Saturday, January 20, 2018
Almost every day here in Alpine, I go to the Library. It is a pleasant place and it has Wi-Fi access. Today I went to email my son John, and I also re-discovered the way I can access a huge online archive of academic journals called JSTOR. Normally you have to pay to open a personal account. But I remembered I could go through my PhD alma mater, Brown University, and I figured out today how to do that. The Library closes at 2pm on Saturday, so I didn't have a lot of time. But I will put it to future use.
Paul, Jenny and Max have all gone skiing today up at Teton Village and Ellen and I have a quiet day at home alone. Yesterday Max was home - a school holiday - and a friend, Aiden, was here all day. They played pretty noisily all day. Plus Paul was doing remodeling of the upstairs bathroom, drilling, etc. it was hard to concentrate. I was reading John's book MS, and then my new book which arrived titled Invitation to the Septuagint. It was snowing hard all day so I decided not to try to escape to the Alpine Library. Last night, PEM and I watched a Spielberg film called The Goonies. It was an adventure romp about four boys looking for buried pirate treasure right in their Maine backyard, with some very unusual villains after them. It was fun if you just turned your brain off.
Thursday, Ellen and I went into Jackson, I got time in the hot tub and pool - great - and then we saw two really good films: The Post, ( then a snack at Whole Foods), and then The Darkest Hour, the former about Ben Bradley (Tom Hanks) and Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) deciding to publish the Pentagon Papers - really well done; the latter about Churchill in 1940, at the time of Dunkirk when it looked like Hitler would conquer Britain and Chamberlain, et al, were advising a negotiated peace. It didn't matter that you already knew how it all played out. It was gripping. Gary Oldham's portrayal of Churchill is amazing.
Looks like we'll go to Boise next week. I've cut way back on pain meds and doing ok. My right shoulder is going to need some attention when we get home. I have to be very careful how I use it and have become a lefty in many ways. Getting in and out of my parka is especially tricky. But I do it!
Today is the Women's March in many cities. Nothing here. Ellen is sad about that. We'd probably be joining others either in Brattleboro or Northampton if we were home.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Last night I went to Afton, WY for a MLK day event. It was a fascinating window on the local culture. It was sponsored by a local couple who are members of the Baha'i faith. They not only organized it, they provided a free spaghetti and meatball supper. A local state policeman spoke about the need to support the police and the need for high quality recruits. No mention of places like Ferguson. There was a "wall of hate," - about 12-15 photos depicting hateful actions, starting with the Oklahoma City bombing and including 911, Sandy Hook and Vegas, but no mention of Charlestown or Charlottesville. But on the other hand there were three young people - middle school/high school - who read prize-winning essays they had written, and they were great. Very progressive, especially in a town 80% Morman. And pastor Alan Schoonover gave a good talk on his experience with Dr. King at Selma. And there was a raffle of local artistic creations, and I won a coatrack emblazoned with bald eagles! I gave it to Gary and Donda, who brought me to the event and who were thrilled to get it.
This morning we awoke to a beautiful scene of blue sky and rime coating every branch, stem and leaf. It was beautiful!
And this evening we played Scrabble, with Paul helping Max. Max/Paul won.
Much of the day Ellen and I discussed our housing situation. We decided not to pursue buying a 120-year-old farmhouse in Putney with a perfect location and a great price, but a daunting challenge to renovate. It has potential charm but many peculiarities.
Friday, January 12, 2018
Here are some images that I have not included in my posts thus far - a motley collection:
This is a print that was on the wall of the breakfast bar area of a motel we stayed in - I think near Toledo, OH. It's sort of peculiar, and not particularly interesting, but what drew my attention to it was that there were six of them, identical, hanging on the wall together. I thought that was very peculiar:
Six identical prints
One of our stops for lunch was at a Runza restaurant, which is known for their loose- meat sandwich. They had this promotion which I had never seen before:
So if the temp is 5 degrees at 6 a.m. that day, you pay 5 cents for the sandwich. (They are probably still making a little profit off the fries and drink). I asked what happens if the temp is below zero? Do they pay you? No, it's just zero.
As we were driving across Nebraska at night, we went by this amazing installation out in the middle of nowhere - not sure what it is - a refinery? - but it looked like something from another planet:
And finally this more prosaic image from Wyoming showing how the "wilderness" is dotted with gas wells:
Despite warnings of possible snow, we had a pretty easy drive from Little America to Alpine - about 180 miles. We approached Alpine from the south this time, on Paul's advice. It obviously had snowed earlier in the day, but except one section of slushy road, it was clear all the way. We got here a bit after 4pm. Paul and Max arrived shortly after.
Some changes in the house: they, like we, are preparing for a move.
I 'm sitting in the sun at the cafe, waiting for a bowl of clam chowder. It is delightfully sunny and warm. Little America is a truck stop off I-80 near Rock Springs, WY. It boasts 17 marble showers for truckers, which gives you a clue to its pretensions. Even the plain old men's room is all marble.
I got my clam chowder. I can count the number of tiny pieces of clam in the bowl on one hand. Not much potato either. The main ingrediant is some kind of thickener, I think. The ice cream cones are only 75 cents, however.
The cafe at Little America
The gift shop here raises kitsch to a new level. E.g.:
It's fun in a campy way.
Little America goes back to the 50s. Here's what it looked like then:
The novel we are reading. Stranger in the Kingdom, is set in 1952. One of the main characters drives a "woody" station wagon. And what's for sale in the gift shop here?
A "woody" station wagon cribbage board! It all fits together.