Friday, July 18, 2008

The Barber

Choosing your barber is a very personal thing. Years ago, when Wayne the barber in downtown Winooski closed his operation in order to spend more time bass fishing, I was in a quandary. Who do I trust to cut my hair, who has the latest copy of Sports Illustrated in his waiting area, and who can cut my hair in less than 10 minutes?

My dad turned me on to Dick's Barber Shop on Williston Road several years ago. Dick was an older gentleman who cut good hair and kept it brief. His shop was a three-chair shop, and he cut hair at the first chair. The other two chairs would be occupied by hair-cutters on a rotating basis -- nobody staying very long. What I began to notice was that I would arrive to find Dick cutting hair, one or both of the newbies sitting reading magazines... and three or four people waiting for Dick.

When a very young barber fresh out of barber school began working for Dick, I began having him cut my hair. The kid -- named Clay -- seemed to do a great job, and I never had to wait in the line for Dick. My hair situation seemed solved.

Until one day, I showed up (and I really needed a haircut) and Clay was not there. "Where's Clay?" I asked. "He doesn't work here anymore," said Dick. Four customers were waiting for Dick, but another barber was sitting in his own barber chair reading. I went with him. He butchered me.

For several months, I avoided the place. When I finally couldn't wait any longer, I went in and waited an hour for Dick, while the butcher read.

Finally, I heard about another barber shop that had opened no more than half a mile from Dick's. Not without reservations, I checked it out. Lo and behold, Clay had opened a shop less than a mile from his old boss! Oh the scandal! The betrayal! "He's probably not too happy," was Clay's only comment about the situation.

Clay has been cutting my hair for the last four years. He has an extremely loyal following, and sometimes there's a long wait. I usually come right at 8am so I am the first in the chair. He's quick, professional, and he does it the way I like it: short.

I am a busy person, and it's often tough to find time for a haircut. This week, I went to Clay's before work at EatingWell.I had no cash, so I drove past his place to stop at an ATM, knowing that this would cost me first chair. I pulled up at 8:30am to find his shop dark. "On Vacation. Back July 22" read the sign on his door. I sat in my car, not knowing what to do. Finally, I pulled out and turned left.

And went to Dick's.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Article in Livin' magazine

Later this month, endurance runners from all over the country will line up at the start of West Windsor's Vermont 100 Endurance Run. Ali and I will be on location also, volunteering at the Spirit of Mile 76 aid station (I'll be urging runners to keep it up -- "just 24 miles to go!").

You can read about the Vermont 100 right now in my latest article, published in Livin' the Vermont Way magazine. The magazine should be on shelves now, and if it's not, tell your local bookstore and magazine stand to start carrying it!

The link to the article is as follows:

Be sure to check out the cool photo by Jan Leja while you're there!

Editor's Note: you will need to copy and paste the link into your Internet Explorer window. Due to technical issues, the link does not seem to connect directly to Livin from this post. Waa.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jones Bash Named Best Hoe-Down of '08

Marc Jones moved all of the Jones Certified Organic Dairy farm equipment out of the equipment shed yesterday for an old-fashioned barn dance. Once the tractors and hayers were out of the way, Marc's wife Carol brought down microphones and sound equipment, seats, coolers, a sheet or two of plywood for a stage, and two plush velvety chairs for performers.

The only things she was missing were people and the Snack Bus, and by 5pm they showed up in full force -- the people carrying coolers and fold-out chairs under their arms, and the Snack Bus ready to sling their burgers, hot dogs, and fries.

As we drove in, padded dirt bikers (read, Carol and Marc's son William and his friends) led us to our campsites out in the field. Strolling from the tent site to the dance hall, I couldn't help thinking of the Vermont ReggaeFest when it was held in the hills of Johnson, Vermont.

The only differences were that the main musical influence at Carol's was folk; there were about 19,900 fewer people at Carol's (I believe there were 20K at the ReggaeFest); and the Jones farm, located in beautiful Georgia, Vermont, was (if you can believe it) slightly more scenic.

There were many highlights during the open mike sessions that started the music off -- and one low-light: me snapping my G-string (the one on my guitar, thank you) just before my hardest song. Then Lowell Thompson played two sets. He was so wonderful that even Marc and Carol's milk cows crowded along the fence at the edge of their pasture to listen. Big Boots Deville provided dance covers for those who wanted to dance, but I'd have to say that the Snack Bus' root beer floats may have been the biggest hit of the evening. 75% of people polled said they went back for seconds.

And now the big news: the entire staff of this website has voted unanimously to name the party "Hoe-down of the Year"! It was the best I have been to in a long time: awesome live music, great people, and beautiful surroundings. Thanks Marc and Carol, and congrats on the recognition!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Training

The holiday weekend is over, which means several things. One, it means that summer is here in full swing. This really rings true weather-wise this year in Vermont. Sheesh -- in June, I swear it rained every day -- whether for full days or for thunder showers here and there. But it has been hot and dry ever since July hit -- perfect weather for a July 4th weekend. Yep... summer's here, no mistakin'.

Two, it means peak time for the social calendar. The weekend was busy (friends, family, running, biking, swimming, canoeing, beer-drinking, firework-watching, etc.), but what else do you expect from a holiday? For the next two weeks though -- it is one thing after another. It's like Christmastime; something happening every day.

Most of all, with the holiday being over, it means the athletic training schedule takes over in earnest. Coming up, we have three big events: the Colchester Triathlon, the 100 on 100, and the Munchen Marathon. Alison actually ran a trialthon on July 5 -- we ran 5 miles, she swam for 25 minutes, and then she went on a 16-mile bike ride with her dad. I'm the one who will most likely suffer through the tri; I have swum once and have not been on my bike. Well, I have three weeks to turn it around. The 100 mile relay on Vermont's Route 100 will serve as a training for the marathon. Marathon training started in earnest yesterday with an 11-miler. The marathon is on October 12 -- which means for the first time ever, I will put in a full training season for a 26-miler. In addition to the schedule of long runs, I plan to incorporate some speed and tempo work. Time to get in shape!

With July 4th behind us, I suddenly feel like I can see the end of summer. What? Over already? Don't worry; there's no need to fear. Just keep telling myself there's plenty of summer left to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good People Helping Good People

Yesterday, I left EatingWell early. Kelley, the new Adventure Center manager at Stowe, had put out a call: Shannon (the old Adventure Center manager) needed us. Shannon ran all the kids' programs at Stowe for the last three years -- and both of the winters I have been there. She was spectacular -- great supervisor, boss, role model, and person. But she had a golden employment opportunity in Parry Sound, Ontario (Number 4, Bobby Orr's hometown, but then you already know that), and she left us at the end of this past winter.

She has been up in Canada all spring getting settled at her new job, while her husband Chris has been finishing up his school year as a teacher and finalizing the sale of their house. On a recent trip up to visit Shannon and their kids, Chris had a motorcycle accident on his way home and was badly injured.

So Kelley spread the word: "Chris needs help loading the moving van!" The call was answered. Jim and Heather, two other Adventure Center supervisors were there all afternoon with Mike, an instructor and freeskyle coach. Donna, our ski school operations manager, had her sleeves rolled up as she supervised the packing of the moving truck (and boy did she pack it full). Our ski school director himself, Dave, dissembled their wooden swingset and helped to empty the house. Kelley and Martha, a front desk ticket seller in the AC, packed and loaded tons of stuff (and gave me a ride from Stowe).

It was great to see such a level of community and friendship. Shannon stepped up to the plate for us every day she worked at Stowe, and I'm glad everyone took some time to help a friend. As I type, Chris and his dad are driving a Uhaul moving truck and pulling a loaded trailer (followed by his mom who is pulling a bass boat) on their way to the Canadian border. Good luck in Parry Sound, Shannon. Best wishes for a speedy (ish) recovery, Chris.

And viva Stowe -- only 172 days till the official first day of winter!