Category Archives: These Are the People In Your Neighborhood

Highlighting the accomplishments / accolades / goodness / badness / evilness / awfulness / kittenness of people I know.

Birthday wish

I have a birthday wish. I want to blow the roof off my real-life superhero friend’s fundraiser.

You may remember me asking you to donate to the Walk for Hunger1 in years past. I walked as part of Team Civitron, and although I’m not likely to walk any part of it this year2 I still want to raise money for the cause, and support Civitron. Are you in? Would you give up a tenner to help feed hungry families?

Donate here, please!

1 it’s actually a walk against hunger.
2 seeing as I can’t walk at all right now.

Farmer’s daughter’s dilemma

I’m listening to The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, mostly as I walk around Cambridge and Boston, and when I’m weeding in the garden. (The latter being what I’ve taken to doing every morning.)

I’ve made it through the maize, past McDonalds, and into the beef industry. Having grown up on an Iowa beef (and corn and soy) farm, I have personal experience with Pollan’s topics. It seems that the farmers he interviews and what he chooses to include in the book does not always reflect my family’s farm, but that is to be expected. It does ring true though, from what I know. The problem is, I don’t actually know that much about how my father farms.

My reaction as I’m listening has mostly been mute awe at the industrialization and commodification of food – and all the ills and boons that come with it.

The last time I was home to visit my family, I got up the courage to ask my dad why he didn’t farm something other than corn and soy. He said there was no other crop (or crops) that would allow him to be as successful, as a one-man operation.

Field south of the house

I took this to heart – letting go of the fantasy of starting an organic vegetable farm with my brother, which would service the local population (a mere 30 miles away).

This morning, as I was listening to the audiobook and pulling crab grass, I learned about farmers who have eschewed industrial farming AND organic farming, electing instead to find a sustainable balance instead (neither industrial or mass-farming organically are doing this). Pollan describes a farm in Virginia that rotates cattle, chickens, and various other animals over grassland, in such a way that benefits each animal species as well as the grass (and dirt).

Granted, I get excited about things easily (look! a sign that reads ‘puppy sale’!), but I really feel that there is some answer for how to use the land my family already has, once the only farmer working it is retired. Sure, we could rent it to someone else — we could even sell it. I prefer to scheme ways to keep it going with Greens (my dad is the fifth generation).

Now I just have to stop loving living in Boston, and convince Jason to move to Iowa. Though he doesn’t like to talk about it, I think my dad would like to retire eventually, and I think taking over a farm and successfully keeping it running isn’t outside the realm of possibility. It makes my heart ache to think about it.

How an Iowan farmer looks

These photos were taken during the floods in June. The first is the field across from the house, and the second is my father, during one of the last days of rising water.

Whaley the Whale Pal

I’ve been mulling over the idea of storebought.

This is my first Christmas working as a librarian in a public library. I’m learning that part of being the public library here is getting Christmas presents from patrons. We have about 10 boxes and tins of treats in the back, that we’ve slowly been working our way through since Thanksgiving. The first Whitman’s sampler was gone in a few hours. After that, as the boxes and tins started rolling in, I began to realize that I needed to be very careful. If I didn’t pay attention, I’d ingest a few thousand extra calories each day.

As I looked over our selection, I realized that what I wanted to spend my caloric pennies on was homemade snacks. Food with no preservatives, with taste in mind rather than presentation.

I read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, which took place in midwest frontier America. During Laura’s life, there were several scenes of experiencing the difference between homemade and storebought. In this context, ‘storebought’ meant hard candy, calico print fabric, and other items simply unattainable from the prairie, but magically available through Sears and Roebuck. I could imagine how nice it would be to give up wearing wool underwear for some nice, soft cotton.

At what point did homemade become the new storebought?

Here is Adam,
obviously enamored with the most awesome baglet ever. This came,
along with various tiny delicious cookies, from my good friend E.

Wooo wooo wooo (says the whale).

What’s the tackiest way to announce something, part II

I wouldn’t consider my news to be on par with getting hitched, but I have some news, and realized that this is the easiest way to disseminate it.

Jason and I are leaving New Bedford and the Millicent Library, and moving up to Boston, where Jason just started a new job. He’s commuting up there for now (two hours each way! on a bus! with nor’easters!) but we’ll move at the end of January. (I’ll be sending out the nearly-as-awkward email with our new address once we hunt down an apartment in Bostonland.)

Jason’s been working on his own for the past two years, and it was time to re-enter the jobby-job world. There’s not a lot in the way of programmer action down here, and there’s a veritable hotbed of zeros and ones flowing through Boston, so it was a pretty easy choice. We get to keep our local friends and drivers licenses, and add the benefit of a major city, major airport, more jobs, trains, bikes, and ducks.

The major downside is leaving the library. It didn’t occur to me that a hazard of working with children is having to tell them that you’re abandoning them for a different library with different children. I’m not exactly sure how to do it, really. My heart sinks whenever I think about it. I’m hoping that when my replacement is hired, we can have a party with the two of us, like a “hello goodbye” celebration.

1772 Map of Boston
(click to enjoy)
1772 map of Boston

New knitting project!

I’ve been feeling lost and confused ever since I successfully finished knitting a Rogue hoodie that fit me.


Until Keem suggested I knit her a Skull Illusion Scarf.

Skull Illusion Scarf

I said “Mokay, but are you sure you don’t want a Dark Mark illusion scarf?”

Dark Mark illusion scarf

She said, “No thanks, I’m in Ravenclaw anyway.”

Skull and crossbones it is. Much more ladylike and nonthreatening.

red vs creme

So off I go, on a new knitting adventure, with an illusion scarf. I plan on plotting my progress with my brand new membership to Ravelry. (For those of you who aren’t aware yet, it’s only THE knitting and crocheting community site. It’s still in beta testing, and just today I got my long-awaited invitation.)

Happy Birthday, cat!

I’ve just now decided that today is Stellaaa’s birthday.

I’ve also decided that we will change Stellaaa’s name on her birthday.

Please change her name in your address books to … Physics.

Physics is the new Stellaaa.

Thank you.

(If this is upsetting to you, remember, she’s deaf.)

Huppy Hup Hup!

Lordy, lordy, look who’s 29.

He spent the day hard at work, beta testing the project he’s been working on. If you like organizing competitive things like euchre tournaments or champion blood letting, you can look at it. I guess. [Game On!]

One last wedding event

This weekend was the last in a long string of events that PROVE that Jason and I are married. We certainly are now, after a long weekend on the farm, complete with a Green wedding reception (one that includes the community center and an announcement in the paper in lieu of sending invitations).

I’ve learned that going to my own wedding reception is hard, because I know everyone there, and they’re all there because of me, and I can’t spend enough time with any of them. Awwwwkward. Oh well. There was cheesecake, so that makes up for it. A little.

On the upside, it was fun to see lots of relatives and friends, and to hang out on the farm, and eat HyVee chinese and Hungry Hobo subs (comfort foods) and Exotic Thai (high-quality comfort food) and scratch John Edwards behind his ear. (He is a dog.)

Pictures to come.


I got word this morning that my good friends Kate and Ade just produced a bebe. I’m so proud of them. I’m not sure why I feel pride. Perhaps it’s that I’ve done nothing yet that will impact the world as much what they just did. I haven’t even written a thesis. Or knit a sweater to exact proportions.

Anyway, I’m pleased to know that a bebe named Lincoln is in this world, and I’ll get to meet him and give him some books, thereby helping him rock the vote, heal the world, or whatever he ends up doing with his giant hands.