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.
Because I have a rich online life, I sometimes have to nudge myself to have an equally rich offline life. I’ve been finishing a few more books lately, and yesterday I went for a drive. I have a family friend, who turns out to be a relative, who is 96 and who I just learned was a sort of neighbor. That is, he lives in Vermont which is neighbor enough. I made a plan to go see him saying I was going to be more or less in the area and made a plan, then, to be in the area. My relative is Irving Adler, my second cousin twice removed. He is 96 and he has strong opinions about health care. I spent some time visting with him and then did some catching up on the 251 project I’ve been working on for the past five years or so.
To catch you up, I want to visit all of Vermont’s 251 towns. I’m 90-someodd percent there. Before there was a widget for everything, I made my own web page to track my progress. I have a Delorme gazetteer that I cover with highlighter pen to track where I’ve been. Now there’s a widget that sort of does what I want but like all widgets, it’s imperfect. Through some concerted efforts and marathon driving, I went to sixteen new towns yesterday, though I missed three — Middletown Springs, Somerset and Windham — that assure I’ll be going back. The widget says I am 94% complete. The widget does not track gores and grants.
The gazetter is also imperfect. Even though I crosschecked with Google maps to see that the road that they said was a road was, in fact, a road, it was not a road. It was a road up to a point and then the road became a riverbed and then the riverbed became a footpath for goats. I turned around, which is awkward when you are in a car on a goat footpath. The nice people with 4×4 trucks, beer and few teeth were incredibly nice to me as I drove back past them and asked politely if the road I had been trying to drive on was, in fact, a road. “Not for that car!” they told me. I think AWD is sort of hot shit until I hit roads like this.
You can see my rough route in these two google maps (down, up). I checked my email twice during the day, once from the burrito place and once when I pulled over to take some photos of a nice looking lake. I pulled out my laptop to use my EVDO card to “check my web” and I saw that there was a nice four-bar signal coming from … someplace, called linksys. Now I’ve got 2-4 towns to visit in each quadrant of the state including the vexing Lewis which I swear can’t be reached by road. If anyone would like to go on a doomed hiking trip with me sometime in early spring, do give me a call. I can’t guarantee success, but there’s a 90-someodd percent chance of fun.