Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Weekend Trip Report

We spent the weekend at Hollister Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast, in Vermont.

Our weekend was the uber-relaxer. The drive to the place we stayed was a bit over 4 hours, and we didn't rush it either. Once you clear Lowell things get nicer, and once you get onto Rte 89 it's just beautiful driving. I was already feeling pretty good by the time we got up there.

I won't bore you with a play by play, but it was a nice change of pace. The innkeepers are folks who gave up their day jobs back in the 70s and moved up to Vt to try and raise their families and be self-sufficient, live off the land. Now they run what they call a "diversified farm," a farm where they know they can't live off what the farm provides, so they add to the income in little ways. The B&B is one of those, selling honey and maple syrup is another, selling their own meat is another, breeding golden retriever puppies, etc. They get by, but they live very simply.

It's interesting to meet people like that, with strong convictions, who have really put their money where their mouths are, so to speak. To stay with them for the weekend was a peek into a totally different way of life.

The location they have for themselves is amazing, by the way. I mean, you stand with your back to their house or barn and just rotate in a semicircle and see nothing but hills, fields, and trees. No planes flying over, no sounds of nearby highways, nothing. At one point we realized we could hear the cows chewing grass. Pretty wild.

We didn't do a lot; our main recreation was driving into Montpelier for some light shopping and exploring. Montpelier is the capital of Vt, but it feels more like a small town than a capital of anything. I think it's got, what, 8K people in it? No McDonalds, no Starbucks, etc. Lots of interesting people, very diverse in a Vermonty way (meaning, all kinds of white folks - heh).

We capped off the weekend with a long drive home, taking mainly 2-lane highways and avoiding most of the holiday weekend traffic. We got held up in one small town when their Memorial Day parade went through, so that was a little piece of Americana :).

In the end, we did a lot of nothing in a very quiet place, but met some characters which have enriched my internal "cast list" and gave us some pause in terms of looking at where our society is going and what people are doing who feel strongly about changing it, at least for themselves and their communities.

Two thumbs up.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Cat Humor

Data point 1:
For graduation, my grandmother sent Jess a wonderful hand-knit/crocheted/something blanket. Very nice. It's on our bed now.

Data point 2:
Last night, shortly after midnight, we were awakened by a loud crashing noise followed by the cat tearing ass out of our room. I got up, looked around, saw nothing unusual. I walked to the top of the stairs, and saw Smokey at the bottom, looking up. Without my glasses on, I couldn't make out the details, but it looked like he might have had something in his mouth. Squinted, shrugged, went back to bed.

This morning, I woke up, went to work, etc. I had forgotten data point 2.

I get a call from Jess as I'm walking out of an early-morning meeting with my boss. "Yeah, the cat threw up last night, on the blanket your grandmother gave me." Oh, boo-hoo. "There was blood in it." Oh, crap, our cat is sick. He's vomiting blood. This is bad, right?

Ah. See, no. It wasn't his blood. Jess, in the process of cleaning up the vomit, solved the mystery -- evidently our cat not only caught, but ate, an entire small mouse last night. And then proceeded to barf up the resulting chewed up corpse.

So, yeah, go Smokey. Poor Jess. "I mean, there was a foot, a tail, pieces of a head, intestines, ... " Oh, damn. So glad I somehow managed to wake up, get ready for work, and go to work, without seeing that.

We've been very pest-free in this apartment, but we have seen evidence of mice in our attic before. We have seen exactly one mouse outside the attic, in our bedroom, and smokey chased it back under the door that leads to the attic. This one clearly will not be returning to wherever he came from.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Lazy Feet?

These eager feet of mine have been a bit lazy in the past couple weeks. Things have been so busy with "real life" that I haven't had much energy to focus on maintaining fitness. As such, my exercise has dropped way down.

Watch this space: I'm sure I'll write more about how I'm struggling to stay regular with fitness. How exciting for you, eh?

Another aspect of having eager feet, though, is my constant desire to be traveling. We indulged this last Friday when we took an impromptu day trip up to Maine and enjoyed hanging about our haunts in Ogunquit for an afternoon. I'd post a picture but it was so impromptu I didn't even bring a camera :).