Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What have I been up to? Christmas at the zoo.

Well nothing real exciting. Sunday evening Arlene and I went to the local zoo. The zoo is located near a water reservoir so part of it is a wooded area and they set up Christmas lights and various displays. We pulled into the poorly lit parking lot with no signs or directional arrows on the pavement. There was a large crowd leading up to the still closed gate. We dodged people crossing the lot and cars heading directly at us. You never knew if you were on a one way going in the wrong direction.

We found a space. It was about 30 degrees as we walked towards the crowd. You could see what appeared to be the box office. We stood there for about 10 minutes. Did I mention it was cold? A woman standing next to us asked me if we had tickets? We said no  and she told us that we were in the wrong  line. Where's the other line?. It turns out the right side of the crowd is the "line" to buy tickets. The left side of the crowd already had tickets. Nary a sign or a zoo employee to keep things orderly.

Anyway Arlene kept our place in line while got into the other "line". As I got closer I noticed that though they three windows open they only had one of them staffed. The whole ticket buying routine took about 15 minutes and then another 10 minutes or so before they opened the door and started to let us in. Did I mention it was cold?

In all fairness the displays were very nice. All the little kids seemed to enjoy it. Of course I took pictures. not all came out great but there enough that at the very least are quite colorful. They also had 4 separate model train exhibits.

Leaving the zoo was even worse than arriving. All the traffic was snarled. People trying to enter or leave, going every which way. I won't go into detail. We went out for a bite to eat then back to Arlene's. We were talking to her daughter about how disorganized most of evening was to which she said, "Sounds like a zoo."

To which Arlene . replied, "It is a zoo." I know I known. It's a location joke. You had to be there.


 
 
 
 

 

 
 
Alright. The above was written on December 17th. We went to the zoo on the 14th. I basically worked a lot. Much more than I thought I would when I semi-retired, but they were in a jam at work and I decided I'd help out. It's a store I have worked at many times over the last 43 years. The last time was from 2000-2011. 11years in that one stretch alone. I know the customers and I know many of the people who still work there and from others stores in the chain. There was more going on besides work but most of it is 
pretty humdrum.  
 
This is a different time of the year now than it used to be. Both my parents passed in 2004. My father in July and my mother two days before Christmas. It was a tough year and a tough holiday, but we all still get together. We have eliminated all gifts between us and this stops me from buying something stupid for everybody. This year I volunteered to buy the Christmas eve dinner. I mean I work in a supermarket and the seafood department is right next to where I work. Though I am not particularly religious, my sister likes to do the meal of the seven fishes on Christmas eve. I am an old fish guy though I haven't worked the fish department in almost 20 years. I bought Captain's cut cod fillet, New Bedford sea scallops, and cooked shrimp. I am also going to make what are called pepper shooters. That's imported prosciutto wrapped around imported provolone and stuck in the middle of a vinegar cherry pepper. You can use hot or sweet peppers. Sweet in the sense that they are not hot. I chose sweet because my brother-in-law is Irish and though he is quite fond of Italian food, he's not so fond of spicy stuff. These peppers can be hot but nothing like a jalapeno pepper. Those are too hot for me. Christmas day will be, I think, lasagna and the usual meatballs and sausages. No ham this year. with broccoli rabe and several other things that I am not aware of at the moment.
 
So if I'm not back here in a day or two I hope everyone who reads this will have a wonderful and joyous Holiday season.
 
But for now...
I'm outta here.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I drank too much. I think I'm gonna blog.

Well here it is. Just about like the last time. The last time I blogged. Another wild Saturday night. Just as aside, I couldn't imagine saying, "...the last time I blogged" 20 or 30 years ago. Who knew what a blog was? "Blogging" sounds like  what happens after a night of heavy drinking. "Oh man. I don't feel so good. I think I'm gonna blog." Actually, in that context, it's quite descriptive.

So here I go, without the aid of alcohol, I'm gonna blog. I, as with some of my entries here on Blogger, start writing not so much because I have something to say or tell, but because I just want to write. Some folks write something every day. I used to do that fairly often in the old days but now no so much. Still the old urge has struck again. Write On I say.

I'm still going through all my photos and videos. I'm a little upset that what I thought was disc full of photo from the Mansions of Newport, Rhode Island turned out to be blank. I hope I have them squirreled away someplace. Tomorrow or today, depending on when I finish writing this, Arlene and I will watch the Patriots game and then go to the local zoo in the next town over because it's supposed to be all lit up Christmas like. You know, lights on antlers, a wreath on the rhino horn. We went a few years back. It's not a great zoo but it's not far and it's not real expensive. We then plan to grab a bite to eat. Grabbing a bite to eat is not as expensive as going out to dinner.

A few years back we went to a zoo called Southwick Animal Farm or something like that. I may or may not have shown it in the past.
I think it was 2009. It's not a masterpiece. It opens with a miner bird saying hello, then on to the elephant and so on. We also took a ride on a ski lift like contraption that took us around the park from above. A lot of it looks like a bad 1960's travelogue.
 
 
And another video I know I posted a while back was taken in New Hampshire at the home of friends. These people lived around here and grew up around here. Over the years they worked and saved and bought some land in New Hampshire. Over the next few years they built a log cabin inspired house then moved north. Every year they have a gathering of the hometown crew in New Hampshire. I have no idea how much land they own but it sure looks like a lot. There is another house close by but there aren't many. It turned out this particular day was sunny and pleasant. Complete with a nearby stream. Kathy & Dennis worked hard for this place and lifestyle. Dennis repaired oil burners and Kathy had various jobs. They turned all that hard work into this place.


That's it. I'm done and it's still Saturday night! I don't know whether to fall asleep on the couch or lie awake in bed.

Lo sono fuori di qui.
That's Italian for...
I'm outta here. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It was a wonderful time

I am starting this at 11:55 p.m. on Saturday evening. I did indeed go out with my sisters, Arlene, my brother in law, my friend Dave. We all went out to dinner together. It was a great mix of people. My sisters knew Dave but Arlene and my brother in law Jim had never met him. I've known Dave for 44 years. Dave is as smart as he is witty. No matter what the subject of conversation, whether it be history, a movie or Indian food, he knows something about it. He was funny. Arlene liked him a lot. We all laughed through the entire evening. The food as usual was wonderful. One sister had the salmon the other had Pasta Malfalda or something like that. I can't remember what Arlene had but it was good. Dave had the eggplant parmesan and Jim and I had my personal favorite there Linguini Julia. It's not health food but it sure is good. It was peas and diced tomatoes in some kind of cream sauce. Just fantastic. We later stopped at my sisters house and she pulled out a diary she used to keep from 1970-1972. She read us some of the entries and they were hysterical. They were mostly about her and my father. She was always being punished for some heinous offence. Once she was grounded for two weeks for not smiling at my father. We told stories. I've told this before and I'm going to tell it again. We had a huge blizzard in 1978. I was living at my parents house at the time. I was supposed to work until midnight. They closed the store at 8p.m. There was nobody in the store and there was already about a foot of snow on the ground. in the end we got about 50 inches of snow The wind was blowing 75 to 100 mph and there was no end in sight. My dad worked overnight in Cambridge which is about 6 miles away. 
When all was said and done there was about 5 feet of snow on the ground not to mention the huge drifts. Fortunately the power never went out and we were following the storm on television. So now it's the next day. There were thousand of cars stranded on Rt. 128, a major highway that loops around Boston.

 When the storm was over the sky cleared  and  it was sunny and beautiful. My dad couldn't drive home so he walked the 6 miles  I think it took him 6 hours or more. Nothing had been shoveled or plowed. We saw my father trudging down the hill at the corner making his way through the 4 or 5 feet of snow on the street. He made it to the front gate he had to push it open against all the snow. We were at the front door watching this. He got the gate opened and started to struggle up the walk. He got about two feet from his front steps and got stuck. He was trying to move. He was making faces, grunting and getting angrier and angrier. You would have thought his sheer anger would have melted the snow. As he struggled, made faces and  grunted my mother started to laugh. My sisters and I started to laugh. We went into hysterics. If he could have got his hands on us he would have killed us. It went on for about 2 minutes. I then went out and helped up the stairs. I know it was awful of us to laugh at a man who had just traveled 6 miles through all that snow to be stopped 2 feet from his front steps but the irony just made it all the funnier not to mention the faces and the noises. It reminded me of the old Lon Chaney Jr. werewolf movie as he was turning into the werewolf. He was tired and angry but still, none the worse for wear. We laughed just about as hard at the retelling. All in all a wonderful evening.  
Ok next in my seemingly endless parade videos and slide shows here are two more videos. There are only a few left. A few years back Arlene and I drove to New Hampshire during the fall. Specifically Cannon Mountain. New Hampshire is a beautiful place. We roamed around the base then took the ski lift to the peak.

   So that about wraps things up for now. Today should be a relaxed day. I will be looking forward to the Patriots game tonight. Hopefully I will stay awake for the whole game as they are on the west coast in San Diego. For now...
...I'm outta here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

So where was I?

Oh yeah. I was in different places. Here there but not everywhere. I'm a little punchy as I write this. I've been up since 4 a.m. and just finished an 8 hour stretch at work. Usually I get up at 4:30 for a 6 a.m. start but today I woke up at 4, pretended to sleep for a few minutes then finally just got up. Yeah I'm whining. Not a whole lot to report except that family and friends are all going out for dinner on Saturday night. There should be six of us. That's the highlight of my week. Should be good. The restaurant is very close and serves a variety of American and Italian food. Of course I'm extremely partial to the Italian food. We're not talking spaghetti and meatballs, though there's nothing wrong with that. It's just that I can make that myself. This will be basically the same crowd as Thanksgiving plus my friend of over 40 years, Dave. He is quite witty and we always have a lot of laughs. Unfortunately I would never print some of the things that he and I have  joked about. You can probably guess why. I am looking forward to this evening. Wonderful company, wonderful food and drink and a ton of laughs.

Then there is my continuing series of slide shows and there are a few videos as well. This time we travel to Maine and western Massachusetts. As I have said before western Ma. is completely different from where I live. Quite rural with the exception of two cities with populations of 100,000 and one near 200,000. 

Alright it's time for supper. Chicken cutlets with broccoli and some form of potato. I haven't decided yet.

I'm outta here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just a ramble

Before I start on a possible rant though at this point I'm not sure what I am exactly going to write. As I go through all my pictures I find little odds and ends like this shot from the parking lot where I work. It was taken a few years ago around this time of year. I was a fulltime employee at the time. Of course we are not called employees anymore. We are associates. I don't like it. It's all part of the soft, less offensive language that has emerged in the last 20 or so years. Sort of like "rest rooms". We all know were not resting in there. Put a few sofa's in there and I'll show you some resting. But I digress. So I found this shot from the parking lot of the Mt. Auburn Cemetery across the street. It took me 7 years to actually go in there. As I have said numerous times it's simply stunning in there especially in the Fall.


Though I do like the Christmas season there are things about it that drive my nuts. One thing is at my place of employment. As with every other retailer, the minute Thanksgiving is done the Christmas music starts. It's not that bad now because at most I'm only there 20 hours a week. Still the music repeats every 3 hours and if you're there for 40 hours, 5 days a week for 4 weeks, it can get annoying.

Ok the picture parade continues. This slideshow is of pictures from Cape Cod featuring Chatham pronounced "chatum". Don't ask me why. Then there is the very tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown. This is actually where the Pilgrims landed first not Plymouth. They spent about five weeks there while scouting out alternative sites because of the harsh winter and after scouting the bay they decided to settle in what they eventually called Plymouth after the place they left in England. Few if any people believe they actually landed on "Plymouth Rock". I do have a picture of the rock but it's just a rock with 1620 carved on it.
 
 That's it for now. I'm tired and sleepy. Good night or good morning or good afternoon.

I'm outta here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving was...

... a wonderful day. The food was fabulous. Besides the typical Thanksgiving ingredients, my sister, a wonderful cook, made some of our favorite side dishes that our mother used to make. I don't quite know what kind of squash it was but it was sliced about a quarter inch thick and baked with onions and who knows what else. Just so tasty. Then there were the roasted peppers, cleaned and sliced into strips, mixed with olive oil, garlic and onions. Yum! My other sister baked a ricotta pie and a blueberry pie. I'm not much of a cook but I did make a shrimp platter and some pepper shooters. They are just cleaned out cherry peppers (hot or sweet) stuffed with imported provolone that's wrapped in imported prosciutto. They were wonderful if I do say so myself. 

After we ate I called Arlene, who had Thanksgiving with her daughters, and went to pick her up. It's not far. If you walked it would take 10 minutes. The rest of the evening was filled with laughter. Sometimes I was the butt of the jokes or my brother in law, none of it mean. Yes there was wine. 4 bottles which we dispatched without any problem. We are Italian after all. We like our vino. My brother in law Jim, and I also had a few bottles of Samuel Adams. I'm also sure that when Jim and I departed the room at any time we were the butt of the jokes. We could hear them laughing in the next room. There really was a lot of laughter, so much that at times it even hurt. I sure hope that everyone out there had as good a day as we did.

Boy I have a lot of pictures. I'm still going through them. I'm at around 2007-2008. Now I know I have posted many of these pictures over the years so this is the final round up for these. I have been making slide shows to post. The first two featured here are of Boston and Cambridge. Then there are photos of Cape Cod and New Hampshire, Maine and western Massachusetts which is actually quite a beautiful place. Quite rural compared to where I live. Of the 6.7 million people in the state, two thirds of us live in the yellow area on the map below.

  There's one place that I haven't been to since the 70's. That's the
Quabbin Reservoir in about the middle of the state. A buddy and I would go fishing there in the 70's It's the principle water supply for the Boston area. It's man made back in the 1930's. Four towns were flooded. They moved everything. People, homes, cemeteries. It's quite beautiful and in places looks prehistoric. I suppose Arlene and I will eventually get there.

I also have pictures of Southern California from 1979 and 2006. Most of the 1979 pictures are from the Mojave Desert where a boyhood friend of mine ended up while in the Air Force. Truthfully I was not impressed with the desert. My friend on the other hand loved it. Then we made a side trip to Las Vegas. Yes it was hot and quite colorful. I took pictures from the back of a motor cycle. I haven't located them yet and I don't think they are all that great. I went back in 2006 to see another friend who moved back there. Her mom lived in Chatham on Cape Cod and here dad lived in Southern California. She lives in Newport Beach. Now being an ocean kind of guy I loved the coastline and the beaches. They are quite beautiful but truth be told I could take it or leave it for the rest of it. Where I want to go (someday) is the north. San Francisco in particular. That city has always fascinated me and I think I could live there.
Here's a collection of downtown Boston pictures including the Boston Common and the Boston Public Gardens. I think I got some of the pictures mixed up. The two parks are across the street from each other. The Common was established in 1637, the Garden about two hundred years later. The Common is 50 acres and the Garden is 25. Below the Common is the first U.S. subway station. Martin Luther King and Pope John Paul have given speeches there and Judy Garland gave her largest concert there on 1967 with over 100,000 people in attendance. This is also where the British were camped when the left for the battles of Lexington and Concord.



Right across the street are the Boston Public Gardens and they border what is called Beacon Hill. It's where the statehouse is and where John Kerry "lives" when he's not travelling around doing his Herman Munster impression.

Then there's Cambridge, where I have worked and still work on a part time basis. It's right across the river from Boston. I have a love hate relationship with Cambridge. Some of the people there do have a tendency to look down there noses at others but I would be lying if I said I never spent any time there. I spent a lot of time there in my late teens and early 20's. Harvard Square is one of my favorite places. I remember seeing "Alice Cooper" before he (they?) became famous and Chicago before they hit it big. Both free concerts on the Cambridge Common. The book stores and record shops were also a draw. There are many beautiful homes there. I drive by Longfellow's house every day on my way to work.



So that about sums up this edition. I have been lounging around all day and it's time to beautify myself so I can make a public appearance. I have to buy some bread. This coming from a man who spent 8 hours working in a supermarket yesterday. I never claimed to be a genius.

Hurry back Beth! I miss you!

I'm outta here.
 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Free time / Salem Ma.

I can't wait for all this dental work to be done, but I have too. I have a dental appointment on Monday morning. It's just to check to see how my healing is progressing. This whole year has been one of adjustment. Nine months ago I was working full time. The same job for 43 years. Including all my jobs I have been working since 1968. I'm still working but part time. I have a lot more free time. I just had two weeks off as a result of my little surgery. Adjusting to all this extra free time is a learning situation. Now I'm not complaining. I am fortunate to be able to retire from full time work a bit early. 

Besides actually doing things during this extra time I also started looking at some of the pictures I've taken over the last 9 years. The vast majority are of the little local trips that Arlene and I have taken. These little trips have fallen off the last two years mainly because of Martha's Vineyard. That's not a bad thing though. We love the place and I can tell you we are heading back in the late spring. Still there are many other places locally which we can explore. When I say local I mean in a 100 mile radius of the Boston area. Most closer. I particularly liked the pictures from Salem. That's about 25 miles from here. There's a lot of them. I picked some out and made a slide show. It was a beautiful September day in 2008. Here are a few shots. Then a quick little video. I found a few clips, down by the shore and an animated display of what I assume was old Salem. Then the slideshow.
   


 
video
 
 
There are pictures of New Hampshire from several different trips. It's such a beautiful place. Maine, Cape Cod, Western Ma. which is completely different from where I live. Very rural with rolling hills and valley's. I just like to take pictures. If I could afford it I would I would fly all around this country. I've never been to anyplace in the middle of the country. The closest I came was Las Vegas. Well I'm not independently wealthy so it's trips that are anywhere from an hour to 2 hour drive. If I had my choice of places to live I think I would like to move to somewhere on Cape Cod. Slightly milder winters and the ocean.
 
Tomorrow, as I write this, the usual stuff. Some laundry, the Patriots game and Arlene mentioned she may have a bottle of wine that she might bring over after the game. Why can't she just say, "I have a bottle of wine." Be that as it may...
I'm outta here. 
  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The sun, the sea

I am getting quite used to not working. I will have to go back next Tuesday, but it's still not bad doing it part time. This off time has allowed me to take of things that I've been meaning to do but never did. Not everything of course. I donated some clothes that I just don't wear anymore. Thrown stuff out re-organized things. Just don't get the idea that I'm killin' myself. I'm not.

I was also reorganizing some of the photos I've taken over the last 8 years. I found a bunch I had taken back in 2008. I got up early and drove to the ocean to get some sunrise shots. Revere Beach is maybe 6 or 7 miles east of here. We went there when we were kids. It used to be a hot place with amusements, bars, games, food, clubs. When I went in the 60's and the early 70's Revere Beach's heyday was long behind it. Still it was a fun place. I loved the dodgem's, the wild mouse but I never went on the Ferris wheel. It looked and was, old and rickety. It was. It's all condos and apartments now. The are a few restaurants and a club or two but that's it.



Then there is the airport in East Boston just up the road apiece. The planes fly low here.


    

There were quiet a few pictures so I made this video. The music is the same I used last week because it was still on my computer and it fit the length of the video. It's laid, back Latin tempo also fits the pace of the pictures. Though the song mentions sunsets, these are all sunrise pictures. Who cares? It's all about imagination anyway. Plus I really like this Jack Bruce tune.


And then there were the video clips. I was more or less alone with very few cars. Just me and the seagulls.

There are lot's of photos and it's neat looking back at some of the local areas I've visited. Revere Beach is hardly a popular tourist destination, though in it's day it was a hot spot for New Englanders and locals, not to mention sailors on leave. Until a few weeks ago there was horse racing and until a few years ago, a dog track. A casino may be built in the neighboring city so those gambling venues will be replaced with a different gambling venue.  It's not a very glamorous place but it's still neat to have an ocean beach about 6 miles away.

There are more discs to reorganize and pictures to look at. It's fun and at the moment (until next week) I don't have much to do.

Well I've spent enough time on this post...
I'm outta here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nookworm, an answer to your question. Old man talk.

Hi Nookworm. You asked about the camera I used to make my epic, "My drive to work", soon not to be a major motion picture, it was just my old 5 megapixel camera. Old in the digital age. Still it comes in handy for routine shots. I have a very nice Canon camera but sometimes I don't want to lug that suitcase around with me. I just sat it on the dashboard and picked my spots to turn it on and off. No crazy driving though it did fall off the dash twice. It's a tough little bugger.

Sunday evening my friend Dave and I went out. Though I am basically a homebody, especially since my recent dental situation, I felt the need to just get out of the house for a bit. I actually went out the night before but that was just next door to Arlene's. She invited me over for some pizza. A welcome change from oatmeal, scrambled eggs and anything else in the mushoramma universe. It was a challenge chewing gingerly and slowly. Something I don't do regularly but I managed save for the crust. Anyway, Dave belongs to a private club, similar to a veterans club. It really is a bar except you have to ring a buzzer to get in. You don't seem to need an ID. Still I have been there before and it's a nice crowd.

I basically wanted out of the house for a bit. And the thought of a couple of Sam Adams sounded pretty good. So I was telling Dave about what I was having done and told him how I had overcome a major obstacle and chewed some toast. To which he replied, "Ah...some good old man talk. Good for you! You were able to chew your toast. Over 40 years ago we were talking about what band we were going to see at the "Tea Party". Now it's exciting because you can finally chew your toast." 

The "Boston Tea Party" was  our version of the Fillmore Auditorium  in New York and San Francisco but not quite as famous. Anyway we were both laughing about all our little problems bringing a few other people into the conversation, making it a funny evening.

In reality I have been very lucky health wise and will get over this situation and move on. In fact I spoke to Arlene last night and said I was ready to tackle a nice pasta dish. So tonight we will head to our favorite local restaurant Raso's. It's Linguini Julia for me. A delicious white sauce with peas and other stuff that I can't remember. You can have it with chicken or shrimp or neither. 

My check up went well yesterday. I am healing well but as I have said before, this is a 4 to 6 month deal.

My beard is at the point where I want shave it off. It's starting to itch a bit. I'm going to have to shave it by next Tuesday anyway. It looked good until a few days ago. Now it's starting to look a bit scruffy. Odds are I will be clean shaven by dinner time save for the mustache. That's been there well over 40 years.

Now for a quick vacation.

    
I'm outta here.       

Friday, November 7, 2014

OK, I'm back at least for now.

So it seems that my problems were caused by my wireless hookup. I don't know why I got it in the first place. I don't use my computer in any other room but this one. So it's been a week since my oral surgery. I have to say I am not thrilled with my temporary lower teeth. They have irritated the back of my throat and tongue. It almost feels like a sore throat. When I went back to the dentist on Monday for a follow up. She allegedly trimmed the plate but all she really did was put an edge on the plastic making the problem worse. I have since taken it upon myself to file it down on my own. It's much better but I still have a few months before the implants are installed. Sounds like I'm having a new fan belt installed on my car. Eating has been a chore. Basically it's been soup and oatmeal, yogurt I still can't chew properly. It appears that I am healing well after the surgery. I can still feel the stitches on my gums. All in all it will be 4 to 6 months before all is said and done. I can't wait until I can have my first cheeseburger or Linguini Julia. OK enough of my dental problems.

I guess I don't have much to write about so here's a little video I made of my drive to work. As I get past Tufts University I approach Powder House Square. It is so name because a former windmill had been converted to a storage place for all the gun powder of the Massachusetts Colony. The British marched from Boston during the night and captured all the powder rallying the colonists and leading to the first battles of the Revolutionary War in Lexington and Concord. This is not my photo.


  
I don't have much to say today so here's a video of my drive to work. I videoed this last Thursday. It was early, about 6:15 a.m. so there wasn't much traffic. In about an hours time it can be a congested mess.
 
 
OK it's time for me to get my act together and actually go out in public. I do have to buy some groceries. I think tonight Arlene and I will have a bit of wine. She has been helpful this past week. I will be going back for another follow up exam this upcoming Monday and then I still have another 9 days to recuperate. I'll be back to work on Nov. 17th. I still have plenty of vacation time left to spend by the end of the year, another 3 weeks. I will lose it if I don't use it. I suppose that applies to many things.
 
So now it's time to wrestle with another meal and go out. By the way I haven't shaved since last Thursday. I'm not growing a beard I just haven't shaved. I know I know, it's the same thing.
 
I'm outta here. 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Internet problems.


I seem to be able to get online sporadically. It looks like my modem may be at fault. It appears I will have too talk t the phone company to get this rectified. I have spent all morning trying to get online. I don't know how long this particular connection will last. So if I'm not around for a bit that's the reason. It's certainly not for the lack of time. I will be home until Nov. 17th. So that's the update for now.

I'm ouuta here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A two week stretch... and other stuff.

Before I write anything else, it has been a sad day in Boston. The former mayor, who served 20 consecutive years, was laid to rest today. Though I don't live in Boston proper, I live close by as part of the metropolitan area. He was very popular and did the city an enormous amount of good. Boston shines because of him. He would have been elected again if health concerns hadn't changed the script. Lots of heavy hitters showed up including Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden, former Boston Celtic Star Bill Russel and some other local sports stars. He stopped his chemo therapy about a week ago and died this passed Friday. He was a good man.

I went for my first follow up in my quest for implants... for your mouth. My days as a showgirl are over. So far so good. These temporary teeth I'm wearing on the bottom are not precision made. Yet another person was checking out my mouth today. She tried to make some adjustments but they really did nothing. This will be a 4 to 6 month deal. I am healing well but eating is another situation. I tried to eat a banana today and that was a painful struggle. So it's soup and mushy stuff for me for the near future.

Still after a real rotten day weather-wise (rain with 50mph gusts) on Sunday today was a cloudless sunny day. A bit windy with temps in the 50's. I decided to head to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery. At the right time the colors are spectacular. I haven't been there in a few years, though once again I work right across the street.  Most of the colors were muted and some trees hadn't even turned yet. Still it's a spectacular place with it's hills and valleys, ponds and bridges. The sun was bright and as usual shooting into the light is not good. Some of the shots would have come out better at a different time of day. Then there is the tower on top of a hill. The hill gives you a nice shot some of the Boston skyline. The tower takes a bit to climb. I was getting winded three quarters of the way up. Still I made it up and back. I got some good exercise walking up and down those hills.
Some Pics...
  


This tree had to be 7 feet across.










Part of the Boston skyline from the tower. That's Harvard Stadium on the left. The picture of the tower didn't come out well.

One of the chapels.



Looking west.

So that was my day. My mouth is sore but I feel good. I have taken the next 2 weeks off and hopefully I'll be able eat and talk more normally. I still laugh at my performance as I came out of the anesthetic on Friday. Some of it I remember and some I don't. Apparently Arlene telling me that she can't understand me because I have a mouth full of bloody gauze didn't stop me from babbling. And I still don't know why I asked for a pen and paper so I could write The Gettysburg Address. Yes the one that goes "Four score and seven years ago..." 

I'm outta here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's always the same time after oral surgery...tooth hurty.

Today "Friday" as I write this, was the day for my oral surgery. It went pretty quickly. Forty five minutes. I clearly remember waking up with someone fitting me with a pair of temporary lower teeth and partial ones for the top back, both sides. I still have many of my own top which are in better shape than my lowers were. Any way it had to be done. What can I say. I could have much worse health problems. I don't.

Arlene took me to the pharmacy for some scripts that go along with the procedure, and back to my place. I headed right for the couch and still wearing my jacket and I laid down. Arlene got me a glass of water and I and gave some kind of pill. She then takes my wallet and cash, leaves laughing hysterically.

Ok I made that last bit up. These things are uncomfortable and I'm going for a follow up on Monday morning. This will be a long drawn out situation probably 4 months till all is said and done, I hope. Chewing is not an option at this point. Until I get my permanent lower teeth I hope these fake ones can be adjusted a bit. Ok enough whining.

I can't wait for the elections to be over. As always the political ads are numerous and ever annoying. The worst ones aren't the ones that come from the candidates themselves but the ones that come from the political action committees. They choose unflattering photos and word the commercials like they were promoting a horror movie or a soap opera. Fortunately it will only last a few more days.

On the other hand while speaking of politics, Boston lost possibly it's best mayor ever. Thomas Menino. After 20 years in office Boston has bloomed and changed. A city that's small in size yet tall in stature. If you heard him speak he may have sounded like Elmer Fudd but he was no dummy. He was smart and tough and did much to rejuvenate parts of the city that were long neglected. Though I don't live in the city proper it's only a few miles away and for all that is wrong around here we all call ourselves Bostonians and we are proud of our city. Rest in peace Mayor Menino.

Late breaking news! I just finished talking to Arlene. As I was coming out of the anesthetic yesterday, I was babbling to Arlene who could not understand as I was talking through a bloody gauze. She then said that I pointy at my feet and I announced that I now have 3 feet. I then asked for a piece of paper and a pen and began writing down the Gettysburg Address. Ah drugs! You gotta love 'em.

Ok. I guess I'll end this here. I have supper to prepare. Something nice and mushy. I couldn't handle a banana this morning. Aside from a painful mouth I feel good. I will be back later and try and catch up on my reading.

I'm outta here.
      

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's been a while... R.I.P. Jack Bruce

It has been a while. There's nothing wrong personally. I've been busy. I had places to go, people to see. I'm in demand baby! Well maybe not. I'm working much more than I wanted to when I semi-retired. Four days instead of five days a week for considerably less money than before. The money is not the issue except that every two dollars I earn over a certain limit, I get one dollar less on my social security check. I have a good boss and I've explained it to her. We have a good relationship and I just to work a bit less.
This Friday I will be having oral surgery. I am getting dental implants. Originally I wrote, "I'm getting implants" but I decided to change it just so you won't think I was having two medical procedures instead of one. Besides I'd have to get an all new wardrobe. After Friday I'm taking the next two weeks off and I'm not looking forward to a diet of mushy things. I have plenty of vacation time as I worked full time for a quarter of the year earning time off every week. I've only taken two weeks off this year and have been accruing hours off all along. I have three and a half weeks in the bank at this point.

Last weeks weather was less than desirable. One day the wind was gusting to 50+ miles an hour. It brought a branch down in my next door neighbors yard. That neighbor happens to be Arlene.
A swing set and a hammock were ruined but apart from that there was no other damage. For some reason my computer is working better now and I have spent many hours looking at all our vacation pictures because Arlene mentioned that she would like an actual photo album to look at. I've already printed out one and I have enough different pictures to make another. It's taken quite a while but it was alright because I enjoyed looking at all of them. It's a place we have fallen in love with and have not had enough of yet.
So that's where all my computer time has gone and I'm not quite done yet.

On a sad note at least for me and his family, friends and fans, I mourn the passing of my favorite musician. Jack Bruce. He hit it big in the late 1960's with the group Cream. From early 1966 to Nov. 1968 they were huge. At the height of there fame they broke up. They sold 35 million records in two in a half years including the first ever platinum selling album. It's the group that made Eric Clapton a superstar. They were in Beatle territory. They were the first rock band who could really play.

Jack Bruce was the singer and principle songwriter for the group. He like his former band-mates were considered the best musicians in popular music. He was actually a jazz bass player and a classically trained cellist. He gave Rock a try and he hit it big. He never attained his former popularity but went his own way. He was a very good pianist and also played the guitar and harmonica. He's best know as a bass player, A great bass player. He played almost any style of music, be it jazz, rock, classical, blues, folk. He had a distinctive tenor voice and wrote songs in almost any style. He was a uniquely gifted musician. A rarity in Pop music. He died Saturday Oct. 24. He was 71 and in frail health. He had a liver transplant in 2004 and was still active in the Spring of this year, releasing his last album. He was distinctive because of all he could do. Here's a little video I made featuring a few bits of his music with pictures  of Jack and three of Cream. A familiar snippet of Cream, the song that launched a million guitar players including me, then a bit of a song from his early solo career and one of my favorite Jack Bruce songs featured complete. A Latin flavored number that he wrote sang, played the piano and bass. It's called the Consul at Sunset. A wonderful song.

    
I was fortunate enough to get his autograph in 1980 when he played here locally in Cambridge. I got to see him in my home town when he played at Tufts University and I got to see him one more time in 2005 when Cream reunited and played at the Royal Albert Hall in London and then at Madison Square Garden in New York, the show I attended, though my friend went to both shows in London and New York. They were two different bands, a studio group and a live group who brought a jazz sensibility to Rock with long improvisations. No other group could touch them instrumentally. A Jazz drummer and bass player with a young Blues guitar hero. Few groups if any have tried to emulate them because they couldn't. Cream was just that good. Thanks for all the music Jack. You were brilliant.

Need a laugh? Who doesn't?! Friday night Arlene and I watched the movie Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey. God makes Bruce (Jim Carrey) God and Jim has a little fun with his new position. He works at television station and decides to have a little fun with the news broadcaster while he's on the air. We laughed till we cried over this scene.

 
So that wraps up this little adventure in the blogging world and though I am off today I do have things to do, not to mention laundry. Until next time...
I'm outta here.











Monday, October 13, 2014

Once again, "Are they nuts!"

OK I know I whined about this last June, they are once again talking about trying to get the Olympics here in the Boston area in 2024. On the one hand it's a nice feather in the cities cap but realistically, where are you gonna put it? Sure they could have events at the T.D. Garden where the Bruins and Celtics play and then you could hold events at  and then there's Harvard Stadium and Fenway park and Gillette Stadium where the Patriots play, but where are you going to board all these people from around the world? Big Dig or no Big Dig it's still congested around here with some streets that go back almost 400 hundred years. On top of that they are in the process of putting in two or three gambling casinos around the state. Two sites which are being considered would be about five miles or six miles to the east of here which would be close to the ocean. There's got to be 300,00 people living in that area alone. It's not real big around here but it's crowded. The traffic is at a snails pace for a good potion of the day. Where are you going to put all the extra cars? I certainly remember what it was like between 1994 to 2005 while the "Big Dig" was happening. All the detours. I will admit that it did improve the traffic a bit and we got a nice looking bridge out of the deal, but those 21 years of extra hellish traffic are not easily forgotten. So both propositions, while on the one hand would be good for the area, on the other would be a nightmare.

As Arlene and I looked at the pictures of our trip a couple of weeks back we even thought about moving to Martha's Vineyard some time in the future. Realistically I don't think we could afford it but it is a pleasant thought except with putting up with the tourist season but that's part of the deal down there. Then there moving to Cape Cod. Now I do have a place in my heart for the area. My uncle Sam had a place right after Plymouth called Manomet and as kids we used to love going down there. I remember one summer my  sister went down for the weekend and stayed all summer. Then I have memories of my friend Jim who married and moved to the lower Cape, a few miles away from where we catch the ferry to the Island. From the late 70's to the end of the 80's I made frequent weekend trips so we could go trout fishing on one of the many ponds in the area. Once again the summers can be tough. Then there's the western part of the state. Apart from two cities with populations of 150 to 160,000 it's all small towns and quite rural. A whole different world from where I live. Here are some shots from when we went out there back in 2009. These are the Berkshire hills.
    





 
 
 
The computer has been giving me a hard time. At the moment it's working but it has had it's moments. I have wanted to take some foliage pictures but we're not quite at peak here though it should be in about a week. In the mean time here are some shots from 2008 and 2009 locally. It was a good year Then some shot from the Mt. Auburn Cemetery from 2011 also a good year. This place is magnificent.
 
 
 
 

 
 
Mt. Auburn
 


 
 
So to wrap it all up, I think it's a bad idea to bring the Olympics here and of course I say this for purely selfish reasons, how is this going to affect me? It wouldn't bother me if it was in the western part of the state but it might bother those people or maybe it won't.
As far as the casinos go I'm not against casinos per say. We have plenty of gamblers in this state. Our lottery is one of the most successful in the country so I don't think they'll have a problem attracting customers. I'm really annoyed about all the extra construction and traffic. May be someday we will move to the western part of the state.
Alright I've taken up enough of your time.
I'm outta here.