Thursday, August 25, 2005

Six Months Into It

I was going to call this the six month reality check but it’s actually been a couple weeks more than that. But, hey, who’s counting. Since I’ve last posted I’ve been to the Newport Jazz Festival, to Shelburne Falls and to the Boston Museum of Science. I’ve also been continuing to coordinate, schedule and train on the Virtual Gateway, which, of course, is my day job. The other day I went on a lunch time tour of the Boston Library, but I’ll get to that another time as I want to go back and check it out some more. And, finally I guess, I’ve now seen the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know,” for the fourth time. I also found out that I’ve gained 10 pounds since moving up here – I have to stop eating milk chocolate from Trader Joe’s, but – it’s soooo good. Cadbury bars, too. And Halvah. Pecan pie. Ice cream. Beer.

Ok. Let me start at the Newport Jazz Festival. Julie and I went on the Sunday of the two day event. It was the first time for either of us. I have to admit I’d been wanting to go to the festival for, oh, 30 years or so. It was very cool. The day, however, was pretty hot and I did get good and burnt. We took chairs and sat on the lawn. We listened to Dave Brubeck, featuring Wynton Marsalis. We also wandered over to the acoustical stage and listened to Larry Coryell and, on the third stage to some other folks whose names I don’t recall any longer. The festival took place in Fort Adams Park. The park is located on a peninsula and so while you’re walking around there’s water and sailboats on three sides, with jazz on the land.

The music was not so loud that it was overbearing but there were three different stages and so as you moved from stage to stage and weaved in and out of the vendors’ tents, music was all throughout the air. Then, you’d look out and see all these sailboats in the water – the scene was almost surreal – and not hear anything of them. It was almost like the water was a simulated backdrop for the festival.

I was very glad to have gone. It was a day well spent, even though we were both well-spent by the end of the day. It was a two hour drive down and back. In order to get to the park you had to drive through the town of Newport, itself. Newport is like a combination of a tourist trap and an historic town. Also surreal. We saw tiny little houses on narrow side streets and huge mansions on manicured, landscaped lawns.

That was a few weeks ago. Time seems to run together up here. I know I’ve done other things in the ensuing weeks between then and going to Shelburne Falls but for the life of me I can’t remember what I’ve done. Last Friday I went to the Friday night dance and danced to the vocals of Lynn Washington and her band. On Saturday it was too hot and humid to be outside much so we went to the Museum of Science in Boston. Actually, it’s in Cambridge, at least part of it is, but who cares. The science museum is a blast. Suspended from the ceiling was the starship Luke Skywalker (& R2D2) used to fight the Evil Empire.

We also walked through many other parts of the museum. One part had to do with medical technology and we took turns trying to thread a line through eyelets using the same instruments doctors use to do microscopic surgery. Talk about eye hand coordination. No, talk about the lack of it, at least on my part.

We were in the museum for about 3 hours or so, and now, trying to think back on it, I find that much of it runs together in my mind. We saw an MRI full body scan, watched a 3 D scan of the brain, went thru an explanation of the Big Dig and sat in on a movie of nature in an urban environment.

Then, that evening we went to Lexington to go see Broken Flowers, starring Bill Murray. Unfortunately, we were a tad late and the theatre was filled by the time it was our turn to get to the ticket window. So, instead of waiting for the 9:30 p.m. show, we elected to get a homemade ice cream cone and walk around Lexington a little. Not a lot happening on a Saturday evening in downtown Lexington. Barnes and Nobles was open so we wandered around in there. Eventually we got back to Julie’s and watched some of the Red Sox game.

You know, you have to root for the Red Sox. People up here wear t-shirts that say - I’m for the Red Sox and any other team that beats the Yankees. I saw a t-shirt worn by a middle aged woman that said on it – Real Women don’t go out with Yankee Fans. Since the Orioles are out of the race, I have to say I’m rooting for the Sox, too. Anybody but the Yankees.

Last Sunday we went to Shelburne Falls. Shelburne Falls is way out in Western Mass. People who live in Boston don’t consider there’s any life west of Framingham, but what do they know. It was a two hour drive to get out to Shelburne Falls. Shelburne Falls is a little town in the wilds of Western Mass. that has resurrected itself as an arts and crafts colony. There’s a glass blowing factory there where the artisans blow glass by hand. There are lots of arts and crafts stores, and there’s the flower bridge.

The flower bridge was an old trolley bridge that spanned the river and was converted, back in 1974, to a flower garden. There’s a walkway down the middle of the bridge and on either side are tons of annuals and perennials. It’s a wonderful walk. But that’s not why we went. We went to go swimming in the river among glacially made pot holes.

Shelburne Falls is known for it’s rocks that were uncovered when the dam was built, oh about 100 years ago. There are a whole mass of rocks that include pot holes created by glacier melt. The river is wide enough to swim in, the rocks high enough to jump off of and the pot holes and rock formations interesting enough for geologists and nature photographers to journey to and record.

We were there to see the pot holes but mostly to jump off the rocks into the river. At least that’s what Julie’s twin teen aged sons did. Dixie went swimming and clambered around on the rocks; I took pictures and went swimming and Julie took in the day of sunshine. Afterwards we all went and got an ice cream cone. Two days later, while getting the pictures developed, I noticed I’ve become the incredibly expanding man. Starting to get a humpty dumpty look; you know, kind of thick in the middle. I’ve always been thick-headed, now….

On our way back east, we drove through some of the most beautiful countryside in New England. I forgot to mention that Shelburne Falls is about 10 miles south of where New Hampshire and Vermont come together. It’s also less than an hour’s drive from New York State. It’s out there. But it’s well worth the drive.

The other day we journeyed into Cambridge, through Harvard (Hahvahd) Square to a long time friend of Julie’s and had dinner in a little corner bar/restaurant that had gone from being blue collar to upscale. Julie’s friend, Phil, is a black belt in Tai Kwon Do and is also a mental health practitioner and so we got into a deep discussion on our way to eat, which was a couple blocks from his condo. When we left the bar/eatery I was totally turned around. Generally I pay very close attention to my surroundings, and, in a new environment, am hyper-vigilant about where I am. As it turned out, even though I’d only had one beer (and pecan pie), I had no idea where I was. Then, when we left Cambridge and went back through Hahvahd Square to get back to Watertown, I was completely lost. We went through a part of Hahvahd U. but, as it was after dark, I have no idea what I saw.

This weekend we’re going to go dancing on Friday and then, on Saturday evening, we’re going to go into Boston and see Menopause – The Musical. On the list to see also is Blue Man Group. But that’ll be another night.

I just got finished reading “The Historian,” by Katherine Kostovo. It’s her debut novel and it’s about Dracula (rather, Vlad, the Impaler). It’s a good mystery – all 646 pages of it. Dracula, flesh wounds, - Let me suck your blood. Bite your neck.

However, I just just got finished reading “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coehlo. I recommend this book to everyone who has ever had a dream. I don’t know if being up here is part of my Personal Legend, but I think so. There may not be any fortune for me to find up here, at least not working for the State (or working for a non-profit, either; that’s for sure), but then again the riches we find are what are inside of us, anyway. It’s the spiritual journey we’re on; not so much where we’re headed, but the path we’re on that counts. I want to read another book of his – “The Valkyrie.”

Dixie’s doing well, at least for right now. She seems to have an inflammation about every three weeks. Last week, after we got back from Shelburne Falls, Julie seemed to think that Dixie would stiffen up from all the climbing, sliding and swimming so I gave her a half of an Aleve. The next day she was as loose as a goose. Today, four days later, her left hind leg seems to start to be stiffening up. I think tomorrow morning I may give her half of a Rymadil.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on up here 10 miles west of Boston, 400 miles north of Baltimore on a Thursday evening at the end of August. It’s supposed to go down to 45 degrees tonight. Over the weekend it’s supposed to go up to 85 and be humid. Tonight, however, it’s extra blanket on the bed time.

I envy those of you who can snuggle up to stay warm. Maybe one day.


Post a Comment

<< Home