This was a heavy civic weekend. Complete photo set is here or you can click through links to see some. Saturday we had the Passport Program wrap-up which celebrated the people who had been to the most libraries as part of the Passport to Vermont Libraries program. I love this program but since I’m gone for a lot of the summer, my attention wanes. This was a wrap-up event and, like many October events in Vermont, was hard to get people to. I brought Jim, one of the other librarians brought her daughter, we decorated and brought cake and ice cream for 30 people just in case and wound up with a nice friendly crowd of about 15 including the woman who had been to the most libraries: 192! Truly that is MOST of Vermont’s libraries. We were all impressed. I gave a little slide show with the history of the program and said thanks to everyone and handed out prizes and it was a good time. Jim played some tunes on the organ that lives in the community room.
Then it was back to Randolph where we found out that there was a soup-a-thon going on in Bethel. The way it works is: community members make a lot of soup and you pay a cover charge and there’s all the soup you can eat (plus crackers and bread, plus desserts and coffee and tea). It’s pictured above. I always run into people I know and the money goes to supporting some of the town’s old buildings. Then we went and–I can not believe I am saying this–enjoyed some of the Bethel nightlife. Bethel got a grant from AARP for a thing called the Better Block Initiative. They put some pop-up stores in some of the empty store fronts, had an outdoor beer garden and a taco truck, some street games for kids, a temporary bike path, and a lot of great signage telling people what was going on nearby. We enjoyed chatting with people at the record store (I bought some records) and popping into an antique store that was never open at night. At 7 pm we went to the Penny Sale which is basically a raffle for 300+ items and another one of those things which the whole town turns out to. We bought maybe $30 worth of tickets (and some pie) and won a life vest worth $32 retail. Good trade. Raised money for the local Rotary and their projects.
Headed home with Jim afterwards to do some bird feeder maintenance, move some heavy items, cook up a dutch baby and catch up on some television (new SNL, Pat’s game, Red Sox) with Kevin and Karen. Jim headed back to MA on Sunday and I caught up on the work I’d semi-blown off while I was off interacting with my neighbors. I’d do it again.
I figure I have another day before I make a big list of stuff from 2007. Books and beds mostly. It’s been a banner year for beds and only so-so for books. I always worry when I haven’t been reading much that maybe I’m Done Reading Books and from now on all I’ll be doing is scanning stuff from the Internet and leafing through magazines. So far this has not been the case, though reading was down last year even though air travel was up. I think this may be because movie downloading was also up and as you know my Watch More TV/Movies resolution in 2007 went pretty well.
In fact, it went so well that I’ve been chosen to be a Nielsen Family for February 2008. This, even though I 1) am not a family and 2) told them on the phone that I never watch any TV. Apparently as long as you have a TV, you can be a Nielsen Family. Anyone who has pet shows that they would like me to promote in February, please let me know. In exchange I will give you copies of all the great movies I have been watching, though many of them are DVD screeners or subtitled in German.
I got back from a week down in Massachusetts today. I spent time with my sister, mom, stepmom, and dad in roughly that order and had a good though exhausting time. That’s four people, but seven cats and a dog! Since we’re not real xmas celebrators and everyone in the family is, to put it politely, quirky, figuring out how to honor non-existent family traditions and forge new ones is always a little challenging. I had a great time eating candy with my Mom and sister, cleaning my Dad’s basement with him, having dinner with my stepmom and taking photos of my sister’s loom and her using it. I rode a lot of buses and subways and got a lot of rides to various places.
As always when I get home I’m amazed at how quiet and dark the place is. Sound great? Well the house next door — a sort of copy of this one that the parents who lived in this house built for their children next door, less fancy, similar footprint — is for sale. 210K gets you an 1894 Victorian with three bedrooms and a mother-in-law apt in the back. If you’ve been contemplating a back to the country move, think of Bethel!
One of the things I rarely talk about is the fact that I grew up near a small airport. I don’t think of myself as any sort of airport rat. No one in my family flies a plane. And yet, it’s one of those things that I have a hard time remembering isn’t part of most people’s growing up experience. My sister and I grew up “at the end of the runway” of the Minuteman Airfield in Stow, Massachusetts. We could walk across the street and down the field that my Mom photographs so often and walk along the runway to the airport restaurant. My Mom would go get coffee there and talk to pilots sometimes. I remember they had a pretty good candy machine.
When my sister and I got older we both got jobs there. My job there was my first job ever, minding a coffee shop for a few hours after school. I made $2.10 an hour, plus tips which were scant. I was about 14 years old and at the end of my shift, I’d lock the door behind me and walk home down the runway and across the field in the dark. Sometimes the pilots would take us flying and we would fly over our house. Once I got to ride in a helicopter. We’ve had plane crashes happen both across the street and in our backyard. One was on my birthday. My Mom does some work for the same restaurant, the same people I worked for. They’ve owned the place since I can remember. She helps them with their newsletter, they pay her in gift certificates. We often go eat there when I’m in town. This is just a big explanation for why, when I went flying with my friend Mark (the pilot!) today and he said “Here, you want to fly it?” and handed me the yoke I could say “Oh yeah, I’ve done this before.” We had a really good time, you can check out the photos.
We flew over my house in Bethel, totally obscured by trees, and took a look at the quarry in Bethel which is hard to see from anywhere but the air. Then we headed north sort of following Route 91 and turned in at Route 25 and we were in the hills, just trees and trees and trees, mostly red, some green, pretty impressive. The photos are a pale reflection of how amazing it looked from up there. I looked down trying to find my actual place in Topsham, but it was obscured by clouds.
I made another little video, this one is actually decent and may transcend boring though I do use the adjective “little” far too often. It’s just me walking around my town but I managed to put a vocal track (all in one take!), and and audio track and keep some of the original sounds and I think the mix works pretty well. Every time I go to the VT International Film Festival, I leave thinking “I’d like to make a little movie.” This year I finally got off my ass and learned to do it. Like many technological things, it’s not hard to do at all, but I’m finding it a real challenge to learn to do well.