Ridin’ the Storm Out

As my friend Kelly would say:  Here’s the song reference:

REO Speedwagon – Ridin’ The Storm Out – Live
I decided to keep a weather blog of sorts and keep a record of my musings during this historic event.  In Western MA we aren’t supposed to get hit with the worst of it, but we are expecting power outages due to high winds, and I’m thinking some flooding in this area as the Westfield River serves as drainage for the southern east face of the Berkshires. And of course Westfield holds the United States record for the most rainfall in a 24 hour period, 13 inches,  & most rainfall in a storm Hurricane Diane 19.75 inches  – and please,  note below that Westfield is on this list no less than 3 times…..  GAH!

Wettest tropical cyclones and their remnants in Massachusetts
Highest known recorded totals
Precipitation Storm Location Ref
Rank mm Inches
1 501.7 19.75 Diane 1955 Westfield [4]
2 324.4 12.77 New England Hurricane of 1938 Gardner [2]
3 317.5 12.50 Carrie 1972 Tashmoo [19]
4 312.4 12.3 1933 Outer Banks hurricane Provincetown [4]
5 251.0 9.88 Eloise 1975 Westfield [19]
6 236.7 9.32 Connie 1955 Plainfield [19]
7 231.1 9.10 Irene 2011 Savoy [20]
8 213.36 8.40 Lee 2011 Worthington [55]
9 179.3 7.06 Bob 1991 Westfield [19]
10 175.5 6.91 Donna 1960 Great Barrington [19]

Anyway, woke up this morning to misty drizzle and a brisk northeast breeze, gusting up to maybe 20 mph.  Work for me and classes for both the girls were cancelled last night, so I had planned on a bit of a sleep in. The Viking had other plans for me though  – calling about 9am to see if I could run up to  Blandford and pick up Sophie’s seizure medication. She won’t run out till the weekend -but who knows if we will be able to get up there by then. So Jill and I were off on a quick adventure, stopping at Dunkin for “coffee and” and also topping off the gas tank on the Saturn before the prices skyrocket again. Great to see that the utility companies and the Emergency Response personnel were (and are) already out in force.

As I left the house, I noticed that UPS had made a delivery.  It was from my dear friend Barney http://mountainperspective.wordpress.com in California- who sent me one of his handcrafted cutting  boards made of black walnut maple and cherry wood. It literally made my day – and I called him to thank him and chat after Jill and I got back from our errands. An expatriated New Englander, Barney is extremely concerned about how things are going, so I told him I would keep him posted.  Then, I thought I would do this weather blog  thing too.  This will help me I’m sure when my future grandchildren ask me what I was doing during Frankenstorm -the “Nor’easter-cane” of 2012.

The Viking came home for lunch at noontime, the wind is really picking up and my Dad’s windchimes are making music in very accelerated time. Jill and I decided to put together clothes and necessary equipment and get the animals stuff ready in case we do eventually need to leave.  I’m not overly concerned with that part of it right now per se; but better to be prepared to get gone than not.  Last year’s fiasco served as a lesson to everyone.

Mother Nature certainly seems to have it in for the Northeast lately. The tornado last year (which began in Westfield btw…) Hurricane Irene, the October “Snowpocalypse” at this exact time last year (that’s the weirdest thing, isn’t it?),  the minor earthquakes of last summer and again just last week up in Maine. I think she needs to get back on her HRT – and soon. Anyway, at the moment the wind is steady and the trees are swirling moderately; no real rain to speak of -just scattered here and there.   Going to sign off for now.  Will update with part 2 later (by phone if the power goes out) . Batten Down the Hatches! Full Speed Ahead, and Get the Whiners Below Deck!

For those of you not directly affected by this storm, but are interested in following whats going on here,  I recommend checking out  WWLP.com  They’re our local station and fairly accurate when it comes to weather stuff.


Walkin the Dogs


Our walk along the Westfield River on a bright, breezy Sunday afternoon

Those of you from New England, you’ll understand…

Living in the wilds of Western Massachusetts has given me a unique opportunity to use and be influenced by words and phrases you just won’t hear anywhere else in the country. Here’s my top 10, in no particular order.

1. Wicked – adjective, exclamation. Means “very” usually- especially when used in conjunction with other adjectives. “Dude, that show last night was wicked awesome! My relatives living in the Pacific Northwesthad a wicked hard time figuring out how something could be “wicked good” at the same time.
2. Pissed, pisser: noun, adjective. In Western MA if you are mad you are pissed, or pissed off. If you are very very angry you’re “wicked pissed”. Out towards Boston, the meaning changes. ” That party last night was a wicked pisser!” meaning a great time was had by all. Getting pissed also can mean getting very drunk. Pronounce this word “pissah” if you live east of Worcester. (wuh-stah)
3. Blinker- descriptive noun. You activate these when you want to make a turn or change lanes while driving.
4. “Down Cellar”- indicates location. Cellar, meaning the basement to the rest of the US. “I gotta go down cellar and put the laundry in the dryer.”
5. “So Don’t I.” a negative-positive phrase, indicates that you can totally relate to what the other person is saying, that you’ve done or do the same thing. (ie: “Me too”) “I hate when my food touches on my plate. So don’t I!”
6. Grinder: large long sandwich that can have either hot or cold ingredients. Also called a sub, or submarine sandwich (shaped like one), a hero, or a hoagie. (hoe-gee), if you live in Eastern MA. Not to be confused with a meat grinder, which can process ingredients for your grinder.
7. Rotary: circular road where other roads converge. Can be difficult to get off of if you’re unfamiliar with the area. “I drove around the rotary like 5 times before I figured out which lane I needed to be in to exit”.
8. Milkshake: blended ice cream, slushy consistency. Out towards Boston, this is referred to as a frappe. (frah-pp) What we consider a milkshake they call an ice cream soda. Thick milkshakes served at Friendly’s restaurants are called Fribbles. (rhymes with Tribbles, lol)
9. Pocketbook- what us lady folk keep our wallets, makeup ID and other things in. You might call it a purse or a handbag. We don’t.
10. Soda- as in Root Beer, Dr Pepper, ginger ale, Sprite, and Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Or, we call it the brand name. Upstate New Yorkers call a Coke a “Red Pop” or just “Pop”. Older Tennesseans call a Coke a “Black Dope.” I got a real kick out of that one!

Western MA is also the only region I know of that calls the evening before Halloween “Cabbage Night”. Apparently there weren’t enough pumpkins to smash…. So there you have it, my top 10 linguistic oddities/eccentricities native to my little corner of the world. Feel free to add yours!!!