asakiyume: (november birch)
These cows are here, winter and summer--under these pine trees. Up the hill from them right now is a huge pile of butternut squash which I think? they must be eating? I like them; they are shaggy.

cows in the distance

Black Cow


BTW... there are two entries before this one that I think possibly didn't make it into people's feeds. I did some hijinks with postdating and initially making private entries and then changing them to public, and I think they may have fallen into a friends feed oubliette.

wooly achoo

Sep. 9th, 2018 05:52 pm
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Between tags, which I confess I'm not that fond of, and beautiful murals (such as this new one by the street artist who goes by the name "guache_art"), there are the fancy, elaborate versions of tags that you can see--for instance, on train cars, like these ones parked in B-town.

Here is one labeled "wooly achoo"

IMG_0654

I like the color and circles on this one:

IMG_0653

several more examples )
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I generally like, or at least don't mind, people talking to me, but I *do* notice when it's out of the ordinary. Today, I have the distinct impression that I'd inadvertently sprinkled myself with talk-to-me powder.

First in the supermarket, a girl stocking the shelves, looked up as I approached and said, "Is it raining outside?" (It's not; it's a sunny day.)

"No," I told her, "It's still clear out."

"It's just... " she indicated a rumbling noise coming from overhead. "It sounds like thunder."

"Hmmm, yeah, it does. Could it be the air conditioning units?" We mused for a few minutes more and then I went on with my shopping.

Next, as I was gazing abstractedly at the grass-fed beef, a man came up to me and said, "Is this the grass-fed beef?"

"Yes, all of this," I said. There were about three shelves of little one-pound packages.

"Oh! And it's only $7.00 a pound! That's better than at [competitor supermarket]. Over there it's $9.00."

"Then this is a bargain," I said, though I don't really know what constitutes a bargain in the area of sustainably raised beef. In the end I didn't buy any--I don't know whether the man did or not.

Last was at the farm stand across the way from the supermarket. There's a young guy staffing it, vaguely familiar looking. He obviously had the same feeling about me, because he abruptly said,

"Whose mom are you? You look really familiar."

"What year did you graduate?" I ask back, and it's the same year as my youngest, which is complicated, because (a) she detested high school, and (b) about six months after graduating--and moving overseas--she came out as trans female.... which means her classmates knew her as a boy.

Always in these situations I have to make a snap decision: go into the story, or don't go into the story. This kid seemed friendly enough, but I have no idea what kind of relationship he and my youngest had, or if they even crossed paths. So I asked him if he knew [child's old name] and he said yes, that they'd been in band together.

"Tell him I say hello," he said.

"What's your name?" I asked.

He told me. I reported the whole thing to my youngest via messages. She said asking abrupt questions was very much that guy's personality. I said maybe it wasn't him; after all, I'd been wearing talk-to-me powder.
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
I took my car to the mechanic's yesterday, all dressed in my running gear, because I planned to run a back route back to my house. The mechanic's dad drove up just as I was about to set off and offered me a ride home--he's such a gent; he's given me a ride home in the past. I told him no, this time I was going to get my exercise, but we chatted for a few minutes anyway. The mechanic is about my age (maybe slightly younger... everyone who is about my age is actually slightly younger), and his dad is about my dad's age--with many fewer teeth but more high spirits.

I love the dad--I love talking to him about his past in this town, when it was really a tiny rural farming community. I told him I'd seen a community TV interview with him about going to the one-room schoolhouse they used to have in town. "Oh yeah," he said. "No heat, no running water. Just a wood stove. If you were bad, you had to split the wood for it, so guess who had to split a lot of wood?"

He told me one time he put another kid's boot into the fire! ... Pranks are different when you have a wood stove in the mix!

I was thinking about how different his school experience was from my dad's. My dad went to school in Lexington, Massachusetts. Running water, heat in winter, no splitting wood, no outhouses. Same state, different worlds.
asakiyume: (cloud snow)
I took a break from the work day to walk with the healing angel to Dunkin Donuts--she had an errand there. We walked on the trail. I was amused to see that although New England Central Rail would like to prohibit people from using a particular natural crossing, people have gone right ahead and continued to cross, as both the snowmobile treads and the cut-through in the mound of snow indicate:

trail closed

Do not thwart our paths of desire!

...

There was dance music playing in the Dunkin Donuts. I would like to turn twenty-one on certain weekend evenings and go dancing. I would wear extravagant makeup and cute clothes and flirt with everyone and not mind about making a fool of myself on the dance floor--I would just enjoy the music.
asakiyume: (God)
A truck was pulled up in a driveway in my neighborhood. It said "Devine Overhead Doors." (Here's a photo from the company's website, if you'd like to know precisely what it looked like.) Now, it seems that "overhead door" means a garage door that rolls up, but my thoughts went like this:

Devine Divine Overhead Doors

Divine overhead doors


It reminds me of one of the stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu, where angels poke their heads out of windows in the sky.

In very slightly tangential news, I gave up on Every Heart a Doorway, not for any flaw on its part, but because I realized--belatedly--that I don't like sucking all portal experiences into one framework.
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
I was pleased with how it went. I had a big vat of candy, as usual, and then a glow-in-the-dark plastic pumpkin with the cards in them. (Confused? Entry here.)

This is how the setup looked at about 5 pm:



The jack-o-lanterns are supposed to look like No-Face from Spirited Away (right) and the cat bus from Totoro (left)--the latter without the ears, though, which takes away from the effect. Pleasingly, a number of kids not only recognized No-Face, but commended me for being in what they considered an elite club of people who knew and liked the movie. That's almost as rewarding as when you recognize a kid's costume and are told you're the only person to have done so--which happened when I realized that the girls whose hair had been dyed and stiffened to points were going as crayons.

People were really curious about what the "Halloween Lucky" sign meant and what the lucky cards were supposed to be for. I told them they were just for fun. It was great seeing people congregated at the bottom of the driveway, reading the cards, or hearing kids say, "My lucky ride is a stagecoach! All right!" Or "My lucky ride is a race car--that's what I wanted!" (Lucky ride was the category that elicited the biggest response.) One kid got caber tossing for his lucky sport and sounded disgusted at first, until he read the description of it, and then he seemed pretty pleased. A girl who got fuchsia as her lucky color was dressed in fuchsia, so that was cool.

One dad-aged guy came by without a kid in tow and took a lucky card. "Maybe it will bring me luck," he said, very seriously. I hope so, dude. I hope so.

Many many girls were dressed as cats this year. Is there a popular cat anime out there?

One kid was in a giant inflatable T-rex costume. When he walked, he really looked very lumbering.

Here's the scene from later in the evening, around 7 pm.

asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
I still haven't managed to do any more Inktober sketches, in spite of some excellent prompts, but here's a doodle of a young woman who was in the waiting room at the mechanic's where I went to get my car inspected.

She was perched on one of those molded-plastic chairs that have depressions for your bottom and your back. She had her legs drawn up to her chest and was concentrated fixedly on her phone. She was pretty, but nervous seeming, someone I'd expect to express themselves in waves of rapid speech.

She was having a Prius fixed. Unrelated to whatever its troubles were, it was missing its rear hubcaps. Before it had been missing one, but now it was missing both. "Oh well--now it's symmetrical," the woman said.

One of the mechanics chatted with her as she was paying, from which he (and I) learned that she'd moved to this area from California, which she'd left because of the--what do you guess? Guess anything! I was thinking she'd say wildfires. (Answer is below the picture.)

at the service station

She said traffic. Which I know is bad, based on what friends have told me. But so bad that you move state? And not just to a different state, but 3,000 miles away? There's more to this story than meets the eye. Or ear. It's none of my business, but I do wonder.
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I was driving to the post office, and I noticed that the car in front of me had a sticker of Garnet, from Steven Universe, on the back of the car. Also, the car was from out of state.

Garnet



I haven't watched much Steven Universe, but I've really enjoyed the few episodes I've seen. I felt warmly toward that car. Then, coincidence of coincidences, it turned into the post office parking lot too. "Wow, someone from New York is going to the post office here in B'town," I thought, and also, "I can tell them how much I like their Garnet sticker." I followed the driver into the post office. They got in line; I had to fill out a customs form, so I was standing nearby.

"Excuse me," I said.

"Oh!" they said, startled, and made to get out of my way.

"No, no--you're fine! I just wanted to say, I really like your Garnet sticker, on your car."

"Oh!" they said again, but a pleased and happy one this time. "Thanks!"

Then it was their turn at the counter. On their way out they smiled at me and said goodbye.

I had no clue what gender, if any, they were, but they inhabited their skin and their space with a pleasant, easy charm. They looked more or less like this:

asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
A few weeks ago, my neighborhood had a bunch of KKK newspapers dropped in it. Very upsetting. So, a group of us in town organized a community picnic so everyone in town could reaffirm what sort of town we want the town to be.

Here's a video** from the event. You can see me attempting a bean-bag toss I designed. (I was going to make it an eclipsed sun but decided on a sunflower instead.)



(Here's a picture of just the bean bag toss, after i finished painting it. It has a black piece of tissue paper that hangs down behind it to make the hole look black, but wind has blown it up in this photo)



And here are two views of a mural whose painting I oversaw. That was the most fun: talking to all the kids, parents, and grandparents who participated in the painting.





Last but not least, a local paper's photo essay from the event. The town, like much of the rural New England, is very white, but even very-white New England is diverse if you have open eyes. My neighborhood includes people from Cambodia, Brazil, Romania, and Croatia, and the apartments nearby include families whose first languages are Chinese and Spanish. Religiously, the town is home to people of numerous Christian denominations as well as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, and areligious. In terms of sexual orientation and gender, my near neighbors are a lesbian couple with three teen and young-adult children, and there are several other same-sex couples in town, as well as transgender and genderfluid folks. It includes active-duty members of the armed services, civil-rights activists, people who've been in the region for generations and people who arrived in the past ten years, farmers, tradespeople, professional people, stay-at-home parents, artists, people coping with chronic illnesses and disabilities .... in other words, it's a diverse community, despite the dominantly pale faces it puts forward, and people enjoy it that way. So the KKK can go elsewhere in search of recruits or people to intimidate.


**If you have a Youtube account and feel inclined, you could give it a thumbs up--currently it's got as many negative votes as positive ones (which is to say, one each, heh).
asakiyume: (shaft of light)
Things hanging from a line: it could be grape vines encumbering utility lines...

grape vines on the utility wires

... or, this morning, it could be laundry. I like my new line-lifting pole (a fallen tree bough), it's like a mast.

laundry

Yesterday, our neighbor across the street was celebrating her daughter's college graduation. THIS GIANT RED BIG-RIG CAB was bringing all the boys to the yard. Literally.

Big red truck calls the boys to the yard

Out back that same evening, ferns were green flames in the deep shade. I love ferns; they were my wings in childhood.

Fern-green flame

a rescue

May. 12th, 2017 11:16 am
asakiyume: (bluebird)
I saw a pickup truck pulled up on the opposite side of the road from me as I was driving to do the recycling. As I neared the spot, I saw a catbird just sitting in the road ahead of me, not moving. The burly guy in the pickup truck said, "There's a bird in the road."

I stopped. The guy's lanky companion, who was outside the truck, approached the catbird with a jacket in his hands, to pick it up gently and without touching it. Just as he was about to, the bird fluttered off the road and into the long grass and dandelions. "He tricked me!" said the lanky guy. The guy in the truck shrugged his shoulders and laughed.

I drove on, really happy that those two guys--going in the opposite direction--were willing to stop and help out a catbird in need, even if in the end the catbird declined the offer. IRL goodness.
asakiyume: (more than two)






Today is town meeting in my town. I started to drive there--I'm all upons my civic duty these days--and then I turned around and came back. Why? Because I actually hate town meeting. Not the part where people get a chance to speak for or against something--that can be interesting. No, it's the part where people shout yay or nay to vote on things. Eleven years ago on this very day, I wrote an LJ entry about it.

I like a secret ballot. I **LOVE** a secret ballot. I am intimidated by public shouting and think there may be other people like me. I don't think who-can-shout-the-loudest is the best way to determine the outcome on issues of importance to people in town.

... I got home, and the wood thrush, who has returned to us, was singing.

Have a picture from yesterday: water, sky, something thin and green connecting them.

water, sky


asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I was at an informational event on sanctuary cities and the Massachusetts Safe Communities Act this afternoon, and before it started, I was chatting with Cliff McCarthy, a wonderful local historian (I've shared one of his other stories in the past--a tale of poverty, murder, and arson). This time he told me the extremely dramatic story of Angeline Palmer, a free child of color "hired out" by the town of Amherst (Angeline was an orphan and ward of the town) to work for the Shaw family in Belchertown in the late 1830s. "Right in that house over there," Cliff said, pointing out the window to the house next door to where our event was happening.

You can read the full story at Freedom Stories of the Pioneer Valley, Cliff's history website, but here is the outline--and some highlights. Mason Shaw, known as "Squire Shaw," had gotten swept up in western Massachusetts' "mulberry craze"--he was investing in mulberry trees, with the hopes of making a fortune in the silk industry. He was also trying to *sell* mulberry trees--in 1840, he traveled to Georgia to try to interest farmers there in buying them. While there, he sent a letter to his wife, telling her to bring twelve-year-old Angeline south, where Shaw reckoned he could sell her for $600.

will Angeline be sold into slavery?? )

The story was so dramatic, so empowering, and--at least briefly--had a happy ending. There are no pictures of Angeline! I wish there were--as it is, we'll just have to imagine her. Visit Cliff's page on Angeline to see a sketch of Henry Jackson and a photo of the house from which Angeline was rescued.





asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
There are things I learned related to the marches on Saturday, but I think I'm still working on that learning, so I can't really post about it, though, tangentially, my apolitical neighbor and friend has sent round an email to a bunch of her friends (me included) about staying active and engaged after the marches and after the anti-bigotry potluck that a group in town sponsored last Monday, so one thing I learned is: this is how people become activists. I was full of awe and respect.

At that potluck I found out that the longtime town clerk (now retired), an archetypal Yankee type, lean, with white hair, reserved, but with a nice smile, had been in the Selma march, had been on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis. He's such an understated guy, a dedicated, quiet civil servant. I think I (re)learned something about who heroes are. Maybe they're the guy you're getting your dog license from.

Here, serving on the Board of Selectmen



It ties in with the poem "Ars Poetica #100," by Elizabeth Alexander (available for reading and listening here), these lines in particular:

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?






asakiyume: (cloud snow)






[livejournal.com profile] wakanomori and I went on a New Year's walk yesterday, and we saw signs of beavers



And out in the lake was the beaver lodge:



"What do you think it's like on the inside of the beaver lodge?" Wakanomori asked last night, when we were heading to bed.

"Well, I'm sure there's a sewing machine," I said.

More broadly, something like this. Excuse the blurring on the left--I scanned this Pauline Baynes illustration from my copy of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe



Here, courtesy of the University of Vermont, is what it's more likely to look like:



(More pictures here.)

And here's a diagram from liviniginthewetlands.pbworks.com:


... If people lived in beaver lodges, then C.S. Lewis's imagination would be perfect. But for beavers themselves, the lodge as it is is cozy and just right. Imagine beaver stories that conceive of humans as beaver-pomorphized creatures, still living in dry-land houses, yes, but with moats all around them so the humano-beavers can get in swimming, because what kind of life doesn't have swimming, and of course humano-beavers will eat like beaver-beavers, a diet of the soft bits of trees like willows and aspens, as well as water plants like cattails--but not fish. (Sorry, C.S. Lewis; beavers don't fish or eat fish.) Humano-beavers, like beaver-beavers, will, in beaver children's tales, mate for life, and both parents will devotedly raise their offspring.


asakiyume: (glowing grass)






Some skunks decided to bring their babies into the world behind a pizza place in town. I was so touched to see these signs. The response might have been "Ewww, smelly!" But instead it was these.






asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
The guys who oversee the town transfer station (aka the town dump, but some stuff does get transferred for recycling) keep warm in a tiny room attached to the big pit where the nonrecyclable trash gets tossed. You go in there to buy town trash bags or to renew the sticker for your car that lets you go there. Inside, a TV is often on, and, at this time of year, there's a three-bar heater running.

There are two guys there: one is in his sixties and the other is in his thirties. I was renewing my car sticker, which meant showing my registration. "Oh, you live in Drowned Woods.1 I always get lost driving there," the young guy says. "You know," says the older guy, "I used to go hunting up there, before it was developed. I knew every twist and turn, every stone and tree. But not now."

And then we got to talking, and he told some awesome stories about the town, 50 years ago. When he was little, a grand house that's now down the hill from the town common was right on the common. (It was bought for a dollar and moved to its present location in two halves, for $30,000. Now it's apartments.)

the two-headed calf )

He went on to speculate that they must have belonged to the women's now-deceased husbands or sons. Sure, that's what it must have been ;-)

I asked him about a building that's falling down by the railroad tracks where I used to tap maple trees.

a blacksmith )

Getting to hear town history from an old-timer is so wonderful.

1Not its real name. The development is named after one of the drowned Quabbin towns.


asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
There's a weathervane perched on the tip of the steeple of the Congregational Church in town--I thought at first it was a skeletal fish, but maybe it's just a decorative arrow.... but maybe it is a fish, swimming in the sky ocean.

The birds are not sea birds. Maybe they perch on the fish-arrow the way savannah birds perch on elephants. Maybe they just like the view. So high. Now that I know they cluster there, I look for them every time I pass the church.



And here's a photo of a reflection of the setting sun. It's actually a reflection of a reflection. If you look at this blog post through a mirror, you'll have added some extra layers.



I had some actual words-y content-y sorts of things to share, but pictures are good too. The other stuff comes and goes, and there's always something new. Oh, hey, but one other thing: at the laundromat the other day, I saw a woman, helped by her little son, empty the dollar changer of dollars and put in a whole tubful of quarters--presumably ones taken out of the washers and driers. What a happy closed system. There was a dollar jammed up, which they couldn't get out, and the mom said, "leave it for the spirits of the change machine." A cool thing for her to say. The boy was bumming about it, a little, but a torn dollar bill is no good, in any case.

Phone photos




asakiyume: (miroku)
This is something that started off as an LJ entry, made a detour as a(n unsuccessful) submission to a magazine, and now returns to its earlier purpose: LJ entry.






While her father examined the various antique doors, complete with their door frames, leaning against one of the long walls of the curio shop, Sharon lingered at the front of the shop, attracted by the fanciest pair of binoculars she'd ever seen. They were standing on a tripod--itself quite fancy, decorated with paintings of men in slashed sleeves and striped doublets, holding falcons and mandolins and ornate cups--and facing out the display window. Through the eyepieces, Sharon could see Cold Spring’s town common, and on the far side of the common, an old-fashioned pickup loaded with hay.

“Hey Dad,” she said, knowing his love of old things extended to cars and trucks, “take a look at this truck!” Sharon glanced behind her when her father didn’t respond and saw that he was deep in conversation with the shop proprietor. A quick look out the window showed that the pickup had already moved on, in any case. But something was odd. Sharon bent to look through the binoculars again, then lifted her head and gazed directly out the window, then repeated this.

On the common, near the low spot that the fire department flooded each winter for ice skating, was the broad stump of a sugar maple that had only this summer been cut down. Through the binoculars, however, Sharon saw a tall, slim tree still decades away from the girth of the stump.

“Whoa,” she breathed. Carefully she turned the binoculars on the tripod, so they pointed diagonally across the common at the liquor store and pizza joint inhabiting the old building at the corner. When she peered through the eyepieces, the FedEx drop box beside the building was gone, as were the air conditioning units in the upper windows. Something about the roof of the building’s porch seemed blurred, but by twisting a butterfly-shaped knob in front of the eyepieces, she was able to make a long sign appear there, with peeling paint and faded letters. Another twist of the knob, and the letters appeared clear and crisp: “Bardwell Dry Goods & General Store,” the y of “Dry” and the e of “Store” ending in flourishes. Sharon gasped as a horse-drawn carriage appeared from behind the store. She tipped the binoculars to pull the scene beyond the store into view and saw apple orchards where a Laundromat, gas station, and nail salon ought to be. She turned the knob several times and the apple orchards dissolved into forest.

“Ah-ah-ah, careful with those,” said the proprietor. With a firm hand on Sharon’s shoulder, she moved the girl away from the binoculars. “They’re from the early eighteenth century, made by Pietro Patroni, the Italian pioneer in chrono-optics. They’re temporal binoculars.”

Read more... )

An actual pair of binoculars by Pietro Patroni



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