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Showing posts from December, 2009

Christmas Blogiversary

It was on a Christmas day a few years ago that I wrote my first tentative blog post. As quiet as I have been of late, I cannot let the day pass without writing a few words.

I'm two days into my longest vacation break of the year - a week and a half off. Not that this break is totally free from work-related obligation - I have to study tax law and re-certify as a VITA tax preparer to get ready for another year of volunteer tax preparing. I am not sure if I will sign up for another year. I have few other volunteers to assist this year, despite my efforts to recruit others, and don't know if I really have the time and energy to squeeze this in to my schedule over the next few months.

This is cutting in to my knitting time! And after opening packages today, I have even more yarn to transform!

I'm still basking in the glow of one of the most wonderful Christmas Eves in many years. We went to our son's house for dinner and presents with him, his girlfriend, and all four grand…

A Poem

I understood something last night, and I wrote a poem. Yes, I see myself here. Maybe not forever, though. From understanding comes change.


She's there.

Like a spider,
hands touching the webs,
alert to any disturbance,
to any renewed presence.

Every time
Every time
You open your electric door
to greet your friends,

She's there.

Reflections After a Week of Brushfires

I'm up much too early on a Saturday morning, in a good cause: feeding my niece pancakes. My brother-in-law drove through whiteouts to bring M. north so that she can audition at a local college's excellent music department. (I went there myself many moons ago, as did R.). They are off to the adventures of the day, and R. has gone back to bed. With coffee in my veins, sleep would elude me, so I will grab the quiet moment to reflect on recent events in writing.

Work, work, work. It has demanded much of my energy and focus for quite some time as we have grappled with a reduction in funding and a structural deficit. This week, the board of directors affirmed the path we think will lead the agency through hard times, "we" being the six-person leadership team. I have to deal with the hardest task that is at hand: the elimination of a half-time custodial position. I am the direct supervisor of the individual who will be laid off. Alas, he is poorly prepared in many ways to de…

December 4 Blog: Best Book

December 4 Book. What book - fiction or non - touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

I need to divide this blog into two parts: knitting and non-knitting. I'll take the non-knitting book first.

The best non-knitting book of the year for me is Lila by Robert Pirsig.

One reason is that it is the only non-knitting book I have read for pleasure this year. Indeed, it is the probably the only one since I started grad school in the fall of 2006. This is such a sad statement. It turns out that one of the downsides of working on a masters in public administration is that I had to read page upon page of dry, horribly written dreck. By the time I finished, I lost my joy of reading. It took the urging of a friend for me to open the pages of this book, and it took me months to read it.

Like Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the book is two journeys in one narrative. Phaedrus continues the philosophical journey he began in…

December 3 Blog: Best Article

December 3 Article. What's an article that you read that blew you away? That you shared with all your friends?

I've searched my bookmarks and blog posts to see if any article hit me hard this year, and came up with nothing.

The question implies to me an article that would change the way I see the world, or how I understood something. I don't think I encountered anything quite like that The bedrocks of my world view are what they were at the beginning of the year.

And what are they?

We live on a planet with a limited supply of everything, and have almost surely reproduced beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. I'm lucky, I'm going to be safely tucked away in my grave before the shit really hits the fan.

Everyone sees the world in the same way. Each of us is the center of the story that every human lives. Each of us has to learn to see how what we do affects everyone and everything else.

Actions have consequences, and those consequences shape future actions.

Change is …

December 2 Blog: Best Restaurant Moment

AiiiYiiiYiii. What a day. Such a mix of effectiveness and ineffectiveness. I'm starting to get some of the computers at work ready for the great email migration, and getting a whole lot of work done, and spending very little time bonding with my iPhone, so there I am, feeling effective. And then I go to do a tax preparer training for the VITA program I am coordinating, and *ONE* person shows up.

Plus there are additional revenue cuts, this time from NY state, on the horizon... that news has been expected, and it came down today.

So it is a pleasure to turn away from my workaday world to:

December 2 Restaurant moment. Share the best restaurant experience you had this year. Who was there? What made it amazing? What taste stands out in your mind?

I was so lucky to have some great restaurant meals. It's hard for me to settle on which one was the best.

Was it the meal at Aroma Restro in Kingston, Ontario, with R. and Sharkey? I am remembering a salad that was chock full of macadamia nut…

December 1 Blog: Best Trip of the Year

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I may have found a way back into writing again. I can't or don't want to write about much of what I am doing right now for several reasons. My poor brain isn't coming up with other subjects. I can take inspiration from Gwen Bell, however, and write about the best parts of my 2009.

December 1 Trip. What was your best trip in 2009?

To be a really good trip, there must be an element of challenge. The trips we make over and over, to work, to parents' homes, to visit children, become more comfortable as they become more routine, but there will rarely be enough excitement to lead a trip to rise to the top of the experiential heap.

Sailing to Kingston at the end of August started out with much of the comfortable routine of driving to visit family. We have spent a lot of time on the Canadian Middle Channel, and sailed to Kingston many times over the past five years. This time was special.

We went to the Limestone City Blues Festival for the first time in three years. Just give me …