QotD: Sugar, Sugar

What was your favorite candy when you were a kid? How does that compare to now?

My father kept a jar of peppermints and lemondrops in the car at all times.  It was a compact Plymoth station wagon, and in preschool, my best friend and I were allowed to ride in the way back, which is, of course, way cooler than any other location in the car (and this was before the days of childseats for children larger than infants), and we were allowed to eat as many peppermints and lemondrops as we wanted.  All these rules were of course suspended when my mother was driving, when we sat in the backseat and pretended to be watching movies on imaginary pull-down screens.  The movies were actually quite magical–you could watch a movie of anything you wanted–kittens, your last vacation, Oz, you name it.

I've never been much of a candy eater, now or then, but peppermints and lemondrops are still probably my favorites (truffles, I think, don't exactly qualify as candy).

I seem to be writing a great deal about my father here of late.  I'm not sure what's up with that.  In a couple of weeks, it will be twenty-five years since he died, so perhaps our culture's fetishization of anniversaries is having some subliminal effect on me.

On an unrelated note, is anyone else having difficulties with the drop-down menus on Vox?  I searched the help sections and sent them a note the other day.  Basically, I can't change who can see my posts because when I click on the drop-down boxes, I get no options, so they're all friends-only.  I appreciate the option of exclusivity, but I'm not trying to be exclusive all the time.

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horseback

As promised, here's a picture of me on Baby, the palomino, from my horseback riding excursion with my friends Shane and Tiffany the weekend before last.  I had not been on a horse since I was six, so we only rode for about an hour.  I was somewhat sore the next day, but not too bad.

This weekend Jim and my friend Edie and I took what turned out to be a 13 mile hike (we had been planning on a 7-8 mile loop) up the South Fork of the Wood River and Chimney Creek.  The next day I woke up and thought, "I could do that again"–or at least, "I could do that again if it weren't so freaking hot."  I must be getting stronger, though, because a couple months ago 8 miles left me totally whupped. 

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QotD: Scents & Sensibilities

What's the strongest association you have between a scent and a memory?

My father was a pipe smoker.  The photo of him which you can sort of see in this double portrait I took today was taken I believe right around the time my parents were married, six years before I was born, but he looked pretty much exactly like that for the whole time I knew him.

He always wore long pants (even to play tennis) and usually a tie and jacket, he often wore a hat, and he always, always had his pipe in his mouth, or near at hand.

When I was 12 and we were moving, my mother tried to throw out all of my father's old pipes, but I wouldn't let her.  They're still around somewhere, probably in my mom's basement.  I've never done anything with them, because of course they smell terrible–like old, stale smoked tobacco.  They belonged to my father, but they aren't him at all. 

I've never been a smoker, and I generally try to avoid really smoky places unless there's some compelling reason, like good music, to enter them.  But if I smell even the faintest whiff of pipe smoke, I'll follow it.  I'll follow until I find the source, and of course it's never my father, either, even though it smells like him.  But I keep following, perhaps as a result of reading Nabakov–"the following of such thematic designs through one's life should be, I think, the true purpose of autobiography"–and perhaps just out of hope.

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that kind of day

You may be familiar with the book pictured at left.  If you're not, I urge you to make haste to your local library and peruse a copy.  I can almost assure you that they'll have one, probably well battered–WorldCat has lists over 3000 libraries owning copies, and that's just the ones in English.

In my family, we refer to terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days simply as "Alexander days."  Today did not quite approach Alexander level, but it had its moments. . . such as going to talk to Jim, who was painting down the hall in the school, so that he could cheer me up about all the other things that went wrong today, and realizing that I was leaning against a freshly painted wall.  In work clothes.  I think we got most of the paint out, and it was just on a $4 shirt from the thrift store, but it's a shirt I rather like.  It was that kind of a day–an err in haste, repent at leisure kind of a day–the kind of day where all you can say, in the end, is "well, you can't please all of the people all of the time, and some of 'em you're never going to please, no matter what."  And so you might as well go swimming (even if you've forgotten your goggles), and come home and make mushrooms and garlic and pasta for dinner, and a salad from the lettuce you picked the other day, and listen to your favorite talk radio show (a call-in show from Yellowstone Public Radio called "Your Opinion Please"–I can't explain quite why I love it so much, but I do. . . people call in to talk about politics, and books, and road conditions) and listen to some music and look at some pictures and write a little post and pet your cat and read your book and go to bed.

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identities

I've been feeling some indecision about what picture to use as my identifier here.  Today, probably as a result of thinking about Meredith's comment about mp3s for maple syrup on my previous post, I chose this one.  The Vermont t-shirt is one of the last things my father gave me before he died, which is sort of an awful thing to say, since it lends a good deal of bathos to the picture.  But I was actually happy to find this picture when I was sorting through some things a year ago, because I look so happy in it, and I'm sort of glad to see evidence that I was still happy at least some of the time that year. 

My father's family had a summer house way up in northern Vermont, in a town called Enosburg Falls.  We went there every summer, and my father and I both loved it.  My mom didn't like it so much, though that had less to do with Vermont and more to do with her mother-in-law.  We stopped going after my father died, and I've only made it back a few times since.  Someday maybe I'll write about my last visit, in 2004, when I saw my half brother and sister for the first time in 20 years, but tonight it's time for bed.

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chuckwagon dinner, horses, and a little more about me

Last night I went, along with my boyfriend, Jim, and my friends Shane and Tiffany, and the chocolatier, Tim (more on him in a minute), to the Chuckwagon Dinner at the Oasis Motel on the north edge of town.  Basically, it's an outdoor dinner (roast beef, green beans with bacon, potatoes with bacon and cheese–do you notice a theme here?–and salad and brownies and iced tea, lemonade, and water; byob if you want booze) with music and some dancing, as you can see.  This is the only really good shot I got of the dancing, though I took a bunch, and I may post a few to Flickr later.  I'm such a recent digital camera convert that I haven't gotten the whole action shot thing down yet.  (Incidentally, is anyone else having difficulties with the drop down menus when posting photos?  I can't get them to be visible to anything but "the world," which makes me reluctant to post pictures of friends, since my non-online friends tend to be a bit shy about having themselves visible to the world.)

I've actually gotten a bit hazy about which parts of my life are online and which aren't, so, with apologies for any repetitions, here's the "a little more about me" part.

I'm 30 years old, and I live in a tiny town in northwestern Wyoming called Meeteetse.  I'm not sure what it means–I've seen at least three different interpretations, but it seems to be Indian in origin.  I moved here four months ago to take the first full-time job I've ever had.  I spent my twenties going to graduate school (I got an MFA in Nonfiction Writing–one of those really useful degrees–before I went to library school) and working odd jobs and being unemployed and travelling a lot.  It was a good way to live, though it did create a certain amount of debt.  I feel pretty stupid about that part now, but on the whole, I don't regret it. 

I am the librarian here, and a lot of people refer to me that way, as in "Hey–librarian!"  I find it charming, mostly, though some days I wish my identity was a little bigger than "librarian."  But it's such a small place that there's often only one of everything, and so people who have regular jobs become the thing they do.

I don't normally make friends in a new place very quickly, but I have here, which seems like another sign that coming here was the right thing to do.  Shane and Tiffany run the local coffee shop, and they help out with various other work around town–ranch work, fencing, painting, whatever.  Jim, the guy I've been seeing for a few months now, paints and does other handyman work when people can convince him to do it.  Mostly he tries to avoid work.  And then there's the chocolatier, Tim, whom I'm sort of friendly with.  He's a cowboy, but he also makes chocolates.  I'm thinking of seeing if he'll barter truffles for better web design.

Anyway, to get to the horses part (a little out of order), this afternoon I went horseback riding with Shane and Tiffany up in the Shoshone National Forest.  I forgot my camera, so I don't have pictures, but if you've been on my Flickr account lately, it looked much like many of the other hikes I've taken.  Tiffany did take a picture of me on Baby, the palomino, so when she sends it to me I'll post it.  I haven't been on a horse since I was six, so we just did a short (maybe 45 minute) introductory ride.  We still got up pretty far, though–it's amazing how much farther you get on a horse than on foot.  Then we came back down, and Shane, his nephew, and Tiffany's daughter went for a longer ride while Tiffany and I sat around and gossipped.  Tiffany's daughter is ten and very funny.  She was telling me on the way back about her imaginary friend George, and she was delighted to hear that I had an invisible friend George (what can I say–it amuses me).  She told me a long story about George, which I regret to say I've forgotten, but it had to do with moving to Hawaii and the Denver Broncos and the color orange.  Last night at the Chuckwagon dinner she asked Jim if he'd brought his friend, and he said yes, pointing at me.  Today she wanted to know how I'd met Jim (he was one of the people they rounded up to help me move in) and if I liked him (yes).

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