Monday, September 29, 2014

So far so good

It was an incident free drive down to Woods Hole. We got there so quickly that we got to take an earlier ferry. It was a beautiful day and today looks to be just as nice. I got up a bit late but since we are so close to the ocean it was a quick walk down. The sunrise was gorgeous.

Here's a composite shot of our room. We've stayed in this room before. They have painted it and added a new flat screen TV.
Here are a few shot from the ferry ride over.
The Wi-Fi connection is not the greatest here. Uploading pictures here has been hit or miss. As I write this we are getting ready for breakfast and we haven't decided what we will do today. The weather is a bit iffy for tomorrow and the day after. Aw who cares? We're not working, we're on an island. Granted it's only about 7 miles from the mainland. 
We had a wonderful meal last night. You can't get fish much fresher than this.
Alrighty then it's time for mangia (to eat).
I'm outta here.
Ok maybe it's not time to publish more quick story that happened as we drank our coffee on the front porch this morning. A sightseeing van showed up. Apparently six ladies were going to take a tour of the island but there was a problem. How would they board the van? One woman went to the drivers side and spoke to the driver. The door of the van was on the other side. The driver told her to walk around the van. Arlene and I were sitting on the porch with all this going on in front of us. So the woman begins to walk around and instead stopping at the door. Made a complete circle and ended up at the drivers again. It was all Arlene and I could do to suppress our laughter. Apparently she was the smart one because the other ladies just watched her. The driver had to tell her that the door was on the other side, that's why he told her to walk around the van but obviously he never thought he would have to tell her to stop at the door to get in. Instead she made a complete circle. Arlene and I were trying so hard not to laugh. We were only about 6' from the whole episode. Even as I write this I can't help but laugh.
OK that's it for now. Beth and Nancy I will send you some pictures we have taken, but now it's time to go back to reading and then a bite eat.
Now I'm really outta here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's 10 till 9pm and...

... we're leaving in about 9 hours. We are all packed. It's just a matter of trying to sleep, getting up on time and on the road on time. We're leaving at 6 a.m. It's about 80 miles to Woods Hole on Cape Cod. The ferry leaves at 8:30 and we're on the island by 9:15. Getting there is really just a mini adventure. A drive, especially early on a Sunday morning with no summer traffic to deal with, then a boat ride then a five minute drive to the hotel.

I'm just writing this because I was catching up on my reading around here and it got me in the mood to write, though apart from telling everyone again, that I'm going away, I really didn't have much to say. Then I looked to my left and who do I see? McGruff the Crime Dog.
  That's my treadmill in the upright position casting a shadow on my, white, well sorta white walls. I took the original picture, of the shadow, not Mcgruff. I haven't seen him in years since the big Purina scandal. Anyway the walls came out flaming red so I played with the picture a bit. 
Well that's all the excitement for this evening. I should really go and pretend to sleep soon.

I'm outta here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Final prep stages...

Yeah you all know where Arlene and I are going on Sunday morning. Today (Thursday) we went out to pick up a few necessities for our stay on the island. My vacation officially starts today because I won't have to work until Oct. 7. I have gathered up most of my clothes though I won't pack until the last moment. You know I'm still adjusting to all this extra free time I have. For the most part I really like getting up when I feel like though that just means I'll stay in bed till about 7 at the latest but that's certainly better than 4:30 or 5:30 a.m. The weather looks to be pretty good next week. I suppose the best thing about going there is to get away from the city. I was driving home from work the other day and though I have several routes I could take home none of them were any quicker especially at 3:30 in the afternoon. I decided on the most direct route which is out the parking lot straight into Harvard Square in Cambridge, then I cut across the next city into my own. Harvard Square is always a crowded place, it's extra crowded with all the students back in the area. Now I like Harvard Square. I spent a lot of time there when I was in my 20's. I continued to go there for many more years because of all the offbeat shops and diversity of food. There were many record shops and so on.

 Now I don't seem to have the patients I once had to deal with the crowds, the clustered up traffic and the traffic light that signals you can take a left and at the same time signals for the pedestrians to cross as you begin your turn. The roads are just plain screwy around here. There are many things around here to be proud of. This state and Boston have contributed much to world. I was shocked to learn that Boston has a very large economy and ranks among the worlds largest. Who knew? But we're all squished into a small area. The city of Cambridge alone has 100,000 people and the area population swells in the Fall with 250,000 students. There's the traffic. The drivers around here have earned the nickname "massholes" and I can understand it , especially if you're from out of town. Driving is like a struggle for existence. I have been working full time for the last 45 years. 43 of them with the same company and though I am now semi retired  I guess I still hit a wall every once in a while. So Arlene and I are heading back to our little utopia this time for a whole week. This is the latest in the year we have gone. It should be very quiet. I like quiet.

On to another subject. I work with a young guy who's father I knew well as we had worked together for 11 years in the past. Well his father took him and his family to Italy  this passed June. He had pictures and he sent me five. Three of the Coliseum, one of The Pieta in St. Peters and one I'm not sure of.

  Well that about wraps things up here on the Wild Willy West Show.
I'm outta here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Community Day locally

Sunday was a very nice day though it clouded up as the day wore on. Here locally we had a "Community Day". It was held at one of the schools. It was in walking distance so Arlene and I walked over. It was something to do on a Sunday afternoon. It was more or less akin to a traveling fair. They had all the usual tasty but really bad things for you. Ice cream, slush, burgers, hot dogs, fried dough and so on. There was also Haitian, Korean, Indian and Mexican food. It was really a place to take the kids on a waning, but still summer day. 

There were pony and a horse drawn carriage rides along with a pretty lame dunk tank.

We had a small, unusual collection of cars. First was the burger car from some burger joint. Then there was , I thought, the very stupid "fish car". Something to do with there being more cars in the river than fish. From LL Bean we had the "Bootmobile". The saving grace was a copy of the Batmobile from the 60's television series. That was pretty cool to see.

More stuff for the kids.


Then there were the superheroes. Here's Captain America showing a kid where to stand by scaring the crap out of him. He had already humiliated Robin. (just a little joke)

And of course wherever you find the Batmobile, you'll find...

So that was Sunday. Monday I went to a new dental office and found a place that fully explained things to me and at a much more reasonable price. I will eventually will have oral surgery. This whole procedure will begin on the Monday after we return from Martha's Vineyard. We can't wait, for the vacation, not the surgery.

On another front my computer has been acting up every now and then. It will run well for a while then suddenly it will shut down. It's a pain but it has not dampened my excitement over next week. 
Hopefully the weather will hold out. It should be rather quiet down there this time of year. OK, enough.

I'm outta here.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A subway episode and where's my car?

A warning-This post could be long. Okay, I had tickets for a concert on Monday night. I've had them for about two months. The group, who I'm sure nobody remembers is called King Crimson. I first saw them in November 1969. I saw them one other time in 1974. So my friend comes over and we leave and proceed to go to the train station, about a mile from here. I haven't been there in about 3 years. One parking lot was full but a lot on the left was practically empty. The lights were out in the little booth where you would pay. It was only 6 in the evening. We parked and went into the station, bought our tickets and waited. The train arrived shortly and as we made our way onboard. I noticed we passed a "gentleman" who appeared to be quite drunk. He followed us into the car. He sat in the corner. I sat by a set of  doors, opposite the doors we entered. Earl sat next to me. Across from us sat a young couple. I assume they were Muslim because the woman had her hair covered, but truthfully I really had no idea who or what they were. They were just sitting there minding their own business.

Without going into everything that was said. I'll just say, the drunk started taunting the young couple. Saying awful things, cursing. Accusing them of being terrorists.The train arrived at it's next stop. The doors opened and in walk a rather burly guy holding what appeared a bag of laundry. Now I'm not sure he thought the drunk was talking to him as he entered or someone else. A few seconds passed and the big guy told the drunk to shut up. The drunk continued. The big guy got more agitated. The language back and forth was quite colorful. The big guy then said something like, "If you don't shut your mouth, I'll come over there and shut it for you!"

The drunk paid no attention and just kept babbling. The big guy drops his bag walks passed us and gives the drunk 3 shots to the mouth. He walks back, picks up his bag telling the drunk to shut the blank up. The drunk mumbles, "He hit me...he hit me..."

The train approaches it's next stop and begins to slow down. The drunk is still groaning, babbling, cursing. The train stops, the big guy gets off and drunk hasn't shut up yet. The big guy is on the platform and yells, "Come out here and say that!"
The drunk obliges and let me add this guy had a slight build. He was a bit taller than me but he had no business facing up to this substantially larger man who was mad and sober. Out he staggers cursing all the way. They briefly yell at each other, the big guy cups his left hand behind the drunk's head and delivers three more jackhammer shots to the jaw. The drunk falls like a tree. The big guy leaves the drunk gets up holding his head. "He hit me....I'm bleeding...." etc...
 The drunk gets escorted away. The subway door is still open and apparently so was the mike in the office where they took this drunk. He was still going on about being hit and the young couple and still cursing up a storm and we could hear it all over the speaker in the car.

I'll speed up the story. We arrived downtown in the theater district, see the show and take the train back. We walk out of the train station towards the parking lot. Earl, as many people these days, had his phone out walking and staring at the little screen. As we got closer to the lot I say, "Where's my car? I don't see my car."
"Isn't that it?"
"No. It's not here."
I'll shorten the story again. After calling the parking lot number and waiting we find out the name of the towing company. At this point we also discovered that you were supposed to go to the little, unlit booth to get a ticket to display on the dashboard. That's why I was towed.
The guy I talked to at the tow yard sounded really smarmy. "Yeah.. we got it. It's $" It turns out that the tow yard was about a mile and a half from my house.

I left a few details out of the evenings events but I did like the show very much.

The day before, Sunday I spent a pleasant afternoon and evening with Arlene. Once again, armed with a bottle of wine we sat on her 3rd floor porch and watched what we could of the sunset. There are trees and houses in the way of the horizon and yet the sky turned out to be quite colorful.

And here's the accompanying  video.
Alright that's it for now,
I'm outta here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Passing the time...

It was a gorgeous sunset Sunday evening. Arlene and I had gone out for a bite to eat. It was a nice if a bit cool, early evening. We took a little walk at local wooded area, next to the central school for the city. Though this is less than a mile from where I live I had never explored the area. You end up walking by the river, (The Mystic River though there is nothing mystical about it. It's name is based on an old Indian word.) with an occasional peak at the water through the vegetation. It was actually a very nice spot that I drive by and around every day. I wish I had my camera with me. To that end I suggested we sit on Arlene's porch, which is on the 3rd floor, and view the sunset while sipping on some wine. Well the sunset was spectacular except there was no way to see the horizon. There were houses and trees blocking out most of the horizon. Still it was quite colorful and I think I got some good shots and clips. Unfortunately I went home (conveniently next door) leaving my camera on her dinning room table.

I am still in the middle of adjusting to my new semi retired lifestyle. I still work on a part time basis but it certainly is quite different than working full time. After working full time for the last 45 years (Yikes!) I have to admit to myself that, that part of my life is over. Apart from the obvious aging aspect, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It seems that the biggest adjustment is what to do with all this new free time. If I was rich I know I would do some traveling and not just in the U.S. Well I'm not rich but that doesn't mean I can't travel in a more local area. Having a car makes it possible to reach just about any where in New England within a day. It's what made the discovery of Martha's Vineyard in 2010 special to Arlene and me. But there other places. Western Ma. is all rural, save for a few sizable cities. It's a different world from where I live an yet I can be there in about an hour. 3 hours to cross the entire state. We'd like to go back to Mt. Greylock. It's more like a big hill than mountain. It's what's left of an old mountain range. Still it's about 3400' above sea level and has gorgeous views, especially in the fall. Then there are the other states.

It's all a matter of adapting to a new routine and I am grateful to be able to do this at my age. In two weeks we will be back on the island for a week. I can only hope the trip will be as quick as it was the last time. We left here at 6 a.m. and were at the pier in about an hour. We were to take a later ferry but there were so few people and cars at that time that they let us go on the earlier ferry. 45 minutes later we were on the island. All in about two hours. You have to enjoy the small victories in life.

Two weeks from today we will again be on the island. This is the latest in the year we have been there. There will be little or no crowds. We plan to take a sunset cruise on a sailboat. It will be chillier than usual but that's ok.  As long as the weather stays reasonable, it will be a refreshing change from the crowds, traffic and construction that seems to be going on all around.

Alright I'm outta gas and
I'm outta here.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

A few words on 9-11.

I'm sure, especially in the U.S., we all know where we were when we heard the news on 9-11-2001. I was home. A day off. I slept late getting up. About 8:40 I left my bedroom, walked into the living room and turned on the TV. The Imus in the Morning program was on MSNBC. Within a few minutes Don Imus mentioned that something happened at the World Trade Center. Just as with the Kennedy assassination, I along with everybody else was glued to the television from then on. I learned that the two planes that hit the towers originated here in Boston. Then we learned about the crashes in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. This was, should have been, and is a giant wake up call for Americans. That was a scary day but not as scary as it was to the people who were killed on that day. All innocent victims going about their lives. Travelling for various reasons, business, pleasure. Going to work. Walking down the sidewalk. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was off that day and generally spent the whole day and evening in front of the television.

About 200 people who perished had Massachusetts and Boston connections. Though I did not go out that day it was pretty chaotic around here. Those first two planes flew out of Boston. The terrorists were here first. What happened in New York cast a shadow over what happened here, as it should have. New York is the premiere U.S. city. The attacks happened there. Still it was an uneasy feeling knowing my city played a major part in this event. The city itself happens to be the big city closest to New York City. There has always been the sports rivalry. No matter what the sport. Back to the days when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth the Yankees. That could have been us. But all that is just superficial silliness. That day we all mourned and were angered as Americans. They were on our shores. And of course there were the attacks in Pennsylvania and Washington. They don't get the press or talk that the twin towers get, though they were no less horrific, but I can only comment as someone who was in the Boston area. You almost can't help feel just a tiny bit of guilt because that act started here, at least on American soil. It is a day we can never forget, just like the Kennedy assassination. A day we know exactly where we were and what time it was. We should never forget. I know I won't. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hi Beth! Nothing special..a whine...stuff.

The hot sweaty weather is gone. It has been quite comfortable for the last few days. My sister is doing well though she will still be out of work for another 3 or 4 weeks. My car is holding up well. What the car dealership couldn't fix my regular mechanic did. For $250.00 all they managed to do, aside from taking my money, is fix my sun roof so it worked only one of the two ways it's supposed to work. They never fixed the inside water leak and they told me they would have to charge me $1000.00 just to take my dashboard apart, retrieving the cd's that won't eject was another charge. Well the cd's can stay there for now. Another problem was a slow air leak that couldn't be sealed. This is my first experience with chrome wheels. When the chrome starts peeling off where the tire seals against the rim, it can only be fixed by stripping and re-chroming. Quite expensive, or buying a new wheel. Not as expensive, but still upwards of $600.00. I already have bought one and I realize I will eventually have to replace the rest. The car is a 2008. Mechanically it has been perfect. It rides and handles well and it's pretty quick. It's good looking and it's quiet inside, 'cept when I'm blasting some live Cream. It hasn't given me any problems until this year. So some wear and tear is to be expected. I still have the original brakes.
Apart from some automotive misery, everything is on an even keel. Arlene and I are both looking forward to our little trip to you know where. This is the latest in the year we have gone. We are going late in September into October. We plan to go on a short sunset cruise. That's something we've never done. It's connected the touristy and expensive Black Dog Tavern/Restaurant/tee shirt sweatshirt/caps moguls . If you've ever seen a tee shirt or hat with a black Labrador Retriever on it, that came from the Black Dog which became famous because people like James Taylor and Carly Simon hung out there. The apparently do a phenomenal world wide souvenir business. Who knew? Anyway we've eaten there once and it was fine but pricey. There are more reasonably priced restaurants quite near where we stay. One thing I do know, It will be quiet. No crowds on the sidewalk and no traffic jams. The complete opposite to where I live. There's roadwork, construction, everywhere I have to drive locally, that could include Boston but those times I'll take public transportation. Some of these roads are quite old. There are 4 main roads in my hometown that were laid down in the 1600's.

It can be maddening to drive around here. My near 7 mile drive to work can be pretty quick if I have to go in early. If I catch all the lights I can be there in about 17 minutes. If I have an 8 a.m. or later start it can take 45 minutes to an hour.

We here in the Boston area have the reputation of being the worst drivers in the country. Well that's not true. We're the second worst. The worst are in central Massachusetts. The city of Worcester, pronounced "Wusstah" or "Wusster" if you choose to pronounce your R's. Apart from a local accent I don't know why it's spelled one way and pronounced another, but that's English for you. But getting back to driving, we are bad. That's why Arlene and I are looking forward to the 6 a.m. start from my driveway, for our trip to Cape Cod to catch the ferry. At that time Boston can be crossed in about 10 minutes and if there is any traffic, they're all headed towards the city. We will be taking the car to the island again It allows us to take more with us but storing it in the car. We're staying in a room we stayed in a couple of years ago.

Time to eat!
I'm outta here.