Friday, December 31, 2010

(unimportant pet peeve)

I don't know why this annoys me, it just does....everyday at noon, a lady jogs by soooooo slowly that I want to pop out of the house in a gorilla suit and chase her so she'll go faster. I mean, whatever, she's moving, that's great and all, I should be happy, but every time I see her, that's what I think. Gorilla suit, pronto.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shit MY Dad Says, Decoded.

I occasionally check out this website called "Shit My Dad Says"'s by this guy who lives with his elderly father and writes down one thing his dad says every day. It makes me laugh, although in all honesty, some of it is far less entertaining than shit my dad says. It's more the WAY he say things rather than what, and I suppose most of what my father says isn't terribly original, but it got me thinking about all the sayings I've heard from him my whole life...and how many I could pull up on the spur of the moment. I thought I'd test myself and see. Here goes:

1.) "Get your head out of your ass" (This one's pretty self explanatory I would say.)

2.) "She fell ass over teakettle" (Meaning someone, usually a "She", took an ungraceful spill to the amusement of all.)

3.) "They don't know their ass from their elbow" (Or armpit, or hole in the ground, I've heard all three equally, meaning that somebody doesn't know what they are doing/talking about. Duh.)

4.) "More (insert any noun here) than you can shake a stick at." (A lot of something.)

5.) "Howdy-Ho!" (Hello.)

6.) "B'God!" (An expression similar to "Darn tootin'!", usually used to drive some point home.)

7.) "Jesus H Christ!" (Wonderment or anger depending on the tone. I have no idea what the H stands for.)

8.) "Shit on a shingle." (Poor quality.)

9.) (Winking while my mother takes one tiny swig of beer) "Hey, maybe I'll get lucky tonight!?" To which Mom rolls her eyes and says "You got lucky LAST night." (Dear God! We children run screaming from the room covering our ears.)

10.) "Didn't he marry so-in-so's father-in-law's sister? The one with the nasty teeth?" (Genealogy research.)

11.) "Atta boy!" (Whether or not you are actually a boy, expression of praise.)

12.) "Gotta love it." (More happiness talk.)

13.) "Hold my beer and watch this." (Stolen from some comedian, meaning he's about to do something dumb, on purpose.)

14.) "Shitabitch!" (Stolen from my mom...we all say this actually, it's a proud, original, family curse.)

15.) "More power to ya." (You go right ahead, good luck with that, heh heh.)

16.) "Up Shit Creek without a paddle." (No chance in hell.)

17.) "Smarten up." (More polite version of "Get your head out of your ass.")

18.) "He/she can't find their way out of a wet paper bag." (Bad at directions and plain stupid in general.)

19.) "Pull my finger." (Don't.)

20.) "Pass the salt." (Immediately followed by his own response to himself...) "You want salt? I'll give you salt!" (A dinner tradition.)

21.) "Shit or get off the pot." (I think everyone's dad says this.)

22.) "A real corker." (Unique/great.)

23.) "Don'tcha know." (Got it?)

24.) "Yer slayin' me." (While laughing very hard.)

25.) "Frickin' cats." (Not a fan.)

Just a brief vocab lesson for you, I won't even try to decipher his jokes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jelly & Dexter

We've thought about getting horses for years, it just never seemed that feasible, what with our 1.3 acres or whatever it is. But the boys were getting very interested in riding/cowboys/animals in general so we rethought the idea and came up with a solution. MINIS! Mini horses for our mini back 40. Wanted to find something that the kids could ride (for a year or so anyway) that was also a pet, something that could help all get us used to the daily routines that come with owning a high maintenance critter, but that involved little or no danger. In a year, after we're accustomed to the workload, maybe we'll get a regular sized horse, since I like to ride too and Eli's legs get longer every night. We shopped around a lot in the last couple of months, and in the end, lucked into our two tiny friends. Jelly is an 11 year old ex-petting zoo/pony ride pony that is very gentle and extremely fat...she goes on a diet immediately. Comes from being fed handfuls of grain by adoring children for years. Seriously, she's so fat that, even though she's nobody's mama, we started telling 'Your Mama's So Fat' jokes about her. Dexter's 4, originally belonged to one of the kid's teachers. Her girls got too big for him and she sold him to my Uncle Roger to be a companion for his old draft horse. Rog only had him a couple of months before, sadly, they had to have their draft put down. Knowing we were looking for a second pony, they gave him to us. Justin built two scaled-down box stalls in the barn, and the ponies seem to be getting along. Dexter is definitely more of a puppy dog, comes running whenever anyone goes outside, follows us everywhere, plays with Captain... and Jelly is more of a horsey horse, wily about being caught unless it involves treats and kicks the dog if he's a pest. The kids have ridden them around bareback a bit, we haven't worked with them too much yet, I think we'll just give them some time to get settled first. Justin is hoping to break them to drive in the spring so that we won't actually "outgrow" them. Our place is sort of feeling more like a farm now. Next up: an ostrich. Just kidding mom. Maybe they make mini ostriches.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Good Things

Yup, we got the boys ponies for Christmas (we must be insane) but only one is here so far...I'll do a post about that later on, but for now, I thought I'd try to head off any seasonal depression (which hasn't been nearly as bad in recent years due to dance and changing my way of thinking) with a list of all the things that I'm looking forward to this winter! Corny, but it works for me.

-Holiday time! Adore Christmas. Love the smells, love my family...really looking forward to hugging everyone and eating the crazy, random things that Grammy Sammy dips in chocolate.

-Dance class in the nice, big, warm gym. So thankful the school is letting me use it.

-My good friend Jana (and E's riding trainer) will be back from Germany where she's been visiting her family for the last month. We've missed her so much!

-Other friends will be home for the holidays.

-Skiing! It's been a long time since one of us didn't have to pull a baby around in a sled while the other one made a run...ALL of us will be on the hill this year, I hope!

-Skating! I wish we had our our pond, but the Tunbridge rink is amazing, with daily smoothed ice and lights. Yay rink gnomes!

-Oliver's Birthday, Jen's Birthday, lots of get-togethers in our little clan.

-White, fluffy snow with two ponies & a pup to frolic with in the backyard. Boys were sledding last night and Dexter was already loving it...he'd climb to the top of their hill and sniff the sled, then he'd race the kids down on the other side.

-Cozy times in by the woodstove with books and tea.

-Snowshoing with my parents over at camp.

-Projects. Can't wait to get some work done on our house.

-Valentine's Day and all those other pointless excuses to have tiny parties for no reason.

-Sugaring Season, I love the work, I love the steamy, late nights, I love the whole time....even though I'll never love Maple Syrup.

-Rosy cheeks on my babies.

-Never having to worry about what to wear...wool socks, long johns, jeans, turtleneck, sweater, boots. Done. No thinking or fashion required.

-The sounds the river makes when it's chortling along under the ice.

-Soup and stew and chili.

-The feeling, more than ever, of being isolated from the rest of the world. Some people don't like that feeling but I, even though I don't use my blog as a place to express it, get entirely fed up and angry and scared about the way things are going and sometimes it's nice to forget about it for a while, to feel cocooned in Vermont by blizzards and no TV reception. Ignorance is not bliss, no, but a break from political rubbish saves my sanity.

-Extra quilts on the beds.

-Glorious frost patterns on the windows every morning.

-The boys go to sleep earlier.

-I don't really have to bother with shaving my legs.

-Avocados and oranges are on sale!

-I have more time to write.

-People look super adorable when their noses are red.

-Since I'm stuck inside more often, there's no excuse for not keeping the house tidy...a good thing because I hate it messy, but in summer I'm too lazy/busy to bother.

-We are more likely to use candles at dinner.

-Time seems to move slower, a blessing these days when I'm sad about how fast my kids are growing.

-My children can both dress themselves more hour long wrestle to get them into snowsuits, only to hear, five minutes after they go out, "I'm cold!"..."I have to pee!"

-Stirring hot chocolate with leftover candy canes.

-We have a new furnace.

-Most of the pipes in the house that could burst already did last year, so we should be set with that.

-Shoveling makes my tummy tight.

-No lawn to mow.

-I sorted out a year's worth of unmatched socks recently, including all the really warm ones.

-I own four pairs of fur boots. Maybe that sounds like a lot to some people, maybe not enough to others. But four pairs of fur boots are the exact right amount of fur boots for me to own.

So, that's that. Sappy but necessary list of winter good things. I'll remind myself to look at it when the roads are icy and the kids have their seventh cold.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Because November Always Feels Sad To Me.

Every few days, when I drive South down RT 110, I pass this little farm, close to the road, nothing fancy. Very plain and UN-fancy in fact. What appears to be vague untidiness to the untrained eye is, in actuality, simply many years worth of I-Just-Might-Need-That-Someday. Cats lounge on the crooked stoop, and bask all over the dooryard. An old farmer lives there, I forget his name now. In December, balsam trees for sale line his porch railing, occasionally we've bought a Christmas wreath from him. Locals will know who I mean. He has a certain look about him...slight but strong, gaunt cheeks, lined face on which perches thick, horn-rimmed glasses. (Are they actually left over from the 40's? Where does one even buy such things nowadays?!?) In winter he wears a wool flap hat with grey hair bristling out underneath, and a checkered, moth-eaten, Johnson Woolen Mills coat. Summer, even the hottest August days, will find him in a long sleeved, flannel shirt. Tilling his huge garden, working outside every minute, no matter the weather, he is more Vermont than Vermont is. When I picture him in my mind, I always see him in black and white just because he seems so timeless. Daily, as I'd pass, I'd look for him driving his tractor, so ancient that it's unbelievable that he even uses it for work when the only others of it's kind are paraded down the middle of town by collectors on Memorial Day, or chopping firewood, or letting his tiny herd of bony cows out to pasture. I'd think, "When I have more time, I need to stop and photograph this man." The way he moves, slow, but with purpose, the way he runs his gnarled hands lovingly over machinery, swings an ax through cord after cord even though it seems a light breeze could blow him over, strokes the spine of an elderly Jersey...he reminds me of my Great Grampa Gray and every old Vermonter rolled into one stubborn, whithered body. For ages, I've been reminding myself to try and capture this fleeting New England strength on film, never was there a more perfect subject, classic and strangely beautiful...iconic. As the months rolled by and other things took priority, years slipped away while I always put it off as a thing to do "some other time". And then, a while back, as I drove by, I saw the farmer, standing in the spot his tractor was usually parked. A shiny, out of state truck with a flatbed trailer behind it was pulling out, with the antique secured carefully on board. The way the man's hands were stuffed, too deep in his pockets and the slump of his shoulders that, despite his years, had never been there before, told the whole story. I felt like stopping on the side of the road, and sobbing, so tangible was his loss. Maybe it's silly to think a man's heart and soul could be broken this way, but it seems it wasn't the only change. At night, there used to be a warm, yellow glow spilling from the cracked windows of his ramshackle barn where he'd be busy with the evening milking. People would come, and he'd fill whatever bottle they'd bring with fresh, raw milk for a couple of bucks. Although I can't imagine there was ever very much, the rest would be picked up by the regular milk truck. These days, the barn sits cold and dark, and for the first time ever, in my memory, a blue, flickering flash from a television set can be seen in the farmhouse window. It feels like defeat, like age, like grief. A man, I'd only spoke to a couple times really, letting go of all he's ever known or probably wanted. I like to think he was happy in his simple life, happy to serve his purpose, and I mistakenly assumed he would go on forever. Picturing him, sitting in the half-light with his tired, work-worn hands folded on his lap, staring blankly at reality TV and other things he can't possibly care about, so great is his love for his farm, always gets inside of me, aching deep down, right to the very core where my real Vermont self is hiding. The unfairness of aging, rural destruction and poverty combined. A helpless, hopeless sadness of losing a way of life. And perhaps I am sentimentally projecting feelings on him that weren't there...maybe this man who once drove his cows down the springtime river valley in the dusk, when the lilacs scented the banks, and the whippoorwill was calling goodnight, maybe he truly DOES want to sit inside with his re-runs. I'll never have those photographs to match this blog post, I wish, more than ever, my camera had recorded the way it was. What is a picture worth again? Is this anywhere near a thousand words yet? Because, in my regret, those pictures would have been worth far more.