Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What I Do and Don't Miss About Massachusetts

I've realized after only being here for a few days that there are things I miss about not living in Massachusetts any more (there are plenty of things that I don't miss too).

What I Miss:

1. Family

I visited my niece and her twins, Knight in Shining Armor and Ninja Princess on Monday. They were born after I moved, and do not know me. But I had a wonderful chance to get to know them better. They are so sweet, and despite being preemies, are talking up a storm. 

My niece, holding Ninja Princess and reading to her from a book that I sent for their birthday.

My sister, holding her grandson, Knight in Shining Armor. Barnabas wants to get in on the action!
Maybe I should put together a picture book about me, Auntie Alison, so they will know who I am.

Today I visited another niece, the daughter of Middle Sister, and spent time with her and her little boy Peanut.

Peanut, thinking "Who is this crazy woman who wants to be my friend?"

Middle Sister, Peanut's Grandma

Peanut tries on Grandma's sunglasses

2. Friends

On Sunday, I went to see a play, put on by the Burlington Players, in Burlington, Mass., the town I used to live in. I was a member of the Players for many years, and appeared in several plays there, as well as taking a techie role, as props manager, stage manager, stage crew, costumier, etc. I saw a play called The Boys Next Door, which was directed by a friend who came to visit me in Washington in September. It was very well done, wonderful performances! After the play I had dinner with her and her husband.

My friend directed me when I played a murderous old auntie in Arsenic and Old Lace. That's me seated on the right, looking much older than my true age. (at least I hope so!)

3. Fried clams (they seem to be an East Coast thing)

4. Dunkin Donuts

I don't miss their good coffee, because amazing coffee in the PNW is plentiful. It's hard to find a good donut shop in the PNW. And the PNW can keep their overly sweet, nasty-smelling, faux-maple frosted maple bars. You can't put that stuff on a donut-shaped pastry and still call it a donut. One of the reasons I want to visit New Orleans some day is because I've never had a beignet, the Cadillac of donuts.

What I Don't Miss

1. Massachusetts drivers

If I stop at a four-way stop, and there are three cars waiting at one of the other stop signs, you are not all allowed to go before I do. We are supposed to take turns. You are not all allowed to go through the intersection one after the other, ignoring me. And, most especially, you are not supposed to play chicken with me. I learned to drive here, I'm in a rental car and I took the collision waiver. I don't chicken easy.

2. Snow. Piles of dirty snow in parking lots.

In November (it fell in October). Piles of dirty snow as big as the cars in the parking lot. By the end of winter, the piles will be the size of houses. No, office buildings.

A bad picture of the pile of snow still left in a parking lot from the early October snow a week ago. See the cars behind it?

Someone should invent a blue grit for sanding parking lots. Then maybe the piles would look like the pretty blue icebergs we saw in Alaska.

3. The state of the roads.

Until I moved to Washington, I never realized what roads could be like when they don't suffer through the freeze/thaw cycle of a harsh winter. Bumpity-bump bump.

4. Traffic.

Most especially, the traffic on Route One from Boston to Danvers, through Saugus. If you live here, you know what I mean. It is one long franchise alley.

5. Massachusetts drivers II

If you can't see a way clear to get out of an intersection because of heavy traffic, you are not supposed to just blithely roll out into it and block traffic for when the light changes. Even if your light is green. And if I hold back because I can't get through the intersection, you are not allowed to threaten to ram my rear-end.

Finally -- What I Love About Washington State

1. Rain.

I don't have to shovel it. By the time it ends at the beginning of July, and our two months of mostly non-stop sunshine begins, I am just starting to get sick of it. And it keeps my garden lush and green.

2. Mountains

One in particular.

Mt. Rainier from Lake Tapps

But really, technically, all of them. The Olympics and the Cascades.

3. Fresh, wild-caught Pacific salmon

Not only can you find fresh, fairly inexpensive salmon at the farmer's markets, but you can also find it in every grocery store.

Here are some gratuitous garden shots.

Hydrangea outside the hotel lobby

I eat breakfast on the other side of this window, with this hydrangea in view

Bright autumn foliage of a Japanese maple outside the hotel lobby


  1. I love these mosaic posts of yours, Alison. And along the way, getting to learn a little more about you. So, you're a thespian and you've kept this a secret until now? You seem to have been very active, too. Isn't there a group you could join up with in Washington? I'm sure you miss it? Again, it has been super to see pictures of your family and wonderful you've had this opportunity to play catch up with them all. I would not miss those ugly snow mounds or the bad driving, either! I hope you're enjoying a daily doughnut while you have the chance to do so! You can switch to the healthy option of fresh salmon when you return home. I had to laugh at your gratuitous garden shots! You have a wonderful sense of humour which pops out in surprising little ways.

  2. I got such a kick out of this post, Alison! You have a lovely family and you have sisters (lucky you, I am a lonely only now) and the little ones are adorable.

    It sounds like you were driving in Wisconsin, well, except I didn't hear you mentioning any roundabouts--the newest thing for me to freak out over. I get the one and two lane ones, but then they came up with the three and four laners and I'm terrified. Yes, the speed limit is supposedly down to 15 mph in them, but it's still a free for all. Give me back the four-way stop, at least I can kinda figure that out.

    I'm sure it's fun to visit, but going home is going to feel wonderful, isn't it? And I can't wait to see you in your next play, either!

  3. Well that settles it. Mt. Rainier is going on my SOMEDAY TO GO TO list! lol That picture and the promise of actually fresh and NOT frozen salmon is enough to entice me!

    Looks like you had a wonderful family visit. :) When I saw the title of your post I thought you'd moved and that I must be WAY behind in my blog reading! :)



Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.