Saturday, November 27, 2004
Welcome to Planet Hormone
Or, You can see yourself in my floor

Do you remember that early-seventies commercial for Future floor wax where you are looking up at the woman and her kitchen through the crystal-clear glass floor she has just mopped? When I was little, I thought if you used Future, it turned your floor transparent. Not that I understood that if that happened, we'd be looking down at the semi-finished basement while we ate. I didn't really get the concept that the basement was below us. But I remember being very irked with my mom that she wouldn't buy Future. Did it matter that we had carpet in the kitchen? Heck no--I thought you could mop that too and turn it transparent, if you just got some Future!

I mopped the kitchen floor tonight. It is way sparkly, but it is not see-through. The Indian family downstairs has no idea how lucky they are that I didn't use Future. Next task: clear off the living/dining room floor enough to vacuum. There are still pieces of grass lying around from when I had my tent spread out after Pennsic.

Speaking of which, I'm trying to decide what to teach at Pennsic this year. (That's assuming I'm even going, depending on the job situation and all that. But I'm trying not to think about that.) Morgana claims that she can lobby for a Bardic Tent if we can all sign up to teach as many bardic-themed classes as we can manage. I can do the Sephardic Music one (just taught it again at Bardic Madness South last weekend) but I doubt the "Beginners' Northshield Bardic Circle" class will garner much interest. Unless...maybe other bards could offer to teach their Kingdoms' songs too, in separate class sessions? It could be the "getting to know you" bardic patriotism series. Hmm...and it sure would sap up schedule time, helping to accomplish Morgana's ulterior motive. I may mention it to some strategic people at Boar's Head and see what they think.

It's still raining. This afternoon it even snowed a bit, but not enough to stick or even show against the grass. I am still nervous about work, but trying to piece together some sort of "comfort bag" with items to calm me down while I'm there: tea and my favorite mug (the one my friend Katey gave me for my 10th birthday present), some dried berries and Pop Tarts, maybe my copy of Maisonneuve if I haven't finished it by Monday. What else can I bring (considering the cubicle where I'll sit won't be mine, so I won't be able to decorate to my own taste, and I may have to cede it back to the woman who's out sick once she returns to work)? Suggestions?



Back to work
Or, Once more, into the breach...

That makes it sound like this opportunity is filled with doom. (And I don't mean the cheerful, mischievous kind of doom.) Actually I am a lucky, lucky person. My old boss from Reference & Loan (where I worked part-time LTE after grad school) called and offered me a 75%-time position. Here's the deal: the woman who manages interlibrary loan has health problems and will be out for the near future, if not longer. The backlog is getting unmanageable. So Mary has hired a 50% person and a 75% person, at an LSA senior level, LTE (no benefits), to get to work on the backlog.

What does this mean? I get to learn all about ILL in Wisconsin for a short while, on a schedule that works for me (M-F 11-5), with one of the better bosses I've ever had, in a library that always impressed me with its friendly staff and laid-back feel. If I hate it, I'm gone after a short time. If I love it, and if the ILL person doesn't come back, I may have a shot at her job.

This also means I don't get to use a whole lot of my skills from medical libraries. We didn't even have OCLC at GL, and what interlibrary loan we did, I had no role in. But I worked in ILL at Ref & Loan last time (all right...so I was mostly doing page-type work, but this job may involve some of that too, not being a professional-level job), and I have had a secret yen to really get my hands on ILL as a practice. What I used to see of it in Bismarck was fascinating (and uniformly efficient--I know, I put in orders for myself all the time).

I had a dream last night that I arrived at R&L and the staff was engrossed in some sort of decision-making meeting where they had to select several things from a long list. They spoke in what sounded like library jargon, but not any library jargon I'd ever heard. I generally walked around and listened and felt deficient, until I decided it was time to be on my way, but discovered on the way out that the basket of chocolate I'd brought (I am never without my chocolate) was missing. Everyone tried to figure out what had happened to it, but there was only one answer, this being a staff-only library (no walk-in patrons): a co-worker had taken it. I woke up before I could figure out who or why or whether I was going to be able to deal with this. No idea what this means.

Currently, I alternate between apprehensiveness, and looking forward to starting this job. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. I start Monday.

Highlights of the last few weeks:


  • Clothiers' Seminar in Nordskogen was nice, and perhaps even too chock-full of classes. I only went to three if you count my own, and the one before it in the same room, where I warped up my maru dai for demo purposes. The third was an excellent class on cotehardies in art. My class went fine--the beginning kumihimo class is second nature to me now. I'm teaching it again at Boar's Head next weekend, along with an intermediate one with Lady Brigette from Tree-Girt-Sea.
  • Bardic Madness South was lovely. I drove down with Lady Adda, my site autocrat for Bardic Madness this March. She had never been to a BM so we agreed that it'd be a good idea for her to be there. Except for the fact that neither of us is an effective navigator, and Bloomington, IL was apparently put together by midwestern pirates looking to hide things like apartment complexes and churches, we had a great time. Adda is both extremely logical and down-to-earth, and capable of a good giggle or a heart-to-heart. She even talks to Colleen. I had a great time with her. She also got to talk to a bunch of past and future BMS site autocrats at the post-revel (okay, we missed some of the bardic, but this was important). Most astonishing impression of the day: Valencia wrote a lullaby-like song and sang it, and blew us all away. It is VERY seldom that I cry at hearing a new song. IMHO, she has a chance to go really far in the bardic arts.
  • The 2004 William Blackfox Awards nominees and winners were announced. These are the SCA-wide awards for the work of Chroniclers and other writers published in group newsletters. Last year the White Birch and I were nominated under "Best Layout and Design" and "Best Special Issue" (for the Newcomers' Issue with the pop-up-video-style thought balloons all over it), but didn't win either. This year the White Birch and I were nominated under "Best Layout and Design" only, and didn't win it, but I got an Honorable Mention (which is their catch-all, things-that-don't-fit-in-other-categories category) for my "Song of the Amphiptere", which they called "Nice piece of poetry written for a baronial investiture". I hadn't even realized Windhaven published it (though it was on their webpage for awhile), but under the circumstances I'm not mad!
  • After a day of changing background colors from taupe to puce to dark almond to barf, the new Northshield webminister decided to go with a seasonal theme. It does address the problem of people complaining about the stark white background. (I adore white backgrounds, but apparently there are people who have nothing better to do than complain about them.) I'm not sure if I like it, but I will probably not have the skills to re-apply for this position, so it's not for me to say.
  • Choral Union is inching towards the concerts on Dec. 11th and 12th. First rehearsal on the risers was this past Tuesday. I am thankful all over again for the little cup-with-a-built-in-straw with a strap attached, which I spent probably too much money on in Bismarck. I put water in it and hung it from my neck. We are so crammed onto those risers that there's no way I could bend down to pick up a water bottle (much less keep it on the riser with me without severely limiting my foot space!). There are two riser rehearsals this week (I have to work 8-2 those days to get in all my hours...grrrrrr) but I currently have a cold, so I'm hoping I can beg out of singing and sit in the audience area.
  • Ellen is in town for Thanksgiving; she arrived Wednesday afternoon and we went to Irish Waters late Wednesday night for Jararvellir social night. Ellen definitely has a gift for being social; she charmed everyone at the table, especially the fencer dudes who showed up after practice. Michael St. Christian and Gauge did some pretty blatant flirting; Gauge was nice enough to include me in the flirting, but they gravitated towards her. She ended up playing pool with Josceline and Mateo and she beat them both. We stayed until the bar closed at 1:45. This was the only Wednesday night of the year we could do that--usually people have to work on Thursday mornings! I enjoyed it; Ellen says she had a blast. When I mentioned the Bardic Night on Sunday she asked if she could go. Having my sister doing SCA stuff is mildly weird, but remember, not only has she not been to an event yet, she hasn't expressed any actual interest in doing so. So: Jararvellir, enjoy her while she's here; she's leaving Monday.
  • Maybe I'll invite her to W&W. Maybe not. Maybe I'm nuts. Maybe...
  • Thanksgiving itself was relatively quiet. I made Brussels sprouts with chili-lime butter and pecans. They were still quite sprouty-tasting, which I like but most people don't. I have at least half of the dish left. M & D invited a couple from Temple that they have known for years, but that Ellen and I never really hung out with, who turned out to be a lot of fun.


Dad and I went to a hockey game tonight. Good bonding time. I worry about him; some of that is residual worry because he had his heart attack on Thanksgiving (this was ten years ago, but still), and some is that he seems really stressed out over Grandpa's failing health. Grandpa's in the hospital again. He had a stroke during surgery about eight years ago and has lost all self-sufficiency. They have a live-in health care worker, but Grandpa is a real handful: no self-care skills, very little mobility, and he's often confused and upset. Basically he has rotten quality-of-life, Grandma is still in denial and won't hear of him going to a nursing home, and they keep sending him home once he improves from whatever weakness or infection is bothering him this time--after a slew of state-of-the-art tests that turn out inconclusive or negative, and that are all paid for with my tax dollars and yours.

Now, I've never been close to my grandparents, mostly because I didn't see them much. So the stress level isn't much on me, but Dad is the oldest son, and I think he just doesn't like seeing this all happening. His younger brother lives in the same town as G & G so he is there for emergencies, but I think Dad wishes he were there to help too, because it's a lot to ask of my uncle to always be "the responsible one". Dad is nothing if not duty-bound. Personally, I'm happy my parents live in Madison, but one of the trade-offs for Dad is that he's three hours from his folks.

I just worry about the guy. Stress and depression combined with heart disease are very worrisome. I asked Mom what I could do, and she said, "Hug him". So I have. He likes that. And I went to the Badger hockey game with him, which was the worst game I have ever been to: Michigan Tech won 4-0. The Badgers were out there tripping over each other and whacking the wall with their sticks. The Waukesha Warhawks Mini-Mite hockey team that did an exhibition round during one of the breaks had better passing than the Badgers (and scored two goals in five minutes, but that might have been because of the goalies' inability to actually move around in all their padding. Awww. There's not much cuter than six-year-olds in hockey gear). But Dad and I had fun, and we had Dippin' Dots for a snack.

Tomorrow: family photos, visit with my mom's best friend (who is visiting her parents in Madison along with her husband/sons/one son's girlfriend/the other son's wife and baby). And I might mop the kitchen. I feel nest-y lately.



Thursday, November 04, 2004
Quick entry to let my readers (all three of them!) know that my Laurel Prize Tourney project is now online. It's five French poems from SCA period, translated into English through a two-step process. It's available by clicking (pick "Eliane's Bardic Book" to the right, then "Five Translations"). Or, go directly: http://www.gflower.org/fivepoems.htm.

Also, www.gillyflower.org now works to get to this page. My guess is that the people using www.gillyflower.com for their rather uninformative flower shop webpage have decided to no longer pay the retainer on their tech guy to save money. You know, the screen saver on the computer in the shop works now, and occasionally they get an e-mail, so everything must be hunky-dory. So apparently now there's no one to renew their parked domains. When I saw it was available, I snapped it up and parked it at Geocities where I'm only paying $10 a year to keep it and forward it to this page. I'll have to keep an eye open for www.gillyflower.com in case they forget to renew that too.

Yahoo! Geocities renews automatically for me on gflower.org. Can I pick 'em or what?



Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Is it tea? Is it coffee? You decide...
Wait! Stop! Strike that! Americans obviously can't be counted on to decide anything!

This product looks intriguing. Full of caffeine, probably, but intriguing. We like coffee, we like tea, why not combine the two? I have a feeling there's a good reason why not, but apparently there are just enough people in Japan who feel otherwise, that this product is making money for someone.

I'm not as upset as you'd think I would be about the election, just less hopeful for my country. Four more years of the same lies and mismanagement. We are going to sink further into the jell-o of complacency (for Bush-heads) and apathy (for disappointed Kerryites and anyone-but-Bushers). Particularly relevant for me, libraries will continue in their funding downturn. My theory has been that it takes 3-5 years for economic problems or booms to trickle down to libraries. (Of course, the booms genuinely trickle, in raindrop-sized portions, while the problems flood us like monsoons.) It's nearly four years now since Bush's "election" to the Presidency of the United States was confirmed. And two months now since a librarian job has been posted at the UW-Madison, three since there has been one posted at the Madison Public Library. You do the math.

Laura Bush and the ALA can stop their nattering about the crisis of recruitment to the field of librarianship, and how some astonishing percentage of us are retiring in the next ten years and will need to be replaced. If our institutions don't have the money to replace retirees, well, that erases the crisis, doesn't it? Sorry, we don't need you after all, you can find some other profession, or go produce cappuccinos at Starbucks for your former patrons.

I'm sorry, the whole being unemployed thing, combined with the whole Bush winning thing, is just making me particularly bitter today. I'm sure most of my readers are sympathetic on that second count, but sadly, "misery loves company" doesn't seem to hold true today.

Or maybe I've just been holing myself up in my apartment too much. Yesterday, after voting and going to Food-a-Rama at Temple with Mom, I came home and put together both of the new bookcases I bought last week at Office Depot. (They were easier to assemble than the Target bookcases, hold more books, and were only about $10 more apiece since I was lucky enough to walk in during a furniture sale.) Then last night, I stayed in all evening and watched election stuff (not exclusively, geez, I did take a break for a Simpsons re-run and some Blind Date) and did kumihimo. Waited for Wisconsin to be declared for Kerry, gave up and went to sleep. (It eventually was, but it didn't matter. Obviously. But it does give me a little reassurance that my state was blue, and both my Democratic congresspeople were re-elected by a landslide.)

Today I woke up raring to do something, spent 45 minutes cleaning my shower, showered, and realized that I had satisfied my urge to do something. So I had something to eat, then spent the rest of the day reading, watching a movie that needs to be returned tomorrow, and doing more kumihimo. The regular trio singing I'm doing with Becky and Sherry is cancelled tonight. And I just didn't feel like going to the Stock Pavilion or to Irish Waters. The night is black; the wind is fretting at the windows. I'm in for the evening.

I found a whole bunch of old letters in a box I had not opened since moving to La Crosse in 2000. I'm sure I hadn't read them for years before that. The box fits nicely on half of one shelf of one of my new bookcases. I don't want to read the letters. Imagine: me, the one who used to pride herself on remembering the names of all her teachers from preschool to 8th grade (I don't anymore; don't ask me to recite them), haunted by her memories. Is this why people keep stuff: they know the stuff is important because the past is inherently important, but they can't stand to look at it and re-activate the memories again?

Lest you think I have some sort of chequered past, these aren't shocking or evil letters. Just letters from old penpals, old boyfriends, old friends. I just don't feel I can go back right now. Right now, it's hard enough to hold on to the belief that I'm moving forward.

On the bright side, my second bedroom looks a little less like a boxyard and more like a room, now that the bookcases are up and several boxes have been unpacked onto them. There are quite a lot of books I haven't seen in a long time, that are now sleeping peacefully in my second bedroom. I may finally have enough bookcases...you think? No! No such thing. ;)

I'm finally reading American gods by Neil Gaiman. I was less-than-impressed by Neverwhere, so I was always skeptical when friends would recommend American gods. But when I was at Mysie/Dahrien's friend Chris' house recently, I happened on his copy and was looking at it, and he urged me to borrow it. So I did, and rushed it up the priority list so I can return it in some appproximation of timeliness.

Wow, am I glad I did. It's entirely worth waiting for, absorbing, full of little jabs at middle America. There's a whole section set at The House on the Rock near Spring Green, WI, teeming with descriptions of the place--descriptions that those who've been there will recognize as entirely accurate. I wonder what it must look like to someone who hasn't. Simply superb fantasy writing, I suspect...!

Anyway, I'm only about 2/5 of the way through it, and it impressed me from the first few pages. So between shower-cleaning and reading, today was not at all wasted. Just...quiet.

This weekend: off to Phoenix, AZ for my cousin Jack's Bar Mitzvah. Awww, I have to fly again? You know how I feel about flying...or maybe you don't. I'm not a big fan. I recognize that it saves a lot of time, and I certainly wouldn't rather drive in most cases, but it's just not fun for me. It's expensive (though M&D are fabulous and are paying for this trip), it involves carnival-ride-like ups and downs in the air which usually make my stomach turn, and the whole security foofuraw at the airport just makes me feel depersonalized. Of course I would like to see Jack--he's a very smart kid and will do well, and I've never been out to see that particular branch of the family since they moved away from Indiana--but mostly I'm going as a favor to my sister, who really wants to go but doesn't like to be alone, and to my parents, who can't be there because of a previous committment.

With any luck, it will be warm out there. It sure isn't here.






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