August 3rd, 2016
So, I spent last night doing major clean-up of the geology “Book of Days” manuscript. And resubmitted it to Createspace along about midnight. I did put in a Port Allegany photo of Todd Burgess, and I felt pretty good about that. Other news: Joseph has somehow managed to crack the neck of his banjo– that will require some surgery and repair. Meanwhile, Isaac and Ahoo are showing interest in the new apartment. It is a good place, and near to the Metro. I responded to Isaac by email this morning. I have also talked with Paul James in Texas about a missing dinosaur footprint page in the geology manuscript– have remedied that problem with my Grallator print, as well as a photo of one of the dinosaur photos from the state park in Pica, Chile. It will make for a nice page.
I dreamed last night that I was packing and sorting clothes– like shedding old skins. This is a season of great change. It infects even my sleeping dreams. The day is hot and clear early-on. And I am fairly sleepy, still, for starters. I don’t trust the truck, which is still losing fluid, and tending to overheat. But I am still contemplating a trip out to Luray to meet up with Daniel Waters. And in another week, I will need to do some things for my sister’s birthday– and to visit my mom in Harrisburg.
Meanwhile, Tucker sent me more good eurypterid photographs for that last and final slot page in the geology manuscript. I did that along with the trackway pages.
11 a.m.– I have just gotten word that the Geology files do meet publishing criteria! This has been a long time coming– represents nearly 2o years of manuscript development. It may not be the best– but it is the best that I can do. I have told Steve Ruzila that there is great danger in finishing up some large percentage of ones life works all in a single week. I had best be a little careful crossing in front of busses this week!
Monday August 15
First night at the new apartment. Sarah Dawson came up to Steve’s place in Great Falls yesterday, and helped me to exit gracefully. We did a brunch at Ye Olde Brogue, and I had a brief conversation with Shahin Cheragipour. Then we went to find and look at the new digs. They are pretty nice indeed. We did a trek to the nearby Wal-mart for dish soap, shampoo, and some survival food. I hung out with Sarah through the evening.
It seems that I never sleep very well the first night in a new place– I always feel like I am keeping the watch. But the empty new vampyre laire is fairly quiet, if a little echoey. This morning dawns bright, and it is going to be hot again. Ross is in Ireland, so I will be at my own devices at work.
Tuesday September 6
So today is my official Smithsonian new employee orientation, now that I am actually a Trust employee. This follows discovering late last night, the 13 or 14 multipage forms that I am now supposed to bring with me to the orientation. And of course, this, following the Labor Day weekend. So now it was to be up at 5 a.m. Shower and shave, download all of the forms to a chip-drive, and head into the City by way of the Metro. Found a Fed-Ex print shop in China Town, but it is not actually open til 7 (it is presently about 6:30), which gives me a half an hour to fret or to doze, here by the neighborhood Starbucks store. Watching the city slowly come awake. It is interesting the sheer number of individual actions that go into a morning here, let alone before something like this orientation. Put money on a Metro card, know the stop, find the store, get the forms, find the office, fill out the forms…
My mantra is quickly becoming, “Leap of Faith.”
Which this surely is. And then I will have one year to figure out the next steps. Ha! Don’t try to deal with THAT one this morning! It just needs to be enough that the Fed Ex store might open on time in the next fifteen minutes.
I did not even tell you about the new adventure with the Ikea store this week? Sarah and Joseph and I sent south of the city, in traffic, to find the big Ikea—Sarah had been there before, not so for myself. It was all new to me—and it really is a culture all of its own. And at least one vision as to what the 21st Century is about. I have some idea already what I wanted. And so, spent money on the best $800 of chip-board book-cases and cabinets that I have ever seen!
It was actually fairly fun, albeit also a fair amount of intimidating. For a lot of reasons. It was interesting to watch Joseph also being overwhelmed a little as well, as we circled around and followed the yellow brick road of marketing, through gallery after gallery of furniture and bedding, lamps and book cases. We fitted four book cases and two cabinets into Sarah’s black Mercedes SUV. And made for home with both Joseph and I scrunched in on either side of the new wood.
On Friday, Joseph and I were having lunch outside at L’Enfant Plaza when along came two banjo musicians, Greg Adams and Ben McManus. And they struck up a conversation with Joseph. Turns out that they are both staff from Smithsonian Folkways, and they show a lot of interest in Joseph. He has been playing in the evenings at King Street Alexandria and in China Town, and other spots. Doing ok, from the sound of it.
We spent Saturday night and later, Monday morning, assembling. It is quite a little assembly system, using pre-designed screws and assembly connectors. All goes reasonably well, although we don’t turn out to be terribly consistent. I believe that to be one lesson of this exercise. All is fine until we discover that we have completely the wrong doors for the cabinets.
On Sunday, we put Joseph back on the Amtrack train out of Alexandria, back to Roanoke. And he subsequently got there safely. On Monday, I made my pilgrimage to the little Mexican store nearby, where no-one speaks English. I am entertained and cheered up a little bit by it.
All of this is complexity and novelty—the recognition of complexity. In reality, it is a whole lot to contend with. I am taking individual steps in a journey to I-know-not-where.
The sun has now just begun to touch the top of the National Archives building, and the length of the Washington Monument in the distance. I am overwhelmed and dozingly sleepy by turns. My brain keeps focusing, incongruously on the little row of potted palm trees outside the Penn Quarter Tavern nearby. Moving their fronds in the breeze. Fifteen minutes still until the Fed Ex opens. A thousand morning joggers. Street cleaners and buffers, and garbage removers. Again, the sense that this is actually Rome.
8 a.m. Well, actually getting the forms printed went off without major incident. Now I have hiked on to the Capitol Gallery for the actual orientation. Sat in the French cafe’ and filled out as much of the paper work as I am able. They will have to explain a couple of things. I do have my passport and drivers license with me, for whatever that is worth. I am still fluctuating between being on-edge versus being sleepy. The fellow outside by the Metro station is now singing opera in falsetto Italian, and adds a note of the surreal to the scene (he is no Emilita Gallicurcci!).
October 2nd, 2016
Well, time slips by. I think that I have my obligations paid up for September. Time to begin the circus ride all over again for October. There is definitely stuff that I have missed her, in between. Such as Lin Ma’s brief September visit (we shared birthday dinner at a local Chinese food place)– and the unexpected re-emergence of one Ohara Hash. All of these things are somehow important, whether to signal the closing of a chapter, or the opening of one.–still remains to be seen.
Likewise, Shawn McFarren, who got a new car on Friday, and then fell asleep behind the wheel and totaled it through a telephone pole on Sunday night. He is lucky to still be about.
We also upgraded Joseph’s computer—from a red Acer laptop to more of a gaming descktop machine with some TB of storage. The plan is to send the replaced lap top down to Carol Judy in Tennessee.
On the weekend, I actually took Friday as a tele-commute—work at home day. I did some work, but I also admit that I mostly slept. It was rainy, dark,, and colder. I began to bring in the plants for winter– repotting a few, and finding spaces by windows for them all. On Saturday, it was still rainy, but Ahoo and I did the little arts festival at Del Rey neighborhood, off Braddock Road. And then in the evening, Chris Romano and his friend Steve came, and we went out for pizza. While on Sunday, I ran out to Summit Point raceway and met up with Cath, Dave and my Mom, for the very last day of races of the season. That has little to do with the racing itself– it is more a nostalgia trek for Dave who once raced the GTI circuit there, in days long past.