and another year for being green!

I am currently on call for jury duty in the federal court system. Blech. [the following recounts jury-duty experiences:]
I have been summoned a once before for the federal court (went in that morning, got let go by noon); and a bunch of times for the state court (got out via phone the night before each time). This Tuesday I had a new experience at the court, due to my assigned number and the subject matter of the trial. The jury organizer gives us name tags with assigned numbers, and the numbers have been randomly assigned via computer. The last time I was in, my number must have been towards the very end of the line (I remember sitting in the back row). This time my number was 13 (out of 49). This upped my chances of being selected, but as it happened the judge explained that they only needed to select two jurors that day, as the rest had already been selected.Collapse )

Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones died today after battling cancer for more than a year. The magic of her stories has lived with me ever since I first read Charmed Life at age 9 or 10. I believe that reading her books and stories has enriched my life, and I'm so sorry she is gone. Peace to her, blessings upon her.

because it's spring!

Spring is coming. ^_^ The vernal equinox arrived yesterday, heralded by crisp, sunny weather and cheerful purple crocuses. Have you seen any exciting signs of spring, or done something fun to celebrate St. Patrick's day?

I celebrated St. Patrick's day and spring by taking in a Solas show at the Iron Horse. It rocked! Seamus Egan, Winifred Horan, Mick McAuley, & Eamon McElholm were in fine fettle. They have new vocalist, Niamh Varian-Barry, from County Cork, Ireland. It turns out she has quite the impressive background on the viola. I really enjoyed the way her voice blended into Solas' sound; she also brought out her viola halfway through the show to join most of the instrumental sets, which was grand. It turns out their previous vocalist, Mairead Phelan, has been studying medicine in Trinity College Dublin and was taking time off to tour with Solas. Interesting dual-career path!

I recently ran across the some lines by Emily Bronte that I'd like to share:

I have dreamed in my life,
dreams that have stayed with me
ever after, and changed my ideas;
they have gone through and through me,
like wine through water,
and altered the color of my mind.


I am currently watching the second season of the Canadian detective series Murdoch Mysteries. It is fun, and I enjoy the characters. Many thanks to Amber for introducing me to this show. ^_^ I also just saw the first three episodes of the show Lark Rise to Candleford, and I really enjoyed them. I'll have to check out the next disc.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

-- William Wordsworth, "Daffodils", 1804

I am looking forward to the coming of spring. I love check for changes each day in the garden, and watch bulbs send green shoots poking up amid the mulch and old leaves. Sadly we have some weeks yet before daffodil time, but at least February is almost over. Thank goodness February is so short, because I always want to go straight from January to March. This year especially, I'd like to leave snow season firmly behind. The one blessing is that it turns out the class I signed up for this spring is a 'blended class,' which means that the class meets 14 times, and every odd class meets online instead of in South Hadley. So instead of having to drive up every Saturday, I just need to do so every other! ^_^

I have had four weeks of class so far, in this my first semester at Simmons GSLIS (graduate school of library & information science). The class I'm taking is a core class, "Principles of Management", and going into it I wasn't sure how interesting it would be. But I like the professor, and I'm learning all kinds of interesting things, as well as new insights into current and previous experiences. As my professor said, even if you have no desire to be in a position of authority over someone else, the knowledge and skills you learn by studying the principles of management are useful in whatever situation you're in (both jobwise & lifewise). This helps explain why so many of the books in the Business: Management & Leadership section of the bookstore resemble self-help books! Right now we're looking at how it's important for organizations to have communication plans, and for managers to understand the paths by which communication flows through an organization. yummy. *g*

I have been rather reclusive these past months (months? heh, years?), in terms of remembering to reach out to friends and socialize. Last April I went down and visited Lisa in D.C., and at the end of August I went out to Michigan to visit Amber. That was my first time in Ann Arbor and a lovely city it is. They've a spectacular used bookstore, The Dawn Treader Book Shop. It's funny how I always come back from a trip with more books than I brought with me. ^_^ But a happy Kate cannot subsist on books alone. I need sociability to whack me over the head. *sheesh*

My brother has moved into an apartment he shares with his best friend Jeff, but he comes back to visit several nights a week, to join us for dinner & watch things with us. Right now we're watching an episode of a show he'd been recommended, Father Ted. Very silly. But funny!

I will close by pointing out a neat article from 2/20's New York Times, "Book Lovers Fear Dim Future For Notes in the Margin". It talks about "marginalia, [the practice of] writing comments alongside passages and sometimes giving an author a piece of his mind. It is a rich literary pastime, sometimes regarded as a tool of literary archaeology, but it has an uncertain fate in a digitalized world." I think that part of the trouble modern-day readers/book experiencers face, regarding how much value to place on the practice of marginalia, lies in the fact that the value of marginalia frequently comes into being only after a certain amount of time has passed. While it may be amusing to learn that last semester's owner of Paradise Lost thought the Virgil sucked, or to ponder the significance of only one word's being highlighted in the whole of book ten, the value is fleeting. But when looking at the doodles a reader drew into a book over 150 years ago, the degree of time past elevates our interest. How will this practice translate over to electronic texts? I don't know, but it makes for interesting thinking.
grizzly bear

Happy November!

Hello and good evening to you. Last year in December my family adopted a golden retriever puppy, Allie, and I thought I'd post some pictures to show you how much she's grown. First, a flash back to Allie at 9 weeks of age:

1. Allie - (1-01-10) ball wrestling 8

And suddenly, she gets bigger!

2. Allie - toys 1

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In other news, I am pleased to report that I have gotten in to Simmons' GSLIS program (graduate school of library and information science), and will be starting class in January. Simmons is based in Boston, but they offer courses on a part time schedule on the Mt Holyoke campus in South Hadley, MA (known as Simmons West). I'm going to start out by keeping my job and commuting to Simmons West for a Saturday class, and see how things go. I worked on the application to Simmons all summer, with much wracking of nerves, so I'm very pleased that I got in. ^_^ Even though the job market in libraries is grim (as it is in so many professions), I feel gaining education & experience in the field will benefit me, no matter what happens next.

The lead-up to Christmas at the store has been harried, as usual, so I fear I've spent my spare time burrowing under my rock and reading. I had a sinus infection some weeks back, with lingering cold symptoms (grr). This caused me to miss a few events with friends, which I regret. Ah well, forward steps. My current wish is to spend more time reading blogs and articles each week, reengage with the world. Feel free to drop me a note and catch me up. ^_^

sky is hazy shade of winter

"Monday Monday sometimes it just turns out that way";
or In Which Our Heroine Breaks Silence to Gloomily Grumble and Lament.

Last Monday I woke up with a sore throat and knew the end was coming.

Oh, I tried to put it off, I downed vitamin C and drank tea and gargled with salt water. But my mom had come down sick with a nasty sore throat/cold two weeks before, and sure enough I followed the pattern. I lost most of my voice, stayed home sick on Wednesday, continued downhill, called the doctor Thursday for an appointment, got one on Friday. He told me I was approaching bronchitis & gave me a prescription for amoxicillin, bless his heart. I think Friday was my worst point and I've been on the upswing, but I'm still coughing stuff up from my lungs, shambling about and having trouble staying awake. hmph.

Sunday morning my mom turned on the faucet to the kitchen sink and realized the end had come. Turns out this end was for our hot water heater, which was leaking onto the basement floor. I hastily moved various piles of junk around in the basement and garage, and boiled some water on the stove to get dishes washed. This morning I called up the plumber and left a message, but I harbor great trepidation over what "as soon as possible" will turn out to be. I may end up trundling over to the pool to wash my hair this afternoon.

Did I mention it was raining?
- - - -

Life continues. I am looking forward to Friday, when I shall fly down to visit my friend Lisa for the weekend and go to the opera to see Porgy and Bess [debuted in 1935, music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward]. Lisa is a big opera fan, but I've never been, so this will be a real treat. I've always wanted to see Porgy and Bess. My main experience with opera is watching a taped stage performance of The Magic Flute at my grandparents when I was little, and seeing a presentation of Carmen on the Boston Common one spring, where they performed it in English in an effort to make it more accessible (that was fun, a real picnic-like atmosphere with families). So yay, opera! Lisa says we do not have to dress up in Evening Wear, but I kinda wish I had the energy to go antique hunting for opera glasses and accessories. sadly a fur-trimmed opera cape is a bit out of my league. *g*

Our puppy Allie is growing in leaps and bounds. She is just over 5 months old, and has gotten quite leggy. Her grown-up fur is coming in - there's a nice copper tint to the gold but she won't be as dark as Hannah. I'll have to upload some pictures to share soon. We still can't trust Allie to wander around without supervision, so we take her on trips about the house on her leash, but she knows just where to find things she's not allowed (favorites being socks, underwear and any form of tissue) so these are brief. She's ok in her crate for up to 5 hrs, so since today is my day off I've put her in for several hours while I do things upstairs.

Yesterday my brother and I went to the Wethersfield library booksale, which was a real treat. It's a nice little rush to wait in line for the doors to open, and then run in and frantically comb the piles. Yesterday was the second of the two-day sale, and $5 a bag day. such fun. Meanwhile, I am very sad that I did not make it to this year's Conbust, the con up at Smith College in Northampton. I've been to that one twice and should really remember to eye it up each year - so many people I would have enjoyed seeing this time! - but given my health I wouldn't have made it in any event. pfft.

Chatting with tamnonlinear about Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South on a recent post of hers has me remembering how much fun I had back when I had the time & energy to stay up to date on my blog&journal reading list and find all kinds of the neat discussions to weigh in on. I miss that a lot. It seems if it's not one thing it's the next, keeping me in hair-tearing exhaustion, but it's a comfort to know everybody's out here and talking. Your light brightens my day.

here comes the sun

Hello, new year! January 19th is a little late in the month for new year's wishes, but I'm going to share a metta blessing and hope it reaches you as you walk through this winter and into spring. And may this blessing especially reach those suffering from the tragic events in Haiti.

May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you know peace.

~ - ~ - ~

On December 21st my mother, brother and I drove to Rhode Island and came back with a golden retriever puppy. Her name is Allie, and she is a warm, wriggling bundle of love & mischief. This journal has been quiet for some time, but it is perhaps no surprise that when I break silence the first thing I want to talk about is puppies. Of course puppies!

Allie - (12-27-09) box surprise 2

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you're gonna need a bigger boat.

out on the Cape this weekend, we were disappointed to hear that Nauset beach was closed both Saturday and Sunday. it had closed briefly two weekends ago due to the nearby hurricane, but this weekend's reason was much more fun. and it wasn't a barracuda. *g*
Beach Patrol radar shows five large sharks near Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge Thursday, four more sighted Saturday.
* *
Mayor Vaughan: [to reporter] I'm pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and killed a large predator that supposedly injured some bathers. But, as you see, it's a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time. Amity, as you know, means "friendship".

Mayor Vaughan: I don't think either of one you are familiar with our problems.
Hooper: I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS!
* *
"But researchers say great white sightings are extremely rare, and so are its attacks on humans. They say the last shark-related death in New England was in 1936."
* *

in other news, life continues on chez Kate. I asked my manager about sales in the bookstore, and she said that while sales are down from last year, we are doing better than they projected we would be. I enjoy working at the bookstore, although I sometimes fall into the trap of considering shelving and zoning my work and the customers an unfortunate necessity. *g* all in all, I'm a happy little employee (especially considering the national unemployment rate is above 9%).

as for my summer, I had a quiet Readercon in early July, and then a blissful (if woefully short) visit with Lisa and Michal to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. out to the Cape a bit, up to Northampton, down to visit the cousins in Danville (PA). one of my favorite things about Pennsylvania continues to be the local sticky buns. we don't really have sticky buns in CT, it is very sad. I get them when I visit, and turn into a sticky bun fiend. I probably drive my aunt distracted debating the various merits of the local bakery outfits. yummy.

I haven't been to a concert in ages, and this must be remedied. I currently have plans to go see the Old Blind Dogs with my family this Saturday in East Hartford. haven't seen them in quite some time, so yay!! Peter Mulvey will be at the Iron Horse on 9/26, and Vienna Teng will be there on 10/1; I'd like very much to see PM and will almost definitely see VT. must ask around, see what plans friends have for concerts. (how about y'all?)
in the meanwhile, I'm watching Sunday night's episode of Inspector Lewis. it's so exciting to have new episodes!

in search of Kemp Owen

I just posted a list to facebook, but since it's about books I thought I'd put it here as well. it is that 15 books meme:
Rules: Don't take too long to think about it.
Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the note - upper right hand side.)

1. L. M. Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables
2. Elizabeth George Speare - The Witch of Blackbird Pond
3. Jane Yolen - Dove Isabeau
4. Patricia C Wrede - Dealing with Dragons
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in other news, the summer has been moving along way too fast. things are busy at the bookstore, and on hot weeks like this one it is actually a pleasure to get to work because of the air conditioning. it's a fine thing when you're driven out of your house and into places of business by the heat/humidity!


My Chess bear has died. her time was coming, and about ten days beforehand her back legs gave out. on Tuesday June 30th we could tell that it was time, and she died late that night. I find it easy to speak about with people, in person, but very hard to write out. we love her, and we miss her. the above picture was taken on the hike we took on Mt Tom on June 14, as are the ones below the cut.
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