Monday, July 31, 2006

Can't Believe July's Over

I can't believe that July has come and is almost gone.

On June 29 I went to the Dr. and was cleared to resume normal activities. Everything related to my prostate surgery was good to go. He told me I had a 99% chance of cancer not recurring after 10 years. The cancer had been, in fact, relegated to the prostate and now that it was gone, so was the cancer. Good news, good news, good news. So I went back to the gym and started working out. That turned out to not be such good news: I over-exerted, resulting in some swelling and so now I have to wait until my 6 month check-up in December before resuming any strenuous exercise. I can walk and hike all I want, can swim and even play golf, but I have to stay away from any kind of "up and down" types of activity - running, martial arts, and the like.

Over the fourth, Julie and I and her 18 year old twins went out to Cooperstown, NY to visit with Julie's sister and family, to see their son play baseball and to also visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cooperstown is right out of a story book of small town America: Gingerbread houses; manicured lawns; no trash.

Downtown Cooperstown is about 3 blocks long - both sides of the street being comprised almost entirely of shops full of souvenirs, memorabilia, collectibles, and articles of clothing - all related to baseball. There were several small restaurants, an ice cream store or two - all the stores were very, very, family-oriented. At the souvenir shops you could buy a 1930's mitt, a personalized bat, more tee shirts, sweat shirts, and caps than you could ever want, trading cards, signatured baseballs, you name it. If it's related to baseball, you can buy it there.

The Hall of Fame was pretty cool, as well. The Orioles and the Red Sox had a display that were adjacent to each other and so I had a picture taken of me standing in between both of them, as my loyalties are now split. I ended up walking around for a couple hours by myself while Julie went off with her sister; the twins went off on their own. It's amazing all the baseball lore, accolades, trivia, and awards that there can be in one place. The twins stayed all day,as they're fan(atic)s.

A couple of weeks before we went to Cooperstown, the area had been flooded due to severe weather. The Binghamton area of NY down to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. was all affected. In Cooperstown, where the Susquehanna river begins, the 4th of July fireworks were postponed by a week because where the fireworks were normally held was under 15 feet of water. Fortunately, we didn't have any problems due to the flooding. It did, however, rain at least twice every day while we were there.

Later on in July, Julie and I went to the Cambridge and Somerville City Festivals. The latter one was really neat. Lots of street performers, local artists and crafters. We had a good time walking around and taking in all the performances - planned and spontaneous. By contrast, the Cambridge Festival was, as one Somerville volunteer put it - "very corporate." It was, too. The Cambridge event was staid, well planned and boring. The Somerville Festival was exciting, noisy, funny, and very interesting. The theme was recycle/renew so all the arts and crafts were made from recycled materials - very creative and very cool. We saw a rag rug that had been made from plastic bags, a laminated coffee table top made of beer caps and a bust made from old shoe soles.

This past weekend, the last weekend in July, Julie and I went up to the Lowell Folk Festival, in Lowell, MA. During this weekend, the entire downtown area becomes one big, giant music fesitval. This year was it's 20th consecutive. We listened to Inca Sun, a group of Peruvian musicians; to Bobby Parker, a fantastic electric blues guitarist; and also to Kekele, a cuban-congo music group. To be sure, there was lots and lots of other musical acts, ranging from Irish, Greek, and American - read hillbilly. It was all really good music. There was lots of good food, too. We munched our way through the day, and a hot one it was. It got up to 94 on Saturday, the day we were there.

The month has gone by so quickly. It's also become quite hot. Today is Monday and by Wednesday it's supposed to go up to 100 degrees. I noticed that in Baltimore its about 97 and so I think the heat wave may be coming right up the coast. Thank God for air conditioning.

Dixie's doing well, at the moment. She did have an infection, brought on by her compromised immune system. However, through chemical baths and antibiotics, she's recovering nicely. I seem to be giving her a Novox every other day or so to combat the stiffness in her hips. When she feels good she bounces around like a puppy; when she's not well, well, she hobbles around stiffly. It gets sad, sometimes. Dixie and I now mostly take urban hikes, though we do get out to a park now and then.

I'm looking forward to coming down to B'more for the upcoming weekend for my sister Judy's wedding. It's going to be a whirlwind tour, however. Probably too many activities crammed into one weekend. On the other hand, it'll give me a lot of tidbits and gossip to talk about on this blog site the next time I write.

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