Notable Quotes

Children have always tumbled down rabbit holes, fallen through mirrors, been swept away by unseasonable floods or carried off by tornadoes... Adulthood brings limitations like gravity and linear space and the idea that bedtime is a real thing, and not an artificially imposed curfew.
Seanan McGuire, Beneath the Sugar Sky  


Weather (or not)

Yes, we just started back at work after our two week Winter Break.  But we teachers are just as excited about the possibility of a snow day as the students are, so any time there's the possibility of one we begin to plan and hope.  I've heard of students wearing their pj's on backwards, which is apparently a sure way to ensure a snow day (no teachers have admitted to doing the same, but then, I'm not asking them!).

The possibility of a snowstorm on Christmas turned into a pretty much "meh" event, but then I saw that the next time a large amount of snow was predicted was for December 30th.  Just for giggles, at 7am and 7pm each day I took screenshots of what my weather app said would happen:

That doesn't mean I'm not hoping (ok, praying) for a snow day. Even if we will have only been back at work for one day.


New Year's Meme - 2018 edition

As mentioned last year, this is stolen from Philosophy Mom

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
A few things that were simply "old things in new spaces", so those don't really count.  Most of my year was spent on work and family and self-care and reading, sadly.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Here's what I said this time last year:
  • Lose weight / get in shape (well, better shape than I am now)
  • Continue to enjoy my work on the Book Award Committee
  • Get better organized (declutter plus time management)
  • Take a fun trip somewhere 
  • Be better about being connected to family and friends
And.... I did four of the five.  B/B+ for Lazygal!

3. Did anyone close to you get married?
Two cousins (second cousins) did, one in New Jersey and the other in Los Angeles.  And Thing One's niece/goddaughter is getting married later this month.

4. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope.  No one close.  But there are a lot of "work babies" around, and a new great arrived last Janurary.

5. Did anyone close to you die?
Not that close this year, only the husband of one of my mother's cousins. 

6. What countries did you visit?
Ireland (Dublin, to be specific) for three days.  Perfect quick getaway!

7. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Better health.  Thanks to the CRION, and the medicines I'm taking to control it, this has been the year of side effects.  Sigh.  Luckily, they are subsiding thanks to tapering off one really nasty one.  And when that's done, I should just be "maintaining".  More time with friends and family would be great.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
A side-effect of a side-effect was a 10-day period when I was pretty much on speed (not really, but people tell me that is what it's like when you are).  So much got done even I'm impressed.  If only I could have continued in that vein, but perhaps later.

9. What was your biggest failure?
It's not a failure, per se, just an inability to really do more with friends hanks to needing to focus on helping my parents and self-care when I was home.  Not being able to do more for my parents over the summer, or since school has started, could also be perceived as a failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Heh.  Beyond my ongoing battle with CRION, there was a lovely cough that set in two weeks before Winter Break.  And is still here, albeit in a very diminished state. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new suitcase and travel tote.  Ok, that's two things.  But for one purpose, so I'm saying it counts.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
First of all, let me quote from last year: "Thing One, duh.  He's been a rock throughout the optic nerve adventure.  Plus giving in to my whims.  What's not to celebrate?" And then my sister, who really did an amazing job dealing with the sudden family crisis over the summer.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Again, quoting last year "Several of Thing One's family who truly support the awful (racist, misogynist, xenophobic) side of our President."  Beyond that, my father, who truly did have a health crisis this summer but managed to pull so much focus that my mother's Alzheimer's got immeasurably worse.  He's better now, she's not.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel: to Dublin, to LA, to Louisville, to Chicago and to Atlanta, as well as several minor conferences and family visit events (not in that order!). And wine. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing Hamilton in Chicago.  Going to Dublin.  Starting AY2018 with a team that I know well, that works together well and that is moving forward with our plans.  And - best yet - getting to plan a new library!

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
  • happier or sadder?  Neither.  More worried, though.   
  • thinner or fatter?  Well, calling myself "Princess Puffy Pants" should be a clue to the answer (it's all water retention due to one of the drugs and is actually coming off as I taper off).
  • richer or poorer? Same - I've spent more on some things, but less on far more.  

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Well, done any of, to be honest: going to Meeting.  Every time I thought thinks were getting to a point when I could go, my eye or family or work "flared up".  Le sigh. 

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying.  About anything.  I mean, compared to some, my life has been pretty blessed, so getting worried (or, as I prefer to call it, fretting) about things is a bit self-indulgent.  On the other hand, I could go blind and my mother could get worse and... and...

19. How did you spend Christmas?
Oh the weather outside was frightful... at times... We woke up, did presents, then went back to nap.  Woke up to a complete whiteout, which ended quickly but made travel difficult.  So, rather than the Traditional Jewish, we just stayed in and relaxed. 

20. How did you bring in the New Year?
Reading.  Sleeping.  Watching a movie (Casablanca).  Eating a great home-cooked meal and enjoying a nice bottle of Warwick Valley Dirty Red.

21. Did you fall in love?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Holdovers from last year: 19-2.  People of EarthQ & AYou're the Worst. I have been watching less tv than in previous years, although when I can indulge, I'll binge on something like Brokenwood Mysteries or Crownies/Janet King

23. What was the best book you read?
Still can't talk about the adult books, but of the YA, The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Bang and Dreamland Burning are real standouts.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Christine and the Queens

25. What was your favorite film of this year?
I could answer this with something I've seen before, but this year I saw no new movies (or none I want to talk about favorably).

26. What was your favorite live performance?
Dorrance Dance (a former student is in this group). Hamilton.

27. What did you want and get?
Time (albeit not enough) with extended family.  Finally selling my house.

    28. What did you want and not get?
    Good health.

    29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    On my birthday?  Nothing much.  It was a Saturday, so we just hung out at home and then went to tea.  It was Number 54 for me, which means middle age is starting to appear in my rear view mirror. 

    30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    Better health.  Easy.

    31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
    Comfortable clothes in mostly green and grey.  Clothes I can move in easily, yet look polished enough for any meeting I need to attend.

    32. What kept you sane?
    Sheer willpower.  I've been holding it together... barely.  The ongoing issues with my eye, my parents and the stress over selling my house were pretty much the perfect storm.  If anything kept me even partly sane it was reading and playing backgammon on the computer as an escape.

    33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
    None.  Is that elitist of me?

    34. What political issue stirred you the most?
    Again, quoting from last year (because this year seems like a continuation of that):  "watching otherwise intelligent people embrace the really awful things that were bring promoted by the winning candidate.  And watching serious fault lines develop among colleagues and students who weren't on the same side of that issue (I really do understand not wanting to vote for Hillary - I didn't! - but The Donald?  His ideas are so vile.  And those who think he's ok are just beyond my comprehension)."  The divisions and rhetoric haven't gotten any better in the past year, and I despair for our future.

    35. Whom did you miss?
    My mother.

    36. Who was the best new person you met?
    I don't think I met too many new people in 2017 that have become part of my life in any significant way this year.  Except, maybe, my new doctor, who really seems to care (perhaps just because my CRION presents such an interesting change from the usual health issues).

    37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
    Friends are incredibly important as you get older.  My parents are so fortunate to have really kind people in their lives, people who care about them enough to come over at 4:00am to watch my mother while my father goes in for an outpatient procedure.

    38. What was your favorite moment of the year?
    Spending time with friends and family.  Any moment I did that was a favorite moment.  Well... except for those moments I was home, at my parents, taking care of them.

    39. What was your least favorite moment of the year?
    Let's just call the entire time between late June and late August my least favorite. 

    40. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2017 and change something, what would it be?
    Honestly, I can't think of one.  Nothing I could do would change anything that happened for the better.

    41. What are your plans for 2017?
    • Work on my health
    • Finally go to Meeting
    • Continue to declutter
    • Spend time with friends and family and be grateful for their presence in my life


    Year End Reading Wrap Up

    378 books read - GOAL MET (goal was 300, so met and surpassed)!  Now, if you go over to the reading blog, you'll see far fewer books listed thanks to my Book Committee work, so click here to see the 2017 reads.  Here's the thing: among the unlisted are the picture books I "read" for MPOW's Mock Caldecott, while many more fell into the "you can't talk about this" category for the Book Award Committee.  Which is also, in its way, one of the reasons why I haven't blogged as much this year as in previous years.

    So... here's the 2017 reading analysis (2017 numbers in parens):
    number of books read in 2017: 378 (345)
    best month: August with 63 (December with 52)
    worst month:  Janurary 18 (tie between June and August/22)
    average read per month: 31.5  (28.75)
    adult fiction as percentage of total: 59 (21)
    children's/YA fiction as percentage of total:  17 (35)
    Advance Readers Copies: 112 (90)
    e-books: 3 (0)
    books read that were published this year:  325 (300)
    books that will be published in the coming year: 20 (6)
    five star reviews (aka "Must Read"): 9 (5)
    one star reviews (aka "DNF"): 8 (11)

    Thanks to Book Committee Books unread, Mt. Bookpile is at 330 and going by past experience, that means that I'll probably get it down to 346 by this time next year.  Yes, I know that's not exactly "down" but if I'm lucky I'll read more than my stated goal of 300.  The good news is that I've also been able to clear off a number of shelves (ok, ok, two entire bookcases with 36 linear feet of shelving) to only hold Mt. Bookpile.  And since I no longer keep all the books on Mt. Bookpile... well, I guess I'll have to figure out what to put on those shelves as I clear them off.

    Goals for 2018?  I'll say 300 books... maybe 325.



    Yesterday I went to the pharmacy to pick up several prescriptions.  I've been going there a few times a month for the past year since for some reason I can't get all of them on the same refill schedule.  Thanks to that, I've come to recognize many of the people behind the counter.

    A couple of months ago, there was a new woman there.  As per usual, I gave my name (last, then first) and birthdate.  Now, my names are not that unusual, nor are they that difficult to spell.  But I had to repeat myself a few times.  Then my birthdate gave her pause.  But fine - she's new and learning new systems.  It was the fact that she couldn't seem to translate any of that into finding the bags with my pills in them that worried me, but again... she's new.

    The second time I was there, she had the same problem with the person ahead of me.  And then me.  Again.  She's no longer that new, so I was a little more worried.  And yesterday, same thing: repeated spelling of my name, repeated giving my birthdate, and some difficulty pairing those with the bags of pills waiting.

    I'm all for giving people with learning or developmental issues the opportunity to earn a living and to be productive members of the community.  I don't care if English is not your first language and you're learning - in part - on the job.  But, this is a pharmacy.  This person (and I have no idea if she has some learning or developmental issues or what her native language is) is handing out medication to people.  While I do check every package before paying, I don't know that everyone else does.

    Shouldn't a major (national) drug store chain be a little more careful about who is behind the pharmacy counter?


    Digital Detritus

    Collected from various places and people for you to ponder as 2017 turns into 2018...


    I miss my Mom

    To treat my CRION, I'm taking immunosuppressants, which is just what you want to be taking when you work for a school filled with coughing, sneezing, sniffling kids.  So it's no surprise that I got a cough.  And when I say "cough" I mean 20-minute coughing fits that left me breathless and with pulled muscles.  It lasted two weeks and only seemed to be controlled by double doses of cough suppressants. 

    As I lay there, totally loopy from the medication and weak from the coughing, I started to think about the medicine cabinet of my youth.  Don't ask why I started to think about it, just accept that I did.  And I remembered that Robitussin was always there. along with another syrup I couldn't remember the name of... N-something was as far as I got.

    Two years ago, I would have called home and talked with my mother.  She'd know.  Even a year ago there was a chance she'd remember.  But now?  The Alzheimer's has progressed to the point where I know she won't.  And the effort of trying to remember would frustrate her, causing more distress than she deserves.  Sometimes, Mom's still there.  But mostly... not.

    I miss my Mom.


    Culture Vulturing at an awkward moment

    Because when you're in Dublin, and the Abbey Theatre has a production, you go, right?  And so, I did.  This production, Let The Right One In, is based on the Swedish movie (which was based on a novel) and was just opening when we saw it, although it was originally seen on stage in London, New York and other places since 2013.  I mention this to give some context: this isn't a new production (except in Dublin) nor is the subject matter new.  I also mention this to tell you that there are no spoilers here because see above.

    Without getting into the performances or the technical aspects (although I certainly could), there was one moment that took me aback.  Those who know me know I love me some vampires.  And I know that Eli is a vampire.  And that Haken is not her father but an old man in love with Eli, an old man who probably fell in love with her and agreed to be her protector (thrall?), helping her to cover up her killings and move from town to town when much younger.  But Haken is at the end of his life, while Eli is still "young" - and his despair at this realization and that Eli might be looking for someone new/younger is palpable.  So when Eli offers to remove her shirt, or to sleep with Haken, I know that this is actually a very old being offering comfort to a younger man but... but... the visual is of a young girl and a much older man. 

    Had I seen this when it was on stage in New York (2015) or London (2014) or even two months ago, that moment wouldn't have taken me aback.  But in this post-Weinstein, post-Spacey, post-Roy Moore moment?  It did.  There have been a number of articles about how we come to grips with the artistic works of people (like Woody Allen or Richard Wagner) when we have contempt for the person.  Clearly this moment isn't about that, but it did make me wonder: how will the vampire story fare, on or off screen, given our moment of #metoo?



    We all have those landmarks we're waiting to pass: first birthday, first time in "double digits", first time driving a car, getting into college, buying a car or house, etc..  It's a natural way to measure time and our progress in the world. 

    Over the past couple of years I've started to think about upcoming landmarks, some of which are personal (health, family) and some are professional (retirement, last job).  Last night, as I drifted off to sleep, some of those drifted through my mind, not always in a pleasant way.  Example: I have so many books on Mt. Bookpile - will I ever read them?  Another example: since my eye problems began, I've had two relapses - when is the next one, or can we prevent it?

    And then there was the pleasant one of our Big Girl giving me kisses as I read (totally interrupting Saturday Book Club reading), something I haven't had since last year when our Old Guy joined the Mantle Cats.  And our Only Guy has gotten a little friendlier... my landmark will be when he lets me cuddle him (or, more realistically, when he curls up in bed and doesn't run away after a minute).

    I've been reflecting on some of the landmarks long since passed, and others that never really happened.  Some, like children, were just not going to happen.  Others?  Most days I don't think about them but some days there's a fleeting regret.  Let me be clear: I hate regrets.  They're like guilty pleasures - at a certain point in your life, stop.  You're too old to feel guilt about something that gives you pleasure.  I've reached that time, but the time to stop having regrets?  Not so much.

    Maybe that's my next landmark?  The land of no regrets.  Or as close to it I can get.


    Lazy Thoughts

    Reading... Jo Nesbo's The Snowman.  It's a series I've been reading out of order (not sure that matters in this case) and because of the movie it made sense to read this one now.  As mysteries go, there are enough twists and red herrings to keep me interested; as series go, Hole is compelling but he's pretty bleak as a "leading man".

    Listening... to Camille O'Sullivan.  Several years ago, Thing Two gave me a CD by Camille, which led me to buy tickets to see a Camille when Thing One and I were in Edinburgh in 2007... turns out, there were two singers using the same name!  Now there's one going by Camille and one going by Camille O'Sullivan.  I've never seen the original, but have seen the "new" one three times, including last week at Irish Arts, where she did an evening of Jacques Brel.

    Watching... my DVR'd list grow, while not actually watching much more than some morning news.  Too much to read, to many naps to take and far too much else going on to have the time.  Next month maybe.

    Following...  this year's My Simpler Year program and beginning to plan for 2018.  I've already offloaded several "heavy weight" items from my mental and physical lives, but what hasn't gone needs work.

    Uncorking... Warwick Valley's Black Dirt Red.  Because I'm out of Henry of Pelham's Baco Noir.

    Looking... at leaves turning and enjoying the sights of fall.  Earlier this week I was at NELA and had the extreme pleasure of driving from Boston to Burlington and back - gorgeous.