Peace, love and pot

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A guy came into the library today in what at first looked like a snuggie with the hood up. As he walked away the full effect hit me. It was a one piece outfit (romper? leisure suit?) with a zipper up the front and made of pajama material. It had large rainbow colored marijuana leaves all over it. Yikes!- he just walked in again. It has a black background and green, red and yellow leaves, about the size of the palm of your hand. I have $10 that says I will see his name in the paper sometime in the next two months.

I work in a different library now, a smaller one. This was not an easy decision for me. I hate change, but the money was considerably different with not many different responsibilities. I am in charge of adult programming including the adult reading program this summer.  I was worried about learning to use a new cash register. Ha! It is a drawer with a compartmented wooden box inside for the change and a empty check box with a rock in it for the bills.

I am excited to be able to ride my bike to work come spring and I don’t work evenings any more. My kids can ride their bikes here to attend Lego Club and Coder Dojo. All in all it was a good move.

Road Trip

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A friend and I needed to get out of town, so we drove to Estes Park last night. We went to a bar and I spotted my first Hipster in the wild. We were way older than the others in the bar, but it was some good people watching.

Page 71 and counting

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I am reading “Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid.” It has been on my list for several years and I heard it mentioned on NPR a couple of weeks ago, (that is where I learned Godel rhymes with noodle-unless I misremember) which rekindled my thought that I should read this book. I got it from our community college library, which by the way, is catalogued according to Library of Congress rather than Dewey and thus it was very novel for me to have to ask how to find a book. He asked me how long I wanted to keep it. I stood there in stunned silence. “A month?” “That is our usual time, but you can have it longer if you need.”

I read the introduction and learned that the guy who wrote it had planned to write an essay, maybe a pamphlet when he set out. In case you are unfamiliar with this book it weighs in at 740 pages with barely 30 pages of endnotes and bibliography beyond that. Luckily for me it is full of pictures and little math games, and music too.

“What is it about?” I hear you ask. Godel was a mathematician towards the beginning of the last century I believe. Escher is the guy who drew all the posters you saw in dorm rooms with endless loops of stairs or a quilt turning into birds or the two hands drawing each other. Bach? “Ah, Bach,” as Radar said in MASH to his woman-friend. The author, Douglas R. Hofstadter whom I will now refer to as “the guy” because I am not typing that again, wanted to show us the way music and math and art all weave into each other through the Socratic thought process. I think. It is pretty tough to explain. The guy wants us to think of things in new ways and to question everything. Everything. I gave my daughter an example, “Is one and one always two?” Of course it is. But what if two raindrops were running down a window and joined? One and one are one in that case.

I think I have been reading it about a week –I am on page 71- and I hear something every day that makes me think of this book. Today on NPR (I listen to a lot of radio) they were talking about audio loops on TV shows, where you hear stuff going on in the background. They pay people to wander around and say random things so they can weave it through the dialogue you are supposed to be listening to. Background noise. I am just reading about negative space in art and math and music. *lightbulb lights up*

After a month, I will decide if I can get through this book. I don’t think I will be taking it to the beach this summer, although I probably could since the last person checked it out in 2002. They still use the little paper in the front of the book. No barcode or anything. Maybe GEB will help me with my seventh grade math homework. I have promised myself I will only read this or the book our book group is reading this month until I decide if I can handle it. My brain hasn’t been required to do this kind of thinking since I was in college and it may no longer be capable of deep thought.

I pointed out to my mother that I will not likely be tested over this, so if I find myself not understanding a concept I can just keep going until I get to something that makes more sense. So far that has worked.

Have any of you read this? Can you describe it better?

Random Things On My Mind Lately

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When is a good time to stop by Walgreens to pick up my prescription? They were held up Wednesday for the second time in four months. (probably the same guy, but they haven’t caught him) I would have been there at about that time but I was having my PE teacher do my taxes and we ran late. The dude wanted prescription drugs, although apparently not birth control pills. The pharmacist came in the library that night and was still a little shaken. The next nearest Walgreens is 90 miles away.

Now that I no longer spend my time parsing my words for fear of their results I find I get PMS. I think I was too scared to before.

I spent half an hour on the phone with Sarah’s math teacher today. She keeps failing tests, but gets good grades on her homework. That is because I check it each night, which takes about an hour. Add that to the hour I spend checking Lydia’s math and you now know why I am not watching Downton Abbey or Outlander. Next year we can add another hour for Thomas. Our current babysitter is good in math, which has cut down on this some.

My poor sons. They want me to read to them, or spend some kind of time with them, but it seems after supper we have math. They need another parent.

“Wanted: husband with math skills and driver’s license. Please send junior high transcript and photo of minivan.”

I say this, but my kids got snowed in last weekend with their dad, and my boyfriend drove five hours Monday to get them so I could go to work. And he lets me say mean things to him when I have PMS. He can’t help the girls with their math, although he told me he can throw a dart with a rope on it over a haystack and tell me how many tons of hay are in the stack then balance a ration for pregnant cows. So far Saxon math has not covered this.  Maybe in eighth grade.

I got five calls from Zach’s first grade teacher about his behavior in January (there were only three weeks in this January) He was mostly not paying attention to the teacher and goofing off. According to ‘The Birth Order Book’ he is a little behind schedule in the whole goofing off thing.

If a can of beer has 12 ounces and a gallon has 128 ounces…ten and a half beers is a gallon.

Do any of you watch the Bachelor?

Not related to the Bachelor, we have a guy studying for the bar in our library. He told me he was at a conference a while ago where Sarah Koenig from Serial spoke.

The beginning of a bad country song. Either you get it or you don’t.

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I am sitting here in my bed eating crackers and goat cheese. I worked a 10 hour day and for supper I went to Jimmy John’s. (You had me at Jimmy) When I asked the guy to cut my sandwich in half and wrap it separately he misunderstood and thought I asked for triple onions. The goat cheese worked. I get mine from a friend who raises goats and makes a living at selling cheese. I hate goats but I love their cheese.

Writing to public figures is on my mind lately. I wrote my state senator about some plans they have to lower child support payments for non-custodial parents across the board. They would be lowered anywhere from $40 less a month to $225 less. I think it is a done deal, but I wanted him to know that a guy who brings home $130-$150 K has kids on reduced price lunches. I am sure there are guys out there who have a hard time making child support payments. He is not one of them. An extra $200 won’t change his lifestyle. Loosing it would probably rule out swimming lessons, band, tumbling, and piano for us. I am thinking if they are going to do this, perhaps they will make the changes based on current wages of the parents rather than the wages we had when the decree was issued.

Don’t get me wrong. He pays every month on time, and we can certainly live fine off what we get. I just don’t think it is very fair to reduce it.

A couple weeks ago my mother tried to get ahold of my brother but he was not answering texts or returning calls, so she called his wife to find he was in Greece. Yes. They needed him to go to Greece to help re-write this manual on cranes. Cranes like the ones at ports to load and unload ships, I presume. I am a little bitter. I have wanted to go to Greece since fourth grade when I did a report on Greece. Now, I have four kids who are on welfare and foreign travel seems unlikely.

My brother eats because if he doesn’t he will die. There is no enjoyment in it, (which makes sense if you ever eat his wife’s cooking) he eats for sustenance. He has traveled all over the world for his job (London, Singapore and Greece since Halloween) and I don’t think he explores at all, just does his meeting thing and flies home. I guess he talked to Dad and he did take in some sights and gained seven pounds in two weeks. I feel a little better, at least he did some of the things I would have, although seven seems a little low for me.

Off to bed!

Not So Well.

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On the advice of my lawyer, a deputy sheriff and a social worker I got my kids a track phone. My oldest texted me when her dad opened his first beer. And his second. I called 911 and ended up with a state patrol dispatcher who actually said, “it isn’t that big of a deal” about driving and drinking. I got his name. He did send someone who gave my ex a breathalyzer (he passed) and let him go. I told my daughter to make sure the cop called me, and by golly he did. He was really nice; even apologetic. So I learned an empty is not an open container, my kids learned a cop can stop your dad after he has been drinking while driving but will let him go, and my ex learned there ain’t no good in an evil hearted woman.

I am also horrified that my daughter knows she made this happen. Or not happen, as it were. She turned her father in to the cops. I am making a counselor appointment for next week.

Lord help us if Jim finds the phone. I just bought it this afternoon. Mom pointed out that we need to erase the texts ASAP. Just as soon as we learn how to do that.

I haven’t slept for two weeks, I have heartburn and my digestive tract has gone flop-woozy over this. And I even cried today. Big sigh.

Wish me well.

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I had a lovely talk with a social worker today, then a deputy sheriff. You see, last month my ex had a close call with a DUI and open container and child endangerment and who knows what-all. A state trooper pulled him over because of a phone call another driver made. He had been drinking, but had the kids cover up the cooler and hide the empties so the cop would not see them. The cop looked at four kids in the pick-up with him and let him go.

They interviewed the kids at school today. The social worker said they are going to confront him. So my ex thinks I made the first call. I didn’t. He will be convinced I made the second call, which of course I did. The girls and I talked about it tonight.

They are sure the ex will scream at the kids about how awful I am and how great he is and that beer is mostly water for two-and-half hours on the way home, as he drinks beer. They are scared of him, and with some reason.

Now this is my question: how awful would it be of me to get a digital recorder to put in a backpack to record how he treats them? I would turn it over to a social worker Monday without even listening. Is that awful or just making sure the people who make decisions have the facts?

A week in the life of a middle aged woman

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I have been following your blogs, but by the time I get to them pretty much all the comments I would think up have been taken, and if they haven’t, what I want to say is more my own thing than anything to do with yours. Here is proof.

I turned 44 last week. I think it was the best birthday in my adulthood. I am pretty content to be my age. The Sunday before, my brother offered to ride in the car with me to meet my ex and exchange kids. We got to talk for five hours. We hadn’t spent that much time alone together since, well I suppose sometime in the 80s. I lamented about how I was having problems with general maintenance in my house.

I came around the corner in my hall later that week to find my brother looking at my front doorknob which had cost $89 and wasn’t working. He fixed my air compressor hose by unscrewing a thing. Then he hung my curtain rods and generally puttered around. My cousin mailed me some grass seeds from Minnesota, the kids got me a Pete the Cat shirt, and my boyfriend wrote me a four page love letter. It was a great day. Then I came home later to find my brother had replaced my garage door opener. For free. He is a jewel. I wish he didn’t live in Texas.

So when we met my ex on Sunday, the kids boiled out of his pickup and told me a state trooper had pulled my ex over because another driver had turned him in for swerving. My ex leaned in my window (I think) to yell at me because I bet he thought I had turned him in. When he saw my brother he didn’t say a word. (It had never occurred to me to turn him in, although I know the plate # and where he should be on the road.) The cop apparently saw all the kids and thought, “nobody in his right mind is drinking while driving these lovely children down the interstate,” and didn’t search for alcohol containers. Because he would have found them, empty and full. So close.

I have been muttering to myself about my current boyfriend. He falls into OBL’s >60 range, he doesn’t have a job and he isn’t handy at all. I am handy if everything works as it should, but I am not a problem solver when I run across something that I didn’t expect. Ed won’t help with that stuff at all, and he was a rancher for most of his life, he HAS to know how to remove the thingie on my air compressor so it works. Last night my youngest puked. I texted my boss. While I can potentially leave an eleven-year-old alone for most of the day, I cannot do that for a seven-year-old. While trying to figure out how they would staff the front desk without me I realized they really couldn’t. So Ed said he would stay home and take care of Zach. He took sheets off the bed, washed them and re-made the bunk bed. After school he delivered my daughter to piano and dropped the rest of the crew at the library.  Here I am cursing a guy who would stay home with another man’s kid so I can go to work and not inconvenience my boss who is a little scary these days. (She told me she had a dream she fired me.)

One of our patrons (the one I voted most likely to be jumped by me if his doctor-wife were to die in a tragic accident) published a book. I read the first two chapters on Amazon and got the rest to read on my iPad tonight. It is written for the 9-12 age group. I looked up the publisher, and I don’t think it is a vanity press, but what I have read so far seems a little awkward. Not bad, but not quite “right.” I dunno. I am a little worried to read the rest of it because if he asks me a direct question about it I can’t lie.

That won’t be a problem for a while because I need to finish “Life After Life” before book group tomorrow night and I started “Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography,” which is really funny. Revealing? Probably not, but for someone who missed Doogie Howser because I was in college and not watching TV in my spare time then I haven’t seen “How I Met Your Mother” because I never started watching it, I guess I am an open slate when it comes to him, except that it is a great premise for a book. I am reading it straight through mostly because I don’t want to miss anything, but you can hop all over the place if you want. It has several places where if you make a bad decision he ends up working at Schlotzki’s Deli.

A young woman came into the library and was hanging around because she used to work there and didn’t have anything to do at home. It came out that she is really smart (most people who work in libraries are) and she said she would tutor my daughters in math. I am seriously thinking of taking her up on it. This homework thing takes a two hour chunk out of my night.

I am off to a soak in the tub with Ursula. G’night.

A Testamemt To My Cluelessness

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I had an epiphany last week. Kind of a life-changing epiphany. With as much navel gazing as someone who has been blogging for nine years must have done, you would think I would have come across this by now. I am an introvert. I am also pretty oblivious (obviously).

This came about when I was talking to my boss about something and I told her I didn’t know whether I was an extrovert or an introvert. She said, “You are a green…probably an introvert” which was this color personality thing we did which really explains the people I work with and is much less complicated than the INTEP thing or whatever that was.

Exhibit #1 When I was in my early 20s (circa 1992) I lived outside a town of about 300 people, located 90 miles from any larger town. I had no friends outside of co-workers, although I knew lots of people. I had no TV. I had my day job and I worked evenings as a cook and waitress in the local bar/fine dining establishment/pool hall a couple nights a week. Otherwise I was at my little rental house behind my landlord’s big ranch house. I might have been lonely from time to time, but I was completely content. The librarian had my library card memorized.

I think an extrovert would have either made friends and gone out and partied or gone crazy in that situation.

Exhibit #2 I hate living in town. I go out to my back yard and then I end up talking to my neighbors, all of whom are nice, but maybe I just want privacy outside. I grew up 3 miles from the nearest neighbor and I liked it that way. When I win the lottery, maybe I will install a different fence than my waist high chain-link fence. Maybe not, I like being able to see out. I think of Jean Auel’s “Clan of the Cave Bear” where you don’t look into the other cave inhabitants’ living space as a form of courtesy. People in my alley just don’t get that.

Exhibit #3 I am around people all day, which is fine, I like my co-workers and most of the patrons, but then I come home to all these people I made and they want my attention too. All I want is some alone time. And when the kids are at their dad’s, my boyfriend is hanging around. I probably can fix that some.

Exhibit #4 I hardly have any friends here, and I hardly ever go out or entertain. I joined a service sorority because I knew I needed to make friends. I guess my only friends in my last town were from MOPS which I joined because I knew I needed to make friends. But I am content like this.

Clearly I am not way over on the scale or anything, but there you have it. I am an introvert. Next on my list of books to read is “The Birth Order Book” maybe I will discover I am a first-born!

A man with a purse

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Last night we had an author come to speak at the library. I had to help the author’s wife sell books after the talk so I handed my boyfriend my purse and I climbed behind the table to help out. When things died down Ed found me and gave me my (pretty small, black) purse back. He told me he had been talking to his ex-wife and she was looking at him weird because of the purse. I didn’t have the heart to tell him his chances with her were slim at best.

He introduced me to her. She was beyond cordial, she was downright nice. They have been divorced 18 years. (Keep in mind he is 21 years older than me) She talked books with me. Nice neutral ground.

Ed tells people his ex ran off with his hired man (ranch hand). “…I sure do miss him, he was the best man I ever had.” She actually did and they are married now. Ed left his wife running the ranch and raising the kids while he was off rodeoing. She finally had enough. He has nothing but nice things to say about her.

I don’t have much to add except the author was Craig Johnson, who writes smart-funny murder mysteries based in Wyoming. The A&E series, Longmire is based on his characters. If he comes to your town, go see him. He is a great speaker, even if you haven’t read the books.

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