New entries are at the bottom for easy chronological reading.
Unless otherwise noted, local photos are by and © 2009 Nancy F. Little.
Professional appearances are listed in large bold.
Thursday, April 2009
"Back to Petticoat Hill"
Feeling a strong need to be outdoors on this gorgeous 66 degree day, and feeling a strong desire to do the hike we did earlier this week, my lovely wife and I drove 15 minutes to the center of Williamsburg MA, turned left in the center of town on Petticoat Hill Rd, and drove a quarter mile up the road to the little 2-car pull-out on the left at the trailhead of the Trustees of the Reservations property at Petticoat Hill
Every time I've been there since they added the new Locke's Loop section of trail, I look at the map, do the trail, and get very confused up at the top. I was convinced that the map was just plain wrong. Nancy and I have been discussing this since our earlier visit because she was confused by it all, too. I'm delighted to report that my lovely wife is wicked smaht and figured out what's wrong with the map. It's not that it's exactly wrong, it's that it doesn't show all the trails so it is very, very confusing because of the ones they left off.
On the map at left, at the summit where that dark black line of the Original Trail becomes the lighter colored Locke's Loop Trail, the Original Trail actually continues straight ahead down the southwest side of the hill, so you have to take a left onto the new loop.
Okay, now that we've got that cleared up....
The trails were noticeably drier today, just a few days later. Not completely dry, mind you, but definitely less wet. Nearly all the snow on the hill has melted, so we expect the trails to dry up completely very soon.
We decided this is going to be our new default hike when we have enough time. It's 30 minutes driving round trip and a good hour to do the trail with no long stops. Our up-until-now default walk to Fitzgerald Lake from the Northampton Moose Lodge is less than 5 minutes away and 40 minutes walk in and out. So this new default walk basically takes twice as long, hence the "when we have enough time".
But we really like this hike because it's more vertical: the trail is pretty steep most of the way up to the summit, and has several quite steep parts on the return loop, too. Give those legs a real work out! The Fitzgerald Lake trail is a nice and easy, wide, and mostly flat. It is a quick, nearby walk with a great view over the lake in the middle, but it's not much of a challenge at all, and although it does warm us up, we don't ever actually break a sweat there. So we're ready to upgrade and have (finally) found The One: it's Petticoat Hill.
And it has a nice view in the middle, too, if you know where to look for it.
Monday, April 6, 2009
"An Intense Meeting"
I was going to miss this month's meeting of the Hats Off Performers Guild, but things changed and I was able to attend. And I'm glad I did, because it was an intense meeting... the good kind of intense, not the stressful kind.
And that's all I'm going to say about it.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
"FUN Little Snippets"
At our regular monthly meeting of the River Valley Market Outreach Committee in Northampton MA tonight, our wonderful new outreach coordinator Liz Suozzo asked for more FUN little snippets of information to use as "Do You Know?"s in the co-op newsletter. When I got home and told my lovely wife Nancy, we both immediately plunged into it. She was looking at a database called Famous First Facts; I was looking at the New York Public Library Desk Reference (4th ed.).
Here's the ones we submitted:
1. As a commodity, coffee is second only to crude oil.
2. Your weight times 15 is how many calories it takes to maintain it.
3. If you burn your mouth on spicy food, instead of water, reach for something sweet.
4. A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time. It's 1/100 of a second.
5. Lake Superior is the second largest freshwater lake in the world.
6. Croatia was the first country to recognize the USA as an independent
country in 1776.
7. The Boston University Bridge is the only place in the world where a boat can sail under a train running under a car driving under an airplane.
8. The first cooperative store run by women was Montgomery Farm Women's Cooperative Market, Bethesda MD, 1932, run by 29 women. It's still running today.
9. Powdered herbs are stronger than crumbled, dried stronger than fresh. 1/4 tps powdered = 3/4 to 1 tsp crumbled = 2 tsp fresh. Use a mortar & pestle to powder dried herbs.
10. Wipe toner powder off fabric with a clean dry cloth, then rinse with cold water.
11. Salt Substitute: BLEND 2 tsp garlic powder with 1 tsp each basil, oregano, powdered lemon peel. Store in glass container. Add rice to prevent caking.
12. Isaac Asimov is the only author to have a book in every major category of the Dewey Decimal System.
14. Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, & tofu are good sources of calcium.
15. The glue on Israeli stamps is kosher.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
"Rhododendron Borers Suck!"
(literally and figuratively)
As soon as I got up today, I went out in the front yard with my iron rake and began clearing the accumulated dirt clods off our front lawn. All winter long, our landlord pushes all the snow from our driveway onto our front lawn in a big snow mountain. The plow usually digs up the grass quite a bit, so when the snow mountain melts, there's a lot of debris left behind. We have a wet basement every Spring because, unfortunately, the watermelt from that snow mountain (as well as the runoff whenever it rains) doesn't flow towards the road, it flows towards our house. So in recent years, I've been slowly grading the edges around our house so the water will flow away. Last year's work significantly decreased the amount of wet in our basement this year, so whenever there's some free dirt just lying around, I stack it up against the house somewhere and smooth it out at a nice grade away from the house. So that took most of an hour and a half this morning.
We have a huge rhododendron right up against the front of our house that's just gorgeous when it blooms. And the birds hang out in it year round because it's right next to our bird feeders. But this Spring, huge parts of it looked just terrible
. We discovered it's got a bad case of rhododendron borers, a little insect that lays it's eggs on it. When they hatch, the larvae bore into the sapwood and literally suck the life out of it. Anything between the roots and the borers get juice, but anything beyond that is in BIG trouble!
So next I got out my hedge trimmers, pruners, and saw and started cutting off the infected parts. There were a lot
of them. Once I'd gotten all the sorry looking parts off, Nancy and I decided I might as well saw off just a few more and get our front sidewalk back, because this ever-expanding bush had overhung the sidewalk so much that it was tough to stay on the sidewalk when you walked in front of it.
While I was working in that corner, I also pulled out a ton of roots from vines that have been trying to take over the rhododendron the past few years. Mostly bittersweet vine, but a bit of poison ivy, too, (which I'm very allergic to) have been having a field day on the rhododendron. So I spent time digging down around them and pulling out as much roots as I possibly could. Hopefully I got enough out that they won't come back. All that took another couple of hours.
Now that we've got our sidewalk back and the rhododendron got all skinny on us, we suddenly have a new flower bed in front of it. All the flower beds around our house (Thank you, my lovely wife) are lined with rocks (because she's a geologist), so before I finished in that corner, I lined the front of our new flower bed with some stones that I had to move out from under our gas meter in order to fill a place where water pools against the house with some of the dirt I took off the front lawn. That
part took most of half an hour.
Clean up took at least another half hour. All told, I did 4-1/2 straight hours of yardwork today. Yup, manual labor, that's what I do for FUN when I'm not working!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
"A New Local Monthly Comedy Night!"
Our friend and hiLARious comedian Jennifer Myszkowski (pictured right)
had a show tonight as part of the new monthly "Basement Comedy" show at The Basement in Northampton MA. It's so new this is only the second month they've done it.
Since the monthly Open Comedy Mike at P.A.C.E. in Easthampton ended last Fall, I've been really missing my monthly dose of laughs as well as my monthly dose of Jennifer Myszkowski jokes... so after being dry for so many months, tonight I got both! YAY! It was great! Along with every one else there (even the security guy checking IDs at the door), my lovely wife and I laughed and laughed all the way through. I think I'm going to be a Basement Comedy groupie from now on. Recommended donation: $5, folks. Oh so worth it.
Unlike the old P.A.C.E. comedy night, this one, however, is not an open mike -- it's by invitation only, so it's real comedians who are already good at what they do. Everybody was laughing all the way through, that's the difference.
The host is Louie Falcetti. He talked about tv a lot. He did about 5 minutes before each of the three comedians on tonight's bill: Geri Wulle, Jennifer Myskowski, and Myq Kaplan -- the comedy bill that no matter how hard you try, you will never spell all their names correctly!
I was glad that, despite their disfunctional spelling, the comedian were all very different from each other yet all three were very, very funny. You don't get that at open comedy mikes, people!
We've been enjoying Jennifer's comedy since her very early days at Fire & Water last millennium. We know all her basic sets by heart, yet we both still laugh, snort, and guffaw at all the same places. That's because she's so %#*$&^@ funny! Since the last time we heard her, she's added several new jokes, some new lines, new delivery techniques, and a new prop for one joke... all of which definitely improved her already excellent routine. She's just getting
funnier and funnier all the time.
For the record: the opener Geri Wulle
got a mighty lot of laughs in his 10 minute set; and the closing act Myq Kaplan
was calmly outrageously funny all the way through his fast-paced, quick-change-up, boom-boom-boom 30-minute routine, too. I'd gladly listen to either of them any time at all. But let me make it absolutely clear that first and foremost, we're Jennifer Myszkowski fans! Jennifer rocks my comedy boat like no other.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This evening after supper, my lovely wife and I played cards, a game
called Cut Throat (that's basically Advanced Crazy Eights) until she got too tired to play. It was really nice playing a game together after supper. She's been really, really busy with school for the last few months, so it was especially nice when she suggested it.
Cut Throat is a card game I've enjoyed since I was a kid. One summer in the late 60's, a neighborhood girl and I played Cut Throat up on the 6th floor of our tree fort (yes, I said sixth floor of our tree fort!) almost every single day for the entire summer. By the time September rolled around, we'd played over 1,000 hands and the score was so close (yes, we kept score) that it was like 521-526 (but I made up those numbers). What a great game!
How To Play Cut Throat
a game for 2 players
Object: get rid of all your cards first.
1. Deal each player seven cards and turn up the next card for the discard pile.
2. Basic play goes just like Crazy Eights: you have to discard a card from your hand that matches the top card of the discard pile either in suit or number; 8's are wild and can be played on anything and you get to pick which suit the next player has to play when you play an 8.
3. If you play a 2 or a face card, you go again... you have to go again (even if it's your last card!).
4. If you play a 2, the other player immediately draws two cards. This is not a turn.
5. If you play a Queen, the other player immediately draws four cards. This is also not a turn.
6. If you can't or don't want to discard, draw one (and only one) card, and that's the end of your turn; unlike in Crazy Eights, if that drawn card is playable, you don't get to play it: drawing is the end of your turn.
7. If your turn ends and you have one card left, you have to say,
"Last Card". If you don't and your opponent catches you before drawing,
you have to immediately draw two cards. This is not a turn either.
8. One small nuance: if you play a "draw card" (2 or Queen) and end your turn having to draw one yourself because you can't or don't want to go again (Rule #6), the other player draws their cards before you draw your one for not being able to go again.
9. Another small nuance: if at the beginning of the game, the dealer turns up a 2, a face card, or an an 8, it's still the dealer's "turn" and the dealer has to play on it if it's a 2 or a face card, the other player has to draw if it's a 2 or a Queen, and the dealer has to call the suit if it's an 8.
So, let's say They deal You the King and Queen of spades, the Ace of hearts, the Queen and Jack of clubs, and the 7 and the 8 of diamonds (a great hand, by the way).
The top card is the 5 of diamonds.
Play could conceivably (but not very likely!) go like this:
You play the 7 of diamonds;
They play the 7 of spades;
You play the King of spades, Queen of spades (They draw four), Queen of clubs (They draw four more), and the Jack of clubs all in a row, you've got no more clubs or Jacks and you don't want to play your 8, so you draw one: it's the 4 of diamonds;
They play the Ace of clubs;
You play the Ace of hearts;
They play the Ace of diamonds;
You play the 4 of diamonds and say, "Last Card";
They play the 4 of spades;
You play your 8 and win!
Good job! What a FUN game!
I like this game so much that I added it permanently to my Games & Puzzlers
page (found under the red "More Fun Stuff" link there on the left side of every screen). In fact, I suspect I'll be adding some of my other favorite card games to that menu soon, that way maybe some other people will have FUN playing them, too!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
What I mentioned at the end of the previous entry above might happen did. I added another of my favorite card game to my Games & Puzzlers
page today. It's a crazy memory game called "Mao" that if you win a round, you get to make up a new rule that applies for the rest of the game! So as the game continues, there's more and More and MORE rules you have to remember. Wowie Zowie! I love
this game! Not for the memory impaired.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"Celia at Sam's"
It never occurred to me that I would ever hear my favorite singer in the world belting out tunes at a gig in a pizza parlor, but that's what happened tonight! Beginning at 7:00 this evening, Celia
was singing at Sam's Pizzaria & Cafe in downtown Northampton MA.
Sam's is a fairly new place in town, operating out of the old ice cream shop space on Main Street. Hosting live music is just one of the ways "Sam" has really stepped up to the plate in becoming a community booster. I was wondering where they were going to put a band in that little U-shaped store, but not only did they fit this 4-person band in the end of one "leg" of the U (the left-hand green awning in the photo above), but they also had the large glass doors at that end open, so there was both indoor and outdoor seating where you could hear and see the band! Cool.
And the place was packed. There were always a bunch of people standing in the back, too, so as soon as tables emptied out, new people immediately moved in and filled them up again.
While we were there, Celia did two delightful sets (remember, she's my favorite singer in the world!) Her band consisted of upright bass, electric guitar and drums. I was particularly taken with the bass player. He was excellent; not too flashy; good solid bass lines; terrific solos; and a constant urge to get on with the next song already.
While my lovely wife and I were sitting in the only large booth in the place, a woman who evidently had come in for the pizza asked if she could join us, seeing as we had the only empty seats in the house. She was obviously listening to the music, because just a few bites into her slice she leaned over to us and said, "She's really good! What's her name?" So we turned her on the Celia's website
. And we mentioned that Celia has recently opened a new music studio in Holyoke MA called Celia's Voice Studio
where she teaches not only beginning and advanced voice lessons using the Speech Level Singing technique that Celia is certified to teach, but also beginning piano and guitar, too.
WE LOVE YOU CELIA!!! Thanks for singing in a pizza parlor.
Friday, April 17, 2009
"I LOVE FILING CABINETS"
My wife does not.
But she did help me bring my newest filing cabinet into the house yesterday. She kinda cussed me out at the end, but she helped! That's what counts. Thanks honey!
So, I know you may not be all excited about this like I am, but I got a four-drawer lateral file cabinet for FREE! You know, the kind that the long side is the front (pictured left): you pull a drawer out just the width of a file folder and all your files are right there, all accessible and everything, stretched out in a row in front of you. Lateral files are GREAT!
And it has four drawers! 3 foot wide drawers, too, in fact. And, it's a HON. I have another HON filing cabinet that I like a lot.
And, to top it all off, it was FREE! These things cost nearly $1,000 brand new. The one I've got is definitely used, but it's a very rare find, and is in pretty good shape, too.
I'm just giddy with delight about this! All I had to do was drive to Lenox MA and pick it up. There were even two
big strong guys there to help me load it onto my little truck at that end.
NOTE: I also got a small, enclosed metal shelf unit for my wife's office. She's been wanting a place to keep a bunch of her grad school stuff. I wasn't sure if she'd like it, but it was free so I took it. Guess I lucked out that she likes it. Guess she lucked out, too, huh?
So, today while Nancy was at "work", I spent several hours rearranging a few cabinets and shelves in my office to fit this awesome new filing cabinet in. And then after supper, it took another hour or so finding new places for a bunch of displaced stuff. I must say, I was pretty creative in this. Everything's got a new home and I fit in four more drawers into my office. Yay!
But now there's this new big huge black thing to get used to. I kinda want to put a white curtain in front of it just because it is sooo big and black!
So, exactly how much do I love filing cabinets, you might ask? Let me tell you. I have eleven and a half floor-to-ceiling columns of filing cabinets packed into my little tiny office. There's a bunch of standard 2-, 3-, and 4-drawer metal office cabinets. There's also quite a few of the single metal drawer kind that are designed to stack. Plus I've got a half dozen or so of those single drawer cardboard units that come folded up flat! All together this accounts for 69 regular file folder size drawers.
But that's not all.
There's also one really old, tall, unusual, metal file drawer cabinet that came from the old Northampton State Hospital. It has 11 drawers designed to hold punch cards. Each drawer is about 4" tall by 20" wide with two independantly removable compartments(!) inside each drawer. I use it to store a ton of small items: nails, screws, hooks, tape, pens & pencils, pads of note paper, cassette tapes, 1st aide stuff, cards, miscellaneous metal junk, sewing stuff, electrical stuff, my pin-on button collection, office supplies, an entire compartment full of photos, and a bunch of FUN stuff, too!
Plus there's also an additional five stackable cardboard punch card drawers that are each the same size as one compartment in the big metal punch card cabinet.
So all told, I've got 85 filing cabinet drawers comprising 47 independent units in 11 columns in my little, tiny office. I think I only have room for one more.
Saturday, April 18, 2008
"A Double Birthday Party at Florence Congregational..."
There's been some FUN stuff in my life this month, but today was my first gig. April can be a pretty slow month some years. It was great to get back to work again!
It was Macy & A.J. McGrath's 5th & 3rd birthday party at Florence Congregational Church in Florence MA (part of Northampton). Not only was it a gig that was less than 10 minutes away, but it was a lot of FUN, too, from the moment I walked in the door! The first thing I see when I enter is the birthday girl and the birthday boy running down the hallway and then all around the function room just laughing and laughing while I chatted with Michelle (the mom) at the top of the ramp! It was a great start to the event.
Macy, in her robin's egg blue tights and matching flower print dress that really set off her hair and eyes, was cheerful, smiling, laughing, and in general beaming throughout the entire event. A.J., being only 3, wasn't quite sure about me at times, but gleefully participated whenever he wanted to.
Plus, there were about 25 other children there, ranging in ages from 2 - 12, plus a few teens and about 20 parents and grandparents. There were a LOT of people there. And it seemed like they ALL had a LOT of FUN!
Florence Congregational Church has a nice function room with lots of natural light, and -- even more important for me -- tall ceilings! Plus, the room is big enough so there's lots of room for active games. So basically, I did The Outdoor Special
indoors with Project:Ribbon Dancer
I was there in plenty of time to both goof around with the crowd and get ready for the performance before the show began. The kids and their parents filtered in slowly, but half an hour later (right on schedule), I had put my stilts on in front of the crowd and stood up to start the show. A sudden hush went through the crowd as I suddenly towered over everyone.
So the kids (and the adults, I might add) laughed all the way through the show. Then we played some parachute games together, with a whlole bunch of the parents joining us for one of the games at the end.
And finally, it was time for Project: Ribbon Dancer. I lugged my Big Red Ribbon Suitcase over and set it up on one end of a table; and, with help from several parents, began churning out ribbon dancers for everyone to decorate their handle with colored tape and then swirl them all around the room.
A boodle of FUN for Macy & A.J.'s birthdays!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
...and a Double Show at
Yankee Candle Company"
Once again, as I did during February school vacation week, it is my pleasure to entertain the crowds at Yankee Candle Company
in South Deerfield MA with double bills today as well as next Friday and Saturday. YCI's Kris Kringle Theatre is a FUN little s
tage with unusual,
FUN decor; pretty good lighting; and a couple rows of church pew seating for about 40 people and tons of standing room.
This morning when I got there for a 12:00 show, there weren't very many people in the store yet. So I unpacked my gear, got ready for the show, and then went and drummed up an audience. Basically, I went through the entire store (it's HUGE) and told every single group with kids in it that I was doing a show at noon. I got back to the stage area about 5 minutes before show time and the seats were already filling up! Yay! It worked! Counting adults, there were 40-50 people enjoying the show.
Afterwards, I young woman and her mom came up to me after I was all done handing out stickers to the kids. I figured it was just a couple of adults who wanted some stickers but were good enough to wait until after all the kids got theirs. (Happens all
the time.) But nope, turns out she's a student at Hallmark Institute of
Photography in Turners Falls MA and was on assignment: she wanted to take my picture.
Her first question was could she take pictures of me in my work clothes and then take pictures of me in a suit and tie. My response, "Moi? Suit and tie?" was met with marked incredulity on the part of both the photographer and her mom. So she said, "Well, I guess it could be a blazer." To which I responded, "Moi? Blazer?" to equal incredulity. I had to explain to her that I don't mind anyone taking my picture, but what you see is what you get.
I guess she really wanted to take my picture because she and her mom conferred for only a few seconds before they came up with a different category of her assignment that I would fit into. She ended up doing about a 10 minute photo shoot right there on stage at Yankee Candle. It was pretty FUN. I'm really looking forward to seeing the results when she sends me the photos!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"Happy Earth Day"
It was an SRO crowd in the upstairs Community Room at River Valley Market (our new local food co-op that I'm very involved with) this evening for an Earth Day presentation of local wild food expert Blanche Cybele Derby's movie "Edible Plants: Wild & Tame (Spring)". Blanche's folksy approach quickly won over the crowd, many of whom were quickly scribbling notes all the way through.
We learned about food and beverages from pine trees, black birch trees, spice bush, chickweed, dandelions, ostrich ferns, wisteria, forsythia, lamb's quarters, stinging nettle, cattails, and a whole host of others.
We also learned that this is the first of a series of three movies. This one was specifically about Spring foraging. The other two are about Summer and Fall foraging. I'm looking forward to seeing them, too, because this one was absolutely fascinating.
Info on her books and movies, as well as on all her upcoming public presentations is on her website (www.tagyerit.com/freefood.htm
). Plus there's brief portions of her movies on YouTube
... I especially recommend the one on chickweed.
"42 Years Apart"
On a completely different note, this past Saturday my family had it's monthly local clan gathering and potluck at my nephew's house in
Williamsburg MA. Somehow that
event didn't make it into my blog that day, but now it has because today I saw some pictures of me trying on a very odd costume hat that no-one else there would try on (pictured left)
It reminded me vividly of my "Little Dutch Boy" Halloween costume hat that I wore as a child in 1967 (pictured right).
In fact, now that I'm looking at these two pictures side-by-side, I'm totally and completely convinced that it's the exact same hat! How many of these can there be? Did my Mom make this or something? And how exactly did it end up at Mike's house 42 years later?
Friday, April 24, 2009
"Yankee Candle Co Again"
As I mentioned in my entry last Sunday would happen, I was back again today doing two shows
at Yankee Candle Co
in South Deerfield MA for school vacation week. My noon show had a huge crowd: All the seats we occupied, people dragged extra chairs over from the adjacent dining area, the center aisle was filled front to back with kids sitting on the floor, a large group of people were standing in the back, plus other folks were watching from the dining area. All told, I counted nearly 90 people watching the first show! I think that's a record for me in this location!
The 3:00 show wasn't quite as full, but there were still a crowd of well over 50 people in the audience. With this second group, there were a couple of kids in the audience that couldn't have been better shills if I had actually recruited them ahead of time (which I didn't!) Between the two of them, they were saying all the right things at exactly the right places. It was terrific! It really made the show go oh so well. What a great place to perform!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
"Candles, Forsythia, and
Good Old Housemates"
For the third time during school vacation week, I did two shows at Yankee Candle Co
in South Deerfield MA today. In complete contrast to my first show
yesterday, the noon show today was very, Very, VERY sparse. I could tell it was going to be when I pulled in because the cars in the parking lot were rather thin. So today, instead of just doing a quick tour of the parts of the store near the stage like I've done in the past when it was like this, this time I walked the entire
store before the show and told every single family
that I was going to be doing a show in 5 or 10 minutes. Nonetheless, I had only about 12 people in the audience when I began. It had swelled to about 20 or so by the end, but for this location, that's a really
small crowd. Still, I think pretty much every single kid in the entire store was there with their accompanying adult(s)!
The afternoon show was a little bigger, with maybe 30-35 people watching. I suspect that it was the combination of the first really warm day of Spring coming on a Saturday that kept most people away today because it was a simply gorgeous, beautiful, warm Spring day outside.
And that marks the end of this season's series at Yankee Candle Company... and I hope there are many, many more because I really love performing there, and the people there LOVE my shows!
After my second show, I got in my little white truck and, instead of going home, I drove north to
a secluded corner of Greenfield to pick up a forsythia bush that I found on Freecycle
. But when I got there, it turns out there were three
bushes available! They weren't in full bloom like the one pictured left, but they will be!
I hadn't really planned so much time for this endeavor -- I did have to dig all of them up and all! -- but there's no way I could turn down three forsytha for the price of one! Especially when the price of one is free for a bit of sweat equity.
And as an extra bonus perk, the lady who was giving them away was a really nice person. She came out and chatted with me most of the 75 minutes it took me to dig them up. She brought me water. She dug up some day lilies for me to take along, too, I guess as a special bonus. She helped get all three bushes out of their holes and into the back of my truck. And she laughed at all my jokes, too! Rob Tatro rocks!
There wasn't any time to unload them when I got home because supper was ready. So after supper I went out to take care of them, and our old housemate Alice and her 3 delightful kids and her newish, "good" boyfriend Joe popped by for a visit a little earlier than expected. Joe immediately volunteered to help me get them off my truck! YAY!
So I drove around back and up the hill at the back of our yard and we unloaded them right near our back patio where they are going to go. I made an executive decision and decided to plant them right then and there even though we had visitors. It's supposed to be really hot tomorrow and they will need their little roots to be underground and lots and lots of water. So I dug three holes, we lugged 'em in, I filled in around them, and turned on the hose. Our forsythia hedge across our backyard just increased in length by a factor of 3! It's now four bushes long. And that's a good start, especially since anywhere a branch tip touches the ground it puts down more roots and send up another shoot; and you can just break branches off and stick them in the ground and most of the time, they'll root. Forsythia is easy
I had nice time hanging with Joe. Eventually,
everyone came out to watch me doing manual labor. When it was done, we all went inside and played in the music room and the play room together until it was time for the kids to go home and go to bed.
What a great visit! Let's do that again real soon!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Today, for the second year in a row it was my great pleasure to entertain at the Autism Resource Center of Central Mass's Annual Walk-A-Thon
at Lake Park in Quinnsigamond State Park in Worcester MA. Over 1,000 people showed up to walk the big track for Autism Awareness. Since I did it last year, I knew what to expect.
The track at Lake Park is one of those HUGE ones that's like a mile long all the way around. (I might be exaggerating, but I don't think so.) and it was absolutely packed
for most of the two hours scheduled for walking. It was amazing how many people were there!
Spread out around the track were a couple dozen booths run by various autism groups, plus a d.j. playing oldies, me on stilts, one of those big inflatable slides for the kids, free water, and the "food court" in the center of the track preparing to feed hot dogs and hamburgers to 1,000 people, plus an ice cream truck in the parking lot.
This walk is very well organized. They've set up teams of 5 - 20 people rallying together around a specific child with autism. Most of the teams had their own t-shirts, signs, and tent-pavilions set up somewhere around the track.
So as everyone was walking the track, I was stiltwalking the opposite direction interacting with the walkers: high fives, little tricks, lots of photo posing. Then when the walking period was winding down and participants were starting to line up for lunch, I did tricks from my Aerial Delights Show for them while the waiting. And then, as lunch was winding down, I took off my stilts and pulled out my parachute and lead a whole bunch of Parachute Games for the final hour.
Afterwards, they asked me if I would return again next year. They asked me several times, in fact, so I guess they want me back, which is great because I absolutely LOVE this event! YAY!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
"One Year Old!"
One year ago today, a group of dedicated people realize a dream in Northampton MA that was 10 years in the making. Today was River Valley Market's 1st Birthday Party!
So, as we tend to do, we had a big party in the parking lot. Live music by The Primate Fiasco new wave dixieland band. Awesome tricks by a local yo-yo expert. Fire dancing by Alita and Co. Stiltwalking by me. A pinata (pictured left). Pin the Tail on the Old Quarry Horse (using a really old photo from the early 1900's when our site was the quarry that provided the stone for paving Rtes 5&10). Free ice cream from Bart's Homemade Ice Cream. Free popcorn. Free cupcakes from RVM's Quarry Cafe. And freshly made fajitas and tamales with all the fixings for sale hot off the outdoor grill.
Plus the necessary speeches. General manager Rochelle Prunty announced that we had exceeded our budgeted sales projections for the year. She specifically thanked several people who were very instrumental to our success, and then presented our first annual Co-op Hero Awards to three very strong supporters who went far beyond the call of duty. After that, the formal part of the program closed with a sweet, sweet song about River Valley Market sung a cappella (and I think written, too,) by a grade school girl.
What an absolutely terrific event! And what a wonderful thing to celebrate: our first year of very successfully serving the community. YAY!
PO Box 463, Haydenville, MA 01039