Saturday, January 26, 2008

Life in the Midst of Winter

The Bible says "in the midst of life you are in death." No doubt, but our OT prophets didn't mention, or maybe they did, obliquely or in some passage I haven't seen, that in the midst of death you are in life - that seems like the lesson for today - the most beautiful winter Saturday we have had these last punishing months.
Strange that bright winter days are for me more, what's the word? "alive" than the most smiling, blooming day in June. I think that's why I love to get out into the woods around here, especially in January and February. Once we have passed the shortest days and the sun shines in the woods, even though everything is still locked in snow there is this sense of life invisible informing every atom of the air. I know what Gerard Manley Hopkins meant when he wrote, "there lives the dearest freshness deep down things."
On a less exalted note, my 43rd year commenced yesterday. I worked for most of the day but left early because I was feeling not well. Some virus has been contending with my white blood cells for days and the conflict has not yet been resolved with a clear winner. Mom sent me a turtleneck, that I am now wearing. She and my sister called. Last weekend, in NY, Dad and Stepmom got me a birthday cake. Woolfoot Husband brought another one from the great bakery in Mansonville, Quebec last night. Kids sang happy birthday to me in the morning, unbidden. Not bad overall.
I am attaching a couple of pictures I took about 10 minutes ago to give you some idea of what I am talking about.

Here's a link (I hope it works) to Manley's famous poem. "God's Grandeur."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back Home - Birthdays, etc.

Back home at the Last House after MLK weekend in the place of my birth, Albany County New York. Kids and I visited with my Dad and his wife. Dad and I had a good time playing with Google Earth on his big computer. Google Earth is a great tool for planning my coming trip to England. We zoomed in on the hotel where we will be staying (the sattelite view permits one to see the cars on the street!). I used the "ruler" tool to measure the distance from the hotel (Kensington Hilton Olympia) to Kensington Palace (about a half a mile) and to the London Eye, Westminster, etc. (about 3 miles) and generally get the lay of the land. Planning this trip has become my number-one pass time. I'm a little worried I'll wind up like the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who famously decompensated when he got back from the moon - i.e., "now what?" I guess it's good the Woolfoot family is planning on getting a dog in the spring. That will be something to look forward to on our return.

I left my camera in the car during this weekend so no new pics. of the family in NY. By way of an update, we did have a big sleepover party for Kid 1 the weekend before last. She's 10! Three girls from Burlington came for the night along with two neighbor kids. I think it went very well for the kids. Kid 1 was certainly happy. My own birthday looms on Friday. 43! How did this happen?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

More snow on the Vermont/Quebec border this New Year's Day. The Woolfoot family spent New Year's Eve in typical style - at home and in bed by 9:30. I guess it would have been nice to have been invited to a party... Oh well. It was snowing New Year's Eve and I am developing a dread of driving on snowy roads.

We braved them this morning however. I got the kids up and dressed and the three of us went off to Jay Peak for a little family snow shoeing. It was idyllic back there.
After some hot chocolate and four-dollar Ben & Jerry ice cream bars in the Jay Peak cafeteria we went down to my beloved Degre Auction House in Westfield, Vermont. The kids were wonderful, ensconced on an old couch they let me watch the proceedings for about two hours. $250 later, I was the owner of two old prints and a complete set of the works of Charles Dickens. Then it was off to Newport to get some stuffed animals (a reward) and groceries. The Hallmark store was closed, to the deep disappointment of Kid 1. Wendy's burgers were on the menu and a quick trip to RJs Friendly Market, then home. Not a bad New Year's Day. Woolfoot husband saved the salmon that was nearly incinerated under the broiler, and, here I am with my report. I'll try to post a little video. Best wishes to all.
P.S. More Woolfoot Reviews and Cosumer Guidance:
I see I promised back on December 16 to tell you what I thought of the soundtrack to The Golden Compass movie. I like it a lot - esp. Kate Bush's single. Of course, she can hardly do any wrong as far as I'm concerned, but I never give anybody a pass. Kids and I saw the movie in Montreal this week. A near-hopeless muddle, as must be expected given the complexity of the story. I enjoyed it anyway because it had been so beautifully realized - and because the girl playing Lyra was really great.
On this point of "realization," the French have a phrase for "producer," (I think): "Réalisateur" - the one who makes a thing out of the idea. I have observed that many mega-budget movies seem to have some brilliant realizers, who design costumes, create effects, choose locations, light scenes, what have you. They are so wonderful in the Harry Potter movies and in TGC - they made the books "real" - but the stories don't live up to their gorgeousness. I guess that's the problem of the writer and director.