A Very Good Day

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Today began badly.  Clarence-the-Canine and I struck out for an early morning run that was supposed to be perfect, crisp, and beautiful.  What happened instead is that I continued to ignore the gathering tightness I have sensed in my right calf and Achilles during our last two or three runs, hoping it would work itself out.  Roughly three miles in, though, I felt a discernible snap somewhere deep in the layers of muscle, and that was that; too bad I was still about three quarters of a mile from my doorstep. That is a long way to limp.

Poor Clarence.  I am not the only one adjusting to a wicked new work schedule.  Nor am I the only one who is anxious about moving for the second time in the space of a calendar year.  On many days our time outside has happened of necessity around six in the morning, and has been pushed.  And then Clarence has had to wait.  And wait.  And wait, until my workday ends, for more time outside.  This arrangement is adequate (and only that) for the time being, thanks to summer’s long days.  I have not planned far enough ahead to imagine how our time together will play out when the short winter days arrive (and boy, are they ever short in Vermont).

In spite of my injured calf (and later my left Achilles also made its presence known), I was determined to go to this open house today at New Bedlam Farm in Cambridge, New York.  When writer Jon Katz and his wife and textile artist Maria Wulf announced their event my internal response was, NO:  you emphatically do not have time to drive over there and do this today.  Stay focused.

On second thought….

I have been reading Jon’s books and following his life’s works through his blog for a long time; Maria’s more recently.  In short, I could not think of a single good reason not to go shake his hand, and hers, introduce myself to them in person, buy one of Maria’s beautiful textile creations, and enjoy a Sunday summer afternoon in upstate New York.  I stopped at Handsome Chef Boyfriend’s house–which happens to be on the way–to include him and his lovely daughter on the adventure.

It turned out to be time well spent.  We met the love dog Lenore (who made a beeline for HCB’s daughter when she saw her), observed the complex dog Frieda from a respectful distance, met and loved on Red-the-amazing-Border-Collie, fed carrots to Simon-, Fanny- and Lulu-the-Donkies while Jon told anecdotal stories to illustrate Exactly How Donkies Are, listened to Mary Kellogg’s poetry reading (if you follow the New Bedlam Farm link above and look closely you can find us in the photo), watched Red work the sheep after learning so much fact and fiction about sheep and border collie temperaments, and herding, and in general had a delightful afternoon enjoying a glimpse of Jon and Maria and the life they have created there.  Earlier today Jon blogged about the importance of community, and we saw that in the open house. Thank you Jon and Maria, and all your creatures, for opening up your world to us.

Images of the day, which ended so much better than it began:

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Held Up By Giants And Fluff

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With my apologies to Ms. Bronte.

I am getting ready to move to a new place.  Again.  This explains my long silence in the blogosphere, together with my new job at this interesting small business startup.  (I have not left the ballet world, gentle reader; I have taken on additional employment because circumstances demand it.)  Remember when I wrote about my concept of Vermont Barbie?  For those who have been asking me what exactly I do for this groovy little company, think Andy in The Devil Wears Prada, except my boss is kind–Vermont Miranda, if you will.  So far I have not been asked to obtain copies of unpublished manuscripts of anything (or else don’t bother coming in).  Much more about all of that later.

For now I must stay focused on moving, which is part of my grand plan to reduce expenses and increase income.  Handsome Chef Boyfriend has helped me stay on task, to say nothing of his tireless efforts at repairing, taping, and painting the walls in my new place, helping me pack and schlep things from point A to point B, and in general keeping the rudder steady as she goes.  Have I mentioned how amazing is this man? <Swoon, again.>  He has also dragged my butt out of bed early on weekend mornings to get crackin’ on this move.  When he left me this morning to head back to his own place, his mandate was this:  spend at least three hours packing today.

It is not so difficult to pack up my downsized things and put them in a new place as it was to separate my life from my ex’s and distill several decades’-worth of stuff into a truckload, which is what I was doing about this time last year, when I was still an emotional wreck.  God, have I been here a year?  Seems I have.  I have looked at my things over and over, still sifting through some of it that was packed hastily and without thinking, on occasion lamenting the absence of a few belongings I elected not to take and are now long gone, and wondering at the logic of keeping others.

Case in point:  dog-eared paperback editions of required high school reading.  Really?  Well, yes.  They still bear my juvenile scrawl–name, phone number, homeroom, grade level, doodles betraying classroom boredom, and prolific notes left in the columns of the text.  These books had not seen the light of day in many years before they were packed and loaded last summer.  And the reality is that I am not likely to crack open the Aeneid and reread it any time soon.

But the Aeneid and others of its ilk have kept my damaged dining room table functional for the last year.  Another item I cling to like crazy because it has sentimental value.  Although it is not what you imagine when you think “heirloom,” it is one of only a few items I own that belonged to my great grandmother Gracie.  Nevermind that it has been repaired and refinished several times, nor that it was missing its expansion leaf and I had another one made for it a few years ago.  Just after my arrival here one of its legs cracked again and is barely holding on thanks to a brass screw that resulted from another failed attempt at repair; it lists dangerously and piteously to one side.  The Unsinkable Molly Brown of tables; soon it will give way to simple physics, and that will be that.  But my trusty paperbacks have kept the table level and functional.  I doubt I have the nerve to set it out curbside, where it would be grabbed up within a day or so, probably.  I will take it with me to my new home, and it will go into garage storage there until I can decide whether it is once again worthy of saving, when I finally have the time and the resources to address it.

For now I thank the giants (and the fluff) for buying me a little more time with Gracie’s table.  And I thank the universe that Miranda is not my boss.