Monday, October 29, 2012

Hudson's Annual Halloween Bash

A very fun night, as always.  Great band, great food, great people.  Now, with Hurricane Sandy setting in, I assume we'll lose power and I won't see you, Internet World, for a few to batten down the hatches and spend the rest of the blustery day with my little ones, enjoying an evening of board games by the wood stove.  Stay safe all, hope everyone weathers the Frankenstorm well!  And Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Car!

Excuse the dumb, narcissistic photo, I was taking this shot to sell those wool pants on e-bay, then moved to a location with a better background.  I later realized, "Hey!  It's kind of a picture of me and my new car!"  (And Jen trying to convince her dog to jump into her trunk.)  Even though I'm 35, this is really my "first car".  I've never had anything of my own in my whole life, cars were always Justin's thing.  I'm pretty proud of doing the entire buying-of-a-used-car myself, with no man to guide me through the process.

When my old car died a couple months ago, I took it to my mechanic for the millionth time.  He had warned me it was on it's last legs, and I had already socked a thousand bucks into various repairs over the summer.  Rust, gas tank issues, exhaust problems, brake work...When he refused to let me put any more money into this car (and the brakes quit), he gave me a few pointers on buying a used car.  He said that we can mostly fix stuff under the hood, but to look for something with absolutely NO RUST, because in Vermont, you can practically HEAR things rusting, it happens so fast.  I added my own criteria to the list - it had to be less than ten years old, had to have less than 150, 000 miles, had to be good in the snow, had to have room for three kids, a dog and sound equipment, had to get decent gas mileage, had to be CHEAP.  I assumed I'd buy another Honda or perhaps a Toyota.

As the month wore on and I borrowed car after car from friends and family while I hunted, it seemed impossible to find what I was looking for at a price I could afford.  I lost track of how many dealerships I went to, I started to open my mind to other types of cars.  Everybody that gave me advice had a favorite.  Rusty leaned towards Volkswagen, Myra loves her little Suzuki,  Dad was still gung-ho on Toyotas, Jen wanted me to get a Honda minivan, several other friends had good luck with the Ford Focus.  I started to get confused on WHAT to even shop for!  One of the cars I borrowed was my friend Jana's Subaru Outback.  Driving it for a couple weeks while she was in Germany, I was thinking: THIS is it!  The space, the way it handled, everything fit my needs.  It was like a minivan, without BEING a minivan!  So I started to add Subarus to my list of cars to look at.

 After one particularly grueling weekend of car shopping, I came home feeling completely downhearted.  There was NOTHING, it seemed, anywhere in New England that a single mom on welfare could afford.  Nothing safe and reliable anyhow.  Without much hope, that evening I browsed Craigslist, as I had been doing daily, and there it was, a car that looked too good to be true!  2004 Subaru Outback.  Zero rust.  140,000 miles. In Rutland.

Next day, I went and checked it out, got a gut feeling that the dude that owned the used car lot was a trustworthy guy...the fact that he apologetically excused himself to pick his five year old up from a birthday party and didn't want to be late, rather than push the sale, told me a lot.  All the other salesmen were like velcro and made me feel incredibly pressured.  I made an appointment at a garage nearby and had them look the car over.  It might need a new head gasket, they thought, but other than that, the mechanic's mouth hung open when I told him the price.  He said "Buy it.  Buy it QUICK."  So I did.  For far less than the asking price because I'd have to replace the head gasket in the near future...we took the repair cost off the price and it was a pretty sweet deal, if I do say so myself.  I guess I now join the ranks of Vermont women who drive Subaru Outbacks, the unofficial State Car.  But I get it.  It's the heated seats, baby, the heated seats.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

More Portraits

Catching the very last of the fall color, everybody's thinking of Christmas cards which makes good business for me!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


 Say someone asked me, several years ago, if I wanted to go to a Monster Truck race... I would have laughed at them.  When I got done laughing, I would have said "Hell no!"  But...four little boys really, really, REALLY wanted to go, so we did.  And surprisingly, I enjoyed it.  It ended up being kinda cool, watching these big rigs race up a slimy, steep hill.  Loud, but cool.  And the hillbilly dudes that drove them let the kids climb all over them and check everything out.  It was sunny and warm and there was mud flying everywhere!  What's not to love?!

 Whoops, this one flipped over right in front of us.  Nobody hurt.  That's our friend Evan in the whale hat, he owns the ski area the event was at.
 Parker and Ellis are brothers that are in my two boys classes and they get along wonderfully.  So handy to have two sets of brothers that are best friends!
Anyhow, it was an entertaining day, even if you just wanted to people-watch.  The boys are cuddled up on the couch this evening, watching a vintage french film, so I'm not too worried our life is going to be one big monster truck rally after another, but I certainly won't mind repeating this fun day in the future.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shaker Museum

 This place was gorgeous.  Not nearly enough time to see it all.  The Shakers were such innovative, enlightened people in so many ways.  They had women in positions of power since the 1700's which is quite shocking.  I sort of thought they lived like the Amish, very anti-technology, but the guide told us they were obsessed with technology, and finding the best way to do things... they invented the washing machine, the straight broom, and many other little gadgets.  They were actually highly enterprising and well loved by whatever community they settled in, due to their generosity and peaceful nature.  They knit those letter sweaters that colleges used, among lots of other surprising exports.  Apparently that whole chastity thing put a damper on their continued success, since they could only grow in number by converting people.  A new Shaker would be completely provided for, but upon entering, was required to give up all his or her worldly possessions.  They rotated the work in the village so nobody had to cook, clean, knit or harvest all the time, and they taught everyone a trade of their choice.  There was a no-shun policy which meant they never gave anyone a hard time for leaving or joining.  They opened their doors to orphans and took very good care of them.  This particular village had Shakers still residing in it until 1991, and is such an amazing example of simplicity and ingenuity.  Once several thousand acres, it now has only 700, most being sold off to pay taxes.

 Every drawer, every basket, every shelf had a letter and number label.  Shakers were highly organized and had a place for everything.  All neat and tidy.  My kids could use a bit of Shaker in them, me thinks.
 The schoolhouse was cozy and bright and you could tell how important a good education was to these people.

 Broom making shed.
 This creeped me out somewhat.  It's an 'Adult Cradle' in the infirmary.  I don't know why, but it just gave me the shivers.  I'm sure it was probably a very comforting thing, but still...
 They sold New England baked beans, and also invented some sort of drink called Sarsparilla (not Sasparilla), that helped slow down the sale of rum at the time.
 Every room has pegs so the furniture can be hung and the floors easily cleaned.  The place smelled fresh, like soap and wood, no trace of that musty smell you normally find in older buildings

This museum is huge, spanning dozens of buildings, and time was short on this trip.  I'll have to go back again next summer and see the million things I missed.  Anyone want to join me?

Sunday, October 7, 2012


 Had a brief spell of lovely weather today and did two fall portrait sessions...these folks got lucky, two other families postponed their sitting until next weekend because they were afraid it would rain, but it was beautiful!