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.    

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Busy weekend around here.

First of all I think it's time to take my computer behind the barn and shoot it. It has been given me problems, sometimes it works and allows me to post, well, we'll see about that. It is a busy weekend around here. The Red Sox are one game away from the World Series and we have the rowing competition called the Head of the Charles Regatta. They expect about 300,000 people along the Charles River as rowers from all over come to Boston for this yearly event. It is the oldest rowing competition in the world. Couple all those people with the people that will be in and around Fenway Park as they are one game away from the World Series. This could be wonderful or a big disaster. Hey Beth we could be facing your Cardinals very shortly and as I said before the Sox owe the Cardinals. They have beaten us twice in 1946 and 1967. Should be a great series.

Unfortunately for me I work close to the Charles River and traffic can be awful even for a 4 mile drive, add all those people and cars... well I guess I'll find out as I have a late shift today 2p.m.-10p.m. I'm not happy about this and though I'm off tomorrow (Sunday), I don't plan to go anywhere near Cambridge or Boston though I sure I would like to take some pictures of all this. I was on part of the course when I went on a couple of cruises on the river about six weeks ago. It should be beautiful with the trees turning color.

Thursday night I went to the local library for an evening with Jeff Belanger. He's a local guy from Massachusetts. This was all about ghosts, monsters, aliens and urban legends. He was a writer/researcher for the Ghost Adventures series on the Travel Channel. He has appeared on the History Channel, Biography Channel, the BBC and PBS. He has a program coming up soon on PBS but he wasn't sure when it was going to air. I can't say I believe in any of this and he never said he totally believed and yet there are still many unexplained things that happen. He was funny and entertaining, with an accompanying  slide show and best of all it was free with coffee and cookies. He covered some local, national and international mysteries with alleged pictures of ghosts and the like.

Alrighty then I have to get ready for work in a bit. I'm not looking forward to this. Talk about a shift that tears the guts out your day. OK no more whining,

I'm outta here.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday. What to do?

Well actually there was stuff to do. First of all there was sports. Both the local baseball team was in the playoffs and the local football team was playing as well. Both on national television. I also hadn't seen Arlene in a couple of days so we wanted to get together. Nothing special, perhaps a bite to eat, a local foliage trip and or a tour of the Royall House in my home town. Originally  built in 1637 by Governor John Winthrop and later purchased by Issac Royal Sr. More on this in a moment.

We went out to lunch and took a ride to the other side of town to the Mystic lakes. Mystic in name only though it is a lovely spot. We were going to check out the foliage though I knew it wouldn't be great. There are still many trees that are green. I took some pictures but they are not my best and it was overcast but pleasant. We had about 40 minutes to kill before the next tour began. Just as we were leaving the lakes the sun broke through.

In the end we made it back in time to watch the Patriots come from behind and win their game with 5 seconds left. This was followed by a come from behind win by the Red Sox. They tied a 5 to 1 game in the 8th inning and won it in the 9th. What a day of sports!

Now the Royall House. Issac Royall Sr. purchased the farm house, slave house and 500 acre plantation in 1732. He doubled it's width and adds  2 floors to make the house you see today.
I see this house nearly every day on my way to work. There's a park right behind it that my mother took me to when I was a little kid. I went to grammar school 2 blocks up the street, but I had only been there once, when I was in grammar school. Anyway by the time we got there, about 10 minutes, the sky was a bright blue.

You enter the Slave Quarters, the oldest existing one in the northern United States, to pay. There are display cases with artifacts from the era. Dinner plates, wine glasses, utensils especially a fork which was considered a novelty at the time. Wine and rum bottles and so on. I took pictures of these. Some you can read the little placards explaining the item others you can't. They allowed me to take pictures in here, at least nobody stopped me but they wouldn't allow pictures in the house. I never had a chance to find out why. I still found it very interesting. Slaves were brought from Africa to Antigua where they worked harvesting and processing sugar cane which was brought back here to make rum. Rum was what was drunk on voyages on the Atlantic as they had little ways to take fresh water with them. This area was also noted for it's ship building because of the rivers access to the sea.

Issac Royall Sr. made his fortune in Antigua and came back to New England and bought the plantation. He died in 1739 and his son, Issac Royall Jr. inherited the place. He lived a lavish life, as he brought his slaves, estimated at 27, until 1775. Though he was sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, even giving money, he was also a Torrie. He fled back to England and never came back. He was a founding member of Harvard. The story goes on but this is a blog not a history test.

This house was the headquarters for General John Stark until the British evacuated Boston. George Washington was here, allegedly to interrogate a captured British soldier. His aide lived here for 2 years, 1782-84.

Fortunately this house has been preserved and it is in remarkably good shape. Here are some interior shot from the Royal House website.


Here are the rest of the pictures.
I've been wrestling with my computer all day. I started from scratch and supposedly brought everything back to it's original first bought condition. Then there were hours of downloads. 138 to be exact. Then the re-starting and having the computer install all the down loads. Then writing this. Now it's time to publish. Good night, good morning. good afternoon.

I'm outta here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wrapping it all up

Yeah I was a little cranky a couple of blogs ago. Things at work were worse than before I left. My vacation is further away in the rear view mirror but I've readjusted. I had quite a few pictures and video clips to look at. It actually calmed me down. I'm finally done with all of them. One thing I did find irritating, what was apparently a hair or fiber of some sort across my lens or some where in the camera that is visible in some of the pictures and video clips. Ah well what are you going to do. If that's the worse thing that happens to me then I'm doing ok.
So in order to finish up with my recent trip to that little slice of peace of mind, 7 miles off shore I give you everything. All the clips and photo's that I haven't shown yet, then I will put this to be trip to bed. I spent a lot of time looking through over 600 shots, plus video clips, not that I found this tedious, I relived every single shot and clip and it's taken almost 3 weeks. They look much better when viewed full screen. Enough babble, here they are.
And just because Arlene did such a good job taking her own pictures I'm posting her slideshow again. Of all the slideshows I made this one is my favorite.

I'm outta here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Moving right along

Today (Monday) my friend Dave and I went to the city of Lowell Ma. Though Dave and I are both from the same city, Dave lived in Lowell for about 25 years. Lowell is a fairly large city with a population of about 105,000+. It was a planned city founded in 1820 as a textile and manufacturing center. Located next to the Merrimack river and it's rapids for power it became the birthplace of the American industrial revolution. The city has many canals running through it that powered all the mills and factories. The city went into decline as more and more factories moved south for cheaper labor. By the 1920's it was over. It has rebounded and taken advantage of it's historical significance. Some of the factories have become condos, some museums. Some are still empty or falling apart.    

We had lunch at the Wortham House Cafe'. It's a tavern of some note because a few famous people have bent their elbows there. Jack Kerouac, Edgar Allen Poe and Ed McMahon. One block up the street is the birthplace of the painter James Whistler. You know, Whistlers Mother and so on. I didn't get all the pictures I wanted. We went to the top of a parking garage to get a more prominent view of the city. I asked Dave how many floors the garage was, curious to see how high up we were going to be. He said 5 floors. It turned out to be 6 floors, but that's another story. Any way it was a bit disappointing and the sun was in and out all day with an occasional quick pelting of rain now and then. You can see smokestacks all around. All relics from 100 years ago.

There are beautiful homes and mansions away from downtown. I didn't get a chance to get any shots of them but I will some other time. I didn't get many shots of the factories but some have been rehabbed like the one on the right in the first picture and a close up of the building in the middle left to disrepair.

There are some beautiful buildings in Lowell all relics of when the city was the industrial manufacturing center in the U.S.
Lowell City Hall
Lowell Public Library
The Wortham house Cafe est. in the1880's.

The original bar and tin ceiling with original steam powered fans. Now powered by electricity.

Whistlers house
An original cobble stone street

One of the canals

Well that was my Monday kiddies. I probably won't be back in front of this screen for 24 hours. I have a very long day tomorrow. So for now, good night, good morning or good afternoon.
I'm outta here.