Astronomy Picture of the Day

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Here is a link to a post about the cosmological origins of Hallowe'en and a glimpse at a rather large ghost image.

Happy Hallowe'en from Monkton, Vermont!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Future of Medicine

I am proud to write about My Brother David Gerdt whom I have always admired.
Lately he has been working on a very cool device that I have to share with my audience.
So share this if and when you like it. If you don't understand what a big deal this is,
then you do not have my roster of experiences.

Do not read on if you are squeamish or do not like icky subjects. Fair warning.

As a hospital RN, one of my early lessons on nights was what a coworker/friend taught me:
"Night ears". This means you learned to listen to the patients. 27 of them. You listened for falls, restlessness, pain, and death. You had no cameras, no monitors, no close proximity. They were down the long hallway.
You had to listen for changes, anticipate falls, know when someone was bleeding to death, or having a stroke or heart attack. Needless to say, you did not always hear everything. Later, working in the ICU, I used to hate all the lines in people, the monitors, the ways for people to get infected, bleed, get tangled, be uncomfortable.I have found a few people dead. Some were cold. I have found people pulling out their arterial lines and blood goes everywhere. My Mom had a blood pressure cuff on her arm for 3 days and the cuff left bruises, macerated sweaty skin. She would wince when she heard the pump of the cuff. Somehow that hit me harder than my own patients.
So I really appreciate my brother's work on the CareTaker.
I am proud he has innovated a new way of looking at monitoring.
This is the future of Medicine and a welcome component in true health care reform.
Thanks David!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vermont Real Estate Prebate Season- Explained

I wanted to post this for all you people who say I over-react to the Vermont property tax code:
There will not be a brief test at the end. I appreciate Omega's web blog for explaining in simple-est possible terms a tax code too complicated for me
if I make it to 90 something. Who started act 60, anyway?

Vermont Real Estate Prebate Season- Explained

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Photos not taken

It really might be no big deal to someone else, but it worried me.
(Isn't that the definition of a phobia?)

I had to drive over the mountain last week. See, I told you, you might say no big deal.
But of course my reality is something I cannot seem to shake and I was worried.

The leaves were post peak which still retain the golds, browns and some scattered yellows, even some green. So I brought my camera all charged up and ready for a masterpiece.

Google Earth was helpful for the vertically challenged flatlander in me to visualize the road I would be driving on, the grades, the views. It is those large expansive sky views that get me.

A friend at work reassured me that it was the best route and that she shared my phobia.
What a comfort, to fall back on.

I also wanted to snap a picture proving I had been in Robert Frost's old neighborhood-actually a mountain village Ripton, with scattered people who travelled the less travelled path up the mountain, and never left.

I went Up the windy road: Route 125, up out of the quaint sleepy hamlet of East Middlebury Village.
On the way road men were finishing the road repairs. I nearly got a photo of the river and some color.

My turn to go, always someone on your tail on a scenic journey. I go up, up, all the while seeing the leaves fade out completely. I wanted to stop at the Robert Frost walk but it was all closed off. A Maine-iac was now on my tail.

The Green Mountain forest offers other snapshots but I had to get to my meeting by 1.
Then on out of Ripton as I realized I didn't need the photos to remember my ride up the mountain.

I pulled over abrubtly at the top of the mountain at a rare pull off. Goodbye Maine-iac! He was puzzled but sped off. I was relieved to be able to descend without pressures from others. There was a foggy blanket on the mountain that day. A gift perhaps to help me with my challenge.

On I went past mountain villages, Warren and Waitsfield, looking more vacant than a few years ago.
There were waterfalls I missed-that schedule again.

Well I made it to the meeting on time and in one piece. Such a small thing to someone else can be quite difficult to you. I Grew up where they put curves in the road to keep people awake, not to follow the river up a steep mountain

My camera sat idle on the car seat. There sat my photos not taken.
I have no proof I was there, nothing really happened up there, that day.
But my memories of driving where Robert drove, lived and escaped,
Will not fade soon. In fact,
They have made all the difference in me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Jennifer Field

Jennifer Field

Once you meet her, you will not forget her.
She helps inspire the victims of brain injury to excel, to break free of the boundaries of conventional therapies.
I saw her at the VT brain Injury conference-an annual great one.
She recently contacted me and I have to say, she gave me a reason to share her website, full of helpful simple tips about a complicated subject.
Her story clearly shows it is hope and family support and sometimes alternative therapies, different avenues,
and a willingness to try and fail, just to arrive much farther than you even had hoped for.

Help support jennifer's mission.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Farewell Color

Farewell Color, Color farewell.
Beyond peak color now,
The leaves they fell,
Color is gone now,
Color farewell.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blacksmith shop foundation

One of the Blacksmith shop's foundation wall sat across from our old 1830 house. I found this picture that I took about 25 years ago. I felt like when I took this picture that everything hung in a delicate balance. The wall was in
a state of gradual decline, the tree on the left both binding up the wall and
weighing it down slowly. The blacksmith and his family are buried in the cemetery on our road. The foundation is hard to see these days.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Fanny Lindbeck,
Our grandmother, acted on stage at the Wildey Theatre.
It came up in conversation with Mom again and I wanted
to write it down while fresh in my mind.
I grew up less than a block from the Wildey. It really dominated my life. We went to all the new movies, we went to summer all day movie marathons, we went to socialize, get away, eat junk food and keep cool.
So I never thought about the Wildey not having movie film shows. That there was a time before the movies.
Before the movies was Melodrama, music revues, stage plays. In fact the early films looked like the stage shows because they were done by the live performers, the vaudevillians, the actresses like Fanny.
I had people call me Fanny for a time I suppose thinking I had adopted her personna.

Today Mom talked again of the melodrama Fanny was in where she had to be killed in an electric chair. Her younger sister Emma was in the audience and thought it was all real. Mom said when Fanny went to Highland on the train, that her father put an end to her career. She was single at that time.
So as I connect with the theater people of my yesteryear, I recall Fanny who looks like she
might have been famous. I wonder what part of her that I carry that drew me
to get involved in all things theatrical? Although I left theater as well in my early HS years,
I still carry a nostalgia for the dramatic. If only our paths had been longer together, perhaps, she could have shared with me what is was like to put on a show, wear grease paint of the day and to hear the roar of applause in 1910?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tea, anyone?

It just wasn't fair.
The minute I found teapots in,
Others want them out.
The minute I decided to,
"Don't you!", They would shout.
I got a house to love and live in,
"Hand it over", they did say.
What they said, they have their rights,
Like other working people.
But, get this clear, The end is near
Shout it from a steeple.
Tea for me and tea for you and coffee, milk and honey.

lustre ware courtesy Ollie, wherever you may be.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Proteins and Memory

Proteins and Memory,
are they one & the same?
If so true, it makes proteins
so important in our game.
The shots of proteins like the bee sting
can slow the MonSter that I know.
Is my brain full of complex
Protein strands imprinted with
Memories of long ago?
And will the funding last forever,
Will the protein soup be ever?
Will they some day, find a new way
to deliver protein feed.
To chew or swallow, cook or wallow in exactly
what I need?
For now I take the proteins,
shots really not that bad.
The only way I can, The only way is how
to keep the MonSter
far out on the curb.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble with My Morning Jacket | Rolling Stone Music | Photos

Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble with My Morning Jacket Rolling Stone Music Photos

Late Color

We are in our late color phase in the valley's edge,
Between the peak color that lasts so briefly,
and the stark reality of stick season.
Late color features rugged maple leaves
that have outlasted remnants of 2 or 3 hurricanes,
and the crisp air signaling snow on the way.
Fred saw flakes today and we gaze at
the mountains covered with
These trees started providing us syrup
the spring after this photo was taken
with the help of friends who barter
like the old days
and skip the meddle man.
happy fall.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



I heard for real that he is gone.
I never wanted to listen to that
Hoping that
the news was a blip,
a mistake,
a skip
in time,
I had never been able to cry about
or lay about,
keep busy I said,
don't ask
where he went
or how hard
it must have been
for he and those who stood by and had to watch.
This is my tribute, albeit late, to a friend I will never forget.

I met Jesse in the summer between 7th and 8th grade.
My friend Claire had moved away and I was as low as I could be.
I had her as one of my perfect friends, always there, knew how
I felt without even asking. I had other friends who were all speciall too.
But losing Claire hit me hard.
I signed up for summer program and was doubtful of how that would turn out.
Our school was a mix of several smaller school groups. We were meeting people
from other parts of town who each had established relationships and associated school pride.
One activity in summer group was finger painting.
The teacher gave us slick white paper and we wet it down. On went tempra paints with a funny paste like smell.
Were my fingers just moping about, thinking I would cry about Claire? Longing for our summer days on her dock by the lake?
What was I drawing?
Then out of the blue, I saw Jesse. He and I started to break out of the mold, the boring stick figures of that infantile finger painting. I think he started with the elbow and then I remember a cascade, a dance of elbows, us both making a scene, a creative ruckus. Visual dares as if we were showing that we had no boundaries. Art has no boundaries. We laughed and carried on until told we were going too far, having too much
freedom of expression, making too much of a mess.
We bonded at that moment, became great friends, and felt a comraderie.
Jesse taught me to eat escargot, which fork to use first, he got me the best bagel with cream cheese and lox in the world, we stood at the foot of the World Trade Center and as I slowly looked up he caught me as I nearly fell over, overwhelmed at this tall building. We could only see the bottom 1/3 that day.
Every once in awhile I would try to google him or try to find him even though part of me knew he had left the material world. I still feel if he could, he would visit me once in awhile and I would visit him.
To others who were close to him, I feel the loss will always have a pain of what might have been, a wish times could have been different, and part of me will always deny that someone as special as Jesse left the world. His memory will always live on in our hearts. Love, Mary Gerdt for Jesse

jesse 1975 at the Arlo Guthrie/Pete Seeger concert MRF

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tribute to Levon Helm

When I think about going to another Levon Helm show, I know Fred and I both are doing something we both completely love, feel good hearing, watching, feeling the music as Fred says, "Wide Open".
The musicians with Levon and the interaction, the genuine synergy, their love and devotion to music shines.
No I do not exaggerate when I call him a shaman. He is a drummer, not just any drummer, not just one or two genres, he is in touch with them all. He made some of his own.
But I do not believe we alone should enjoy the incredible live music of Levon, Amy, Larry, Theresa and all the rest of the band. Plus:
The Levon Helm Band has another set of road shows coming up in Novemeber with Ray Lamontagne and The Pariah Dogs!
So whether you see them in your hometown or in the intimate ultra venue at Levon's barn, you have to, in your lifetime see the man who picked cotton as a child perhaps saying to himself, one day I won't pick cotton anymore. That hard work left it's impression when you see his moves and intention clear as a bright sunny day. We had not seen many live bands in our middle age. When we did, we gravitated to the best drummer in the world who has a bright smile, deep heart and faithful following. If what I say here promotes Levon and his band, then I have to accept the consequences of competition for tickets. Likewise my advice to you is if you see tickets for sale, do not dawdle, buy those Levon tickets and you will thank me later for leading you down the path where you experience that performer of performers,  the rare, the one and only
Levon Helm. Click on the link to the right for his schedule or grab that widget. I have a map if you scroll all the way down. Hope to see you at the concert!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mrs. K

Mrs. Kuethe
Would have been 107 tomorrow, October 13th. 2 days after Nancy's only she had all the Friday the 13ths...
She lived next door to the house I grew up in on High Street. I remember her eager smile, whiskered chin,
dimpled girlish laugh sometimes. I would stand on the porch, telltale boards creaking as I approached.
But she would have already known I was headed down the hill, the curtain fluttering ever so subtely and her running to greet me, "Mareeee", she would say, like an exaggerated Marie. Then she would repeat my name
over and over. We all love hearing our name said outloud, that was not quite my name but close enough
to relish in that extreme adoration Adoration I lost when I lost my last grandparent so young I don't remember any of my natural grandparents. Mrs. Kuethe was there waiting for me to toddle down the hill
away from the hustle of a 7 child family. She and Herman spent many a night fanning on the porch with me sitting at their feet listening to them breathe and rock and make brief comments and then nodding off occasionally. Herman lit his pipe and Mrs. Kuethe would mouth words as she fell in and out of twilight.
She would have loved seeing the leaves change, and being by my side today.
I feel the same way, Happy Birthday Mrs, Kuethe.
I don't think I ever knew her real first name...emily? emmy? amelia?

Monday, October 11, 2010

First hard Frost

We have found out, through trial and error,
that right before that first bad frost,
(meaning low 20's instead of low 30's)
we just decide quite cold heartedly what to keep and what to sacrifice.
No emotions about it. It is a fact of life.
Fred picked the pears,
I picked the peppers and fished out the acorn squash.
We got about a bushel of mixed jalapeno and chile peppers,
then some watermelons and cauliflower.
We loaded the trailer and put it all in the garage, kind
of like a cool room/refrigerator.

Sure enough, we got a pretty deadly frost that night.
Today I put up 14 pints of spicy pickled beets plus 1 quart
for the table. The recipe is in the Ball book.
I soaked the cauliflower in salt water and it was too wormy for our tolerance.
Still we have brussel sprouts, chard, more beets and carrots.
Grateful for this colorful feast.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Ten Ten

Ten Ten Ten

today could be abbreviated as


or 10.10.2010

numerologically a full house of low numbers,
a new beginning.
Today, the weather was as fine as peak foliage
season could be.
We attended a fine wedding
watching a beginning for them
and for me
the ending of the quilt I can call my
most challenging and rewarding:
Trip around the world,
Congrats to Tod and Janet.

Today as well was
the 10th annual East Charlotte tractor parade
coordinated by Carrie Spear
and a cast of thousands.
Fred and I both longed for a picture
of the old Titan, the first tractor on the farm
that was acquired and loving restored
by local guru Harv Sharrow.

I was honored to touch this
tractor that was the first improvement on horse power.
Overall it was a special day in the delightfully chilly Vermont air.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rainbows and Fall Color

This year's color with some rainbows, scroll down for corn and flowers thrown in.

Frost is just around the corner....

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top of the World

Top of the World
Looking down at the valley
Splattered with bright and dull colors
Forgetting all the troubles
Down there.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Foliage Vermont

The colors are turning seemingly fast, you know a little at a time and then all at once.
Swamps always your best bet for brilliant, early and loaded with reds.
Here are my pics from another year. Mt. Abe featured as well as our maple woods.
Today bright clear and cold. Perfect day for photos ...
but we are processing veggies: tomatoes, peppers,tomatillos, beet relish.
Our other fall colors.
Have a wonderful fall.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lanap: epilogue

Lanap follow up 8 days later.
Have had One week of mushy food ranged from pasta and cheese to ice cream shakes, yogurt,
eggs, to Fred's white wine poached sea scallops yum.
Twinge of mild discomfort time to time, tissues normalizing.
The hygienist cleaned off my teeth and doctor checked. He did not have to grind to adjust my bite but did last time. It all looked OK.
Now cleaning every 3 months, several not covered by insurance (that not everybody has).Reminder to self :sign up for healthcare reimbursement account-pretax....
Off antibiotics now, back on real food and they will check the results
with a probe in one year.
I would recommend you consider Lanap. The laser causes healing changes without the destruction of scalpel or the destructive bacteria themselves.
My feeling is this really should be considered a medically necessary procedure since it is below the gum line...

Meanwhile, don't floss your gums, floss your teeth. Not enough good instruction on this subject.
On to Friday night.....
October Project is playing. name is aryanna...