Category Archives: life

Bearded irises & bears

When winter is over, warmer days come, and they bring with them a chance to grow. There is some underlying force that comes in the air and drives me to garden shops to buy annuals, perennials and vegetable starters. It’s in the scent of freshly cut grass, the magic carpet of color that takes over my lawn, and the birds that loudly visit my feeder. I am a sucker for the gardening magazine, and I order plants based on the colors presented in the periodicals – not very scientific, but I am a truly visual person. I love reds, purples, fuchsia with black and white thrown in. I’m not vying for the local garden tour; I’m not sure what I am vying for, except the beautiful sense of peace my garden gives me.

My backyard is a visiting area for wild animals, especially deer, woodchucks and even a bear. I have somehow come to terms with what I plant being vulnerable to local wildlife. I’ll still try to fool them as much as possible, but I no longer get anxious about “plant loss,” although I still always feel a tinge of disappointment watching my garden get eaten by someone besides me.

This may seem like an exhibit more appropriate for spring time than a fall warmup. But there is hope in the inevitable change of the season, as one couldn’t exist without the other. As I tramp around outside, there are endless reminders of what grew and what to look forward to. And now I’ll have more time for my Peloton.  If you have a second, enjoy some highlights from this year.

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Field Report: Kelly’s Snack Shack

You can’t judge a building by its prominent vent, especially in Vermont. Formerly called “Doreen’s,” Kelly’s Snack Shack is a very small seasonal drive-in in Wallingford, VT that could pass as a gas station from another life, serving a mishmash of unpretentious local fare. You might be inclined to skip it, especially when you see the line; Kelly’s takes social distancing very seriously, as you can tell by the construction pile-ons every six feet. But if you use the wait to relax and reflect, you’ll be completely surprised at the end result. It’s hard to go wrong with anything from the sandwiches and hot dogs to chili fries and onion rings, but one personal highlight is the small chocolate cremee, which for the uninitiated is chocolate and vanilla combined in a cone.

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It’s so big that you end up with the Cremee Tower of Pisa, and the laws of physics make it generally impossible to finish before some damage is done. But even the light brown mix at the bottom of the cone is truly sublime. If Congress was as blended as a cremee, could bipartisanship taste as good? Okay, enough politics. But whether you’re into sweet or savory, head to Kelly’s before the snow comes and break some blended bread.

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The Art of Distraction

by Tucker Angier 

For me, the key to balance in life has always been a healthy separation between work and play. It can be a physical separation like creating a “work nook” in my apartment, or a mental one like delegating time for a hobby, or doing truly nothing; as long as I rigorously stick to these distinct borders, I find I create a positive feedback loop that benefits me and everyone in my life (just ask Hannah, my girlfriend). So as you might imagine, things got a bit tricky in March. Navigating a seven-hundred square foot apartment in downtown Chicago was not beneficial to any of the parties involved, and Hannah’s forty-pound piglet, Bernie, took up far more space than one would think. Read more…

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Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge announces an unprecedented $56 million gift to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Photo Credit: 13 Photography

 

I pulled into a water stop, wolfed down a few bites of peanut butter and fluff, topped off my water bottle, and turned to jump back on my bike when Linda – my wife of 28 years and my “domestique” for 13 –  pulled me back for some advice… Read more…

Thank you to my Spirit Riders who raised $12,400 towards this mind-boggling amount.

Another year, another victory!!!

We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.
We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers,
From Prague, Paris, and Amsterdam,
And because we are only made of fabric and leather
And not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire. 

~Moses Schulstein
Holocaust Memorial Museum, DC