Cheap Thrills


I don’t recall if the spinning wheel charm itself was cheap; it was an Xmas gift (which I asked for, from a booth at the VTS&W Fair).  But it was meant for a bracelet.  I paid a few bucks last night at what we call the Rock Shop (“Global Pathways” on Church St.) to have it put on a big fat clasp so I could wear it on my favorite necklace; and they threw in a repair to the clasp on said necklace too.  I wear this chain nearly 24/7.  The charm may be annoying to wear 24/7, as it gets caught on things, but isn’t it cool?!

And I was reading last night about how much fakery goes into photos that are taken with smartphones.  Apparently, whether or not you explicitly use a filter, the phones are making everything look much better than it “really” does.  Sorry you are always gypped out of full appreciation of my ragged complexion.  I don’t really look as sandpapered as I do in these photos.


Plum & Main


I was able to add more pix to my Vermont 251 Club project over the weekend.  This is a block in Johnson.  The white door in the red vestibule on the left used to lead to a restaurant long ago called Plum & Main.  This was when we first moved to Vermont in ’96 and bought our house in ’97.  It was so long ago we found the restaurant by consulting a paperback guidebook.

We used to go there a lot.  I’d usually get a big plate of fried clams with a baked potato (how did I use to eat so much?).  The desserts were awesome; we used to usually get a maple pecan pie that tasted like a dish of syrup-smothered pancakes.  I don’t recall sharing.  I think we used to each get our own.  How did I use to eat so much?!

Then one time I got a fish special and it tasted funny.  It came with some citrus sauce.  The taste was kind of ammonia-like, kind of grapefruit-like.  I ate most of it, thinking it was the citrus sauce I wasn’t crazy about.  Finally, though, I felt like something was wrong, and we complained about it.  The kitchen acknowledged no wrongdoing.  The fact that I’d eaten most of it did not help my case.  I think they gave us a free dessert, but we never felt the same about the place & didn’t return.  Of course, they’ve since closed.


Book Corner 2019.10


Messy by Tim Harford

This book’s cover features blurbs by Brian Eno and Tyler Cowen.  Otherwise, I never would have thought this was a book I’d enjoy.  I fall on the ‘tidy’ end of the spectrum.  I didn’t want to read a book about how the most awesome, brilliant, and creative people in the world all have/had sloppy desks.  Not only is it not my world – it tends to be a boring kind of book.

But – despite the requisite chapters about sloppy desks and messy workplaces, this book isn’t about how you really should dis-organize your space so much as it’s about the sometimes (!) beneficial effects of disorder in general.  The first chapter on Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” sets the tone; to get people to be more creative and motivated in the studio, Eno created a deck of cards with suggestions of off-the-wall things to think about or do.  He’d periodically pick a card, and suddenly everyone was instructed to try to “Think like a gardener,” or all trade instruments.

There’s a chapter about a crazy military commander or two, who’d keep the enemy – and sometimes their own men – just bewildered enough to allow the most improbable victories to be snatched from the jaws of defeat.  There’s a chapter about the famous “Building 20” at MIT, an ugly pile of cinderblocks with an unorganized disarray of offices, which nevertheless was a hotbed of scientific discovery and invention in the 20th century.

So it isn’t about dividing people into messy vs. neat, so much as it’s about how helpful it can often be when things DON’T follow the expected path.  Harford encourages us to appreciate rather than rue the Oscar Madison that lives in all of us.  Some (!) disorder is good for you; it shakes you up; you function better; it’s real life.  The book flowed well (dare I say it was well organized?); I always looked forward to returning to it each day.  I’m a fan!

February Dreaming

Red Swan Bush Bean
Cylindra Beet
Napoli F1 Carrot
Dwarf Green Curled Kale
PLS 14 Shelling Pea
Cider Jack F1 Pumpkin
Schwarzer Runder Radish
Ronde de N. Summer Squash
Orangeti F1 Winter Squash
Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomato
County Fair Blend Zinnias
Dwarf Jewel Bl Nasturtium