28 October 2008

Like A Death

“I would equate it (McCain losing the presidential election) with a death.” That’s how Victoria S. Gelais feels according to an AP story in today’s Rutland Herald. Rationally, it is difficult to believe that someone would be so devastated as to equate the loss of her favored presidential candidate to the death of a loved one. Are we really so split as a country that we truly believe the other presidential candidate is that dangerous? I’ll be honest, when I hear people say they are afraid of Obama as president, when I hear people say they think he is dangerous, I cannot rationally understand it.

Dangerous is the drunk driver flying down the highway in his Suburban. Dangerous is the slightly unhinged individual walking around carrying a loaded weapon. Dangerous is the loose dog running free in the neighborhood terrorizing young children. Dangerous is not the other presidential candidate.

I have to be honest again, though, and admit that I’ve said about myself, “I’ll be devastated if Obama loses.” And I will. It’s not because I’m afraid of a McCain presidency, nor because I think McCain is dangerous. It is more that I am worried about a continued reliance on bully tactics and military force to solve problems around the world.I’m worried about the rhetoric making this an us vs them society. I’m extremely worried about McCain’s pandering to right wing evangelicals. If we were just talking about differences in tax policy and the role of the federal government, I don’t think I would be as worried.

But, my devastation would be about more than my personal dislike of the other presidential candidate. It would also stem from the sad realization that a majority of the citizens in this country truly do believe that the other candidate, with his stated policies and senate record, is the better choice. It would mean that people who support the anger, hate, and bully tactics that have been and currently are part of the process, are the majority. That scenario deeply saddens me and, yes, it is devastating.

A political race doesn’t have to be this potentially devastating, though. Here in Vermont we have a very similar race for governor. We have an incumbent republican governor, who is running for reelection, up against two strong candidates, one democrat and the other independent. I plan to vote for the independent. But, if the republican incumbent wins again, which is likely to happen, I won’t be devastated. I’ll be unhappy, but not devastated. Is this because I expect the incumbent to win and I’m not as invested in the thought of my candidate winning? Is this because I am not as invested in my gubernatorial (pronounced goober-natorial) candidate as I am in my presidential candidate? Or is it simply because my gubernatorial candidates differ mostly on tax policy and the role of the government?

26 October 2008

Keeping Things Local

Because I sometimes think I actually deserve some time off work to relax, and because I very much enjoy the creativity fostered by craft shows, I requested the past Friday off from work and headed up the Burlington with my mother for the Essex Craft Show. We go almost every year and it is always a wonderful experience.

I always come home from craft shows with so many new ideas. This visit was no different. There are hundreds of crafters at this show, but I want to share a few highlights. First, there are these super nifty art glass plates and lamps. There were two vendors with this sort of thing, but I was only able to get a business card with website from one. They were from New Jersey. Dinstinguished Art Glass

In a similar vein, these melted glass bottles were amazing. At first I couldn’t figure out what they were, but then I realized they are cheeseboards. They seem like such a perfect gift for the winelover who also entertains. Again, there were two vendors with this sort of thing, but I only noted the website for the first vendor I found. Treasures of the Vine

I have to admit, my title this time is somewhat misleading. The size of this particular craft show is such that vendors travel quite a distance to participate. Which means that many of them aren’t truly local. This is true of the first two vendors I listed, but now I’ll move closer to home.

Petra’s Creations traveled from Connecticutt. When my mother and I saw this booth, we knew it was something unique. Sadly, the website doesn’t do it justice. These are trivets, or hotplates. What you can’t see from the picture is that each trivet is made by sandwiching dried flowers, seeds, or fruit between two pieces of glass. They are visually pleasing, and hold up to use with dishes straight out of the oven. The colors and textures were amazing. Petra’s Creations

At any craft show the only group of vendors that can possibly equal the jewelers in sheer numbers are the photographers. The work is almost universally wonderful. One particular photographer caught our eye in Essex. Maine Focus Photography You’ll particularly want to peruse the Outhouse Humor gallery. The hubcaps on the side of the outhouse are a nice accessory. Mom enjoyed these so much, that we came home with a small print she is going to frame and hang in the bathroom.

Of course, two of my favorite vendors, two who also happen to be local to Vermont, don’t seem to have websites. One of them was Vermont Birch Bark Arts. The vendor painted on birch bark, with a very nice effect. The second was Sandy’s Sanity. The wonderful name notwithstanding, Sandy is the vendor who truly set off my creativity. She had painted snowmen on these glass blocks and then put white christmas lights inside the block. She used a gorgeous wide ribbon to make a bow on top. The entire affect was perfect. Even more perfect, I know exactly where to buy the glass blocks and the ribbon so that I can try my hand at making my own. Sorry, Sandy, but I can’t justify spending the money when I can get the supplies for half the price. I’m confident I can manage to paint a snowman.

Finally, I will direct you to my absolute favorite vendor. I’m thrilled to be able to say she’s local. Wonderfully local, right up in Montpelier. I can’t say that she had the most items for sale, because she really only had a few. Maybe 50 pieces. Nor did she have the most creative or unique display. On the contrary, the display was very basic. That was good, though, because it left all the glory to her product. And glorious it was. I’ve never seen anything quite like the marbles she has. The one she has listed on her website is nice, but the pictures fail to do it justice. The 3rd picture gives the best idea. I was able to take a few pictures of the prettiest marble. I think my pictures give a better idea of the marble. Somehow she has managed to create swirls of color inside this marble with such a perspective that you truly feel as though you are falling into the marble. To stand and stare at it for more than a couple minutes will leave you feeling calm and peaceful. I would love to be able to afford one to put on my desk. It would be the perfect way to clear my head while writing.

So, I leave you with the crowning glory of the entire show.