Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'm back. I think.

Hello. It's been a busy couple of weeks. All is good if not a tad tiring. I trust everyone had a good Christmas. My actual Christmas was quite nice. The meal was pretty much what my mother would have done. Christmas was always lasagna, meatballs, sausage and pork. Pork is one of the secrets of a delicious sauce. My sisters outdid themselves. They made a variation of a calzone. A calzone is essentially bread with, typically stuffed with cold cuts and cheeses but you can make it with any kind of stuffing. It' essentially a folded over pizza. My sister made hers with swiss chard. I remember working at that bakery/deli back in the 70's and they were the only place making them locally. I'm sure there were other Italian places making them but they weren't as common as they are now. In Italian calzone means pants or pant leg. The first ones I saw were similar to a pant leg in shape but others make them in a crescent shape. If you make it with cold cuts it's good to lay the cold cuts on the flattened dough then roll the dough up jelly roll style.
Typical calzone

My sister made one that looked pretty much like this one.

And the inside looked pretty much like this one does.
Then there was the deserts. The fried ribbons of dough coated with sugar and cinnamon. They look more or less like this.
The there were the little ricotta pies.
Last but not least there were my personal favorites, pizzeles.
My other sister made these and she nailed it. She made them just like my mother. Very light and quite tasty. She made a vanilla batch and an anise batch. I've gained a pound and a half just writing about the stuff. There were other things as well but these were the highlights. One thing about Italians, we love our food, and there's always way too much. My mother would have been proud of my sisters. It was a wonderful meal some of which I still have in my possession. Tucked away in the freezer.

We're in for some snow on Thursday into Friday. As of this writing they are saying anywhere from 6-12 inches. I do not get whipped into a frenzy when snow is predicted. It's wasted energy. You can't stop it and if you live in an area such as New England, it's going to snow in the winter. People crack me up when they act so surprised when they hear it's going to snow.

That's the least of our problems. As much as I love the city of Boston there's one thing that's not endearing. The traffic. A few years ago we endured the "Big Dig". A 15 billion dollar project that took down an expressway, added a very nice bridge and another tunnel under the city. I'm sure there were other things but this project lasted almost twenty years. Did it improve things? I don't know but it does look nicer. 

Well there are three tunnels that run under the harbor and they are closing one for repairs. They say it will be closed from Dec. 27 until March 12. Well that's just great. I don't have to use any tunnels in my daily doings though I do use the Zakim Bridge and the Ted Williams Tunnel when I go to Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard. My main concern is that people will be rerouted and some of those people will be travelling through my city. It's bad enough that we have three exits in the city from the major north south highway in eastern Ma. People get off the highway in my city if their destination is just north of Boston. The center of town is just one big mess between 7 and 9 in the morning. It's not an easy area to get around. Some of the roads around here, including Boston, were laid down 300 years ago. Designed for horse and buggy travel not for the 21st century.

Well hopefully I'll be back here on a more regular basis. It's getting late and I do have to work tomorrow. I'm outta gas. Oh Beth in case you didn't see a comment I left on one of your blogs. I do have something else to send you. I'll get to the post office in a few days.
That's it. I'm done.
I'm outta here.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Not one of my better postings

This is another one of those blog entries, probably written over a few days. As I begin this it's about 7:35 on Sunday evening. At this point I don't have much to say except that I spent a pleasant day. I watched a couple of movies which is unusual for me. It's difficult enough for me to sit and watch one movie never mind two. It's irrelevant what movies I watched. They were superhero movies, which I have a connection with from my youth. At an early age I began buying and collecting comics and have a fairly large collection scattered over several locations. Some of the books have good value. That ended 40 years ago.

Sunday I found myself in the quiet of a Sunday morning, far removed from the food retail madness of the day before. It was relaxing and later on I had plans to watch the Patriots game next door at Arlene's which we did. She worked until 4 and the game was at 4:30. I offered to show up with our usual antipasto for two and a pizza from our favorite local restaurant Raso's. For some reason I took a picture of the take out antipasto a couple of months ago.

    I happen to love this dish and have eaten it as supper. Aside from the salami (2 slices) there's nothing really bad for you here. There's also a sprinkle of olive oil. So we ate and watched the game. 

This entry is more like a diary than a blog because it is now Thursday evening. This is the first time I've had any down time since Sunday. While watching the national news tonight I was made to feel old when they reported that it was 50 years ago tonight, Dec. 26, that Capitol Records released the first single in the U.S. of The Beatles, "I Want To Hold Your Hand". How innocent a title can you get? The Beatles were a huge influence on anybody of that generation. I was 12 going on thirteen. Smack dab in the middle of their demographics. I still play the records.

For no particular reason, here's a shot out my bedroom window while it was snowing last Saturday night. It was dark out but I guess all the white around reflected the street lights and it appears to be daylight.
 Well I have a lot of catching up to do around here. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I hope Rhapsody up in Toronto, got her electricity turned back on.

Well I think I'll go sit on the couch and play a little guitar. Of course it's a regular size guitar that I will play, for a little while.
I have to say this is one of the most disjointed, pointless blogs I have ever written. I need sleep, so I'll try and watch television as well, The only time I readily fall asleep is when I try to watch TV.
Maybe I'll be more lucid tomorrow.

I'm outta here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some snow and other stuff.

As I write this I notice that I write the phrase "As I write this" a lot. But it is undeniable that in fact as I write this it's snowing again. It's about 9 p.m. on Monday evening. It was 8 degrees at 6:15 this morning. My heat went off the night before. As I went to bed there was no heat coming through. When I woke up it was about 50 degrees inside my place yet the heat was on. It turns out my landlord turned it on manually at 5 a.m. At this point I'm told, it has been addressed by a professional or so I'm told. For all I know the professional was his brother in law Joey. 

Ok now it's Tuesday evening, One thing I didn't mention in the Monday entry of this blog was the unusual phone call I had from Arlene (conveniently living next door). We were just chatting about our jobs. She does pretty much what I do only in a different location. She's fairly close to Harvard so she sees some "Harvard" types as well as the local townies. We were basically talking about some encounters we have with customers. One common mangling is the name of a cheese company in Wisconsin. The name is Belgiosio (bel-gee-o-see-o). It is actually the name of an Italian town named after  a family in medieval times 800 years ago. Anyway it is not uncommon for someone to ask for the Belgiosio provolone as the, "Bella Lugosi" provolone. So as we are chucking and complaining about various things then Arlene  calmly says, "Hold on a minute Paul." Within about two seconds what do I hear?
This went on for about 30 or more seconds. Her dog, a min-pin, (a mini Doberman pincer) is barking. Though he's a good dog his bark is high pitched and quite cutting. I can hear Arlene's daughter running in asking what's the matter, but all Arlene is saying is, "AHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHH!"
Finally I hear Arlene shout, "MY LEGS! I CAN'T WALK!"
My initial thought was muscle cramps. I've had them and they can be quite painful. As her daughter tries to tend to her I can hear what sounds like a little bit of suppressed laughter from her daughter.
"Put the phone down Ma! Put the phone down! You're screaming into the phone!
She never put the phone down. This is what Allison was snickering about. She finally said, "I'll call you back in a while."
She called back about 40 minutes later. A bit subdued but as we talked she was lightening up. Both her legs had cramped up. She was laying on the couch. She had a bit of a snooze before she called me. I explained that I knew she was in obvious pain but at first I wondered if she was having a heart attack. I was with my mother when she had here first heart attack and the symptoms and reactions were not the same, not that I'm any kind of expert because I'm not.
As the conversation loosened up I mentioned how the whole episode sounded from my end of the line. She mentioned to me how her daughter was trying not to laugh because Arlene was still holding the phone to her ear and screaming into it. Soon Arlene was laughing as was I. Leg cramps are not a laughing matter yet if you can't laugh at, as it turned out, a minor affliction,  an situation made absurd then you take life too seriously. We laughed about it again tonight.

Not much else to report except on Sunday I was in my kitchen and I heard my landlady in the back hall. Now my landlords are an Italian couple in my age group. He's a little older and she's a little younger. They've been in this country for about 45 years and have owned this house for about 40 years. Arlene has lived in the house next door for most of her life. The house has been in her family since 1910. The house was built in 1881. It was the first one on this street. Arlene told me about the apartment next coming available in 2007. I gave it a shot and was in like flint because they knew Arlene for so long. And I will say it has been very nice living here. I am very lucky. My landlords are wonderful people. I almost feel like I'm living with family. They both speak fluent broken English. The husband, Joe, is an easy going, hard working guy. His wife who's name is Maria but wants to be called Joanna, I don't know why, can come across as very stern and hard. She is actually quite nice and generous. Why she wants to be called Joanna, instead of Maria I haven't a clue. There's nothing wrong with the name Maria. I have a cousin named Maria. 
I am the occasional recipient of fresh veggies from their garden. There's nothing better. It recalls my upbringing. We always had a garden and there was nothing better than a salad made from fresh picked greens and veggies. The best thing was the spaghetti sauce made from fresh picked tomatoes, basil and whatever else my Mom added. It still was the best I ever tasted.
So Joanna can comes across as serious. There have been times when I was in the cellar doing laundry and Joanna will come out of this room that Joe made for her. To digress a bit, the room is a fully equipped kitchen, with a small living room area with couch and TV and a bathroom. She cooks down there. The rest of the area is just cellar. I wouldn't have minded moving in there if it wasn't for all my stuff.
Joanna will come out of that room while I'm dealing with the laundry and say, "Hi Paul."
It always startles me because it come out of nowhere and she speaks in a staccato, stern, tone. She then asks, "What's the matter Paul? I scare you?"
What I'm thinking is yes Joanna, you do scare me.
But she is actually quite nice.
I can hear them in the back hall when going up to their apartment. The other day I was quite surprised to hear Joanna singing to herself as she came up the cellar stairs, passed my door and up more stairs. Well, she was either singing or in great agony, but it made my smile. I almost feel like I'm living with family. They've known Arlene for forty years, that made them trust me. I am a very lucky guy. 
So I come to the end of this pasted together over 3 days, blog entry. I have today off. It's an extra day as I have so much vacation time to use up. I have a lot but I just don't get to use it. Time to get my act together. I have two errands to run and some things to do around here. I'll be back to check around blogger later.

I'm outta here.      

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What's wrong with people?

Hello. As I begin this it's about 10:28 Saturday evening. I worked until 9. As many parts of the country, we are, as I write this, in the middle of a snow storm. We've know this was coming for several days and yet people act so surprised when snow is predicted around here. It doesn't matter if you grew up here or moved here from another state or country, I would think you would have some general knowledge about the weather in different parts of the world. That's not really the worst part it's how nuts people go with the food shopping. As most of you know I work in a supermarket so I get to see this buying feeding frenzy first hand. Now I'm not against stocking up if a large storm is predicted. This is not a large storm. Around here 6-10 inches are predicted. Now that's not a dusting. It's also not the end of the world. The majority of the snow will fall overnight so I have shoveling in my future.

In my opinion most this panic stems from 1978. That was the year of "The blizzard of '78". Now that was a storm! Hurricane force winds, damage up and down the coast with hundreds of homes destroyed due to the ocean surge. 54's of snow. Over four feet. Thousands of people stranded all over. There was a hockey game at the Boston Garden and thousands of people were stranded there for four days. 4 people died. Grocery stores were cleaned out for days. Nothing could move with 4 feet of snow on the roads. I was working until midnight that night. I remember a rather tough drive home and was surprised when I got up that it was still snowing heavily and the wind was howling. The weather people blew it completely.

I have no plans to go anywhere on Sunday. I need to recuperate from straight 8 and a half hours of buying frenzy. I never got to eat. I had several orders for two pounds or more of baloney. Who can eat that much baloney? And if you're throwing a party and all you are serving is baloney...what? You want some American cheese? Of course. To complement the baloney. Excellent choice. What kind of wine will you be serving with this? Other people were just shopping as they regularly would on Saturday. Even they were surprised at this feeding frenzy.

So what if we get 10 inches of snow. That happens during the winter in the northeast. Is it an annoyance? Sure. But if I really had to go somewhere on Sunday I could. But that's not going to happen. There's shoveling, then a football game and then, whatever I want to do. One day without human contact is not a bad thing sometimes.

Thank you so much Beth for the Christmas card. Stay tuned, I have something to send  you in a week or so.

Time for bed.
I'm outta here.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thank you Beth and everyone who stopped by.

Despite having some computer problems I had a very nice birthday and Beth surprised me with a birthday card. Sending folks from your blog over here was a very sweet thing to do Beth and I thank you. You are the person I've know the longest in the blogging world and I thank you for your visits and support. 

It's been a busy week at work. There's been some upheaval. My manager has been transferred and actually I'm very happy about it. It's not a story that I would tell here. It's not very interesting. I have no profound words of wisdom on the upcoming holidays. I am pretty tired of the Christmas songs I get to hear all day long at work. I never really realized how many versions of Jingle Bells there are. I try to not listen and turn them into white noise. I don't mind tuning into one that I like, if it catches my ear. However one struck me as bizarre and a bit creepy. Santa Claus is Coming to Town is a bit creepy. You better watch out? You better not pout? Yeah, you better not piss off Santa. He's coming to town ya know. He sounds like a mafia don with little elf loan sharks and hit men.... hit elves? 
He sees you when your sleeping. With all the kids in the world it sounds like he spends most of the year hiding in the bushes and peeking into windows.

He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake!
He knows your every move. He's coming to town and Santa has a notoriously short fuse.
He's making a list, and just to be sure, he's checking it twice. He's gonna know if you've been naughty SO YOU BETTER BE NICE! You don't want the long, black Cadillac limo pulling up to your door and have some thug elves take you for a ride.
"Da boss wants ta see ya. He hears you've been a very naughty boy." 

All in all the song is a collection of warnings over a jaunty arrangement. Fortunately the real Santa is much nicer than the one that's "coming to town".

So I'm at work and I'm putting some supplies away under a counter. I am very close to the hot food counter and hear a customer ordering some lunch. He gets a small bag of chicken wings, pauses and then he asks for some vegetable rice.
"How much would you like?" asks the counter person.
The answer, "Three" followed by  a long pause. Hello!
Three as in two grains of rice and a tiny cube of carrot? Or would you prefer to go full bore and go for three grains of rice.
Hello! Earth to customer!? I then got called away so I never found out the answer to the question. Soon to be a major motion picture!

We had a coating of snow and have another coating coming in a day or two. That doesn't stop the television stations from teasing viewers with little weather updates, "There's snow in our future. I'll let you know how much at 11."
Oh please. It's not hard to whip the public into a frenzy over a snowstorm  . If you live in an area that has snowy winters I'm sure they do the same thing as well. And why do some people act so surprised when it snows in the winter? If it snowed in August, then be surprised.  

I think it's time to draw this sorta lame attempt at a blog to a close. Beth and everybody else, I thank you once again. Beth I will be in touch. I have something for you.

Oh I have to work tomorrow! Time for bed.
I'm outta here.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday. Not for me. My sisters cat and my wonderful friend Beth.

If you live in the United States "Black Friday" has become a phenomenon. Retailers are opening earlier and earlier with all kinds of teaser deals to get you into the store, as early as 6 p.m. in some states, on Thanksgiving night. I'm waiting to see the trampling videos on the news. Retailers aren't allowed to open on Thanksgiving in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine because of what is called up here, the "Blue Laws". They can open at midnight though as it is officially the day after. You won't find me in the throng of consumers shopping at midnight, never mind, 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Most of the stores around here didn't open until 5 or 6 a.m. the next day. True they are offering some good deals but I can't help like feeling like a sheep being herded to slaughter.. On top of it I had to start work on Friday at 6 a.m. As I listened to the news on the radio at 4:30 in the morning there were already traffic jams at certain points where a mall was located. By the way it was a long day on Friday. 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. Fortunately the first 6 hours were slow probably because people either had to work, had the day off and didn't want to go anywhere or they were Christmas shopping. You can leave me out of all that madness. I can't help but feel manipulated by all these big businesses. People who run these big companies, always make out whether or not the business is successful. They still get their bonuses. They always walk away with cash in their pockets whether or not they have success running a company or they milk it dry and kill it. My favorite comedian, George Carlin once said, and I'm not sure if this is an exact quote, and please forgive the wording, the rich keep all the money and pay none of the taxes. The middle class does all of the work, pays all of the taxes and the poor are there to scare the shit out of the middle class. George was a brilliant man.

Apart from all that grumbling my actual Thanksgiving Day was good. The meal was good, there were no family fights, not that we ever had them, but people have stories about holiday gatherings that descend into petty bickering and fighting. Ours was quite nice. Then there was my sisters cat, Mickey. I don't have a picture of Mickey but he is a very large tabby cat around 20 pounds with large double paws. He can picks things up with one paw to look at them. He also is the only cat I ever saw that will fetch a thrown little red rubber ball and return it. It took a bit to get him to learn to release the ball, but when he realized that you would throw it again the game was on. He flies down the stairs, smashes into the wall and bring it back. He also has a very sweet disposition and is quite vocal and social. Well Mickey was singing his "I wanna go out" song and my sister would say, "No Mickey it's too late and too cold."
Now don't tell me they're not smart and can't reason things out. He finished whining and walked over to a floor plant and sat by it. He then looked at my sister then looked at the plant. He did this 3 times, then suddenly took a swipe at the plant tearing off 3 or 4 leaves. My sister shouted "Mickey!" and got up. The cat took off and led her right to the door. She was angry with him and let him out. He got his way. That's pretty clever.

Well it's taken me 3 days to write this not because of exhaustive research though the exhaustive part played a role as apart from today I was never able to sit at the computer for any length of time without having to do something, go somewhere, return phone calls or just plain fall asleep. As I write this it's about 6:08 Saturday evening. I have two phone calls to make then it's time for supper.

On a final note, as I walked up the stairs to my front door tonight after work, I reached into my mail box. There was one item. I get inside flick the light on and what do I see? A birthday card from Beth. I was both surprised  and touched. Thank you so much Beth! You are the sweetest person. I can't thank you enough but I will think of something. Again, thank you Beth!

That's it.
I'm outta here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A childhood Christmas memory. The Enchanted Village.

Before the all the malls, at least around here, the place to do your major Christmas shopping was downtown Boston at downtown crossing where the two major department stores in New England, Jordan Marsh and Filene's resided. They were located right across the street from each other. Both are now gone. Jordan Marsh in particular was a destination at Christmas time because they had the Enchanted Village of St. Nick. A group of animated figures set in a fictional village at Christmas. I remember my mother taking my sister and I into Boston. I always liked riding the buses and trains into town. The hustle and bustle of downtown Boston was exciting and we knew we were going to the Enchanted Village at Jordan Marsh including a visit to see and get a picture with Santa. Macy's swallowed up both department stores sometime in the 80's.


For whatever reason Jordan Marsh stopped the Enchanted Village in 1972. It reappeared a couple of times over the following years at a couple of other Boston locations. In 2009 the Enchanted Village animated figures and sets were put up for auction and were purchased by Jordan's Furniture, no relation to Jordan Marsh, a large furniture chain in the area. They refurbished everything and a few years ago the Enchanted Village was brought back to life. Arlene and  I went a few years ago and I probably blogged about it on Spaces. Well we went back this passed Sunday. It was a cold windy day, though sunny. We travelled about 18 miles south of Boston to the town of Avon. Location of a very large Jordan's Furniture. It was crowded with families with little children and nostalgic baby boomers like ourselves reliving old happy childhood memories. We both enjoyed it. It even included the blueberry muffin's they sold at Jordan Marsh, not the original ones, a bit stale by now, but supposedly the original recipe and you could tell they used fresh blueberries. 

One word about Jordan's Furniture. It is an unusual company. There's an Imax theater, a skating rink, a motion ride called M.O.M and a few more things I can't recall. They have a New Orleans theme during the Mardi Gras when they recreate a New Orleans street scene in the very store we were at. It's the largest in they chain. They combined furniture shopping with entertainment. Truly unique. Warren Buffet was so impressed with the business he bought the company. The former owner Elliot Tatleman is still the face of the company and is still all over television. Jordan's has a big sign on the right center field wall in conjunction with a "Monster Hit" promotion. If a Red Sox player hit's a home run off the sign somehow, somebody get's some kind of special deal.
After the Enchanted Village we went out to dinner at our favorite local restaurant, Raso's.
We started out with our usual "antipasto".

Antipasto $12 (great to share)

Roasted red peppers, marinated mushrooms, grilled asparagus, caponata, fresh mozzarella,

prosciutto di parma and soppressata

This is what Arlene had.

Marsala chicken $17 veal $19

Pan seared medallions with sautéed mushrooms and choice of penne or linguine

I had,
Linguine Julia $14

Pancetta, fresh tomatoes, sweet peas, basil, toasted garlic, parmesan cheese and a touch of cream,
tossed with linguine with grilled chicken $16.5 with grilled shrimp $18.5
So all in all, though it was cold and windy it was a nice day. A diversion for both us after working for a company who is desperately trying to re-establish itself after years of mismanagement by our previous owner, "SuperValu" which was neither super nor of any value. They ruined my original company which was a wonderful company to work for. They were the first supermarket in the country to offer a 401k retirement program for their workers. They were offering cooked foods before anybody around here. They were the ones who contacted Dow Chemical to develop the plastic mesh bags that you buy oranges and onions in bulk that spread across the whole industry. We had  bundle pick-ups. The customer would pay for their groceries which were then put into a tug, placed on a conveyer belt which would disappear into the bowels of the store. You went to your car, drive to the side of the building or a spot in the parking lot and someone would load your groceries in your trunk or back seat. We were the Cadillac of supermarkets around here. Then SuperValu happened, they started to change the badging on the stores and slowly killed the business. We are no longer owned by SuperValu. Efforts are now being made to trying to revive the name. I hope it's not too late. I am also considering retirement in the near future. My company's original name, Star Market. It's on Wikipedia.

So after all that blather here's a video of pictures and clips taken at the Enchanted Village yesterday. I wasn't using my camera. so some of the video clips go out of focus a couple of times. I don't like shooting pictures and video's buy looking at a little screen on the back of the camera. You can't steady the camera against your face like you can with a viewer. It' easier to frame a picture or video when you can hold the camera firmly against your face. It was also very crowded and difficult to get a clear shot. At the end of the Enchanted Village was an animated Ray Charles figure sitting at a piano singing Christmas songs. This wasn't part of the original village but pretty neat none the less. Here's the video.

OK I guess I've taken up enough of your time.
I'm outta here.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thank you for all the kind words last post/Will we get casinos?

Once again thank you all for you kind words last post. It means a lot to me. I never thought of myself as a photographer, just a guy who likes to take pictures. The word photographer implies that I know what I'm doing. Technically I am clueless. I do not fully understand my latest camera. I have been using it for about a year and a half. My previous camera was basically a 8.1 mega pixel point and shoot. It had a nice zoom and was easy to use. Most of the pictures last post and the ones on this post were shot with that camera. I broke off the picture taking button. I will get it repaired. Changing lenses on the new camera can be a pain and I have to carry a small suitcase along with me. Having said all that, I finished going through most of the pictures from 2005 till now.  There were a lot of pictures. I didn't look at them all. I am itching to go somewhere and take more pictures. Today looks to be a pleasantly gloomy day so I don't know what I'm going to do. 

People in Massachusetts like to gamble. I was surprised to find in the ranking of the state lotteries, Massachusetts was #2 behind New York. Considering the difference in population, nearly 20 million for NY to 6.6 million I was surprised. So gambling is a big business around these here parts. In 2011 the State gave the OK for 3 casinos to be built. The Las Vegas people are here and so are the Foxwoods people from Connecticut. There have been several proposed sites, two of which were and are very close to me. Within 5 or 6 miles.  One of those two cities voted the proposal down while the other voted for it. These two cities border each other. There is the promise of jobs and tax revenue which I suppose is a good thing, but are they kidding? A casino within a stones throw of Boston? Big Dig or no Big Dig this is one congested, cramped area. Traffic is a nightmare. Amongst the worst in the country. How can this help? Other proposed sites have been rejected by locals for the very same reason. And these were less populated regions. There are other proposed sites including my beloved Martha's Vineyard. Say it ain't so Joe. I know this sounds like "Not in my back yard", and some of it is. This will bring more traffic through my town. We have enough with 3 exit ramps from the main north south highway. Up to 3 casinos will be built somewhere, sometime. Do the pros outweigh the cons? I really don't know. I went to Las Vegas back in 1979. It was bright and glitzy back then as it always is. I suppose it's something to see but I'm not much of a gambler though I will admit to a scratch ticket now and then.

Sometimes I really don't know what I'm going write about when I begin. So here are the last of the pictures I can't wait to take more.

There are a few pictures I wish I didn't include upon watching these again. Watching the Gingerbread Houses again reminded me of how strange and even a creepy they were when you first walked onto the grounds. You expected munchkins to emerge from the bushes. Still once you get used to them it's really just a peaceful departure from reality. They're certainly colorful.
OK that's enough.
I'm outta here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Well wouldn't you know it

The title has nothing to do with anything I would possibly write. And I will think of something to write. I suppose I could whine about the shaky situation at work. Not on me personally, though one must be careful. It has been a very tough week. Today I am off. I have a scheduled extra day off, not because I wanted it and not because the company is being real nice to me. Monday was a legal holiday in Ma. Veterans Day. If I worked I would have to be paid overtime. They don't like that. And Monday is my regular day off anyway. But I'll take the extra day off. It comes out of my vacation time and I have more than I can spend this year. Not too long ago I would take 6 or more weeks off a year. I got spoiled. Ah the good old days.

Now if you need a good laugh, and who doesn't, I suggest you watch this. It's a YouTube classic. It's been around for a while and you may have even seen it before. It's a couple of news anchors breaking into fits of laughter after a model falls off her shoes. Their laughing is infectious. I laugh every time I watch this.

When I had some down time in the last two weeks, I decided to put all the discs I have containing photos in better order than they were. Time to time I would load a disc containing pictures of a particular place. Soon I was picking out ones that I liked and then I had to put them in some kind of order. I had created some busy work for myself. I did it as a distraction and soon got caught up in it. And guess what? I made slide shows out of them. On second look at some of the pictures that I stitched together I saw some flaws in them. Maybe a blurry bit on a building or a tree. I'm better at it now but they don't always come out perfect.

Some I resurrected and or have used recently and some date anywhere from 2008-2012. Maybe even newer. It was a bit confusing at times but still fun to put together. B the way the little boy in the last post wearing the Red Sox cap, a big foam finger, clutching a World Series pennant in a stroller, is Arlene's grand nephew. It was taken when her niece took little Zachery to the parade a couple of weeks ago. I got the picture from Arlene not the Internet. Alright enough verbal babble, here are two of them.

  I've neglected my Blogger duties the last week so I have a bit of catching up to do. The sun is out and it will hit the 50's today, though I'm going nowhere. Loved the email Beth!
Time for me to saddle up and publish this puppy.

I'm outta here. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Let me make one thing clear, yes it was terrific that the Red Sox won the series, but this whole episode goes far deeper than just another championship. The Red Sox were playing while the marathon was in progress. Traditionally the Red Sox play an 11:00 a.m. game on Patriots Day, a local holiday, the players were watching the marathon from time to time when they were at bat. Many of the players who live within walking distance of the park, were going to go to the marathon with there families after the game. Fenway Park is within walking distance of the marathon finish line. It made them stop and think.  The next home game the team paid tribute to the victims who were killed or maimed by the explosions. Three people died, people lost all or part of their limbs. David Ortiz of the Red Sox grabbed a mike and rallied everybody in the park and in New England. He used some salty language but he spoke from the heart. The players took it upon themselves to help the city and the area heal from this tragedy. The Boston Marathon is very special to Boston. It's the oldest marathon in the world and as you may have guessed we around here have much pride in all the things that we have. The Red Sox recognized this and made it their mission to win the whole thing. They carried a special Red Sox Jersey they had made honoring the victims to every park they played in.

After all the hoopla of winning they had a victory parade through the city on the Duck Boats which eventually ended up in the Charles River. The weather was perfect tickling 70 degrees. I work pretty near the river and if I was off I would have parked there and walked down to the river to the same spot where Arlene and I took the Charles River/Boston Harbor tour on the very same Duck Boats a couple of months ago. Of course we would have had to get there early as there were an estimated two million people lining the parade route.    
None of these photos are mine. These are the Duck Boats at Fenway Park before the parade.

The Duck Boats make their way out of the park and down the streets of Boston.

Johnny Gomes places the trophy covered with the team jersey that they hung in every park they played in, on the marathon finish line.
There they had a ceremony and an opera singer sang God Bless America and the crowd joined in.

So in the end, as much as it was fun to follow this team and watch it win it all again it really wasn't about another sports championship. Not this time. It was about an organization and group of 40 guys who never gave up and helped a wounded city heal.

Now apart from all that on Sunday Arlene and I went out to a local sporting goods store so she could buy some World Series mementos to send to family she has around the country. Once a Sox fan always a Sox fan. I on the other hand didn't buy anything. Some of the t-shirts weren't bad at $20 but $40 for a World Series cap, forget about it. After that we went to our favorite restaurant, Raso's.
Arlene had a dish similar to eggplant parmesan. It was quite tasty. I decided to get something I haven't had in many years veal masala on a bed of linguine. All I can say is wow! After that we just went back to Arlene's and watched the Patriots game.

Apart from a couple of loads of laundry I plan to hunker down and relax today (Monday). I had a rough week at work. That's it. Over and out.

I'm outta here.


Thursday, October 31, 2013


Ho Hum another championship. We here in the Boston area have been accused of being a bit smug about all the championships our sports team have won. In the last 12 years we have seen 8 championships. And you know what, it's probably true. As wonderful as they all were, this one was special. In 2011 the Red Sox were an undisciplined bunch who took a swan dive late in the season. Last year they were literally the bottom of the barrel. Then this past April 16th, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off. A tragedy that hit closer to home than I expected. Arlene's daughter grew up with Krystle Campbell, one of the people killed in the bombings. Krystle grew up one street away from Arlene who lives next door to me. Krystle played with her kids at her house. They went to school together. Truthfully it hit Arlene harder than it hit me. I drove past the house on my way home from work and while I was aware of something happening at the marathon  had no idea of this local connection and the fact that Arlene and her daughters knew the young lady well. I saw all the news trucks, several from other states not just from Boston. How do the Red Sox fit into all this?

Well the phrase "Boston Strong" is certainly not original It has been used before, "Jersey Strong", "Vermont Strong" and so on.
Around here "Boston Strong" first appeared on a tee shirt, produced by two Emerson College students, with the proceeds from sales going to a charity. The Red Sox were on the road that day. When they returned home for the first game of a home stand they hung this team jersey in the dugout.

   The 617 is the Boston Area code. Many of players live within a mile of the park so as they flew home they were certainly concerned, especially if they were married with kids. The players visited victims of the bombings in the hospital. The players were also quite keen to erase the memory of the disastrous previous season. The season soon became "The road to redemption". By April 18th, they went into 1st place and stayed there the rest of the season. David Ortiz lost weight, got into shape, led the team in many come from behind victories. But wasn't just Ortiz, it could be anybody on the team that would come through, just like we saw in the World Series.
The players wore this patch on their jerseys.

  The city, the area and all the base ball fans of New England took this team to heart and I suppose helped the area deal with bombings. When they won in 2004 it was a team nicknamed "the idiots". They were special because they finally won the Series after 86 years. 2007 was great because hey, they won it again!
 This team, in my mind is the most special. They had this fabulous season and took everybody with them. They bonded with the fans. They were very accessible to the public. They gave everyone a lift. They went from worst to first, then won it all. What's not to like?

So at times a Boston sports fan will come off smug, but not this time. Not really. The bombings were only six months ago and the city grabbed onto the team and they responded and have helped us all heal. Whether you live in Boston proper or in the surrounding area you are a Bostonian. We are proud of our city and proud of our Red Sox.

I'm outta here.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Hey it's a new week again!

So here we are at the beginning of another work week. I am usually off on Mondays. I have just finished a couple of weeks working in two other stores. One in Cambridge and one in Belmont Ma. That's where Mitt  Romney lives. Of course the people who work here regularly tell me they never saw ol' Mitt come in to get a six pack of Pepsi and a bag of Dorito's. I was told that Mrs. Romney came in once during the election. She was surrounded by an entourage. Guys in suits and sunglasses. People to take stuff off the shelves and put in the shopping cart. People to point at the stuff to put in the cart. Alright I made the last two up, but she was carried into the store like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. OK, maybe not.

In any event, to get to the Belmont store I drive by another store in Cambridge that I worked at for 11 years until 2011. This store is directly across the street from the Mt. Auburn Cemetery. I worked there for five years before even asking about the cemetery across the street. A guy I worked with, originally from Wisconsin, told me I should really go in there. A gem right under my nose. It's beautiful. Landscaped with ponds, hills and valleys, 500 species of trees and shrubs. It's 174 acres with ten miles of roads. Edwin Land (Polaroid), Fannie Farmer and Curt Gowdy are buried there. That's where I wanted to go on Sunday. It is especially beautiful in the fall. It didn't happen. I dug up some pictures I took there back in 2008. That led me to some other fall pictures I took in 2008 and 2009 both locally and in New Hampshire.

Apart from all that there was the World Series game last night. As a Red Sox fan I was, of course happy how the game turned out but there was another unusual final out in the game. I can't wait for tonight's game. And now I must go back to doing as little as possible.

I'm outta here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Busy Monday. Part Six.

...that's what she said! Hahaha... huh, oh hi! I didn't see you come in. OK I already told you that we went to a food show last night and that I had pictures. I posted quite a few pictures that I took earlier in the day as the colors are starting to peak around here. I posted late, and posted quite a few pictures.

So we went to a food show. Lots of tasty treats,
So that's what we did last night. As I write we are in the bottom of the first inning of the World Series. I gotta go.
I'm outta here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Busy, Monday. Part One.

Let's see. I had to bring my car to the mechanic best there appeared to be steam coming up from the vents for the windshield. Long story short, it never happened at the garage and all was normal. it was about 10 a.m.  I had a dentist appointment at 1p.m. On the way back from my mechanic, I stopped at this back up water reservoir, Spot Pond. It was a beautiful day and I had taken my camera with me. The leaves are really starting to turn.

I still had time to kill before a 2 p.m. dentist appointment so I took a 15 minute ride to one of the lakes in the western part of my hometown.
So I went to the dentist. Later at 6 p.m. Arlene and I were "recruited" to cover a food show that was being held at a local food importer/distributor's warehouse facility literally around the corner. Arlene's daughter has a website about our home town and she usually goes but she had a class (she's attending Harvard!) and couldn't make it and asked us to go. She got us two free passes ($40.00 a ticket) and we roamed around taking pictures and sampling food. Italian food. This distributor imports Italian products. There were representatives of area restaurants, bakeries, wine distributors, Pastries and what else?  A sushi chef.

You guessed it. I have pictures, but not now. I've got to go to bed.
I'll try to be back tomorrow. Wednesday is the World Series. Beth, I want you to know that I think The Cardinals are a very good team indeed. They are quite capable of beating the Red Sox. These two teams have a World Series history. It will be chilly in Beantown Wednesday night so bundle up.

I'm outta here.