Giant Independence Day Cakes

Hinesburg celebrates 250 years as a town this year, so our July 4th parade theme was Hinesburg’s birthday. Several people who made floats for the parade had the same idea–to create a giant cake. Here they are, with some bonus pics.

Getting Things Started, 1762 Style

The Most Genuine Float–No Vehicle Visible

Lorax Motif

Cake and Cupcakes

This One Won Best Float

Plus Firetrucks. What’s a Parade Without Firetrucks?

Birthday and Photos

One Fine Afternoon to be Outside

One Fine Afternoon to be Outside

I recently turned 40.  Up until this birthday I didn’t think all that much about what each birthday milestone meant.  Sure I had more rights and responsibilities at 18 but I was more concerned with smooching than with the off chance I might get called to war.  This one, however, has got me thinking, reflecting, really, on what has been and what may be to come.

My parents visited this past weekend.  They brought, quite literally, hundreds of photos.  I had asked my dad to bust them out for a project I had hoped to work on.  We have plans to get together as a somewhat extended family this fall.  Since I have a sister in the west coast and there are five of us siblings, we don’t all hang in the same place all that often.  So our plans to get together are significant.

My idea was to put together a slide show for the gang.  It would include photos from the past 45 years or so.  My parents were married in 1965 so I thought that might be a good place to start.  A lot of photographs can accumulate in 45 years, however.  So it took a few hours just to sort though the boxes of prints.  And we didn’t even get to the slides.  There are a lot more slides than prints.

So the big marker birthday, accompanied by all the photo browsing, has made this Gen X-er think about things a bit.  I know this is the time, traditionally, to enter the mid-life crisis phase, but I have been working to avoid that for a while.  Life is good.  I could ask for little more (although, let’s face it, I do).  Mostly I have just been thinking about my life.  Why not?  It seems a good enough time to do that.

On an afternoon run today I thought more than I would have liked.  I like to get out there and drain away all those pesky thoughts.  I guess I haven’t been getting out there enough.  I need to start getting up early and tying on the old shoes.  I’d like to get another ultramarathon in before I need a hip replacement.  Or new teeth.  Running with dentures might be a nuisance.

Jupiter rises and the children are asleep.  The dishes are washed and, while the laundry awaits folding, I am enjoying the quiet of my home while my wife is out with friends.  I just stashed a bucket of tomato soup, freshly made, in the freezer.  The rolls I made for dinner are wrapped for lunch tomorrow.  Like I said, life is good.  Here’s to forty more good ones.


My wife’s birthday is tomorrow.  She just got a new iPod Touch.  I won’t be seeing her for a while.

She’ll be here, of course, but she will be way occupied with her new toy.  There are lots of features on this thing and she has lots to learn.  Will she use all the features?  Doubt it.  But she will have fun with some of them.

I have to admit I am a little envious.  She’ll use it for music and she’ll use it get online.  I could use the calendar and the email option and the photo option and…

I have been thinking of getting a new PDA in any case.  Mine was a gift from a friend who didn’t use it.  It is handy but I could use more functionality to really make it work like a charm.

I will test this baby out when I get a chance to get my hands on it.  Maybe that will be my new work tool and toy wrapped into one.

It may be some time before I get my hands on it, however.  The testing will have to wait.

Inside All Day

Left the house at 8:00.

It is almost 8:00 again and I have yet to get home.

Long day.

I am out the door as soon as I shut this little black book type computer thing.

Said goodnight to the kids via telephone.

January is a long month.

At least tomorrow I get to head to town for a couple of hours for some surprises for my spouse’s birthday.

I have gone outside today only to walk across parking lots.

That ain’t right.

Consider my time card punched.

Back to Back Birthdays

Yesterday we went to a birthday party out in Middlesex.  It was high quality.  The weather was fine, albeit a little cold, so sledding on the crusty snow was the main event when we arrived.  As far as I know no one got seriously hurt, the runaway sleds were all tracked down, the puppy didn’t bite anyone hard enough to draw blood, and all of the hot chocolate was consumed.  The adults in the party were even offered the choice of peppermint schnapps (for the hot chocolate) or scotch whiskey (for the eggnog).  Fun was had by all.

Eventually things moved indoors.  We gathered at the foot of both the twenty foot tall Christmas tree (no joke) and the indoor climbing wall.  This same living room also offered a mountain view with what couldn’t have been a more perfect sunset.  Cake was then to be had with messy faces all around the children and we were off down the greasy hill in the dark.  We stopped to eat in Richmond at On the Rise Bakery to sample their expanded menu.  Showers for the children topped off a grand winter (fall, technically) day.

Today we were off to a morning party, north to Winooski instead of east this time.  It was a different affair, yet equally rewarding for the bounty of child foibles and affectionate commentary.  These youngsters had the opportunity, after various healthy snacks (really–bagels and carrots and pears were eaten with happy abandon) to smash a pinata.  That took some doing.  Apparently the construction phase of the pinata was dominated by fears that these small yet enthusiastic children would tear into the thing with so much gusto that it would spill its goods on the first swing.  Multiple layers of paper mache helped to ease these fears, yet the choice of the large wooden spoon (larger than most wooden spoons, but still, a wooden spoon, not a broom handle or a bat or something with more leverage) and the reduced swing area  in the low-ceilinged basement meant multiple turns for each child yielded zero treats on the floor.

A couple parents took some swings, the second of them sending the top half of the spoon caroming through the crowd and skittering across the basement floor.  After some “whoa”ing, a search for a baton substitute yielded a hatchet, a two-by-four, and finally, a small square scrap of lumber, just right for small hands.  That, ultimately, with more parental aid, did the trick.  Candy and prizes poured forth and an orderly retrieval took place.

Both of these birthday events meant good fun for the children (friends, some old and some new, as well as new toys to check out, and plenty of kid-friendly eats) and quality time for the adults.  I spend too little time in the company of adults in a social setting.  I have always been less a social creature than many, but time to bat around ideas and share stories is pretty key.  Getting in some good conversation and humor helped energize me.  The schnapps might have helped a little at the first party, and the two extra cups of coffee (it had whipped cream and cinnamon!) at the second may have helped oil the social gears.  But I think I did it pretty much by myself.

I made friends all by myself!  See what I’m saying?  Even my everyday language has turned into kid-speak.  I really do need to make sure I get out more.