This morning I had to go and have a whole range of psychological tests to try to determine why I have such an addictive personality. They ask me why I do drugs and I tell them that drugs are fun and they feel good, but I can tell from the expression on their faces that this is the wrong answer.
Anyway, the tests were held at a medical facility in Florence, which is a section of Northampton that I would compare to Indian Orchard in Springfield. The Orchard likes to think of itself as independent, but that independence exists only in attitude, since they pay taxes to Springfield's City Hall and vote in Springfield elections. In the same way Florence has an independent attitude, no matter what the maps and the lawbooks say. My grandmother's name was Florence.
Getting to Florence is easy, you just go past Smith College and continue straight ahead until the road leads you directly there. Going past Smith I saw this banner advertising an upcoming dance.
Some Smithies are Obamadroids.
There are lots of beautiful houses along the way, colorfully painted, such as this passionately purple one.
Or electric yellow.
Not all are well kept up. If they ever revive The Adams Family TV show, this house would make a good setting.
I've always been intrigued by this majestic structure which stands on the corner of Harrison Avenue, a street I once lived on.
What I find so intriguing is this electric candle that is burning in this window. It's been there for years and burns night and day. Of course leaving a burning candle in a window is the universal symbol of waiting for the return of a loved one.
For whom is this candle burning, and why? Maybe it's just the romantic in me, but I feel there must be a fascinating story behind this mystery.
Along one stretch are these old pines, about a half dozen of them. Pines grow slowly, so these large sentinels have watched this road to Florence for over a century.
This garage has a straw-witch guarding the snow plow.
Along such a rural stretch, Cooley-Dickinson Hospital seems jarringly modern.
Like most New England towns, Northampton has lost a lot of old factories to the South and overseas. Here an old silk mill has been transformed into a medical facility.
Along the road I passed this odd little European car. I would hate to get into an accident in one, the car would get crushed like an eggshell. Does anyone know anything about this make of car?
This is the Evolution Cafe, which is run by the same people who used run Fire and Water Cafe, the bohemian poetry center in downtown Hamp. Tomorrow I have to go for some more psych tests, and perhaps I'll stop in and check it out.
Here's the latest update on my brother from my sister in law:
We were scheduled to go to Stanford for a checkup last week. I worked Thursday and we left for Palo Alto in the early evening. There were storms predicted for the whole weekend and yes, indeed, we did end up traveling in a snowstorm on Donner Pass and were required to put chains on our tires to get over the mountain. But all is well that ends well and we made it -- thanks to many of you who were praying for our well being.
We saw Dr. Miklos on Friday and he was pleased with John's progress. His blood work looked great and we were encouraged when the doc said, "You're doing so well, I don't think I need to see you every week -- or even every other week. How about I will see you one more time in late February and then we will send you back to Dr. Singh in Reno?" Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
He is taking an anti-fungal, an anti-viral, and an antibiotic so guess there's no bug safe around him now! As soon as he can build up his strength and get over the fatigue, he will get his life back. That will probably be in a couple months. Cancer survivors tell us your life will always be "before cancer" and "after cancer" from now on. Believe me, we are ready for "after cancer". It feels like we have been in "during cancer" for a very long time.
Well, all their suffering will only make the good times that much better.
Despite the cold and snow, work is proceeding on the new hotel behind Northampton's Pulaski Park. It is controversial because some say it will ruin the park's ambiance.
There are all kinds of warning signs, with a prankster trying to alter this sign in a humorous way by adding words and trying to scratch out "hat."
"Caution: People Get Really Hard in this Area." If that were true, I'd follow this project more carefully.
Finally, here's Jay at Joe's Pub.