Thursday, April 26, 2012

Checking In

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Can't stop long. The ibuprofen and the caffeine are just kicking in and MY GOD! The furniture and boxes that remain to be dealt with! How does this happen? For you faithful few, you know how we have been renting an apartment in Stowe for the last few years, so that I could be closer to work? (The Last House is more than an hour and a half from my office). Well, now we have gone and bought a house in Stowe as well. (The Last House remains on the books as well, God help us). I am supposed to be out of this apartment this week. In keeping with the family tradition of never paying anyone for things we are at least notionally capable of doing ourselves, I am moving van load by van load across town. Whusband's wrecked truck and various deadlines are keeping him away just now. Hmmm. Well, how hard could it be? Awful. (See above). The new house is actually new. If it were a kid it would be starting first grade about now. Admittedly, this is a kind of "pinch me" situation. I have never owned a house built before World War II. It's been years since I have lived in a place with one of them dishwashers and such like. I hope I can adjust. All the electrical outlets and smoke alarms make my head spin. And the place has an "air exchanger" that isn't just drafty windows. I was supposed the paint the whole interior before we moved stuff in but I gave up after the main rooms. If you would like to see the place, there's a hick little tour below, featuring yours truly with the hay still in my hair. More later if I live.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


You know how I have been going on and on about this band, Alabama Shakes? Well, I went with some friends to see them tonight at Higher Ground, a venue in Burlington not much larger than a church basement. I was sick (sore throat, fever, coughing, sneezing blah blah) and, are you sitting down? I don't go out to see a lot of rock bands.

Making matters worse, Higher Ground has no seats - this was an SRO situation. We got there about a half an hour after the doors opened. The opening band didn't appear for another hour. I had to flee to the Ladies partway through their set for a break from the noise a little sit down (I won't say "wee sit down" - oops). (Did I mention I don't go out to a lot of rock shows?) Then, when the opener cleared off, it was another long wait for the Shakes. As we shifted on our tired legs, I assured my friend that we could move back from the spot near the front we had cadged if it was too loud or people pressed in too close.

Well, from the moment the band strummed the first chord and dropped the first drum beat, I was theirs. Brittany Howard is the singer and it is not too much to say that she is touched by fire. She's the star, but the band is more than just her and more than the sum of its parts. And. Whoa. After hours on my fevered middle-aged-broad feet, I would have stood for hours more to hear them sing.

Here they are blowing David Letterman's mind earlier this week. See them live if you can.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter on the Edge

"I saw your ham in the road," the trooper said. "I was worried it was something else... When I saw your truck..."

The EMTs continued to swab blood off Whusband's hands. The inside of an ambulance at night is very bright. This makes sense, of course, but I have never been inside an ambulance before and had never stopped to think about what they are like.

"Oh really?" Whusband said with a strange joviality born of being the cause of so much trouble, and of being tended to by uniformed strangers.

"Do you have proof of insurance" The trooper asks. He is of young and of rather slight stature, but he has the hat and all. This inquiry is not a bad sign, I think in my lawyerly way. If the injuries had been worse, this kind of thing would have had to wait - but it's only a few cuts from that shattered windshield. Amazing when you see the truck.

The swabbing stops while Whusband peels apart wallet-worn bits of paper with his bloody fingers. The best he can do is an insurance card from 2007. (He has current insurance, but no card). This is a ticketable offense, the trooper notes, although, perhaps because of the ham (and all it signifies) he is disposed to let this go, if a copy can be faxed to the barracks ASAP. This is arranged.

Neither of the kids could be enticed to accompany Whusband to go to the grocery store last night and no one else was on the road as he caromed across the lanes and over the guardrail. Thank God - and that feels like it doesn't cover it. The Four Runner, our "good car" is totaled but no one was hurt, except for WHusband whose injuries were limited to the band-aidable variety.

After the ambulance men and the trooper were done, and the smashed car hauled away on the wrecker, we walked down through the country darkness to the lay-by where I left the ancient Camry. On the way, I picked up a grape fruit that had rolled from the Four Runner's cargo area about a quarter mile down the hill which Whushand had driven down a thousand times but last night failed to navigate. Did a tire come off? We're still not sure what happened.

I know this, though: that unlikely grapefruit is sitting in the fruit bowl in the kitchen and Whusband and the Understudy are sitting at the dining room table looking at the pictures the Understudy just took of him with her iPad. Incarnation. Ex-carnation. I am gladder than I can say we didn't have to confront the latter too terribly directly this Easter. Amen and Amen.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

If Ever I Would Buy You

It would have to be in springtime...

A bike for Easter if ever there was one.

I would be sorely tempted to acquire this conveyance if I knew where in North America one could buy one... It is manufactured by a Dutch company called "Beg." (As in "sit up and beg" the cyclist posture of dignity, despite the sobriquet). Oh, and I'd need a spare thousand dollars or so. Still, it would make a bright spot in my collection of vintage English 3-speeds and single speeds which are, of course, all black.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Top Tips 3.0

A couple of things:

Doesn't this look like fun?:

I am adding this bike tour to my bucket list. Well, I am starting a bucket list today and putting this on it, near the top.

In other news, I have commenced tweeting. Je tweet donc je suis. Doesn't it seem like that's how it is these days? I resisted that whole thing for a long time but having stepped over the threshhold I find Twitter an interesting place.

My other new favorite thing, about which I have tweeted you'll be pleased to know, is the Ronna and Beverly podcast. I guess this won't be for everyone - but I think it's gorgeous and I'm addicted. Because there are one or two nice people who come by here, people who in their guilelessness don't expect to be fooled by the internet, I'll forwarn you that Ronna and Beverly are actually actresses. They are so good I thought they were as represented and then felt very silly. I hope you will love them too.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Stand and Deliver

Wah Wah, Your Money or Your Life!

= Adam and the Ants, 1981

I think about this all the time - standing and delivering, that is. It occurs to me every time life throws some challenge up at me - so, more or less daily. Never without hearing Adam Ant. I'm that age.

This particular imperative didn't begin with him, or end with the movie of the same name about the calculus teacher in the bad Los Angeles neighborhood. It was originally associated with highwaymen - back when crime had a little elan: flint lock pistols, silk kerchiefs - dukes shaken down for guineas and gold watches that sort of thing - no vaulting the counter between the scratch-offs and the dog treats and making a grab for the cash drawer - but I digress. (Adam Ant did look particularly fetching in his highwayman outift, q.v.)

When Shackleton was in kindergarten his class put on "The GingerBread Man". One little girl came to the front to say her line and crumpled. I know how she felt. We all do, but withering at your kindergarten debut bodes ill. The standing and delivering has only just begun. Poor thing.

I have been thinking of this lately - how our lives are defined (largely) by our accumulated responses to these stand and deliver events. I wonder what my personal statistics are. 50-50? Probably not so good. I got through childbirth twice so that's something - if ever there was a stand and deliver - well, lay down and get an epidural - event, that's it. But I have quailed too often. You know that line from Crosby, Stills and Nash "We never failed to fail, it was the easiest thing to do"? It always goes right through me. But of course, CSN didn't always fail. ("Our House" anyone?). (I suppose David Crosby has some special experience that informs that line...) There's an important follow up here - summed up in from a line in another line, what song? "Take it easy on yourself."

Chapter two to this little Sunday meditation will have to wait. I think it's to do with grace.