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Which Deadly Sins Am I Committing Now? February 26, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Is it sloth that would make me—instead of writing a completely new post—quote a lengthy comment to my previous post, “Seven Deadly Sins Against Blogging”? Part of my motivation is surely envy, as it is no secret how much I admire (and envy) Helen’s writing and sense of humor (or, in her case, humour). It may be a little bit of pride, as in Hey look, my blog friends are really impressive, as well as See? My very own writing inspires the likes of THIS. I’m not sure that gluttony, greed, or wrath play a part in their truest senses, but lust? Well, have you seen Helen?

So, without further ado, for those of you who may have missed it in the comments section to the above-noted entry, here is sage advice from Helen:

The 10 commandments

1. Thou shalt have no other bloggers above thyself (unless thou art engaging in lustful activity).

2. Thou shalt not make for thyself too many martinis between the hours of 9 am and 12 pm.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of Mediocrity in vain.

4. Thou shalt remember to keep Olympic days holy, and to refrain blogging at those times.

5. Thou shalt honour the mother of invention and the father of deadlines.

6. Thou shalt not kill (unless thouest spot an adjective or a pun).

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery, even vicariously through sexy TV stars.

8. Thou shalt not steal thouest’s own thunder.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thouest’s talent.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy fellow blogger’s sauteed onions, nor their camelabilia, nor their fire escapes, nor their perfect powdery snow, nor their pasta puttanesca, nor their voyages (exception made for Mali, thou mayest covet her trips), nor their goats, nor their gold-medal women’s hockey team (and maybe men’s too? We shall see…).

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This Here’s Fightin’ Snow February 25, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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“Are you ready for the 1 to 17 inches we’ll be getting?” jokes the woman at the counter wrapping my catfish, because every minute it’s another story, anything could happen, and what does happen is big and wet and a lot, the kind of snow that’s great for snowballs and snowpeople and forts, fighting snow, the kind of snow that’s great for absolutely refusing to take a car out in this mess until your sister cuts her finger and needs an emergency trip to the doctor so what can you do and it’s not an impossible drive getting over there but has become nearly impossible coming back, and by then you’re so tired that you miscalculate and instead of dropping her off on the wrong side of the road and driving an extra (endless!) quarter mile to find a place dug out enough to turn around, you think you can make a U-turn, but it needs to be aborted and you foolishly get stuck halfway into her driveway, which is pretty near a blindish curve in the road, and you can’t move forward or back, and you curse and freak, but luckily someone is driving by who can and does pull you ass backward out of that mess, and you drive the extra quarter mile down the road to turn around where you should have in the first place, and at last you get home and collapse in a heap and eventually find the wherewithal to climb through the upstairs windows to the flat roofs and shovel shovel shovel the heavy stuff off the house, and the reports are calling for more wet-mess rainicesnowhighwinds, and you are on a deadline and need electricity and rather enjoy the luxuries of heat, water, and flushing, so it will be a couple more days of breath holding, and maybe you should simply embrace the fighting snow and build a snowcreature or let fly some snowballs on the unsuspecting, but the truth is you’re mourning the lack of sweet, perfect powdery stuff and just want to slap on some skis.

Seven Deadly Sins Against Blogging February 23, 2010

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Sloth. Hey, the Olympic Games are on TV tonight! (Besides, I just don’t feel like writing.)

Lust. Maybe I should have sex. Or watch sexy people on TV. (The latter may actually be more akin to sloth [see above].)

Gluttony. Is that the smell of sautéed onions wafting upstairs from the kitchen to my office? And what is that sweet, familiar, come-hither sound—a cocktail shaker? Gotta go!

Greed. Someone’s got to pay for those onions and martinis. And all those other things I want. Better work on something that pays. I have real deadlines, my friend.

Wrath. I hate how boring and lame I am. There’s nothing to write about. Great, now I’m depressed too. God, I hate that.

Pride. If I can’t write a better-than-mediocre entry, I might as well not write anything at all.

Envy. I wish I could write as well as the bloggers I read. They can really write.

Camelabilia: Cairo, a Camel, and Route 153 February 18, 2010

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Thanks to a childhood incident, my sister Alison and I occasionally give one another camel-themed gifts. She’s given me camel earrings carved from bone and a camel teapot and a camel Limoges box, for instance. I’ve given her a camel rug and a little bronze camel statue and a camel finial. Back when I blogged about the childhood incident, I dubbed this aftermath camel commemorabilia, which Craig and I shortened to camelabilia.

Once I got to ride a camel. Maybe you remember.

Alison moved to Parts West when she bought Paul’s house. Paul, being such a good buddy and housepainter, occasionally shows up in these pages. He’s the crazy barefoot croquet player. He’s the guy we feared dead one night when our mutual friend couldn’t reach him. He’s the one who turned 70 last month, whose dinner party was my excuse to keep my Christmas tree.

Just as the nights were beginning to turn cool last year, back in late summer/early fall, right before summerfriend Sioux left Parts West for Parts South, Paul and Sioux and Tim and I got together to do something we’d been threatening to do all summer: look at Paul’s slides. Sioux, an art teacher, had the projector. Paul had slides he hadn’t looked at in years.

The history in these slides intrigued us slightly younger folk. First, our friend had been born in Japan to American missionaries. He spent a good number of his early years there. At one point in his life, he’d married a Dutch woman. There were wedding photos (taken overseas!) that offered not only evidence of her existence, but proof of a married Paul. There were lifetimes in these little pieces of film, lifetimes we could now begin to see. It was truly a grand evening.

Paul had traveled a bit with his parents and sister, and suddenly, there on the screen, was a photo of Paul, in Cairo, on a camel! He was about 20 years old when it was taken. Naturally, I begged to borrow the slide for duplication purposes. I mean, look at it!

It took awhile, but Tim finally scanned it and cleaned it up a little in Photoshop; then I took it to a shop for prints. I made a copy for Sioux and her family, which I hand delivered at Thanksgiving. I got one for Paul for Christmas and framed it up good, hoping that the several intervening months would make it a surprise (it did!). I kept one for myself, of course. But, best of all, the image became a most wonderful bit of camelabilia for my sister: a photo of Paul to be hung in the house on Route 153 where Paul lived for a quarter of a century—a photo of Paul on a camel!

Happy Valentine’s Day February 14, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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to my dear blog friends!

On Route 153 of Late February 9, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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To the north, Lali has let go of her goats and I didn’t get to say goodbye, and to the south, on weekends anyway, there’s a café at the goat farm where Angela and Darcie serve toasted cheese sandwiches and succotash soup and cheese plates and granola next to a freezer of frozen meaty parts of goats I didn’t get to say goodbye to either. Matt sings and plays the guitar at the café and every time I decide it’s time to leave and get back to my chores another friend walks in, and there you are. Next door, Kristina turned ten and had her first sleepover party, and Lynda made whoopie pies, three of which Alison and I insisted that Tim sneak over and steal (and lo, they were very good). Past the goat farm, on another even-further-south farm, the clink of cocktail glasses filled with Cold River martinis heralded the start of the Superbowl and a feast of good food and wine (and I got to meet the puppy!). Right here, in my office, I’ve looked out my world wide window to see snow slam the mid-Atlantic states, then out my local window—first at the bare Vermont ground, then up at the afternoon light—and sometimes it doesn’t look like winter light anymore, sometimes there’s almost a glimmery pulse of spring, a tiny seed of a pulse, perhaps, that’s wanting to be.

Mary, Tyler, More February 1, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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When I hit “play messages,” I hear her voice: “Hello Vermont. How are things there? Boy, is it cold here.” Who is that?, I wonder, recognizing the voice but not placing it. Friendly, sweet. Eventually, “We’ll see you Tuesday at 11:45 and Tim at 12:30. Safe travels!”

Ah, Mary. The receptionist at my hair salon in Portland. Whenever she calls, it’s like this. She never says her name. Even if I’m home and pick up on the confirmation call, she uses the name of the salon. “Hi, this is [salon], calling to confirm. How are ya?”

Still, even without ever speaking her name, she has this easy intimacy that I love. She makes me feel . . . known.

On this trip’s first morning, at breakfast, I immediately approached the basket that usually holds the croissants of the phenomenal bakery next door. Alas, it was filled with bagels. I figured that either (a) the hotel had given up the croissant practice, or (b) maybe they just didn’t bother with them on weekends. So I picked up an egg-and-cheese English muffin.

But suddenly, there was Tyler standing at our table, holding a brown paper bag from which he pulled two croissants and placed them perfectly on a white porcelain plate.

“They got cut from our budget,” he explains quietly, thus confirming (a). “They cost too much, and we always had leftovers. So now, we just run next door when we see someone coming in who likes them.”

Before this moment, I was a Tyler fan. But imagine walking into a hotel breakfast buffet, three months after your last visit to said hotel, to have the waiter dash next door for croissants for you without any discussion. I adore that he knows me. (And this may be the closest I’ve ever felt to being royalty.)

The good news is, the staff also knows us well enough to give us shit. “Can I order two bowls of oatmeal?” I ask the waitress Kristen, now at the kitchen window. She rolls her eyes, the burden of the order almost too much to bear. “I suppose.” The best comeback, of course, was one I wasn’t even around to witness, almost two years ago, when Kevin admonished Tim for grabbing a cookie because “Those are for guests!”