Friday, December 4, 2009

Autumn in New York

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and in celebration of it I have also come and gone through New York state by way of Minneapolis, birthplace of cartoonist Charles Schultz, on the way there:

snoopy statue

and by way of Atlanta, home of The Varsity, on the way back:

free hat!

In between, there was lots of New York. Mostly I just laid around various houses (we moved around a lot during the week because it's deer season) reading books, but in between I got to see some oddities and absurdities, the biggest of which was that there is no snow:


That's the pond at deer camp in the Catskills, where it doesn't even look like they've had a hard frost. It was even worse further upstate at my parents' house, where there was not only an appalling lack of snow but a front yard full of bright green grass in need of mowing:

front lawn at sunset

For the record, I deliberately took that picture facing dead on into the sunset, mostly because I wanted to see how it would come out. I kind of like it, even if it's bad form and poor technique and all that, and I also like that the sun washed out all of the neighbors' houses and leaves the impression that my parents live in a vacant countryside somewhere.

Back to the snow, I'm not saying I wanted three feet of snow and blizzards and having my planes delayed, but at the end of November shouldn't there at least be a speck? A smattering? Some flurries, maybe? I didn't even have to wear the jacket I packed, and could have had a whole other outfit instead. Only having nine outfits to choose from for a seven day trip instead of having ten is, truly, one of the horrific consequences of global warming. Someone should call CNN about my tragedy, if they can tear themselves away from the Youtube clips they're constantly showing.

Speaking of Youtube, my uncle used it as the excuse for why he has a rotting pumpkin in his front yard a month after Halloween:

rotting lantern in birdbath

"We saw this clip on Youtube of a squirrel eating rotten Halloween pumpkins and getting drunk from the fermentation, and we wanted to see what would happen."

No squirrel has eaten the pumpkin yet. There was also no Youtube related explanation for the Rubbermaid bin of rotting submerged apples near the birdbath:

rotten apples under water

There's a large crabapple tree in my uncle's yard and, rather than let the apples rot all over the lawn or make crabapple jam like Martha Stewart made in prison, my uncle picked them up every day and tossed them in the bin. Then he accidentally left the bin uncovered and it filled up with rainwater, and no one got around to dumping it out before I saw it.

We were at my uncle's house, which used to be my grandparents' house, because my mother and some of her siblings are slowly cleaning it out. We found some funny stuff, like a picture of me as a toddler feeding sand to my cousin Kristopher or my uncle's tenth grade, all F report card or, funniest of all, my grandmother's 50's era Catholic birth control book. My mother is one of six children, so we all giggled and tossed the book in the recycle bin. We also found some family history type items that we're all glad to have, like my mom's baby book, my grandparents' wedding album, and this placemat-sized photo of my Aunt Irene's Girl Scout trip to Washington, D.C. in the 1960's:

girl scout trip

Irene is the third from left in the seated row in the foreground. We also found a lot of junk, clothes that we sent to Goodwill, and stuff that no one wanted that we sent to a consignment shop. It took us hours, and we barely got through two dressers and a china cabinet because nothing is organized and we have to open every envelope and box. My mom and her siblings have been working at this for a couple of years, every few months for a day or two, and are only two-thirds of the way through the house. Last time they did it they found dozens of embroidered holiday tablecloths that my grandmother made but never used, and just put away before making the next one. My mom took the Thanksgiving one, which was covered with gold leaves, and used it for our table this year:

cross stitched leaf

Before we got to Thanksgiving, though, we had to head upstate to our house. Along the way I made my mom stop for a giant metal dinosaur:

the monster of kingston

and when we met up with my dad for lunch in Boonville (dad was in the other car with most of the guns), most of the way home, we all had a good laugh at Burger King's "New Moon" marketing gone horribly awry:

team jacob fail

I guess no one told the staff that the halves of the window cling go around the pushbar. What's worse is that they did it with Edward on the other door, too, so they made the same mistake twice.

Home was both snowless and deer-less, with the block and tackle hanging empty on the garage:

block and tackle

It's just too warm for hunting, since the deer move around at night unless it's cold. Like I said at the beginning, I mostly just laid around the house reading with the pets, who laid around the house sleeping and looking out the windows:

Banshee sleeping

tony and penny at the window

and sometimes sticking their heads out of them:

penny in the truck

Penny did that when dad and I took her on a ride for me to go see the "welcome home" fence art at Fort Drum. This is a new thing for the post, and is done along the fence across from the airfield by the soldiers' families and friends to welcome them back when they fly in. What really amazed me about it is that they do it with plastic Solo cups and garbage bags:


If you click on the full sized pictures and look at them closely you can see the cups better. I didn't get too close to most of them because they take up so much of the fence that it's hard to get the whole message in the picture:

2-87 Infantry

(In the spirit of supporting our troops, I did not share that picture with my spelling errors photo group.)

There were a lot of insignia:

Welcome home, Bulldogs



blue cat

and some simple messages of support:

Welcome home, Blackhawks

We *heart* you!

In total, it goes for about a half mile of fencing, and it really is something to see.

Like all vacations, though, it eventually came to an end. I got done staring at the dead spider clinging to the ceiling light in the guest room:

dead spider

packed my bags, and headed past the rusty car for sale on Route 11:

4 sale (1)

and headed home on Saturday.

Then, on Monday, it snowed.

1 comment:

strong cookie. said...

you should scan the toddler picture.

also, the birth control book (although I suspect you did not keep that)