One down, one to go

I'm moving. The blog, that is. Come check it out at its new, hopefully improved, home, and update your feed reader and links.



If only I could figure out how to embed this video...

Life would be better. Instead, click through, and watch it. You will not be sorry.


What I need to get done before 2:35

Run me and the dog.
Write this week's column for Rural Intelligence. If only a single source would return an email or a phone call, this would be a bit easier. Just a bit.
Finish researching and writing pithy, capsule descriptions of a zillion movies--for the double secret project.
Finishing reading two books and write something witty and wonderful about them--for the double secret project.
Feed the chickens. Gather the eggs.
Pick up the dry cleaning. Drop off the dry cleaning.
Buy the things I forgot to buy at the grocery store yesterday.
Mail things at the post office.
Shower,dress, and look presentable.
Drive to Lenox to get the small people.
It's nearly noon. The forecast is definitely cloudy.

If you haven't already seen this...enjoy. weep. vote.


A for effort and E for eggs

Over there on the far left, you see a nest, made by one of our hens. There are more than 20 eggs there, and she carefully cleared that spot, laid those eggs, and then sat on them diligently until the non-farmer (that would be me) foolishly decided to bring her some food, and scared her off. That was a few days ago, and they're now abandoned. Before I toss them into the woods to be eaten by the foxes and raccoons, I wanted to memorialize her effort. Mostly, domesticated chickens don't do this. They have had the "broodiness" bred right out of them; their instincts are decidedly non-maternal. I could probably hatch some chicks from my hens; I know that many of their eggs are fertile (with three roosters around, that's no surprise) but I'd need an incubator to do it.

Meanwhile, the new girls have begun laying, too, bringing Dido's dreams of a roadside egg stand closer to reality. Their efforts are in that beautiful yellow bowl--I should have put one of the big girls' eggs in for scale, because these new ones are tiny--maybe an inch and a half long. As I did with the first from the original hens, I'll save these. Why, I don't know. Maybe they're like old pictures: reminders of the way things started out, the difficult promise held in every beginning.


Twitter is the new Blog

Sorry about that. I've been tweeting up a storm, but alas, blogging has been elusive. To recap, a few bullet points:

  • We had the Gillibrand/Obama fundraiser, which went really well. We raised a fair bit of money, had 25% of our town's registered Dems there, plus a lot of folks from other places, and proved, I think, to the local party that there is a younger crowd (when I say younger, what I mean is: middle aged) waiting to be tapped. All good. Plus Marshall Crenshaw came and played a couple of tunes, and that's just cool.
  • The day of the fundraiser and the following day, we had family visiting from L.A. We had a fabulous, fun visit, and I think we all ended the weekend feeling warm and fuzzy about each other, which was exactly what we all needed and wanted. It was great.
  • The next day, the kidlets started school. Dido LOVES school this year, loves it more than he ever has, wakes up in the morning raring to go to the point that he gets dressed and often MAKES HIS BED, unprompted. Let's just say that this is unprecedented. The Babe, while slightly less enthusiastic, is subject to the contagion of her brother's good mood, and thus, mornings have been easier.
  • That Friday, I had a big meeting on my double secret project, which went well, though it entailed (I kid you not) hair and makeup. See that pic up above? That's what I look like with hair and makeup. Don't get used to it.
  • Sometime over the weekend, Fiammo, aka the mighty hunter--not, got outside and came back with a weepy eye, which got worse and worse. Monday morning I took him to the vet, only to learn that he had managed to get a puncture wound in his eye. Since that initial visit, we've been medicating daily and have visited the vet three times. Ah, parenthood.
  • The following Monday, we had an impromptu overnight visit from the H's agent and his (the agent's, not the H's--not as far as I know) girlfriend. Apparently, Hollywood will hunt you down. I'm pretty sure when the four of us lunched at our favorite Hudson creperie we made the owner's week. (Ok, in my own defense about this blatant celeb-y news: it's for my best friend from elementary school, who loves this stuff. Blame lovely Mary. Mary, I hope you like this one!)
  • The rest of the week, I was working on the double secret project, working on my (weekly--check 'em out) story for Rural Intelligence, and prepping for our local literary shindig, the "Festival of Books." We had two of the authors (Lily Tuck and Mary Gordon) as our houseguests over the weekend, and I attempted to moderate two author readings/discussions (Lily and Sheila Weller.) I did a better job at the second than the first, much to my chagrin, but the audiences were engaged and asked good questions, and I think the authors were pretty happy--and that's what matters most. In between the two panels, I coordinated desserts for the big dinner shindig for the Festival.
  • This Monday....what the hell happened on Monday? I have no idea. I think I got some writing done. I think. I think I went back to the vet. Again. Or maybe that was Friday? Oh, I know why I don't remember: memory is kind, and allows us to block the things we can't bear. Monday was the day that Dido got the stomach flu, stayed home from school, and the Babe pitched a world-class, diva temper tantrum to try to avoid the cosmic injustice of attending school when her brother was busy running from bed to toilet. While she lost the battle, the outcome of the war remains to be determined. We were twenty minutes late, and both breathing heavily, when I finally, gratefully, deposited her at school.
  • Yesterday, I was down in the barn doing some long overdue chicken primping and cleaning, and felt a twinge in my lower back. This is not a new problem for me: the first time my back "went out", I was standing in the ladies' room at J. Walter Thompson (the ad agency where I worked after I graduated from college). In my own personal Peggy Olson moment, I had to gingerly navigate back to my cubicle and try to make it through the rest of the day in excruciating pain. (As I write this, I am remembering that this was actually not the first episode--how odd. The first time was actually when I was working in a gourmet food shop on Martha's Vineyard. I had totally forgotten. Funny. I digress.) This time seemed mild to moderate, until today, when I had to drive Dido to Springfield, Massachusetts (about 75 miles away) for a follow-up go round with the super duper Orthopedists at Shriner's Hospital. When we arrived, I couldn't get out of the car. No fun for me, and scary for poor Dido. I finally managed to hoist myself out, get him to and through his appointment (he's fine, but the experience today freaked him out because there were some seriously ill and disabled kids at the hospital; seeing them he described as both "scary and sad" and I have to agree. As always, he conducted himself like a total champ: courteous, cooperative and kind. I adore this kid. He is such a love.) We hopped (or, in my case, hobbled) back into the car and headed for Lenox so he could get at least half his school day. When we arrived, I was able to get out to walk him in--hooray! My euphoria was short lived: I collapsed to my knees in the middle of the driveway, just as the landscaper's truck was trying to drive out. Jordan was mortified, and scared that I was going to be roadkill. I managed to, literally, crawl out of the way, and after a few horrible moments, I pulled myself to a stand with his help and walked him into his classroom. I've spent the rest of the day lying in John's special zero gravity fancy-pants back chair, heavily medicated.
I twittered last week that I was fantasizing about knitting, alone, in a quiet room, but this is not the catalyst I imagined. I'll trade the knitting for mobility, thank you very much...Mom, Dan, Chris--am I forgiven? I hope so! (And is everyone proud of me for getting through this whole, long post without once mentioning Voldemort Sarah Palin?)



My excuses, part 1

It has been so long since I've blogged that my mother is expressing both irritation and concern. The rest of you, I presume, have just given up on me, and rightly so.

It's been a busy few weeks out here at Runaround Farm. I promise to give the recap if not tonight, maybe tomorrow or worst, the next day. I miss blogging, and at least I know my sweet mom misses it, too.



When will I ever learn?

What song is that from? I can hear it, a chorus, in my head, but can't name that tune. Says something about the state of my brain these days. I am hiding in our guest room, writing my next piece for Rural Intelligence, blogging (duh) and fighting a headache of unknown origin. Miraculously, the kidlets are leaving me more or less alone, though they discovered my hiding place about 30 minutes ago. I was reminded today of one of the lessons I had already learned (duh) about life in a small town. Why do I always need to be smacked on the head? Please, someone, tell me why.

We are hosting a political shindig here this weekend, donations to Obama and Gillibrand, our Congresswoman, encouraged. It started as an Obama fundraiser and morphed, without my instigation though without my opposition, into a joint event. Then, as I am wont to do, I checked out a bit--though I was happy to have the event here, I didn't want to run point on its many details. When I saw the invitation, I definitely blew a gasket--it was all about Gillibrand, no mention of Obama. I am a supporter of Gillibrand, but it wasn't what I'd signed up for, and I was frustrated. I complained to a friend or two, vented to John, told the other organizers my feelings--I was actually proud of myself for confronting the issue directly, rather than simply stewing. Long, boring story slightly less long---dinner party gossip began, and resulted in the real organizers being told that I wasn't even going to show up at my own party, so irate was I at the supposed omission of Obama. Worse, other people apparently started to say they wouldn't come either, as Obama was being left out of the event. Egads.

This is kind of like the time last year when lovely neighbors stopped by to let us know that we were the subject of gossip in town--rumor had it we were planning to tear down our barns, reasons unknown! Umm, no. No such plans. This is what it is to live in a small town--with not much new happening day to day, games of telephone begin and grievances are magnified; an off the cuff complaint turns into a showdown. I don't know the source of either set of rumors (though I'm sure I could speculate) and it ultimately doesn't matter. It's just a reminder of why, in this kind of an environment (as in an office, say) feelings are best kept close.