Any Given Saturday

Once Little League is done, we make it a point to spend our Saturdays dragging Thing1 and Thing2 to at least one art museum or event.  We  engage in this torture, partly because we want to expose them to some sort of culture that doesn’t come out of an iPod, but also because we love to hear the grumbling as we travel to and from the designated venue.

Today, however, we screwed up.  We thought we had the rugrats where we wanted them – we promised an art opening in a country setting and even a little poetry at a show curated by Maria Wulf, a New York fiber artist and wife of author Jon Katz.  The two-day event is showcasing her quilts and Jon’s photographs along with work by photographer and collage artist Kim Gifford, painter Donna Wynbrandt, Diane Swanson, and Joyce Zimmerman.

On any given Saturday surrounding the kids with fine art and holding out the promise of poetry and even a talk by one of the hosts  would result in considerable push back.  But the minute we stepped into the gallery/barn, they seemed to be under a spell.  Colorful and popping with imagination, the paintings and collages provided plenty of eye-candy, but when Jon invited the crowd to congregate in the main barn, my husband and I realized that he and Maria were the ones casting the spell.

As a student of Jon’s at Hubbard Hall’s Writer’s Project, I (and exhibitor Kim Gifford) have had glimpses of this magic, and today, watching Maria and Jon share their lives and their art while nurturing the gifts of the other exhibitors, it created a little pocket of joy.  And joy is pretty strong magic.  It keeps a five-year-old listening contentedly to a poetess.  It inspires people in its midst to go out and create their own magic.


Talk of the Town


My husband works for a place where they claim to be the best strippers in town.  It’s a lot more family-friendly than you’d think, though, because they also repair and refinish the furniture once its stripped.  Like most small Vermont businesses they offer an array of complementary products like chainsaws and propane, which, in a rural area, makes it a better place to get the scuttlebutt than any beauty shop because everybody – contractors, farmers, and ex-urbanite immigrants – comes in at some point and jaws with the strippers.

It’s also one of the last places in the world where you can get the news of the day and not feel sorry you heard it.  So, after chauffeur duty this morning, I popped in for a soda and what I thought would be a quick visit before heading home to work.  When I got there, however, my husband was chatting with an old acquaintance who needed a ride from Arlington to Manchester about 8 or nine miles up (and I do mean up) the road.  I said I would do it, and, as soon as we loaded up the gentleman’s wheelchair into my car, we headed off.

We met this man over a decade ago because the previous owners of our first house had recommended him as a good source of firewood.  We got to know him a bit over the course of a number of deliveries but lost touch when the latest oil crisis spiked the demand for cordwood and we had to diversify our sources a bit.  I had not seen him since he acquired the wheelchair, and I sensed that we were both more comfortable with me not asking about it.

So we drove and talked about mutual friends.  Who was building this new barn; when that family had moved away; if this neighbor was really in a bad way or was that just a rumor.  A former contractor, he pointed out homes he’d worked on and noted changes in favorite projects.

We were still chatting when we got to Manchester, and learning that his ultimate destination was Rupert – another town and a big mountain away – I offered to drive him to Dorset, thinking I would offer to go the rest of the way when we got to there.  So we drove the next leg, talking about wood prices and where to get the best ice cream this summer.  As we neared the center of Dorset, I noted the lack of a good place to let him off, but he pointed out a place near the country store, and we pulled in.

I was imagining the hot climb he had ahead of him, but before I could say anything, he said, “I’ve been riding all over Bennington County to build up my strength.”  And with that he quietly got his gear organized, and settled the matter as he propelled himself down the last leg of the trip.


When I Am Still Me

I know that brownie a la mode last night was not regulation on the diet-I-don’t-call-a-diet-because-it’s-supposed-a-way-of-life (if you can call living without brownies life). But as I was sitting there berating myself and not enjoying the afterglow, I couldn’t help thinking of all the mean things people say about large, well fat, women and the mean thoughts I have about myself everyday.

When I first setup this blog, the last thing on my mind was posting a picture of myself anywhere on the web. For most of my adult life (especially the overweight part), I’ve managed to be in the background of pictures or, better yet, to be taking them. But because the need for speed trumped pride, I decided forgo a cartoon and to use my own picture – chins and all.

I’ve been on and off and then back on the diet wagon too many times to count but someday, as God as my witness, I will have a waist again.

And when I am a thinner woman, I shall be grateful that I can find things I like in my size.

I shall not assume that woman at the next table who has not made it there yet is lazy.

I shall not assume that she has no self-control or self-esteem.

I shall try to remember that her day is as hectic as mine.



I shall remember that being fat doesn’t make her a bad mother.

And I shall remember that the thin woman in the mirror is no more perfect or pathetic that she was when she was me.

Little Green Ones

Never underestimate the ability of two hot kids to start a fight over something completely ridiculous. Right now they’re arguing over who gets the biggest pea pod while standing in a row of plants covered with peas, and I’m loving it.

Fresh peas are so sweet, and the pods make really cool wrappers from a five-year-old’s point of view. So when Thing2 first asked if they were candy, I smiled and answered, “Kind of.” It was a little green lie in service of a good cause.


How I See You

When they’re not busy auditioning for roles as the two imps in the remake of ‘Cat in the Hat’, my guys can really put things in perspective (Mind the rough edges):

Right now, auditions are in full gear.  Hitting replay.