Monday, April 28, 2014

Hey it's 2008!

Of Course old is a relative term. I found the picture of the first two Championship trophies when they brought them here in 2008. I also found a bunch of pictures I took at that time. Local places around the house outside, at the lakes, by the river and a bunch of clips from a day trip to Plimoth Plantation. That's the way it's spelled. Now I'm sure I assembled then into a small video back then and probably posted it on Spaces. Well I put it together again and I like it At least it's not as bad as the video in the last blog. It'll be below the pictures.
These are a few odds and ends I found. There are no award winners but they're ok. 
  



 
 
 
Nothing exciting to report on the home front. I'm still in a period of adjustment. Oh Beth I found the pictures of me with the trophies but in one picture I'm kind of scowling and in the other one I look like I won the trophies. I'll mail 'em to you. Here's the video.

 


As of Tuesday the 29th...















Ok I'm off to do something. There's always something.
I'm outta here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A night for Krystle

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry I attended a local restaurant because the World Series trophy would be there. All this was tied together to raise money for the Krystle Campbell Scholarship Fund.
As you can imagine the bombings hit all of us in the area quite hard. Not just the Boston Area but locally and personally because of my relationship with Arlene and her daughters. I did not know Krystle Campbell but Arlene and her daughters knew her. The kids went to school and played together. As you may or may not know I live next door. Krystle's family home is a two minute walk from my driveway.

So Arlene, her daughter Allison and I went to the restaurant, which was loud and packed. It didn't hurt that a Boston Bruins playoff game was on television. I brought my old, by today's standards, 5 mega pixel camera. It did give a few problems as it wouldn't zoom when I tried shooting video. When I used the flash for photo's the slight delay after the flash combined with any movements I might have made combined with the packed house made some pictures a bit blurry. A couple are good enough to show.

This not my photo. I found it on the Internet. It was shot in the center of town here locally in the center of town.

 This next shot is near the entrance of the restaurant. Lot's of hustle and bustle. The blurriness of the picture shows the constant motion of the room. It was crowded and loud, but that's ok. There was a playoff game and the World Series Trophy is a draw. You'd be a fool to think that it wouldn't be any other way. There were raffle drawings and a $10.00 fee to your picture with the trophy all to raise money for the scholarship.   



I have a picture of myself with the other two trophies from 2004 and 2007 so I didn't get one this time but I gave the $10 anyway.

 
 


As it turned out, after being told it would be a half hour wait, we waited and waited. A half hour passed and we were understanding.  The place was packed but after seeing people who came in after us get seated we decided to leave and go to another restaurant, my personal favorite Raso's. We weren't upset though, it was only a ten minute drive as we live almost an equal distance from each place. 
Apart from a martini each nobody ordered anything fancy.

Allison had Pasta Fagioli which just means beans and macaroni 
I had a prosciutto panini which is a toasted prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and roasted pepper sandwich.
Arlene had a cheese burger. I think we all knows what that looks like. I only post the pictures and describe what we had because this is known as Italian peasant food not some fancy dish and I'm not sure if this stuff is popular in other parts of the country. The northeast has a large Italian population. Boston and my city have large Italian populations. I'm sure there are other large populations in other large cities but it's a big country and there are people from all over the world here.

You know what? As bad as the video is (and it is) I'm going to post it. I lightened it up a bit but it's still dark, but it sure is noisy.
video
 
So all and all it was a pleasant day. Alright it's time for me to get myself together
I'm outta here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm going to write about something

In re-thinking the marathon, we finally had an American win the men's race for the first time in many years. I don't have his name on the tip of my tongue but he's from San Diego California. His story is typical of what makes us Americans. What makes America different from most countries. Apart from the people who are native to the continent and hemisphere, before the English, Spanish, French or Norsemen found their way here, we're really all from someplace else. Africa, Asia, Europe, and various islands etc. We are still a young country compared to most. Unique because the population grew as all kinds of immigrants found their way here to start a new life. The great "melting pot" is what America was and is called.

And one more thing about the marathon. 99% of the runners who started the race, finished including the very last person. A 73 year old woman crossed the finish line at 7:30 that night. She started the race at 11 a.m. Hopkinton  and when she finally crossed the finish line all the city workers cleaning up, applauded, cheered and banged the sides of their trucks. She said it made her feel like she had won the marathon. I saw an interview with her the next day and she looked none the worse for wear. She looked great and quit fit and was no stranger to running but she hadn't run a marathon in 10 years.

I have a unique opportunity on Saturday evening. The Worlds Series Trophy will be at a local restaurant in honor of Krystle Campbell. I do have to work but I should be home by 4:30 so Arlene and I will be heading over there. It's less than a mile from here. I'm sure the place will be packed. This is the second time the trophies have been here in town. The last time was in 2008 when the trophies from 2004 and 2007 were brought here and elsewhere.
One of the trophies being carried to a table.


  I like the idea that the Red Sox share these trophies with the community and of course there is extra emphasis for this trophy because it was like the Red Sox dedicated the season to the bombing victims and Krystle grew up here. They play a game every Patriots Day at 11:30 so while the marathon is going there's also a baseball game.

Well I better head to bed. I have to work tomorrow, something I grown used to not doing very quickly. Then it's off to restaurant/pub for a burger and a few pics.

I'm outta here.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Marathon Monday


I have the television on to the marathon coverage as I write. Yesterday turned out to be an enjoyable day. Arlene joined my sisters, brother in law and I later in the day. There was much laughing as we all told various stories and memories. My sister reminded me and told the story of the night about 40 years ago. My sister and I were returning from a friends house. It was near midnight
and as we rounded a bend, on a street that empties out on to our street directly in front of our house. We made the the bend and our house appeared before us glowing like a beacon. Every light was on. We both thought, "Uh oh! Something happened!"
It was a slow walk from the driveway to the porch. I opened the door to see my father running up the stairs hitting the walls with a yard stick. It sure looked like dad had snapped his twig. And where were my mother and sister? Well it turned out there was a bat loose in the house and though a yardstick isn't the most formidable weapon I can't imagine what kind of damage he would have done with a broom. A broom however turned out to be the bat's undoing. It flew behind a curtain in my sisters room. I grabbed a broom but my father wanted the pleasure. One well placed "thwack" and the bat joined it's ancestors.
On the last blog I didn't tell the Arlene vs. the wild turkey episode quite correctly. I'll skip the beginning part, but Arlene and her daughter had been chased into the car by the turkey. It pecked at the car and stood in front of it, wings spread blocking their path.
Arlene- "I'm going to run it over!"
Daughter- "No Ma you can't! What if it's a federally protected animal or something!"
Arlene- "I'm not letting a stupid bird stop me from leaving!"
She revved the engine, honked the horn and the bird would peck at the car. Well unknown to the occupants of the car, behind them, up the side of a small hill were two maintenance workers who had observed the whole scene and were laughing, as Arlene put it, "their asses off". They shooed the bird back into the woods and the "turkey terror" was over.

At this point all the major finishers of the marathon have crossed the finish line. It is a beautiful day and all has gone well. I like sweets as much as the next person but I don't buy any and only indulge a bit on vacation or holidays. Well yesterday was a holiday and Easter means pizzelles, pronounced "pitzelees" with emphasis on the . I am presently munching on some my sister made. She mimics my mothers recipe perfectly. They aren't thick like the store bought variety. They are delicately flavored with lemon or vanilla.
They go with coffee quite nicely.
As I mentioned yesterday was filled with laughter. My brother in law Jim is a good guy but he has a habit of stating the obvious. Setting himself up for a smart ass response or many responses depending on how many people are there. Yesterday my sister was cutting up an onion. Captain Obvious enters the kitchen and asks, "What are you cutting up, an onion?"
My sister looks up and says, "You know Jim, you make it too easy." Out came the response which I won't repeat here.

People are still crossing the finish line with some 36,000 runners . I am proud of my city as all has gone smoothly with about a million spectators along the route. We had a store on the street where the marathon finish line is. I have worked there during the marathon in the 70's and the 80's but never really got to view it except on a break. Of course, getting home would have to wait no matter what time your shift ended. The street had to be cleared of people, barricades and cleaned before traffic was allowed. So it was a late night downtown. As long as you went with the situation and were prepared to have something to do, such as a fairly expensive meal and just taking in the whole atmosphere. It was and is just one day, it's local, yet international in scope. It's just something that's so local and so Boston.

Now it's time to get back to some serious relaxing.
I'm outta here. 
 
 

 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Social Security all set. A turkey loose in the neighborhood!

I heard from Social Security and am set to receive my money. I do have to admit just the fact that I have dealt with them is strange to me. I'll get over it though. There's still a few loose ends but they will be taken care of. The first to days of this week felt normal because I worked two 8 hour days, just like I did last week and as I have done for decades. Today (Thursday) really marks the first day of my semi retirement. I lounged about most of the morning, eating pancakes and coffee for breakfast. I messed about on the computer then got myself cleaned up, ran errands....oh who cares! Still I was motivated enough to start the kitchen spring cleaning. Tomorrow Arlene and I are going out and having a celebratory dinner. She's a bit ticked because she applied 2 weeks before me and she has yet to hear any news on her benefits. She has called a few times but things have stalled. I got my confirmation in a little over 2 weeks.
Be that as it may we are both entering a new phase of our lives and where ever we eat, I left the decision to her, We will have a celebratory martini! I don't drink them normally, though I admit to passing through a martini phase in the 80's. Fortunately we have several good local restaurants to choose from. I will always lean towards Italian. I hear Linguine Julia calling me. Although that just means linguine by Julia.

Alrighty then, this blog has become more of a diary. "Dear Diary, today I got up and..." As I write this it is Sunday morning. I started it on Thursday. Happy Easter to all that it applies to. It has been a week of adjustment and re-assessment. I have begun spring cleaning and have made a list of things to get rid of. This will take some time but I do have more of it now.
 
Yes as it says in the title of the blog, there was a turkey loose on the streets of my neighborhood. I actually have been seeing more animals who come out as the sun goes down. Arlene told me the she and one of her daughters went down to the lakes to take a walk. As the sun was going down they walked back to the car and spotted a turkey.
"Oh look! It's a wild turkey!"
The bird sees them and starts charging at them with ferocious gobbling and wings extended. A couple of girly screams and the sound of car doors slamming later, the bird was pecking the wheel wells and the tires. I thought this was hysterical! A turkey! Where's the glamour? Now if a bear chased you to your car, well that's a story! 

It could have easily happened to me. I've been to the lakes many times. It's a nice spot, close by. An upper and lower lake separated by a dam.
The dam between the lakes.
One of my favorite shots of the lakes.

We all pray all goes well at the marathon tomorrow. I will be home and will have it on while I perform other housely duties. It is now early afternoon and I must prepare to go to my sisters house for Easter dinner. Ciao!
I'm outta here.  
           

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello! Remeber me? 47 days till vacation.

I am about to embark on the first week of part time employment. I have not had a full time job since 1970. It's a bit daunting as this week I will only work two days, Tuesday and Wednesday then I am off at least till the following Tuesday. On the one hand this sounds great on the other it's the first time I won't be getting a full weeks pay. All my other financial situations are still in the works. Realistically I should be fine. If the stock market hadn't collapsed several years ago I would really be fine but that is now history and I am in better shape than many people. This is a time of reflection and reevaluation. What's really important to me. What do I need and what do I need to get rid of. Seven years ago I was at a reevaluation point in my life. I threw a lot of things out. I went to the doctor for the first time in 25 years and I lost 30 pounds. Admittedly I have put 7 pounds back on since then but I am determined to take most of them off before I hit Martha's...well you know where. There is a small spending spree that I do want to go on before my spending spree days are over. Not that I'm a big spender. I admit to spending freely on the vacations we have taken since 2010. By which I mean buying a Martha's Vineyard sweat shirt or an ice cream, but even then, aside from going out to eat for lunch and dinner there wasn't all that much to spend money on. Most of the time is spent walking around, reading, listening to the birds or to the ocean or the silence. But I digress.
There are a couple of guitars that I want to own. One that I have desired since the magical year of 1967. I know I'm not Eric Clapton but I have wanted the guitar he played at that time because of the tone it had. A friend of mine had one and it played and sounded wonderful. The other made by, I guess the pinnacle of acoustic guitar makers, Martin. They are quite expensive but I am looking at their lower end of the cost scale which are quite reasonable for what I am looking for. Even better if I find a nice used one. Apart from all that I am beginning a new phase in my life. I'm sure there will be months of adjustments.
I've got things I should get rid of just to lighten my load. Things you save until you end up asking yourself, "Why did I save this?"

So I am now going to work at the sixth store this year. Yet another place to familiarize myself with. It's changed since the last time I was there in 2011. There will be yet another manager and crew to adapt to though I know a couple of people already. Still this week I will only be working two days, Tuesday and Wednesday and then I am off at least until next Monday. That sounds nice.

I would be remiss if I didn't say anything about the marathon. As some of you know one of the victims grew up a couple of streets over from here. Arlene's twin daughter grew up and went to school with her. Arlene told me last year the Krystle used to come over to her house and play with her kids or the opposite. I didn't know the young lady and though I had heard about the bombing on my way home from work I had no idea why there were police cars and television vans from New York, Rhode Island, some other states, plus the local media, on the street I go down everyday. A quick right and a quick left away from my house. 

Arlene and her daughters have a connection to Krystle, I have one only by extension. Still I am reminded of it daily as I go by her family home. I am reminded of it when it comes up in conversations with Arlene or anybody who mentions the marathon The city here locally, has pledged to raise to raise a million dollars to build a peace garden on a neglected piece of land by a senior center and the river. It will be dedicated to the 4 killed and the hundreds wounded. They say they are more than halfway there. This too is quite close to me and I also go by the area, usually on a daily basis.

The anniversary of the bombing is Tuesday the 14th, and this years race is next Monday. Locally it's known as Patriots Day, a legal holiday in Massachusetts and Maine and maybe someplace else. It marks the first battles of the revolutionary war. Patriots day is a big deal in the Boston area. Not only do you have the marathon but the Red Sox play an 11:30 a.m. game every year so once again the city will be quite crowded. Let's all hope and pray that it all goes on without a hitch.

Well my taxes are done and I am one step closer with my 401k. I haven't heard from Social Security yet but I will call them in a couple of days and check the status. I also hope to start making visits here to Blogger on a more regular basis. I will have much more free time in the  near future.

I thank you all for reading this.
I'm outta here.   

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Step two. Social Security, Done

My crazy work schedule will be coming to a close this week but they can't resist in giving me one more kick in the head by giving a night till 8p.m. and a 6a.m. start the following day. Then sending me to another store for my last two full time days. That will end the following week. I was told by the store manager... did I say store manager? I meant STORE DIRECTOR. Sounds much more important. Any way she said, "When you're full time I own you. When you're part time you own me." That means as a full timer you could be scheduled at any time of the day or night, anywhere in the area. I've worked all the shifts. From 6 in the morning till 2:30 in the afternoon to midnight to 8:30 in the morning. As a part timer I tell them when I'm available. I own them. Of course I took a substantial cut in pay but I'll be fine. The last 6 weeks have been awful and though I am working in a top shelf location it doesn't change the fact that I have to drive 60 miles a day and have to work with a particularly lunatic assistant department manager. My department manager is a good friend. I've worked with him 20 out of the last 30 years. He's, as far as I'm concerned, the best manager they have and he has his hands full. That's why he's in this store. I told him that if this store was closer to home and I didn't have to work with the loony when he's not there I would have hung on longer. He understood and said he wished he could retire but he's only 50.

Here are a couple of picture that I took on Saturday as I was leaving. They're not particularly great and I took them in a hurry because I'm always anxious to get out of there.
 This is part of my department.
 

 
This is another part of the deli. The gourmet cheese case. This section alone grosses $22,000 a week.
 The display in the middle is made of cans of imported tomatoes from Italy with a large piece of imported provolone in the center. Both front and back are identical. Surrounding the provolone are small pieces of imported parmesian cheese. Price $19.99 lb. On sale for $9.99 lb. It is flying out of the store. 
 
     Part of the produce department.
Now depending on the time of day my drive to work or home can take 35 minutes or an hour and a half. The best part of the drive is when I hit a bend in the highway and part of the Boston skyline becomes visible. Then I'm only about a mile and a half from home.


  As it appears now I will be working in Cambridge which is only 4 or 5 miles from home and depending on the time I can be at work, on a part time basis, in 15 or twenty minutes. I get to say when I am available to work. This store is my favorite store. I worked there most recently from 2000 until 2011 but I have worked there in every decade since the 70's. This used to be the top store in the chain. As the present store I am in now it was the showpiece of the company and the corporation that owned my company. It declined in the early 2000's and is out of the million dollar a week catagory but it is a very nice store with a wonderful liquor department that rivals any liquor store that I have been in. I don't say this because I am a lush but I would be lying if I said I don't enjoy a cold Sam Adams after work. I will buy an occasional bottle of wine which I enjoy with Arlene. The store was remodled in 2007 and once again this passed year.

After years, 15, of killing the brand name "Star Market" some genius at coporate suddenly realized that the name had a history around here since 1918 and all the stores that had their name changed are now being changed back to Star. I only hope it's not to late. Here's a paragraph from Grocery.com.

The Star Markets are credited with some innovative firsts in the supermarket industry, such as wrapping meats in cellophane to make them more appealing to their clients. They were also the first to implement the conveyor belt that moved the groceries to a central loading point near the parking lot. Star recognized that their patrons wanted self service, and a whole lot more. They wanted to be able to help themselves, without waiting for store personnel, but also have someone available to help if they needed it. The Star Market chain recognized this requirement among their patrons, and found a way to accommodate them. For this reason, people came from long distances to find what they needed at the Star Markets.

What this article didn't mention was they were the first in New England with air conditioning. The first with unit pricing shelf tags. The first with 401k's for their employees and profit sharing. They were even the first to petition for air rights because they built a store over the Massachusetts Turnpike. The sign says Shaw's but it will be turned back to Star Market soon. This was the second store in the chain.
File:Shaw's over the Massachusetts Turnpike, Newtonville MA.jpg
You can tell that I was proud to work for them. We were the highest paid around here and had more benefits than any of our competitors. I hope this all works out and they can retore the value in the name.
He's the store I'll be working in part time. It's an old building dating back to the 1880's or so. Trollys would come down the street from Boston go into the building and be turned around so they could head back into town. Another interesting fact is that there was a tunnel from the building under the street in case they were transporting a body to the cemetery across the street. You can see where the tunnel was in the basement of the building.


  Well I have gone on long enough. This morning is the first free time I have had in a long time but I do have things to do today and tonight. And though I am off again tomorrow I have a full agenda as well, begining with taking my car in for service, getting a rental, picking up my computer after getting it repaired, laundry and lots more that I know I won't do. I hope to get some time to visit around as I know I have been absent for a few days. Time to get moving.

I'm outta here.                             

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Well I did it.

Today we got a visit from all the presidents of all the companies owned by the corporation that owns us. Albertson LLC. Whatever that means. They own Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Super Savor and Shaws/Star Market. The latter being my original company. The store I'm in is apparently the show piece of the corporation. It is a money maker. The cheese section in my department, featuring many imported cheeses, grosses about $22,000 a week. All of a sudden payroll is no object.
"What?!! You're scheduled till 4p.m.! Can you stay an hour or more?
Here are a few pictures of the store that I found on the web.
This is the front of the store.
The lobby as you walk in.
The people escalator and the shopping cart escalator.
The kitchen or "LaCarte" department. Ooo "LaCarte"! Pardon me while I play the grand piano.
Part of the dinning area.
There was an amusing episode today or yesterday when you are likely to read this. A lady asked one of our workers where the Italian biscotti's were (Italian cookies). She wanted the one with the almonds. So the guy turns to one of our deli workers and asks him if we had the cookies with the nuts to which he replied, "I'm sorry ma'am but I don't have any nuts."
 
 With...
and without nuts.
 
Ok now referring to the title of this blog entry, I did it. I walked into the managers office and told her I wanted to retire. Not completely. I said I wouldn't mind working part time in a store closer to home. It looks I'll get my wish and I'll get to go back to my favorite store, The Mount Auburn Star Market.  I even get to choose my hours or so they say. I'll be able to go into the Mount Auburn Cemetery across the street. I have posted pictures of this very beautiful place before. It took me about 5 years work at the store before I went in there and was stunned, especially in the fall. It was the first landscaped cemetery in the country. Among the famous people interred there Curt Gowdy, Longfellow, and Charles Bulfinch, an architect who designed many buildings in Boston including the statehouse and was later recruited to work on the Capital Building in Washington. If any of you ever come to Boston this is a place you must visit. It is spectacular and free.                                                      
 
On Wednesday I left my house at 7 a.m. and pulled into the parking lot at work, 30 miles away, with 7 minutes to spare for an 8:30 shift. The traffic was horrible. It usually is at this time but I think it was intensified by the funeral of one of the firefighters. The highway I take goes right by the firefighters hometown of Watertown. I caught a glimpse of the funeral procession on television in our lunchroom. I could not believe it when they said there were 10,000 firefighters from all over the country and parts of the world including Australia. It goes to show you what a close brotherhood these people have. I lived in an apartment building that caught on fire. As I was running out of the building they were going in. What brave hero's.
 
Ok so I will work another couple of weeks fulltime then It will be time to tone it down. I still have to get all my ducks in a row concerning social security, my 401k and health insurance which I probably will still get to through the company.
 
I'm off tomorrow and have several errands to run. The very computer I am writing on is going to the computer doctor and depending on how much it costs to fix I may end up getting a new one instead.
That's all for now. I am one tired BostonBoy.
I'm outta here.