Sunday, December 27, 2015

And so it's ...

 ...over. I hope everyone had a good holiday. I did. The food was tremendous. There was only four of us initially but there was easily enough food for three times as many people. Christmas eve involved a traditional fish dinner. Shrimp for starters, along with a host of other items such as stuffed mushrooms and two different kinds of pizza, a couple of items of which I have no English translation. Basically a bread like item stuffed with spinach and tomato, and one with chicory and tomato. Then a meal of cod fillet and rice, sea scallops and salad. The deserts were quite numerous, ricotta pie, Italian style cookies and lemon squares. There were a couple of items I don't even recall. Way too much food for four people. Christmas day was just as bad or good depending how you want to look at it. Basically it was lasagna with the meat balls, sausage and beef. Beef is particularly delicious when cooked in the tomato sauce. Again salad, string beans and something else that I also can't recall. Then the deserts. Oh I forgot the homemade pizzelles. There's no comparison to the store bought ones. They are much too thick. My sister has mastered my mothers recipe. They were tasty and quite delicate. Perfect with coffee. I'll say it, we all ate like pigs. I left with my goodie bag of lasagna, sauce with all the meats, ricotta pie, lemon squares, cookies and probably something else the I just can't think of. There's three or four meals ready made in my fridge and freezer. All in all it was a nice time with insults (good natured) flying around and lots of laughter.

New years is not that big a deal. Arlene and I will spend it together. She spent Christmas with her family with ideas of visiting each other scrapped when we could see an argument over who should visit who brewing. We stayed with our respective families for Christmas and will spend New Years eve together. Whether we remain awake for midnight is an open question.

I dabbled on Facebook but I am not all that thrilled with it. On the one hand it's quite nice to be in touch with people that I haven't seen in 30 or 40 years. On the other hand seeing people put up pictures of their cats sleeping, or telling of a tasty meatball sub just doesn't do it for me. I'll stay on there but I still find it difficult to post stuff there. I do have one friend of mine who as it turns out goes to Martha's Vineyard quite a bit as well so we have talked about that and shared pictures as well. It even turns out that we were both there at the same time last September. Arlene is not thrilled about it as my friend happens to be a woman who I've known since 1970. We were never romantically involved as she was my friends wife but we had music in common and she has a beautiful voice. In fact I know her whole family. Her father was an opera singer so I know where she got her talent from. I would play the guitar and she would sing. I can't sing.

So that's it for now. I'm about to go next door to Arlene's as we like to watch the Patriots, and that's just 45 minutes away.

I'm outta here.    

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Over the river and through the woods...

Just out of curiosity, have you ever written a post that for some reason always gets more looks every day than anything else you've written? I have one of those. I don't think it's anything special. It was just a recounting of an annoying experience concerning a flat tire. What happened to me was not anything that hasn't happened to anyone else when trying to deal with a business that doesn't have their act quite together. It was annoying and expensive and I ranted about it. It happened in 2012. It never got any more comments than the initial ones, but always gets the most looks. Why? I don't know.

First of all I want to say that the bonehead wasn't me. This is not to say that I haven't had bouts with boneheadism. There was a leak from the drain under the big sink at work. The plumber came and all was fixed. One of my co-workers went to use the sink and discovered that the water was turned off. He managed to get the hot water on but he couldn't get was the cold water to work when he opened the faucet. He was confused. The rest of us (2), looked under the sink and saw two valves,  presumably for hot and cold. 

For some reason, we'll call him "Mr. Bonehead", did not turn the cold water on then couldn't understand why there was no cold water.  He was totally unaware of something, very obvious. Sometimes, something inside of us, flicks the "duh" switch. This quickly became snicker material. This man is married with children, and owns a house, so when he couldn't figure out that that the two valves under the sink, and the two faucets on the sink were related, it told us he was approaching "Maximum Duh!"
Hey we milked the episode all afternoon. It gave us much material to bust his chops with. Nothing really vicious but a few good laughs. Who hasn't gone "duh" now and then.  

Oy do I have a lot of pictures! I have been better organizing them for months now.  Still I don't mind looking pictures from the last ten years.
Here's my hometown, the Mystic River, which flows to the harbor, on March 1, 2007.

The white house in the background with the columns, is the "Grandfathers House" in the Thanksgiving poem "Over the river and through the woods..." I walked by it to go to high school for 3 years not even knowing that. Not that knowing that gave you the secrets of life. On the other side of the river is a small concert shell with the poem on it and small blurb about the author.




So as we head towards Christmas it looks like we will top 60 degrees around here. Last year we were close to this temperature then all the snow came. Nobody wants a repeat of last year. It's seasonably cold today but will shoot up quickly in the coming days. I'm already thinking Spring. Quite premature as we are not into January yet.
I got this from Facebook and it cracked me up.
Alrighty it's getting late in the morning and I have to do a bit of food shopping to do. Then there is the Patriots game at one o'clock, the team everybody in the U.S. loves to hate. If I don't make it back here before the holiday, everybody have a wonderful holiday.
I'm outta here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

State lottery and other blather.

I don't say this to brag but Massachusetts has the second most successful state lottery in the country only behind New York. I will admit to buying a scratch ticket once in a while. Not often. Maybe once a year but for the most part your chance of winning are about as good as throwing your money out your car window while you're on the highway. My main beef is going into a small neighborhood store to pick up a loaf of bread instead of going to a supermarket to save 15 cents, unless I go to my local Italian bakery for some real good and fresh baked bread, but parking is an issue there. Most of these small stores have a table in the rear where people sit and scratch or stare at a screen with a bunch of numbers on a grid. I have no idea what they're playing and I don't care. The problem comes when your standing in line with your bread or whatever you want, cigarettes, newspaper, milk, items which are pretty quick transaction, and some pain in the neck gambler is asking the clerk, "Give me 4 #27's, 4 Big payouts, a quick pick, and 2 Scratch my Ass and win tickets. Then I want to play the daily numbers game with these numbers. Now I want to cash in these tickets that I won $2.00 on... " Then the next person does basically, the same thing. You can see the agitation on the customers faces who want to get in and get out and that includes me. These gamblers have basically taken the convenience out of convenience stores. 

I watched bits and pieces of the debate. Basically all politicians are just bad actors. In fact we had a real president who was an actor. It was on in the background I did like when Jeb Bush called Donald Trump "feckless". I must admit that I was impressed that Jeb was aware that Trump's feck levels were dangerously low. Maybe it's a medical condition that's treated with a drug like profeckohydrochloride. It's basically like inept. You have to be really ept in todays world.
"Let he who has no feck, cast the first stone."

I did like Trumps plan to deal with illegal immigration. If he were president he would make all illegal immigrants wear their hair like he does.

My family, Arlene and a friend all went out to dinner the other night. It's a Christmas thing. I was telling my boss about, it meaning to say " sisters, Arlene, a friend Dave and my brother-in-law Jim."
What I did say was"...Dave and my husband-in-law Jim." 
I took a lot of crap for that one. I really fecked up.

Okeydokey it's time to end this thing.
I'm outta here. 



Friday, December 11, 2015

A cheapy post.

I haven't been in front of the computer as much as normal. I did spend some time on Facebook mostly because it takes forever to post anything other than words. I'm blaming most of it on my computer. According to my anti virus software there nothing wrong with my computer and yet it has been frustrating. So I have limited my computer face time. Facebook has been both nice and useless. Nice because I have been put in touch with some people who I haven't seen or heard from, in some cases 30 or 40 years. Useless because of people posting some silly information. This is my primary place. I really haven't had anything to blog about in the last week but I found this little bit and it made me laugh. These are things people have actually said in court both by people on the witness stand and attorneys.

So that's it for now. Time to get ready for a dinner date with you know who.
I'm outta here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Facebook. I'm not sure.

I joined Facebook several years ago and never went back until a couple of months ago. On the one hand it has put me in touch with friends who I haven't had contact with for about 30 years including my Godchild. I like this part very much. On the other hand some of the posts I've seen are really nonsensical. Is it really relevant or important that you had a steak last night and it was really delish? And then you respond that you like it? It seems so superficial. I spend enough time in front of the computer screen as it is. So basically I'm torn between staying with for the purpose of keeping in touch with friends I haven't seen in years. As far as posting there I suppose I will from time to time but I can't treat it like I treat blogging. I enjoy blogging. It is a chance to be creative in any number of ways, not that I have posted really important stuff here but at least I try to make it something that might interest someone. I have to think about what I will post. So I am in a bit of a quandary over it. All the people who I have reconnected with have been really nice to me and I am truly happy to be able to communicate them again, but in the long run I will probably end up treating it more as less as another blog. I just don't know if I will be able spend the time in front of the this screen for both places on consistent basis.
I've talked to some friends about Facebook and responses range from, "I love it!" to "It's stupid". So I'm just curious as to what my Blogger friends think.

Continuing with my reorganization of all the pictures I've taken over the last 10 years, here are more taken on what is called the Kankamangus Highway in New Hampshire.

Yeah that's me. Ok that's it for this pulse pounding entry.
I'm outta here. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


...I'd like to take an axe to my computer. Yeah I know that does sound a bit violent but it has been a frustrating two days. I have been trying to post and this thing has been running slow. I admit I don't have the best internet service but it seems every time Windows installs a "critical update" my machine just takes forever to do anything. I was trying to upload a video to YouTube and it took 4 and a half hours and then it took forever for the processing to take place. Well it seems my computer was also installing a "critical update" at the same time. Well I finally got the video uploaded. By the way when I upload a video to YouTube it's primarily so I can post it here. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate if people view a video on YouTube but that's not my primary reason I use YouTube, it's because I can upload larger files there than I can here. That's a problem I didn't have back on Spaces. Then again in the world of problems, that's a pretty minor problem. I treat my computer like my car. I really don't care how it works as long as it does work, just put the key in the ignition and the car starts.

So I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving or as my brother in law said, a "Thappy Hanksgiving." I have to say it was a day of many laughs. At some point everybody was the subject of ridicule. It's just the way we (my family) are. Nothing was hurtful and everybody took their lumps with a good nature. Things were certainly toned down from the days of our youth. When we were kids my aunt and uncle and their kids came to our house for Thanksgiving and we went to theirs for Christmas. My mother and aunt were wonderful cooks but the amount of food was over the top. Never mind the appetizers, the meal had had to begin with soup, then there was the lasagna with the complementary meatballs and sausages, Then we had the turkey or ham depending on the holiday. I won't even mention all the side dishes and deserts. All the food was wonderful but it was overkill. I guess it's all part of being Italian and living through WWII. Still I do look back with fondness to those days. I have lost contact with my cousins. Two of them still live in the area, one lives in London and the other has become the family loony. I did see them (3 out of 4) when my uncle passed away several years ago. It was bizarre to hear my cousin living in London, with the combination of a Boston/London accent. It's hard for me to even imitate. It was just as bizarre hearing my aunt and uncle from Australia speaking broken English with an Australian accent. When my parents got married they moved to America (from Italy) though my mother was actually born here, it's a long story, and my aunt and uncle moved to Australia. So our Thanksgiving was quite nice. We have toned the food down quite a bit, though there was still plenty to eat.

I don't have much more to report except I have taken this week off before I lose the vacation time. Being a 44 year plus veteran of this company, even now as a part timer , I do have a lot of vacation time. I just don't take it. And I have to say that when you do they make sure that you feel guilty for using the benefit. When I was fulltime I could have taken 8 weeks off a year but I didn't. Shame on me.

This is not a particularly good week weather wise. It's been cloudy and drizzly though on the whole this Fall has been quite mild. I'm sure we're being set up for the winter. I just hope it's not a repeat of last year. That was one for the record books. Still it's nice to not have to work for 9 days. I can't wait to not have to work at all but that's a little over a year away. In truth I have still not completely adjusted to my reduced workload. Filling my free time is still something new. I had been working fulltime since 1969 and working period since 1968. It's a definite change in my life. Still I am lucky that I am in the position that I am in. Not everybody has been as lucky as I have been. I have a lot to be grateful for.

OK I was talking about here's the video I was talking about earlier. I am almost finished going through all my old pictures and putting them in much better order than I had before. It's been fun reliving all the places that we, Arlene and I and sometimes my friend Dave, have been locally and around New England in the last 10 years. Despite the weather woes that can happen around here, I am a died in the wool Bostonian/New Englander and I don't want to live anywhere else. So the video is a collection of flower pictures.       

So that's it for now, I'm outta here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Remember this?

Here is a classic clip from the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, 1965. He showed it almost every year on the anniversary show. It still cracks me up

It's been a busy week. The highlight or more accurately lowlight of the week was Thursday. A busy day at work and an absolutely horrendous drive home. As I have mentioned before, my drive home takes me through Harvard Square. It's a busy crowded, busy place and it's even worse during the evening rush hour. Still it's a small enough place that you usually can get through it in about 5 minutes. Well Thursday as I was just about leave the square and get on Massachusetts Avenue I see several blue lights speed up and block off the entrance to, as we call it, Mass Ave., and all traffic was directed back through the square. It forced me to take the confusing, rotary filled, nerve wracking Rt. 16. A ride that takes me (it's a little more than 5 miles) at best 20 minutes and at worst 35   minutes took 1 hour and 20 minutes. Why were we diverted? There was a student protest on Mass. Ave. A couple of hundred demonstrators march up the street then lay down. These are not my pictures.

They were protesting a couple of police shootings. I know people have the right protest and if I was part of it I suppose blocking a major road at rush hour is a great way to garner lots of attention. Still forcing traffic on to other all ready congested roads at rush hour made for a tedious, slow ride home.

I'm still going through some of my old discs that date back 15 years ago. There are some old video's and pictures from back when I started fooling around with a camera. For most of the picture taking expeditions it was Arlene and I. A few were with my friend Dave. Below is a video of Arlene and my short trip to Georges Island in Boston Harbor. There are about 18 islands in the harbor. Several that you can get to by ferry for recreational purposes. Georges island has a fort that was later converted to a prison for confederate soldiers during the civil war. Oddly enough there no footage of the fort. I did take pictures but I don't know where they are at the moment and truthfully it's not very picturesque.

To continue with checking out old pictures and organizing the old ones, This is a slideshow of flower pictures. I don't yet know if this is all of them. They were taken locally and around the Boston area.

Well I guess that's it for now. Thanks for visiting. It's now supper time then a trip to a friends house to watch The Soprano's. I never saw it when it was on. I'm 3 episodes into it.
I'm outta here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rainy Day

Just out of curiosity, have you ever written a post that for some reason always gets more looks every day than anything else you've written? I have one of those. I don't think it's anything special. It was just a recounting of an annoying experience concerning a flat tire. What happened to me was not anything that hasn't happened to anyone else when trying to deal with a business that doesn't have their act quite together. It was annoying and expensive and I ranted about it. It happened in 2012. It never got any more comments than the initial ones, but it always gets the most looks. Why? I don't know.

So what else is new? Nothing earth shattering. It was a busy week. I am in the middle of changing dentists. I had gone to a dental chain business who offered their services at a reduced rate. I should have known. I don't know if it's a regional chain or a national chain but as I have learned once again, you get what you pay for. I'm speaking of Aspen Dental. After promising my dental implants in 4 to 6 months on Oct. 31 2014 nothing has happened. Well nothing except one of the posts implanted in my jaw came out. I called and made an appointment only to find out that they can't do anything about it because their surgeon won't be back for a month. Why did they book me in the first place? He apparently goes from location to location and it takes a month for him to make all his rounds. I make another appointment. I go back a month later only to find and I quote, "That part of our business failed an inspection."

I told her that hearing that didn't fill me with confidence. I had two appointments in two months and nothing was done either time. I made another appointment reluctantly. Another month wait. Enough is enough. I went to a local private dental office and made an appointment. I had to get my x-rays from Aspen Dental. I went in this passed Friday. I first told them that I was cancelling my appointment, then I asked if I owed any money. I wanted to know if they charged me for my last two visits. If they did, I wasn't paying.

I didn't owe anything. I then asked for my x-rays and said, "... and I'm not coming back." So hopefully this will have a more positive outcome. I always avoid doing business big chains, though that's nearly impossible in most retail. I'll always go to a ma & pa coffee/donut/breakfast shop if they is among my choices. Dunkin' Donuts? It's like a disease around here. They are literally everywhere. There are about 58 Dunkin's in my city and the 3 cities that surround it. Starbucks? Not for me. There's one in the store where I work. Cambridge is the perfect city for Starbucks. Now I like Cambridge but there is a certain type of person here, one who's ancestors may have come over on the Mayflower, if ya know what I mean. It sometimes seems that some of them always smell something bad. Apart from that I do like the city. It's full of funky shops and beautiful homes and a lot of people, 100,000.
Here are some shots from a beautiful Sunday morning, June 2008 of some of the homes on Mt. Auburn Street, the road I take to work. On one side, the homes and the other the Charles River. There was little traffic as it was early.

I have a stack of discs from 2005-2009 when I started to take pictures and videos. I also found a bunch that I had uploaded to a "cloud" that I had forgotten about.
Here are some random fall shot from 2007-2008.


I also found this video I made in 2007. There's nothing special about it. It was a rainy day. I took a bunch of clips and strung them together. I was on the front porch, the side and the back. I then remembered a song called Rainy Day Dream Away and to my surprise it was only one second less than the video.

So that's it for now. This took me two days to put together and I enjoyed doing it.
I'm outta here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

What to do with this blog and how I do miss Beth.

Most of the people who came over with me from the late lamented Spaces to Blogger have slowly disappeared since 2010. Not that I ever got a lot of comments but the list of people who come here have gone elsewhere or just stopped completely. From 10 or 12 comments I am down to one or two and I do thank those folks for coming here. Putting a blog together is a bit of a task for me. It can take me a while, and to be honest it is disappointing when you only get one or two comments, at least after all these years that's on me for not making my blog interesting enough for others to read. Still I admit that I do like blogging and I probably won't shut down, at least until something I have written gets no comments at all. All my Spaces friends have disappeared save for Toodie, and my dear friend Beth is no longer with us. I do miss her greatly. She was  always very kind to me and we did have an off the blog friendship via phone calls and regular mail. Still  with all that said here I am again. It would be very hard for me to shut this down after seven or so years.

I recently opened a Facebook account and I have been overwhelmed with all the invites and old friends. Actual people from my past. Truthfully I'm not sure what to make of Facebook. On the one hand it's a great way to reconnect with these people, on the other it does seem more superficial than a blog. I just can't seem to get myself excited because somebody posted a humorous picture (and those are always subjective) and I am supposed to like it. Even if I do, plowing through all those postings for very little if any substance seems boring to me. I do like the fact that I am put in contact with some people I haven't seen in 30 or 40 years. Maybe I'm just on the cusp of becoming a cranky old man. Though I am semi retired and look forward to full retirement in about a year, I still haven't settled into a routine yet. I work three full days and have four off. For those three days (to maintain my benefits) it seems that nothing has changed except I make a lot less money per hour. Still there are people with much greater problems than I have. In fact I have to say that I am pretty lucky. I am in good health, have a wonderful relationship and some money saved. For the most part I should not be whining at all, but this last year and a half has been a radical change for me after working this particular job since, of all days, April 1, 1971. I was featured on the cover of my store flyer this passed week. It was just a small picture, with a brief line or two about my career. From 1971 until 1999 it was a wonderful place to work. We were all well paid, the best in the area. There was a family feel to the company. They took good care of us and we had lots of pride in this historic supermarket company. This very year they are celebrating their 100th birthday. Since 1999 we were bought and sold several times. Things got worse and worse to the point where we were glommed on to the side of another New England chain and the stores were slowly having the name of the stores changed to a name not familiar in the Boston area. Business was dying. Now this latest owner wants to change the names of all those stores back because of the historical nature of our company in the area. It was the first market in the country to wrap fresh meats in cellophane so the customer didn't have to wait for a butcher to wrap it up in paper. The same with our bundle pick-up service. You paid for your groceries, they were put in a numbered tub and it disappeared into the bowels of the store. You drove around the building, handed in your numbered tiles and your groceries were loaded in your car. I hope all this rebadging of the stores works because besides working for them for all these years, my parents shopped there and the bundle pickup was like magic to me when I was 5. By next year they hope to have the chain back up to 30 stores.

So what else is new? I spent a good portion of Saturday cleaning out my computer again. So many pictures and videos. I made a slideshow of some of the pictures. I think there's one from the Vineyard, a few from western Massachusetts, maybe a couple from New Hampshire, Maine, Cape Cod, Gloucester, (Home of the Gloucester fisherman!), Salem and several local shots from the Mystic Lakes. There's nothing mystical about the lakes. It's a name derived from and Indian name that I can't recall at the moment. Then there's the neighbors cat who took a shine to me she would greet me when I  came home from work. She was very sweet. She was 20 years old when she disappeared last winter. The music is me. I used to have a little home recording studio. It's a tune I never finished. It's the beginning and the end spliced together. I never finished it because I kept making a mistake on the bass line of the electric part and I went to stop the recording and in frustration I hit the record and stop button at the same time and broke the recorder. What you hear is just the beginning and the end spliced together played on a nylon string guitar. There's a bit in the middle that has two guitars but it was never going to be the finished product. It was just a fill in until I could come up with something better. Maybe someday I'll finish it.

Well thanks for reading my whiny post.
I'm outta here.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

This an' that

Wonderful weather yesterday. I am starting this blog on Saturday morning. Whether it gets published today or tomorrow is a question yet to be answered, still it was a beautiful and so is today. In fact the upcoming week looks especially nice. So anyway, yesterday I took a ride to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Normally I don't enjoy a trip to a cemetery, though you do eventually you have to go, but this place is special. This is the first cemetery that was landscaped, carved out a wooded area. It's on the list of national historic places and it's just beautiful especially in the Fall.  There are hills, valleys and ponds. There are some well known people buried here. Of course that's well known, if you've heard of them. Isabella Stewart Gardner. In her day she was a well known patron of the arts. She was rich. Charles Bulfinch. The architect who designed the center section of the capitol building in Washington as well as our own statehouse. Buckminster Fuller, an architect and inventor. Oliver Wendell Holmes, an associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Winslow Homer, painter. Edwin H. Land, the Polaroid Corporation. Henry Cabot Lodge, Ma. state senator. Henry Wadsworth, poet, "Paul Reveres Ride."

So it was beautiful outside and I decided to go there and take some pictures. Most of them weren't my best shots but what are you gonna do?

And here's the video.

Something I've always wondered about concerns names, at least men's names. Take Robert. A nick name for Robert is Bob. How do you get Bob from Robert? I get Rob. How about William. Where does Bill come from? Amongst the most common men's names is John. Where does Jack come from? And the most unfortunate name, Richard. Rich is easy to understand, but Dick? I'll say no more.
Well despite a two hours phone conversation with my sister discussing a certain car problem she was having and looking at certain new cars and then running for the bathroom to take care of a certain need only to have the phone ring again with a call from Arlene, I have managed to finish this today (Saturday). The foliage is about to reach peak around here and I'm gonna try to get some more pictures. Maybe tomorrow as there is no football game. Don't forget about daylight savings time!
I'm outta here.   

Monday, October 26, 2015

Eating, drinking, laughing

The other night Arlene and I had dinner at my sisters house. It was a pleasant evening. There's always a lot of laughter but it really got rolling with my brother-in-law who had  poured us all a glass of red wine. He then raised his glass to make a toast. He went to say nostrovia, if that's how it's spelled, a Russian toast meaning something like, "to your health." That's not what we heard. We heard, "nice driveway". That one is gonna stick!
Soon after that we started telling old stories. My sister talked about her childhood friend Charlene. She was a nice kid, a bit of a klutz, and at times would appear to be bit of a space cadet. I was there for this episode. Charlene had knocked something over and my sister said, "Charlene! You are such a S-L-O-B!"
Charlene put the letters together and said, "Slobe?"

That brought up the story of another one of my sisters friends. I know I've told it before. This was years ago. They were in the next city over. It had bars. There weren't any bars in our hometown then, though there are now restaurants with bars. Any way this young lady asked the assembled group if they would like to go to a place close by for a drink? She said it thusly, "Joowanna guhdown to the connabah."
Actually everybody understood the joowanna guhdown part, its the last part that raised the question, "What's a connabah?"
In Boston English, "Joowanna guhdown" is translated as "Do you want to go down...", a "connahbah" is a corner bar.

This led to all of us making fun of the way we talk around here. Not just the accent but different words for things than the rest of the country. Like around here we call those long sandwiches, submarine sandwiches. They may be called hoagies someplace else, those sandwich rolls used to be called spuckies. I remember hearing this while growing up. Go to another city and ask for a spuckie and who knows what you'll get. It comes from the Italian word for a sandwich roll "spucadella" Here soda is tonic, a water fountain is a bubbler, and a rubber band is an elastic. Do you know where you're going if you're going to "Make a packy run." ? You're going to the liquor store. I guess liquor stores, in Massachusetts and some other states, are technically called package stores because all liquor purchased for private consumption, must be in a package or a sealed bottle.

We laughed at how sometimes we can't understand each other around here. Years ago a friend of mine was giving me directions to a certain location finishing up with, "It's right near the cahbahns." 
"What the hell are cahbahns?" I asked. That's Bostonese for an old timey name for a place where the area bus service kept their busses, the "car barns".

People around here don't say "Baston" as people from other parts of the country who want to make fun of our accent say. We say Boston or more than likely "Bostin. I personally think at times it's a really ugly accent. Very harsh sounding. I try to control my accent but sometimes it just slips in. "May I have a glass of watah? Of course I mean water."
In our cars (cahs) we don't use our directional signals, we use our blinkers or "blinkahs". A shopping cart is a carriage.
What everybody else calls a milk shake we call a frappe, pronounced frap. To us a milk shake is milk with flavored syrup whipped into a froth. A frappe adds ice cream. Why the mixed terminology? I don't know. One thing I can say for sure, it's quite recognizable. In different parts (pahts) of the country, say a few words and they instantly know where your from.
 If you are not very tall then you are "shawt". In the summer when it's hot, you put on your "shawts". After you turn thirty nine you will turn "fawty".
Here's a two minute plus video with this nice young lady explaining how to speak with a Boston accent.   

It was a fun night. Laughter makes you feel better.
Alrighty then it's time to move off into the sunset. Hi Oh Silver! (silvah) Away!
I'm outta here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Krystle Campbell Memorial Park dedication October 18, 2015

Sunday was partly sunny, mostly cloudy and quite chilly made worse by gusts of wind. The city here locally has set aside a piece of land as a memorial to the Marathon bombing victims, specifically Krystle Campbell who lived here along with her family. As it turned out she lived around the corner from me. I did not know her but Arlene did. Her daughters went to school with Krystle and they played together. Through my relationship with Arlene I became connected with the situation.

The city has dedicated a piece of land for the park and they organized a dedication. There were three bands. One from Boston University, the Boston Police Drum and Pipes and a local band. A Boston TV news anchor hosted the event. Krystle's family was there seated to the right of the podium. I'm not sure of the exact number but at least four of the over 200 bombing victims were in attendance. It was a well done, moving event climaxing with the hoisting of a huge American flag.

A fairly large crowd was in attendance though I have no way of estimating how many locals were there, as well as all the local Boston TV and cable outlets.

It was a very moving experience. Victims spoke along with the mayor, politicians etc. but the most moving moment was when Krystle's father made a brief statement and as soon as he finished a light snow fell for about a minute. Timing is everything.

It was a sobering afternoon.

I'm outta here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Leftovers, squirrels in my computer, busy week, blah blah blah...

For a semi-retired guy I have had a busy week. I've also had my computer crash a couple of times though it seems to be working fine at the moment. This past Monday Arlene and I decided to take a drive north to check out the foliage as it is still only moderate around here. We decided to take the old road north instead of the highway. More scenic and it was until we got to city line between two particular cities. The first one was Andover. Rich people live here. Large mansions set back from the road. Long winding driveways behind tall gates. These aren't just well off people these are very rich people. The next town, which shall remain nameless, was 180 degrees opposite. All of a sudden the mansions disappeared and we had a string of auto repair businesses, including a used tire store, bars, (not that I have anything against bars), pawn shops, pizza joints, sub shops. What happened? The city, who shall remain nameless, was the home of a few famous people. Lenard Bernstein, Robert  Frost, Robert Goulet and Joe Perry, the guitarist for Aerosmith. It was a city that was a big part of the American industrial revolution along with close by Lowell. At one point the city was filled with shoe factories and textile mills. Canals were built both there and in Lowell. At one time these were very prosperous cities. Lowell has made a bit of a comeback but this place looks like it's still depressed. Anyway though New Hampshire wasn't very far away we decided to turn around and go back lest we make a wrong turn somewhere and maybe end up someplace we shouldn't be. We eventually stopped for lunch and decided to come back home. We stopped at the lakes in our city to check out the foliage. It's still in the beginning phase. Still it was a very nice day and I took a few pictures.

Speaking of pictures there are some pictures, odds and ends, that have been on my computer for about 8 years from various little trips we have taken since I got my first digital camera. I have been gathering them up and storing then off my computer. If my computer bites the big one and finally dies I don't want to lose them. There are bits and pieces from the Vineyard, locally both here, and a bit from Boston including the aquarium. I strung them together in a slideshow. The first four were from this passed Tuesday. The rest are just odds and ends from the past eight years.   

While working this past week I was interviewed by a woman from the main office. They want to feature me on the store circular company wide because of my 44 plus years of employment with them. I was hesitant but they really insisted and I decided to do it. They asked me several questions and took a few pictures.
I am curious if I will get some phone calls from people I haven't seen in many years. I did tell the woman about a few incidents that weren't very glamorous. At one particular store I had my car stolen twice and had a knife pulled on me as I worked a late evening shift. I don't think she will use this information when she writes up my little story. Still I have been continually employed by them since 1971 and there was a time from 1971 until about 1999 when it was a wonderful company to work for.  It was actually fun. We went from sixty stores in the Boston area to a low of eleven. At this point we are up to twenty stores and there are more stores planned, or so they say. They also told us in 1995 that by the year 2000 we would have 100 stores and expand into upstate New York. None of which happened. Since then we have been bought and sold three times. So that's my big exciting news.

  So that's it for now.
I'm outta here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Memorial. Waiting for color

The city here locally has set aside a small piece of land for a Krystle Campbell memorial, which will be dedicated shortly. To repeat, she was killed at the marathon and lived around the corner from me though I did not know her. Arlene did. Her daughters went to school with Krystle. They attended each others birthday parties. Through my connection with Arlene I feel a bit connected to the situation. I can't help but think about Krystle Campbell, driving by her house almost daily, on my way to and from work and various other places. I hope I am available that day.


And now for something completely different.

The Fall foliage seems to be a week or so behind around here. One tree across the street always seems to turn rather early every year. The rest of the trees are pretty green.
Arlene and I have tentative plans to travel north and catch some Fall colors when our schedules allow. Here are a few from New Hampshire, the Mt. Auburn Cemetery and local from about 9 years ago.

The Mt. Auburn Cemetery.




Yeah I know, that's a lot of pictures.
I am entering my three day work week. The weather will improve over the next few days, but it's coming. Winter is coming. Fall will be beautiful until it turns to grey. Well don't I sound cheery! Actually everything is ok. It probably won't be as bad a winter as last winter but you never know. 
As my friends father would say about 40 years or so ago, "We'll I'll be buzzing along now."
I'm outta here.