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Giving Thanks November 26, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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After we have munched on appetizers of goat cheese and smoked salmon; after we have begun drinking Monty’s wines (the expected romp through France with the occasional but well-deserved stop in California); after the turkey in the smoker catches fire and the traditionally prepared bird cools; before not-quite-two Amelia decides that no dinner party is worth keeping her shirt on for; after Tim has finished stirring the mushroom risotto on the six-burner stove; before the question that will never be answered (How old is Julie really?) is asked again and again; after the guests have offered up more delicious food than anyone has ever seen in one room on Thanksgiving, including, but not limited to, the brussels sprouts and chestnuts, the quinoa-and-mushroom stuffed squash, the turnip flan, the mashed potatoes, the Martha Stewart dressing, the cranberry relish, the green beans, and the baconed-and-creamed pearl onions; after everyone cheers when a single can of cranberry sauce is also produced; after the goats have been milked, allowing Margot and Alex to arrive just in time; after the dainty placement of tastes-of-almost-everything on each plate (and the resulting parade to the table of nearly identical and almost-insurmountable mounds of food); before we take the first bite of turkey raised mere miles away by Dan and Deb; and not too long before we slip into inevitable groaning and food coma, we join hands, and our hostess Sarah gives thanks for all of us and all that’s in front of us, getting a little choked up as she does so, and we get a tad teary too because we are all so very thankful as we look around the table and wonder what we ever did to deserve this.

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Mali in Oppositeland November 24, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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A sentimental post for Thanksgiving

I have a blog friend who lives on the opposite side of the world. A blog friend is like a pen pal, without paper or stamps.

Mali (her blog name) lives in New Zealand. In some ways, New Zealand is Oppositeland.

When it’s spring here, it’s autumn there. When it’s autumn there, it’s spring here. If I’m sweating, she’s shivering, and vice versa.

Oppositeland is eighteen hours ahead of me, timewise. When Mali is sipping her evening chardonnay, I am tucked into bed and (if lucky) sound asleep, gathering energy for that same day to begin. When it is happy hour in Vermont, Mali is already at work the next day. It boggles my (occasionally gin-soaked) mind.

It is dark dark dark these days, and sometimes I think of Mali turning her face to the light light light, having more more more hours to do so.

In winter, there are moments I am envying her summer; six months later, she is envying mine. I think we both love the changing seasons, though. We seem happy enough to take turns.

Mali in Oppositeland is my living reminder of existing things that are invisible to me now, things that will become visible to me again, soon enough.

And she is (as far as I can tell) a real person who lives in the real Oppositeland, a place that looms exotic in my mind, a land of great mountains and rivers and fishes, a land of great wines and cities-by-the-sea.

If only getting there were as easy as falling down the rabbit-hole.*

 

*“. . . but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?” —Alice in Wonderland

NYC Imperative November 17, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Head to New York. Go passive aggressively. Aggressively be a passenger—don’t even think about driving yourself.

Take a train, cabs, the subway. Or, this time, hop into the back of your friend’s Mercedes diesel. While he navigates his familiar route and the heavy traffic, sit back, relax, and wish for nothing but that you were already there.

Note the hard ugliness of the approach.

Upon arrival at the West Side parking garage, leap from the car and climb the ramp to the streets. The sweet streets. Be fleet—there are places to go and people to see.

Weave through the crowd. Marvel at the produce stands. Wish you could live like this, on foot, stopping at the market on the way home, picking out what’s fresh for your very next meal. Feel nostalgia. Wonder if you lived this way in a previous life. Wonder if there are previous lives. Keep walking.

Make a labyrinth-y beeline to the watering hole five blocks away, expertly dancing around other pedestrians. Sidle up to the curvy zinc bar and order a Hendrick’s martini with a twist from the young bartender who doesn’t know how to make a Vesper. Clink glasses with your dear friends.

Rush five blocks back to another restaurant. Add more dear friends. Order a fish baked in sea salt. Eat the cheeks first. Clink glasses again.

Cross the street to the Beacon Theatre. Choose a night when someone you love takes the stage. Find your seat. Behold the thirty-foot-tall Greek goddesses and the murals of caravans. Consider the 2,890 seats versus the five stalls in the women’s room. Plan accordingly.

Take your binoculars. Now and then, magnify hands and lips and faces. Mostly, lose yourself in sound. Forget the trail of bread crumbs.

Toast November 4, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Dewey died. On Saturday.

I found out Saturday night. Deb and I had sardined our way back from the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive. We were in for the night. I checked my e-mail. There it was, from Sue, subject line: A Journey. She’d gotten word from Noah, his son. None of us even knew he was sick.

Dewey died. I had just been thinking about him. How could I not, visiting our old stomping grounds? I was thinking of all of them, the circle of friends who burned brightly together before we geographically scattered: Arizona, Vermont, Florida, Chile. Dewey and Maria Elena, at last in Chile.

And just in September, too, near his birthday, I was alone in a bar far from home, girding myself for the next thing. I ordered a Jameson, toasted Dewey. Happy birthday, old friend. I don’t think I’d ever had that drink without him.

I haven’t seen him in fifteen years.

The day we met: A guy walks into a high school graduation picnic. A blissfully married woman (me) is suddenly all eyes and distracted glances and who-is-that? She must meet him. She chats him up and asks for a ride on his Harley. Her wish is granted.

Dewey died. When we left for Vermont, he bestowed upon us glorious gifts: for Tim, a fid he’d used on a Greenpeace ship; for me, a stick I’d long admired that he’d carved by a campfire—the dragon head on one end twisting and spiraling to a penis head on the other. It graces our bedroom wall.

Dewey died. If I say it enough times, maybe I’ll begin to grasp it. Dewey died. Dewey died. Dewey died.

Perhaps this bottle of Jameson will help.

Tuesday November 2, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Until two years ago, we used a pencil to mark the ballots, folding them carefully before stuffing them into the box. Now there’s a fancy vote-counting machine, and we use special black pens to fill in the ovals, like standardized tests. Afterward, we don’t fold; we simply slip the ballot any-which-way into the sleek black tabulator.

I worked the polls today (why does that sound like something it’s not?). My 5-hour shift was 9 til 2. I signed in and swore an oath. This small town has a list of about a thousand. Roughly a quarter voted while I was there, arriving in a constant stream—so constant that I had to eat my BLT a bite here and a bite there, whenever I could sneak it.

There’s an oath a voter has to take too, to register in Vermont, the Freeman’s Oath, swearing that you’ll follow your conscience “without fear or favor of any man.” I took this oath at the town dump. It was administered to me by a state representative who wanted petition signatures. It was very Northern Exposure.

Today I checked voters in (A through Leslie, while Teresa covered Levine through Z). They check in, vote, check out. My check-in count needs to match my check-out counterpart’s, and the total count needs to match the counting machine.

Voters must state their name aloud and confirm their address. I ask for the address; they see I have it right in front of me; they think I’m crazy.

Several people check in, take a ballot, realize their reading glasses are in the truck, leave the ballot, run out for their glasses.

The farmers reek of fertilizer. We are all used to that.

And Edie, who is walking now, flirted with me the whole time her mama was in the booth.