28dec03: one line recipe equations
one can soup or stock + 1 cup brown rice + 1 cup water + 1 chopped pepper/onion/garlic + some optional meat + 350 degree oven + 40 minutes = winter casserole

4 roughly chopped carrots + 1/3 cup salted peanuts + 2 Tb red wine vinegar + 2 Tb peanut oil + 5 drops seasame oil + 1 good sized bowl = excellent cold salad

1 thin slice herb butter & garlic soaked christmas roast + 1 slice cheddar cheese + 1 toasted english muffin = holiday snack

1 overworked boyfriend with three weeks off + 1/4 mile to the corner store + 2 new gloves + $4 for the New York Times + 15 degrees for 20 minutes = 1 nice Sunday morning walk
27dec03: intervening days
I wore my Bloodhag t-shirt to work on Friday. Friday is casual day which means jeans and t-shirts [which is still pretty much "dressing up" in my book but I realize I'm out in left field on this one] are okay. Plus it was the day after that big holiday so no one was really there.

We've been reading a lot and hanging out with the kitten next door. Our neighbors are former and current law students, but they're Vermont Law Students which means their house is filled with copies of Adbusters, Mother Earth News and Mother Jones. I've been missing all the alterna-magazines [we get the Economist here and Ola gets the AARP newsletter] that I'd absorb almost through osmiosis in Seattle so I spent some holiday time off reacquainting with them. Mother Earth News still reminds me that all my attempts at gardening have failed, though I did sweep out my own chimney this year. Mother Jones is letting me know that it's worse than I thought, generally -- who knew that the school lunch program is an agricultural subsidy and we are filling mostly poor kids up with more meat and cheese than is healthy for them? And Adbusters? Well, Adbusters is now in the sneaker-selling business. How they think they can do this and still stay true to what I thought was their anti-brand strategy remains to be seen but they've jumped the subculture shark as far as I'm concerned. Not like they were ever high up there for me in terms of indie cred or even being on message, though I appreciate many of their campaigns, but it seems to be obvious that buying $60 sneakers made in South Korea is not a very anti-capitalist act. Doing it because of the brand [or even the anti-brand] might possibly be even worse. Does anyone who can afford a $60 pair of lowtops really need a new pair of sneakers anyhow? Maybe I'm just late to the holiday gripe-fest about the wretchedness of consumer culture, but Adbusters -- the folks who brought you, or at least publicized, Buy Nothing Day -- has certainly pushed my button this time.
25dec03: santa montage
All of these are actual santas that live in my house in Bethel, Vermont.
24dec03: on my way to the chinese restaurant
So instead of travelling for the holidays Greg and I decided to stay here in Vermont. Of course, since everyone else is gone, we are caring for three fish, one kitten, and two cats [who need medicine!]. The one dog we usually help take care of is staying down the street. Our landlady and neighbors are out of town which means sleeping in past 6:30 because there's no CSPAN on the TV downstairs, and parking in the driveway [instead of the church] because there's suddenly room. I don't mean to slight Jesus on his birthday by not parking in his yard, but I love not slogging through the icy slush to get to the house.

I worked on the 23rd and will work on the 26th. This is fine because Greg's folks and my sister are in town so we have mostly been talking to them, and eating with them, and feeding and playing with the pets. Greg is off doing Xmas eve stuff with his family and Kate and I are heading out to get some Chinese food which looks like it may not be as tough as I thought it might be in Vermont. Tomorrow I have prepared a santa montage, check back in.
18dec03: thank you reconstructive surgeon
Driving home from the bar where Greg and I and a ton of his classmates celebrated the end of finals I heard a radio spot where a reconstructive surgeon explained how to safely clear snow out of a blocked snowblower. His suggestion: hockey stick. "It's a whole lot cheaper than hand surgery!"
17dec03: thank you jesus
Thank you Jesus for creating a veritable franchise of parking lots across the grand state of Vermont where I can rest my weary car after a day of icy roads, knuckle-whitening near-accidents and evil punishing rain. This must be filed next to The Irony of Ola's Xmas Party. Me, the big non-churchgoer winds up parked in a church parking lot more than any Christian I know. Ola has a driveway that she shares with the neighbors on both sides, so we have to park down the street. At the church down the street, that is. In rural towns, the church parking lot is often the only semi-public space to park except the side of the road and the post office. The side of the road is not a good place to be parked when the plows come by. When I drive to work, I now park in the church parking lot next to the library, before I knew this little trick, I parked on the street.

I saw two accidents on my way to work today. Not like inattentive-driver accidents more like road-is-a-sheet-of-ice accidents. Everyone at the library swears that getting three feet of snow in eight days and having one day of completely impassable roads is atypical but I think they just don't want me to go anyplace. Am I talking about my commute too much? In three weeks I will be in sunny San Diego communing with librarians and noodling about on public transportation. I haven't been there since i was twelve years old when the Zoo seemed like big fun. If anyone knows anything interesting to do in San Diego please drop me a line.
13dec03: revolving car expectations
[a very small and snowy part of Kate's car] So I feel like I should be some sort of happy because the new car I got [as yet unnamed] still works four days later. This is some sort of revolution of lowered expectations to be sure.

Plus, I bought a new laptop, for no reason other than the one I have been using is in the area of five years old, has a wonky screen, can't seem to play sound and have a USB device plugged in to it, and weighs a ton. The new laptop is one of those 12 inch G3 iBooks and cost as much as the old laptop did five years ago. I can't say I'm in love with it, again like the car, but it seems to do the job and I like not having to reboot to get my sound card working. I'm just happy I had the extra cash to take care of a few of these problems. Next item: new roof for the house.

Today is the big holiday party where the Retired Peace Corps Volunteers all come over and then the house is opened up to the entire neighborhood. Ola is making chili and a pie and I think I get to cut vegetables later on. It's ironic that someone with my out-and-out distate for Christmas would wind up living in the one house in town that has THE biggest holiday party. So far it's been okay, I kiss Greg under the mistletoe when I get a chance.
08dec03: boy are my arms tired of shovelling
[me in my shovelling outfit at Kate's place] Hit a low point in this whole car endeavor when I had to miss work due to the lack of a working/safe vehicle. Basically the Toyota [Gutless] has some sort of ignition issue when it's less than 30 degrees. Who knew? Then the "newish" Honda [Hapless?] still needs to be fully registered and inspected, and has a dead battery that needs to be replaced. Then Greg's car [Heatless] has a dying/dead heater fan which means no heat and no defrost. OK to get him to law school [albeit embarrasing] but not over the mountain to the library, certainly not at night.

So, yesterday was spring into action day. We got Greg a new fan which he installed in 15 degree weather, and which seems to be working. I got some of the paperwork for the old Honda that I have been dragassing on sent to the DMV in the mail. The Toyota got cleaned off and dug out; it still won't start. And today I said "fuck it" and spent some of my small inheritance from Grandma on a new [to me] Honda. I do not love it, but I like it, and that may be enough for now. I think loving these doomed sentimental booby-traps-disguised-as-cars has gotten me about as far as I can go. Plus, I have a job I need to and want to get to. I got the car from these guys and, thanks to a website that is apparently somewhat out of date, came with some nice extra stuff. These guys were no-haggle dealers and while it's way too early to tell, so far they seem to have done right by me.

So -- like we used to say in high school under different circumstances -- I am learning that cars are real, despite any feelings I might have to the contrary, or any resentment that I might have about this fact. Greg swears we'll be able to live in Rutland this Summer, and I hope to be able to walk to work then.
06dec03: and boy are my arms tired
I took a bus down to Boston this weekend. I went because I wanted to see my friends' new baby and I wanted to get out of Greg's hair during finals week. I took a bus, had a nice ride, hung out for part of a day.... then the snow started. That was last night. Now it is this evening. It's still snowing, hard. There's 18 inches of new snow on the ground. My sister and I have shoveled her walkway [which is theoretically a law of some sort, you're really supposed to do this] five times already. Boston and Somerville are under snow emergencies. The airport is closed. The plows seem to have stopped running here as of a few hours ago, but from watching the news you'd swear they are all going to plow out the field so the Patriots can play tomomrrow. The news also mentions the malls closed early. Who cares? We've made some great food and spent a lot of time looking out the window and watching the storm progress. It's nuts. I haven't seen snow like this in over a decade. The bus company says they're running all their busses tomorrow but I can't imagine that is possible. Man it's lovely here. Hope I can get home eventually.
02dec03: everyone bought the same goddamned inflatable santa
[tasty beer that winks at you!] So my landlady is decorating the house for Christmas. For some reason, even though Christmas is my least favorite holiday, this isn't bugging me. Maybe it's her scrooge-like complaining about how she's never doing it again, or maybe it's the ironic fact that after the big party she'll be leaving for a few weeks and won't even be here for the holidays. In any case, the mantle is all covered with fake pine boughs, we have little light-up snowflakes in the front windows and, at last count, five trees in various parts of the house. I walk around whistling carols while Ola curses and struggles with getting yet another string of lights out of an attic box and she just laughs. I haven't been in a neighborhood for the holiday season for a while. Everyone in Bethel seemed to know that this Sunday was the day to get all their holiday junk out. Inflatable lawn Santas have really done nothing to advance the holiday spirit, in my opinion, though it was fun walking around watching them all slowly inflate. Before getting all puffed up, the Santas lie facedown, quivering and flat on the frozen muddy lawns looking like the aftermath of some crazy holiday party. Ours is on the 13th if anyone is in town.

We took a few pictures of what we did over our Thanksgiving break if you're interested.
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