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