Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All's Well That Ends Well

My Mind Today 

As open as I try to be to new things and happy accidents, I have always been and will likely remain a creature of habit, slave to symbolic gestures and rituals. As one year ends and a new one is soon to begin, in spite of many other obligations and distractions that demand my attention, today my mind can’t help but dwell on how the past twelve months brought me to where I now am, gazing out a large window as snow falls on an empty street in a small city in Vermont. This time last year, my former city of residence Somerville was buried under 18 inches of snow. As the city was digging itself out, I was writing a blog post in review of what had proven to be a year of courage and defeat, challenge and reward, and resolving that, as far as I had come in the process of digging myself out from under my own metaphoric frozen burden in 2010, in every aspect of my life, 2011 would be even better. 2011 was indeed better, a long journey on roads not always clear or smooth but somehow bringing me to exactly where I needed to be.  In spite of numerous obstacles, both internal and external, I saw both my photographic and crocheted work displayed, admired and even acquired. I saw the musings I was so bold as to commit in writing to this public space not only find a loyal readership, but at times inspire great sympathy and support, connecting me with beautiful minds and spirits in faroff places. Meantime, I had the continued sustaining love of my nearest and dearest friends and family. I am happy and grateful beyond measure that my words found a home in your hearts, and that my work found its way into your homes. And here I am at year’s end in an entirely new place that was waiting to embrace me with a greater sense of inner peace and belonging than I have felt in too many years, sensing even better things to come. I have no specific plans as yet for 2012, except to say that there are already signs it will be full of opportunities for unprecedented personal and professional fulfillment, which I hope to begin sharing with you as early as next week! Until then, especially to those of you who had some hard times in 2011, I wish you and yours health and happiness in 2012. The best is yet to come.


    All's Well that Ends Well

 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Back to Work

Back to Work

It’s been almost three weeks since I moved to Vermont, and I am happy to report that almost all boxes have been emptied, flattened and delivered to the town dump, every room is about as furnished and decorated as it can or will be given our limited resources of time money and energy, and we have even managed to take a few little trips to picturesque nearby towns, Manchester being one of them, and the subject of Brian’s most recent post which you can find here.  In Manchester, on Mount Equinox, I shot some film for the first time in far too long, which I will be handing over to my new camera shop soon, and if all goes well, will allow me to share some real photographs with you next week.

 Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt

Until now I have been relying on my digital camera to capture certain aspects of my new life here, and anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how I feel about the differences between digital and film shooting! Still, if I go too long without some sort of camera in my hands, I suffer a form of artistic withdrawal that makes me bad company indeed, especially to myself. Above is the morning view from my kitchen window. Below is the morning view from my bedroom window after a few inches of snow that fell overnight last week but has since melted. 

 View from Above
 
And below is what the parking lot for our building looked like later that morning after our neighbors had left for work.

 Snow Parking

Speaking of work, I have finally organized my studio/study to the point where I can locate all my materials as needed, leaving me no choice but to get back to actually creating things. What these things will be, I can’t yet be sure, but just to feel the sensation of not doing something related to household affairs, I began designing and crocheting some new wrist warmers yesterday. It was the first time I have felt as if I were actually living here, and not just "settling in," and I hope to have many more such days ahead.

 Wrist Warmer : Lilac, Melon, Snow and Plum

Here is a sneak peak of the two new pairs of wrist warmers I will be posting to my Etsy site tomorrow, just in time for all you late or last minute holiday shoppers. There is still time to order something and receive it by Christmas! 

 Wrist Warmer: Green Mountains on a Sunny Day

I’ll also be sending out my End of Year Newsletter soon, so if you aren’t already signed up, please do.  In conclusion, I'd like to acknowledge and thank you all for your kindness and patience during this busy time, and especially for so many warm birthday wishes following last week’s post. Because of you, even in a new home and town, I feel I am always in the company of good friends.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ten of Nine


Unbroken

I keep telling people that here in my new Vermont home the vast stillness is unbroken except for the occasional sound of distant church bells and passing trains.  That is not precisely true. Rutland City does have one big noise to offer those who can’t stand too much peace and quiet: the Ten of Nine Whistle.


 Horn of Plenty

The Ten of Nine Whistle is actually a large airhorn that sits atop the fire station in the center of Rutland, and diagonally opposite the house I now occupy. The horn has a rich history, and a loud voice, and to love both is to be a true Rutlander.  In fact, whenever anyone has attempted to silence the Ten of Nine, it comes back even stronger, always an appealing and admirable trait.

Downtown Rutland in 1907

Back in the old days, the horn was primarily used to summon firefighters. Like most emergency alert systems, it required testing, sometimes daily, and always at the same hour to distinguish it from a real alarm. Rutland later began to sound the horn at 8:50 every night, as a warning to teenagers that the 9pm curfew was imminent and they had ten minutes to get off the streets.  That curfew was short-lived, but the 8:50 sounding of the horn persisted. In recent years, from what I can learn online and in talking to locals, thanks to various changes in government, the horn was first allowed to fall into disuse, then reinstated, then put on a reduced schedule, then not only restored to its regular nightly blast, but given the added duty and distinction of sounding at 8:50 every morning as well. 

 Close Call

A few years ago, they even put the issue to a vote and Rutlanders overwhelmingly supported the maintaining of this twice daily schedule.  Living so close to this undeniable piece of history capable of rattling windows and knocking you out of your shoes if you aren’t expecting it, and most nearly resembling the sound of the Queen Mary entering port, I fully understand those in the minority who cast dissenting votes, but given the chance, I know that I too would have voted in favor of the horn. It begins the day in a tone that is proud, clear and bold, letting all good citizens know that we have made it through the night and all is well. And after an honest day’s work and a hot meal and everyone safely in their homes, it seems to say “the day is done, good job, it’s alright to rest now.” 

 Ten of Nine 

But here is why I really love this horn. Today is my birthday. On December 7th 1962, at 8:50 in the morning, I was born.  Ask not for whom the horn sounds – today, it sounds for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Home


Readers, I’m home.  


Or, more accurately, I have arrived in a space that, given a lot more time and effort, will look a lot less like a storage facility, and a lot more like the place in which I intend to live life to the fullest for many long awaited and much deserved years. Brian and I have been Vermont residents for four days, though we both have had experience in the past living in this beautiful state. 


On Monday November 28th, our possessions were safely and soundly transported by the small but amazingly efficient crew from the Stair Hoppers moving company, and I retain their five page inventory of 125 items as proof of the magnitude of this undertaking. Unfortunately, most of that number consisted of boxes that needed first to be sorted and carried into their proper rooms, and then unpacked.


I’m happy to report that as of this writing, all furniture has been arranged into a functioning configuration, all boxes are where they need to be, and some of them have even been opened!  We have already stimulated the local Vermont economy by purchasing some household items. We have had our first of what will probably be many pizzas from Ramunto’s and we have visited the Chaffee Art Center where we were pleased to see all three of each of our submitted works hanging in prominent locations in the gallery. 


There is still much work to be done in the apartment  and beyond, everything from the basic task of emptying boxes to exploring our new community and meeting new neighbors. Tonight, in Depot Park, the city holds its annual tree lighting and visit from Santa. Tomorrow, I plan on visiting the indoor Farmer’s Market held inside the Rutland Food Coop. This area has a very strong commitment to sustainable agriculture and green living, and I am looking forward to supporting local farmers whenever possible, which won’t be difficult, especially when it comes to Vermont cheese! 

 
Finally I wanted to leave you with some images of the member of the family who seems most pleased with her new home. Little P has been roaming freely from room to room happily sprawling on and rubbing against everything in her path. Who said cats hate change? 


Enjoy your weekends, one and all, and see you next week with more happy news!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Small Business Saturday


Here in the United States, we have a late November tradition called Black Friday, on which any shred of good will and tranquility imparted by what was once called Thanksgiving and has now apparently been renamed Pre-Black Friday, vanishes in a cloud of panic and greed as shoppers with less and less money attempt to take advantage of more and more tempting sales and bargains offered by stores that now open their doors Thursday night before your turkey dinner has even made it far enough down your digestive track to require unbuttoning your pants.


Introducing Small Business Saturday. I’ve been seeing a lot of television commercials in recent weeks about an attempt to reclaim the holiday weekend with a shopping experience that does not involve trampling your fellow man in the aisles of a megastore. I’m pretty sure there is some sort of dishonorable agenda or soulless corporate entity behind it trying to profit from a seemingly good deed, but the message is a good one, and if it works, it will also benefit small business owners, so I am happy to support it. Plus, the logo was free to download.



So, I urge you this weekend to shop local, shop small, and avoid any vendor attempting to interrupt your dessert, or spoil your sleeping late the day after a feasting holiday with family you only see once or twice a year, with the lure of a flat screen television reduced to one tenth its original price, and probably marked up a few thousand percent the week before.  Spread the word, this weekend, and beyond, and maybe we can send a message that individual craftsmanship and shops whose proprietors actually have faces and live in your neighborhood are what a good American product and a strong American economy are all about.  And yes, buying something from your favorite starving artist counts as supporting small business!


 Happy Holiday, all. Next time you hear from me I will be living in Vermont!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here to There


You CAN Get There from Here

As followers of this space know, I am in the midst of a move from a place I’ve occupied for almost ten years to a new place in a part of the country that has always felt like home. This might be why I have been very busy these past few weeks, but not at all nervous or sad regarding this relocation. I’m going somewhere I have always loved and leaving behind somewhere I have never quite felt a sense of belonging. If I shed any tears on moving day, they will be tears of joy that something I have always hoped would happen is finally coming to pass.

 Through a Glass Darkly

Brian and I have made three trips up north in the past six weeks, each with its own agenda and outcome. Back at the beginning of October, a weekend originally planned for leisure became our first opportunity to view a potential new home in Vermont. That opportunity fell through, but thanks to some timely conversations with friendly Vermonters met as we explored the local night life, soon after our return we learned about a new property in a different city and were making plans for another visit.

 Unexpected Opening

In mid October we drove to Rutland one morning, viewed what would prove to be our new home and by sundown were back in Somerville waiting to hear whether our application had been approved. It was, and ten days later we were driving north again to sign a lease.

 Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

It was then that I allowed myself to see the apartment with eyes not protected by cautious doubt and fully embrace the reality that I would be living in Vermont, a place I had spent much time in, but never as a longtime resident. Last weekend we drove up to Rutland one more time to drop off some possessions we did not want to leave for the movers to handle and also to drop off some pieces at the Chaffee Art Center where we will both have work exhibited in their annual members show opening this week. I no longer felt like a visitor in town, but a native. I bought myself a new winter coat which will be the perfect attire for Vermont winter. As we drove back, and again passed by the herd of Jacob sheep that has been grazing alongside Route 4 as long as I can remember, I told myself that the next time we make the trip north it would be a one-way journey, bound for home.

 Herd Mentality

As of this writing there are only 12 days left before the apartment I am now occupying is emptied and Brian, I and Little P head home. But before I can get there from here, I have to get everything boxed up and ready to go. Hard work yes, but happy.   

Stacks

Until next week, I wish you all hard work and happiness.