Akron: 13 April 17: Break Time

A much-needed long weekend is now past. It was quite enjoyable.

We booked off a Friday and Monday, and ran off to a small town about forty miles from here, to stay at b&b. Said b&b is a Victorian home that has been carefully restored and decorated in all things Victorian and cat. Yes, I said "cat." Each of the rooms is named after a cat breed, there are cat pictures and figurines and hangings in abundance, and the house is ruled by a regal orange Maine Coon named Rocky.  Rocky is somewhat aloof, but the house is his, and he reserves the right to check out all the guest, supervise their evenings, and remind everyone that this is *his* house by lying on whatever bed he chooses. I had been hoping for snuggles, but Rocky is not a snuggler. He spent the better part of the first evening lying on the bed near my feet, though, so that was good.

We spent most Friday evening eating sushi and watching TV. Saturday we went to York to visit Central Market and whatever else appealed to us. This included a model train store that specialized in O-gauge and a very sizable used book and collectibles place. Said York Emporium even had some signed-by-author paperbacks, two by Jack Vance. Vance is a science fiction writer who has been publishing since 1945. He's created some truly impressive worlds and characters, and is a highly-gifted wordsmith. I wasn't prepared to purchase signed Vance books, but I knew someone who was, so I was able to make Paul, the friend who introduced me to Vance in the first place, quite happy.

Sunday we visited a local Methodist church, and I picked up an idea for a story-for-the-children, should my turn ever arise again. We also trekked out to Morningstar Market and saw lots of stuff that we would like to buy. We limited ourselves to a sheet set (me) and an old-fashioned electric desk fan (John). When we got back to the b&b, we parked ourselves in the backyard and snuggled the outside cat, a black and white charmer named Midnight. He was only too ready to be snuggled, so I got my cat fix for the week.

Monday, we went to Harrisburg, cruised around a little, and ended up in Lemoyne in the Cleve Erickson library. It is beautiful: lots of quarter-sawn oak, brass plates, Mission-style furniture (and Morris chairs), and square-pyramid stained-glass lampshades. The furniture was comfortable, there were lots of books, the wi-fi was available to all... I took lots of pictures, and hope to create an album online for my co-workers at home to look at. (They had an interesting way of handling holds that might spark some ideas for us...)

Then we swung past the airport, and came back. A lovely trip, and we're thinking that we might use all of our vacation time in similar extended weekends.


In completely other news, it's 15C outside at 9:30am, and 24.2C inside. I'm wishing for sandals and a skirt. The best part is that we're in process of installing a geothermal system at the office, and during some of that time, the office A/C will not be usable.  That will definitely be sandals and skirt time...

AKRON: 13 April 11: So this is Spring

So, it's been coolish for the last two weeks before this one. I was beginning to wonder when Spring would get here.

This week - well, it didn't actually come this week either. What we got was a sneak preview of summer. There was sunshine, temperatures in the high twenties (Celsius) and up to 30C yesterday. The blazers were set aside, the shorts came out, the sheets were discarded for the best part of the night. It came to a head last night, with rain, wind, and lightning. Today has been cooler, and I'm contemplating pulling out my fleece as I sit in the draft from the window.

Meantime, my husband is sitting on the sofa, bareback and in shorts, and completely content with the situation...

What I'm reading now: 13 April 11

I've read some AJ Jacobs before, and rather enjoyed his style of immersive (sometimes called "stunt") journalism: learning about a topic by trying it out, and then writing about one's experience. So when I came across a copy of his book The Year of Living Biblically, I grabbed it. It's a topic that's had some press recently, due to the success of another book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood  by Rachel Held Evans. (I haven't had a chance to read Evans' book yet.) Both authors undertake to follow the letter of the law for a year - Biblical law.

I found Jacobs' approach interesting. He is of Jewish background, and is agnostic (possibly atheist; I don't have the book handy to check my facts, sorry), and took on the challenge to follow the Bible literally for a year to prove that it is impossible to do so. He takes it on as best he can, even though he thinks it's doomed and he feels foolish with an untrimmed beard and blowing a shofar at the beginning of each month. Along the way, though, he finds that his experiment affects him in ways he hadn't expected. Jacobs' writing will amuse and might also make you think, whether you believe in Biblical literalism or not.

I've also been reading some books on, specifically Arthur Morrison's Martin Hewitt stories, and I'm currently reading Ernest Bramah's Max Carrados stories. I enjoy the detection, the clean classic lines of the story, and it's a pleasant change when not every story involves a murder. On the down side, there can be some racial stereotyping going on which I find considerably less pleasant, but it's also educational about the period.

AKRON: 13 April 03

I have a confession.
I'm not quite sure how to word it, but, I am - well, no, not OCD. That's still a diagnostic term, and it's been inaccurately used to the point of stupidity. Not anal-rententive, either. That sounds... unpleasant. And dated.

My confession, then, is this: I am a fussbudget.
Not, I have to say, about everything. Certainly not housekeeping, but that's a whole other confession. More specifically, I am a fussbudget about labeling.

One of the first things I did once I settled into my position here was to go over the desk and bulletin board and pull down everything, rearrange it, and in most cases, redo it on the computer for posting purposes. I combined and condensed notes, discarded outdated information, reformatted and realigned lines of text, and changed fonts to make notes more distinctive. I also relabelled all the file folders in a nice clean font (Felix Titling, for the font geeks).

Next - replacing the handwritten inserts in the fleet vehicles' key tags with a tidy (if unimaginative) Times New Roman. Clean, clear, uniform, and legible - what's not to love?

More recently, I relabeled the hooks and holders for the fleet vehicles' keys and mileage paperwork. I had to. They were labeled with the punch-style label tape. They were old, battered, hard to read, and not even all the same colour, so I made nice signs for each. I got a few comments and compliments on the fact that it was now so easy to tell which clear acrylic holder was designated for which vehicle.

Today, though, was my moment of realization that I was, indeed, a labeling fussbudget. I took down all the labeling for the fleet vehicles that I had so carefully created a month or six weeks ago... and I replaced it with larger, colour-coded signs. Yes. It's true - blue paper for the blue vehicle, white for one of the white ones, goldenrod for the gold one, grey for silver, and orchid for the second white one. Not only is the holder labeled (a decently-sized 4x4", with 55pt Arial (bolded) for the vehicle names), but so is the hook space, and the fact that the vehicle has a toll road transponder. I have even redone the key tag inserts in the same colour. I draw the line, though, at confessing how much time I spent trying to get the keys to hang so that the coloured insert in the tag would be visible.

And now I'm sitting at my desk, noticing a few squares of paper with handwritten notes on them, a sign that explains a procedure that is no longer followed, a chart that is missing some information I need with some regularity, a phone list that needs updating...

Fussbudget. What can I say?