CategorySlice of Life

What’s been happening with me lately

Battling Spongy Moth Caterpillars – Techniques that Work

Caterpillars Under Duct Tape

Here in Northwest Vermont, we’ve had outbreaks of spongy moths for the past two years. These pests eat vast quantities of leaves when in their caterpillar phase and especially love munching on oak trees. If their population is large enough on a given tree, the leaves can be entirely consumed by the end of June, leaving the tree bare if/until it can grow a new set of leaves later in the summer. My...

Memories of My Friend, Kevin Hill

Collage of Photos of Kevin Hill

Kevin died of Covid-19 on December 12th, 2021. These are some words I shared at his memorial ceremony on June 14th, 2022. Kevin and I met almost 40 years ago as students at Kimball Union Academy. We were both geeks, that is, socially awkward people who liked computers and cared about getting good grades. We fell in with a group of like-minded individuals and experienced a few years of gripping...

Memories of Prince

Prince Photo by Michael Ochs

Learning of Prince’s death last week really shook me. This post is an attempt to express some of what he has meant to me over the years. Albany, NY. May 1983. At a time when my experience of cities was almost nonexistent, my sister and I went to SUNY to help my mother pack up her stuff and return from her final year in residence at the university. The campus was warm and bright and full of...

Bye bye, naughties


I’m going to just say it: in many ways, this was a crappy decade. G-dubs stole an election and somehow remained president for 8 whole years; 9/11 happened, followed by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the U.S. trashed its reputation around the globe with arrogant, irresponsible, and occasionally criminal behavior; and the economy became tired and shagged out after a prolonged squawk. There...

Mom’s obituary


This is the text of the obit that appeared with slight edits in the Times Argus and Caledonian Record: Joan Marie Brunelle Dawley, 76, died Friday, Dec. 12, 2008 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. She was born May 25, 1932, in Montpelier, VT, the daughter of Edward Brunelle and Dorothy (Dunton) Brunelle. She married George Siekierski in 1951. They lived in Montpelier, VT; New...

Joan Marie Brunelle Dawley, 1932-2008


    My mother died on Friday, December 12. She was 76 years old. I’ve been working on an obituary over the past week and wondering how to distill her life and place in the world down to a single column in a newspaper. It’s hard to do, so I ended up copying the structure of the obituary she wrote for Dad in 2004. Lots of names of relatives, educational milestones, jobs she...

Life lessons


This is a story about my engagement with the life and work of Robert Downey Jr. It starts with a series of roles I saw him play in movies in the last couple of years. A Scanner Darkly (hilarious motor mouth double-crosser), Zodiac (drunken reporter sliding into the trash bin of life, delivers my favorite line of the movie to Jake Gyllenhaal: “You’re doing that thing, the thing we discussed, the...

Dispatch from Oahu


We’re having another slow morning today, downloading photos off our cameras, blogging and recovering from our marathon day trip to the big island of Hawaii yesterday. Beth booked a trip with Polynesian Adventure Tours that required us to get up by 4:30 AM and didn’t get us back to Oahu until about 9:30 PM. It was a difficult schedule, but worth it for all the ground we covered, and...

Giants among men


Last night I joined my sister, a friend of hers, and my nephew for a kickass performance by They Might Be Giants at Higher Ground. I saw these guys perform back in the late ’80s when they visited my college, and I swear they look exactly the same as they did back then. The cool thing is, they’ve produced about 20 million albums in the interval, so they had a lot more songs to choose...

Spring is coming…


Finally, we’re officially out of winter. Yeah, we keep getting ice storms and other crapola falling out of the sky, but summer IS on the way. Thank Peep, because 2008 has been one of my least favorite years so far. Relationship distress, a nasty case of work, and an inner ear infection that gave me persistent vertigo all combined to give me an insomnia/anxiety/depression sucker punch...


Blog Tools

Tag Cloud