Friday, September 02, 2005


I'm subscribed to an emergency weather listserv. This message came across the listserv today:


We have a Salvation Army Building in New Orleans
Has victims on 2nd and third floor with no way out.
1st Floor Flooded.

No food or water left in building.

The stories I heard on the way into work this morning were equally piercing. I'm perfectly content to pay $3.15 for gas, if that is the paltry extent that this devestation will affect me. The American Red Cross has partnered with Yahoo to accept donations. Please help.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

the week's happenings

The Virginia Child Support Enforcement Agency is taking out full page newspaper ads with pictures of their most wanted deadbeat parents. Is the purpose of this to shame people into paying? Or to hope a friend/co-worker will recognize someone and let the agency know where they live? What about the cases where you know where the parent resides, but they still aren't paying? The only action that's been taken against my ex for the $16,785 he owes our two children is sending his name to the federal and state tax set off list. Whoop-de-whoo. Let's think about this. If you're not working (or getting paid under the table, as I suspect), you're never going to file taxes again. How far does one have to go in arrears before something further is done?

I'm taking a trip to Williamsport, PA this Sunday and Monday to audit the books for Tuckahoe Library's opening day collection, which are being managed by Brodart. I'll be checking that the materials are cataloged and processed according to our specifications. I'm really excited about this experience because I've never visited a vendor's facility before. I'll be able to see how they manage their operation and meet people that I've only corresponded with. The Tuckahoe building itself is really starting to come together now. Postings may be sparce for the next few weeks as I proceed through this trip and the job interview in CA.

I'm wrapping up the Introspective book and have a few more snippets to share that I found particularly TRUE.
"Unlike extroverts, who wear their personalities on their sleeves, introverts
often keep their best to themselves. With extroverts you see what you get. With
introverts, what you see is only a portion of their personality. The richest and
most trusted parts of an introvert's personality are not necessarily shared with
the outside world. It takes time, trust, and special circumstances for them to
begin to open up."

There is a chapter in the book on introspection at work, an environment where extroverts who speak their mind and make quick decisions are typically viewed as the more valuable employee. There is a hilarious section on business meetings and how these drain introverts. It says:
"Why don't innies speak up in meetings? One reason is that when innies are in
large groups, they usually find it hard to both absorb all the new information
and formulate an opinion about it. They need time away from the meeting to sift
and sort the data.... innies must expend extra energy to attend to what is being
said in the meeting. For them, focusing on the outside world is like driving an
SUV: it's a gas guzzler. There is little left over for speaking. Drawing
attention to themselves by speaking up truly depletes them."

Did I mention the author is an introvert and an ex-librarian? About herself, she commented:
"The way my brain worked puzzled me. I couldn't figure out why I could think of
comments after the fact. When I gave my opinion about something that had
happened earlier, teachers and friends would ask, in an irritated tone, why I
hadn't spoken up before. They seemed to think I was purposely withholding my
thoughts and feelings. I found my thoughts were like lost airline baggage; they
arrived some time later."

Monday, August 15, 2005


In doing ILL today I ran across this title -- The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. With such a positive spin being put on a characteristic typically not valued in our culture, of course I started to skim. Here are some pointers:
  • 75 percent of the world is extroverted
  • Being introverted affects all areas of your life
  • Nothing is wrong with you
  • Introverts feel drained and overstimulated
  • Being introverted is something to be celebrated
  • Introversion is genetic and not something you can change
  • Introverts draw energy from ideas, emotions and impressions; extroverts from activities, people, and places
  • Introverts are more likely to: keep energy inside, making it difficult for others to know them; be absorbed in thought; hesitate before speaking; avoid crowds and seek quiet; lose sight of what others are doing; proceed cautiously in meeting people; not offer ideas freely; get agitated without enough time alone; reflect and act in a careful way; not show much facial expression or reaction; be perceived by extroverts as self-absorbed; need fewer relationships, but prefer more connection and intimacy; be reluctant to spend time chit-chatting or socializing; prefer more meaty conversations
Not unrelated, for the past two nights a cricket has been chirping in my bedroom. It pipes up around 3:30 AM. Naturally, I require dead silence in order to sleep. In the middle of the night when everything else is quiet, the chirping sounds extremely loud. The cricket might as well be a marching band as far as I'm concerned because either one has the same effect: keeping me awake. Then I get all worked up thinking about the missed sleep, things I have to do tomorrow, etc. Sometimes I wish I was a more heavy sleeper. I try not to blame the cricket. It's just being a cricket.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Things that need to be done on my 1942 house:
  • replace windows
  • repair ceiling from water leak
  • expand front porch
  • paint
  • replace front and back door
  • re-carpet
  • install central air
  • install lighting and ceiling fan in family room
  • fix plumbing issue in bathroom sink
  • install ceiling fan in bathroom (after cleaning all the mold off the ceiling that is)
It would be much easier to move than tackle this list. And less expensive too.

Check out the latest housing and income study, Paycheck to Paycheck, in an interactive database searchable by metropolitan area or occupation. In Richmond, the median price for a home is $177,000. You would need to earn a salary of $56,132 to afford that house.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

catching up

Pardon the prolonged absence. Thanks to those who sent along birthday greetings. Next year will be the big three-oh. I 've set a financial goal of paying off my largest student loan by the time I turn 30. I've made a big dent in it this year already (paying it down from $16,000 to $8,000). This is the loan that bothers me the most because the interest rate is so high (currently 10.25% and going up every month). It is a private educational loan, not one from the federal government (those carry a more reasonable rate). I've been paying $200/month on this loan since I took it out in 1996, while still a student. I'm ready to be done with it!

I have an exciting job interview with the Sonoma County Public Library in Santa Rosa, CA in a few weeks. The position is very similar to what I'm doing now and Sonoma is almost the exact same size library system as Henrico. The pay is very good, but may not be enough to make ends meet in northern California. The price of real estate in the area is astounding. They are reimbursing me for the travel expenses so at the very least I'll get to visit a state I've never been to before. I'm most interested in seeing the redwood trees!! We will see what comes of this adventure.

I ordered Halloween costumes for the kids tonight. Wonder Woman and Thomas the Tank Engine. I've also begun my annual Christmas shopping in August.

I love it when God is in the news:
  • President Bush endorsed both intelligent design and evolution be taught to children (this is the most intelligent position he's taken in the entire administration in my opinion - why must creationism and evolution always be posed against each other?)
  • Virginia upheld the Pledge of Allegience in schools
  • US News and World Report featured an article on the division of church and state in America
  • Lutherans are debating the role of gay clergy

Thursday, August 04, 2005

two incomes

So I've dug into this book, The Two-Income Trap. It's the kind of book with information you hadn't really thought of before, but after the authors analyze and present the facts in a particular fashion, you end up nodding and agreeing completely. The two-income "trap" refers to the way stay-at-home mothers moved into the workforce in the last several decades (thus, the 2nd income), but rather than save the new income or use it for emergencies, families upgraded to bigger houses, cars, etc. and eventually became dependent on the 2nd income for their essential living expenses. The book argues that working people today actually have less discretionary income than single income families had in the 1970s. This is because 75 to 85% of dual-income family income is earmarked for recurrent monthly expenses. To cut back and get out of this situation is not a matter of eating peanut butter and turning the lights off when you leave the room. It would take major lifestyle changes such as moving to a less expensive home (many of which provide access to lower quality public schools).

I haven't finished the book yet, but I have read the chapter called "Going It Alone in a Two-Income World," which is about single parents. Very depressing. Here are some excerpts.

"At a time when women are advancing on multiple fronts-economic, political,
educational, legal-the number of single mothers going broke has increased by more
than 600 percent, and the gap between single mothers and everyone else continues
to widen... No matter how hard she works, how many extra hours she puts in or
training sessions she attends, the modern single mother will never catch
up...they discover that despite their growing paychecks, they are in no position
to compete in a two-income world."

"In fact, single mothers who have been to college are actually more likely to end up bankrupt than their less educated sisters-nearly 60 percent more likely."

"...the surest way for a woman to regain her financial footing after a
divorce is to find a husband-and to do it quickly."

"Do ex-husbands hold the untapped wealth that single mothers need for
financial security, and all that reamins is to seek it out? ... It turns out
that the nonpayers are far more likely to have low incomes and to live in
poverty. According to one estimate, six out of ten nonresident fathers who fail
to pay child support either have low incomes, are substance abusers, or have
outstanding obligations to support new children... There is substantial evidence
that millions of fathers are already struggling to make their current payments
and may not be able to pay more, regardless of what the courts order."

The authors' solutions to these challenges are to make decent public schools available to all children, regardless of the child's zip code, so the single mother could start off divorced life with a more modest mortgage, and to have the government provide free or subsidized child care for the children of single parents.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

books vs. movies

I've been watching a lot of movies lately (3 to 4 a week) because my mom has a membership to Netflix and she passes the movies on to me when she's done. As much as I enjoy movies, the speed is becoming too much to keep up with so I think I'll lay off a while. It causes me to get behind on my reading and sleep. Movies seen this week include The Upside of Anger, Hostage, and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Books sitting on my nightstand in limbo include: Illuminata, Les Miserables, The Two Income Trap, Bhagavad-Gita, The Idiot, and The Mastery of Love.

The vegetarian festival was lovely. They had a lot more food this year along with many non-profit groups, humane societies, information about veganism, yoga, adopting a pet, etc. I think everyone who came brought their dog. There seemed to be more dogs walking around than people. I got a strawberry smoothie made with fresh, organic strawberries. Astraea had her face painted and the highlight of the day was when a friendly dragonfly landed on her and sat completely still. She was upset at the time and I brushed it away. She thought it was going to sting her. She and Jude have developed a terrible fear of anything flying this summer. Last night Jude woke up screaming that there was a bug in his bed. I think he was dreaming, but he was so petrified and shaken, it took 10 minutes to calm him down.