Spring cleaning…

The temperature actually rose above freezing today!  Sylvie, wisely, took the rare opportunity to hang outside and bask in the sun.

IMG_1675

…for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile I, inspired more by the hope than the reality of Spring, decided to embark on a little Spring cleaning.

I started with my computer’s address book which I purged, in the blink of the delete button, of many of the vestiges of our old life. Gone, instantly, were house sitters, insurance guys, tutors, trainers, someone’s mortgage broker we never used, electricians, furnace people (did we ever even HAVE a furnace?), friends of the boys who they are no longer friends with, their parents who we only pretended to be friends with to begin with, some nice French guy I met at a TED conference, camp counselors, hair dressers, great Take Out places (Good-bye Reddi Chick!), gyms, the orthodontist (but not our dentist Dr. Chin! Never Dr. Chin!), and the guy who used to deliver soda and water in glass bottles. And in the Fs, one I found especially hard to delete, a dear relative newly gone from our little spinning planet.

As I scrolled through the names, wielding my delete button freely, it felt as if our long California life was passing before my eyes.  It was sad – and sweet – and when I was done, I felt refreshed, happy to see the names of my real friends left standing, somehow easier to find.

Thanks, football

IMG_2179

My father wasn’t a sports fan when we were growing up. Yeah, he took us to a baseball game, and a couple of football games, but his heart wasn’t in it. He didn’t have a favorite team, and he never joined us on the couch to watch the playoffs or the Super Bowl. The Sunday New York Times sports section was the only section he left untouched. During the 1969 World Series, when every inch of New York was afire with Mets’ fever, I suggested that we try to get the impossible-to-get tickets to Game 5.  “Who’s playing?” he asked.

Being a sports fan requires hanging out, and my father wasn’t a guy who hung out. If he was going to flop in front of a TV, the viewing had to be informative.  PBS. 60 Minutes. A documentary. He didn’t do beer soaked den banter, or locker room small talk. His interactions with us were often formal. We scheduled a lunch. Or a drink on the porch.  A “talk” in his office behind closed doors. He needed topics like politics, art and theatre to get to intimacy.

But during his retirement in Connecticut, he grew to enjoy professional football, a sport I had loved for years.  He bought a pair of loungers where he parked himself every week and rooted loudly for the Patriots, my mother by his side.

On December 1st, in his hospital room, he and I watched the Patriots barely beat the Texans. And later that week, after he passed away, I realized that this was the first and last time I’d ever just hung out with him. There was no meaningful conversation. No topic dissected. No life plan analyzed. Nothing formal. It was just me and my beloved NFL convert watching the game. Together.

Poser No More

During our move from LA to rural NY, I told my wife that I planned to country-accessorize immediately upon arrival.  I would own outdoor animals. I would buy farm equipment.  My clothing would be “Git er done” flannel and denim, and my hat would read “John Deere”.  Her response was, “Knock yourself out, poser.”

She had a point. I mean, how lame for an out-of-state urbanite to dress up all country local  without actually being country local. But today, as I was walking our dog across a barren cornfield, I found this little beauty, frozen in the snow…

photo

And I really don’t think it would be right to wear it without a proper tractor underneath me.

Red Flag Days

I haven’t been able to bring myself to cut off all ties to our old life in LA.  To wit, I am still subscribed to the LA Fire Department’s email list which is why I happen to know that there have been a slew of Red Flag Days in our old home town lately.

On Red Flag days, the the fire danger is so high in the “brush areas” of Los Angeles that on-street parking is prohibited so that fire trucks can quickly get where they need to go to fight off the raging fires that Fall often brings to Southern California .

I’m thinking I much prefer the red flag days here on Sparrow Bush Road…

hudson valley red flag day

I like my farm-to-table as much as the next girl, but..

After two days of wrestling with moving boxes and feeding on corn nuts left over from our cross-country drive, I ventured out of our new nest in search of provisions — hopefully not corn-based.

I landed in Hudson, 12 minutes of beautiful countryside from our house, parked my car (25 cents an hour!) and found the Farmer’s Market…

too cute

Promising, right?

The market is a fraction of the size of our old Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, but a fraction of the size is what we were going for when we moved here.  I happily wandered around and picked up “local” everything to tunes provided by a folk singer doing her best Joan Baez.

“This is going to work,” I thought happily to myself as I headed back to the car, deposited my fresh veggies and headed down Warren Street to Dogs of Hudson, which, I had been told, was charming purveyor of canine provisions.  On the way, I passed more high-end antique stores than I could count, each more refined and inviting than the last.  And yet, I somehow found myself longing for the early morning grit of the Pasadena City College Flea Market.

In Dogs Of Hudson, I learned all about the evils of Western Veterinary medicine and the miracle properties of blackstrap molasses for canine well-being. As I walked back to the car, I wondered if Sylvie had “farm-to-table” needs. And is there such a thing as a free-range Milk Bone?…and then I passed one too many folk singers.

“Seriously?” I thought, “What IS this place and how did I get here?”  And just when I was plummeting into a sour and decidedly unfolksy mood, a herd of beefy, tatted bikers thundered down the street.

And just like that, I felt happy again.

“This’ll work.”