Saturday, August 29, 2015

What to write?

Even though I don't get as many comments as I used to I am still compelled to write every few days. As it is some of the time I start writing without even knowing what I'm going to write. I've probably written the above before, who remembers. I blame the end of the '60s and most of the '70s if you know what I mean. Ooo! I've just written a neat segue for my recent ongoing activities. Boy am I smooth. I have been looking back at photos taken at the various trips Arlene and I used to take around New England. We haven't taken any of those one day trips as often since we've been going to Martha's Vineyard. 6 days on the Vineyard is much more expensive than a one day road trip around Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire or Rhode Island. I've only been to Vermont once and that was back in the '70s for a music festival and that ended in an argument with the other car in our mini caravan. We ended up at a campground for the night and drove home the next day. Still I do remember that it was a beautiful place and maybe someday I'll make it back up there. Speaking of the '70s here are a few pictures I dug up to show Arlene. I am at my friend Earls apartment. I don't remember the names of the 3 people on the left but that's my friend Rae Ellen and me on the right. I'm sure by what's on the table that we were all feeling pretty good.
  Below we are in Gloucester on Earls brother-in-law's boat. He was a fisherman. L-R Rae Ellen, Me, Winny (Earls brother-in-law), Earl's sister Cheryl.

 That's me exhibiting perfect form at Good Harbor beach in Gloucester.
 Here I am unaware of the shenanigans going on behind me. Ah the '70s.

 What else? Well  and here's a slideshow of Cambridge Ma. Normally it's jammed with cars and people with Harvard University right there. It's quite a funky place that I drove through for 11 years from 2000 to 2011 for work and for stretches in the 70's, 80's and 90's and again now though it's only for part time work. One Sunday morning before 7:00 a.m. I drove in, parked easily.  It was a nice morning, the square was empty and I just walked around taking pictures. I got back in my car and drove through the square and parked on the street that leads to the store I presently work and have worked at many times in the past. On one side of the street there are many beautiful homes. On the other side is the Charles River and Boston. As much as I complain about the ridiculous roadway layout on some roads that are almost 400 years old and the ridiculous traffic jams, I love this place. Sometimes we have an inferiority complex because we are the closest big city to New York, and I have nothing bad to say about New York, but Boston has nothing to be ashamed of. Besides the country starting here, the list of firsts in this city is second to none. Still it is a pain in the ass to get around sometimes. So here's a bit of Harvard Square and Mt. Auburn St. though I would be hard pressed to find where Mt Auburn is. Perhaps it's in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery which is hilly in many area's.

Coming soon Salem Ma.
Ok that's it for now, over and out.
I'm outta here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Maybe a rant...some pictures, well maybe a lot of pictures.

I have a cell phone. An inexpensive one that serves my purpose. I don't need or want a high zoot phone that will make pancakes. Don't get me wrong, it is amazing technology. A small hand held computer that gives you the ability to communicate and for use as a knowledge reservoir. My biggest problem with them are the people who have become oblivious to the outside world. They are walking around, eyes glued to the small screen. Screen staring zombies. Some people are so self absorbed they have walked into traffic. Traffic, remember that? I was in line at a supermarket Sunday morning. I had 4 items. The woman in front of me had about 8 items. In front of her was a 20 something couple with close to 20 items. They were both glued to their little screens. By the way this was a 12 items or less line. In front of them was a middle aged woman, yapping on a phone nestled in her shoulder, who was slowing things down by holding up her hand to the cashier, in a "I'll be with you in a minute" fashion. The cashier was visibly annoyed. If she could have shot laser beams out of her eyes that woman would have been a pile of ash. In the mean time as the yapping woman moved up to finally pay and have her groceries bagged, the young couple behind her were still fully involved with their respective devices, unaware that it was time to move up and interact with a living, breathing person. The woman in front of me shot me a "roll of the eyes" look. I gave her a "I know what you mean" look.

The cashier had to break their little self absorbed moment by saying, "Could please move up an put your items on the belt!?"
Well weren't they surprised! Hello! Grocery store! Public place! Lots of people! The cashier didn't say anything but she would have disintegrated these two as well. I'm sure she wasn't thrilled with the 20 items either. I had  20 dollar bill in my hand, the woman in front of me was holding a her card. As their groceries are being totaled up, the two have both lapsed back into the cyber world. 

"That's $32.78." They both snapped back to reality and the guy starts fishing in is pockets for some money. He counts out the bills when his female companion declares, "Wait I think I have the change in my bag." She begins fishing through her bag. We had to witness this whole thing right down to hearing, "...75..76 77... 78." Oh the twits walk among us.

About my Godzilla/Julia Child header. I was just fooling around with my photo program, though the image of Julia was too small and looks washed out. Julia Child lived in Cambridge Ma. She occasionally shopped in the store that I work in now and also worked in back in the early 80's. She was a tall, imposing woman. Not that she was standoffish. She was fine. Of course she could attract a crowd but she dealt with it and besides the locals were used to seeing her around. Well we were joking about her size and then that morphed into her fighting Godzilla. A few weeks ago I was sitting in front of the computer and decided to make the movie poster. I was just amusing myself for about an hour.

I have been going through my pictures as I mentioned before. We went to a local country style fair back in 2007. It was fun and very colorful.

Of course there was also top shelf Las Vegas caliber entertainment.

The popular Twirl and Urp.


Well that takes care of the Topsfield Fair. To make this blog even longer. Here are picture (slideshow) taken in Boston on a spring day in 2007. We went, among other places, to the Old Granary Burial Grounds. Buried here are Benjamin Franklins parents, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock. The interesting thing about John Hancock is that the hand that he signed the Declaration Of Independence with was stolen soon after he was buried. I didn't get all the gravestones photographed.
Well that's it for this long winded edition. Now back to, ugh...housework.
I'm outta here.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hot and sticky and sticky and hot.

Yeah I'm having internet woes or is it my computer? Is it both? Is it the phone company messing with my middle of the road internet service to get me to upgrade? All I can say is I will change my internet service, taking it elsewhere, just not now. So I'll live with it for now because of the way things are playing out for me personally. Was that vague enough or what?

Anyway all in all things are fine. Arlene and I are at the point of crossing out the days on the calendar until our vacation. Three or so weeks to go.

Hot and sticky and sticky and hot. That's what it's been round these here parts. Fortunately my computer functions for viewing a cd or playing with my photo program function. I went back and started looking at some pictures I took when I first began taking pictures for fun. Between 2005 to 2007 I used three different camera's during that time. Just point and shoot cameras. About three years ago I upgraded to my first big boy camera. It takes lovely pictures, but after a couple of years I got tired of lugging the suitcase that goes with the camera and it's lenses and so on. I still use it now and then but I'm much happier using Arlene's little point and shoot. I don't consider myself a photographer. I'm just a guy who likes to take pictures and am quite pleased that I can take 'em, load them in my computer and see what I've got. What could be easier?

I've made a slideshow with some pictures from 8-10 years ago. A few were probably posted back in the days of Spaces and some probably made it here on Blogger. It was nice to see some of the places that Arlene and I went back then. Some were just me poking about locally during winter, spring and fall. Oddly enough there aren't any from the summer. Here's a couple of examples.

There are times with weather like this, that I yearn for spring and fall. Winter not so much, but it does make you appreciate really good weather. Still we're not having wild fires as out in the western states and we are not in a drought situation so I will count my blessings. Despite the sometimes iffy weather and the ridiculous road system in this old American city, it's my home with so much to offer. If only they could invent teleporters so I could instantly go where I wanted to go instead of driving.
I'm outta here.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Last week, not my favorite week.

It was just a pain of a week last week. Now truth be told, nothing really awful happened, but it was full of annoyances. It all started with my boss who has been on vacation for what seems like since the turn of the century. I have worked the same 3 days for about a year and a half. I don't want any more than 3 days or else I would have stayed full time and made a lot more money. So when I glanced at the schedule what I saw was the same 3 days that I normally worked and I didn't bother to check the other days. I got up on Saturday and Arlene and I went out for an early breakfast. We had planned to go to the movies in the afternoon and perhaps finish the day on her porch doing in a bottle of wine. It's nice to watch the sun go down even though there's isn't a clean shot to the horizon. This is my favorite sunset shot I have ever taken. It was taken you know where as we walked to the ocean after dinner. Arlene just happened to look to her right and said, "Oh wow! Look at that!"
That's not the ocean but a pond across the street from the ocean.
This is how I envisioned my retirement. Now realistically I'm not going to be able to retire to that little gem of an island but as much as this area is my home I am getting tired of the traffic and the congestion. My part time job is 6 miles from my house and yet it took me an hour and 10 minutes to travel those six miles a few days ago. But I have digressed mightily. When Arlene and I returned from breakfast we both went back to our respective homes. As I walked in at 8:10 in the morning I see there is a message on my home phone. My first thought was, "Who the *!#$!!@!! has called me between 7 and 8 a.m. on a Saturday?"

It could be a family emergency so I listened to the message. It, thankfully wasn't a family emergency but a call from work. I hear this sing-songy voice say, "Hi! This is Stephanie from Star Market! We were wondering if you were going to come in for your 8-4:30 shift today? Please call us back and let us know! Thank you!"

What! I have to work! I was not happy. Since when do I work 4 days a week? Now I admit that I didn't look at the entire schedule but it would have been nice to be asked for the favor. I probably would have done it since they were short of help owing to my bosses prolonged vacation. It has been over 2 weeks at this point. So all of Saturdays plans went out the window. I worked and by the time I got home I was in no mood for porch sitting that evening. I was grumpy all day. I didn't get a chance to eat lunch so all I wanted to do when I got home was eat and pass out. As it has been over most of the U.S. it has been hot. 90 and humid yesterday and  it will be such for the rest of the week. Not my favorite weather. Ok I know it's summer and I suppose it's better than the 9 feet of snow of this passed winter, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Yeah I know I'm whining. There were other little incidents this passed week that annoyed me. Still apart from all of that I have to admit that I am a lucky guy. I have a wonderful partner in Arlene and I think I have enough saved for a fairly comfortable retirement. I can't wait to fully retire but that won't be for another year plus. At that point I will say goodbye to a job that I had with the same company for 46 years. It used to be a great company to work for, for the first 20 years. They were very innovative in the supermarket business credited with a few first such as wrapping meat on trays with a cellophane wrap, conveyer belts that took your groceries to the parking lot then having someone load them in your car. A 401k retirement plan that I had to be talked into when I was 22 and eligible. Who thought back then that I would be approaching 65 and have some money stashed away for a comfortable retirement.  Thank goodness I listened and joined all those years ago.

Of course things are quite different now in the supermarket business. The original family sold the company to the Chicago based Jewel corporation in 1964. Nothing really changed for us as the company was still growing. We owned the Boston area and started to expand into New Hampshire and down on Cape Cod. Jewel was very impressed with us and left family members to still run the company. Then there was a hostile take over of the Jewel Corporation in 1984. We were bought and sold several more times. The last owner before the present owner started to convert all our stores to another chain they owned who had no presence in the Boston area. Stores were closed and almost all Star Markets were converted to the other name. By 2012 60 stores had dwindled down to a handful of about six. Then guess what? We were sold again to an even bigger corporation. This time the people in charge said that they were going to start converting stores back to the original name because they felt it had some historic value in this area. 2015 is the hundredth year anniversary of it's founding. I hope it's not too late. I say this because there is a sentimental feeling about the name. My parents used to shop there in the 50's and 60's. As a child I was always fascinated by the conveyer belt that took your groceries to the bundle pick up outside the store. Were at 20 stores now but we are part of a 180 store chain all under one management with two different names. It's confusing for everybody.
This is the store. These are not my pictures, they are from the internet.

This is the bundle pickup which disappeared in 2007 when a kid got his hand stuck in some of the mechanism. He was not badly hurt but that was the end of it after some 47 years or so.
OK I know I have been all over the map with this post, repeating some things that I have written about in the past but as much as I was annoyed about having to work yesterday, I think I'm over it. It's a hot and humid one today and it will remain so for the rest of the week. Most of the U.S. is in the same boat. I look forward to the fall but not to the winter but that's part of the price you pay to live around here and this place ain't cheap. So now it's time to get cleaned up, put some pants on and get on with the day.

I'm outta here.

Friday, August 7, 2015

My car is home and other exciting tales

Here I sit, early on Friday afternoon, and I now begin a bit of "dooin 'nuthin'". At least until I have to get up for eating and other "reasons". The last 3 days have been just about perfect. There are big, cottony clouds, traveling through the sky, almost imperceptibly. Right now, right here it's sunny and 78 degrees. Perfect. It's been like this for several days and it looks to continue through Sunday.

Two days ago, I was on a break at work. The weather was just like today. I sat on a railing next to my rental car, wearing the silly "chefs costume" we wear in the deli. Somebody thought this would boost image? Do they think  people seeing a "chef" cutting their baloney will make it extra special? Anyway there was a small wooded area behind me. In the trees behind me was a crow. It was hopping around making a bunch of crow noises. It then flew to a tree to my right. It hopped around a bit and then, as I stared at the sky I heard a crow-like voice say, "Ha HAAA!"
It was as if it had finally found where it left it's car keys.

I started to laugh. Not just a chuckle, but really laughing, all by myself. It was just a very silly moment or someone could have viewed it from a distance as an employee snapping his twig.

Arlene, conveniently next door, and I have spent more than a few nights on her 3rd floor porch watching the sun go down. Something you begin, it seem, to do as you enter old fartdom. Something we have been doing since that night a couple of months ago on our favorite island. We sat and sipped drinks after a delicious seafood meal and watched the sunset over the small harbor. 

Last night I sat out on my sisters front porch. She and her husband live about a half a mile from me. It was another beautiful night. She's on the first floor but the view is about the same. Neither is a clear horizon shot as its houses and trees, still you could see a colorful sky. It was another pleasant evening. I went to her house for a minor detail but I thought it might be nice to perhaps enjoy a beer or two on their front porch. We sat and we laughed as happens when we get together. It's a nice quiet neighborhood. Now my brother in law Jim is generally a quiet guy. As we sat, there was a slight breeze as the sun had ,more or less, set. Maybe it was 70 degrees. Jim was telling us how much he liked the neighbors, neighborhood and how quiet it was. And it is a quiet neighborhood with little or no traffic. Jim went on, "Yeah, that guy across the street is a nice guy. It's really quiet. I really like all the neighbors, except for..." his volume increases."...that ASSHOLE NEXT DOOR!"

There was a prolonged, "SHHHssssshhhhSSSSSSHHH !" from my sister. I was on my second beer while Jim had been home all day. By the time I got there, let's just say, perhaps, the pump had been primed. I'm not saying that Jim is a loud and boisterous person. He's not. Some little incident with a snow blower last winter had made this neighbor a citizen of Assholia. 

To be fair Jims little faux pas lasted less that a minute. We spent most of the night laughing. We were actually the A Holes neighbors last night. In fact it was such a pleasant evening we sat out there for 5 hours. I got home at midnight. It was a good night.

I apologize for using that particular word on this and another blog a few weeks back. I normally don't go that way but on the other hand we're all adults and these words are common to all of us. It happens in real life.

Ok it's still fabulous outside! I picked up my car this morning. I knew my mechanic could fix something that would baffle a dealership. He's done it before. I was getting water leaking into the passenger side in the front from under the dash. Long story short, the heater is next to part of the air conditioning. Though the heater isn't on, your  antifreeze flows through the heater at engine temperatures. The part of the air conditioner that deals with the water condensation is covered with an insulation which melted, dripped down and plugged the very hole that's supposed to drain water down to the street. He called it a very poor design. He showed me the goop that plugged the drain. He showed me pictures of my dashboard all taken apart and where certain things were located. I didn't envy him having to take it apart. It wasn't cheap. It  never is. But I have been going to him since 1985. If you find a good auto person stick with them. They're not that easy to find.

Still fabulous outside!

The President left today for Martha's Vineyard. Though I would like to be there when he's there, I don't like being there with every one else that goes there in the summer. Soon though. Mid September. We can't wait.

More than likely there will be more porch time tonight. You have to enjoy these picture book days. All I have to do is think about the 9 feet of snow last winter. So we'll be doing our old fart bit tonight though I don't think we are full fledged old farts. We're probably sophomore old farts. We won't graduate to senior old farts for a few years yet. We still haven't decided if we're going to the prom.

I'm outta here.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Found pictures, naughty computer, naughty car...let's have some wine...and so on.

Well I found the pictures I took when Arlene and I went to Assembly Place. This will not be a very exciting post as most aren't but the picture came out much nicer than my efforts at the auto museum and besides it was a beautiful day. This place is situated by the river as it flows into Boston Harbor. We had lunch at Tony C's, the young ballplayer with enormous potential who had his career cut short and losing his life at about 50.

Believe it or not those are apartments above the restaurant.


Those tired looking commuter train cars are from the early 70's. The public transportation system can do with an update. It's the oldest and it shows.

I don't know what that blue building is. The tall building in the background is the Prudential Tower. I still think it looks goofy with it's little flat, robot head. All that are missing are two robot arms.
I have been working on this blog for almost a week. I have been having trouble staying on-line. It has been quite exasperating, but staying realistic it's only a computer, and for the most part everything else is alright. I am not in the market for a new computer at this time but that's probably in my not too distant future. One of the things that is not so alright is a water leak inside my car. It is a nice car and has been a very reliable. It's a Ford Fusion in a tuxedo, though the Fusion is a very nice car. Beside new tires and wheels it has not given me a lick of problems in 6 years...
 ...until now. Water has leaked in from somewhere and seems to be in the dash. When I take a left hand turn, it sounds like pouring sand going from left to right as the car leans that way. Several minutes later it drips into the passenger foot well. Fortunately there's a large rubber mat that so far has caught it. It's going into the shop on Monday as I write this on Saturday. Hmmm...maybe next year on the computer. 
What else? I took this picture of the moon last night. It was a warm comfortable night. Arlene and I sat on her porch and had some wine. That sounds so pretentious. Realistically, after going out for a bite to eat we killed a bottle of wine and I was home by 10. Wine has become more prominent in our lives since we both retired, though we still both work part time. As I walked next door and down the drive way the moon appeared against a blackened  sky. I went in, got my camera and took a bunch of shots. All but two were blurry. One came out nice, though I did enhance it with my photo program.
I found myself talking to myself, though this is not that unusual. This time when I caught myself, I started talking to myself, about talking to myself. I suppose this comes from living alone. Not that there's anything wrong with it, I like it. Eventually Arlene and I will probably end up living together but as of now and the near future the present arrangement is how it is.
OK. I think the well has run dry. Hopefully I'll be able to do some catching up in Bloggerville.
I'm outta here.