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Today in pictures, idea stolen from blackbird.

While I waited for daylight savings/non-daylight savings (whatever we’re in now) to adjust to what time I thought it should be, I read an old

Then I went to

(minus the snow and the whole being in Ukraine part).  Where I held a squirmy

and her silly goose sister

I had



for brunch, while listening to

After I tore myself away, I went to a couple different

but only for quick visits, to drop off due or overdue books.  Now I’m sitting on my

and thinking about

(minus the dog).

An extra hour. Or the idea of an extra hour. A rearranged hour. I spent mine reading a month-old New Yorker, because I was already up and dressed when I remembered. I was halfway through an article on Helen Mirren when it was really time to go church. How did you spend your hour?

5:30. Almost completely dark. Just a little blue left in the sky. It feels late. I don’t usually see the sunset – I’m shut up in a windowless room from 6:15-9:30 most nights – so it surprises me on the weekends. The whole gradually-getting-darker thing.

I can’t stop listening to Broken For You. I seem to put in a new tape every few minutes. I listened to it while I took a bath. While I made dinner. Curled up on the couch half-asleep over a cup of tea. Brunch. I’m also reading The Secret River, which is excellent, but in a way where I don’t identify with any of the characters particularly, and I sense an impending bleakness at all times. It never lifts, even in the lovely moments. I suppose that’s the point. I’m curious how it will all resolve.

Okay, Kitri, I think it’s time to put some campaign posters in our windows.  Who shall it be?  I’m thinking Narnia, I’m thinking Byron, I’m thinking Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  I’m thinking one well-known and one completely obscure.  Hmm, maybe “Four More Years – Gen for King”?  Or perhaps a little picture book action?  Traction Man?

From a Powell’s interview with Mo Willems:


Why do you write books for kids?
I write silly books for
people. It just happens to be that usually kids are the first people silly enough to enjoy them.

Or, you know, people like us. (You can’t tell me that you don’t think “Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct” is funny. If you tell me that, I won’t be your friend anymore.)

I finished Octavian. What are you waiting for? I’m at my local yarn store/coffee shop (every neighborhood should have one) (ostensibly doing homework and “research” simultaneously) and I left the book at home or I’d be throwing some of my favorite lines at you. I must admit that the book completely won me over with the letters from Private Evidence Goring to his sister, Fruition. I chortled with joy. Not that the book as a whole is particularly joyful, but those letters are perfect. Now I want Volume 2.

I started listening to Broken For You on tape. I have to fight the urge to take long car rides just to listen. I listened to it while I baked an applesauce/pumpkin cake yesterday. It’s a perfect baking book.
Did I mention that I’m planning on taking a Young Adult Materials class next quarter? I am! O the joy! Books, real books, and the occasional break from theory!


It’s dangerous to sit with all this yarn in sight. The colors are intoxicating, and there are all these little sample knitting things that call out to me to replicate them. Patterned hats, and little felted leaves, and socks. Makes me want to have little Waldorfy children and teach them to knit recorder covers and stuffed mice and hats.

Dear Mr. M.T. Anderson,

I have to confess that I dogeared your book. Octavian. You know the one. I was reading along and thinking about smallpox and vaccines (a subject on which all my knowledge derives from fiction) and whether or not they really ate Brie at the time of the American Revolution (“‘I could eat Brie until I looked like soap'”) when you’ve just got to pull me out of the story with something like this:

“‘When I peer into the reaches of the most distant futurity, I fear that even in some unseen epoch when there are colonies even upon the moon itself, there shall still be gatherings like this, where the young, blinded by privilege, shall dance and giggle and compare their poxy lesions…We are a young country, a country of the young,’ he said bitterly. ‘The young must have their little entertainments.'” (page 203)

A trip to the moon, anyone?

We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”

You just had to be clever. Can you help it? Probably not.

And may I point out that the blotted out bits were eerily chilling? I may? Oh, thanks.

And a request for Volume 2, if I may? Could you talk your publisher into making a book with uncut pages, so that we your humble readers can sit with a letter opener and have the heretofore unknown pleasure of slitting the pages apart ourselves? Because the faux-cut pages look is so trendy. Everyone’s doing it. And I’m sure you don’t have much control over these things, so I’ll understand if it can’t happen. But could you at least put in a word with Candlewick? They seem like reasonable people.


Library Girl

Last night I sang myself to sleep (in my head, not out loud – I don’t want Kitri to move out before our lease is up) with another delightful song from my childhood – “Hurry, Hurry.”  Otherwise known as the “fat and furry song.”  Except I kept wanting to change the lyrics to “hurry, hurry, scurry, scurry” instead of four hurry’s in a row.  Um, yeah.  Breaking news, here!  Although I don’t particularly want to get fat & furry, especially since I’m not allowed to hibernate.  Would you like a piece of bacon?

I pulled myself out of bed this morning thinking, “I’ll get some school reading done before I go babysit.”  HA.  Instead I’ve emptied the dishwasher, tidied the kitchen, and made coffee, bacon & eggs.  And now I have a whole half hour to study…and instead I’m reading blogs.  And drinking coffee.

I’m actually not really babysitting.  Not in the “don’t hit your brother,” “yes, we can go to the park,” “no, you must wear a helmet” kind of way.   More in the “take four kids downtown to a ballet demonstration for kids while their moms stay home with the babies” kind of way.  Should be fun.

Or a total nightmare.

I was saying “no, sorry, I’m busy” until she mentioned it involved taking the older kids to the ballet.  And as Kitri received discovered, to her shock, I’m a sucker for the ballet.  I took lessons for almost ten years, for crying out loud.  (In exchange, I learned that Kitri once played in a bluegrass jam band.)

…jessmonster scurry scurries to get another cup of coffee…

This afternoon, to reward myself for finishing up my “design a network for a small office” (blech!) assignment (12 hours late, naturally), I went to the twitch-inducing Barnes & Noble at the mall to return Case Histories.  Not because I’ve lost my desire to read it, oh no.

I was at the library, waiting by the elevator with a cart of books.  This is the prime grazing location for our ‘sale books,’  the stuff that people donate that doesn’t make it to our own shelves.  And there was a copy of Case Histories.  Slightly beat up.  The UK edition.  A mere $2.  So of course I buy that.

Which leads to me trundling back to the mall to pick out something shiny & new.  I go through the same dilemmas again.  I still want The King of Attolia to own & cherish, but if I returned the ‘new to me’ book, I should get a new ‘new to me’ book, right?  I considered the  Pevear/Volokhonsky translation of Crime & Punishment (I own a different translation and can’t seem to make it through in one piece), I again circled past Kavalier & Clay, but then, with near-perfect certainty, I fell upon Octavian Nothing.  Worth the extra $4, I’m thinking (well, $6 if you add the $2 I paid for Case Histories).

When will I have time to read these?  Sometime after I finish The Girls  and The Secret River.  And the other five library books on my shelf.

This photo has apparently been circulating the “tech-gadget blogs” so I won’t post the photo myself (because, God help me, I might be getting an Information Science degree but I will never be a tech-gadget blog).  It doesn’t make me want one (and I don’t believe it’s real or working because it’s not turned on and dude, if you made one of those, you’d turn it on for the photo – that’s my professional opinion) but it DOES make me want a typewriter.  I’ve always seen them as fun to use, but ever since I’ve started using the typewriter at work…I want.

I just picked up the Six Feet Under soundtrack (volume two) from the library* today and listening to that song, the one at the very end of the very last episode makes me feel like I’m in Six Feet Under. And kind of like Kate’s tipsy post about everyone dying. And vaguely sentimental and contemplative, like I should just stand at the window staring out at the rain. Um, yeah, okay.

I started out the day by finishing up John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines (check out the cover art, it’s super – as is the book**). Yesterday was like the Longest Day in the History of the Earth (or at least of being at work). Like my usual Saturday workday, on 5-6 hours of sleep and caffeine to go. I was there from 8am till 6:30pm. 10.5 hours, ie too long. I was getting slightly hysterical at the end because my brain was telling me GO GO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET OUT but the list of things I needed to take care of kept growing and finally I clocked out and practically RAN to my car.

And this morning I woke up feeling the effects of a compromised immune system. A groggy throat, headache, and general lack of a will to do anything other than read and drink coffee. Sorry, God. Laying in bed felt more important than getting up in time for church.

*The across-the-street Hippiewood Library, not MY library. My library didn’t have the CD when I went looking for it.

**As in, I was laughing so loudly that Kitri, in the next room, wondered what was so funny. I also fell asleep the other night trying, unsuccessfully, to anagram my first name. I was out before I managed to add my middle & last names to the mix.  I’ll work on it and get back to you.


Originally uploaded by joe.

October 2006

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