Thursday, October 11, 2007

Autumn Leaves

It's a gray drizzly day here. Clammy. Not really warm but not cool either and definitely not comfortable. A difficult day to dress for, I started out with a sweater and a light jacket.

Looking at the trees which have yet to change color. What leaves are changing are simply drying up and going brown, not the wild riot of color usually associated with a New England fall.

I thought about raking leaves. Back in ancient times when I was a kid we would rake leaves and then burn them. It really does seem like it all happened in some long gone age.

I have noticed these days that they sell leaf bags, that when full, are suppose to resemble giant pumpkins. Somehow they lack the quality of a huge pile of leaves that just begged to be jumped into. Or to push your brother into. I remember raking piles of leaves under trees so that one could climb the tree and jump down from a branch into the waiting cushion. Like so many things it worked much better in theory than in practice, however when you are a kid, hope springs eternal and you would just keep piling leaves up to add to the cushion. It drove the old man crazy, because the pile would have to be moved so that he could burn them.

Burning leaves has been illegal for quite a while now and I know that considering the spectacular job we've done screwing up the environment that it is just as well that the practice has fallen out of favor. Goodness knows that there are also safety concerns. We had enough dimwitted flatlander neighbors who didn't have enough sense to not burn leaves on a windy day.

One neighbor, who was originally from Long Island and before moving to Vermont had always had a service come in and do his yardwork managed to set his back lot on fire and bring himself to the attention of the local volunteer fire department when, on a windy day, the sere field, burning out of control was threatening his house.

Here in the city it just seems like a truly bad idea, packed cheek by jowl as we are, though I can imagine in neighborhoods where people actually have yards that there were people who 30 years ago were still burning the leaves in their yard.

It was a smell that meant autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving. The shortening days, the fires roaring briefly in yards and the scent of the burning leaves. Fall twilights as the amethyst sky faded to dark, bright orange bonfires, crackling in the crisp air, with the columns of smoke and tiny embers flying in the air like fairy lights.

We are conscientiously trying to make the world a safer place. We are, it can be argued, eliminating a small quantity of air pollution by banning these fires. I feel pretty confident we are safeguarding the feckless from accidentally burning down their own homes. Still it's sad. We have also managed to loose something that was almost magical. Some deep primal drive our ancestors felt at the change of the year to burn bonfires to try and keep back the night a little longer. A silent plea to the sun not to forget us and to return and warm the earth after it's long cold winter rest.

*I was telling Monkey about this post when I remembered the time that may brothers and I thought it was a brilliant idea to rake a really big pile of leaves up near the barn and then swing daredevil style out of the hayloft by a rope out onto the leaves. The older brother went first and of course yelled up, "Come on, I'll rake the leaves back up. It's great!" Butt numbing was a better description. It was a great idea right up until my mother looked out the window, that's when things just got ugly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Full of Awesome

My favorite student worker, La Quebecer, stopped by my office a little while ago. She was concerned that I have been sick, so she made me pumpkin soup, which if full of yummy. La Quebecer is full of awesome.

The Battle of the Bulge

I went and saw Fred yesterday. He's my 20 year old doctor. I like Fred, he's very laid back and seems to be blessed with an uncommon amount of common sense. He is not constantly ordering tests and blood work. He actually listens to me when I talk to him and seems to feel that as long as I'm not going out and doing anything particularly stupid, I should be fine.

We talked about my bout with this last cold. The verdict being that there is a nasty cold going around. Then it was time to talk about things in a more general sense.

"Yeah, I know. I've put on weight, but it's mostly gym weight."

Fred gave me a somewhat skeptical look and we talked a bit about what constitutes an acceptable BMI. Basically, I was told I could get my body fat down to between 10 and 14 percent and that would be fine because of my activity level.

We also talked about other fun things, like when I should schedule my next colonoscopy. Not for another year or two, thank goodness. It isn't the actual procedure, it's the days before when you have to "clean yourself out". As my brother, who, being 4 years older than myself is a pro at this one pointed out the first time I had to go through this ordeal, "You overdose on laxatives and then after you've shit your brains out and feel like you couldn't shit anymore, you crap out your lower tract." It goes without saying that I am more than happy to forego this particular procedure for a couple more years.

Then is was time to get prodded and get my annual flu shot.

"Please take your shirt off and get on the exam table."

I stripped to the waist and hopped up. Fred started poking at me and got a slightly surprised look on his face.

"I don't think I'd loose more than 5 pounds if I were you." he said. "Exactly how much are you working out?"

I told him my routine. His only suggestion was more cardio, which we both agreed is one of the most boring form of exercise on the face of the planet.

He then whipped out the syringe for the flu shot and then gave me one of the most painless vaccinations I've ever had. I had to compliment him on his technique, since I hate getting shots.

"Well you're easy to give a shot to. You have plenty of muscle and not much fat."

Maybe all this exercise is paying off. At least I got an ego boost at the doctors. Now if I can get another 4% off my BMI.


Okay, I'm probably going to loose my gay card over this, but I just downloaded Bruce Springsteen's new album off of iTunes. I love it! I've been taking a certain amount of crap over the past 30 years for being a Bruce fan, but that's okay. Emmy Lou Harris, Raul Malo, The Pointer's, Patti Smith and Johnny Cash have all covered his songs so I feel like I'm in good company in my folly.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The reports of my death....

I am sorry I haven't posted in the last week, but basically I was either sleeping or feeling to rotten to think. These are not activities that lend themselves to posts. After all, there are only so many ways you can describe phlegm.

I do however appreciate everyones concern. I guess I got the idea that my absence from the blogosphere was causing alarm, when the niece called last night to make sure I was still alive.

Today is my first day back in the trenches after a weeks absence. I can hardly wait to find out what is lying in wait for me. With any luck, everyone was too busy torturing each other to create any problems for me.

The cat is probably bummed out. She was having a great time, because she had a victim to torture 24 hours a day.

It was a great big drag being sick, but I did have a chance to think about my current situation, work, living space, etc. I haven't reached any conclusions since I only managed to maintain consciousness on an average of about 4 hours a day, but at least I have started to think about where I am going.

Anyway. I'm back. Stay tuned for observations on the general thick headedness of my fellow creatures.