some projects

cupcake

Cupcakes are better than moss because even if you sort of screwed them up, the evidence is eaten and does not sit around moldering and dying in your window and eventually smelling bad. So this is just to say that the really terrific looking mossarium keeled over in a spectacular way (should have known that the dried orange peels would mold, what was I thinking?) but the other one remains hale and hearty. Also Jim and I made nearly four dozen cupcakes this weekend and I have a few left, but they were delicious. And even if they weren’t, they are basically gone and you’ll have to take my word for it.

So yeah, the birthday weekend was a success. I get nervy around birthdays because I always seem to remember them, so I hope that they are nice so that I will have pleasant memories. My mind is inscrutable even to me. Anyhow, the weekend was great. Jim came up on Friday and we made cupcakes. The secret was getting some decent cake mixes and then loading them with cardamom and nutmeg and mace to make them taste exotic. I couldn’t have made 50 exotic cupcakes. And then I realized I didn’t know how to frost them [I don’t like supermarket icing, it is gross] so I took a crash course in royal icing and covered up my mistakes with colored sugar. There was a neighborhood porch party on Saturday to celebrate a few local birthdays and it was a good way to see everyone and get birthday high fives in a fun relaxed atmosphere.

Sunday we trekked to the Northeast Kingdom and went to Lewis, Maidstone and Granby, three of the five towns I have left in my 251 project. I was talking to someone about the project this weekend [Kate maybe?] and they were surprised that The 251 Club is a real club. It’s real! I even get a newsletter. The newsletter also came with crucial information to help us figure out how to get to Lewis Vermont, population zero. On the way home we stopped at the Miss Lyndonville Diner for a birthday dinner that couldn’t be beat, complete with strangers from the next booth singing happy birthday to me. Home to movies and a low key day with mini-golf before Jim headed home. Yay for three day weekends.

Now I’m facing the grim reality of a month of edits to my book (available on Amazon, now you can go look at the cover) and “school” starting in a few weeks. I’ll be going back to teaching night classes and doing the same old drop-in time from now through holidaytime. The leaves are changing here and have been filling up the driveway for the past few days. I’ve started sleeping in my fuzzy hat. Summer you were fun while you lasted.

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.

41!

kayaking2

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 librarian.net 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

ground cherries and the virgo month of leisure

I just got back from Montreal where I was in an all day meeting that had no internet access where I tried to tell people who were hoping to sell people a web portal that people don’t really buy web portals anymore. I guess I am now a “social media consultant” so you can tell your friends.

I spent one night at the Omni and one night on my friends’ couch and as you can probably guess, preferred the couch. Not that there isn’t something nice about a fancy hotel room on the 20th floor with a view of the actual Mount Royal but the room was cold [and unwarmupable – usually my hotel strategy is to set the heat to “stun” which is good for sleeping] and the tub didn’t drain and the bidet was offputting and there were no cats.

I live vicariously through other people’s pets since the only thing I seem to be able to keep alive at home is a cactus and I think maybe it’s just dying too slowly for me to notice. It’s been so damp here that one of my birdfeeders had sprouted which was a glucky cleaning job for me when I got home. Also the trees outside are full of peeping baby cardinals and their parents giving them birdseed (and bugs!) so that’s been a nifty thing to get to spy on up in the trees here.

I’ll be gone the next two weekends, one in NH doing some hiking and friend visiting and one in the Northeast Kingdom having a little R&R with Jim over my birthday. Last year I did a big huge birthday weekend thing which was a lot of fun. This year a lot of people are going to be out of town so I’m doing something a little less planning-intensive and a little more relaxation oriented. As per usual, the Virgo Month of Leisure kicked off while I was busy doing other things and this MoL will be like all the other ones, gone in a flash. I fail every year; at least I’m consistent.

And ground cherries? They are like twinkies in a fruit, totally delicious.

a week of 40

So I had plans to do a big birthday wrap-up thing here sort of like what I did when I turned 30 but time sort of got away from me. I guess this is not surprising. Here are some birthday highlights

  • I woke up to an online birthday card “signed” by hundreds of people. Whole thing schemed by my terrific boyfriend. Yay.
  • Pancakes for breakfast with my friend N@.
  • Drinks on the porch at Forrest and Kelly’s with my new bike and a lot of neighbors and friends.
  • Housewarming/birthday party of sorts at my house with a bunch of other people (mad props to Stan who managed to hit both parties). Super thanks to Andrea and Corey who helped a lot with set-up and cake.

Some photos are here, there aren’t many. Since then I’ve gotten started with travel/speaking with a trip to Potsdam New York Thursday for an all-day training type of thing (notes here) which was fun but exhausting. I hit the travel just right so I was driving home through Grande Isle County at around sunset and had some lovely peaceful views of Lake Champlain and remote Vermont.

Today I’m heading down to Boston to see Jim’s band play, maybe see some friends and my sister and stay someplace a little wrmer. My new apartment has heat included but that heat doesn’t come on until October 1 and it’s been dipping into the low fifties here. Hello electric sheets! Thanks to everyone who helped make my birthday special and wonderful. I feel truly blessed.

new york city!

I did that get home in the middle of the night thing again but this time it was because my train from New York City got in to Rutland at around midnight and then I had to drive an hour home. This time I did not nearly hit a moose. I also had a new EVDO card for my laptop which meant that I was online for a lot of the train trip which made it go a lot faster. Sneaky bossman, giving me new ways to work.

The trip to New York was a flyby, in on Wednesday, out on Friday. I was talking to some people about “digital nomadism” and I’d like to say that it was for some sociology white paper, but it was really for a Dell ad. I’ll let you know if my yammering face is going to be on the web somewhere. You know how I like to talk.

The photos from my NY trip are online here. I managed to see a lot of friends and go a lot of places in such a short time. The weather was great and I was feeling pretty good. I even charted my walking routes using mapmyhike.com which told me that I’d walked about seven miles in two days which told me that it was okay to eat rice krispie treats on the train on the way home.

Once I got home I had my obligatory all-online day. I used it this time to upgrade my main blogs to the latest WordPress and put my photos from DNC 2004 online. I had them up before in a sort of php-run photo essay, but now they’re on Flickr, tagged and everything. Today was Art Day over at Kelly and Forrest and we all went over there to do projects. I’ve been sending out change of address postcards so I made a bunch more today. My apologies to those of you who get a few of them because I’ve forgotten I already sent you one. I sure do have a ton of stamps.

I have no real plans for Labor Day — or as I call it Fake American Labor Day — except to shake my fist at all the places that are closed. I’ve got to get the house in decent shape for the weekend since I’m having people over to give me a birthday high five on Saturday [my real birthday is Friday]. If you’re in the area, consider a trip over.

Happy Birthday Kate

We touched it!

It’s my sister Kate’s birthday today. I was thinking yesterday “Oh I should invite her up sometime…” and I had completely forgotten that we had spent TWO WHOLE WEEKS together about two weeks ago. She’s a fun companion. She’s a loyal friend. She’s a snappy dresser. She has a great sense of humor. She’s the city mouse to my country mouse and it’s fun to have her around, or be around her generally. Happy birthday Kate, I hope it’s a good one!