You are viewing edschweppe

Thirty-eight weeks post-surgery

And I had my final session of physical therapy earlier this evening.[1]

My knee's not at 100% yet, but I can go up and down stairs without holding on to the banister, I can walk on uneven surfaces without the aid of a cane, and I even went for a (short) bicycle ride last night.

So. Yay!

[1] Although I don't think I'll be sending the PT doc a thank-you note. The last time he treated a patient with a quadriceps tendon rupture, the patient dropped dead of a sudden heart attack three weeks later on a Friday. The next Monday, the thank-you card that the patient had sent the PT doc arrived in the mail ...

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.


Patriots Day 2015

The Battle of Lexington and Concord occurred two hundred forty years ago today. In previous years, I've briefly discussed the battle from the viewpoint of today. This year, though, I thought I'd provide the view of some of the eyewitnesses.

Shortly after the battle, the Massachusetts Congress appointed a committee to collect testimony regarding the conduct of the British regulars. A copy of their report was sent to the Continental Congress, and reprinted in the Journals of the Continental Congress for May 11, 1775.
Read more...Collapse )
And that was the news, two hundred and forty years ago.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.
It snowed most of yesterday. Not heavily, but enough to put a frosting on the trees and windshields, and scare the highway departments into breaking out the salt trucks again. Fortunately, the trees haven't started leafing out yet, so there was no damage done (we had a very nasty May snowstorm back in the day which took down a lot of tree branches and, IIRC, ended up killing a bunch of trees completely). Most of the big snowbanks in downtown Boston are gone - but not all of them. There are bare patches on the ground out here where I live - but most of the ground still has a noticeable snowpack.

I'm getting just a wee bit tired of this weather pattern. More below-normal temperatures are expected for the early part of the week, and the six-o'clock news guy said the early indications are that we might get more snow flurries next weekend.

Meanwhile, Keolis says they'll be operating their pre-snowpocalyptic commuter rail schedule starting tomorrow. Unfortunately, they couldn't actually keep to that schedule before all the snow started falling; odds that they'll suddenly get up to snuff seem kind of ... remote. Last week, of the ten rides I took into and out of Boston, four arrived on time. Three more were less than five minutes late (which is the standard Keolis has to meet to avoid fines) and the remaining three were respectively nine, ten and nineteen minutes late. The MBTA contract calls for 95% on-time performance; last week was at best 70%.

(For bonus fun, the ten-minute-late train also didn't have working HEP - thus no lights, heating or ventilation. Or WiFi, for that matter.)

Oh, and my physical therapy appointment on Thursday got cancelled because the physiotherapist was out sick.

There is one bit of good news on the knee-healing front, though. In the last couple of days, I've been able to (occasionally) walk up flights of stairs without having to grab a bannister for support. Still haven't dared to try that going down stairs, mind. But I'll take signs of progress wherever I can.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Isn't it supposed to be spring?

Friday was the vernal equinox, and it snowed. Not much, but it snowed.

Yesterday was the first full day of spring, and it snowed some more. Again, not much - maybe a bit over an inch between the two snowfalls, and it melted almost immediately - but, still, it snowed.

Tomorrow morning's National Weather Service forecast is calling for early morning air temperatures around 14F and wind chills around 3F in my neck of the woods. Which really sucks for late March, waiting on the platform for the commuter rail.

And said commuter rail still hasn't recovered from the seven-plus feet of snow we got this winter. Keolis (the French outfit that took over the contract last summer) has put out a schedule that includes most of the pre-snowpocalypse trains, but that's a far cry from actually meeting said schedules. Over the last five weeks, I have only once had a commute where both my inbound and outbound trains were on time (Wednesday, March 11th). If I count the times when the train was less than five minutes late (which means Keolis doesn't face a fine for it), I can add four more round trips (2/27, 3/2 and 3/12) to the list. Overall, of my 42 total rides since President's Day [1], only 16 have qualified as "on-time" by the less-than-five-minutes rule, for an on-time percentage of 33%.

Which, to put it mildly, sucks, even worse than normal. Keolis is supposed to maintain a 95% on time percentage. The Boston Globe Magazine ran a story back on February 22, Will the MBTA commuter rail ever run on time?, which noted that the November 2014 OTP for the Fitchburg line was only 66%. Even a 95% OTP means that someone who rides five days a week can expect a late train about once every other week.

At least last week I didn't have any trips where the lights and heat died mid-trip; I'd had three of those in the three previous weeks.

And today's offertory in church was Sydney Carter's Julian of Norwich (aka Bells of Norwich), which is always good for lifting my spirits. "All shall be well again, I know."

[1] There were several days where I just plain didn't go into Boston for various reasons, and a couple where I had to drive in because the train wouldn't get me out in time for important appointments.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Another milestone

I missed noting this in all the snowpocalyptic excitement of the Second Blizzard of 2015 (not to mention the last hours of Boskone), but my temporary handicapped parking placard officially expired last Sunday.

Nice thing to have when you need one, but it's far better not to need one in the first place.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.


The Storm Is Passing Over

Another day, another few inches of snow. Fortunately, the freezing rain stayed well to my south and west, so the driving wasn't that terrible. And the temperatures even got (slightly) above freezing!

"The Storm Is Passing Over" (written by Charles Albert Tindley, arranged by Barbara W. Baker) was the offertory anthem today at church. Appropriate, what?

Of course, we're back into the deep freeze tonight and early next week. Tomorrow night has wind chill advisories up, with forecast air temperatures below zero Fahrenheit. And the MBTA commuter rail has once again signally failed to meet even its miniscule weekend schedule, which bodes poorly for its performance tomorrow morning. But no point in worrying too much about that tonight.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.


Back to work!

So tomorrow isn't the weekend, or a holiday, and nobody's predicting a Snowstorm of DOOOM. That means it's time to go back to work, right?

Well, that may depend on the MBTA. As-you-know-Bob, the T shut down completely on Sunday during the height of the blizzard; that was the second time in a week that they'd cancelled rail service. Today was President's Day, when the T normally runs commuter rail on a Saturday schedule, which for my line means eight round-trips instead of seventeen. Despite the reduced schedule, there were still an awful lot of cancellations and late trains showing up on the service updates pages and the @MBTA_CR Twitter feed.

They've now announced that Tuesday's commuter rail would be on a "modified weekday schedule". For the Fitchburg line, that's going to mean only eleven round trips (vice 17), only four of which (vice six) will be during rush hour. The odds of them actually meeting that schedule are ... miniscule at best. (Not that driving in would be an improvement, considering how many of the main roads into and around Boston still don't have all their travel lanes cleared.)

Oh, and we may be getting another inch or two of snow tomorrow. Because of course we need a fresh coat.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

The Second Blizzard of 2015

Well, the National Weather Service has yet to officially declare this storm a blizzard. Still, it's certainly snowing to beat the band out my hotel window, and it sure looks like the visibility is less than a quarter-mile, so I suspect it's just a matter of time. According to the news, February 2015 is now the snowiest month in Boston history - and there are still two weeks in the month!

Reading the long-term portion of the current NWS area forecast discussion, even the weather professionals are getting a bit punchy:

OTOH, I don't have to go anywhere today. And my car's in a hotel garage, so I won't even have to dig it out tomorrow morning!

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Hey, let's have a blizzard for Boskone!

It's a bright, sunny, cold morning here at Boskone - but blizzard warnings are in effect from tonight at 7PM through Monday at 7AM. This is going to be the second blizzard of the year, and at least the fourth major snowstorm of the season!

Thus sayeth the National Weather Service:

NWS blizzard warningCollapse )

The snow is expected to stop falling around 2PM tomorrow. However, the winds are going to remain absurdly high through Monday morning, which will cause all sorts of blowing and drifting problems - especially since this is going to be another fluffy, dry snow event on top of several feet of snow already on the ground. (I saw a graphic on the morning news that showed Boston and Worcester with more snow than Buffalo!)

The MBTA has already given up and cancelled all Sunday services. Considering how badly their equipment has fared so far this year, I'm not that surprised; OTOH, I have a bad feeling that the hotel staff will be shorthanded tomorrow. Despite that, I've extended my hotel reservations through Monday so I don't have to risk driving home under blizzard conditions; as long as there's power and Internet, I'll be okay.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Trains tomorrow, maybe?

The recent snowstorms here in Boston were so bad that the MBTA cancelled all rail [1] service today to try and recover. Now they're saying they'll run a "modified weekday" schedule tomorrow. Looking at the Fitchburg line schedule, "modified weekday" means cancelling two trains each way during rush hour and two more each way off-peak (thus only running 13 round trips instead of the regular 17).

I'm not sure if this is actually an improvement over the number of trains they were cancelling last week, but it is a tremendous improvement over not running anything at all. And, hey, maybe I'll be able to make it into the Current Paying Gig tomorrow!

[1] They also cancelled all their ferry service, too, but that doesn't directly affect me. Supposedly, there was "limited" bus service.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

MBTA rail service shutdown tomorrow!

Okay, this is really, seriously, fucking bad. Everything the MBTA runs on rails? Shut down tomorrow:

Guess who's not going into work tomorrow, either?

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

It's Monday, so it must be snowing

Three weeks running now, we've had a big snowstorm to start the week [1], and three weeks running now I'm not even trying to go into the Current Paying Gig on Monday.

Overnight, I only received about four inches or so, which in "normal" times would be a manageable amount to deal with for the short drive to the commuter rail parking lot. However, the MBTA still hasn't recovered from the five-plus feet of snow that Boston's already received in the last couple of weeks. Plus, while I've made a lot of progress over the last six months, my knee still isn't what anyone could call fully recovered - and I really have no interest in walking the mile from North Station to the Current Paying Gig when said mile is most likely poorly (if at all) shoveled. Let's not even talk about the single-digit wind chill factors out there...

In short, therefore, I'm once again staying at home. Whee.

[1] Technically, the big snow on the 26th didn't start until evening; however, the forecasts were dire enough that I didn't risk going into town and getting caught trying to get home in the teeth of a blizzard.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.


Not snowing at this moment. That's likely to change in the next couple of hours, according to the forecasts, which still have me in the 18-24 inch band by Monday night.

Meanwhile, no word from the Current Paying Gig if they're going to be open on Monday or not. And the MBTA commuter rail is having serious problems maintaining their Sunday schedule - so far, they've had three scheduled departures from Fitchburg and two of them have been reported as delayed. This bodes ill for the chances of working trains tomorrow, in the teeth of inch-an-hour snowfalls; even if the CPG is open, odds appear poor that I'll be able to make it in.


Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Here we go again...

Another Winter Storm Warning is up, effective 10PM tonight through 1AM Tuesday morning. This time, the call is for 12-18 inches through Monday night ... except for a "localized band of 18 to 24 inches", which is located approximately between where I live and where I work. I've got a funny feeling that I'm not going into the Current Paying Gig come Monday morning ...

We've already had multiple feet of snowfall this year. According to the graphic I just saw on the television, Boston had 5.5 inches of snowfall this season before January 23 - and 48.7 inches since then. I've got twenty inches on the ground right now, not counting plow berms and parking-lot mountains.


Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Twenty-six weeks post-surgery

Tomorrow will be six full months since my knee surgery.

Today I had my six-month follow-up appointment with my surgeon. He was very happy with my progress to date, and says that it's now just a matter of time getting strength back. Hopefully I can get back to full strength in another six months or so. Walking the mile each way between North Station and the Current Paying Gig is contributing to that getting strength back, clearly. (My longer-term plan involves bicycling instead of walking, come springtime, and he thought that was a grand idea.)

And he says I don't need to see him again unless something goes wrong. That's a clear sign of progress. My next PT appointment is next Tuesday, and I'll be talking to the physiotherapist about what the plan should be.

In additional happy news, my copy of Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory finally arrived, and it's as cracking good a story as the reviewers have claimed. Steampunk! Not-Seattle Underground! Diesel-powered sewing machines! Political corruption! The Lone Ranger!

And a submarine! How flippin' awesome is that?

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.


Dug out

Or mostly dug out, at least. It looks like I picked up about fourteen inches of fluffy snow from today's storm, which is hopefully finally abating.

I did not risk going into the Current Paying Gig, as that would have involved (a) driving on back roads (b) to the commuter rail parking lot, then (c) taking the train in and (d) walking from North Station to said Current Paying Gig. (a) would have been bad enough, but even if (b) had been properly plowed in the morning (no guarantee) it would have been socked in by nightfall. (c) would have been an "adventure", since almost every train was either seriously late or cancelled entirely (due to mechanical failures, frozen switches, etc) And (d) - well, Boston hadn't finished clearing sidewalks from the last snowpocalypse. Slogging a mile through a foot of snow would be just the thing for my not-yet-fully-functional knee. (Not.)

Tomorrow? We'll see; at least I'm dug out enough to have the option of going in.

Weather folks on the news were saying that this has been the snowiest single week in local history. Over three feet in Boston; over four feet in Worcester; over five feet in Leominster, about fifteen miles west of here.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.
Congrats to the New England Patriots, with a close victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl (TM) XLIX. (Shouldn't 49 be IL in Roman numerals?)

And now we're back under a Winter Storm Warning, with a foot-plus of snow and 35-mph wind gusts expected tomorrow. Boston hasn't fully cleared the sidewalks from last week's snowpocalypse ...

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Yes, we have a Snowpocalpyse!

At least two feet on the ground, and plenty of drifts higher than that.

However, it's a very light and fluffy snow in my neck of the woods, which has kept the trees from shedding branches all over the power lines. Judging from news reports, the South Shore and Cape Cod have been getting the heavier stuff and losing power as a result. Nantucket Island is apparently completely without power, courtesy of ocean spray getting into a main transformer station and doing bad things thereto.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

Snowpocalypse now?

Well, it's started snowing, at least. Barely a coating on my car, but there is snow on the ground.

And, presumably, lots more to come in the very near future. The final paragraph of the current NWS blizzard warning says it all:


Meanwhile, the forecast for the rest of this week is pretty much snow, snow and more snow:

Tonight: Heavy Snow (100%) Low: 12 °F

Tuesday: Heavy Snow (100%) High: 20 °F

Tuesday Night: Snow (90%) Low: 11 °F

Wednesday: Chance Snow (30%) High: 24 °F

Wednesday Night: Mostly Clear Low: 4 °F

Thursday: Slight Chance Snow (20%) High: 30 °F

Thursday Night: Snow Likely (60%) Low: 21 °F

Friday: Snow Likely (60%) High: 34 °F

Friday Night: Chance Snow (30%) Low: 11 °F

Welcome to New England.

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.

The snowpocalypse cometh!

Just got the official word from the Current Paying Gig not to bother coming in Tuesday. Not surprising, since Governor Baker has declared a state of emergency, with a travel ban and MBTA shutdown effective at midnight tonight.

No snowflakes yet. Emphasis on the word "yet".

Originally posted at - comment wherever you please.