Friday, September 22, 2006

Let's Get Caught Up

It's all about me and what I've been doing, right? I've haven't blogged much lately, but I have been busy. I'm trying to plan for the upcoming trip to the UK, but I'm afraid I've done more research on luggage than on the sights of London. My new Travelpro Crew5 Rollaboard has just come in at Harlow's (the owner's very nice and helpful, and they now have discount coupons on the WRSI website) in Noho and I'll be picking it up tomorrow. It's the first wheelie bag I've ever owned. I usually use really cheap nylon travel bags for air travel or my ivory marble vintage Samsonite luggage from the 1950s for car travel -- it's very stylish and mod, and has great features like places to hang actual hangers; I feel like Gidget when I travel with it. I'm a sucker for features, and my Rollaboard is chock full. I'll try to post some pictures of it, empty and packed. Mine's ivy -- I wish it came in orange, but no luck. Orange would have looked so nice with my new pale lime green microfiber hooded raincoat with zip out lining.

As my travel anxiety creeps steadily upward, I'm focusing more of my energy on the actual trip planning. I'm now deep into Eccentric London and am just beginning to read about the walking tours in the book. Yesterday I discovered via Flickr (yeah, Flickr! I use it for research almost as much as Google) that there is a self-guided walking tour, endorsed by Michael Palin (step aside, Rick Steves -- Michael Palin is the travel god), of Belsize Park. So now I have my first activity on my first day planned.

Oh, yes. You've all been waiting for my report on the North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival. Let's just say that I haven't seen so much tie dye or dreadlocks on white people since the last time I was on the Hampshire campus. It looked like Spring Jam, except the bouncy castle and the cloud of pot smoke were missing. All the new age-y, crunchy granola folks of Franklin County had rolled down from the hills to taste the garlic treats (the pesto was really good, but I thought the pickles made without vinegar were suspicious), engage in non-competitive games, march in the Garlic City parade with the mayor (photo above), or try out some expensive hula hoops. I didn't engage or march or hula, but it was a good opportunity to replenish my garlic arsenal since I had depleted it in the war with the red army (see Tomatoes! below).

Between all the tomato freezing, trip planning, and garlic festing, I've managed to do some photo shooting as well. See Flickr for the latest.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I feel like I need to be treading very lightly these days -- leaving a soft footprint on the earth and all that ecologically-minded stuff, and, more importantly, avoiding any more accidents or breakages that end up costing me money or causing pain and suffering. Here's how things stand this week:

Replaced: 21-year-old garbage disposal
Recovering: Sadie (from her urinary tract infection)
Bruised: The instep and ankle of my left foot (tripped on tomato support at the Food Bank Farm -- don't ask)
Broken: The ancillary speaker of my Proton stereo clock radio
Awaiting repair or replacement: Dripping kitchen faucet
Acting up: Both toilets are occasionally running

At this rate, I could end up with a home equity loan to cover all these plumbing repairs. In the meantime, I'll flush less frequently and try to pick up my feet when I walk.

Fall Foto Ops

Staying indoors yesterday to freeze more tomatoes would have been just too boring and a waste of a beautiful autumn day. Blue sky, crisp air and nice light made for good photo ops. ShadowbrookShutterbug and I drove up Rte. 202 from South Hadley, took lots of pix in Granby, and then cut over to Rte. 116 to see the goats, pigs, sheep and chickens at the Hampshire College Farm Center. On the way to Hampshire, I was yammering something about how, given my choice of squirmy creatures to photograph, I preferred critters to kids. Now I'm not so sure about that. At least you can suggest to kids that they hold still or do that [whatever they just did] again. Critters don't pay a bit of attention to anything you say. But you don't have to ask their parents for permission to take their pix, and you can post the pix online without anyone thinking you're a weirdo. My Granby and Amherst pix are up on Flickr, along with a few artsy-fartsy ones that I took in the center of Florence.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back to work

With the Labor Day weekend added in, my week of vacation actually totalled up to 10 days off. It was great to have that much time to lounge around, but the overly-responsible compulsive in me feels like I need to account for how I spent my time and to have something to show for it all. It was a mixed bag and the weather wasn't entirely cooperative. When the weather sucked, like when Ernesto blew through, I froze tomatoes and managed to get entirely caught up on donor database stuff for the abortion fund. (Don't tell anyone, but I had gotten three months behind on entering donations and doing address updates.) When it was nice (3 days, I think), I went to the pool, listened to my mp3 player, read parts of two books of secret and eccentric things to see in London in preparation for the upcoming trip, swam some occasional laps and worked on my tan. Also, on the rare afternoons that there was some blue sky and nice light around 5 p.m., I grabbed the camera, jumped into the MINI, and drove around the Happy Valley taking pictures. One exception to the blue sky/nice light thing was a mid-day pre-Ernesto mission to the laundromat in the Florence Mini Mall combined with a walk around the block avec camera while the towels were drying. The product of all of this pointing and shooting is now up on Flickr. Oh, yeah -- I broke the garbage disposal and Sadie got another UTI and has to be on antibiotics. (That's a picture of Sadie above when she was just a wee thing. The day after Labor Day is the anniversary of when I got her in 2002.)

I have an idea for a photo shoot project with a pal or two. This involves parking our butts on a bench somewhere in downtown Noho and taking pictures of the town scene as it passes by. No date has been set yet. Let me know if you want in.