Monday, October 27, 2014


Everything changes.  This, according to Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, is the fundamental ambiguity of being human.  To want things not to change brings pain.

The season is changing.  I don't want it to, so guess my mood.

Even though it is still clearly autumn, it is starting to look and very much feel like November.  And nothing says winter is almost here in quite the same way as the month of November in Vermont.  The bare trees are black against the gray skies.  The sun burst through once in a while, but mostly it drizzles rain from those clouds.  The temperatures drop sharply at night and frost covers the morning more thoroughly each day.  And it is dark.  It is dark for long hours of the day and night.

I wonder at those who so readily embrace this time of year with its permission to gather inward, stay close to home and hearth, have a kettle of hot soup simmering on the stove and a loaf of bread in the oven.  They must be able to identify with Persephone.

I, on the other hand, identify with Demeter who mourns for her daughter as I mourn for the passing of summer.

Google image
Demeter Mourning

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Literary Week

Remember about going to the poetry reading with my sister-in-law?  We went to An Evening of Poetry, Music, and Delectable Delights in Jeffersonville, VT, at the foot of Mt Mansfield and the Smugglers' notch Ski area.  This event was one of several put on by Sundog Poetry.

The following Tuesday, I attended a reading at the Essex Free Library with a friend:  Authors of Please Do Not Remove: A Collection Celebrating Vermont Literature and Libraries.  The collection was inspired by a stack of old library cards--the kind with names of the borrowers on them, from the days before computers and privacy concerns.  The editor, Angela Palm, bought the cards on e-bay.

(You really can buy all kinds of things on e-bay, but who knew inspiration was one of them?)

Then on Thursday, I went to the beautiful Shelburne Farms for a book launching:
Water Journeys in Art and Poetry-- ART by a Jericho artist, Dianne Shullenberger, and Poems by Jericho poet,  Mary Jane Dickerson,  AND--Nothing Saved Us: Poems of the Korean War by Tamra Higgins.

(This does not even count my volunteer hours at the library!)

Finally, on Saturday, I drove to Middlebury for the fall poetry workshop of the Poetry Society of Vermont with David Weinstock giving the critiques.  I had submitted a poem.

A Game of Scrabble, Anyone?

I used to play Scrabble, though I haven't for years--
smooth ash tiles lined up, seven in a row,
letters waiting for words to link them
criss-cross on a fold-out board
set on the floor in front of a fire
with pillows and glasses of wine.

Then others started to decline, voice vague fears--
 "She reads too many egg head books."
"She knows words that I don't know."
And I, knowing what they did not,
went along with Trivial Pursuits.
But I wonder why they didn't see?

No advantage here.  I wasn't good at Scrabble.
Words didn't scare me, but numbers did.
I saw "yodeler" and "proxy" on my rack 
as letters danced, changed partners.  
The world of words took me in  
and held me in an illusive now.

Strategy and planning? Too hard for me to handle.
Triple word score?  A meaningless concept. 
Scope out  evolving patterns?  Not for me.
I see a word, I  play it; I lay it down.
 I saw the words not critical spaces.

Scoring  takes awareness of the future.

I was hoping for some feedback, but this is all I got:

"I'm exactly this kind of Scrabble player.  My words are lush, my score is lousy.  When i play on line, I lose 89% of my games.

"I don't like the second stanza, and honestly I doubt that anybody said those things out loud, "Egghead?"  Yeah, some people prefer Trivial Pursuits, it's not because they don't love you, it's because they watch TV while you read books!"

So I am free to discuss further by e-mail or phone, but I won't bother I think.
However, if you have a helpful suggestion, let me know.

Seriously, you think no one has ever referred to me as an egghead?  That cracks me up!

(oof, I know!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Bake

I was in Middlebury, VT, on Saturday so I took the opportunity to stop at the Middlebury Co-op, one of my all time favorite places to shop.

I was thrilled to find Northern Spy apples--an old time variety that is hard to find anymore.  I love, love, love them for baking.  They soften, but hold their shape. They have a crisp tartness that keeps a pie from being too sicky-sweet.  I snatched some up even though I had really gone in just to get myself a smoothie for lunch.

I didn't make a pie though.  I made Apple Bake, which is even easier than pie.

Apple Bake

6 to 8 apples, peeled and sliced   (My apples were so big, I used three and had plenty)
2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Mix these three ingredients together and put in a pie dish.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted

Mix these four ingredients in a bowl until it is goopy (Highly technical cooking term).
Plop (another technical cooking term) spoonfuls of the mixture onto the apples.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

It is really yum.  Now I will have to get myself back to Middlebury to get more apples for a real pie.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Gift

Lest you think that I abused my brother-in-law and nephew by putting them to work last weekend, I assure you they offered.  I accommodated by making a list.  And I am grateful.

I had invited my nephew to come to look at Mike's tools.  Mike restored antique motorcycles.  He took on any plumbing or electrical repairs around the house.  He had all the right tools.
 And a lot of them.  having the right too for the job...his mantra.

I keep a hammer in my own little toolbox in case I want to hang a picture.  I have a set of screwdrivers, a level, and a tape measure.  My brother-in-law pulled out some more stuff he thought I should keep around the house.  Then they loaded up these two bad boy tool boxes.  

My nephew is an apprentice pipe fitter.  He also does his own auto mechanics. He will use all this stuff and he will have his Uncle Mike working alongside him as he does.

It is always sad for me to see bits of our life together go out the door, but this time my heart was full and all tears were happy ones.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting Things Done

Company came for the past weekend: Mike's sister, her husband, their son, and his girlfriend.  Family.

The guys came to work.  They put a new shower head in the bath, fixed one of the outside faucet handles, repaired the holes in the laundry room wall and mounted the new outlet for the dryer.  They fixed the flag on my mailbox that has been dangling since lat winter.  They not only changed the oil in the lawn tractor, they removed the battery for storage, sharpened the blades, and greased all the fittings.  Wow!

In the meantime, the girls played.  We went to a yoga class, cruised an antique shop, went to a poetry reading, drank wine, and talked.  Not a bad division of labor, was it not?

Family is the best company.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Window Box

Some day all my gardening efforts will be confined to containers.

For those who expressed an interest, the story of the flying monkeys of Burlington, VT can be found HERE.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Walking Tour

Sunday was a beautiful day.  I decided I would combine my walk with a tour of downtown Burlington with camera in hand.

Bank St.

Window box.
No frost here yet.

Reminder that it is a city.

A place with a view.

Lake Champlain

I stopped for a little shopping--
must support the local economy, yes?

It's not just for Halloween.
The flying monkeys are always atop the water department building.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Changes in the Air

A cloudy day in August.

It seems like just yesterday, and yet, here it is the middle of October.

It started off being a bit cloudy and we even had a little bit of rain,  Then it turned into a glorious fall day...the kind Vermont is known for.

(This is why we call it fall.)

Lisa at Grandma's Briefs asked how we decorate for Halloween.  Here's my contribution to the season:

Let's face it.  Nature does the decorating for me most of the time.

Monday, October 6, 2014

What Have I Been Up To?

Well, really it seems as though I have been busy, busy, busy.  But now that I sit down to write,  I really can't say what it is that has kept me feeling so busy.

I traded in my Ford Taurus X for a Ford Focus.  That took a chunk out of last week.  I don't have so much stuff to haul around now and I will certainly notice the difference at the gas station!  It will be my Florida car.  I will drive it down this fall and fly back in the spring.

My son and I took a ride down to visit my daughter and the two grandkids on Sunday.  We had a visit and went out to eat.

I have been super busy at the library.  In fact I have a backache from toting boxes of books around.  I am becoming more and more enamored of the e-book idea, I can tell you that!

I went to see Gone Girl with my friend from the library.  I thought it was okay, not great.  I read the book and even though I didn't think it was such a well written book the story was so compellingly suspenseful that I could not put it down.  The movie didn't grab me in that way.  I also have to re-read the ending because I didn't think the movie ended in the same way as the book.  But that could just be my memory.

I did meet with the card making group last week.  I have started making my Christmas cards and have 30 done now.

That sounds busy enough, I guess.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monday Day Trip

These trees were beautiful in person.  I was one of probably a thousand people snapping a picture of them on Monday.

I went to the Vermont Country Store in Weston, VT, with my friend Ginnie.  It was quite a long drive just to buy a set of new sheets.  But the VCS does sell clothesline crisp cotton sheets that are worth the trip.  And we had a lovely lunch and a scenic ride, seeing some peak foliage in the mountains.

I do love those cotton sheets!

On a completely unrelated note, check out this creature that was on my living room window:
Fortunately it was on the outside.  Good grief, it's like some kind of alien monster here to explore our planet.  Or, maybe I am over reacting slightly.