Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mending Wall

Kim and I are busy preparing the house for the imminent arrival of baby Gustave Flaubert Claspy and so this past weekend I was boxing up some books to store temporarily while we are shuffling the rooms in the house. One book I lingered over is an anthology of English and American literature that was given to my mother by the English department of her high school, John Marshall High here in Cleveland, for being their outstanding student. Tucked inside this volume were two pieces of paper, one a church bulletin from 1976 from my older sister Jane's confirmation service. The other was a small piece of folded note paper, punctuated by quite a few thumb-tack holes, with the first line of "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost, and what is surely the poet's signature in slightly faded blue fountain pen ink.

Frost told the audience that if they could write down from memory a line from one of his poems, he would autograph the paper for them. My mother had a wealth of poetry memorized, so this was surely no problem for her, and she went away with the poet's name inscribed below her handwriting, and clearly had affixed this piece of paper to many cork boards during her life.

I contacted Denise Monbarren, head of Special Collections at the College of Wooster's beautiful Andrews Library and asked if she could confirm the poet's reading at the college, and not only did she confirm that he spoke there in November of 1955 (my mother's junior year at Wooster), but also sent me a copy of the Wooster Alumni Bulletin of December 1955 with a report of the event. Many thanks to Denise!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Author and Book

A small-in-size but big-for-the-family package arrived in yesterday's mail from Rutgers University Press.

An actual copy of Kim's book!

Her editor says that the book is on its way to warehouses and should be in bookstores in the next six weeks.

Congratulations to Kim on her achievement!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Demolition Man

I'm a walking nightmare, an arsenal of doom
I kill conversation as I walk into the room
I'm a three line whip, I'm the sort of thing they ban
I'm a walking disaster, I'm a demolition man

Cue The Police, "Ghost in the Machine", side 1, last track (or if you have the shiny disc version, track 5, and for you youngsters, bit-torrent blah-de-blah-blah...)

Yes, it's DEMOLITION MAN! I've been slowly- let's say methodically- tearing apart the upstairs bathroom. I'm down to the walls now. Ripping out plaster and lath is a cathartic task, a combination of brute force and finesse, worked alternately with heavy hammer, wrecking bar and flat shovel. I've got three of the four walls pulled down, the lath bundled, and the plaster bagged in plastic grocery bags (it's too heavy for bags any larger than grocery bags.)

I've not uncovered too many surprises, but I'll have to re-do a little bit of the plumbing and a little bit of the electrical before I close the walls back up. The bath/shower will get a vent fan, so that will require some fitting as well. But before that, I've one more wall of purple-painted plaster to rip down, some vinyl flooring to remove and bunches of lath nails to extract.

We purchased the tile for the tub walls and the floor over the weekend, and I'm quite excited about how the whole room is going to look when it is done. It's a good thing to have that end product in mind during this messy deconstruction process!

And now, for your entertainment:

Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Smile!

After many, many years of wearing braces and even an appliance (not a Kenmore, but a Herbst appliance), today Anna shed the railroad tracks for good. She will, of course, wear a retainer for 14 months.

Her beautiful smile became more beautiful!

Congratulations, Anna!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Weekend- Tahoe!

The Princeton ladies have an excellent annual tradition of winter weekend ski trips and this year Maggie and Dave Wooll did one heck of a job putting together a four day getaway to Lake Tahoe. We spent Thursday through Sunday catching up, eating, hot tub soaking, skiing, eating, birthday celebrating, eating and laughing. Here are a few pictures.

The welcoming committee. Poor lad was under the weather, but you could hardly tell.

This is the view from the upstairs porch (as opposed to the 2nd floor porch or entry patio) of the gargantuan condo we called home. I heard David speaking to the management company on the telephone, referring to the property as "the castle". I don't know if that name was his creation or theirs, but it is an apt description. This view is looking due west across Lake Tahoe.

Friday morning the ladies gathered for a baby shower for Kim.

The activity was creating customized onesies and diaper/burp towels with iron-on decals and fabric markers. Here are some of the results:

I escaped for part of the morning for dawn patrol on snowshoes, generously loaned to me by David. I drove up to Spooner Summit and followed the Tahoe Rim Trail to the north. I hiked for about two hours, out and back, up to an open knob well above Spooner Lake. One of my favorite things in the world is being in the woods in the winter, and when it also involves being in the mountains with beautiful views, deep snow, singing birds, and quiet solitude, all the better.

Here is a a self portrait:

The view through the trees. The snow was about 3 feet deep, at an elevation of 8000 feet or so.

This is at the highest point, at which I could see Lake Tahoe below, beyond the ridge to the west. The view is breathtaking!

On Saturday, the four Claspys drove north to the Royal Gorge Cross Country ski resort, the largest in the U.S. with over 180 km of trails. It was a fantastic day and conditions were wonderful. The snow was somewhere around 3 or 4 feet deep and beautifully groomed. The sky was overcast with snow falling all day, very lovely! We arrived around 11 am and got set up in rental gear. We skied for about an hour, then returned to the lodge for lunch, after which we followed a longer loop to the Wilderness warming hut and back. It was a great day out! The drive back to the condo was a bit dicey, however, with snow falling and the roads south of Incline Village pretty treacherous. The 50 mile drive took over 2 hours.

Here we are at the entrance to Summit Station. Those drifts are as high as the roof of the building.

Little Maggie and Mama Kim ready to kick and glide!

Kim and baby and Papa, love in the snow.

The Tigresses, happy for another mini-reunion!