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.

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.