Saturday, July 4, 2009

N.E. Road Trip

Like I said, it's summer and all, and computing is not on the top of my list. I was out of town for a week, driving in a huge triangle with points in Boston, northern VT and the Hudson valley in NY, while visiting friends and family. The pic above is with my lovely niece, who is getting her M.A. in writing from Emerson. It was taken at her place of employment, a bookstore within walking distance of Harvard University.

The Boston/Cambridge area is crazy with bookstores, a number of them specializing in a particular genre, like the Grolier Poetry Bookshop. Poetry-only bookstore = We're not in Kansas, anymore. In fact, there are eighty indie book stores in the state of Massachusetts, according to the American Booksellers Association directory. I couldn't help but wonder if a recent report by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, which ranked Massachusetts as having the lowest rate of obesity in the United States, could be correlated with the number of independent bookstores. The "fattest" state, Mississippi, has only eleven members in the ABA directory. See?--books make you thin.

Abbott Memorial Library, jahfool (Creative Commons)

On the way to northern Vermont, I stayed in Woodstock overnight. Even though it was after 5:00, the long summer light afforded me an opportunity to drive high up into the mountains near town. Before heading back, I stopped in the crossroads of Teago, which technically is part of South Pomfret. It was late, but the lights were on in the pretty little library located on one of the two roads, named appropriately enough, "Library Street." I tried the front door--it was open! An elderly Pekinese waddled up to me and wuffed once or twice. "Hellooo..?" called out a woman's voice from a back room. I had walked into the library board meeting. They were struggling to write a mission statement. I stayed and chatted a while, mostly about libraries and mission statements, and then headed back to Woodstock for dinner.

Some of the vacation was spent hanging out with my former CCAD classmates Grant and Roger. Grant, who lives near Burlington, started illustrating catalogs for an outdoor shoe company. He now diagrams and designs prototypes of the same. As we made our way up Mt. Philo, Grant was able to identify some of his shoes on fellow hikers. This is a pic of him in his home studio with his (shoe-crazy) lab Mavis. This is only about a third of the shoes and boots in his studio. Behind him is a portrait of young Grant by our classmate Jean, and his delightful Halloween troll costume, made with a gray sweatshirt and a ton of ingenuity.

Grant's wife Hope is a talented quilter, and recently won the Governor's Award at the VT Quilt Festival for "Honey, I'm Home" (scroll down).

Roger is a sculpture technician in the Fine Arts program at SUNY. That means he maintains equipment and materials needed for sculpture, and trains and advises students on techniques, like pouring in the foundry, for example. A big part of his job is maintaining safety. Nearly every sculpture technique looks like it could potentially kill or maim--at least to me. I remember my freshman year 3-D Design class, and my terror of the power tools. Upperclassmen enjoyed telling us tales like the one about the girl who let her long hair drop into the belt sander. That one may have been apocryphal.

Anyway, I digress. Above is Roger and and his partner Robin. She is a painter, and her work focuses on images of pets, toys and our emotional projections thereon. They have a home in a beautiful wooded glen near New Paltz. There's a few celebrity summer people in New Paltz; Roger once saw Robert De Niro at the grocery store, looking so unassuming as to be nearly unrecognizable. It was the tall, fiercely Teutonic-looking woman standing next to De Niro who initially caught his attention. Uma Thurman? I'm jealous; all we have here is Oprah. I once was in the checkout line behind Lester Holt when he was still a local anchor. He was buying canned green beans, for god's sake.

Good people, good trip, many lessons learned (e.g. do not eat clams in Vermont).


Josh said...

don't even tell me you drove right through montpelier and didn't stop to say hi. or babysit.

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...'re right! I'm so sorry! Good excuse to visit Vermont again.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great seeing that photo of L.A. The last time I saw her she was, what, 10 years old?

Larry B.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant L.F.

Larry B.