planes, trains, subways, buses and automobiles

Despite having a cold and/or allergies [clearly not the flu, not clear what this is exactly] I was on the road five out of seven nights this past week. This was good news and bad news. A family funeral — my Great Aunt Horty — took me to NYC and NJ for a quickie two night trip. I was pleased to find last minute tickets on Jet Blue for normal prices and got a last minute place to crash from a friend in the East Village [thanks j!] and then stayed in the worst hotel I’ve been in since I’ve been tracking these things (hello Best Western in Fort Lee NJ!) the next night. Went home via a combination of ride to subway, subway to AirTram thing, plane to car, car to home. Then I did it all again!

The next trip was more of a fun one. Went down to MA to see Jim over the weekend and spent a night at my sister’s place because I was still feeling sort of oogy and I didn’t want Jim’s whole household to get sick [turns out they were already sick, yay seasonal allergies!] and then I met friends in Newton and we went to Western MA to go to The Big E. This all worked out by means of a nutty combination of getting rides, regional busses, trains, subways, city busses, more rides and the culminating experience, getting on Amtrak a few miles from the Big E, sitting around typing for a few hours and then getting off the train and walking just a few blocks to my house.

I’ve known that Amtrak stopped in Randolph — twice a day, once up and once back — but I’ve rarely had a reason to want to take it. There was really something neat about having the big train stop right in the center of town at about nine pm, let me, and only me, off, and then go chugging off into the distance as I walked up the hill to go home with my backpack.

autumnal recreation in full swing

me at tunbridge fair

This may be the first September in recent memory where I’ve felt like I’ve done more actual relaxing and recreating than working and travelling. Kate and Ned came up this weekend and we did belated birthday stuff which included the Tunbridge Fair (some pix with my new camera), quite a few tasty meals, a dented can store recon mission, mouse escapades, birthday cake with candles and some folks over, a little closet reorganizing, some internet noodling, music listening and one ferris wheel ride. I’ve got one more little social visit before this weekend is officially over. Then I’ll be making plans for next weekend which is a Trip to MA including boyfriend visiting, the Big E, lasagna, and I’m not sure what else.

Didn’t have much else to add. My job has started and is working out well. September is lovely except for whatever low-level leaf mold allergy I have that is making me all blinka-blinka-sniffle-sniffle. I’ll be fine. September equinox is on Tuesday. I got the heat turned on a few weeks early. I am ready.

how to win at Scrabble and September

Now that I go over to for Scrabble, I get to play Scrabble almost daily and not have to click through the morass that is facebook to get to play a game. Here is a great video about how to win at Scrabble. It will not help you beat me, however, because I’m one of those nerds who lets you look words up. Jim and I play most evenings. We’re well matched.

This weekend turned out to be shorter than it was going to be. My colleague Josh bought one of those All You Can Jet JetBlue passes and is scooting all over the country going to MetaFilter meetups. This past weekend was Boston, Portland Maine and Montpelier VT. I was going to go to all three as well, but on my way to Boston I decided I felt oogy and went home and slept for 12 hours instead. I stopped by the doc on the way — gotta love being able to get an appointment in 20 minutes — and he laughed off my fears of the flu. The next day I rallied and went to Portland Maine for a fun meetup and grabbed Josh and brought him back to my place.

We did the normal Vermont things: pet llamas, ate pancakes, looked at leaves, took photos of chipmunks. The next day my boss Matt came to town and we did more of the same [check out this amazing photo he took] and then went to a big meetup in Montpelier which was a whole ton of fun. I got to meet more nerds in my neighborhood and introduce some of my IRL friends to my online friends and vice versa. We had a big mod slumber party at my house and then Josh and Matt got up the next morning to head to New Orleans where they are now.

I’m tidying up the house for my sister and her boyfriend’s arrival Friday. We’re going to the Tunbridge World’s Fair and hopefully have a little bit of time eked out to have some birthday cake. I should also be receiving my birthday camera which has slowly been making its way from my Dad’s place to mine. Yay for extendo birthday remix.

All of this is to say that while normally I’d be all “Awww Josh gets to go on a big adventure and I’m stuck at home!” Being home in Vermont in September is actually pretty terrific.



There’s something pleasing both with leaving 40 behind and having an age that is a prime number. I’m in the depths of a writing deadline so I’ve been scarce since the scarcity of being gone all weekend. Now I’m in the procrastination phase of my writing deadline so I’ll make some notes here.

Hey, I turned 41! I had a really nice birthday weekend. Unlike last year which was a frenzy of friend-oriented activities and houseguests and cake and not much sleep, this year was all about getting out of town and taking a lot of naps. Jim and I went up north to stay at a little lodge on Seymour Lake. We figured while we were there we’d try to

– go to Canada for ketchup chips and ground cherries
– get a lot of rest
– go kayaking
– hit some of the towns that are still blank on my 251 Club list
– go muck around in nature

Which is pretty much what we did. We stayed in Morgan Vermont. Tried and failed to go to Lewis, Averys Gore and Warner’s Grant (got all the way to the one paved road in only to find gates there; I’ll have to go again when I’m prepped for hiking). Did a lot of driving and looking at things. Stepped over and drove over the Canadian border. Got a lot of sleep.

I’d show you a ton of photos, but I dropped my camera in the lake. Amusingly, my already-purchased-but-not-yet-delivered birthday present was a new camera. So, everything is fine. I mentioned over on that I’ve got a slightly different job configuration for this school year but things are mostly the same. The same and good.

Also, towns that I still need to visit: Arlington, Benson, Cornwall, Dover,Franklin, Granby, Hubbardton, Jamaica, Lewis, Maidstone, Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Pownal, Readsboro, Rupert, Sandgate, Searsburg, Sheldon, Somerset, Stamford, Stannard, Stratton, Sudbury, Underhill, Wardsboro, Wells, West Haven, Weybridge, Whiting, Whitingham, Wilmington, Windham, Woodford

100% chance of rain


So last weekend Jim and I got all set to do a fun “Hey let’s meet halfway between your house and mine and have an adventure!” day trip. Problem is that all the places that are public-transportationable from my house [Brattleboro, Amherst, Springfield] are awkward from his place, and all the places he can get to simply [Manchester, Concord NH, Portland Maine] are a bit of a schlep from my place. So we decided to meet in Concord NH with him taking the bus and me driving. I’ve sort of had it with driving lately, but this seemed like a good enough reason. We decided to go to Bear Brook State Park and spend the day walking around in the woods. Well, that was the plan anyhow.

The weather said 100% chance of rain for all daylight hours on Saturday. I can’t recall another time I’ve seen this. So, I had my bags of snacks and bug spray and sunscreen packed and swapped it all for two rain slickers and a portable Scrabble game. I had some trouble figuring out what else was going on since all the New Hampshire tourism stuff is by region and I have no idea if I was in the Lakes Region or the Merrimack Valley or what. We spent some time walking around lovely Concord NH, thinking about maybe going to a movie. We went to the public library. We nerded around in an antique mall and I found a bunch of old postcards of Randolph from the teens and twenties.

We did wind up stopping by the park when the rain slowed to a gentle misting and checked out the American Museum of Family Camping which is an adorable museum that talks about recreational camping in the US from early times to the present. There was a guy working there as a “work camper” — he leads tours and keeps the museum staffed and in exchange he gets to park at the camp for free all season and they pay his utilities — and I got to ask him all the questions I’ve wanted to ask someone who is really doing the “live in an RV” thing. How did he get his mail? How easy is it to get workcamp work? What state was he a resident of? Apparently there are three million people living in the US in RVs and other mobile home arrangements. It’s a big number. The museum also had a lot of different tow-behind trailers out front that you could poke around in.

We headed out to stop by my friends Casey and Sandee’s place. On out way we saw a sign that said ROLLER DERBY TONIGHT which sealed our evening plans. When I told my Dad I went to see Roller Derby, he asked “Where the women all punch each other and flip over the rails?” and I said no, it’s a little different now. We really enjoyed seeing Skate Free Or Die battling the Garden State Rollergirls. After a while, I think I even started understanding some of the rules.

We wrapped up the day with some delicious pulled pork sandwiches and amazing corn chowder, got some shut-eye and went to the Red Arrow Diner the next morning for grits and a grilled muffin (for me) and chicken parm hash browns (for jim). That last bit became the subject of a fairly amusing driving home story which I summed up over on Twitter.

So, some of the worst weather of the Summer actually wound up turning into one of the best weekends I’ve had. I came back to a Vermont that seems to have decided that it’s Autumn which I guess is okay by me.