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.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I'm still here.

Well Arlene and I watched the lunar eclipse, (last week) and as we watched we also talked about the future. I mentioned that perhaps in the future I would like to move from here to New Hampshire. Now as I have said many times I love Boston. I love living so close to Boston. It is a wonderful city with much to offer. It is a very compact big city with so much history and innovation that it has offered to the country and the world. The very means that I am writing this got it's start right here. It is a world center for education. In fact I would say very few places , if any can measure up to the number of colleges and universities within it's city limits, not to mention it's metropolitan area. The medical institutions are second to none.   It's a very crowded place for it's physical size. The road layout is as old as the city. It's crowded and can be very difficult to get around. From various spots in my local city it's easy to see the Boston skyline. As we have become older though it's not as easy to deal with.
We have both have worked in downtown Boston over the years and depending on what time our jobs began, a five mile trip can take an hour. If I had to be at work at 6 a.m. I could be there in 15 minutes. If it was 8 a.m. then I could count on an hours commute. Long story short I brought up the possibility of moving north to New Hampshire. The Massachusetts New Hampshire border is only 20 minutes away from where we live. New Hampshire is a beautiful place and quite rural compared to here . There are as many people in the state as there are in downtown Boston  during the day. Boston proper is only 48 square miles. The cost of living is quite high. Third in the nation. This is still in the future. I will still be working part time for a little over a year then after that I want to be fully retired.
Just one more picture of the fabulous sea scallop dinner I had you know where.

 I just couldn't stand it anymore. I put on the heat today. It was 50 degrees outside and it was 50 degrees inside. At least now I'm at a toasty 64. I have no big plans for the weekend except purchasing a new vacuum cleaner. The old one swallowed something it could not digest and let out a horrible screeching sound. I tried to take it apart but to no avail. How to get rid of the old one is more of a problem than buying a new one. The trash service wants $25 to take it away. I will try to avoid that at all costs. Perhaps I will do that on Sunday since I am apparently not doing it today.

I hope to get back to blogging on a more regular basis. I have been busy, not home as often as I would like to be. I did my boss a favor and worked a full 40 hour week and now I have to cut back because I lose whatever extra money I get from work on my social security check. Though it's been about a year and a half since Arlene and I retired from full time work, we are still in an adjustment phase. We're both still working part time. I'm doing it to keep my insurance coverage until the time that I can sign up for the state health care coverage, she's doing it for some extra cash.

Well that's it for now. Not an exciting posting but a posting none the less.
I'm outta here.