Time Turner

Hermione’s immense workload finally seemed to be getting to her. Every night, without fail, Hermione was to be seen in a corner of the common room, several tables spread with books, Arithmancy charts, rune dictionaries, diagrams of Muggles lifting heavy objects, and file upon file of extensive notes; she barely spoke to anybody and snapped when she was interrupted.–J.K. Rowling

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Yes, I am a Harry Potter dork. Those brilliant tomes came into existence at precisely the right moment during my years parenting a boy whose age was roughly equal to Harry’s in the series’ inaugural volume. We read the books aloud, listened to them again in the car, and of course OF COURSE saw the movies the nanosecond they hit the theatres. Then we bought the DVDs.

If you are not immersed in Harry Potter-dom, then you are deficient, friend, and that is all there is to it. Better start correcting this gaping hole in your existence, STAT.

That shiny thingummie up there is a time turner. It makes its first appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, seemingly allowing Harry’s bosom buddy and schoolmate Hermione Granger to be two places at once. She did what any reasonable over-achieving young witch would do and used it to double up on her course load at school. Clever girl.

As you might guess, this did not work so well for her over the long haul. (But the time turner itself proved very useful indeed before everything was said and done.)

I can imagine Ms. Rowling wishing she had a time turner when she was writing all that amazing fiction. And I could use one about now.

This last year–June to June specifically–I have acclimated to working two jobs. Probably the biggest challenge in this arrangement is shifting gears mentally, because the two jobs share exactly no attributes. I have a pretty good work ethic and the rest of it I can handle, at least I think. I am okay with busy-ness and find whining about it wearisome, especially when I am the whiner. Being busy is a good problem to have; it’s idleness you have to worry about. (And anyway, I always think people who are truly, genuinely busy do not have time to complain about it.)

Still, my mom would advise getting enough sleep above all else.

Now on the threshold of job number three, I am thinking about that wisdom. I am already adjusting to an earlier waking time. The last time I did this I fell ill and stayed that way for a long time, mainly because I did not compensate for it at bedtime. I am not keen to do that again, of course. But circumstances demand a plan.  (And a time turner.)

Here is a recent epiphany:  I think I am pretty resilient and resourceful. I did not truly believe this about myself a year ago. I know this inevitably means a certain amount of discomfort on the horizon. I still have my eye on the prize.

I leave you with an image of work from this past weekend, when I had the luxury of keeping my head in one place at one time for an entire day.

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White Noise

Photo courtesy of White River Ballet Academy
Photo courtesy of White River Ballet Academy

This is theatre week for us at ballet school; Thursday we have lengthy tech rehearsals, Friday dress rehearsals, and two curtains on Saturday. The academic year draws to a close, its labors bear fruit, the school’s young dancers showcase what they have learned in the guise of ambitious new works created just for them. Predictably there are nerves and excitement in roughly equal measure. The kids will dance well as they have demonstrated in their classes lately and (we hope) enjoy the experience of being part of a large cast of peers, for which there is no substitute. Their families will eat it with a spoon, as they should. We wish every single one of them the best of luck (we say merde in the ballet world, and yes, it means what you think). And the school’s staff will wipe its collective brow when the final curtain comes down. Later there will be time for a post mortem, as always. But for now it’s all about the kids.

For me this weekend marks the end of my second academic year on faculty at the school (just over a decade as a classical ballet teacher), approaching the end of my second calendar year as a Vermonter. Two difficult years of transitions, some of them agonizing, have changed me, imbued me with a bit more character, some savvy, and not a little skepticism about the future.

Now I am crossing another threshold, this time as a writer. Soon my work will appear in this magazine. I have wanted to write professionally for a while now. Being paid to “put the words down and push them a bit,” as Evelyn Waugh once described his own writing, could not be more thrilling. (Like dancing a new ballet on the stage.)

I am feeling tuckered out and content, even if that condition is ephemeral. Signing off this beautiful, chilly Vermont night with happy anticipation for the coming days.

Bleeding Hearts and Good Intentions

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Dang, that sounds like a country song.

It is time to fess up and explain what happened in the Secret Garden. The ugly truth is that I tried to have my first-ever vegetable garden and the stupid groundhog emerged victorious. The wind is officially knocked out of my sails. Groundhog 1, Deb zip. No beans, no chard, no peas, no squash.

I planted my beautiful heirloom beans (which had already yielded a full serving of veg before I even got them out the door). In two days’ time the cheeky rodent–who stands on its haunches in the mornings and mocks me from the field while I yell obscenities from my window–had stripped the stalks bare. Not of beans, mind you, but of the leaves. ALL of them. There were actually a few beans still dangling miserably from what was left of the stalks. Groundhog left them there, kind of an in-your-face taunt lobbed at the humans who had tried and failed (miserably) to trap and relocate the destructive little miscreant. Handsome Chef Boyfriend walked out to check the trap one morning to find the creature sitting on a piece of cantaloupe meant to be bait.

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As my great-grandmother Gracie would have said, it aggravates me. Only she would have put the emphasis on the third syllable, like this:  it aggraVATES me. Yessir, that it does. And I want to deal with that dumbass groundhog the way Gracie used to threaten her husband Ed when he misbehaved:  stitch it in a sheet and beat it with an iron skillet. (Only Gracie would have called it an ARN skillet.)

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You may be wondering why I have included photos of these gorgeous plants in this post. These are right on the property, planted by people who lived here before me. They are beautiful and alive and I get to look at them every single day. I decided showing you photos of pretty flowering plants would be more entertaining than a picture of dead bean stalks.

I have only a vague plan now for the thriving young tomato plants that are still inside my loft. I am going to try a container garden, like my bloggy friend Katie has done. (She is hugely inspiring.) I am hoping I can put containers somewhere outside, out of reach of the hog. Still hoping beyond hope for Gracie’s tomatoes.

I leave you with a photo of Handsome Chef Boyfriend’s own vegetable garden which he sent me when he arrived home earlier today. Showoff.

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Princess Diaries

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I rendered Handsome Chef  Boyfriend speechless yesterday right before he launched for home. I love when that happens.

On Saturday we had dinner at possibly the best burger joint everwhich happens to be very close to my house. (They also have a nice selection of craft beer on tap there.) We sat at the sunny bar and ate our burgers and fries and took in the local culture after a nice day together which had started with Clarence-the-Canine’s burial (no sadness, just happy memories this time), and then included typical warm weather Saturday stuff–the farmer’s market and tag sales, mainly. I scored a pair of brand new white sneakers for four bucks at one of them. Which should actually be proof positive that I am not a princess: I proudly purchase and use flea market items and openly admit it on the Internet. You could say it’s on my permanent record.

Anywho, the point is that we drove the same route I have been cycling lately since this nagging Achilles injury I’ve sported for about five years or possibly longer just won’t quit. I hate not running, but since I attempted to resume my running habit when the ten feet of Hellish Vermont Winter Snow finally melted, it is abundantly clear that I can’t do it this summer, barring some sort of divine intervention or foot surgery. And surgery is not an option at the moment.

That is my bicycle up there in the photo. I bought it about three years ago when my foot was acting up and I was in pretty intense physical therapy twice weekly. My orthopedist sanctioned biking as an alternative to running. I rode 26 miles every single day of the week. This is a true story. But that is how much I needed to ride to derive the same benefits (read: euphoric afterglow) from a much shorter run. Back then I had the luxury of time, though. Now I am carving it out when I am able  between two jobs, and three starting in August. So a nice ten-mile ride a couple of times a week is what I can manage at the moment. It is better than nothing at all which was more or less my situation during the winter.

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And this is my bicycling skirt. That’s right–I ride my bike wearing a skirt. I was explaining to HCB that some time ago I had researched women’s cycling clothing. I mean, have you seen cycling clothing for women? It does not flatter the human form, friends. As I was explaining this to HCB the rendering speechless had already begun, because I had alluded to the fact that hockey clothing has the same issue: you take a nice athlete and then add enough padding to make him (or worse, her) look like the Michelin Man. How unfortunate.

But this skirt is made for cycling–it goes on over the butt shorts (the fugly ones with the gigantic diaper in the seat that you must wear if you want to be able to walk the next day). When I explained to him how pretty it is–how it just billows in the wind, he just stood there with his mouth hanging open. Boom.

My butt shorts are actually Capri riding tights with lace around the cuffs. And that is in fact the edge of my monogrammed initials on the duvet in the photo. I might actually be a princess, a little. (But I look like a girl on my bicycle.)