Notable Quotes

If I could outlaw one word, the obvious others aside, it would be fucking 'patriotism.' It's nationalism in better clothing.  You know who were patriots?  The Nazis, and those Japanese fucks who bombed Pearl Harbor, and the Serbs who rounded up all those men and boys and put them in holes in the ground outside Srebrenica before going back to rape their women, at least until someone tried bombing sense into them.  Patriots built Auschwitz.  You start believing that 'my-country-wrong-or-right' shit, and it always ends up at the same place: a pit filled with bones.

Moxie, Jennifer Matthieu


Really? I have to pay?

Eight years ago, when I was leaving a school, my closest friends there bought me a Kindle.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of the company behind that device, nor am I a huge fan of ebooks.  However, I find it incredibly useful in two ways: I use Instapaper a lot, saving many longer articles for later reading, and I use Netgalley and Edelweiss to read eARCs.  It is easier to carry it around than a book, allowing me to always have reading material when waiting at the doctors, or at the post office, or where ever a long line or wait might occur.

Over the summer, my old one died and I had to purchase a new.  The new one has features I don't particularly like, including removal of the side panels that made it easy to "flip" pages (it could be held in either hand, allowing for either thumb to do the work; the new one makes you touch the screen, sometimes missing and going back instead of forward, or making it difficult to go more than one or two pages back), or having the controls for font size be so sensitive that a slight brush of the finger in the wrong place can make have you go from this to



While setting mine up, since I don't share my notes or highlights with others nor do I shop for books online, I turned off ads.  Then I found this in my email:

How venial is Bezos?  I have to pay to remove ads and offers from my device?  Because I don't want to continually get junk mail from his company, I have to pay?? 

I know this isn't enough to convince people not to shop there.  But it is proof that this is an evil company not above extorting money so that you can be left alone.


It's still happening

I blogged about this last year, but I'm still puzzled!

It rained here for nearly 24 hours (as I type, it may have ended... or perhaps it's just a pause) so the ground is pretty soaked.  My Big Girl has either learned to count or tell time, because the sprinkler system goes off after midnight, then around 3am, and then just before 5am, which is when she wakes me for breakfast. 

This morning, as she was nudging me to get up and feed The Herd, the sprinklers went off.  As it was pouring rain.  As if the little patch of lawn in front of the building hadn't gotten enough water. 

If the system can be turned off (at the end of the season, or during a drought), surely it can have a sensor that says it's already wet out?


Notable Quotes

We are all anthologies. We are each thousands of pages long, filled with fairy tales and poetry, mysteries and tragedy, forgotten stories in the back no one will ever read.
The most we can do is hold out our hands and help each other across the unknown.

Neverworld Wake, Marisha Pessl


Last (academic) year

As promised, here are some of the answers posed by Quo Vadis...

What went well this month year?
It's a small thing, but I finally managed to get off The Drug From Hell and regain something of a normal life. Hiding how horrible things were when I was in Denver was something that went mildly well.  Managing to have a good time in Dublin despite physically feeling like all bed was the only place for me.  No relapses since February (maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that, in case it jinxes things!).

Which goals did you complete this month year? (Congratulate yourself! Celebrate your successes.)
Honestly, none.  I set goals, but things just didn't work out.  The biggest success (which wasn't/isn't a goal) was to be able to keep working... most of the time. 

Which goals still need work? What do you need to do to complete these goals?
  • continue decluttering
  • keep my living space tidy
  • better work/life/illness balance
  • be a better friend (reach out to friends more, by note and email)
What I need is to stop being so hard on myself about not meeting those goals, because the combination of the medications I'm taking frequently leaves me with no strength at the end of the day.

What didn’t go so well this month year?
See the above: continuing to have relapses, then trying to integrate all the different medications (by themselves I'm sure they're fine, but all together... not fun).  

What were some of your roadblocks this month year? What can you do to get around these roadblocks?
Finding the energy to get things going on a regular basis.  Yes, I've not had to go in to work for ten weeks (ok, I did go in but not often and it was on my schedule), so you'd think there'd be energy to spare but not really. Reminding myself to take things slowly and to not stress/blame myself when things don't get done as preferred will be a huge roadblock to get around.

What lessons did you learn this month year? 
That even baby steps count.  And that behind a seeming normal facade can lurk someone dealing with ill health, physical and/or mental.  Being grateful for friends and family.  And that small kindnesses go a very long way.


Notes from Mt. Bookpiles

Not bad for four months of reading... except I'm still way behind my annual goal (maybe I should rethink that?  maybe not?)  And with the school year starting, who knows how much I'll be able to read.  Sigh.  I need to get a job that pays me to do nothing more than read all day.  Anyone?

Children's/Young Adult Fiction
Children's/Young Adult Non-Fiction
Children's/Young Adult Speculative Fiction
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too; Christopher Emdin
  • Meeting Wise; Kathryn Parker Boudett
Speculative Fiction


September Restart

After ten weeks, summer vacation has ended. I took most of the time off, reading many books (although I'm still 15 books behind goal for the year) and relaxing.  Many naps were had, some with my Big Girl curled up next to me, some without.  If you haven't discovered Rake on Acorn, do so now before Season 5 debuts.  It's worth binge watching.

Sadly, all good things must end.  And with that comes some reflection on the past and goal setting for the future.  The Quo Vadis blog suggested these as reflection points at the end of each month:
  • What went well this month?
  • Which goals did you complete this month? (Congratulate yourself! Celebrate your successes.)
  • Which goals still need work? What do you need to do to complete these goals? (Write these in the Priorities section below.)
  • What didn’t go so well this month?
  • What were some of your roadblocks this month? What can you do to get around these roadblocks?
  • What lessons did you learn this month?
I asked my staff to reflect on similar points in June.  Now it's time for me to do the same professionally and personally.  I'll post the personal responses as I have them.



For a while now, Philosophy Mom has been posting a Friday Five (which I love reading, but rarely think to do).  Then, earlier this month, Terry posted a Random Facts About Me That May Surprise You and, well... I thought, I can do that (posting, that is; can't guarantee your level of surprise)!  Here goes:

Do you make your bed?  Depends on how you define "making" as my comforter/duvet is usually pulled up but beyond that, it's a mess.  I blame The Herd, particularly the one that burrows under my comforter every morning, making it difficult to do more without disturbing her.  This seems to be a cat thing, as years ago my mother complained that I hadn't made my bed only for me to inform her that bedsheets didn't usually purr (or move away from your hand... although that'd make a great horror short story!).

What's your favorite number? A former colleague used to say that her favorite number was Ε (no, I don't get it either) but I've never met another person who had a favorite number.

What's your dream job? I'd say the one I have now, but there are parts I don't enjoy.  And isn't the idea of a "dream job" supposed to be the one you love absolutely?  Thinking about it, there's no job I'd love absolutely so perhaps I already have it.

If you could, would you go back to school? I work in a school, so... There are things I would love to study, and taking a class or two with people who are as excited about the topic as I am wouldn't be bad.  But going back for a specific degree?  No, thanks. 

Can you parallel-park?  Of course.  It's easier now with the rear-view camera, but I've been parallel-parking for nearly 40 years.

A job you had at which people would be surprised?  Chambermaid at a resort in the Adirondacks or personal maid for an older couple on the Cape.  Both were summer jobs and gave me a great appreciation for the work that chambermaids in hotels do. Tip well, people!

Do you think aliens are real?  It's incredibly unlikely that we are the only planet with life on it, but what that looks like, or how advanced it is, is beyond my imagining. It's also incredibly unlikely that anyone has visited, much less created advanced ancient civilizations or abducted us for medical experimentation.

Can you drive a stick shift?  If this answer surprises anyone who knew me in college or saw my first two cars, well... yes.  Yes, I can.  Don't get me wrong, living in a city it's great having an automatic car but I miss the control.

What's your guilty pleasure?  Despite being raised a Jew, this is one thing I feel no guilt about.  Claiming a guilty pleasure is a little too humblebrag for my tastes.

Tattoos?  No.  I have thought about getting a tramp stamp spine label (the librarian equivalent) but haven't managed to find the time... or courage.

Favorite color?  My wardrobe would suggest grey, black or green but really it's any "jewel" color.

Things people do that drive you crazy?  That's several blog posts!  Right now I'm irritated by people outside, walking down my street, yelling because they can't hear the person on the other end of their phone call.

Phobias?  Heights.  Not a great help if you're 5'4.5", right?  Dying alone (probably not alone in that).  Going blind.

Favorite childhood game? Jacks (does anyone play that any more?), which I perfected at summer camp. 

Do you talk to yourself?  Of course.  Usually when I'm alone, but apparently I also do when I'm at work (mostly when I'm trying to work something out or when I'm shelving books - that QRSTUVW part of the alphabet can be tricky!)

Do you like doing puzzles?  I like American-style crosswords.

Favorite kind of music?  I'm not sure I have one favorite, but I do dislike modern rap/hip-hop.  I won't mention groups/people I don't like (there's one married couple whose music I find rather "meh", much to the dismay of many of the people I know) and I'm not all that fond of those who are better performers than artists (Madonna, I'm looking at you).

What story do you adore?  Huh??? That's an odd question: does it refer to authors, or genres, or a specific book? Or maybe movies? Without a clearer guide, I'll say any story that takes me away from my current world and transports me into a new one (could be a movie, play or book, fiction or non-fiction).

Tea or coffee?  The answer will only surprise those who don't know me.  Tea.

The first thing you remember you wanted to be?  It was always a toss-up between secretary (all those office supplies!) or teacher.

So, go ahead.  Surprise me.


Ending an era

For decades (since before I was born, definitely, but possibly far longer than that) my mother was known for remembering birthdays and anniversaries with cards.  Her handwriting was gorgeous - despite being a lefty, and there's a long story behind that - and getting a card from her was a highlight for friends and family.

Then her memory started to slip.  No problem, my father was there to help.  What she used to remember effortlessly she now needed a list, and armed with that they'd go out each month, buying a fistful of cards appropriate to the occasion.  She'd still do the addressing and the main message, with Dad signing as necessary.

Then her handwriting went, thanks to the arthritis, and her memory got worse.  They'd still go shopping, but now Dad would do the majority of the work with her just signing.

Last summer, with both of them out of commission, things got worse.  But after missing a major birthday, Dad rallied and things seemed normal.

Yesterday, he admitted that things weren't normal.  It was a lot of work, keeping up with all the shopping and dates (conservatively, I'm guessing about 10 cards a month got chosen and sent).  So, with some overt sadness (but secretly, I suspect, very relieved to be done with this duty) he told me that he was just giving up.  He'd use the list to circle the calendar with immediate family dates, but extended family? Not so lucky.

I've always been the "good" daughter in terms of family, always attending funerals and weddings and dinners and keeping up with everyone.  But I'm not going to take this on.  It was my mother's gift to others, and that's how it's going to stay.

It'll be the end of an era, and yet another reason to miss my mom.


That old adage

For decades I've heard older people saying that they have a doctor for every body part (or that the sign of getting old is when you have a doctor for every body part).  So when I hit 50, I took stock: one primary care doctor (who also did my gyn exams) and an endocrinologist.  That was it.  Whew!  Not old.

Here I am, halfway through my 50s, and, well... I still have one primary care doctor and an endocrinologist.  I also have three doctors for my left eye. 

So, tell me: #winning?  or Sad!