2013 went by in a flash. These aren’t the pictures I would have picked to sum up the year; rather, these are the choices of a soulless Python script I wrote to procrastinate actually writing a blog post.
January’s subject is more interesting than it looks. This monument in New York honors Raoul Wallenberg and sits across the street from the UN building. We had wandered up that way in hopes of a UN tour, but the building was closed. Instead we investigated these strange, black pillars and learned about a man who saved thousands of Jews in Hungary during World War II. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know about Wallenberg, his heroic actions, and his subsequent arrest and disappearance at the hands of the Soviets.
One of my favorite Western Mass outings is a trip to Ashfield, a small town in Franklin County. They don’t have cell service, but they do have Elmer’s, a great breakfast joint and grocery store (don’t judge Elmer’s by its website). After enjoying pancakes or maybe the Obamalette, you can hike around the area’s many trails – I’m especially fond of Bear Swamp. This excursion occurred shortly after the region was blessed with two feet of snow.
Towards the end of March, when snow from the previous month’s massive storm was finally beginning to recede in the valley, there was still plenty of the white stuff up in the hills. We made this guy on bank of the Westfield River, just below the Chesterfield Gorge.
April was a month for babies! Type E and I drove to Pennsylvania to meet our new nephew and on the way stopped in New Jersey for Superwoman’s baby shower.
May was a blur. Much of the month was spent planning Hack for Western Mass, the first ever civic hackathon in Western Massachusetts. One of 95 nationwide events on the inaugural National Day of Civic Hacking, it was a great success, and I’m extremely proud of the community’s work to make it a reality. Eight of us organized, and about 100 people turned up to spend a weekend helping nine local nonprofits.
No photo could capture the chaos of June. It kicked off with Hack for Western Mass. Less than a week later, Type E and I went to Argentina to celebrate our fifth anniversary, and less than a week after that, we settled on a house and moved.
Frankly, I”m a little sad that out of hundreds of Argentina photos, the random picture picker came up with this one. It’s Painter’s Palette in Jujuy (hoo-hooey) Province, Argentina. Sadly, it was the worst possible time of day to take a picture, and for some reason I couldn’t be bothered to cross the street. Don’t be fooled—Northwestern Argentina is much more beautiful and vibrantly-colored than what you see here.
We switched CSAs this year and joined Mountain View Farm, close to our new home in Easthampton, MA. If you look closely at the sky, you’ll see small dots, which are actually hang gliders. There were at least eight that afternoon, swooping around Mt. Tom while we picked flowers and herbs below.
Despite our post-Argentina vow to NEVER TRAVEL AGAIN, we were away almost every weekend in August: New Jersey, Nazareth, Nantucket. The Jersey trip was to visit Type E’s dad after surgery, and my mom, brother, and sister-in-law drove over from Pennsylvania, crossing the mighty Delaware to give everyone some quality time with the newest member of the family. Right before this picture was taken, he pooped in his Phillies outfit, hence the Red Sox duds. A sign of things to come.
Fair season around here starts about two weeks before Labor Day and continues through September. Is there anything better than fair season? This year we decided to skip the Big E, and instead we hit the Cummington Fair and the Franklin County Fair, where Type E admired the award-winning garlic.
It’s no secret that New England shines in the fall. At the advice of friends, we finally made it to Mike’s Maze – a corn maze with brainteasers, a petting zoo, a cafe, a camera obscura, and a potato cannon. You work through the rows of corn (this year cut in the shape of Salvador Dali), answering questions in hopes of winning a decorative gourd. If you’re really smart, you can win a free shot at the potato cannon. Sadly, we left empty-handed.
This here is a beer. A very good beer. One that I used to drink a lot of on Friday nights at Bridgid’s, a lifetime ago. Nice to swing through Philly and reunite with an old friend in a shiny new can.
December brought even more time in Philly to catch up with old friends from Wharton and MiNDTV, see the Wanamaker light show with Clair, go to the 1812 Productions holiday Vaudeville show, and visit the controversial and stunning Barnes Foundation. Oh, and eat some Ethiopian food because they don’t have that here.
Scott joined us for the pizza and art portion of the festivities. Otherwise known as Blankbaby, he’s the first blogging friend I met in real life, back in 2004 or so. Back then, Philly bloggers were a fairly small community. Scott met Marisa, now a famous food blogger, writer, and canner, and they eventually got married. I met Type E when he found me via the magic of Google. And so on.
May 2014 bring old friends, new friends, and more Western Mass discoveries. And maybe a little more Ethiopian food. Yeah, that would be good.