Monday, December 31, 2007

Meme for the New Year

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Went on vacation all by myself

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Resolutions are dumb

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I don't think so!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, not in 2007. My grandma died December 26, 2006

5. What countries did you visit?
US and A

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
House & job in Vermont

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 1, grandma's memorial in Cleveland.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I don't think I achieved much in 07

9. What was your biggest failure?
Meh...didn't do anything, so no failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My knee is all fucked up from when I tried to walk the dog, talk on the phone, and go down the stairs drunk

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Leo, George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi, et al

14. Where did most of your money go?
Goddamn car (sorry, Moe Green!).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Vacationing in VT.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
That Fergie song...the slow one.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:?
a) happier or sadder? Sadder
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner
c) richer or poorer? Poorer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Outdoorsy stuff like fishing or camping.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Definitely not. Plenty of crushes though.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Answer: The Universe on the History Channel. REAL answer: The Hills.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, but I have taken a slight dislike to 1 or 2.

24. What was the best book you read?
Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Hem (from the Nationwide insurance commercials...turns out they're a real band).

26. What did you want and get?
Nothing that I can think of

27. What did you want and not get?
To get my house on the market

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The only "new" movie I saw was Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D. It was OK. Not much different than the original.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
No clue, 35

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Merona & Isaac Mizrahi. In other words, long wide-legged pants and knit tops.

32. What kept you sane?
The dawg.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Russell Crowe, as always. Also a little Gerard Butler toward the end of the year.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
As always, the War on Drugs, Christian Fundamentalist Fascism, free speech.

35. Who did you miss?
Who did I miss, or who do I miss? Pet peeve: using the past tense with the word miss, most of the time (it doesn't bother me in the context of "did you miss me?", but then you presume that the missed person is standing right there, so they wouldn't be missed anymore).

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I have an answer, but I won't say.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
Trust is a weird thing

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It's personal, myself and I
We've got some straightening out to do
And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I've got to get a move on with my life
It's time to be a big girl now
And big girls don't cry
Don't cry
Don't cry
Don't cry
The path that I'm walking
I must go alone
I must take the baby steps 'til I'm full grown, full grown
Fairytales don't always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay

Friday, December 21, 2007

Meme for the Holidays

Courtesy of Chris P . Share your answers!

*1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Paper! I like looking for funky looking paper. MMmm....shiny!

*2. Real or fake Tree?
A fake looking fake tree, but will be real as soon as I don't have to drag it up 4 flights.

*3. When do you put up the tree?
The weekend after Thanksgiving. I fricken love Christmas.

*4. When do you take the tree down?
Maybe a week or two after New Year's eve.

*5. Like eggnog?
Awwwwwww yeah

*6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Interestingly enough, the Smaller Homes & Gardens dollhouse (pictured). I was a huge tomboy (errr...AM a huge tomboy), but for some reason I loved this girly present

*7. Do you have a nativity scene?
No - I celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday

*8. Hardest person to buy for?
Parents.....they already have a ton of stuff. I mean, they're 67 years old and have been married for 45 years - what could they possibly need? I usually get them gift cards.

*9. Easiest person to buy for?

*11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
I mailed a few this year for the first time in about 10 years. I love getting them, too. Electronic ones are OK, but not from close friends or family.

*12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's a Wonderful Life (black and white, dangit!) or Polar Express. Polar Express is the type of thing I would have fantasized about as a kid.

*13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Before Thanksgiving, all online. I won't set foot in a mall or any store except the grocery until after New Year's eve.

*14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

*15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

*16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Either-or. I have colored lights this year that flash in different patterns - you can push a button to change the pattern.

*17. Favorite Christmas song?
Trans Siberian Orchestra's Wizards in Winter.

*18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

*19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Sure...but why?

*20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Angel this year, but I prefer a star - less religious connotations. I woudl really like an FSM tree-topper, though.

*21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
This year will be the 23rd and the 25th. Most of the time on the 25th.

*22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

*23. What I love most about Christmas?
Knowing I got the perfect gift for someone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Screw Stowe

Now Smuggs has a variety of webcams. Yeah Smuggs! Click on the numbers to the left to get different views.

Friday, December 7, 2007

By Way of Dearest Cupcake

This gem. You must listen carefully to his freakin' awesome accent. Why does anyone wonder about the wonder that is VT?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dear Vermont Bloggers

Please post some snow storm pics ASAP. Pretty please?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blizzard Warning!

We're expecting a whole dusting of snow here in DC to the grocery for bread and milk, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

One More Way to Torture Myself

Yes, that's real, actually fluffysnow there. Looks beautiful, doesn't it? It's supposed to be 70 degrees in DC on Wednesday. Happy Thanksgiving!

**UPDATE** the cam is back up, pointed at Spruce Peak for now. Booooooring!


A year can be a long time. I gotta try to make this work and have a decent life in the next year before I blow this shithole. I did a major cleaning this weekend (out of desperation)...I wish I had "before" pics, but that's too embarassing.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Step 1

Did a clothing purge on Sunday. I have whatever is in my closet + 2 laundry bags. Now I gotta bag up the non-keepers and give em away. That's Step 1 in getting the house in order for sale. Baby steps.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Lack of Postin'

Not much Vermont type news lately. I did discover a new company in Colchester to send my resume to when the time comes. And went for drinks with an ol' friend/roommate this eve - thanks Martin-o, if you're reading this! I'm a touch intoxicated...the offer was one more cocktail=ride home, so I took the cocktail AND the ride home!

This post was, needless to say, heavily edited.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If You Only Knew...

Fay was a nurse. She worked for the government by day, and for the returning Vietnam vets, rejected by the very government she and they worked for, by night. She gave them the medicines that the government wouldn't provide, she gave them the ear that no one would provide.

Please spare a thought for Fay and her husband of only a year Bill. They met across a crowded room in the 1960's and were finally free to be together in the 2000's.

You will be missed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Some John Denver & ponderings

Something in the city that he said he couldn't breathe
Something in the country that he said he couldn't leave

from Wild Montana Skies, by John Denver

The thing about living in the city, is there are always people around. And I mean always. Even when I'm in my house, which I thankfully share with no one, I hear people. My neighbors coming in and out, people talking on the sidewalk outside, cars going past.

We went to Huntley Meadows park on Sunday morning. It's a fairly large park with a wide variety of trails. We every 5 minutes we passed people.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of humans. And it really gets exhausting for me when there's no escape, especially in a place like DC (the humans here are a particularly smarmy breed). So, I look at the properties below and picture myself walking around naked on my lawn in the rain, or holing up in a blizzard and not seeing anyone for days, not even hearing a car drive up the road.

Now that's what I call life!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Life Sucks

I feel on the verge of a nervous breakdown right about now. I really really really really do not want to be in the place I'm at. I'm passionless.

Friday, October 5, 2007

It's Actually Fall in Vermont

Just sayin'

Thursday, Oct 4
High: 86 °F RealFeel®: 91 °F

Friday, Oct 5
High: 88 °F RealFeel®: 91 °F

Saturday, Oct 6
High: 90 °F RealFeel®: 93 °F

Friday, Oct 5
High: 81 °F RealFeel®: 83 °F

Saturday, Oct 6
High: 70 °F RealFeel®: 71 °F

Sunday, Oct 7
High: 64 °F RealFeel®: 64 °F

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Stop It!

I wish the Oxygen network would quit showing the movie Baby Boom. It's makin' me crazy! Although she lives in southern Vermont. So, really, I shouldn't be that jealous.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Return to VT?

I may find my self schussing down the slopes and enjoying an apres ski beverage come February!

I can be like this guy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I'm drooling!
I often torture the hell out of myself by looking at . These are the latest on my list. The first one has been on the market for a while, since summer at least. Maybe it'll still be available in a year?? The second just cameon the market, so hopefully it'll wait for me too.

House #1 is near the "Sugar Shack" - our rental house when we were waiting for our permanent house to be built, back in '79. The yard is yuuuuuuum!

House #2 is my favorite. There are great views, it's got one more acre, and it has a pond. The house itself isn't has cute as house #1, but it's all about the land, baby.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Traveler's Tales Day 4

OK, I'll admit that part of the trip was to scout out potential residences for when I move to Vermont in a year or two. Stowe-Waterbury was at the very top of my list. Wealthy potential dog training clientele and skiing nearby made the area worth a look.

I decided the back way around Mt. Mansfield through Underhill and Jeffersonville was the way to go. Who wants to drive on an interstate when there are winding roads to explore? I also wanted to find a nice divey breakfast place - the type of establishment frequented by construction workers with items like the "Lumberjack Special" on the menu. Well, I didn't see any. I bet they were all off the main road anyways.

I passed by my most favoritist ski area in VT, Smuggler's Notch. It's only semi-tourist oriented - most of the skiers there are locals. I continued up the narrowing mountain road to the notch itself. One time in the 80's when we lived there, my Pa, brother and I hiked down the now-closed Bear Pond Trail from the summit of Mt. Mansfield, where my Ma was waiting to pick us up. It's closed now because it was such a dangerous hike. Har!

I headed down to the Stowe Mountain Resort, an amalgamation of skiing, condos, and other outdoor fun-oriented stuff. I passed by and headed into the Village of Stowe for that breakfast I was craving, but still no dice. Everything in Stowe is fancy.

Back up I went to the Alpine Slide. Somewhere in my growing up I became a wuss, because I could hardly make it down the hill before the kids behind me caught up and almost crashed head on into my sled!

Anyways, I asked the women who sold me my ticket for the slide where I could get me some breakfast. They both simultaneously said the name of a place, which seems like a ringing endorsement to me!

View from the chair lift on the way to the top of the slide. That tiny building is Cliff House, my next destination.

Heading up (lookit that weather)!

With the directions to my pancakes and home fries in hand, I headed to.......the gondola. Screw it - I was already on the mountain, and the 24oz. coffee tamped the appetite down a touch.

We skied from the gondola once when I was a kid. It's nice to be enclosed in a little capsule when it's cold and blustery outside. This day, it was hotter than hell. But the views were worth a little sweat.

This is the ski area. There are some incredibly intimidating trails on this mountain - seriously! Someone needs to teach me how to make mountains look as steep as they are in real life in a photo. Starr, National and Goat ski trails are up there somewhere!

At the top of the mountain, I got to see my old friend/nemesis Mt. Washington. It's where all those clouds are bunched together way in the distance. Mt. Washington attracts clouds like Congress attracts sex scandals.

At the bottom of the mountain, they're building a large condo complex, Swiss chalet style. It's quite nice, with its own chair lift across the road to the gondola.

Ski trails:

Gondola with Smuggler's Notch in the background:

The "nose" of Mt. Mansfield, taken from Cliff House (the top of the gondola):

Cliff House, with a restaurant and warming room for skiers:

Looking to to Cliff House from the bottom of the gondola:

The views and cool air brought my appetite roaring back, so I headed down the mountain to the breakfast place that was recommended. It's nice to know that you will always get real maple syrup for your pancakes, ya know? Stuffed full of flapjacks, eggs and home fries, the only thing left to do was drive to Waterbury for some donuts. I made a quick call at Cold Hollow Cider Mill and got 6 apple cider donuts. If you've never had them, I suggest that they're worth the trip to VT in and of themselves.

After a quick peek into Ben & Jerry's parking lot, I decided against the tour and headed back to the hotel for some quiet reflection in the garden. My thoughts lead me to whether Stowe was the place for me, and the answer was "NO!". Although quite charming and lovely, the area was very touristy and had the traffic to go along with it.

It looks like Jericho/Underhill will be my best option - rural yet close to Burlington, non-touristy and close to Smuggler's Notch and Stowe.

And that's pretty much it - I sepnt day 5 mostly relaxing, with a quick run to Waterbury for some more donuts to bring home. Day 6 was a marathon endurance run of a drive. I only stopped in Connecticut for gas, and made it home in 9 hours.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Traveler's Tales Day 3

No hangover from the Groleaus! Yeah!

The plan for day 3 was to head to Bartlett Falls in Lincoln. Since it was a weekday and in such an unpopulated area, I decided I need some mace. You know, Vermont may have low crime, but there are some people out there a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Luckily, there was a Dick's Sporting Goods right by the hotel. But no dice. They recommended a place called Powderhorn, just up the street. Though they were closed, the owner happened to be out front watering his plants and let me in a bit early. I haven't ever seen so many guns in one place, but I got my mace.

This was supposed to be the last really warm day during my stay, so I needed to make hay. I grabbed a Starbucks, and headed for the hills. I drove up & down the mountain a few times before I thought to call my Ma and ask her to look up the directions online. Turns out the place I called from was the parking area for the Falls. Sheesh!

I got down to the water and slipped around on the rocks a bit. The waterproof case for the camera did not work out...since it was a bit humid, when I put the camera in the case, there was almost immediate condensation. Eeep!

I met these two dudes, who said they were recently gradumicated high schools seniors on a jaunt around New England. Nice ideer, boys! I encouraged them a bit, but they were fine in the end, if a touch chilly. At least I didn't need to use the mace on them. Being a loner, I wasn't prepared to risk injury by doing this myself (yeah, that's the ticket).

Here's me at the top of the falls, wet from a quick dip (was it that frigid when I was a kid???):

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Clear water:

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Top o' the falls:

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Dangling off the cliff:

On the flat rocks (suck it - it's a self portrait!):

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The really bottom-of-the-line Kia Rio I was driving probably wouldn't do so well up Lincoln Gap Rd., so I headed to Route 17, up and over the mountains to Waitsfield. I liked the convenient parking area at the top.

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I passed Mad River Glen on the way down. I don't think I can (see the ski area's tag line for the question to my answer).

The next stop in this marathon day of trying to take advantage of the weather was the famous Joe's Snack Bar in Jericho. They used to have more flavors of creemees, but vanilla will do any day.

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With the approaching cold front on the brain, I hooked up again with the Groleaus for some hot racin' action in Barre. We encountered some heavy rain on our way down, but it cleared in time for the races. Thunder Road, the "Nation's Site of Excitement", mentioned in one of my earlier posts, is situated in a bowl up in the hills near the quarries. There was still some fog from the earlier rain hanging around.

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We had a hard time deciding whether to watch the racing or the 2nd line of storms approaching over the mountains.

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We drive back through them storms....pretty neat for an ol weather buff like me. Back to the hotel for some skiing on the morrow (not really).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Traveler's Tales Days 1 and 2

I started from Alexandria at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 14. I hoped to avoid the East Coast rush hours, by getting north of Baltimore before 7 and into the New York area after 9 a.m. I was successful skirting DC and Baltimore, and made it onto the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey at about 8:30. The *bang*! Gridlock. It soon cleared out and I headed onto the NY State Thruway toward Albany, with just myself, a few cars and a lot of trucks sharing the road.

My first mountain view excited me so much, I took video while driving (shhhh). I thought I had first sight of the Adirondacks, but as it turns out with was the Catskills. Oh well. I won't post the vid, though, because you can't actually see the mountains.

I cross the Champlain Bridge at Crown Point et voila! Vermont! The drive from Crown Point to Burlington was really lovely. I passed through Vergennes, which seems to be enjoying a renaissance. Last time I passed through there, it was a depressed former industrial area. Now it's got lovely little sidewalk cafes and shops. Good job, Vergennes! No pics, because after 9 1/2 hours driving, I wasn't gonna stop til I got to the hotel.

On Wednesday, my first order of business was to drive up to Essex, and explore the old neighborhood (you recall I spent 1st - 8th grades there). It's changed a lot - there's a highway cutting through. The old Grannis house is still there - it was my favorite of my friends houses because it was supposedly and Underground Railroad stop, and it had lots of nooks and crannies and even a staircase hidden behind a cabinet!

I hit Brigham Hill Rd. in the rain, noticing the other Underground Railroad house on the corner is in sad shape. A long time back, the Shelburne Museum offered to buy the house, but the owners said no. I don't know if the museum has enough money now, but it sure would be nice if the house could be preserved professionally.

I stopped at 171 Brigham Hill Rd. (the ol' Steingrandt homestead). The driveway was all nice gravel now, probably because it was on the market recently. They added a nice split rail fence, and cleared and mowed the little grassy area. It looks like they also planted a couple of pine trees.

I continued up to Brigham Hill Ln. (mostly just so I could turn around), and encountered this little pond. I don't recall this from living here. Maybe beavers came along, but I didn't see a lodge.

I drove back out toward Old Stage Rd., and stopped at this farm, still there after all these years. That is Mt. Mansfield in the background, highest point in Vermont. I remember the farmer herdering his cows across the road. No such luck this day.
This is on Chapin Rd., near Tower Rd. on my way back to town from Brigham Hill. That's Vermont's second-highest peak, Camel's Hump. The houses are where the model airplane field was. My Pa crashed a couple planes there back in the day.

I had to head to Shelburne for lunch with Jenn Brown, friend from way back. She was a Nick Rhodes gal, I was a Simon Lebon gal. Our little Middle School fan club had the members of Duran Duran neatly parsed between us. This is the restaurant we were to dine in, Bistro Sauce, 95 Falls Rd. in Shelburne. It was delish! I had grilled salmon with a potato pancake and salad (perfectly dressed), and the key lime mousee for dessert.

We were stuffed!! It was so good to see you, Jenn!!

I headed up to downtown Burlington to check out the scene on Church St. I stopped at April Cornell to stock up on frilly clothes, but was otherwise disappointed. Urban Outfitters? Macy's? Nope, sorry, doesn't work for me.

The old vintage clothing store was still there, but not as vintage as in years past. Although maybe the 80's are considered vintage now?

Downtown Burlington:

I thought since I was a DC wuss, 80 degree weather wouldn't affect me at all! But I was sweating like a hog at the fair, so went back to the hotel to clean up, then off to the Groleaus'! These folks always treated me as daughter #2, and it was so good to see them again and be back at the house at which I spent many a sleepover. They fed me (awesome pasta!!) and got me drunk. I was sober by the time I went back to the hotel, totally pooped, at 10:30 p.m.

More to come.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm baaaaack!

Pictures and narrative to come...right now I'm pooped. I drove straight through from Williston, VT to home in Alexandria, VA, only stopping once for gas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Here I come....

er.....Taft Corners? So, I couldn't get a reasonably priced hotel in Stowe. But I am officially off to the great green north on August 14.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007

Vacation Time!

If my vacation request is approved, I'll will be headed to VT on Tuesday, August 14! I'm expecting a fire to be lit under my ass as far as getting my place ready for sale.

The activities as of now will be:

  • Say hi to the Groleaus and the Browns, if they're available

  • Swim at Bartlett Falls (pictured in my first post)

  • A ride or two on the Alpine Slide

  • Hike up Mt. Mansfield or Camel's Hump

  • Walk around Church St. (pictured)

  • Drive around and see the old haunts, such as Brigham Hill Rd. and the various schools I went to

  • See if Folkids or the Green Mountain Volunteersd have any activities and go say hi to Ben Bergstein

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Vote Vermont

Springfield, VT that is!
Click here to vote. You'd better vote for Vermont, by god!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Two Years Too Early!

Just found out my favorite NASCAR driver is racing in Barre (Thunder Road) this week. Dang it!

Kenny, I sure hope you race there every year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Little History Lesson

So, I have had Vermont on the brain since....well, since 1987. See, I had a magical 7 years there when I was aged 7-14. But I didn't appreciate it. At all. Even though I was a skiing, fishing, hiking, swimming, boating, skating machine, all I could think about was how glamorous places like New York were.

In 1987 I got my wish and we moved to within an hour's train ride from New York. It sucked. It sucked so hard. There was no more skiing Saturday and Sunday every weekend. There was no more skiing, period. I went to Mt. Washington a couple times after the move, but it wasn't the same as being within a two-hour drive. Swimming was at the YMCA indoor pool, not at Bartlett Falls (pictured). Skating, the same - indoors on well-groomed rinks. Boating was Long Island Sound which was full of yahoos with coolers of beer and very little common sense.

A few years ago, I realized that I could move back to Vermont any time I wanted. I'm an adult now. I have a little property and a decent skill set career-wise. Vermont has a good economy and plenty of up-and-coming small companies to work for, not to mention the myriad universities and tourism-oriented businesses.

Now I'm plunging headlong into actually making the move happen. In the next year or two, I will be doing some home improvements (mainly throwing away a ton of shit), getting my place on the market, looking for a place in VT, and looking for work up there.

This is the most scary and thrilling thing I have ever done. I want to make it happen NOW, but planning and execution are key.

Stay tuned for Step 1 in my and getting the condo ready for sale....