Monday, October 17, 2005

A vacation destination!

Look! We're becoming a vacation destination!

A hypothetical, apocolyptic, science fiction vacation that is. ;-)

Ben is a dear friend from my university days at Brown. He's morphed from a brilliant tender-hearted long-haired computer programming theologizing kid, to a brilliant tender-hearted short-haired computer programming theologizing husband, father, and internationally known science fiction writer.

Ben, our friend Ila, and I were housemates in 1990/91 while we were students at Brown. Our house was a happy place to be, filled with the yummy smells of creative vegetarian cooking. We decorated with fourth-hand furniture, books and papers galore, a goofy black lab puppy named Lucy, and chore charts in which we rotated turns at being characters from the TV show Twin Peaks. You can see that Ben's experience creating alternate universes began early.

Ben has awed me by his decision to return to writing. He has been very dedicated and intentional about it: he prioritizes writing and regularly makes time for it in his schedule. After all, the guy has a full time programming job and a busy family with two young children. Yet he finds time to write well enough to be published all over the place and earn nominations for the Hugo and Nebula awards.

Of course, if he is helping build a stockade on our farm (see the "vacation" itinerary referenced in the above interview), heavens only knows in what state we might end up. Will we find ourselves "falling straight into the beam of the strange pulsar Yoruba-7, into its great burst, not only of electromagnetic radiation, but also of chronons, the quantum particles of time" like the peaceful folk of Ylla's Choice? Or will he succumb to a mixture of my Christian mysticism and Stephen's pragmatic environmentalism and join us in praying over the zombies as we stand on a wall of recycled aluminum cans?

Either way I know we'll all laugh a lot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Carla Emery

An icon of the modern homesteading movement died last night.

Carla Emery Delong was a passionate advocate of sustainability and self-sufficency. Her "Encyclopedia of Country Living" had 9 editions, many of which were put together by hand by Carla in the early days.

Her book was the first homesteading book I owned. This summer I drove an hour and a half to hear her talk, and worked up the courage at the end to ask her to sign that book. I'm so glad I drove, so glad I asked.

Carla Emery's legacy would be difficult to quantify... but I know it is rich and wide. She has influenced countless adults over several generations. Adults who have tried to put her ideas into practice and pass them on to their children. Each person who has made changes to live more gently due to her words, has contributed to her gift to the community of humans on this earth.

Rest in peace, Carla.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Cool Breezes

Our record high this year was 108 degrees Fahrenheit. That was on September 25. It's about all the effect we got from Hurricane Rita, besides mild wind, gas and grocery shortages, and tens of thousands of evacuees.

This morning we woke up to 57 degrees. We had gone to sleep with the windows open, so I padded around at 6:30am closing them and pulling more blankets on the kids. It felt GREAT! I had on shorts and a thin long sleeve shirt. Stephen put on his usual t-shirt and shorts.

Then the Texans woke up. Born and raised Texans, our kids are the offspring of Yankees. We're people who swam in 57 degree water in the Atlantic. Sure it was cold, but that was the point, right? Cooling off!

This morning the Texans (our kids) put on pants and long sleeved shirts. Then jackets. Then knit hats (one put on a ski mask). Then mittens. I checked the indoor thermometer. It was 66.

We giggled at them, and I recalled one early summer in Rhode Island, when I was about 10. My brother and I desperately wanted to play with our new slip-and-slide. We begged my mom, who, after much pestering, finally agreed that we could play with it when the temperature hit 70. So we stood around in our bathing suits, peering at the thermometer and hoping for it to inch up just a bit.

All depends on your perspective, eh?