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Hail Mary?

Sudden Shifts - At the beach, enjoying the sun, nibbling on watermelon. Within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending form the sky. What happens next?


I should be writing. Processing pictures. At least be going to the kitchen to get another cup of coffee. I need more coffee.

I should be packing up our stuff to go to the beach. I promised the kids we’d go today, but the forecast calls for hail. Bullets from heaven. Buckshot of the gods.

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I can’t seem to move. Or think. My head is stuffed with cotton wool. Hey, remember cotton wool? Fuzzy, sort of rough? We used it to stuff things, right? Maybe we used it to clean things. Whatever.

After the long day yesterday, I can’t seem to quite wake up. Beach. Blanket. Thermal bag full of sandwiches. Do we have any cold cuts? Soft drinks? Bread. The Hell with it, we’ll buy hot dogs.

Towels. Suntan lotion. An umbrella bright with stripes. Do we still have the umbrella? Oh, right, it’s under the deck. Probably full of bugs. Spiders. Never mind. I’ll skip that.

Does my bathing suit still fit? It looked hideous last year. I looked hideous last year. Bet I won’t look any better this year. At least not in a bathing suit. Do I have a kaftan somewhere under which I could hide? No?

Let me get that cup of coffee and think about this some more.

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I hear they had hail on a beach in Russia. Glad I’m not Russian because I can’t run … even with hail falling. Does that make it a Hail Mary? Sorry. It’s that kind of day.

I think I’ll watch that Sox game. Where’s the remote?

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DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING

Groundhog Week - If you could relive the past week, would you? Would you change anything?


It has been a simply gorgeous week. The weather has been perfect and nothing memorable has gone wrong.

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We haven’t needed either heat or air conditioning. None of our dinners burned and the new convection oven we bought works like a charm.

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I wouldn’t change a thing. As I look out my window, it’s another perfect summer’s day, the kind of day about which Shakespeare wrote sonnets.

Sonnet  18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
   So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

And again today, the sky is bright blue. The air is warm with a zephyr breeze ruffling the leaves while a yellow sun lights the world. I’d have to be mad to meddle with this!

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FATHER’S DAY AT RIVER BEND FARM

River Bend Farm river

There were no swans out on the pond, probably because people were there – boating. It’s the first time I’ve seen people on the pond. I’m sure it confused the swans almost as much as it confused me. There is a small boat launch area and always has been, but I’ve never seen a boater on the pond. Maybe I just missed it.

River Bend Farm Father's Day

I was trying to think of a place to go and realized it’s been a long time since we visited River Bend Farm. It’s one of the many parks along the Blackstone River, part of the Historic Corridor in which we live.

River Bend canoe

Being Father’s Day and perfect weather — as good as weather can be — we had plenty of company. Families including as many as four generations and lots of dogs.

River Bend June

A fine day. It’s our reward for surviving the long winter.

Garry at River Bend

CRANKY AND WHINY IN NEW ENGLAND

Climate Control

The idea that the weather and people’s moods are connected is quite old. Do you agree? If yes, how does the weather affect your mood?


 

fresh snow deck bird tracks 7Welcome to New England. Technically, our most popular regional sport is politics with baseball running a hot second. But really, the one sport in which everyone of any age can actively participate is complaining about the weather.

Winter is too long, too snowy, too icy and much too cold. I couldn’t agree more and everyone is cranky and whiny from the first snow until final melting.

Spring? What spring? Where are the flowers? Why don’t we get a decent spring season? Is it the punishment of a malign deity? Until the day lilies bloom, New Englanders are cranky and whiny.

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Summer is usually too hot. Then again, it may not be hot enough. It is always too humid. It makes everyone cranky and whiny.

Autumn is everyone’s favorite season but it’s never long enough. As often as not, heavy rains from tropical storms ruin the foliage, which makes everyone cranky and whiny.

For everyone, the weather provides something about which to complain. I love New England.

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SEEKING LIGHT

To say I’ve spent the better part of a lifetime chasing the light sounds philosophical. Perhaps, on some level, it is because I’ve done my share of looking for truth. Occasionally, I’ve even found a bit of it.

Yellow leaves by the river, photo: Marilyn Armstrong

More often, I’ve been chasing light with a camera, shooting up, up, up into the trees, looking for a perfect ray of sunshine filtering through a leafy canopy, waiting to become a perfect picture.

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Sunlight in woods

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Sun's rays on little canal

To get the rays of the sun, I don’t use a filter. I shoot into the sun, they move the camera a few degrees of center until I can see the rays in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen. You don’t need a special filter. I didn’t use filters on any of these pictures.

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BLACKSTONE CANAL, SEPTEMBER AFTERNOON

A couple of hundred years of polluting the river nearly killed it. How fortunate for us that nature is resilient. Today, The Blackstone Canal is in recovery but it’s slow. The fish are back, though weather or not it’s safe to eat them is a matter of controversy.

Blackstone river and canal divide

This is the early autumn, mid-September. Barely a breeze. The canal is as smooth as glass and reflects like a mirror.

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RAIN AND A CORNER TURNED

I’ve turned some kind of corner, physically. Pain level dropped a lot and suddenly. As the evening wears on, I wear out, as if all the pains of the day collect and concentrate in my chest and shoulders. I do the best I can. It’s better. Definitely.

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I wanted to go out today. Take a camera, maybe the little point and shoot because it’s so easy, but the rain came. I should have known. The weather yesterday was weird … very warm with a powerful wind, yet sunny. During the night, the wind died away and the rain came and this morning, it’s all drip, drip, dripping … the slow saturating rain of April.

Just the kind of watering the flowers need. They suck it up and grow tall and strong. There will be a burst of color now. Not today, not while the water is falling from the sky …. but tomorrow, maybe or the day after. Whenever the sun next makes an appearance.

I dreamt last night the cancer is back and quietly eating me. Three nights in a row, I’ve dreamed the same dream and it frightens me. It could be true. I don’t know. I had a chest x-ray and it was clear … and just the other day … so how bad can it be, right?

It’s so gray out there. So damp. The dogs hate this weather. Snow they will play in and any other weather, no matter how cold … but not this steady rain. There will be no photo expedition today. I shall wait.

Life’s on hold. Everything is waiting for me to be ready for it, ready to live again. I’m sure when the sunshine returns it will cast off so much of the haunting sadness I feel. I believe, I do believe.

Getting There Is Not Always Enough … Marilyn Armstrong

We didn’t get to ride this one.

Yesterday, we went to Busch Gardens. We did nothing, got wet, walked too much, came back exhausted, soggy and poorer. We seem to have absolutely impeccable timing for getting places at exactly the wrong time!

We didn’t get to ride this either.

We planned carefully and sensibly. We figured that if we went late in the day, it would be cooler and probably less crowded too. Logical right? I mean, the park‘s open until 10 at night, so getting there at 3:30 should leave us more than ample time to whatever we wanted and ride whatever we wanted.

After we finally got through the long walk to the park from the very closest parking lot, we decided to take the train ride that loops around the park. It would give us something of an orientation, an overview.

After that we were nearly slavering with anticipation, we headed down the long road to Apollo’s Chariot, the first of the 6 big, bigger and biggest, baddest roller coasters we intended to ride.

We were at the front of the line on the platform, ready to board the ride. Which is when the announcement came that the ride was closing due to weather issues.

Not this one either.

Weather. Mainly, lightning. Not to mention wind and rain. So we stood around a bit, milled around in confusion, then eventually headed back the long road to the rest of the park.

With great anticipation, we waited for a weather update. We were in a code orange, which is bad, but the next announcement was “Code Red,” which was much worse and actually closed everything, except shops.

Shortly thereafter, the sky opened up and a sheet of water fell out. We stood under an awning speculating — along with everyone else — whether or not there was any chance the park would reopen.

Also, didn’t ride this one.

It did not reopen.

We hauled ass back to Guest Relations, where they were very gracious about the whole thing and seemed genuinely sorry that we come from so far away, didn’t get to do anything except eat a pretzel and get soaked. They refunded half the money because our friends had to leave today and we took rain checks and will make another stab at it tomorrow. We would have gone today, but the weather report doesn’t look promising and I couldn’t deal with the same scenario two days running.

The best experience of the day? The electric scooter that you can rent and drive around the park. I loved it! It was way zippier than I thought it would be and fun, too. Unfortunately, by the time I got it, I was already over-tired and when we finally got back to the hotel, having stopped at the grocery store in between and then cooking dinner … we had barely enough strength to climb into bed and pass out.

Today, the humidity is 99% and thunder storms are likely in the afternoon, so we  are going to go tomorrow morning when hopefully, it won’t be raining because that really IS our last chance.

Talk about disappointing! Nice that Garry and I get another shot at it, but I so wanted to go with my friend too … but … well … it didn’t happen and if there’s one thing you cannot count on, it’s usually the weather.

They’ve left now and it’s very quiet and feels kind of empty. I’m trying not to be a bit down-hearted, but it’s difficult.

Tomorrow is another day, I hope.

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MORE SNOW … THE NEVERENDING WINTER

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I’m was hoping we’d seen the last “big one” of the season, but nope.

This storm wasn’t suppose to really hit us. It was a coastal storm, so if we got it at all, it would be no more than a glancing blow, a few light inches.

When the snow started to come down heavily this morning,  I thought “Oh, just a flurry.” But it got heavier and Garry, foregoing his shower and other normal morning activities, made a dash for the grocery store … along with what seemed to be the entire population of the town. He thought there couldn’t be any more people coming, but as he was checking out, the rest of the towns showed up … those who’d been at work, probably.

Now the weather gurus are predicting as much as 2 feet of snow along the coast. No one is aware it’s snowing in the Valley. We never make it into weather reports so I have no idea what we are expecting. Apparently a bit more than the originally predicted 3 to 5 inches. (Ya think Probie?)

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So. Thirty four days by the calendar. Are we counting yet?

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NAVIGATING THE DRIVEWAY – TRAPPED!

Oh, look out my window. My granddaughter’s boyfriend’s truck is stuck in the middle of our ski slope. Now he’s pushing. Hah. Fat chance. He was warned. Wheels are spinning, but it just digs him in deeper. Now he’s out there with the shovel. Really digging. Heh, heh.

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I love it when the drama unfolds in front of my window … and I can grab my camera and show it to you.

This is winter in the valley. One truck, one 17-year old boy, a snow shovel … and our driveway, such as it is. And of course, starring all the snows of winter. Remember — another is on the way!

UPDATE!! THIS JUST IN!!

The granddaughter’s boyfriend is stuck in the driveway again. Too dark to take more pictures, but I can hear his tires spinning.

Apparently his truck is not 4-wheel drive. His mother’s truck is a four-wheeler. This is merely 2-wheel drive. You’d think after getting stuck this morning, he’d have figured out that he shouldn’t drive to the bottom of our little ski slope … but he didn’t want darling Kaity to have to slog down the driveway in all that snow. Aww, ain’t love grand?

Ah youth.

Yes indeed. I hear his tires spinning. He must have worn off half his treads by now. And life goes on in the Valley.

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OVERNIGHT SNOW

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It wasn’t predicted. The snow was supposed to be over, so waking up to a new layer? What’s another 5 or 6 inches at this point? Just more snow. And more and more. Spring will come. I know it will.

But not yet. Another storm is on the way. By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be buried again. Oh well.

snow on porch table

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I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM

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Winter is long in New England. It snowed yesterday. It stopped for a while. And it is snowing again and this storm, which is pretty big will be followed by a much larger storm a few days from now. There’s no reason to be surprised. Winter is like this and February is often the month when the heaviest snow falls. The Blizzard of ’78 was just about this time in February. Just saying.

Please enjoy the vintage recording of Billie Holiday, one of the all time great blues singers.Maybe the greatest.