Tuesday, June 30, 2009

our greywater project

As conscientious as we try to be about recycling, composting, buying local, and being enviro-friendly, I must admit that I have a major vice: my water usage. I use a lot of water. I'm not proud of it. Au contraire, I'm often ashamed at the length of my hot showers or the inefficient way I wash dishes. I think I take my water for granted, because it's so plentiful and cheap here in Vermont. Plus I love how it feels on my skin!

On top of that, we have to run a dehumidifier nonstop in the basement or else things start to get moldy. The machine, which is energy star rated, by the way, produces between 1 and 2 gallons of water a day during the summer months. 1 to 2 gallons every day! Out of thin air! Until now, we've been dumping that perfectly good water down the drain. But I'm trying to change my way of thinking.

The other day Colin suggested that we collect the water and use it to water our plants and garden. The same thing had been on my mind too, since I've been hearing lots of news reports lately about how people are recycling their greywater (washwater from showers and laundry) in creative ways. We're also enamoured by the neat little waste water recycling system at the Vermont Welcome Center in Sharon, Vermont.

I did a little research on some online discussion forums to see what other people do. Some think the water is toxic, but I don't believe it (it's not even grey!). Others say they've been doing it for years and the plants thrive. Laura from work suggested contacting the UVM extension office just to be sure, which I plan to do, especially if I want to use the water on my edible garden. But in the meantime, I've bought a nice little watering can and every time the dehumidifer needs emptying, we empty the water into the watering can. It's enough to drench our little garden without ever turning on the hose!

Monday, June 29, 2009

dude, just grill it

This time of year, it's grilling central: at work, at our friends' house, even at the college party house next door. Everywhere, but our place. That's right, no grill at our house. The travesty!

So, finally, after years of wanting and coveting and feeling inadequate, we bought one this weekend. Colin treated us to one heck of a beauty with some of his birthday money. We're determined to make up for lost time and grill as much as possible.

For his birthday, we grilled up lots of meat (at our place?! gasp! yes, meat!) and asparagus and potatoes and garlic scapes. Tonight, we grilled sausages (for Col), marinated tofu (for Me), asparagus and sweet potatoes. Who knew? Grilled sweet potatoes are awesome!

Whatever we can get on the grill, we're going to do it this summer: mushrooms, eggplant, bread, cheese, cabbage... We're not afraid. Hmm, I wonder: can you grill rutabaga?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

it's summer, hot and heavy

Since I last wrote, summer solstice has come and gone and a sultry heat has settled on this place. When it's so hot, everything slows and expands and perspires. It's heavy. I want to soak my feet in a bowl of ice cubes. But at the same time, I just want to sweat it out.

When it's so hot, sharp focus gets fogged by a swelling cerebrum. I'm only half-present and half-functional right now.

It's been a strange day for more than that.

Farrah Fawcett died this morning. Then Michael Jackson this afternoon. Ed McMahon passed earlier this week. It's strange when cultural icons pass. Their careers, sometimes their entire lives, are recorded in a medium that never dies. And in that respect they live on and on and on.

But I'm still sad. To those of us who've never known the person, the sadness comes from the idea that a source of such amazing artistry and inspiration is no more. And also the idea of a person leaving this world too young and too violently—an exit that breaks the idealism of celebrity yet at the same time explodes their status to celestial heights. They'll always be superstars in my mind.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We went to Boston this weekend for Sapphire's dedication. There was a lot of excitement surrounding the event. My mother spent the last few months making Sapphire's christening gown. She stitched the entire thing by hand—it was insanely gorgeous. Of course, the babe looked gorgeous in it too.

We were also excited to see family that we don't get to see very often: my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Maria Luisa flew up from Florida, Aunt Lucy & Uncle John drove from Southern Vermont. Then there were Kevin's parents, sister and extended family.

It really was a special event. My father led the ceremony in a gorgeous outdoor setting. Brian & Christina were there to accept their vows as godparents. We sang some old hymns, which I love. The breeze rustled softly. Sapphire slept through most of the ceremony. Then she woke up during pictures and was an absolute angel for the lunch reception. The cake was shaped like a christening gown!

Later that night, Greg & Marianne, Kevin's "aunt & uncle" made spaghetti and meatballs for at least 20 people. It was a lot of fun. Colin had even more fun than I did, apparently, because he spent the evening chatting up Greg (or was it the other way round?) about wine and hot peppers and he was one of the last ones to leave the dinner table—well after I had already gone to bed.

The next day, Big Kevin brought Kev and Colin to Costco, because Colin really, really, really wanted to go. (Can you believe he's never been there before?) But all he came back with was a 2 lb. tub of spinach dip. No candy. No toilet paper. I was surprised. But the spinach dip is GOOD!

We were both sad for the weekend to be over.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

wild rose blossoms

I hope you don't think I was down on the wind yesterday. On the contrary, the wind revives me. Tonight during my run, it was sweeping up the scent of wild roses and peonies and honeysuckle and other fragrant flowers and tickling my nostrils with their loveliness. How heavenly!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I'm tired but my eyes are bugging. Do you know that feeling? I knew I shouldn't have had that last cup of coffee at work. So now I'm sitting here on my bed in the dark, thinking just a little too much. I probably need a vacation. Not some semblance of one. Not a day or two here and there. But a real, veritable, drawn out, refreshing, reinvigorating vacation. These days, I hold my breath between 9 and 6. In the car on the way home, I exhale.

Maybe my eyes are bugging for other reasons. For one, the wind that's been blowing tonight is unsettling. Just as you put down your guard, it swoops up and knocks everything on its head. On top of that, those college kids next door are setting off fireworks again. Secondly, there are a lot of moving pieces in my life to watch and listen and oversee.

(Someone called me a puppet master [or something to that effect] at work today, because I like to work behind the scenes. I feel like that a lot of the times. But sometimes I like to be recognized too—doesn't everybody?)

Thirdly, I will see my sister Hannah this week. This is the most sudden fact of all. Do you even realize how excited I am to see her? But there's also hesitation. (Why always hesitation for me?? Colin would say it's because I'm "serious.") Okay, I'll call myself a puppet master for a minute (Colin might say "control freak" sometimes). I'm okay with that. But then it's hard when you want to be in control of everything and everyone. You want everything to be okay for them. But you just can't.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

at the drive-in

I don't know how long Sunset Drive-in in Colchester, Vermont has been around, but I'm willing to guess that it looks a lot like it did back when it first opened—the only difference being the movies they play. Everything—from the man at the ticket booth bearing a strong resemblance to Richard Keil to the fake wood-paneling at the concession stand and 70s funk background music during intermission—seems to be stuck in a time warp. And who would want it to be any different? That's just part of the charm.

Colin and I went to the drive-in for our date night on Thursday. The place has four big screens and plays 2 different movies on each screen (for $8 a person, that's a steal!). So we had a lot of options, but in the end opted for Screen 1, which was playing Pixar's Up at dusk, followed by Star Trek late-nite. We got there a little early, so we hung out by the swings till sunset and then hit the concession stand before hopping back in the car and tuning in to 94.1 on the radio.

Up started around 9 p.m. I had no idea what to expect since I hadn't seen any trailers for it. 10 minutes into it, Colin and I were both crying, but then just a few minutes later we were laughing and then crying again. We both loved it. The illustrations were fabulous—the use of colors and scale were so inspiring.

After Up, I was a little nervous that our car battery was going to die, so we turned the car on for a minute to recharge.

All of a sudden a commercial for the concession stand came on. This is where that 70s funk music came from that I mentioned before. They wanted us to go buy hot dogs and popcorn and then in the next instance there were pictures of roses blooming and then candy and then shots of clouds in the sky moving very fast (the 70s funk music was playing the whole time in the background). At that point we both looked at each other and laughed out loud. What the heck? That was so weird.

Well, we did go back to the concession stand, so I guess it worked. And since it was such a nice night out, we decided to get Chesters ice cream cookie sandwiches. Mmmmm!

At this point, it was really late out and we both had to work in the morning, but Colin was determined to stay for Star Trek. I'm so glad we did, even though we didn't get home until 1:30 a.m. We both loved the movie. I forgot that I used to watch the old T.V. episodes on the Sci Fi network. I forgot how much I loved that old Sci Fi stuff. Before seeing the movie, I had this idea in my head that it was going to be some over-produced blockbuster garbage. And while it did border on that genre, there were a lot of nostalgic throw-backs and even some story-lines that made you have to think a little bit. I would highly recommend both of the movies!

And I would highly recommend the Sunset Drive-in. It's funny, that the next day on public radio, there was an opinion piece about drive-ins in Vermont. There used to be more than 20 in the state and now there are only 4. We're so lucky to have one in our backyard. So we have to support it! Bring your friends, bring your kids. Go to the drive-in this summer!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I saw a bobcat

Living in Vermont, we are used to wild creatures—deer, moose, bear, foxes, squirrels, raccoons, even wild turkeys—darting in front of our vehicles on the road. But have you ever seen a wild cat? In broad daylight? Until this day, I hadn't. But on my drive home from work today a very large animal crossed route 7 right in front of me. At first I thought it was a dog and I slammed on my breaks. But as I got nearer and watched it cross to the other side, there was no mistaking. And then I let out an audible gasp. I'm pretty sure it was a bobcat. It was a tawny in color with lots of dark brown speckles and a white belly. It had a short tale. And it was fluffy! How cool is that?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

david byrne on the green

Last night, David Byrne performed live on the green at Shelburne Museum. A bunch of us went with our blankets and picnic dinner and hats and sweaters and umbrellas (though we didn't need them after all).

At dusk, David Bryne and his band and dancers came on stage and performed an amazing show. The first half was his new material—a collaboration with Brian Eno. The second half was all Talking Heads. It was Sapphire's first rock show and she loved every minute. When "Burning Down the House" came on she start laughing and chatting and pumping her legs. Everyone was going crazy, dancing and singing and clapping and shouting. By the time the show was over, the crowd was so riled up, we clapped and clapped and cheered. The band came back for 4 encores! And for one of them David Byrne and all of his back-up singers came out wearing white tutus on top of their suits.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the evening (and here are some more):

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