Sunday, December 28, 2014

Glass Blowers In The Making

One of my favorite kinds of gifts to give (or receive!) is some sort of experience, a trip, a class: something that doesn't clutter up your house, but adds a lasting memory.  My friend Janet is an amazing glassblower and before the holiday, I remembered that she occasionally teaches kids...she and I struck a deal and one of the boys' Christmas gifts was a lesson.  (I have a feeling we are hooked now and will have to go back for more!)  They both made two pieces and were ecstatic and proud.  Janet is probably the most patient human alive and kept Ira from setting anything on fire or burning himself, which is impressive in itself, (I was a little nervous about him in particular, since he has dubious focus when excited and we were going in to a space with a zillion potential dangers) but Janet is so calm and organized that she's able to supervise and direct very clearly and simply, enabling kids to actually create the pieces themselves, yet remain completely safe only inches away from her competent hands.  I spent some time in a hot shop years ago, before children, helping with set-up when they were overloaded with orders for the holidays and I'd forgotten how hypnotic it is, seeing a solid become a molten liquid and then cooling again.  Anyhow, this gift was a wild success and I'm so, so, so glad we did it!  Thank you Janet!     


Most fabulous day.  I think I look forward to it as much as any kid.  I love cuddling down with our traditional Christmas stories the night before, the milk and cookies set carefully out in front of us.  I love getting pounced on at the crack of dawn and feeling their almost tangible excitement.  And I love giving people things, which I have to be rather careful about, given my financial situation, but I make many gifts for family, find lots of items gently used, barter with friends, and only splurge in a couple spots.  Plus we have a few household rules, like no electronics, which eliminates some of the pricier things that most kids seem to think they desperately need.  Anyway, I can't think of a more perfect setting for Christmas than our big, old farm.  Christmas here would feel special even without ANYTHING fancy.  Once the spruce wreath goes up on the door, the whole place turns into something out of a storybook.  Built in the 1700's, I think it's seen so many happy Christmas gatherings that it almost remembers and starts to glow.  Those kind of ghosts that are very welcome.                

Ira added a couple things to his list for Santa the night before, which left me scrambling, but Santa did manage to pull off the "bottle of brown sugar", an afterthought he seemed pretty dead-set on.  Eli lost a tooth on Christmas morning so The Tooth Fairy was hot on Santa's heels.  

One of Eli's gifts was a new drive chain for his snow machine, which had been needing the repair and sitting unused this season so far.  He's almost ready to graduate to the next size and pass this one to his brother, but he was still pretty excited and has been riding nonstop ever since.  Glad we still have plenty of snow!

And then to Grammy and Grampa's for an incredibly wonderful day packed full of cousins, yummy food, noise and laughing.  Now, on to winter, in earnest.  I'm actually looking forward to it for once, deep snow and the cozy evenings by the fire, making plans.  No signs of the seasonal depression that used to plague the darker months.  Good times ahead!  Happy holidays all!           

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Portrait Attempts

(Of course, in the end, I opted for this one to enclose with the Christmas cards, doesn't get much cuter than two boys and their dog!)  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Vermont Town. A World's Fair.

Just for a little break from winter, here's a new documentary that we were part of, made by our friend Jake Cunavelis of Mt Mansfield Media.  I'd almost forgotten about it, summer feels a hundred years ago already!   Jake spent so much time here with us and all our neighbors this year, he was starting to seem like an honorary Tunbridge native.  Anyway, we love his work, he throws his whole heart into his projects and I think the film came out beautifully because of that.  It's 27 minutes long, so put your feet up, excuse my father's french and enjoy!  (click the link below, not the picture!)

Monday, December 15, 2014


Oh geez, I've been terrible, neglecting this poor blog of late.  it's winter now.  Duh.  Closing in on Christmas with so much still to do!  We just came through a massive ice storm which knocked our power out for nearly five days, sounds like another headed our way tomorrow.  Anyway, the tree is up, the farm is cozy, looking like some old Currier and Ives print, life is barreling forward faster than I could ever imagine this season.  The boys are huge, beautiful, smart and funny, we are all healthy and life is basically good.  I'm unfortunately still working my behind off and poor beyond poor but who's counting?  I'm holding my own.  I, luckily, was asked to stay on at the museum as the winter caretaker, which is great, even though it's only a couple hours a week, every little bit helps.  I'm heading up the ski program for the school this year and starting yet another dance class after the holidays, with everything else I'm doing, I feel completely run ragged most days, but still OK and generally happy.  Forging ahead with my friend Kristina on film/radio/music/comedy projects and writing a lot... (just not on here, unfortunately!) got the cover story in this month's issue of IMAGE Magazine, with my friend Jack's photos accompanying my article.  Looking into writing regular columns which would be lovely since writing, I can do anywhere, and worry not when my lemon of a car has died on me, again.  Stupid old thing has cost me far more than it's worth this year, but what other choice is there?  I shouldn't complain, it's a tank and has kept me and the boys safe on nasty roads enough times to forgive it.  Odd, always I compare my new life to my old and feel so thankful, despite the constant struggles.  I literally have nothing now, it's true, but still, I have EVERYTHING.  We made gingerbread houses after school today, (well, pretzel and graham cracker houses rather) and as I sit here on the floor by the wood stove, I can see the crooked gummy bears standing on the crooked ridgepoles, gleaming like little jewels in the reflected tree lights.  And I'm feeling glad and rich.  Not for gummy bears, or fighting to survive, but just for sitting here, a long day under my belt, warm and tired and content and proud.  Knowing tomorrow will be another day that I hold it together.  Because I have to.  And I will.   The one thing I've got, in the whole world, is something to hold it together FOR.  I can't quite bring myself to put the baby blue bumper sticker on my car, because it's cliche' and cheesy and I feel like an irritating Pollyanna when I spew cutesy quotes, but it's on the 'fridge, where I can agree with it in private and be as cheesy as I want: The best things in life aren't things.