Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Me, also on top of Sentinel. Posted by Picasa


Kate on top of Mount Sentinel, wearing the shell I gave her for Christmas and carrying a set of yaktrax she obtained in the same manner. Posted by Picasa

View from about a mile in on Trail #11, which connects the Kim Williams Trail to the Crazy Canyon Trail. We then took the Crazy Canyon Trail north to the top of Mount Sentinel.  Posted by Picasa

We found our eagle in one of his usual spots, perched on a dead tree above the Kim Williams Trail, looking out over the river. He didn't even flinch as we walked by.  Posted by Picasa

Tree and Cards Posted by Picasa


Very Merry

Kate and I picked out a little potted tree and set it up tonight. I found a set of LED lights for not too much, so the tree won't dry out. LED's also use about a tenth the power of traditional lights. Anyway, it's hard to see here, but there are a few presents under the tree, courtesy my parents and grandmother. Thanks, guys! Thanks also to Nicole, as we have heard that some skis for us to test out are on their way west. Maybe I'll get Kate to brave the Snowbowl road with me after all! I really love Christmas, always have. Here's hoping this is the last one we have to spend away from family for a long, long time. Posted by Picasa


Cape Cod III: Settling In

After a while on the Cape, I got more used to the traffic and parking issues and started to discover places where there was good public access to the water, despite what the signs posted or fences erected by the nieghbors might have implied. During my second summer on the Cape, I bought a small skimboard from a tacky beach store. I took it out to Mayflower Beach in Dennis, where there are near enless expanses of flat sand at low tide. I learned to ride the board on the flatwater edge of the beach. By the end of the summer, I had built my own board, picking up some rudimentry fiberglassing skills in the process. By the end of the next summer, I was riding the steep rocky beaches at Nauset in Orleans. Somewhere in there, I rode waves generated by hurricane Fabian that were more than twice my height. Actually, to say I rode those waves is an overstatement. I rode the thin water down to the breaks, then kicked the board away and ran back up the beach, away from the massive breaking swells. I lost a board to thagt storm, but built many more. My time at Nauset also yielded whale and seal sightings. I got a decent camera, and then a primitive camera as well. I discovered slide film. I got into night photograpy and shot star trails in Marston's Mills while coyotes howled over the nearby cranberry bogs. I moved into a small cottage in Brewster that shook whenever I walked acrooss the floor. Onmy runs in that area, I spotted a fox basking in the sun in a meadow I used to pass by. She had all four legs in the air, and the closest thing I have ever seen to a smile on an animal. I discovered Portugese bakeries, sunsets, the Hot Chocolate Sparrow, woodworking, the National Seashore, cooking, wearing a wetsuit to swim in April, Great Island in Wellfleet, and so many other things. I discovered what it was like to live closer to a major city, to take the commuter train or the T into Boston and spend a day there at one of the Italian festival days in the Old North End, the Boston Symphony and Beethoven. I discovered what it felt like to be an outsider in my home state when I drove I-89 in Vermont with a Massachusetts plate on my car. I think as I got used to living on the Cape, I got used to the idea that I could live anywhere and that there would be beauty and good friends and local landmarks and legends to find. Northern New York has Dick's Guns, Gas, Groceries and Guitars. The Cape had Jack's Outback, a restaurant where the cartoonist Edward Gorey used to hang out, the tip jar was labeled "widows and orphans fund," and the more abusive Jack was toward you, the more he liked you. I only ate there once- when Gorey was already dead and Jack was in his last years- but I remember the crows that shuffled around in the snow outside the windows like old men while we ate our shepherd's pie.


On the Ropes

Today was a ski day, more instructor training at the Snowbowl. We spent most of the morning on the rope tow going over the typical "never-ever" lesson and then headed up the chairlift, which promptly popped a pulley and came to a grinding halt. A grinding smoking halt, actually, that lasted from 11:15 in the morning through the rest of the day. We had to be lowered from our chairs by the ski patrol, who use a fairly primitive rope and sling system for this purpose. It worked like a charm and I only ended up spending about 45 minutes hanging from the chair. Since it was a blue-sky 35 degree day with no wind, I suppose those 45 minutes could have been spent in far worse circumstances. I tried to take a photo of the proceedings with my cell phone, but it did not save.

After all the excitement, I sat down by the lodge and ate my lunch (leftover turkey leg and two clementines) in the sun. I headed home- Kate and I got over to the Blue Mountain area for an afternoon hike until it got too dark to see. We also happened upon the largest sledding area in Missoula, where there were probably a few hundred people riding inner tubes, cardboard boxes and all manner of plastic sleds. There were also a bunch of campfires going. It all felt very Currier and Ives, save perhaps the brown smog that hung over the city below.

Later, Kate and Ben and I went downtown to this little place that looks like a coffee bar but only sells chocolates and a few desserts. I had a mojito truffle, though the masala, strawberry and ten year old balsamic vinagrette, and spanish roasted paprika truffles all looked intriguing. Stopping into a place like this for a chocolate and to look over a new copy of Gourmet was a great alternative to the usual coffee routine, and it is fun to sit and enjoy that one truffle, not like picking a chocolate out of a box but selecting just the one divine flavor to experience for the night. My mojito truffle tasted cool and refreshing without conflicting with the rich chocolate and had nice big sugar crystals on top that broke apart gently in my mouth. Good stuff, and we'll be back again- maybe to try the fennel truffle?

So tomorrow is an REI day. Going forward and certainly by the new year, I hope to be working my regular five days/forty hours per week for the county, also pulling two closing shifts during the week at REI. I'll also work at REI on my saturdays and teach at the Snowbowl on sundays. My schedule will be really packed, but it is the beginning of climbing out of the debt I've incurred in the last two years, between law school and being unemployed.

The real challenge in all of this will be twofold: First, I really want to try to maintain perspective on work and keep it in its place. I guess I feel like with my last two jobs I talked about them a lot in social settings and with family, and by doing so I became those jobs. I don't want to do that again, and if the idea of this blog, of re-turning, reshaping myself in the image of my critical values and my creative endeavors is to come to fruition, I must not. Instead, I have to approach work with my whole heart when I am there (which I've never really done before) and I have to approach poetry, photography, writing, reading, love and recreation with the same whole-heartedness when I do those things (This would also be a first). I don't want this blog to be a work journal, a gripe journal, or anything else of the sort. So it won't be.

To write better poetry, I think I have to read far more great poetry (and prose). I think any writing is good for poetry writing as well, so I have to keep blogging. But I also have to make a more conscious effort to produce writing that is art and not just text. It doeasn't have to be great stuff, it just has to be here. For now, anyway. I feel the same way about photography. I hope to get a scanner soon so I can start getting some slides scanned in and posted here. There's a great commitment that accompanies shooting with film, kind of like writing in ink as opposed to using a pencil or word processor. I want to take great photographs, get out my holga and take primitive photgraphs on big film, and I want to consume and make poems again in the way I saw myself doing at the end of college.


Juggling Jobs in Missoula, Part I

Sunset on another busy day. Since I've last written, I've been hired on as an associate planner for the city and county of Missoula and I have continued working at REI. I'll be juggling the two schedules along with teaching lessons at the Snowbowl up until Christmas, then I'll be going full time at the county, part time at REI, and probably just one weekend day at the Snowbowl, if they'll let me! I spent about an hour at the county offices today organizing my cubicle and getting familiar with some of the regulations I'll be working with, then off to REI for a full day, but home in time to catch a pink sky as temperatures climbed out of the single digits for the first time in days. Posted by Picasa


Job Interviews in Missoula, Part III

Today was my "interview" to be a ski instructor at the Montana Snowbowl. I was hired and will be returning there tomorrow for another day of training and to complete the necessary paperwork. The money is bad, $5.50 and hour with a dollar for each kid in your lesson. That's what I've heard anyway. This was also my first day on skis since last season and I felt a little rusty as we plowed through crud, dense powder, windpack, slippery groomed stuff, and the occasional man made pile of ice. I made it through the day without looking like a total fool, though I would not say I was the most rock-solid skier of the group. I held my own. The Snowbowl itself is nice. It is a totally different experience from any eastern ski resort I've ever been to, and teaching there will be a far cry from my days at Sugarbush. There are no crowds from New Jersey, New York and Boston here, no busloads of people on the mountain, and no safety bars on the chairlifts. Still, there will be kids who are there to learn to ski and I'll be there to help, I'll be skiing without paying for a pass, and I'll be making a bit of money in the process.


Job Interviews in Missoula, Part II

So I had my second real job interview in Missoula today, to be an associate planner with the county/city. It felt nice to put on a suit again, anyway. I had no idea I'd be interviewing with the entire staff there, but so it was and I rolled with the punches as they went around the table, asking me questions they had listed on a sheet, including one where they rolled out a subdicvision map and asked me to identify any issues I would see witht he particular plan. I think I either did really well with that, or they were simply all really encouraging. I spent about an hour with the group, asking and answering questions, trying to fill them in as much as possible on my work experience, as it seemed that they were all working off my couty-gernerated application form and not my nice shiny resume and cover letter. This probably has something to do with county practices and procedures for fair hiring, but I can't be sure. I have to keep my fingers crossed until sometime next week, when they promised to call me back. My heart skipped a beat when they called later today, only to inform me that as I left I put down my folder with my resumes in it and left it in the lobby! I hope that doesn't reflect on me too badly or at least that I'll have a chance to make myself look a little better when I go back to pick it up tomorrow.


There is a bit of real snow on the ground today and it doesn't look like it will be letting up any time soon. Temperatures have dipped into the teens and twenties after hovering in the thirties all week. With any luck the Snowbowl will be able to open up with top to bottom skiing this week, and the soft snow will make me look even more graceful at the hiring clinic! Posted by Picasa


The Fog Lifts

The fog lifted sometime yesterday morning, giving way to a high ceiling of thick clouds and a little bit of snow. Temperatures are in the mid 30's right now, and are showing just under 30 at the top of the Snowbowl, which opened today, downloading only with a 300 skier limit. I think I'll try to take out a shop pass on wednesday or thursday this week so I canget a few turns in before the instructor hiring clinic on saturday. They haven't been able to make much snow, as they have been up in the sun at 30 degrees with 90% humidity for the last week. They are reporting an inch of new snow at the top, though. Hopefully they can make some rapid progress before Christmas week.


Grand Finale

After a post-dinner walk on the Clark Fork River, pie is served with the ice cream we churned out this morning. Following dessert I picked the turkey clean and boiled the bones down for stock. We stored everything and should have some decent leftovers for quite a while! I would say that our first family Thanksgiving was a success, but we missed our parents and relatives and hope to be able to be back east and home for the holidays the next time around. Posted by Picasa


Our table. We only have two chairs so Ben volunteered to eat his sitting on the ball.  Posted by Picasa

The dinner spread, probably about enough food for eight. We didn't even put a dent in this but all the baking dishes come with covers and there's plenty of room in the fridge.  Posted by Picasa

The star of the show emerges.  Posted by Picasa

What to do with all the egg whites left over from making the ice cream mix? Egg white and spinach omelette with a little goat cheese. Posted by Picasa
The star of the show has come out of the brine, been stuffed with spices and our last apple from Boyer's Orchard in Monkton. It went in the oven at 500 for the first 30 minutes, and this is what it looked like after that. Now it goes back in for a slower roast. Posted by Picasa

The ice cream rig for the stand mixer does a good job of freezing up the mix in about 20 minutes.  Posted by Picasa

The ice cream mix is cooked before chilling overnight for freezing tomorrow morning.  Posted by Picasa

Giblets, onions, and parsley with a little black pepper get cooked down as a add-in for the stuffing.  Posted by Picasa

Out of round pie pans, the massive apple pie ends up in the square pyrex dish. It's a little big, but I don't think anyone will mind.  Posted by Picasa

The turkey has begun its overnight soak in the brine mixture. The temp outside on the porch is 26, so I don't think it will freeze tonight but I also think it will stay plenty cold.  Posted by Picasa

Pie #2, the classic pumpkin, per recipe on the can. This and the pie below it use a premade crust. I can't believe none of this filling spilled out upon expanding in the oven or just from my jostling it putting it in.  Posted by Picasa

This was the first pie to come out- it looked pretty good but did collapse a little bit upon cooling.  Posted by Picasa

The cranberry sauce started out this morning with fresh berries, sugar, and orange rind. It has been cooking down in the crock pot all day.  Posted by Picasa


Operation: Thanksgiving

Believe it or not, you are looking at the smallest turkey available for purchase at Costco, where Ben and I went shopping today. It's a mere 17-pounder. The three of us should have no problem polishing that off, right? Thank goodness for ziplock bags and a near-empty freezer. The problem is there's no way this thing is going to thaw in the fridge in time for T-Day, and what you are looking at is the solution- thawing the turkey in water, which is cold and continuosly flowing from the shower sprayer into the cooler. This provides for a rate of exchange in excess of the full change of water required every 30 minutes by the FDA or whoever makes the rules about these things, to be on the safe side. After this treatment, the turkey will get some fridge time followed by a 6-8 hour soak in a brine made following Alton Brown's turkey recipe from FoodNetwork. Until then, we are stuck with something in the shower that looks like it's straight out of E.T. Posted by Picasa



Nasty frozen fog outside again today, as shown in the picture below. My thermometer shows 31 degrees outside. The biggest problem is this means it's probably 35 in the sun up at the Snowbowl and their snowmaking won't work in those conditions. I heard from the ski school director yesterday through my boss at REI that they'll be lucky to have the T-bar open for the first weekend. Judging by the intensity of the sun up there, they'll be lucky to do that unless the wether changes.

Today's Fog Posted by Picasa


Out of the Soup

I got out of work at 2:30 today and took off for the Ravine Trail to try to hike up above the fog, which at this point looks like it will be staying in Missoula through the Thanksgiving holiday. I was up and out of the fog within a quarter mile and made the five mile round trip an about an hour and 45 minutes. I paused to take a few pictures and have posted them below. It was nice to get up into the sun and some of the balsam firs smelled so sweet that I kept thinking I smelled maple sap boiling. The sun was just so intense, and it must have cooked the trees all day. At any rate, sorry about the poor picture quality, but my only digital camera option at the moment is my video camera. Better than nothing.

Turnaround Point (my hat, too- nothing but bright sun up here) Posted by Picasa