Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Much Too Short Weekend: Montpelier, VT

True story: I have been delayed on posting because I keep wanting to post about Vermont, and just haven't done it.  So, without (any more) delay, our trip to Montpelier, capitol of Vermont and home to our friends James and Emily:

August 10, 2012: New York, NY to Montpelier, VT
On the subway in the morning.
I left work early on Friday, thanks to our last summer Friday of the year.  I hadn't really taken advantage of them this year, so I was glad to be spending the final one really enjoying myself.  I took the train up from Grand Central, and met Roger and Rob at the Harlem station.  Cece picked the three of us up in Peekskill, and after a quick stop at my parents' house to get my sleeping pad and blankets, we all headed north to New England.  We hit some pretty bad traffic once we got to Connecticut, and because we were so delayed, had to stop for dinner on the way.  James suggested we go to Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.  It turned out to be a great choice - the food, beer, and atmosphere were all awesome.  I had a pumpkin beer (because apparently I can't be in New England without pretending it's autumn) and some really delicious clam chowder.  I wish we'd been able to go for a brewery tour or even just hang out there longer, but it was getting late and we still had a way to go to get to James and Emily's house in Montpelier.
Me at Harpoon Brewery.
We didn't hit traffic the rest of the way, and ended up getting to Montpelier around 10pm, a few hours after Dave had arrived.  It was great to catch up with everyone, and we hung around for a while before heading to bed.

August 11, 2012: Montpelier, VT

View from the Hubbard Park Tower.
We started our Saturday at a really wonderful coffee-shop, Capitol Grounds, and walked around Montpelier before getting breakfast at the Montpelier Farmers Market.  The market was really nice, and had a good balance of groceries and prepared foods.  The New England Culinary Institute was giving out some really delicious fried green tomatoes, and that was a lot of fun.

We walked around Montpelier some more, passing the government buildings where Emily works, and walking through Hubbard Park and up the tower there.  I was pretty amazed at how quickly we went from town to nature, and that was around the moment when I decided I should probably move to Vermont.
On the way to the lake.

We went back to the house after that, because Emily had to go to a meeting in New York.  The rest of us picked up supplies for a picnic at Hunger Mountain, a really lovely coop, and headed to a local park for lunch and some swimming.  We talked about renting one of the kayaks there, but ended up just hanging around for a while before heading back to Montpelier for drinks at the Three Penny Taproom.  It had a really nice, quiet vibe (Roger was especially excited to see people working on laptops there), and the beer selection was great.  That evening, we grilled sausages for dinner and played board games until 2am.  That's about when I decided I should definitely move to Vermont.

Sunday, August 12, 2012: Montpelier, VT to New York, NY

We ended our weekend with a final meal together at the Skinny Pancake, which I loved, even though some of my travel companions didn't.  I had the Noah's Ark, and the highlight was definitely the frumple cakes, which they describe as "a sweet crêpe cooked briefly, then twisted into a light pile of pancake, topped with powdered and cinnamon sugar."  They were light and delicious, and perfect with the local eggs and bacon.  One of my favorite things about the weekend was how focused every place we went seemed to be on supporting local farms and people in the town.  It felt friendlier and happier than anyone I'd been in a while, and I loved that.

Emily, Roger, and Rob outside of Rivendell Books.
We wandered around Rivendell Books, where (after years of talking about it!) I finally bought a used copy of the Moosewood Cookbook.  It seemed like the perfect souvenir of a very happy weekend.  I drove Cece's car home, because she wasn't feeling well, and she, Rob, Roger and I grabbed hibachi before taking the train back to the city.  It's worth noting that as soon as we got on the bus in Harlem, the demeanor of everyone had noticeably changed, and people were suddenly cranky about our bags, packed together like the sad sardines we are.  Much of the time, I love living here, but on that particular Sunday evening, I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be less.

So, of course, another trip up to see our friends is in the works for the fall!  Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gratituesday: Summer

I set a number of goals at the start of the summer, and while I did do a few of them (visiting Atlantic City, running the Putnam County Classic, and rolling over my TIAA-CREF account), I barely scratched the surface of the things I thought were most important.  I wrote and edited a tiny bit, but didn't send out a single poem this summer.  I edited my CV a little, but didn't finish it, and never went back to career counseling to have a final edit on it.  I had a wonderful photographer take some portraits of me, but didn't create a professional website for myself.

And today, we second-years hosted the first-years in a meet-and-greet happy hour, and so the year has started.  Classes start next Tuesday, and I'm so, so excited for them, but I'm also feeling unprepared.  Today, walking over to the writers house, I realized that the friends I have who are more successful than me aren't necessarily better poets.  They just work much harder at it than I do.  So, this is my goal: work harder. 

I know it's going to be an uphill climb.  But I feel I have to give this my best shot, because this is the last year I'll be in school, possibly forever, and I need to give it my all.  I need to work at becoming the person I want to be.  I'm not sure where this leaves this blog, but I'm sure I'll continue to write in here when I can, so please don't delete me from your readers just yet.  I'm just feeling more comfortable with visual social media right now, so there's been a lot more Instagram, and a lot less long-form blogging.

And in the meantime, you can check in on the visual representation of who I want to be (no, seriously) at my latest online obsession, Pinterest.  When I started subscribing to catalogues and reading The Preppy Handbook and cutting out pictures to put in my diary, I realized it was time to get a Pinterest, and honestly, I quite like it.  It feels good to get all these things in one spot, as if it takes the pressure off me to actually do everything at once.  Since getting it, I've been better about cooking, about working out, and about dressing well.  I'm feeling slightly more conscious, after a summer of mostly wandering around lost.  I'm also thinking, however slowly, about reviving Call & Response.

It's an uphill climb, but I'm ready for more challenges, for shorter days and longer books.  Welcome, autumn.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gratituesday: Our Newly Painted Kitchen

I think the heart of most homes is the kitchen.  It's filled with sensory delights, and is usually the warmest spot in the house.  I've always loved sitting around in the kitchen, talking and making a general nuisance out of myself.  I sometimes say that we didn't eat family dinners together when I was little, which is mostly true, but my grandmother did sit with my sister and I while we ate, and then my sister and I usually sat with my parents while they ate, and it's always been a time to catch up on the day and sometimes cry about homework.  This is as true now as it was then.

There are some things I don't like about our kitchen, mainly that it's small and we don't really have room for a stand-up mixer or to keep our food processor out or keep a ton of people in there with us while we're cooking, and also that I have to do dishes in it.  I'd also like to add in more open shelving to display my dishes and cookbooks eventually.  But, for now, it's a cozy little spot, particularly when it's just Roger and me in there.  I hope that one day we can have a big kitchen with lots of counter space and an island and a dishwasher and a huge stove, but for now, this fits our needs and feels like home.

And, since Roger painted it while I was away a few weekends ago, it's also one of the brightest, happiest spots in the house.  I really do love it.