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Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. Albert Schweitzer

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 It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.  ~W. Edwards Deming
It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.  ~W. Edwards Deming

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Aida has some ‘splaining to do.

Daisy asked me to write something for the full moon.  Actually, it is part of my commitment to this blog and to the other cowgirls to do so.  And I was about to.  I really, really was.  And then, life kind of happened.  It tends to happen to me a lot this life thing.  Lately, I was wondering about my ability to follow through on my commitments and I have a pretty shitty record.  So, to make it all up, I was going to write this stellar (lunar!) post.

Also on the agenda for this past week was a trip to New York City.  I’ve never been and that was high on the Big Boy’s list of things-to-do-in-this-lifetime.  So, we were going to head down on the 23rd and be back today.

Oh, readers, all two of you….how funny Aida is when she tries to plan.

To catch you up a little bit, I’m now living in a little apartment across the street from an old graveyard tucked into the forest up the mountain on an unpaved road.  I grew up in the Caribbean and have spent the past five years living in Savannah.  To drive up an unpaved road in the waning days of December is a skill I thought I had mastered.  I have.  My car apparently has not.

One night, oh yeah, the night of the full moon, specifically, when I was going to have written this great piece of blog literature that would go down in the annals of the best moon blog post of this week, there was a winter storm.  I’ve never let a good storm stop me.  I mean we were driving back to the woods after a couple of days with our cousin’s in New York.  We had just ridden a ferry across Lake Champlain after getting lost about twenty times.  A little drive up a hill?  Please.  I once drove my little white W bug (a gift hand assembled by my dad) for a couple months with no starter.  I know hills.

One third of the way up, in a snow storm, my the unpaved road became a treadmill under my car.  Oh we were pedal to the metal, but not going anywhere.  It wasn’t even the steepest point of the road, we’d already tackled that one.  But, the car was tired-or cranky, or whatever other anthropomorphic attribution we can muster.  So, I left it in the ditch.  I grabbed the dog’s leash with one hand and some groceries with the other after slinging my ten pound backpack over my shoulder.  The boy grabbed the rest of the groceries and his attitude and off we went.  In the dark.  In the snow.  Up a hill.  Where bears live.  Some of us (I’m lookin’ right at you Big Boy) have not yet learned the skill of the steady trudge.  So, whine, whine, whine…run to catch up….pant, whine, whine, whine was his chosen method of getting up the hill.  Mine was march, march, march…clutch heart in an effort to remind myself to not kill this child and march, march, march…pull predatory dog back into a sustainable shoulder to leash ratio and march, march, march.  Fine, full disclosure, when I had any breath left over, it was finely channeled into some very creative cursing.  I have a gift, what can I say?

We got home to the cat.  Popped in a movie and slept.

The next morning, wanting to feed two birds with one biscuit, I took the dog with me back down the hill (about a mile and half to two) to the car.  The plan was to start it up and see how I did with getting it out of the ditch in the daylight.  Raised to be conscientious of other drivers on hilly roads with blind corners, I’d left the hazards on.  I kept expecting to see the blinking lights around the next corner.  I didn’t.  Instead, I found the vague outline of my car.  I unlocked it manually (you know, actually sticking the key into the hole and twisting?) put the dog in and started scraping snow off the windshield.  I tried to start it.  I know, readers, you’ve already arrived at this conclusion.  Dead.  Dead.  Dead.  The battery didn’t even give me a little dashboard light action.  Nada.

So, just as I was about to lose hope, a huge pickup slid up and rolled down its window.  (By the way, Vermont, that wasn’t the first car to pass but the first to pass…I’ve got my eye on you no.)  I didn’t even wait for him to ask.  “Could I get a ride into town?”

And, that is how I got a ride to the first gas station in town from a taxidermist who was just delivering a bear he’d stuffed up to the hunter on my hill who’d bagged it.  At the gas station, I got myself some fresh,, hot, homemade chili and asked how I could get into town proper.

“There’s a bus?”  (Still snowstorm, everyone.)  Sigh. I stepped outside to scrape the last chunks of chili into my blue-tinged lips.  I decided to go ahead to the post office across the way and get my p.o. box since I don’t get mail service up my mountain.  When I came out, a young man (don’t get too excited, I mean a REALLY young man…again, sigh.) asked me if I was the lady that needed a ride into town.

Yepper.  That was me.

So, one stop closer.  I was able to get a ride from the only person I know in town back to the car to rescue the dog (had you forgotten that he was still in the car?).  She very kindly gave me a ride back up to my apartment.  The roadside assistance folks had told me that it would be about two and half hours before they could come tow the car.

After an episode of Dexter (rented from the family run video store), I re-packed my bag and hiked back down to the car, this time alone, to wait for the towers.  Things do tend to look rather homogeneous under a thick blanket of snow that was growing thicker by the minute.  So, when I reached the place that I though my car should be, I uttered a curse and rounded another corner just to make sure.  But, nope, the car had already been taken.  So, for a second, I stood there and weighed my options (for those keeping score, I’ve already walked more than 3 miles in the snow, in a storm in less than 4 hours).  Options: 1. lie down and let the cold take me while I wept.  2. walk the two miles home UP hill. 3. keep walking.  Tenacious to a fault, I kept walking.  And walking.  And walking.  I only fell twice.  I only shed one lone tear.  I only used up 1/3 of my encyclopedic cursing knowledge.  After another two miles, boots soaked through, heart hurting from all that cold air, chin numb, someone gave me a ride into town.  Right to the place where why car was waiting.

And I got to watch three more episodes of Dexter while I waited.

The next day, after shelling out my Christmas fun money into four new “Arctic Claws” tires and a new battery, I could not get out of bed, I felt so sick.  So, Christmas eve was spent in bed watching movie after movie trying not to vomit.  Christmas was spent in much the same way.

But, in the words of the Big Boy, between all that whining: “At least now I can say I’ve been on a real adventure.”

Of course, when we walked up from the abandoned car that first night, I watched as my son spread a little foam onto his upper lip and chin and with his new razor, shaved for the first time.  All that did was lend additional surrealism to these past few days.

And that, my friends, is why there was no awesome full moon post.

 

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I was just thinking, if it is really religion with these nudist colonies, they sure must turn atheists in the wintertime. ~Will Rogers

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"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Henry David Thoreau

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Can miles truly separate you from friends.... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there? ~Richard Bach

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aida confronts an addiction with literary zeal.

Five years ago, I completely downsized, put all my possessions into seven cardboard boxes and moved from Haiti to Savannah.  I’m moving again.  Where did all this stuff come from?  All of a sudden, I have a three bedroom house full of stuff.  Of course, looking at the house, one wouldn’t know it.  It is minimally furnished.  Packing again for this move to Vermont, I notice that stuff bulges out of most of the crevices and is not immediately apparent.

The first problem was the built in bookshelves.  Hi, my name is Aida and I am addicted to books.

So imagine my shock at my own capacity to box them up and take them to the Goodwill.  I haven’t taken them all (yet) but I’ve gotten rid donated over half of them.  If you want to know the dirty dirty, that’s over 100 books.  Yes, fellow book lovers, that’s nearly like spitting on your dear Nana’s grave, isn’t it?

Here’s how to do it:

1. Make sure you are well rested, fed, and watered.  If you have a small breakdown, you will know that it is because you, also, are powerless over books and you can’t blame it on anything else.

2. Set aside a window of time.  You can do this in chunks or you can just rip off the band-aid and do it all in about an hour.

3. Get a box for Goodwill (or other chosen recipient-my next hit will be a library donation) and one much, much smaller box for any friends that may enjoy a particular book.  (The maximum is one book per friend, otherwise 1.) those books will find a way back into your house and 2.) your friends don’t really want all your junk but they do want to know that you thought very specifically about them as individuals who would enjoy a very specific book.)

4. Some books will be easy.  You’ll have forgotten you bought them.  I had some books sitting on my shelf that I bought three years ago and have never even cracked the spine.  Out they go.

5. Some books will not be easy.  They will have all sorts of sentimental value.  However, if you haven’t actively used that book in the past six months, out it goes.  Fine, I’ll give you a year.  If you haven’t actively used that book (not as a doorstop, not as a table leveler, but as a book that you’ve opened and read) in the past year, it can go serve someone else.

6. Take break.  Drink some water or, if necessary, a quick shot of tequila, and go back to it.  Don’t over think this.  If for any reason, you need the information that is in a certain book ever again, you can find it, I promise you.  The internet, libraries, other people are incredible resources, too.

7. Put the boxes in your car and take them to where they need to go immediately.  The only thing worse than a shelf full of unused books is a cardboard box sitting in your living room full of unused books.

8. On your way back from the donation spot, plan a short trip to a park, a garden, a hiking trail, even just a green field somewhere.  Get out of your car and touch the earth.  You will have forgotten about all those books by the time you get back in the car.

9. Walk into your house that all of a sudden now feels lighter and freer, just like you!

P.S. If you have more time and more ambition, you can sell your books on amazon.  I was going to do this, but they are not accepting any more books this quarter (that’s three whole months!), so off to the Goodwill and Public Library they have gone.

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