Sounds like home

After nearly 50 years, I moved back to the city of my birth.  Because this isn't SmallCity, even though (thanks to family and friends) I've been back many times there are areas I don't know well - and I managed to move into one such area.  Imagine my surprise two years ago when I realized that a very good friend of our family lived maybe 10-15 minutes from where I live now - in previous visits to that house, I'd come from the area my grandfather lived or near to there, so my sense of how close this friend was was based on that, rather than reality.

After 21 years in NYC, I needed grass and quieter living.  Seeing the sky and hearing birds was important.  The house I bought was in a secluded development and wild turkeys lurked in the woods nearby.  "Mr. Bunny" (probably several bunnies) would watch me as I left or returned from work.  The next house overlooked the Farmington River, with no real near neighbors besides the landlady, deer, raccoons and other wildlife - a surprise in the middle of the suburb in which I lived.

Where I live now is withing city limits.  There is a busy road half a block away.  But my road? It's a "private road", with two single family homes and the apartment building on it... then it curves and (apparently) is renamed, and there are two apartment buildings that are senior living spaces.  They overlook a cemetery.  Yes, someone has a sense of humor.  A sick sense of humor.

It's a little noisier than my previous homes since NYC.  People walking on the street talk into their phones far too loudly.  Kids living nearby use their skateboards  because there's little real traffic.  My bedroom is next to the elevator shaft and the people above never got the "don't wear heels indoors if you don't have a rug" memo.

But late at night it's quiet, almost like when I'm home in my SmallTown bedroom. The noise is that of peepers and the occasional owl.  For some reason I woke up around 2am and as I lay in bed trying to get back to sleep I heard a train whistle.  The nearest train tracks are 2 miles in one direction, 2.4 miles in the other.  When I lie in my childhood bedroom, the nearest tracks are one mile away.  And late at night, I can hear a train whistle.

Not only have I returned to the city of my birth, I've managed to bring the sounds of home with me.


The Innergizer Bunny

Did you know that tomorrow is National Innergize Day*?  Nope, me neither.  🎵The more you know🎵, right?

Apparently we're supposed to rest, reflect, retreat.  My Simpler Life has some ideas for how to create a personal retreat. Some of them I can easily do, like the decluttering, natural light, aromatherapy, and - of course - books.  Others, like nature?  Well, I don't like air conditioning so my windows are always open.

But let's dive a little deeper: what does "innergizing" really mean?  Leaving aside the problematic fake word, of course.  If I'm being honest, the start of the school year is always complicated.  Yes, there's all the fun of new clothes, new office supplies, seeing my friends again after the summer off. A fresh start of sorts.  And then there's the Jewish New Year, another opportunity for a fresh start.  This year, because of the timing, classes didn't actually start until after the Jewish New Year, later than we normally start the academic year.  The following week, Yom Kippur created another day off classes.

In other words, in the space of one month (30 days), things went from days of loafing and relaxing to getting ready for the school year to start to getting the library up and running to starting classes.  None of that was entirely smooth in terms of timing: a day off here... and day off there... another day off... Last week we worked Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday.  It felt like two Mondays with an extremely short weekend shoehorned in. I'm exhausted. Next week will be the first five day week of classes.

Spending tomorrow gathering my strength, resting and reflecting on the past month while pruning my life and to-do list for the upcoming month so that things are less stressful and mentally healthier is an excellent idea. 

And now that I know about this day, it's going on my calendar next year.  Of course, the start-of-year schedule will be entirely different, but knowing that there is a day dedicated to pausing and working on the inner stuff is something to look forward to after all the chaos.

* Apparently there's a discrepancy here: the day is the day after the autumnal equinox, which is September 22nd, so you'd think it's the 23rd but the National Day Calendar claims it's the 24th.  Whatevs.  It's the idea more than the actual date IMVHO


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.