#SummerWins

Adrift on whim I spiral here and there during the short summer in Vermont. On the luckiest of days I answer topicisto-20150713104639-113274 no one, dismiss errands, and banish have-to’s completely. Apparently, according to several research studies, “The mere thought of pleasant alternatives made people concentrate less” (Konnikova). Beyond my morning ritual of brewing a cup of strong black tea, I set my day’s course as casual as possible. Hot afternoons are spent near a local lake, cooler evenings cruising along on the bike path. In my back field, among the hillside of green ferns, purple flowers grab my attention; I waste away an afternoon photographing countless budding lupines. My fascination over this wildflower originated from a children’s book, Miss Rumphius, which I read to my daughter over and over. Lupines produce offspring freely, and these grow to flower and make more lupines than you can count. Fields are quickly over-run with these colorful spikes and while the environmentalist might look at them as an invasion, I see the rainbow of lupines as pure joy!

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Summer Place, 2

Summer is the perfect season for spontaneity and there is no better place than Vermont to make spur of the minute side ventures happen. This week alone I’ve grilled (okay eaten but fully watched the grilling) corn and chicken, swam across the local lake multiple times, picked picisto-20150709082936-9525086 more quarts of strawberries for jam, biked along my favorite recreation path with the ‘bitchin babes’, luncheoned with my dearest (and recently returned) snow-birds who form 1/2 of my writers’ group, enjoyed two outdoor concerts, first a full orchestra high up on the von Trapps’ mountain with fireworks popping during the overture, then dinner listening to my friends’ blues band while overlooking Lake Champlain, started stacking wood for the winter (well, not exactly fun, but having it delivered this week was pure luck!); I braved a plunge into the frigid river waterfall, ate ice cream more than once, drank plenty of pink wine (my new obsession this summer, although I do believe most grown-ups call it rosé) watched (from my bed) the sunrise and (from my deck) the sunset and thoroughly enjoyed every brilliant and warm second in between, and yet, haven’t sat down to write a word! I did manage to glance back through my blog,  and found an apropos summer post from 2012. I truly hope you enjoy this golden oldie reposted below. Afterwards, please go outside and enjoy SUMMER too! xxoo

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Strawberry Fields Forever

Nine Cent Girl:

I’m on VACATION so….posting slipped my mind last night. HOWEVER, today, tomorrow, or whenever possible, I want to encourage you, dear reader, to make some fresh jam (it’s strawberry season in VT, so that’s what is cooking on our stove). Simply stated: Life is so much better with jam. So much, trust me! xxoo

Originally posted on Nine Cent Girl:

farmstandVermont is “Pick Your Own” territory: from summer berries to fall apples we have the opportunity to visit farms and orchards to handpick any number of fruit, much of it organic.

Despite a very wet June the strawberry crop at River Berry Farm was coming beautifully, although later than typical. In between the rain storms rolling through our valley I had a fortuitous and dry hour-long window to pick six quarts of ripe and wonderfully sweet strawberries.

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for all of us

Last week while still in Louisville I had the good fortune to hear Richard Blanco retell his story: from immigrant to inaugural poet for Obama in 2013. The story he shared is fabulous, filled with colorful elaboration, detailing his parents’ bold move from Cuba to Miami, recalling his fascinating childhood to his own journey as a poet. He moved his audience to tears and laughter, from the nostalgia of the past to the shared hope for the future. His story touched us all as pieces of it became our own. How he was picked by the White House is a mystery, even to him, but once we all heard his voice ring out over the capital on that cold January day, that no longer mattered. Richard Blanco is all of us.

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“look up and out” #again

I’ve just returned from scoring AP English Literature exams, 1400 of them to be exact, and I will not pretend to have much of a brain left to blog. But besides that reality, this post, which I wrote a few years ago, speaks of my experience then, and is echoed just as vividly now. There are multiple worlds that collide while I am in Louisville: the privileged AP students whose essays I am reading and the homeless camping about the city. I have no answers to our national questions of poverty and race and inequality, only these brief personal reflections, only this re-post from 2012 in which to decipher my myriad of emotions. I thank you old-time Nine Cent Girl fans for re-reading. I hope to be back on solid ground next week.

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Graduation Day #again

First published in June of 2011. True then. True now; and I hope you think worth a re-read too!! me

As a teacher of high school seniors, come June, I am reminded daily of the almost–here graduation-day swiftly moving toward us. There is no them and me or me and them at this point, for we have all been riding on this roller-coaster of great expectations and harsh realities for an entire school year together. All over the country 18 year olds are experiencing this free-falling sensation and I for one think it is a feeling worth catching on to, but I did not start out with this appreciation. No, I most certainly did not, in fact, I did my best to stay uninfected with what I, as well as most adults, labeled senior-itis.

transparent politics

Seriously, I am the last person in the world to discuss politics. Not that I don’t have an opinion, because, of course, I always havevote-button one. But politics is a broad term that encompasses lifestyle, money, business, education, housing, basically infrastructures in every area of our America. I don’t have the wherewithal to blog about such a complex and tangled topic because I don’t have the background or understanding or library to support claims unequivocally, but I would love to at least discuss the politics of my little home state, and the possibility of listening to a politician who has built his career on caring about real people like me. If you go to work each weekday and at the end of the month wonder about paying bills or how your children might repay their college loans or how your grandchildren might have clean water to drink and a climate that isn’t completely compromised by our carelessness in 20 years, then you are like me. I believe we all need to begin the discourse of politics, even those of us who have degrees in literature and not law, even those of us who feel inadequate to express our views, and within that discourse begin to truly educate ourselves.

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