October 2010

My Quiet Little Mountain Town

The last two Saturday mornings I have gone for a walk in my neighborhood. Actually, it’s not really my neighborhood. It’s the neighborhood next door to my neighborhood. (Tip for those whose middle-classedness is more historical and/or aspirational than income-based: rent a house just outside of the nice neighborhood you want to take your walks in!)

fake cobwebs on fence

Last Saturday my goal was to walk to the library, to get a card and to see what it looked like, and to get a little exercise in the process. It was such a nice walk and such beautiful weather, I came home totally charmed by the whole place. Yesterday, I repeated the walk with my camera to try to capture what had appealed to me. It seemed a little less magical the second time. The air was a little less crisp and the light seemed flatter, the leaves slightly less vibrant. Maybe the storm that blew through mid-week changed the atmosphere a bit, or maybe it’s just that the serendipity and novelty was not as strong. I still love it, though. I am in no way complaining or expressing disappointment. I just felt like I should mention that there were two separate trips, because maybe I will talk about some things I saw on the first walk and I won’t have a picture of them, and I don’t want you to think I am lying. So, some of the charming things were only seen the first Saturday, okay?

gate with cat peeking through

(Do you see the gray cat peeking through that gate?)

Anyway. There were cats lounging in yards and couples walking their dogs. Canvassers were going door to door with clipboards. People were out raking leaves. Whole families were riding bikes together.

porch with pumpkins and fake grave

I love the tile on the steps.

Halloween decorations added a lot of festivity.

tricycle on sidewalk

chalk drawing on sidewalk

There were hints of children everywhere. Jogging strollers on porches, toys in yards, swings hanging from trees. In one yard, taped behind a cartoonish ghost, a sign in third-grade lettering said, “BEWARE of the PAIN.”

A couple of blocks from the library, honest-to-goodness, a young couple was pulling a little red wagon with two toddlers and a stack of picture books in it. I thought I was in a Beverly Cleary book for a moment. I about cried.

red and orange leaves

It has been a while since I lived somewhere with autumn leaves of any note. I have missed them.

ghost decoration hangs from tree

Between my house and the library, there is a block with an Italian restaurant, little market, dog groomer, dry cleaner, dentist, dance studio, used bookstore, and bakery (and probably other things I’m forgetting). The bakery sells coffee, so there were people mingling at the tables outside its door. Across the street from the businesses is a park with a jungle gym and a sheltered picnic table.

people drinking coffee outside bakery

The dance studio has big glass windows so I could see the young ballerinas inside at the barre. Yesterday’s class included one in a blue fairy costume, but I couldn’t figure out how to get a photo of her without looking creepy.

The parking lot behind the businesses was decorated. I’m a sucker for this kind of random artsy crap dangling from trees thing. I realized there were shoes hanging behind the dance studio, pot lids and whisks behind the bakery, and bones and mirrors behind the dentist.

decorative glass hanging above small chairs and table

pot lids dangling from tree

small mirrors mounted on display board

Those are my stripey feet. Or, I think, it’s one of my feet, three times. At the very least, one of my feet is reflected twice, because I only have two total.

cars and trees from above

This is the view from the front of the library. I did not get a good photo of the library itself. Near the library are two churches, one with a preschool.

shabby white picket fence

I just like it. I like the architecture, the weather, the signs of life, the hatchbacks with ski racks, the coolers for milk delivery, the wind chimes, the trees, the planters of ivy and pansies, the brick houses, and the old uneven sidewalks. Even the zombies and giant spiders don’t deter me. I am glad we moved here.

wooden fence and carved bear

Happy Halloween!

huge fake spider perched on fence

Where I’m Writing From and Other Stories

This is the condensed version. I may expand on some of this in future posts. I’m fairly confident that anyone who currently reads this knows what I’ve been up for the last few months, but for the sake of posterity and as a way of easing back into writing more often, I’ll summarize.

At the end of May, we happened into a litter of kittens and their adolescent mama. We took them all to the vet and then brought them inside and cared for them.

mama cat and three kittens

In early June, I started teaching a summer class. Graduate-level class + summer school + never taught it before + other job duties = a lot of work.

By late June, we had found a home for two of the kittens. It became apparent that the little black one, however, had moved in for good. His name is Hamlet and he is delightful.

cat and kitten in cardboard box

At the end of June, I flew to Washington, DC, to attend ALA. It was overwhelming but exciting. I’d been home less than 24 hours before I left again for a short campus visit and job interview.

crowded room of people watching presentation

In July, I finished teaching my summer course. In August, I helped my superviser prepare for the start of classes. I am neither teacher nor student this fall, but working for a university meant I was involved in various back-to-school activities.

In late August, the husband and I decided to move 1234 miles west. I flew out to meet a friend in our new city, chose a house on September 1st, and returned home to pack everything up.

We donated several hundred books to a library book sale, threw the wedding china and too many unfinished craft projects in a moving truck, and filled the backseat of the car with cat carriers. By September 15th, we were standing on the porch of our new residence.

cat carriers in backseat of car

kitten sitting in hallway of empty house

I skipped over some things, but that’s the gist. We like it here in our new place. We aren’t quite settled in yet, but so far October’s shaping up to be a good month and the fresh mountain air and sunshine makes us happy.

cat looking out window at sky