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.