Sunday, October 19, 2014

Baby it's cold outside

It was in the 40s today and I saw hail twice.  Might be getting too cold for flip flops.

But before the snow starts to fly, here are some pictures of the awesome, weird, now pink tree in my front yard:

I wish I knew what kind of tree this is.  Hopefully a master gardener volunteer at the University of Vermont extension service will be able to help - I submitted a few of these pictures today with my question.  I will let you know if I get an answer.

The end.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Falling leaves, a sycamore

Not a lot of words today, but plenty of pictures.  Foliage is still fab here in Vermont.

Even the vacas think so.  Poodle and I went down to Killington on Friday, and here are some action shots so you can see how happy she was to get there.

What a nut.  She was also a leaf-peeper.

The view is crazy from my mom's house.  Here, I tried to stitch two photos together so you could get the full effect.  This is not a very successful effort, but it is the best I can do with the limited resources I've got, so keep your hair on.

It's quite mesmerizing in real life.

Here's a tree:

Love love love.

So, more foliage:

Poodle thought the view was pretty good from the deck, too.

Do you see her?  She's kinda like Where's Waldo in this one.

Today we went to the World's Best Breakfast, then down to the rec center to play ball.  I took the next picture through the windshield on River Road:

My dad's memorial service was one year ago today.

Has anybody noticed that the titles of my posts so far this month have all been song lyrics?  Today's title is from one of my dad's favorite songs.

And since we started this post with a farm on our way out of town, we will end it with another farm on our way back to town.

And now, since I've already said I don't have a lot of words today, and I've already said I'm ending with a farm, here are some final words from one of my favorite poets, Billy Collins, appropriate for an October day when my eye was drawn to the acorn caps scattered under an oak tree at the cemetery.

Some Final Words

I cannot leave you without saying this:
the past is nothing,
a nonmemory, a phantom,
a soundproof closet in which Johann Strauss
is composing another waltz no one can hear.

It is a fabrication, best forgotten,
a wellspring of sorrow
that waters a field of bitter vegetation.

Leave it behind.
Take your head out of your hands
and arise from the couch of melancholy
where the window-light falls against your face
and the sun rides across the autumn sky,
steely behind the bare trees,
glorious as the high strains of violins.

But forget Strauss.
And forget his younger brother,
the poor bastard who was killed in a fall
from a podium while conducting a symphony.

Forget the past,
forget the stunned audience on its feet,
the absurdity of their formal clothes
in the face of sudden death,
forget their collective gasp,
the murmur and huddle over the body,
the creaking of the lowered curtain.

Forget Strauss
with that encore look in his eye
and his tiresome industry:
more than five hundred finished compositions!
He even wrote a polka for his mother.
That alone is enough to make me flee the past,
evacuate its temples,
and walk alone under the stars
down these dark paths strewn with acorns,
feeling nothing but the crisp October air,
the swing of my arms
and the rhythm of my stepping --
a man of the present who has forgotten
every composer, every great battle,
just me,
a thin reed blowing in the night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Autumn leaves of red and gold

Well, I may have to rake my yard after all.  I'm not sure my lawn mower will be able to mulch a carpet of leaves that is a good four inches deep.  Poo.  But that's a story for another day.

Today I will first tell you about my Dr. Seuss tree.  That's what Kathy calls it, and the name fits.  Here's a picture from earlier this summer.

See how it's all sticks at the top and leafy at the bottom?  The sticks are leftover from last year.  It was just sticks until end of June and I thought the wickedly cold winter had killed the whole tree.  No buds, no nothin'.  Then it started to leaf out at the bottom.  Here's another picture with a poodle for scale.

Those new sticks grew over a foot every week.  And the leaves?  Whoa.

THAT picture is from late July.  The previous owners called this an Elephant Ear tree, so I googled that and now I think it may be a paulownia tomentosa which, according to wikipedia, is the fastest-growing tree in the world.  Mine didn't have any flowers or any fruit, so maybe I have mis-diagnosed its species, but there were images online that look just like this one.  Look it up and let me know if you agree.  Here's a picture from mid-August.

The leafy sticks didn't grow as tall as last year's sticks, but those leaves were ginormous.  They still are.  We had a hard frost ... early last week?  It wrecked some of the top leaves, but the rest are still huge and green.  I would run outside and take a picture, but it's almost midnight and although the moon (bella luna!) is one day from being full, there's still not enough light.

So now let's talk Crime Rib.  Remember my friend Leslie's first mystery novel that was published last summer?  Crime Rib is the second in the series.  And remember how I begged Leslie to kill me off in one of her books?  Crime Rib is where that doesn't happen.  HA!  But I DO get introduced as a character.  I don't have my copy of the book in front of me because my mom borrowed it and now it is working its way through her bridge ladies (or her tennis ladies, I can't remember).  So here is the bookmark Leslie sent me with the book.

Now, there are SO MANY things to be excited about with this book.  First, an aside to Leslie:  I forgot to tell you that over the 4th of July weekend when I was in Connecticut with family, I was talking books with my cousin Jennifer who is a manager or an assistant manager at a Barnes & Noble somewhere in Connecticut.  I told her about Crime Rib and she said, "I know that book - I just shelved it yesterday!"

Okay, next, go here and take advantage of the "look inside" feature.  (Not that I want you to buy the book at Amazon - I would rather you find a local independent bookseller and support them.  In fact, buy seven copies from your local independent bookseller.  Just because.)  So anyway, scroll down to the cast of characters.  I'll wait.


Did you?


Who did you see?  I'll give you a hint, in case you were too lazy to hit that one hotlink and do the work yourself.  IT'S ME!  Leslie named the character after me.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  She is awesome.  And I am famous.

So next click on THIS link and read the article in The Missoulian.  Seriously.  Do it.

HAHAHAHAHA!  Famous again.

Now, follow YET ANOTHER link to Leslie's blog, and click on the link SHE has in that post.  Not to spoil the surprise or anything, BUT I'M SO FAMOUS!

Rock and roll.

When I read Crime Rib this summer there was one spot in the book where Christine is described as wearing dorky black glasses and I thought, "Hey!  I've got dorky black glasses."  Refer back to my selfie with minion from the other day.  Then in another spot Christine was wearing purple glasses and I thought, "HEY!  I've got purple glasses!"  Refer to selfie below.

It's crazy being famous.  I can't wait until the third book comes out next year.  I would say it is tragic that I have to wait that long, but in reality it just means I get to have my 15 minutes of fame all over again.  Awe.  Some.

Speaking of minions, if you're my friend on Facebook you've already seen my new minion.

That's my girl.  Minion goggles.  Or doggles, as the case may be.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Float down like autumn leaves....

Kathy came over yesterday and we went to see "Kiss Me, Kate" in Stowe.  We were sitting in our seats, just before it started, and I leaned over and whispered, "I just realized I am still wearing the same shirt I wore yesterday and slept in last night."

Huh.  Senior moment?

The wall behind the gold couch has been temporarily accessorized.  I say temporarily because I suspect this wall will forever be a work in progress.

There are holes to patch and paint to choose, but for now it's good.  Notice how my spray-painted-in-my-new-favorite-color telephone table that I found out in the garage this summer works with my color scheme?  Clever, I am.

Also in the ever-evolving interiors department is the orange room.  Kathy brought me a keyboard that has spent the last million years living under her guest room bed.  This keyboard used to be in the church.  That was TWO million years ago.  I think it was retired when there was a fire in the church.  Dad made the boxes for it to rest on and I think he even made the cover for it, from the hyde of a wild New England Nauga.  After I took these pictures I moved my guitar and my ukulele into the orange room, which I'm now going to call the music room.

Those walls seriously need some new paint, except my wee small desk matches so nicely....

Outside the sun was shining for a good part of the day, unlike yesterday when we spent the entire day inside drawing up plans for an ark.  Yowza.  Here's another picture of the trees in my front yard.

And here's a beauty in my backyard:

These are the last of my summer flowers, holding on with everything they've got:

They even make a white plastic fence look good.  And here's the side of my house that is crying out for a deck.  That's part of Phase II, which is a project for another day.

I live at the base of Elmore Mountain, which looked like this when poodle and I were driving home from playing b-a-l-l this evening:

Lovely, even in a quickie pic on my phone.

Tomorrow, I'm serving up some long overdue Crime Rib.  Stay tuned....