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.