednesday- A different piece of something

An ageless bald man steps out of a white pickup truck and walks into the roadside cafe. He takes a quick look around at the blank faces sitting at checkered tables, and then steps back outside to wait. He pulls a small bundle from the front passenger seat, and unrolls the contents on the hood of the truck. A needle pricked into a fingertip as he checks his sugar level. When the task is completed, he rolls his supplies back up. Just then a sedan with blue license plates pulls up beside him. A smile crosses his face as two young boys climb out of the backseat and they all go inside.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Tangent- Prizes for Writers

One of my RSS feeds is for Bizzia. Every week they post "prizes for writers" where they list ways that people can win books and other prizes for writing. I wish I had more time. A lot of this stuff sounds really cool. Maybe one of my readers can cash in on this.

Here's the most recent post--

Monday, October 5, 2009

Misc. Monday- A book report- "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott

Since Mundane Monday wasn't working out too well because of a lack of work related stuff to post about. I'm switching this to Misc. Monday. Why not?

So I'll do another quick book report or book review thing. I just finished "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. It took me a long time to read this just because I've been so busy or so tired, or both. I didn't get to read it as smoothly as I would have liked, but it's due back at my local library yesterday and I've already renewed it once so I had to finish it over the weekend. What can I say? It was a good book. It was funny, and motivating, and different than the Natalie Goldberg books. With Natalie's books I felt like she was saying "this is THE way to write", but with Anne I felt like there were more paths open to me. I don't know why. There weren't any writing exercises or anything like that. It was just good writing about how to write, or how to live, or something, and what will happen while you are living and writing. A lot of people have read this book, it's not new. Amazon has over 300 reviews of it, and it's still available. So if you are interested in a writing book, go to your local library, your local bookstore, or to Amazon and check this one out. (Umass is missing their copy the last time I checked, and no, I don't have it.) Here's the Amazon link:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Family Friday- the weekend looks like rain

I'm tired today. I'm trying to get caught up on personal stuff like paying bills, but I'm wiped. Fortunately work is slow. Last night we went out. We were supposed to get gas for the car and bread and juice boxes. Instead we went to Target because Abby wanted to go shopping for "toys". She ended up getting her Halloween costume, and I bought some lunch boxes on sale. Not sure if we needed lunch boxes but maybe it will inspire me to make something for MY lunches instead of living on frozen pizzas all the time.
By the time we left Target it was 7pm. Abby refused McDs and really wanted lo mein. We tried one place only to discover that they closed a month ago (Bye bye China Dynasty). So it was off to Amherst for a quest for lo mein and parking. Fortunately my husband was driving and was able to get us a good parking spot, and it only took a couple of tries before we found a place with lo mein. It was new to Abby and the waitress was impressed that Abby could use chopsticks to eat cashews. Abby didn't like the attention though, and refused to eat whenever she thought the waitress was watching her. Needless to say it took a long time to eat dinner. We stopped at Rao's next door for dessert and coffee to go, and by the time we got home it was after 9pm.

This weekend there are a couple of festivals going on. One in Conway, and the other in Orange. Conway is "Festival of the Hills" and the one in Orange is the "Garlic and Arts festival". Honestly, we're not going to either. It's supposed to rain on Saturday at least, and I think we are wiped out. I am pretty sure that Abby and Aaron will enjoy some "down time" puttering around the house tomorrow.

The following weekend is Columbus Day weekend, and the last I heard my father-in-law is planning to visit from Texas. I think his plans are to arrive in New England on Thursday night. I'm hoping we can go to the Ashfield Fall Festival with him, and maybe an apple orchard in Colrain as well. We'll see what the weather does. It's too bad the rain this weekend will probably wipe out the foliage for all the Columbus Day tourists that come next weekend.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Topical Thursday- Banned Books week

Well according to the libraries and the booksellers it's Banned Books week. I took a look at a list of banned books to see if the university had them, but most of them were juvenile books and they were banned because they weren't considered "age appropriate" so that idea quickly fell apart. No point in checking to see if my local library has these books because I live in a small town with a one room library. If they don't have it, it's probably because they don't have room for it, or don't have a budget for it, not because it's been banned.

So what can I say on this subject? The topic reminds me of when I was a kid. In 5th grade my mother and step-father split up, and I had to change schools during April vacation. My maternal grandmother was a librarian at a local library and I had access to anything I felt like reading off the shelves or from the bookmobile. When my new 5th grade teacher found out that I was reading "Catcher in the Rye" she had a fit. She didn't think a book with that kind of language should be read by someone my age. What kind of language? It's been a long time since I read the book. I think it had the "N" word in it, or possibly the "F" word. Can't remember. I do remember my mom defending my reading choices and basically telling the teacher to stuff it. Thankfully I was only in that class for the remainder of the school year. Then in the summer we moved again, back to another small town, and I never had to deal with Mrs. S. again.

Another memory is going back to the big G town, where the children's section has it's own librarian and it's own wing basically. There is or was some rule about how you had to be a certain age, or in a certain grade to borrow books from the adult section. More hassles. In the small towns this wasn't the case. I was used to one room libraries and having access to whatever I wanted. I was pretty peeved at being told by the adult librarian that I needed a parent's permission to check out a certain book by Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary because it wasn't considered a children's book. It was one of the few I hadn't read yet. I did finally manage to read to book, but I can't remember how I did it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Writing Wednesday- An attempt at work

Writing Wednesday- An attempt

Red and black she comes stumbling back to her desk, bleary eyed still from her nap. Japanese jacket stares hard at her computer and pretends not to notice. Flannel shirt works furiously trying to meet a deadline without an assistant. Meanwhile Token Male Leader sits in plexiglass and metal cubed office toiling away at emails and reports. Back on the floor Skinny and athletic returns from a meeting and immediately gets to work checking voice mails and emails all at once. Pink sweatshirt puts her headphones on and continues with her day, while Former cheerleader makes her printer grind away at something by mistake. Another desk is empty, left early because of the flu. Nicely dressed lady does invoices and then checks her favorite websites for new jewelry designs. Meanwhile I sit here and type.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Tangent- Popcorn!

Tangent Tuesday- Popcorn!

Jiffy Pop--

If that doesn't work-




Hot Air--

And last, from my childhood, but I couldn't find a Youtube video for it--

The spaceship--

Not quite the same as the one I remember, but that's about as close as I can get it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mundane Monday- work and school stuff

Things haven't changed with our budget. We are still in limbo, waiting. Sounds like we will be waiting all semester, and hope for some news in January maybe. It's going to be a long fall.

I am starting to wonder if I should be putting my resume together. If you go by the budget numbers, we should be laying off staff, and specifically, by the numbers *I* should be the one getting laid off. We're state workers though, and once you get rid of a job, it's impossible to get it back. We've seen it happen here over and over again. So they will keep me and hope the budget improves. They are stalling. Eventually, some time next year, my boss will retire. That will be the budget cut they need. When she is gone, her salary will hopefully be redistributed but the state will still save money by not having to fill her spot. We're pretty sure that is what will happen. It seems like the script has already been written. She's not the only one leaving either. People who are still a few years away from retirement have been identified, and cross-training is due to begin to start filling the holes for when they are gone. The hiring freeze still seems mostly in effect. Sometimes it gets overridden, but the director seems to be doing a good job of balancing things. When to hire, when not to hire, tough decisions for a brain bigger than mine.

Ultimately I did fill out the form and submit it to get the 90 minute class about how to go back to school. I'm hoping it will result in some sort of appointment or something, one on one with someone, who can help me piece things together to figure out where I stand, what I've accomplished so far, and what I have left to do. Maybe there is some sort of placement tests I can take to earn credits or something. We'll see.

I did look at some job listings, just for kicks. I'm tempted to bail because I'm so bored, but I'd have to move very carefully. Family finances are delicate, and I can't afford to just "quit". So I'll probably stay, wait things out, and hope for the best a few months from now.

Given that we are going to be in limbo for so long, I might repurpose the Monday blog post for a while. Not sure if I should focus on education, or another family update, or something else. I guess I've got time to figure it out. Suggestions welcome.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Family Friday- Fall is here!

This week our highlight was probably visiting a playground at the school in Montague Center. The school has been closed for budget cuts, but the playground is still there. I also saw another playground nearby, but we didn't get to it. We only stayed for 20 minutes or so, but Abby enjoyed it a great deal.

When I was doing the 23 Things stuff, I learned how to insert a picture. I may have forgotten already how to do that. Sad, but true.

I'm hoping this weekend we will probably get to Celebrate Shutesbury on Saturday. Unfortunately I can't find a good link for that. I thought for certain there would be something on the town website or somewhere. Guess not.

Another thing I'm hoping to do is get to Amherst to the festival that is happening there. It might be pushing too much to hit 2 festivals in one day AND get the oil changed in the car, BUT you never know. The Amherst one has been widely advertised. Here's a link--

One that we probably won't get to is the Belchertown Fair, although that's free and fun. It will be crowded, and it's probably just a little too far for us to bother with this year since the other 2 are closer. Unless we go tonight of course, since the other 2 are tomorrow only. I doubt we'll go though. Abby has been pretty wiped out at 5:30pm when we pick her up from school.

In case you are interested here's a link for the Belchertown Fair anyway. I can't resist any link with a dancing cow.

The weather forecast for Sunday is rain, so it should be a quiet day. Oh, except, it's my husband's birthday! So sometime Abby and I need to make a cake, or cupcakes, or both. I don't think he's going out Saturday night so I'm not sure when we'll have time to do it. Maybe Sunday morning.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trendy Thursday- the flu

H1N1, otherwise known as the Swine Flu, has been all over the news lately. At our monthly all-staff meeting at work we had a guest speaker from EH&S (Environmental Health & Safety). She told us all how to wash our hands, sneeze into our elbows, and use sanitizer. Common sense stuff, but it's really being drilled into everyone right now. She also said that "it's in the community, but we're not releasing numbers because we don't want anyone to panic". Great news, huh? So I'm using hand sanitizer like crazy, and should probably get some wipes for the bathroom to wipe things down in there too.

On the other hand, there are things to do this weekend! There are 3 local-type fairs going on this weekend, and of course the Big E. How many will we hit? Too soon to tell. I think we've pretty much decided against the Big E this year. It's expensive, and I don't really want to be in a crowd that size. Kind of hard to avoid an occasional sneeze or whatever there. Really we should just stay home, but face it, we can't all live in bubbles. So we're taking our chances.

I tried to call the doctor's office twice today to schedule my "seasonal flu" shot, but after waiting on hold for ten minutes I gave up. I'm not sure if they have the kid ones ready yet or not, and I need to find out, but I couldn't connect to a human being so I'll have to try again tomorrow.

One of my coworkers has been out for 3 days with "flu-like" symptoms. Is it H1N1? Probably not, but we'll probably never knows. Word is that she is recovering and will probably be back at work tomorrow. We were told by the nice lady from EH&S to stay home for 24 hours after our fever disappeared, but Human Resources is going to make us use our sick time if we do, and who wants to "waste" sick time?

Personally I've got some allergies going on, no fever, nothing major, just sneezing and a tickle in my nose. I know it's an allergy because when I leave work, it's gone.

Speaking of leaving work... I'll post about the local fairs tomorrow, and more!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writing Wednesday- Inside my coat pockets

Last night as I lay in bed, I thought "OH no! Tomorrow is "Writing Wednesday", what am I going to post. As usual I've been procrastinating all day on doing my blog entries, and now I have just a few minutes left before the computer and I part. What to say, what to say.... Okay, I'm going to cheat. Here's an old poem. Not sure if I ever posted it to the blog before, and I am not going to bother to check--

Inside my coat pockets by Me

Inside my coat pockets
the beginning of a poem
I pull out a refrigerator magnet
shaped like a pink frog
or Martha's Vineyard
next I find an old camera
with no pictures left of course
and what do we have over here?
some used Kleenex and a crumbled paper bag
where did this old watch come from?
ah, the orange bottle cap that inspired me
to write this.

That's only pocket one, let me go on.
Up here we have some seashells
mixed in with some sand.
And over here, let me look:
a pen, a business card, and some directions
a flashlight, a bottle of aspirin, and some fruit snacks
a quarter, a receipt, and some hand cream
and more and more fruit snacks.
I have no idea why.

And finally, the last one:
another bottle cap, a bit more kleenex,
my cell phone, and some car keys,
and of course a credit card and some ID.
These are the memories I keep.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Tangents- yes I have a few!

Okay, where to start today? My brain is so scattered!

1. I am slowly reading "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. In a section I read yesterday she talked about school lunches. When one of her students gets stuck, she asks them about school lunches. A simple subject, and yet everyone seems to have a lot to say about them. At first I thought I didn't have much to say on this subject because I didn't eat too many of them in high school. Then I thought about it and realized I could write a whole lot on this after all. I haven't started yet, but it's something to put in the wings for later.

2. Speaking of school lunches, Abby said to me this morning "Put a yogurt and some ketchup and some different foods in my lunch today Mommy." She had the attitude of "Don't screw it up Mom!!!" It was pretty funny. Different foods? Okay, I'll try. I hope chicken was what she wanted, and some rainbow colored goldfish crackers. Of course she got a juice box and strawberries too.

3. I had 2 nightmares last night.
In the first one I was about to jump off this huge metal thing. It was falling apart beneath me, and I was going to try to jump into the water nearby. If I didn't jump, I'd fall to the pavement. Odds are good that either way I was going to die. In the dream I was looking around to make sure my kid and my husband were safe on the ground. I wasn't afraid of the jump, or the consequences.

In the second nightmare there were 3 dying cats in an apartment. They belonged to my mother, but she wasn't there. She was somewhere south, and coming back soon. I went to the apartment to feed the cats, and there was a lot of uneaten cat food on the floor (the wet kind) and there were ants and maggots all over it.

Guess which nightmare woke me up and kept me out of bed for 2 hours? Yeah, the second one. I'm still haunted by it. Gross!!

4. I bought Abby some of that "Crazy Feet" plastic fruit snack stuff. The box showed prints of flowers and some geometric stuff. I figured half would be flowers and half would be the other geometric one. Wrong! Only 1 package out of the 6 had the flowers on it, and I had to open each package to see what the print was. At $3/box the stuff wasn't cheap to begin with. If she doesn't eat the other 5, then that was one expensive fruit snack for the one she did eat. I wrote to Betty Crocker to complain. I doubt they'll do anything.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mundane Monday- Work and school

Right now I'm kind of bored with my job. We don't have a budget still because everyone is worried about Fiscal year 2011. So I'm not being allowed to do much Acquisitions stuff. At the same time, I applied several months ago, for a "reclassification" that would give me a raise. When I do have work, I think I should be getting paid more for it than I am. Sigh. You know what would really help me? I'll tell you.. a 4 year degree. I don't have one. I tried, couldn't figure out what I wanted my major to be, flunked a few math, science, and foreign language classes, and finally got good grades at Community College and got my 2-year degree. I'd like to go back to school but it's tough. Working full-time, kid, husband, only have 1 car...

Right now I have on my desk a form to sign up for a workshop about how to go back to school. I need my supervisor's signature on the form and then I could send it in to sign up. Realistically though, why bother? The odds of me being able to take classes are slim to none. When my daughter gets older I'm going to tell her to stay in school of course, but I'm also going to tell her to get that 4 year degree in something, anything, doesn't matter what. Of course she'll probably rebel against me, drop out, and have a kid when she's 16. God, I hope not. If she does then I guess she'll qualify for a lot of financial aide when she finally realizes I'm right and goes back to school.

A four-year degree would give me access to jobs in a better union. It would make me qualified for jobs that I'm not qualified for now. It's just a piece of paper, but without that piece of paper, I'm on the outside of things looking in.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Family Friday- updates from around Clessonville

Sigh. Just as I'm about to post this I got a message saying I could get back to work again, so I'm going to have to make this quick.

Updates on things- last Friday we buried my maternal grandmother, may she rest in peace. On Tuesday one of her nephews passed away from cancer. His twin brother was at the funeral on Friday. So sad to hear of the passing. This cousin of mine was a true hero, and memories will live on in many hearts. His parents were awesome too, and I attended both of their funerals. I will probably miss his though. It's too far away for me to go to it.

My mother and my brother are still fighting, and I think we're about to get in the middle of it. So far I've been on my brother's side, but managed to keep speaking to my mom. I have a feeling that could change any day. I'm sort of waiting for her to lash out at me.

We've had a crazy week. Last weekend was fairly quiet. Plans for the fair disappeared in the misty air as my husband had to work on Saturday and it was raining anyway. On Sunday the weather was all too nice, and the traffic leading to the fair was a long jam that sent me away.

Monday and Tuesday found us at the dentist and doctor's offices for Abby. All went well. She did great at the dentist, letting the hygienist brush her teeth. Her ears were good at the doc's the next day. Preschool seems a little concerned that her language skills may be behind. We mentioned this to the doc, and will follow up in April with him to see if she needs an evaluation and any Early Intervention. I'm thinking she is fine, but we'll keep our ears open anyway.

Last night hubby didn't get to sleep. He took a short nap as Abby was getting ready for bed, but then he went into work from midnight-8:30am. He came home so I could get Abby to school, and then he was back to work by 11am. It's been a long couple of days for him. He's exhausted now, and we'll be trying to get supper early so he can get to bed. I expect Saturday will be quiet because of this.

We do still need to get some Fall clothes shopping done for Abby, and I need to get some birthday shopping done for Hubby. Also the Big E is starting around now, and I'm not sure if we'll go or not. It could happen I suppose, I just don't know. Lots of things up in the air. The 26th is looking busy with car repairs in the morning and 2 local fairs/festivals to attend after that. Hopefully during the week next week things will be "normal" and quiet for the most part.

Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Topical Thursday- Death

Well it's been a tough few weeks for me. My grandmother was fading, and then passed away on Labor Day. On Tuesday this week, one of my cousins (first cousin to my mother) passed away from cancer. He was 67, and the local paper in New Hampshire wrote a couple of articles about what a hero he was.

There has also been the death of Patrick Swayze, and Mary Travers. Mary of course was famous for her time with "Peter Paul & Mary". As a young child I loved "Puff" played on my step-father's reel-to-reel tape player over and over.

There have been others who have died this week too. I saw in the obits a woman named Ann-Marie who was my age, maybe a year older, leaving behind a child. Not sure what the cause of death was, and I did not know her, but sad to see none the less. It's hard to accept these things.

Death is always with us. Babies are born every day, and people of all ages die every day. My grandmother was a role model to me. I'm sure Patrick, Mary, and my cousin Dan, and Ann-Marie were role models to many too.

So what can I take away from some of this? I hope that to my daughter I will be a role model too. My daughter will not have the grandparents I had growing up, but maybe if she has kids some day, they will have a grandmother who they look up to. It's up to me to do my part to try to give my daughter that. It's up to me to be the best I can be, and be a good wife and a good mother, and put my best foot forward. No sense on dwelling on myself when there is work to be done.

Work by the way is slow. Conditions near my desk are unpredictable and at times very non-conducive to actually being productive, but I show up every day anyway. That's the best I can do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Writing Wednesday- I 'm going to jump in!

Writing this as I post it--

I'm just going to jump in! The lake is freezing cold and was covered with a thin mist this morning.
I'm going to jump in anyway. No, please don't! Let's leave the ducks alone. It's their turn now to enjoy the water and the beach, and the chilly air.
I'm going to jump in! I heard some of my writing might be published online soon. No confirmation on that yet. We'll just have to wait and see.
I'm going to jump in! One-Minute Writer today was about Role models and celebrities.I thought about posting on that, but while I was all for role models, I don't care much for celebrities.
I'm going to jump in! I'm back I guess. After taking a little rest, and showers at 1am to clear my head, and dreams of screaming, here I am.
I'm going to jump in! Is this a poem or a rambling? I'm not sure. It's just here. Now. Fresh in your face.
I'm going to jump in! The water is cold, but his arms are warm, and slowly I am melting into fleece and comfort, and acceptance. Ready for whatever happens next.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Taking a few days off

Grandma A. passed away yesterday- September 7, 2009- Labor Day. I'm working today, but will be taking the rest of the week off. Funeral is Friday, 9/11. Figures.

Anyway, I'll try to get this blog going next week when I'm feeling better. No sense in beating myself up trying to do it this week.

Rest in Peace Grandma. I love you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Family Friday- A long weekend ahead and some Abby updates

Abby's best friend at preschool is gone, maybe temporarily, maybe long-term. Not sure at this point. I have the mom's cell phone number and I'm supposed to set up a play date for her. In the meantime Abby has a pretend friend with the same name and they play together a lot. I wish she would gravitate back to her other friends, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm sure it will in time.

Another Abby-ism is that she has gotten in a rut with her clothes. She insists on wearing the same outfit every day for many days in a row. So Aaron has been doing laundry EVERY night, sometimes just rinsing things out in the sink, but he has been making it possible for her. He gets the chore of helping her get dressed in the morning, and helping her get her pajamas on at night, so it's really between the two of them. It saves time in the morning if she can wear what she wants to wear. Otherwise we have a tantruming child, who is not getting dressed, and that doesn't really help our schedule much. I'm hoping this is a short-term phase and we can break her of it soon. I certainly want to try.

We also want to get her out of our bed, but we've been saying that for over 2 years now, so don't hold your breath.

Meanwhile it's Labor Day Weekend, or just about. We promised a coworker that we'd visit a tag sale in Greenfield, so we've got that on our radar. If it's warm enough, I know Abby would like to go for one last swim. I'm not feeling well though (some kind of stomach thing) so I'll have to talk Aaron into it. Not sure if that will happen or not. We also have an invite to stop by my mom's house and visit my brother and his son. We tried this last weekend, but Abby was asleep in the car when we got there. I'm not too worried about the invite because I think, or I'm hoping, we'll have lots of opportunities for this.

Saturday night Aaron is going out, as usual, and my dad is coming over for supper with Abby and I. That should be different. The house is a mess, but I don't care. I haven't seen my dad since June and I miss him. Can I say that? I miss my dad. Not sure why, but I do.

On my radar is to see my maternal grandma again. With or without Abby and Aaron, I don't know yet, but it's on my radar. And of course there is that playdate that I haven't set up yet. We'll fill in time with grocery shopping too, and some other things, but I really don't have everything planned out. It's good to be flexible on the weekends and try to "go with the flow" as much as possible. The downside of that is sometimes we get lazy and get nothing done at all, but hopefully we'll find some middle ground.

Probably won't be posting on Monday since I won't have internet. So have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Trendy Thursday- Everyone is talking about Universal Health Care

On Facebook this morning I noticed several friends with statuses that reflected a view in favor of Univeral Health Care. No one should be denied health care because of an inability to pay. No one should die because they don't have insurance. Etc. etc. Keep this as your status all day.

Okay,I get it. I get mad when I hear that when my mom lived in Florida she never went to the dentist because there was no state program giving her dental care. I was upset when a single-mom with 4 kids in Florida said she doesn't take her kids to the doctor on a regular basis because she can't afford it. I get that part, and many years ago I was in favor of universal health care. I'm older now though, and I don't think the issue is as simple as I once thought it was. What about the rich guy, a celebrity, or maybe just a professor or a business person or whatever who can afford a private doctor out of his pocket? Should he be required to have insurance when he can pay cash? I don't think so. I don't think Michael Jackson's doctor accepted BlueCross or Medicare, do you?

Anyway,it's a hugely debated issue and a lot of people have already weighed in on it. Here are a few highlights that I found just doing a quick search of the internet--

I kind of like this one because it's so simple--

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Writing Wednesday- a short piece of fiction

Writing Wednesday

I don't have much time, and there is a lot of noise here. Let's see what I can do. I wrote something last night, but it's all in my head. It never actually made it to print. Going to try to do it now...

It was a warm and sunny August morning in Laramie, Wyoming. A Mexican maid took her tablecloth and spread it on the hotel sidewalk and began to set out her tortillas to warm and bake for the day. Inside Room 106 a man showered, and his bride cried. Finally she pulled herself together and went out to greet the sun. She walked barefoot to the hotel lobby, hoping no one would complain. She filled 2 styrofoam cups with cheap coffee, one black, the other with powdered cream and sugar. She put a bagel and a muffin in the pocket of her sweatshirt, and went back to the room again. The lobby had been empty and no one had seen her. She passed the maid still on the sidewalk, and paused outside the room to watch the chain of Harley Davidson motorcycles rumble down the road toward the Interstate, on their way to or from Sturgis, she wasn't sure. She went back to 106 and set the coffees down, and took the muffin and bagel out. One sip of the powdered coffee and she knew she'd need to dump it down the bathroom sink. As she tried to remember where the truckstop was, her man came out of the bathroom, smiling and calm. The bruises on his body told her he must be in some pain, but he obviously didn't want to discuss it. She offered him the breakfast, but he declined so she dumped out both coffees and put the food in the trash.

A knock at the door. The maid was asking in Spanish if they were gone yet. It wasn't quite checkout time, but all the other guests had left. "No, not yet" the bride replied, "Just a few more minutes please". So the maid went back to the sidewalk and her tortillas. A little boy appeared carrying a small pinata. "Is it time yet Momma?", he asked. "No", she smiled. After Room 106 was clean, she would finish with the fiesta preparations. There would be a birthday party for the child with the pinata, and they would have all afternoon for it, until 3pm.

At 3pm, check-in time would come and new guests would arrive. By then the couple in Room 106 would be somewhere else on the Interstate in their dusty rental car, heading somewhere to spend another night in an air-conditioned hotel room, with a stop or two for truck stop food and gas along the way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday Tangents

I'm going to make good use of this one! I'm so unfocused today with all the noise and everything going on. So here's a few "tangents".

The "Crunchy Chicken" blog mentions a book called "Sleeping Naked is Green...". I'm not going to read the book, but the blog write up is good. I used to sleep naked a long time ago, but I decided that having a lower heating bill by putting some clothes on is also a green thing to do.

On another tangent - we went grocery shopping last night and my husband and daughter reached for the Golden Oreos. For some reason I think that regular Oreos are a no-no, but an occasional "golden" one is okay. Then they reached for "Double-stuffed" and I thought "well that's not so good", but they went in the cart anyway. After my daughter went to bed, I found my husband had opened the package before I did so I had a couple. Then I looked at the calories. 2 cookies have 150 calories! YIKES! Today I looked up the calories for the other kinds. 3 of the regular Oreos (chocolate cookie, white frosting) have 140 calories. The golden cookies actually have more calories than the chocolate ones. Of course if you only eat the frosting then you are only getting 20 calories, or 40 calories for the double-stuffed. My daughter usually just eats the frosting. I think I'm going to have to stay away from them. A bowl of cereal with milk has less calories and is more filling.

On a third tangent... after visiting the nursing home this morning, I came back to work for more construction. I was hoping they'd do it while I was gone, but no such luck. So I opened up some music and put my headphones on for a while. Here's what I was listening to--

The noise got louder and I finally had to resort to ear plugs. I HATE ear plugs. I'm hoping that these guys call it a day soon. I don't think I can keep the plugs in for very long. Meanwhile we have computer issues that are not my husband's responsibility and my work flow is being hindered a great deal. Oh darn. Maybe I should have stayed at the nursing home longer, but that wouldn't have done any good. Oh well.

Join me tomorrow for Writing Wednesday!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mundane Monday- life at work in the construction zone

I work in a university library, in case you don't remember. So for my first Mundane Monday post, I am going to focus on the University part. It's a week until the fall semester starts, and coming in this morning you would have thought the contractors just woke up and realized they have a deadline to meet! My first clue was at the edge of campus where a traffic light wasn't working and a policeman was directing us through some road work. A short while later I saw a tractor trailer blocking my path across another street. When I finally got on the short path to my parking garage, I had to make a detour around a large crane. Out of the garage, 2 more cranes were in view as some much needed work was no doubt in progress.

Some of my coworkers have blogged about the noise and construction on a regular basis, and it has been bad. For me it's bad THIS week. Tomorrow they put up a wall that cuts through our work area, and makes our department smaller. Everyone else nearby has been relocated, but there was no room to move the 10 of us I guess, so we are stuck. The Associate director and her secretary moved today.

I've gotten used to the pounding and drilling that occurs around the building, but the sound of them ripping up the carpet this afternoon, where the wall will be, sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. I tried to escape to coffee. One coffee machine had some nasty green stuff in the water bottle. The other was being repaired by a man wearing a "Yankees" shirt. This is Red Sox country folks! No excuse for that. I'm hoping he's done by now. Anyway, it's been a long day.

Tomorrow I plan to escape for a few hours by visiting my grandmother at the nursing home. It's not much, but it should help.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Burning Man 2009 starts next Monday and it's got me thinking about "Home". Where is home? Is it here--

Is it here--

or here

I wish I was better at inserting pictures into documents.

For some, this might be home--

Hopefully home isn't this

or this--

I wouldn't mind if this was home--

View 42.595027, -72.795915 in a larger map

And now I'm getting nervous!

Having posted that I plan to get more serious, I'm worried that I won't be able to live up to it. I had hoped to carve out some time in the evenings after my daughter goes to bed to do some writing. I even thought I might compose a few posts in advance. So far it hasn't happened yet. I'm still reworking my plans too. As I said, I don't want to copy C.Beth by doing Fridays as a "fiction" day. Here's a new thought-

Mundane Mondays- Work related stuff
Tangent Tuesdays- my ramblings
Writing Wednesdays- creative writing
Topical Thursdays- current events
Family Fridays- family updates

Does that work? I hope so.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Getting more serious about this blog!

I want to make a more dedicated effort to post here. I haven't been doing much writing this summer, and I'm hoping to inspire myself.

Starting next week, either August 31st or September 1st I'm hoping to blog Monday-Friday. One idea I have is to post different things on different days. Here's one thought, but I'm open to suggestions:
Mommy Mondays- family etc
Tantrum Tuesdays- rants about whatever is irking me
Working Wednesdays- posts about library, education, work, economy, etc.
Talkative Thursdays- current events, books, politics
Fictional Fridays- okay, I need to change this because C. Beth already has a "Friday Fiction" on her blogs, but I do want to dedicate one day to fiction writing.

IF I blog on Saturdays and Sundays at all, unlikely for the most part, they would just be like Surprise Saturdays or Spontaneous Sundays or something since I don't have internet access on those days usually.

Let me know what you think, and PLEASE suggestion something. I need to figure out how to change this so I'm not copying the other blogger who does "Friday Fiction".

Friday, August 21, 2009

For myself!

I've been a little selfish lately. I've been taking showers at night instead of in the morning because in the morning I'm always rushed, and Abby usually comes into the bathroom to talk to me at least once. I've also found myself sitting on my butt when I could be doing something productive. Lazy, yes. Then again it's 80-90 degrees outside and humid. I'm wiped. On Thursday I did a huge thing for myself. I left work for 2 hours and I went to the mall. I bought shoes, got my haircut, and spent over $100 on clothes just for me. Nothing for Abby. I refused to step foot in Target or Walmart! I wanted good stuff. As it turns out the shoes are from Payless and they are a little too big, but I know I won't wear them often. I just wanted something that wasn't sneakers or Tivas. Today, Friday, I did something else for myself. I interviewed at the administration building to ask for an upgrade. I want to keep my same job, I just want more money and more recognition for doing it. Yes that will help my family, but really it will help me. It will feed my ego if this goes through. So yay for me this week! Abby has been all over her daddy this week, and doesn't want much to do with me except an occasional story or bedtime snuggle and I've been fine with that. I've had some space to myself, and I'm not complaining. Sometimes a little "me" is needed and I've definitely made use of it this week.

Monday, August 17, 2009

On Writing and Reading

Since Abby went to bed so early this weekend I had plenty of time for cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, reading, and pondering the art of writing.

One task is to read "Are you somebody?" by Nuala O'Faolain. This is an author that had been mentioned in one of my writing classes, and I've check out "Are you somebody?" and "Almost there". I need to revisit my notes from class I think. I'm having a tough time getting through "Are you somebody?". The author is from Dublin, and I do not understand some of her vocabulary because it is just a little different than my own. I feel very unconnected to her for a variety of reasons- she's older, no kids, not married from what I can tell although I might have missed that part, from Dublin, and much better educated than I am. I was ready to return "Are you somebody?" to the library today and just give up on it. Then I picked up "Almost there" and saw that she made references to it. Both are memoirs. Now I'm thinking I may give the books another chance, and this time try reading them not as pleasure reading, but as books that I might learn something about writing from. I don't know. It's pretty tough going. We've both got alcoholic mothers, but beyond that, I can't really relate to her at all. So we'll see how it goes. I did get fairly far into "Are you somebody?" just because I don't quit on books easily, but right now I'm trying to decide if these are a waste of time for me and I would be better off moving on. I read today on Amazon that the author passed away last year, but she's got 3 or 4 other books that I haven't read yet, most of which are available at the library. I don't know if I should try to crack them open or not.

Some balance of course

So Saturday was great, which meant that Sunday couldn't possibly be fun pretty much. Abby and my husband were tired, and we had grocery shopping to do. Plus I really wanted to see my maternal grandmother. I hadn't seen her since my mom moved back up here 6 weeks ago. Between visiting with my mom, Abby being sick, and everything else it just hadn't been possible. It was time to make it a priority. So another hot day, and I resolved that some air conditioning in the car would do both Abby and my husband well.

We got a late start, after a huge battle over shoes, to Northampton. Found a parking spot, and went to "Tokyo & Taipei" for lunch. It was hot inside, and they had the doors open. Food was slow to arrive, and Abby was miserable waiting. It was good when it came though, and I was glad we went. Next stop was to see grandma. We took the long way I think, maybe trying to get Abby to settle down for a nap, but it didn't work. I went inside alone to visit, and saw that grandma is not doing well. She can't stand up anymore on her own, and the staff said she is a "hoyer-lift" now. I have to look that up, but basically it means she has a special wheelchair now and has to be lifted out of bed by staff etc. She wasn't wearing her glasses, and I couldn't tell if she could hear me. She wasn't talking much, just resting in bed. Usually when we visit she is sitting in front of the nurses station, but not anymore. She's gone downhill since my last visit and it really made me sad. Her hands are all black and purple too, and I'm not sure why. It was all I could do not to cry. I went outside and reported back to my family. Abby brought her ball inside and my husband held her as Abby passed the ball to grandma, and grandpa passed it back and smiled. We got her to smile at least. Abby was very shy, as usual, and we didn't stay long. Grandma indicated that she was taking a picture of us in her mind. I felt like I was visiting her death bed. I cried in the car, quietly. I don't know if she will stay like this for long, but I know that she can't have much further down to go before she's gone. So sad.

Next stop was back to Amherst to take my husband in for a visit at Urgent Care. He had evidently made a phone call while I was visiting grandma. I dropped him off, and then took Abby to Dunkin for a bottle of milk. It started to rain so Abby and I waited in the car for him to get done. She was watching her dvd anyway. We were sad not to visit the park again, but the rain gave us no choice.

When he was done, we dropped off the prescription and got groceries, then picked up the meds and came home. As we neared the lake I could tell that it had not rained at home yet. The state beach was very crowded and I could see familiar cars there, and I knew our friends were having fun. Then I peeked in the backseat and saw my little girl sound asleep. We got home, got the groceries in, and got her to bed. It wasn't even 6:30pm yet. Another day with no nap, and no supper, and she was done. She slept through the night on our bed.

I'm worried about my grandma of course. I've never seen her this bad. I don't know if she is starting to let go now that my mom is in the area, or whether this would still be happening if my mom was still in Florida. It's tough though. Very sad.

Wendell and Montague Old Home Days and Lake Wyola

Saturday was a busy day. It was very hot too, a typical August summer day in the upper 80s or 90s. My husband had some projects to do around the house, so I took Abby out and about. Our first stop was Wendell Old Home Day. We don't live in Wendell, but we live close enough to go for walks in Wendell, and we have a Wendell library card etc. I knew we'd see some friends there because we went last year too. We parked at the library, but Abby had no interest in going inside except to wash her hands. Then we headed over to the common and saw the horses and other animals. I scanned the crowd and found the kids area and our friends. Abby latched on to her friend Liam from preschool even though he was occupied with some of his other friends. Abby's former friend Liam, from our old daycare was there too. Last year she clung to him at Wendell Old Home Day, but this year she wanted nothing to do with him. So we hung out with the 2 Liams and some other families until it was time for the parade to start. It was delayed I guess because the stilt walkers weren't ready, and then the fire truck had trouble getting into position because someone blocked it with a car. Eventually we marched in the parade, twice around the town common. I wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't. Wendell has a reputation for being a little different, and the parade is true to that. People dress up very silly, and make music playing kazoos and other instruments. It's not very organized from the looks of things, but it's fun.

Here's a video from Wendell Old Home Day in the 1970s some time.

After doing the parade, Abby said goodbye to our friends and told me it was time to go. Before we could leave though, I had to go past the library tag sale and make a donation by buying Abby a Winnie the Pooh. Then I ran into an old friend of mine who I had not seen in many years. I first met her in 1982 when my mother and step-father split up. She was a friend of my mothers, and her middle boy was/is my brother's age. I babysat for her in 1982, and a few years later moved into her home. I lived with her family for a year while I was a sophomore in high school. She was "my mother, my sister, and my friend" as I wrote often in those days. I am happy to see she is remarried and living in Scotland these days, and maybe, hopefully she will get to move back to the States sometime. She says she is homesick. It was great to see her and see that she is well. She's an incredible person and her life's stories would be a great read, although I don't know if she writes.

Anyway, Abby and I left Wendell and went home for some cold water and sunblock. We got some ice pops and then headed to Montague for Old Home Day there. (Sorry no video for that one.) We passed my mom on the way. She was headed to Lake Wyola, but turned around and joined us. We found parking and did a tour of the town common and the church. Not much to hold our interest, although we did get some more stuffed animals at the church tag sale. Abby refused to use the portapotties so I brought her back to the car for our emergency potty. Then we watched the parade. This parade is much more organized. There were lots of fire trucks from various towns, old tractors, a local softball team, dancers, and more. Abby's favorite thing was that many of the participants threw candy at the spectators. Abby got a bag full. At one point the fire trucks were making A LOT of noise and Abby covered up her ears, but there was candy to be gathered too and she was SO conflicted. She wanted that candy, but.. finally the father of another child ran out into the road, gathered a handful of it, gave his wife a few pieces and deposited the rest into Abby's bag and ran away. She tried to thank him but he couldn't hear her over the sirens. When the parade was over, I bought Abby and my mom popsicles at the store and we sat outside while they ate them. Then my mom left, and I brought Abby home.
Abby was still go-go-go though. I couldn't get her to eat lunch or take a nap so I turned her over to my husband. He took her to the state beach at Lake Wyola and got her to eat a hot dog and took her swimming while I took a short break. I caught up with them a while later and my mom was there too. My husband and my mom eventually left, and Abby and I played in the water for another 2 hours before I finally dragged her away at 6pm. We had the stroller with us, and I got her in that for the walk home. She was asleep before I got to the driveway.
I carried the stroller in, with her still asleep, and later moved her into her room. She pretty much slept the whole night. No supper, but she was wiped out. A happy kid. At 2am when she woke up briefly, I did her meds and put her to bed with me.

A great day!

Abby's Friday I guess -doctor appointment results etc.

I was going to post about the weekend and then I realized I hadn't updated about Abby's appointment on Friday. Friday was kind of a messy morning for us. My husband had to be at work early but I had to be at work late. Abby's doctor has been hard to get an appointment with, so although it wasn't the ideal day or time for us, we had to do it. So I dropped my husband off at work, and then I took Abby to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. She didn't want to eat there though, so after getting our breakfasts I brought her up to the Durfee Conservatory near the health services. Abby ate her breakfast and mine, minus the bagels. We had to make an emergency run to find a rest room, but all in all, it was an enjoyable trip to the gardens. She was singing "Jingle Bells" as we went inside for her appointment. My husband joined us in the waiting room, but the doctor was running behind like all doctors do. Unfortunately the cell phone rang, and back to work my husband went. Surprisingly, amazingly, oh my god where did this child come from.... Abby did great with getting weighed and doing her vitals, even without my husband there. I'm still in shock. She completely cooperated. When we did see the doctor, she cooperated again by letting him check her ears and all. I've never seen her behave so well at an appointment. She does still have some fluid in her left ear, but the doc thinks it will clear up on its own. No more antibiotics for now. We go back in about a month to check on it. After the appointment she got a sticker for herself and one for her best friend. Then I had to schedule the follow-up appointment. As I was doing that, my phone rang and I arranged to meet my husband at the bus stop because I still had his coffee and breakfast in the car. When we met he decided he could spare a few minutes to go with me to Abby's school. We arrived at school just as the Bounce house was being set up for their special Alumni afternoon. Students who have moved on to Kindergarten and elementary school were invited back for a visit, and festivities were planned for the end of the day. So all the kids were excited, and some of the teachers were getting things ready, and we arrived right in the thick of it. We left Abby who was all excited and happy, and returned to work.
When we picked her up the party was over, and she was tired. She had a fantastic day, and even got brave enough to do the Bounce House (her first time).

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Wow! I got spam! I just deleted a comment left by "RealitySurfer". It was basically an ad for a dvd or something. Something to do with LSD. Not sure how or why they chose to spam here, but it's gone. So Surfer dude, if you are out there, I'm sorry, but it just didn't seem right for this blog. Good luck with your ads, but don't do it here. Thanks!

A working thing..

I am a lowly "classified" employee at the state university. Several months ago my supervisors applied to have my position "upgraded", but it was denied. I was planning to wait until fall to appeal, but because we are going through a lot of internal reorganization, I went ahead and inquired a few weeks ago. My union told me that I couldn't appeal because I hadn't applied for the upgrade myself, so I inquired with the administration about what I needed to do. Fortunately the man in the administration building was very friendly and said I could appeal after all. So that is what I'm doing. Two other people in my department also tried to get upgraded and were denied. I tried to see if we could all appeal together, strength in numbers and all, but I was told no, we have to appeal individually. To the best of my knowledge the other 2 haven't done it. I did though. I filled out the form, made phone calls, wrote emails, etc. etc. and today I got a phone call saying my interview is next Friday. Next week I will get a list of questions that will be asked in the interview so I can prepare for them. I know my supervisors will help me too. I'm really hoping this goes well for me. I've been working way above what I get paid for for a long time, years. If I do get this, then I will probably apply for another upgrade after my supervisor retires next year. I'm a "12" now, trying for a "14", but I am doing the work of a "16". Right now I am the lowest paid person in the department, and the lowest paid person in the new merged department, not including students. So cross your fingers and all of that...

I feel bad for the other 2 if I get it and they don't, but I can't hold their hands and walk them through the process. I've already given them the forms, the online info, and everything else they need to do it themselves. I know it's up to them to take the initiative and do the rest on their own.


Monday, August 10, 2009

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.. life goes on

I posted previously that I was learning "23 things", and have a separate blog set up for that. Well, I spent some more time on Picassa 3 this weekend, and boy, I wish I had more time! I started making some slide shows, and moving some pictures around, and really got excited. I wish I had internet at home, there is so much I could do! I also put some more pictures on my digital picture frame that I keep at work. I think I'll put some older ones on there too at some point- maybe some wedding pictures or old Burning Man pictures. For now though I got the most recent Abby pictures up on there so I can look at them all day long when my eyes need a break from the computer monitor.

In other news, we went on a quest for a Sparkling, Soft, pink pony this weekend and finally found one... well, not sparkling, but pink and soft anyway. We actually found 2, a small one and a larger one. Thank you Toys R Us! The larger one is a Gund, and it was missing a tag. The employee rang it up for us at $3.98. I couldn't believe it. Amazon sells it for $45! What a deal!!

And how sad is it that our weekend was consumed by this quest for the pink pony? Sunday was our wedding anniversary, 6 years. We gave each other a card, and we went out to a buffet place for lunch (with the kid). We knew she wouldn't eat or behave, so we opted for a place that didn't include a toy with the meal, and was cheap for kids. Next door we had fun looking at the puppy store, but we kept a distance. Our main mission was the trip to Toys R Us though. Oh well. Maybe next year we'll get a real babysitter or something.

Abby's still being bothered by ear infections. This has been going on for at least 3 weeks now. We've got an appointment with her pediatrician on Friday. She'll be done with this round of antibiotics by then. I hope she doesn't need tubes. We considered tubes 2 years ago, and almost got them. Last year she did better and it wasn't an issue. Now I'm getting worried again. I hope her left ear gets better before Friday.

It's been too long since I've seen my dad, my maternal grandmother, and a few others. My brother turns 29 next week. Wow! And his youngest kid, my nephew, turns 1 year old this Friday I think. Still haven't met the boy. Oh well.

Here's a link to the pony