Ink Paper Words' Profile

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Pacific Northwest, United States
In elementary school, I desperately wanted my mother to order books for me from those flyers Scholastic hands out to kids. She refused, citing the "perfectly good library down the street." I exacted revenge by becoming a card-carrying ALA accredited reference librarian. Ha! Take that!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Battling the Blackberries

Hard to believe we've been in Grandma's house for a year already. We've done so much but there is still a ton of work to do on the place.

The tenants who had been here for 15 years never notified the property management people of any problems and God knows there were plenty of them, the main one being plumbing issues in the bathroom that caused mildew on the walls in every other room in the joint, rotten sheetrock and a wet slab on the living room foundation under several layers of flooring. We scraped/sanded mildew from the walls, spackled, sanded and painted. We ripped off the many layers of floor in the living room and installed laminate. We tore out the crumbling/cracking vinyl tub surround in the bathroom and put in ceramic tile and a matching back splash behind the sink. We had started scrubbing the kitchen prior to painting and tiling and replacing cupboards when Mom told us to stop; that further work would add value to the place and since Grandma was ill (and 103) she didn't want to have to come up with more money to buy out my uncle Bill's share of the estate.

Well, Grandma passed on the 10th and it turns out Bill isn't interested in any portion of her estate. So we've gotten back to work on it but for now it's the yard. Yep, a half acre of blackberries awaiting us. In March or so Mom had a guy come in with a bobcat and cut them all down. I staked out a 12 x 16 patch for a garden but never got as far as planting anything. Within just a couple of months the blackberries had come back with a vengeance and were already 3 feet high. Aside from the stakes in the ground, it was impossible to tell that I had planned a garden at all.

Some years ago at another property of Mom's I spent my weekends with a pair of loppers cutting the blackberries back 1 cane at a time. This time: no freaking way! We got a plastic cutter attachment for the string trimmer and went to town.

I have come to have the greatest respect for Rubus spp. as a biological entity (this despite an unfortunate encounter with them the year I was 10. We had parked by a railroad trestle to watch fireworks at Fort Vancouver. Klutzy to the core, I fell headlong into a patch. I don't know whether the pain made the fireworks more beautiful than ever than year, but I do know that I spent the next 2 weeks plucking thorns from my arms and legs). Small animals that do not threaten it are able to vanish within its brambles. Its defense system is legendary. It grows and loops over itself and other plants, making it nearly impenetrable. However, our humble Ryobi trimmer, armed with the plastic blade, made short work of dispatching them.

I loves me some blackberry cobbler, but probably not enough to want to allow these pesky plants to take over the yard again. I hear Winco has them frozen in bags...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Okay, My Bad...

LOL No sooner do I post complaining about genealogogists than I decide to do some digging of my own. I got to talking with the wife of the corner store guy the other day and she urged me to find the records I'd need to apply for enrollment in the Cherokee Nation of Tahlequah. My grandmother's name is listed on the Dawes Roll and since the birth date listed jives with her age I figure it must be her (after doing many obituary lookups for people I know full well that many people have the same name and to find the obit you need to be looking for the right person).

My sister tried doing this once and gave up after getting copies of my father and grandmother's death records. Apparently we need those and their birth records. This is where it gets interesting. At this point I have no earthly idea where either birth will be recorded. They lived in Elmer, Oklahoma when Dad was born but apparently he was born in Texas. I don't have any hard info to go on, but I assume Minnie was born in Oklahoma but birth records for 1911 seem to be pretty sketchy. Who knows if a record even exists? I do know that she first applied for a Social Security card in Texas.

Another wrinkle: Minnie's husband Jessie was born in Arkansas but his birth was recorded in Texas. Plus all this time I thought he was Jesse David and now he turns out to be Jessie. And I cannot find him in the Social Security Death Index. Strange.

This reminds me of something the lawyer Mom and I saw last week about settling my other grandmother's estate said. People think they know their relatives but when you publish notices and sit out the required waiting periods before closing everything out, all sorts of things pop up that were kept well covered while the person was alive. One person supposedly had 10 heirs. It turned out to be over 50. In another of her cases the decedent was known to have had "a couple of fender benders." That "couple" became 22 before the estate was settled.

I now officially acknowledge that genealogy can actually be pretty interesting and I apologize for dissing its fans.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Whither Clown Monkeys?

It occurred to me the other day that I've not been spammed by the ClownMonkey t-shirt people for a while. No, not so much as being informed of the most recent $100 funny t-shirt slogan (which would have been won by someone else, natch). So I typed in their URL and.....nothing comes up. Good old Tim still owns the domain, it just isn't hosted anywhere anymore. message boards, no people stumbling over themselves to "audition" for customer service positions. I wonder wot happened???

I'd had the suspicion that the posts they put on every Craigslist site in the country where some sort of experiment, either for school or some marketing project (thesis, anyone?) about what fools people were willing to make of themselves for a chance at a job. At one point, in response to my CMC posts, someone commented that he was "high school friend" of the guy running the show and he was an upright businessman and what the hell was my problem if I had nothing better to do than run him down. LOL Hey I'm just outlining my experience to save someone else the bother of entertaining hope for something that has zero chance of working out. Perhaps this commenter missed the posts of others who said their experiences were essentially the same as mine. Guess he missed those posts made by others on complaint sites about their impressions. Nyo well.

The ClownMonkey Myspace page is still up, however. I scrolled through the comments there and it appears that toward the end of January, Myspace "friends" were asking whether this outfit ever hired anyone. Well, I guess it wasn't just me...

Hope springs Eternal...

...either that, or it died this morning at 10:29.

Last week, I found something of a rarity: a job on Craiglist that sounded just like me, offered a decent wage, was in the heart of one of my very favorite places (downtown PDX) and would draw on my education, subject interests and inherent abilities in what sounded like an exciting place. They even referred to their site and gave a valid (not craigslist anonymyzed) email address to contact. I got busy googling them and customizing my cover letter. This was the most excited I'd been in a while to apply for a non-library job.

The speed with which I received a rejection letter was simply stunning. Interesting, my experience and skills do not apparently match their needs. Hmmmmm. If this is true, they did a really lousy job of articulating those needs. Per their site, they wanted:

• College degree and minimum of 2 years work experience
Yeah, I'm all wrong here. I have 2 degrees and 30 years work experience.

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills (in person and on phone)
I guess all those reference interviews and tech support questions I've answered don't quite count.

• Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access, Publisher)
I'm fully proficient with Office; I just prefer not to use any Microsuck products if I can help it.

• Interest in and familiarity with contemporary literature, arts, pop culture, current events
Okay, I can see where my multiple years of experience doing reference and collection development in the fields of computers, journalism, languages and literature sort of ruled me out. What the hell do I know about any of these? No doubt the nail in the coffin was my BA in English and the stuff I've published, edited, designed and helped others publish.

• Meticulous organization and record keeping abilities
A librarian?! Organized? Never!

• High level of professionalism, discretion and sense of responsibility
• Self-directed, fast learner with capacity for problem-solving and follow through
A person who has started entrepreneurial ventures more than once is obviously some sort of slagabout, as is one who left their family for a year to get that pesky MLS. Slacker!

• Well-versed in online and traditional research methods
• Technologically savvy and comfortable with websites & e-newsletters
Again, if a graduate of the tech support trenches who has answered thousands of questions via the Internet and various subscription databases, was part of Stanislaus County's first wave of staff to be trained in virtual reference and then in turn trained other librarians to do same, designed several sites and basically hand coded a successful poetry e-zine who is currently studying CSS for the sole purpose of improving their and others' sites doesn't count as tech savvy, again -- what does? Hey guys: UNIX command line much?