Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick holds a bear cub in his jacket while another is weighed in a hat Friday.

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Cub scout: Fisheries and Wildlife officials take Gov. Patrick on mission to meet Whately bear, make a happy discovery

The Massachusetts governor came out our way yesterday, and went on a wildlife hunt for bear. Found him a few. To read the entire story, from the Greenfield Recorder, follow the link in the headline above. 


What a refreshing story for these depressing times!



Here's a photo from the Springfield newspaper, and  a link to their story and video. It's worth a look if you like bears! 

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/gov_deval_patrick_comes_to_wes.html


 
 

Yes, it's finally obvious that the days are getting longer and the sky is sitting higher in the sky. Hence, the snow has started to melt in New England from the bottom up. Eventually, there will be hollow snow shells where once there were snow banks. You can see it starting to melt around the shrubs behind our condo:

And ice is breaking up on the rivers. There's even an occasional patch of ground among the frozen stuff, in spots the sun can reach. 

Much of the road to the cabin has turned to muck, a sure sign of miserable days ahead.

Dave got me some ice skates for our anniversary, and we thought today would be the perfect day to try them out. The sun was out, sky was clear, temps right around freezing and there was hardly any wind. The calm before the storm...


Anyway, it took 20 minutes to put them, 20 minutes to take them off, and five minutes to realize the ice was much too soggy to support big people.

Everyone on the East Coast will get some form of winter weather beginning tonight and extending into Monday or Tuesday, depending on lattitude. Don't put away those hats and gloves just yet. 

Here are a few photos we took today, including a few taken on the cell phone, from the car. 

Can you share what how far you're into spring where you live? If you like, email a photo and I'll put it up on the site. 

 

Spring

02/26/2009

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Did somebody say spring? We have a long way to go up here before the seasons change. True, the snow is starting to melt, but still...

We spend most of our time in a condo in town, then go to a cabin in the woods on weekends or whenever we get the chance.

Below are two photos of the cabin, one taken last year in late spring, and one taken on February 1.  Spring is a long way off. It's snowed a little bit just about every other day since that photo was taken.

 
 

Were you at the Inauguration ceremony? Do you know someone who was?

You probably can find yourself or your friend in this photo of about a million people taken by a photographer on the Capitol steps.

Click here

Give your computer a chance to adjust, then click on an area, and keep zooming in until you find the face you are looking for. You'll have to be patient while your computer makes the appropriate adjustments. But, the clarity is worth the wait! Since this is a composite, and people tend to move around a bit, a few people look a bit screwy, but not many.

 
 

Liz suggests starting a garden this year, as buffer against high food prices. Great idea! Tell us more, Liz.

We have a freezer, so we're still eating food bought at last year's prices. I buy from local farms, package and freeze. That works for many of our meals,  except for the obvious stuff you need to buy fresh.

This year, I knitted scarves as Christmas presents. Now I need to learn some new tricks for next year's gifts. Any ideas?

What are you doing to prepare for or fend off the pain of a deep recession?  




 
 

My generation began marching in the 1950s against atomic testing because it added Strontium 90 to the milk supply. I remember battling with my dad, begging him to let me go to a training meeting for a protest march to Trenton. I was probably 14. 

In the late 1960s and 1970s, many of us added stripes to our battle gear at the 1963 March on Washington, the Mobe, the Vietnam Vets events, People's Park, the first Earth Day, and a myriad lesser walk-ins, sit-ins or write-ins. 

It was always a source of pride to me that my generation insisted on doing the right thing. Even if we were wrong! 

At 19, I desperately wanted to spend my life doing  something that mattered. By age 30, that something had changed from saving civilization to saving myself and my baby.  And, so it goes.

Now, quite a few years later, you and I are at a point in our lives where we CAN pick and choose how we spend our precious time. And, we're certainly finding interesting ways to do it.

I'm getting notes back from invitees casually mentioning volunteer activities. Linda just got back from a 9-day service trip to Honduras. I know she's been doing stuff like that for decades. Liz says she tutors and counsels immigrants at a non-profit social service organization. Karen promotes the Heifer Project.

What have you found in your life that really counts? How have you found the time to do it? What has it meant to you?

 

 

 

Legacies

02/25/2009

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When our mothers were young, they had precious few choices in their lives, and few went far from home. Compare their lives with those of today's young American women.

You and I lived through the transition between the two, and some of us have the scars to prove it.

What do you want today's young women to know about what life was like for us when we were their age?

For me, it's this:

1. The only people who can call the 1950s-1960s "The Good Old Days" are guys. Women had no access to good jobs, birth control, real estate, car loans, their own checking accounts or legal protection from abusive husbands. They could not get in the best colleges, let alone law or medical schools.

On career night, my high school guidance counselor told me there were three career tracks I could follow: business/secretarial, teaching or nursing. I told her I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a war correspondent, a UN translator, or a doctor. She laughed. If that scene took place today, she'd probably be fired. 

2. In the 1970s, many of us were conflicted over how much "power" we wanted over our own lives, and how much equality we really wanted in our marriages. Arguments over male/female identity and various roles in marriage raged into the night in many households, including mine.

3. Many of us were "firsts" in our families, our graduating classes, or our professions---first to graduate from college or graduate school, first to be promoted to management, first to divorce, first to postpone childbirth, first woman to own her own home, first to make a lot of money doing whatever we did. At least one of us sold a million dollars worth of real estate when that really meant something. Another became a judge. 

Those accomplishments may not seem like much today, but they were big deals in the 1960s, 1970s and even the early 1980s. And, they took a lot out of us! Some of us are still recovering.

What about you?



 
 

Here are a few books I've enjoyed recently and would recommend to others. Links take you to Amazon, for reviews and more information:

Girl In Hyacinth Blue, by Susan Vreeland
Follows a Vermeer painting through eight families over three centuries. A wonderful read!


Le Mariage, by Diane Johnson
The perfect beach/snowstorm book!


L’Affaire by Diane Johnson

Not as zippy as Le Mariage – and not the romp one might expect, given the title – but  worth the read. 
 
Amsterdam, by Ian
McEwen
Taut, tense morality play. Will leave you breathless!

Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead, by Bruce Hartman
It runs in the family…

The Catch, by Archer Mayor
Det. Joe Gunther finds life without Gail, in Archer's latest mystery.
 


For reviews and blogs about these and other good books, check out GoodReads


 
 

Beware of angry women carrying knitting needles! 

Since January 1994, when my newspaper took its baby step into cyberspace, I've been a big fan of online shopping. 

Yes, the Web is great for tracking news, locating old boyfriends, or grabbing and stacking whatever you need to win an argument. But, it really excels as a vector for goods and services! 

Where else can you drop large amounts of money in a flash, with no crowds, no parking lots, no rude salesclerks to impede your path to financial penury? 

And I have shopped and shopped. Not only for tickets, but real estate, socks, bathing suits, tablecloths, Christmas presents, shoes, repair parts for appliances, you name it. Anytime. Anyday.  

All of this makes it easy to understand how deliciously facile it was for someone to bilk me. Oddly, I associated  (note the past tense) shopping hassles with brick-and-mortar stores, but put my full, unadulterated trust in Web pages, the folksier the better.

Enter an un-named ranch, seemingly an Oregon paradise for all manner of sheep, with an online yarn and knitting shop offering a full range of knitting needles, including a brand I've come to love but can't find in any local stores. Silly me, I ordered one of each on their handy online order form and, in a flash, sealed the deal with a payment from PayPal. 

Ah, sweet ignorance! 

The real ranch clearly was a PayPal-enabled cash machine, sucking funds from my bank account (and others) directly into theirs, while they never had to lift a finger, or interrupt their lounge time on the beaches of Maui, or wherever they were actually situated. 
 
When nothing came in the mail over the course of 10 days, and when my ever-so-polite emails did not evoke a response, I called and actually got the surprised seller on the phone. Probably because I woke her up! I blame time zones. Said seller promised to put my package in the mail the next day.

A week later, I sent another email, then followed up with a call. Full voice mailbox; call later. I did. Still full. 

A quick Google search unearthed a veritable knitting empire, with storefronts on just about every commercial e-Main Street. Not surprisingly, the list of "reviews" from unhappy customers was long. There were many, many angry ladies out there, waiting for their knitting supplies. 

I'm not sure which was worse: not getting “my” needles or getting lost in the PayPal Resolution Center maze. One menu led to another, which led to another, which took me right back where I started.

For those who prefer the frustration of voice communication, PayPal offers a parallel universe by phone. Apparently no PayPal user has ever been bilked ,  because nothing resembling "fraud" is on the resolution menu.

Well, let me tell you, I filed a "dispute" today and give PayPal one week to try to reach the elusive seller. Hint: Look for beach towels imprinted, Sucker! 

Next week, I call their county sheriff’s office, then the Oregon Attorney General.


 
 

I've never trusted ophthalmologists who don't wear glasses, or dentists with perfect teeth. 

I mean, how can someone with perfect vision understand what it's like to be nearsighted? And, how do you describe a toothache to someone who’s never had a cavity? 

When Dartmouth Medicine Magazine offered me a chance to interview doctors who had been severely injured or sicker than many of their patients, I jumped at the chance. It’s no exaggeration to say that the resulting story changed my life. I met some of the most amazing people, and will never again assume a doctor doesn’t understand my pain, or fear, or embarrassment.

See what you think:

The nightmare runs like this: One minute you're schussing down a black-diamond ski trail, and the next you can't feel anything south of your neck. Or one minute you're stepping out of the shower to get ready for a big date, and the next, as you glance at yourself in the mirror, you gasp. What is that lump?

Every day, physicians see patients who have actually lived bad dreams like these. That's their job. But what happens when a physician experiences the nightmare?

For the full story, go to http://dartmed.dartmouth.edu/spring07/html/stethoscope.php