Jessie Raymond

10/17/2019
I’m a people person. Really. So when a friend suggested last week that I might, in fact, be an introvert, I sought out an expert opinion. Kind of. Actually, I took an internet personality quiz. I hoped it would explain how I love being around people, yet I mostly choose to avoid them. On the one hand, I’m the kind of chatty over-sharer you never want to sit next to on a plane (“I had to sprint all the way from Concourse C. Of all the days to forget my deodorant!”). On the other hand, I’m a hermit who prefers never to leave the house unless it is actively on fire. The quiz asked a series of...
10/03/2019
It’s harvest season, and boy, am I exhausted. I’ve really only picked some apples out back and brought in a few loads of tomatoes from the garden. But that’s not what’s wearing me out. It’s the canning. You may think, with electricity, that no one needs to can food anymore. But you don’t get it. As a flatlander living on an old Vermont farmstead, I feel obligated to do this. I’m just not very good at it. That’s no surprise. Canning is only one of many honest country homesteading skills I struggle to master. My whittling, for example, is a complete joke. Friends tell me just to freeze...
09/19/2019
The other day at an antique shop I bought an old magazine: the May 1905 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. What a trip. Times may have changed, but in general, people — and magazines — haven’t. Who would have thought that as far back as 114 years ago, women were complaining about skirts not having pockets? Just as they do today, people fawned over the rich and famous. A pictorial in the magazine, titled “Kate Douglas Wiggin as She Really Is,” followed a normal day in the life of the glamorous Wiggin, famed author of “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (I googled her). Today, Instagram users would call...
09/05/2019
Years ago, someone gave me a copy of “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” a pocket-size volume written by a father to his son, who was leaving for college. I hated that book. Among its “511 reminders for a rewarding and happy life,” it did offer some valuable, if obvious, suggestions, such as “Admit your mistakes” and “Floss your teeth.” But other tips — “Drink champagne for no reason at all” and “Buy a house with a fireplace” — smacked of privilege and hinted that the real key to a rewarding and happy life was “Have a lot of money.” I say it’s something much simpler: “Make a weekly meal plan.”...
08/22/2019
Confession: I now own three spinning wheels. Mark isn’t thrilled. He says it would be like if he bought three table saws. But it’s not the same; I have an emotional attachment to my wheels. And anyway, what do I care how many tables saws he has? Unlike him, I don’t judge. I bought my first wheel, new, around 2004. And Mark himself surprised me with the second one, an antique “walking wheel,” the big kind you see at history museums. He thinks that because it’s very old — 200 years, with its original blue paint — and is the most thoughtful Christmas gift he’s ever given me, I should be all set...
08/08/2019
People who don’t know how to make normal conversation like to pose annoying “thought experiments.” Their favorite: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? We’ll never know, or care about, the answer. But it’s been on my mind lately, because I’ve been spending a lot of time around trees and forests. While I’m recovering from a shoulder injury, about all I can do without limits is walk. So I’ve been walking with a vengeance. A week ago Monday, while taking the dog on our customary morning loop through the woods on the Trail Around Middlebury, I came...
07/25/2019
For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing a new feeling: pain. So far, I’m not a fan. To be fair, it’s not excruciating; but I hurt my shoulder this spring, and it’s still giving me trouble. I’d like to say I wrenched it in heroic fashion — sweeping a toddler from the path of a charging bull, for instance. But no. The cause was a less exciting though still dangerous activity called “life after 50.” Being in pain is, like eating olives (the worst!), something I’ve managed to avoid for most of my life. So when my shoulder first started bothering me, I assumed I should ignore it and “power...
07/09/2019
When I was little, I got impatient on family road trips. Like most kids, I’d start asking, “Are we almost there?” about two minutes after the car left the driveway. My attitude toward long drives has evolved since then. An avowed homebody, I don’t do many solo road trips. But I like them. It feels good just to strike out on my own, rock out to some tunes (or listen to an audiobook, which sounds less rad but is nonetheless an entertaining diversion) and have an adventure. Of course, I wear my seatbelt and follow the speed limit. But in my heart, I’m a wild mustang. Last Friday, I took a road...

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Addison County Independent

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