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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today is the North Burlington Ramble.

It's a homemade celebration of creativity and art. I wandered to the O.N.E. (Old North End) World Market where there were booths of glorious Nepalese silks and African jewelry for sale. Then I headed up to the Decatur Street Carnival, where the locals were offering excellent services of sundry types:

I had my nails done by 8 year olds. They picked the colors:

Up by the Old Spokes Home, a Tuba, Glockenspiel, Accordian, and Clarinet were rocking out.

Next door at Junktiques a crowd was helping the store owner glue toys and buttons to the doorjamb. (I thought I got a picture but I must have lost it.)

Across the street at the Bobbin Sew Bar & Craft Lounge I checked out a street display of repurposed clothing by Gracy's Green Earth, which is the summer project of an Oberlin student who got funding to study thrift stores and how people use/reuse/discard clothing. I don't know if her name is really Gracy or not but I picked up her business card.

As always, I got lost in the neighborhood. The streets are all kattycorner to each other and so when you think you're going North you actually end up heading East. Nevertheless, my pink and green fingernails gave me the strength to go on and I found my way back to the house.


Monday, July 26, 2010

First, some flags I forgot to post:

Today after dinner I went down to the lake to get a little bottle of water & pebbles for my brother-in-law, who collects them. I went to where the lone sailor stands...

...looking out into the sunset.

Mission accomplished!

I would like to note that the place was not a place where you usually go down to the water, but no one even thought it was slightly weird for me to come rattling up on my bike (which now has pride beads decorating the basket), take out a small bottle, pick my way down to the water, get the sample, come back up, take pictures of myself, and ride away. That's why Burlington rocks.

Joe, we'll bring it to you next time we come to visit.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Was feeling grumpy today until the Pride Parade came by. Now I feel terrific!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rather than stay inside to read my much-neglected journal and review research, I headed down to Battery Park to take in the weekly Free Concert while I read.

I plonked down my blanket and got a good chunk of reading done, which is a good thing, as this research has been sorely neglected due to lots of exciting pre-litigation stuff at work. All around me were Burlington hipsters, their children and dogs, all having good clean family fun.

The music was not bad for a free band. They played a not unpleasant, somnambulant folk-funk, punctuated occasionally by irritating but mercifully rare episodes of that annoying pseudo-blues into which local bands in every town tend to lapse with a frequency in direct proportion to their lack of imagination and/or musicianship. This band was blessed with reasonable dollops of each and so managed to maintain a relatively enjoyable, if non-mind-blowing, musical atmosphere.

When it got dark I came home. Not a bad Thursday evening.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our awesome office manager Bonnie invited me out to her house last night. She lives in the mountains above Waterbury with her husband, Mark, and three dogs: Rosie, Greystoke, and Stella. Bonnie & Mark are like Rachel & Iain and Erika & Nathan rolled up into one couple; I felt instantly at home. The dogs are awesome, more like kids than dogs. Mark & Bonnie made BBQ chicken for dinner, and I spent the night; we sat out on their deck that overlooks the mountains...

(Sorry, you'll have to imagine the mountains in this picture--they were behind the fog.)

...laughing and talking until midnight. Then I went to sleep in the guest bedroom, where the window opens out onto the sound of a mountain stream chuckling to itself all night, and the stars play around in the tree tops. I slept exceedingly well.

In the morning I had breakfast au terrace, looking out over Bonnie's lovely flower beds...

...and woods...

Rosie was the only one of the three dogs who woke up early enough to see us off:

So it was that I had my first home-cooked dinner since May and got to hang out with new good friends who remind me of my old good friends at home.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's post is about South Hero, an island at the top of Lake Champlain, so named because it is one of two tracts of land granted to Ira and Ethan Allen. The other island is North Hero, of course. I don't know whose island was whose.

There are two ways to get to South Hero: by car, and by bike.

Every Thursday my cohorts and I go to Pizza on Earth, followed by a tour of Interesting Vermont Places. Everything is very close together, and there are a ton of interesting places, so it's always fun. Last night we went to South Hero Island. The way you get to South Hero by car is to drive up highway 89 and then turn off onto a long long long long long bridge that takes you out to the island (something like the bridge across Lake Pontchartrain that takes you to New Orleans, except not so many alligators.) Here's what it looks like:



Ryan on the way to the island:

Anisa on the way to the island:

Me on the way to the island:

Once on the island, the only thing to do was to get ice cream. Anisa and I got root beer floats; Ryan got peanut butter ice cream on a cone.

Today as I was biking home from work, I thought, "I'll just go up the bike path a little way, to work off some of that pizza and ice cream." Nine miles later, I was at the causeway.

So I thought "I'll just go take the bike ferry over to South Hero and get something to drink and come back."

The causeway is breathtaking!

When I got to the ferry, though, they were having problems, so I didn't go all the way to south hero. Instead, I watched the coast guard help them out for a while:

The bike meditated on the beauty of the lake:

Here's how close it is to the other side:

It was actually a good thing that the ferry wasn't operating; because it was a spur-of-the-moment bike ride, I hadn't brought anything to eat or drink, and my knees were getting pretty sore. So I turned around and came back to the house. But you better believe I'm going to take that ferry over to South Hero. Maybe I'll get some more ice cream. Maybe I'll do it Sunday.


Monday, July 12, 2010

After work this afternoon I went, as I often do, down to sit by the lake.

The mountains were groovy as always:

The sailboats were bright white:

And then the clouds started rolling in:

For all this drama, Burlington is still standing, and it didn't even rain. However I now have photographic evidence that the sun, given sufficient provocation, will eat you.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last night one of my coworker's friend's band was playing at Parima, a Thai restaurant with an interesting roof that I've often noticed on Pearl Street. The interior is utterly charming, with booths in sweet little nooks, a vaulted ceiling, cool woodwork, and an atmosphere of deeply hip coziness. I have no idea how they pull it off, but I, who usually don't feel comfortable anywhere outside of a bathtub, was happy as a clam. The band, Coba Stella, was a fine example of Vermont imitating life, by which I mean they were entirely charming. If any New Englanders can be said to play trip hop, these New Englanders pulled it off with style.

I hear a rumor that there is salsa on a regular basis, which in my opinion is the only sensible thing for a hip venue to do when it is located in a state that has a 10-month winter.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

As soon as Christopher left the temperature went up to 95 degrees. This is a phenomenon akin to having a hurricane in Kansas--it just doesn't get that hot here. The Vermonters are freaking out! Can human life be sustained in temperatures over 85?!?!?

To be fair, most of their buildings don't have air conditioning, so it is a bit warm. But they're pretty well convinced that it's the end of the world as we know it, and they can't imagine why I feel fine. All I'm saying is that if someone wanted to put together a heat management class up here, she'd make a killing.

The heat makes the mountains disappear:

Apparently that haze comes about in hot weather because the midwest burns so much coal. Not that Vermont's power is clean; their little nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee, is constantly springing leaks and splooging heavy metals into the Connecticut River, which empties into Lake Champlain, which was a superfund site, which still has "dead zones," which now has creepy algal blooms that cause nerve damage and liver failure so they have to post warnings because people swim in that lake. Christopher, now do you believe me that it's a bad idea to get into that water?

Luckily my commute to work is still beautiful. Sometimes rather than take the lake route, I take the high road through this lovely shady arcade:

Here's one of the many random things I pass on this route:

Walking home the other night I met a cat:

He came over for a chat:

Then cat #2 came up and wanted a chat:

Apparently they know each other because they immediately started playing a game that involved a parked car, underneath which Cat #1 crouched while Cat #2 gave him the stares. It was a pretty good game. Cat #3, a splotchy calico of whom I did not get a picture, watched from across the road. So we all had a good afternoon.