was during Dubya's first term. But the past couple of years I've been picking up an occasional interesting shiny glass ornament figuring that somewhen there'd be a tree for them. Today is officially somewhen and after Grace strung the lights and we added our 13 ornaments (we had 14 but fragile glass orbs and Fat Pit Bulls do not mix) I discovered The. Coolest. Thing. Ever.
The pretty ones with the shiny inset center practically glow when the light hits them. I love them and could probably waste an entire day or three transfixed by their bright shiny wonder fullness. Ok, keep in mind that I do not have cable and part of my brain is probably desperately seeking a Boob Tube substitute but if these are it, that's ok by me.
> Nick, what happened to the stove exhaust filter?
> Oh, well, my bacon caught on fire and it got really big but I put it out.
> How'd you put it out, Nick?
> Well, I dumped a lot of water on it.
> Nick, we don't put water on grease fires.
> Oh, I know that but it was a lot of water and it worked and it's a good thing it worked or the apartment could've burned down and then we'd be homeless and have no stuff and I'd owe a lot of money and we'd be screwed. Are we getting a real Christmas tree this year?
> Sent from my iPhone
A few days before Halloween, I finally had a chance to putter around the old railroad bridge in downtown and take a few pictures. A bajillion, actually, but one's probably plenty. Thing I learned: Old railroad bridges look cool but are popular places for people to hang out and drink. And pee. A lot. Thankfully, this blog lacks smell-o-gram.
Besides, hanging out at smelly bridges, what've I been up to this past month? Nothing. Retail managers who are single parents do nothing in November except run.
Sort of. In an astonishing show of gracelessness, I kicked a rolling chair out from under myself because I'm apparently incapable of sitting down while reading.Who needs multitasking anyway? Anyhoo, I absolutely arsed up my right knee. Truth be told, the arthritis was a lot worse than I realized so it was pretty arsed up before the fall. We could call that moment the straw that broke the camel's back or at the very least tore a ligament and a meniscus. Oy vay. After 30 tiresome days on crutches, I had a follow up MRI appointment Wednesday. The knee, it is a hot mess, in the sort of way that caused a handsome ortho surgeon to inquire exactly what I'd done over the years to have this much of a messed up knee at such a young age. Apparently being 43 with a 73 year old knee is not the norm. Who knew? Dr Handsome drained the knee and loaded it up with cortisone- which hurts like a bastard. Not the injection itself but later that night OH EM GEE though I'm now able to walk, albeit quite slowly ( think great grandma walking uphill in the cold through a wall of molasses. THAT slow) without the trusty aluminum crutches. The cortisone is to get me through the next 5 weeks of retail hell after which we shall formulate a long term treatment plan involving permanent weight loss (though I big time had the weight loss epiphany the morning after stepping out of bed, falling down, and discovering that walking unassisted wasn't in the immediate future), PT, and maybe a touch of surgery to try and clean up the meniscus a bit. That part's questionable. Half the knee's bone on bone (cartilage, schmartilage- who needs it?) and loaded with bone spurs which causes ongoing damage to the meniscus so any repair we do isn't a long term solution. So December's unofficially research the knee options month.
Today, however, was the first day without crutches day and for that I am grateful. I am also grateful that I don't have to spend all of my walking time staring at the floor whilst crutching along. It's humbling (and scary) to discover how much miscellaneous crap on the floor can turn a crutch into a glider, especially when you consider how messy people are.
But enough about my knee (possibly a glass of wine before blogging after a month hiatus isn't a good idea), here's the old Westfield Whip Manufacturing building (which apparently, is still lit at night even though it's a hulking ivy covered ruin and definitely no longer the site of any sort of buggy whip production.)
And sometimes the pictures end up sideways, which confuses me a bit because they look perfectly fine when I'm writing the post and then I look at the blog after it's posted and the trees are horizontal.
Consider it an unintentionally accurate view of my life these days: unpredictable and occasionally quite askew. We are getting connected to the interwebs on Monday. This won't fix the every day chaos but at least my trees'll no longer look like they're napping.
And for the knitters who are as wackadoo as I am, it's 25 degrees out and we have not turned the heat on. This is in part because I've discovered that if the house is chilly on the weekends, everyone (including the dog) sleeps in. The quiet uninterrupted knitting time is well worth wearing an extra pair of socks. If the weather holds, I might actually get the holiday knitting done-get this- by the holidays this year. I'll gladly resort to wearing nose cozies for that.
I've taken to hanging out in the local cemeteries. The dead are FAR less demanding than the living. Plus, the trees are pretty.
One distinct difference between southwestern MA and NH is the trees. Autumn's always meant an exuberant riot orange and red maples, punctuated by a smattering of yellow ashes and beeches, and followed by soothing orangey-brown oaks. And for years, I've been irritated with folks from MA who clogged NH highways and hiking trails "leaf peeping". Why didn't they head to the Berkshires? How different could the trees possibly be? Plenty, it turns out. I've moved to an area thick with oaks, which are still green. Most of the area trees that have turned color so far are varying shades of yellow. Maples are the oddballs of the forest around here though they are pretty popular in cemeteries and attract plenty of admirers. Visit a cemetery around here right now and odds are decent that most of the visitors are wielding cameras, not flowers. I didn't realize this initially and spent about a half hour sneaking around so I wouldn't disturb "real" visitors. Then I finally realized that the guy that I thought was praying had a camera and that the woman who'd stopped her car in the middle of the road not far from me and who I thought might be calling in to report the picture taking grey haired whackadoo (aka moi) was just taking pictures from her car. So, I guess this is how people around here who don't travel get their autumn maple fix. Interesting.
It's pretty interesting stuff living next the mountains. I'm not used to thunderstorms on 60 degree afternoons but here we are:
The quality of light in the late afternoons is marvelous. While I'd like to romanticize things and babble about the softening effect of trees and beautiful mountains on light, I'm reasonably certain it's because the air quality here is pretty crappy. Seriously. I spent 5 months commuting 220 miles daily on the Mass Pike and the inside of my windshield didn't get nearly as filthy as it does now during 1/10 the commute. And that's with us living on the very outskirts of a smaller city (pop 41,000), right next to a fairly small farming town (pop 9,500) with a farm immediately behind us and several more just down the road. It's an abrupt reminder that, pretty as things are, Springfield and a number of factories are sharing the valley with us. It's a consideration for when we start house hunting.
Sent from my iPhone