ALL AROUND RED

MY FACE ISN’T RED … BUT OTHER STUFF IS!

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So you want red?

The last time my face was really red, I had a terrible sunburn. I’m not much of a blusher. Lacking a hugely embarrassing story to brighten your day, here is red of the world.

In flower, cars, trucks and the leaves of autumn. Barns and carousels, bricks, cranberries, and peppers. Red, redder, scarlet. Bricks and bright fabric. Red, my favorite color that isn’t black. Back “in the day” (whatever that means), my favorite “semi-dressup” was a black outfit with a red blazer.

I haven’t worn a blazer in years, but I think I still have a dozen of them in my closet. No wonder I can’t find my tee shirts!

ON ROAD AND RIVER – WHICH WAY CHALLENGE

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CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE: 2015 WEEK #15

Welcome everyone to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge. This challenge subject is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails, we move from one place to another on. You can walk on them, climb them, drive them, ride them, as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable as are any signs.

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And this week, the snow is gone and the roads have reappeared. It’s a brand new world!

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DRIVING THROUGH THE RAIN

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #14

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It’s raining again. It has been raining for more than a week and will continue to rain for a few days more. Actually, to be entirely accurate, it’s a mixture of sleet, hail, and rain. Nasty.

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This make it a perfect time to post pictures of driving in rain. I might mention, at this point, that both my husband and I very much dislike driving in rain and I’m afraid to drive in snow.

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If you use headlights, they reflect back and you can’t see anything. But of course, if you don’t turn on your lights, no one can see you coming. Also dangerous.

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DEPENDING ON TRAFFIC

I haven’t gotten out much during the past 6 weeks. Since the first blizzard at the end of January, merely walking up the icy driveway to the car has been a big deal. Roads have been icy, air bitterly cold. Visibility down to zero as the snow falls. Crazy drivers who think their SUV makes them immune to weather, who then have accidents which tie up traffic for hours.

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It’s a mad, mad, mad world on the highway, but here in the U.S.A., we love our cars and will drive them no matter what. Besides, a lot of places, you don’t have any choice. Small town America has no public transportation. Not even a taxi. You drive or you walk. Most of us drive.

Today, I had to get to the doctor’s office. It’s a 45 minutes drive, more or less, depending on traffic. As soon as I said “depending on traffic,” I realized Garry and I say that every time we go anywhere. It doesn’t matter what time of year, either. One way or another, it always depends on traffic.

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How much time do we spend in our cars? How many weeks and months do we spend sitting, waiting for traffic to clear?  What percentage of our lives do we waste maddened by slow drivers, distracted drivers, stoned or drunk drivers, and plain old bad drivers? I’m sure it’s a calculable percentage for someone sophisticated in statistics. Not me, but someone.

Add together the vagaries of traffic and delays caused by weather — rain, wind, snow, ice, heat. Adding factor “X” to time allowed to travel anywhere from a quick trip to the grocery, to a doctor’s appointment, concert, or 1000 mile driving holiday. Visiting friends, going to work, coming home. Life depends on traffic.

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We try to make appointments for times when traffic is light, but no matter how carefully you plan, you can’t control construction, rubbernecking, accidents, or a jack-knifed semi. Or a road flooded by a river risen over its banks or a road which dead-ends at a washed-out bridge.

Whether it’s ice on the road, high winds on the bridge, or a flat tire changer on the expressway — at rush hour — planning only gets you so far. The rest depends on traffic.

WHICH WAY TO GO IN A WORLD OF SNOW

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #8

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I was out in the car with Garry yesterday for the first time in more than a week. I was forcibly reminded how strange the world looks when piles of snow obscure common landmarks, how changed the outline of familiar places become.

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How can I know

Which is the right way to go

In a world full of snow?

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CHAOS IS KING AND MAGIC IS LOOSE IN THE WORLD

Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing. Chaos is king and magic is loose in the world. 

That was the conclusion Robert A. Heinlein drew at the end of  his two novellas, “Waldo” and “Magic, Incorporated.” And the conclusion I drew at the end of the day. Yesterday.

It was just one of those days. Not catastrophic, but not good. I had a doctor appointment. The back doctor. They guy who gives pain-killer needles and we were on the road. I was a bit nervous. More than a bit. They were going to take an x-ray of my back. Inevitably, when someone looks at my spine, they get all weird.

My current home.

I tell people it’s bad but I suspect no one believes it could be that bad. Everyone thinks whatever is wrong with their back is the worst. But you see, mine really is the worst. It’s the kind of bad that makes experienced spine doctors’ jaws drop. There are so many things wrong with it, it inspires the comment “I’m amazed you can still walk.” This from people who should know better. But they look at the pictures and just can’t help themselves. It pops out of their mouths.

I was afraid the doctor would look at the x-ray and refuse to do anything. Because it’s such a godawful mess. I suppose that’s better than going ahead and doing further damage, though it’s difficult to see how much worse it could be. Forget I said that. It can always be worse.

We were on time. We’d arisen before dawn. Had coffee, did our e-mail. Just like the old days, except instead of coffee and a newspaper, we had coffee and a pair of laptops.

Garry went out, gassed up the car. We were on our way. A few miles down the road, the car began to chug and balk. An unfamiliar idiot light went on and it starting dinging. It wasn’t any of the familiar idiot lights. This one is orange and looks like a battery or an engine schematic. Not the “Check Engine” light. I know that one. The car had been running fine. For seven years, it ran fine. We gave it regular maintenance. It started, drove, stopped. Until yesterday.

We pulled over and did a couple of 360s. Looking for something hanging, like the exhaust? A flat tire? Despite no visual evidence, there was something seriously amiss. We turned around and went home, grateful the breakdown was on Route 146 and not the Mass Pike. It took a while to get home. Amazing how long it takes at 30 mph when you are used to driving more than twice that speed.

After we landed, Garry grabbed the shopping list and hopped into the other car — the 2002 Sunfire. We don’t drive it much anymore. Almost never in the winter because it doesn’t have snow tires. And it has been making a funny noise we can’t pin down. He took it to the grocery story, came back appropriately loaded down, and told me the inspection sticker expired in December. The holidays. The Sunfire’s inspection had slipped past unnoticed.

When Owen got home, I explained the Cruiser was sick … and the inspection on the Sunfire expired. Garry asked if driving without a current inspection sticker was okay and Owen said, “No, not really,” so Garry asked if the yellow car would pass inspection. Owen replied “No, the driver’s side windshield wiper isn’t working and it won’t pass until it gets fixed.”

The yellow 2002 Sunfire is everyone’s backup car. When Owen’s car won’t run, he drives the Sunfire. When Sandy’s car is in the shop, she drives the Sunfire. Ditto Kaity. But if something goes wrong with it, it is our problem. At the risk of sounding whiny, whatever goes wrong — house or car — it is always our problem.

I pointed out to Owen we were without transportation in a town which has no public transportation, not even a taxi service. Leaving us stuck with no way to get anywhere was unacceptable.

So … as the sun set in the west, the Sunfire was street legal, though the Cruiser — the car with the new snow tires — is not going anywhere. It appears (according to Owen), to be a computer problem. Probably the bastard child of the random electrical glitch we’ve had for years, the electrical ghost that makes windows lock open or shut and doors refuse to lock — or worse, unlock. The ghost in our machine.

And so the day ended, none too early for my taste. Today has not brought new revelations. The Cruiser remains broken. The Sunfire is running, but it’s old. Chaos is definitely king. Right now, we could use some of that loose magic.