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Everyone associates Vermont with certain things – maple syrup, fall foliage and skiing. But Halloween? Vermont boasts the country’s largest and longest running Halloween parade in the country. The parade takes place every year, like clockwork on Halloween night at 6:30 p.m. This year the Rutland Halloween Parade turns 50. The parade has run every year with the exception of one year, 1962 when it was canceled due to the weather. Last year, one of the original founders of the parade, Tom Fagan died on October 21st. He desired not to miss the parade in the event of his death and there was serious talk about putting him in the parade – despite the fact that he was dead. I kid you not. Ultimately, he didn’t make it, but imagine what sort of stories that would have created for generations to come? A parade so good, you even come when you’re dead.
The parade, some would argue, lacks the glitz and glamour associated with that other famous Halloween Parade, the one that takes place in Greenwich Village, NYC. Others, like myself, would disagree. The parade takes community to another level, only the way Vermont can do it. Hay wagons and manure spreaders are transformed into floats, school bands, community groups and even the sheep and cows march in the parade. Everyone can march and everyone participates, whether you are the one throwing the candy (Mardi Gras style) or the one in the crowds, collecting it. The streets are lined with people, more people than one would see at any other time in Rutland or at any one place in Vermont for that matter.
We have been attending the parade for years now, even before we moved here permanently. Once the boys found out that you could stand in one spot and collect an entire sack full of candy and assorted goodies, all while being entertained, they were hooked.
This year, Tim’s Odyssey of the Mind team will have a float in the parade. This means that two of the boys will be parade participants. I promised them that somehow they wouldn’t miss out on the candy, and I guess that I should get cracking on that one, since time is a wastin’.
If you are in the Rutland area, I would highly suggest that you endure the Vermont-style crowds and take in the parade, it is well worth it.
As I started this post I was writing from my phone sitting in the dark. I was sitting in the truck outside of the scout house, waiting on Tom after having dropped the boys off. It was pitch black around me, with the exception of the soft glow coming from the scout house and the few dotted lights in the mountainside from some homes in the area. It occurred to me that it was such a stark contrast to the many nights I may have also been sitting in my truck waiting on Tom or the boys while we were in New Jersey. There, darkness was an expensive commodity. Everywhere was lit, streetlights, house lights, car headlights. The glow of the New York city skyline always cast a glow on the night sky obstructing any possible view of stars, except for maybe a select, bright few. Here, by contrast, you’d be hard pressed to find a place on a clear night that you couldn’t see a skyful of stars, similar to those indoor planetarium shows. The sky twinkles and when it is dark, well, it is really, absolutely, pitch dark. I sent out a twitter while I was sitting there in the dark, that I was pretending to be invisible. It is easy in this complete darkness to be absorbed by it and feel a part of it. It is quiet and peaceful – a stark contrast to that place from which we came.
That’s not just my opinion, mind you. It is the result of the 2009 National Geographic Best and Worst Travel Destinations. The decisions were based upon six criteria: environmental and ecological quality, social and cultural integrity, condition of historic buildings and archeological sites, aesthetic appeal, quality of tourism management and outlook for the future. Vermont ranked 6th in the world and the highest in North America.
As stated in the magazine:
“More than any American state, Vermont has worked to preserve those qualities that make it unique,” such as scenic countryside, lively small towns, historic streetscapes, local businesses. A tourist magnet in summer, it nonetheless “never seems overrun by visitors.” Scores well for “environmental- and social-sustainability practices.”
Additional comments listed the following:
“Vermont, more than any other American state, has worked to preserve those qualities and characteristics that make it unique. It is one of only four U.S. states that completely prohibit outdoor advertising (i.e. billboards). It has a very effective statewide land trust and the state-funded Affordable Housing and Land Conservation Trust that rehabilitates historic buildings, like old mills, for low-income housing, and purchases conservation easements on farmland and forests. It has limited the spread of big-box retailing and works to retain locally owned retail, such as village stores. If you want to see New England as you imagine it, go to Vermont.”
“Many areas of Vermont continue to show leadership in environmental and social sustainability practices relative to much of the U.S. An important but sublime value has been added by the increasing application of Total Economic Valuation tools that measure social capital and natural capital, as well as market capital, at several scales in the state (driven by the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute of Ecological Economics).”
I came across this one thanks to @sCartierLiebel on Twitter. A little six year old girl who was diagnosed with brain cancer and given 135 days to live wrote hundreds of little notes to her parents and baby sister and hid them all over their house before her death. The child, who was deprived of her ability to speak shortly after her diagnosis, began to write notes to her parents and younger sister. After her death, her parents found these notes all over the house, tucked in to corners, drawers, cds, china and glassware. Each parent has one note that is still unopened.
The story of the little girl was started by her parents as a journal for her younger sister to remember the six-year-old after her death from brain cancer. The family agreed to publish the journal and notes into a book called Notes Left Behind where all the proceeds would go to The Cure Starts Now a cancer foundation. The story can be found at Channel 5 News .
Thought for the day: Love is where compassion prevails and kindness rules.
The much awaited results of the Swiss study on the risks of Yaz and Yasmin has evidently been released. There is some controversy over the results of the study. Bayer is stating that the results show no difference between the risk of developing potentially fatal venous thromboembolisms associated with its two products and similar contraceptive pills. Meanwhile, other authorities are stating that the study doesn’t say exactly that, and the Bayer products are not off the hook from a liability perspective. The problem evidently stems from the fact that the results of the study are in German and translations (like your mileage) appear to vary. According to bnet.com the risk associated with the so-called third generation birth control pills such as Yaz may be double those of 2nd generation birth control pills and can be affected by a woman’s weight, smoking history and genetics.
To date there have been approximately 125 court cases filed in the United States alleging injuries from Yaz and Yasmin. Advocates on behalf of these litigants were awaiting the results of the study, which was commissioned following the death of a Swiss woman after she started taking the Bayer birth control product.
Until the document is completely released in English, it appears that the actual wording of the results of the study are open to interpretation here in the United States depending upon your translation.
Guess what I am doing this week? Making a strait jacket. The question is, shall I make 2? One for me? My oldest desires a strait jacket for a Halloween costume and we found this “how to” video on Threadbanger. Seems pretty easy, but then again, I’m working on a deadline here. Seems that Halloween wasn’t this close last week when I should have started this project.
I have a cold that just won’t really quit. I guess that I caught it from my oldest son since he was complaining of a sore throat the week before last for the whole week. This hit me toward the end of last week and my symptoms are pretty similar to his – sore throat, coughing, stuffy head. I know that it’s not strep since there is no fever and he tested negative. I can cope except that I have been unable to sleep well. The past four nights have been sleep interrupted on a fairly regular basis by either a really sore throat, coughing, or stuffiness (or all of the above) to the point that it is better to just get up. It is starting to get on my nerves though, both literally and figuratively, since there is only so much caffeine any human can ingest in a day and actually function. I am usually good for a couple nights of little or no sleep, but this is getting old….fast.
With a to-do list for both home and work the length of an orangutan’s arm, not feeling well enough to want to do anything, but not feeling badly enough to do absolutely nothing, really stinks. Time to pop more cough medicine and another cup of tea…..
This long off-from-school weekend:
- Parent-teacher conferences 4 hours long
- Shopping in Burlington with the boys
- Birthday parties for my nephews in Mahopac
- Boy scout good turn leaf raking
- A soccer game that wasn’t
- A cold that just won’t quit
- An ankle that doesn’t like stairs
- Sleep that just won’t come.
And so starts another week……..
This picture was taken about two weeks ago. Today, hardly a leaf remains on any of the trees and the breeze has gotten downright cold. You can feel winter in the air, even on the “warm” days where the temperatures reach the 50s.
We just got back from a couple days in Burlington with the boys and Tom’s parents. We went up so the boys could get their dose of shopping at all those stores that teenagers love, with all those crazy shirts and goofy gifts. We also got some clothes and had a good time eating out. We had Thai food at Parima in Burlington and got the treat of a performance by Rebecca Williams. We enjoyed her music and good food.
The boys enjoyed walking Church Street and taking in all the people and all the sights. Overall, we had a good time and everyone seemed happy.
Although we descended from hunters, The Ts are not a hunting family. This evening, we were on our way to pick up oldest son from school after his soccer game and grab pizza when less than 1/2 mile from our house, a deer jumped out. We swerved but it was too late. The deer ran into the truck’s tire and was struck down. Down, but not dead. It was clear that this deer was not getting up and running away. It was bleeding, we (at least my son and I) were crying. What to do? The right thing in Tom’s mind was to put the poor thing out of its misery. Unfortunately however, shooting a deer (even with a handgun to put it down when it is already dying) is not allowed. Like I said, we are not hunters and had no interest in the meat and were not looking to take the deer, but rather give it a humane end to its suffering. A call to the game warden informed us that shooting it (as I said) was totally out of the question. My husband was told that they would dispatch someone who would come in about 2 hours. I left in my vehicle to pick up poor oldest son, who had no idea what was going on and on my way back, (about 1/2 hour later) the deer was conspicuously absent from the side of the road where the incident occurred. Highly unlikely that the game warden got there that fast, since they seemed in no hurry on the phone, so most likely someone passing by who is a hunter and had a gun, put it down and took it away.
The evening was totally stressful for all of us since no one really knew what to do, but knew that leaving an animal suffering on the side of the road wasn’t it.
Prior to writing this post, I looked it up. Believe it or not, insurance companies have listed the odds of hitting a deer in each of the 50 states as reported in the New York Times. As you might imagine, Hawaii has the lowest likelihood of hitting a deer with your vehicle (1 in 16,624) and West Virginia has the highest (1 in 57). Vermont is 1 in 133.
Sadly, tonight we and the deer became part of those statistics. We fared far better than the deer. Luckily, none of us were hurt.
Isn’t life funny? As luck would have it, the cold that I have escaped through two boys and one husband has finally caught up with me. I woke up this morning to a full blown cold and killer sore throat knowing that:
1. Today is a half day and I have the rest of the week with kids around.
2. Tomorrow we have a full morning from 8-12 of parent teacher conferences
3. Between today and tomorrow night I have to sew all the merit badges on boy scout sashes x3.
4. We have a trip planned to Burlington for later in the week.
5. I am in charge of organizing and preparing refreshments for the Court of Honor tomorrow night.