Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Doin' it for the Books

Oh look, fan art.

I never know what to tell people when, after hearing I work at the CDC, they gush: "Oh my gosh, I am sooo jealous! You guys do such great wooork!" Usually it's a pathetic half-smile and a "yeah..." Working at the CDC WAS great. But it's been the 1770s every day for the past three years--the same patterns, the same instructions, the same petty dramas, pathetic inside jokes...

So what keeps me going? Well, the paycheck, the awesome benefits, and the fact that I can listen to my iPod all day long. I have a subscription to, and I've been downloading the Aubrey/Maturin books one per month. It takes about two and a half days to listen to each book, and I usually listen to them several times (eighteenth century dialogue + wicked awesome literary talents make them a joy to listen to) before it's time to listen to the next one. Also, I check out audio books from the library. So, although I lament the lack of time I have to crack an actual paper book, I'm getting my literary fix quite nicely.

Books, once again, come to my rescue.

Oh, remember the bear that I dressed for the Salvation Army Christmas bear drive? One of the women who is on the Army's board called me up last night and wants me to make one for her son...who's graduating from the Fife and Drum Corps this July. Huzzay!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bumper Stickers

Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that just say "26.2"? Sure you have. They indicate that the person inside the car has run 26.2 miles, which equals a marathon. Yesterday I saw a car that had--no joke--five of these bumper stickers, plus a couple "13.1" stickers. Conceivably, the person (or persons) inside were putting stickers on their car for each marathon they had run. I wonder what they will do when the run out of tailgate...possibly cover up the other stickers that indicate their children are football players, cheerleaders, swimmers and that they "heart" their dog.

I also saw a bumper sticker a few months ago that made me want to get out of the car, stick my head through the window of the car in front of me, and start an argument. This one said "RESTORE THE FOUNDERS VISION." Instead of hauling the driver out of the car and lecturing him on Constitutional politics right there, I had to settle for banging my head against the wheel. The Founder's Vision, eh? Would that include slavery and the subjugation of women? Jefferson's agricultural ideal or Washington's strong federal vision? The Founders had no united vision...they started a conversation, one we are continuing today. Oh, am I holding up traffic? My bad!

Generally speaking, I'm pretty anti-bumper sticker. Except for the Packer stickie that's managed to hang onto my window ever since I got Chi-Chi. I am a fan of car-magnets however, and plan to purchase something funny and dog-related when I see one that I like. But bumper stickers are so...permanent. Even the bumper sticker indicating support for Obama was merely placed in my back window, not attached permanently to my bumper. And then, about six months after the election, it blew out the window. That pretty much sums up how I feel about the President: I have withdrawn my unconditional support, but continue to support the office of the president and hope he'll go for some of his larger goals in future.

Anyway. Segueway time! What the hell is going on in Wisconsin? I have been following the bill/fleeing of the Senators/three week protest/last night's skullduggery/today's storming of the Capitol with decided interest, since this is democracy in action in all it's most naked form. I am horrified by how far the conservatives* of the Wisconsin body have gone beyond the "ideals" our Founders laid down. Majority rules...but since they have to rule the minority you should at least listen to them. I am incensed at Governor Walker's insistence that "our constituents told us what they wanted in November, and we're just following through." No--the conservative voters (some of them members of the unions you disenfranchised!) put you in office to sort through money woes, not take away their rights. Let me hit the caps on that: TAKE AWAY THEIR RIGHTS.

Voters are also fickle beings. I should know, I am one! And we change our minds all the time! This is why I don't stick political stickers directly to my bumper but change them according to mood! If the sight of thousands of constituents camping out in the Capitol aren't enough to at least convince Walker to listen, to be open to the idea that maybe he's gone too far, then I seriously have to question his dedication to the democratic process. We are willing to sacrifice. (raise your hand if you haven't gotten a raise in the past two years) We are willing to make shared tough decisions, do more with less, make it over or do without, but we are not willing to have our rights un-recognized by an elected political body. Because we're not talking about the right to buy car insurance here, we're talking about the right to be heard.

But guess what? We can still be heard. We can still scream and shout and go on strike and demand to be heard. We can bring this country to a standstill and force those in charge to acknowledge that we are not voiceless and we will not sit meekly by while politicians--wait, "politicians"--decide that they know what's best for us.

Forget bumper stickers. It's time to start laying down in traffic and starting cars on fire.

*I use the word "conservatives" here, noting that four Republicans in the Assembly voted against the bill.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Energy Drain

Do you ever have those days where you just don't have enough energy to do the things you need to do to get through the day?

Like laundry. Even with a washer and dryer en suite, I can't seem to get the clothes rumbled through the cycle. Getting them rounded up is impossible, remembering to put in the fabric softener on time has caused more than one repeat rinse cycle, and as for putting them away? Why? When the three-season room makes such a convenient walk-in closet (as long as the curtains are drawn)?

And breakfast. Lately I've been eating in the car on the way to the ferry, so I can get another ten minutes of sleep. And then, when I do get to the ferry, I put my seat back and sleep again.

The problem is, I'm tired. But the tiredness is not the problem, it's a symptom. Lately, I can't stand my job. Everything about it just drains the life out of me. Thinking about going is enough to send me into the blue devils. I know the solution is to find a new job, but I'm worried that anything I would apply for will have far, far more qualified applicants--even the receptionist or assistant jobs I've worked at before. Then again, I could go back and retrain for another career entirely, like being a medical transcriptionist. (It is truly depressing the amount of CW people who struggle on their minimum wages for two or three years and then go back to school for an associate's degree to pay the bills...fellow employees with history degrees and a deep love of interpretation) At this point, I would settle for a job where my supervisor actually spoke to me.

There's no point in whining if I'm not actually looking for a new job, but I just don't have the energy. All I see everywhere are brick walls. At least I have a paycheck right long as I show up physically, if not mentally.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Jeff and I are indulging in a lazy Sunday afternoon--together, for once, usually he works part of Sunday, but today he's making a new leather cover for his hatchet because the old one was "farby"--but to tell you the truth, loyal readers, we are a bit shaken around here.

Last night, after enjoying a delish fish dinner at a local dive called Captain Chuckamuck's with Jeff's folks, we returned home to two lazy beagles. I took them out for a walk while Jeff and his dad put together their new telescope, and then sat downstairs watching telly with the two dogs lazed out around me. Kizzy in the back bedroom, Lucy next to me on the sofa. When Jeff's parents came down to say good night, his dad bent over to pet Lucy, and she reared up and attacked his face.

Yeah, it happened just that fast. I don't even know exactly what went down, since I was turned toward the TV at the time, but she broke his glasses which scratched the bridge of his nose. Jeff collared her and put her in the bedroom. We tended to the cuts and apologized, but there is definitely a different feeling in the house. Lucy was adjusting well, fitting in with Kismet and our crazy schedules, she was interested and perky when we were walking, played like a small horse with Kismet, turning the house into a racetrack. And now this.

Jeff and I are suddenly on uncertain ground here. Uncertain because we cannot--cannot--have a dog that will attack people seemingly at random. Yet we adopted her knowing that her current personality was a product of an unknown past, and that we would have to work with her and her needs to help her fit in. I thought we were doing a good job, but all of a sudden we are faced with having a dog we don't trust in the house. I hate thinking about all the people who gave up on her before, but I also have to put my family first.

So for now we are starting over. I put in a call to the shelter where she was adopted from, and they were most helpful, offering practical advice ("get her off the sofa!") and numbers for dog behaviorists and trainers. We are trying to be more understanding and also more strict, showing her that we are in charge around here, and that whoever WE want in the house will be permitted. I don't know how this is going to end, but it makes me heartsick that my puppy doesn't yet feel safe enough in our family to be quiet, content and loving.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I know a lot of loyal readers out there (and you would have to be pretty loyal if you're reading this, almost two months after I apparently abandoned my blog) will be taken aback when I write a paen to spring. Spring is definitely here, according to the daffodils, some flowering trees, and the amount of fur coming out of my dogs. (Yes, dogs-plural, I know it's been awhile, hasn't it?) After enduring a rough winter, I am so grateful for warmth and spring, for going out in the morning and the sun is coming up. For not having to bundle into a wool blanket while I'm on the ferry. It's a deep, wellsprung gratitude, like a prayer everytime I step outside with my coat unbuttoned.

There honestly hasn't been a lot going on the past two months. I started this blog before I left for London, when every day brought new and magical experiences, and I was a lot more out of contact with people. Now, I have settled down into a completely mundane middle-class life, with varying levels of stress and drama. My days consist of working, eating dinner and walking the dogs. Do I really have anything to offer any more? Is anyone out there?

Jeff and I adopted another beagle a couple of weeks ago...her name is Lucy, and she is 40 pounds to Kismet's 26. They get along very well...usually roughhousing all over the living room while Jeff and I look on and smile fondly. At night we tuck them into the spare bedroom, which is overflowing with fleece blankets and dog the morning I am greeted by wagging tails and beagle stretches and we go out for our morning walk, sniffing the breeze and occasionally scaring deer.

Mah beagle babies

Lucy Hanover. The shelter gave her the name Lucy, I added "Hanover" because she needed an awesome last name.

That's mostly the news for dog, it's spring. The re-enacting season is going to start in a couple weeks, and I hope to have some new clothes by then. I'll post pictures. I hope my loyal readers still find my life interesting enough to read about. :)