Our Guest Has Gone Home

That was a busy few days with the guest visiting and staying for a while. We got to do a lot of fun stuff while she was here. LD is an excellent host, and I’m delighted she got to spend time with her childhood pal. They visited the beach several times, we watched the Brats show on the Brat Pack, practiced Pig Yoga together, grilled a dinner one night and made two big batches of the lemon soup for the landlady down the street, (yes, our guest helped out!) and had brunch at a 60s-inspired diner. Even Carson got used to her being around after a while.

The girls went to see a sunset and capybaras yesterday (I’m a little jealous that I wasn’t able to go due to other commitments, but judging from the hundreds of photos they took, it looked like a great time. Perhaps I can return there for my birthday!) Anyways while they were doing that I was hamming and hawing it up watching the Celtics win the championship. So sweet!

Now maybe a couple of days of normalcy during this heat wave we are currently having before the next adventure!

Piggy Yoga is Now a Thing

So much fun! I was surprised at how fun it actually was! Then it was an afternoon by the pool, a night of grilling and doing a fire pit. Beautiful day!

Gametime: Tongue Tied. Help the frog reach the stars! Pretty cool game.

Currently Watching: Brats. A doc about the Brat Pack of the 80s headed by one of them.

Preparing for Adventure

The view early morning at Nauset Beach.

Above is another one of my photos that I had lying around and decided to post up.

So, between work today, I managed to do some stuff around the house. The new network is up and running, and all the cameras are connected, once I had noticed that they were still looking for the old network and basically wouldn’t work. The set-top box is running Android TV, which works perfectly with the new TV remote and Google Assistant. It’s such a relief to have everything set up and working properly. I still want to play around a little bit with using my voice to control it. i know it’s nothing new but since the old box didn’t support it we never had those features.

The guy who was due to install the railings to the front steps finally showed up today, too, and got started putting up the new rails on the new steps. It was a bit of a surprise since I wasn’t expecting him, well I was, but a head’s up once in a while would have been nice. They didn’t take long to install, and I have to say, I think they really look great! The new rails are much safer than the old ones, and they also add a nice touch of style to the front of the house.

Overall, it was a productive day. Work on the garden and other areas around here continue apace. We’d like to get everything in order for when our guest arrives to hang out for a few days with us. There’s going to be a bunch of hopefully fun adventures lined up!

And now for something totally bananas! I used A.I to create a song in a bout a minute. Check it out.

When in Jersey…

Just got back from a weekend in New Jersey. It was LD’s college reunion so we attended. She got to get together with some old freinds, some she hadn’t seen in quite some time.

It was a fun outing. The weather was nice. Before the actual dinner they had a mass at the connected chapel to the college. What a beautiful chapel, I had never actually been inside before. Picture doesn’t really do it justice. You have to be in there and admire the high ceilings and stained glass and sculptures. Excellent attention to detail. We then took a little tour of the campus and the girls reminisced of their times there. It was cool to hear the stories.

The actual event itself wasn’t run too well, too many little things for listing now, but one funny story is this woman who joined our table and I guess was part of their class except she was like not a regular student, more like a weekend college kind of thing. She kept getting in all the pictures and interrupting but I suppose just wanted to be a part of the festivities. She said she was some sort of couples counselor but when you pressed her on certain things, it just sounded weird and off. There’s a lot more, like the time I handed her a photo prop that had the word Princess on it and she looked at me like I had three heads. (she had said her name was Princess, like I said, a bit strange). Anyways there’s way more to be said about these various encounters but better to tell it in person.

We had pizza at a local place by a train station and got to hang out with another friend who decided to come down and meet us, which was nice. We stayed at The Madison, a place we used to stay at often before the pandemic (since the pandemic we never use hotel rooms anymore, mostly Airbnb’s now) but for this particular trip is was convenient. Except the place is kind of going downhill, which is sad. I mean, it always had it’s foibles but now with it being sold to some company and not run by a family anymore, you can tell the difference. The food’s not the same, the service is definitely not the same, they even removed the pool to build another space for weddings (since that’s it’s main gig these days) and having a pool was one of the main reasons for choosing that place – for us. We didn’t check the reviews beforehand because we thought it would be like it always was. Won’t be making that mistake again!

The next day he hit the town center and met up with two other friends from LD’s graduating class at a diner called The Nautilus. Another place that I probably hadn’t been to in over 10 years if not more. That was pretty much the same. Again, fun meeting them and listening to the stories. Then it was off to grab some Jersey Boy bagels for the road and head on back.

The Verizon guy finally came this morning and upgraded everything, including a new set top box, which is what started this whole rigmarole. But now we are blasting with giganet speeds so access quality should be really good now.

Currently Reading: Staying with the computer future for the moment: Quantum Supremacy (review).

A Wonderful Discovery of Birding

I just got around to trying this app called Merlin which identifies birds just by listening to them singing and tweeting. This thing is pretty sick and works awesome! The Merlin app is free from Cornell. It will record and identify birds by their calls in a matter of seconds. In under a minute, it could identify 6 different birds from the backyard!.I really like using the Sound ID function, just sitting out back with it listening and seeing the different bird species pop up that it identified. It also seems to do a great job of ignoring any background noise. How did I not know about this sooner?? Download it!

Let’s Make It a Beach Date!

We had a good day at the beach yesterday, meeting up with some friends. Good times. The weather was also amazing. I did not wade in the ocean, but everyone else did! We noticed a bunch of people playing what must be some new beach game. It looks like there’s a mini trampoline and you biunce a ball off of it to the other person. Never seen this before but a bunch of people had there own games set up which makes me thing maybe it’s the latest thing?

We all got a little sunshine. Afterwards, LD and I went to Green Harbor for some lobster rolls and clams; we were there, so why not? When we got home, I made some teriyaki rice with vegetables and we watched some more The Shield episodes.

This morning, I went to town to mow the lawns, and we jointly mulched several of the lily beds. Mulching appears to be an endless task. I also cleaned off the Adirondack chairs and patio table to remove the pollen that had accumulated. This gardening stuff is a lot of effort (granted, it’s a rather big back yard). It looks great when everything is finished. I feel fairly accomplished this morning, despite the fact that I’m little sore.

Beautiful Pool and Tiny Chairs

Yesterday afternoon was spent in Georgetown visiting our friends who just put in a truly gorgeous inground pool. We got in the water (a nice warm 77+ degrees) and even sat on these relaxing ledges that surround the pool in different areas. They need to finish all the hardscape around it, add the firepit, etc. but so far it is really sweet! I had a great time. We also got to hang out with their dog Molly again who just recently got spade so had to wear a donut around her head. She’s the cutest!

After that we got more mulch in the early evening and these plant holders that look exactly like the two blue Adirondack chairs that we have in the back. These are essentially miniature versions of those so they match great. Now it’s off to the beach to meet up with some other pals of ours. I also want to look at Hoka sneakers soon and see what the buzz is about as my cherished New Balance M880E10s aren’t being produced anymore. More later…

What Should Be Simple Becomes a Sisyphean Task

LD in tech support hell

The cable set-top box failed yesterday, and it was a nightmare attempting to contact support with all of the automated prompts and live chat operators. It was difficult just to get someone to simply replace the box. What should have taken a few minutes if you could reach a human on the phone took more than two hours on the computer. Poor LD dealing with all that stuff, she has the patience of a saint but even this was getting to her, naturally so.

The box just keeps rebooting itself; I believe the hard disk within it ultimately failed, as it was quite old. It had started acting a bit wonky earlier in the day. Anyway, a guy will be out in about ten days to perform whatever they need to. In the interim, luckily, we can still use all of the TV applications and things; it’s just the cable that’s unavailable for now. Seriously thinking of ditching that whole thing but they don’t make it easy, plus it’s not as cost effective as it used to be to cut the cord and get all the stuff you want.

Anyways, after that cluster, LD had a now much-needed accupuncture appointment and I decided to tag along and hang out at a nearby park and waited and read while she was having the treatment. After a couple of hours there we came back and I fired up the grill to use up some chicken that had to be used in the next day or so or it would go bad. I ended up grilling some marinated chicken late last night. LD said it came out good, so there’s that!

Pet Peeve of the Week

Oh you know I’m getting one of these Deadpool & Wolverine popcorn buckets (YouTube link) when the movie hits this theatres this summer!

I like how without warning the town just decides to repave all the streets in our surrounding neighborhood and close them all off, with no communication about it, Just show up out of the blue and screw it all up. Getting in and out of here is a nightmare right now. Although I suppose once it’s done it’ll be nice. Just a little heads up once in a while would be greatly appreciated. I went to Somerville and hung out with these two guys yesterday.

Laurel and Hardy (Laurel is the one with the dreamy eyes).

I’m somehow down to the FINAL level(!) having finally solved all of the other ones of Cargo Lines, the game I mentioned an entry or two before. Pulling my hair out trying to solve this last one. This game is great! Oh, and my left knee appears to be bugging me again, think I’ll need to start wearing the brace again.

Currently Reading: The Unclaimed: Abandonment and Hope in the City of Angels. (NYT Review here).

Just a Quick Little Recap for This Weekend Thus Far

Over the weekend, We dedicated a significant amount of time to taking care of various tasks and activities. We both started by tending to the garden, spending hours working on planting and mulching to ensure the plants thrived. LD was in particular beast mode today removing a bunch of weeds. We then made a trip to the Depot to pick up new string for the trimmers, the darn thing ran out on me as I was whacking away. Saturday evening, I prepared the grill for some steak tips and zucchini, providing a flavorful and satisfying dinner ( or so I hoped). The following day, we opted for a classic choice of turkey burgers something simple plus we had some on hand. With that we added some shucked corn on the cob, which we find comes out pretty nice on the grill. With leftover chicken on hand, we decided to make the now famous lemon orzo soup to avoid any waste and have something else to nosh on during the week ahead. We also brought some of the soup to LD’s previous landlady, who had recently been hospitalized, offering both nourishment and support during a challenging time. She should be coming home today so that’s good news. Amidst the planting and mulching and even a little bit of napping, I managed to make progress on reading some books that I had been meaning to finish, finding a moment of relaxation and fulfillment in the midst of a busy weekend. The only real bummer is having to attend a wake later this afternoon for a woman who was kind to us and helped us with our burgeoning green thumbs.

Currently Watching: The Shield, not your everyday cop show from the early aughts.

Getting Super Excited for the Start of Summer!

I mowed both the front and back lawns, (that back one is such a large area!), but kept the buttercup area in the middle of the lawn since it appears that a bunny has placed a nest right smack dab in the center of it. I don’t mow those down anyway until they’ve finished blooming. Looks sort of comical having a neat lawn and this outcrop of buttercups right smack dab in the middle of it.

On a sad note, the garden lady that helped us with many questions and gifted a bunch of her lilies over the years from her garden suddenly passed away this week, so we’ll go to the wake on Monday and LD will probably also attend the funeral on Tuesday. She was a wonderful woman to all who knew her and will be sorely missed. We were going to visit some pals down in Fairhaven that day, but decided to take a rain check to attend these services instead. We’ll also do some more garden cleanup around her lilies that are here to honor her and keep the memory alive.

I was going to fire up the grill tonight for the first time this season and do up some steak tips and zucchini but instead we decided on pizza and takeout. I’ll grill those things up tomorrow afternoon.

June is looking to be an extremely busy month with a lot of activities I’m really looking forward to. They’ll be some rather unusual new animal encounters, a couple of friendly visits from some folks we love, a new pool party invite, an island excursion, and a lot more. Can’t wait to experience them and share!

Serenity Now

Game Time: Cargo Lines. This game is actually pretty fun, I like using my brain to try and solve the puzzles. I’m on the red crated levels now and the difficulty has really ramped up!

Kind of a weird day today, thunderstorms, then sun, then rain, then hot sun. At least the good news is that I didn’t get too wet outside today.

Feeling High as Flying a Kite at Revere Beach

We went today to go check out the 8th Annual Revere Beach Kite Festival. It looked like it rained a little bit, but mostly it was just overcast, and though it first it sounded like it might not have been the right decision to go, that changed as time went on, and it was actually a really fun time! And of course afterwards I had to gobble down a Kelly’s Roast Beef. I even got a gift for LD’s friend who’s coming to visit next month.

A video from last night’s Trixter show that we almost attended: YouTube link. Also some of the bikes at the ride yesterday looked pretty rad to me, including this Urban Arrow Bike, which costs an amazing 8,000 dollars. Personally, for me, I think I’d rather buy a car for that money.

Currently Reading: Another coming through my Libby app, Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture. (review here) I really got to get cranking on finishing these books before I have to return them!

Finding Sanctuary in a Change of Plans

We were supposed to go to New Jersey this weekend, Teaneck to be precise, to see the band Trixter play at a place called the Debonair Music Hall, (we had the tickets and lodging all squared away beforehand) but with LD’s concussion healing and due to the lateness, stimuli and whatnot, decided to bag that for now and maybe go again at a later date. The time just didn’t seem right for right now.

Passing by this statue I had to photograph – I thought it looked really cool! (Sanctuary Theatre)

So instead, I went on the Cambridge City Spring bike ride! This particular ride’s theme was passing by all the locations and neighborhoods of the Cambridge African American History trail, stopping at two places, one being the boarding house that Harriet Jacobs ran for a while. While there I learned of her book written in 1861 and decided to add it to my reading list next.

Currently Reading: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (1861).

Baby Bunny Sighting

Nice to see that at least one of the baby bunnies from a few weeks ago is still hanging around and seems to be doing fine. It was definitely going to town eating some grass.

Baby bunny sighting in the yard being dwarfed by the leaves of the tiger lily plants.(Pic courtesy of LD).

Yes, I know I probably need to cut the grass again already due to all the moisture we’ve had over the last couple of days,

On another pleasing note, tonight is my work group dinner at a local restaurant, where we all hang annually and just enjoy each others camaraderie and maybe swap some war stories from our time in the field. We’ll see if I have anything interesting to share afterwards.

Currently Reading: The Lost Tomb: And Other Real-Life Stories of Bones, Burials, and Murder. I had just finished the last book I read about Michael Lauder and this read should be lighter.

Yard Work Sunday

Yesterday we finally got the flowers in the beds and pots. I pulled out the grill and swapped out the tanks between the heater and the grill. Saturday was Porchfest over at Earth-1 and I didn’t go because I knew it would be crazy. In fact, the band Guster really made an impact. I don’t know who they are but I guess they’re pretty well known. This was literally on my street. Drives my mom crazy. Actually a lot of the residential homeowners hate the event because a lot of people aren’t respectful of their property.

The mama robin next door has been busy feeding her babies. It’s really amazing to watch.

I went ahead and removed the glass panes from the storm doors and installed the screens. A yearly tradition but Carson likes to be able to smell the smells outside when he sits on his perch by the front door.

Plants for Life

We went over to the town’s annual garden club putting and picked up a bunch of plants for the gardening ahead. It was in Walpole this time, just over the city line, at a conservation land that I’d never been to. It actually was a pretty good place to have this event. They usually have it at one of the town pool areas but that location is being redone over the summer so they had to have the event at a different place. We got a couple of beautiful hanging plants and a bunch of smaller little plants that we’ll be putting into pots and adorning the decks with.

We then grabbed a quick breakfast at a place not too far away called Blue Moon Café, which I had been to once last year. Got a bunch of things there but unfortunately while LD asked for an ice coffee it arrived as hot. Ended up drinking it anyway.

The Captain Will See You Soon

Here is a photo I took in April. The osprey nest in the window’s reflection was something I had not noticed until someone pointed it out to me! We ate here a few years ago when it was previously owned by what I assumed at the time to be a local family. It has since been purchased by new owners, who intend to reopen it this summer – it has been closed for a couple of years now but things seem to be looking up.

Speaking of the coming summer, June is looking to be a very busy month for us – the calendar is getting crazy filled up with stuff – very exciting times! I’ll give more details into each of the events as they appear.

The Grass Just Keeps on Growing

A slight exaggeration

Mowed the front lawn this afternoon. It’s amazing how fast the grass is growing now after pretty much being dormant for months. No sooner do I mow it then it seems it needs mowing again!

Earlier in the day my phone beeped me a notification that a book on my Libby download queue was ready to be grabbed. It had been a while since a book I had wanted to read was ready.

Currently Reading: The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions. I wasn’t sure about this book at first because it looked pretty long but a few chapters in and I’m getting hooked. It’s actually a pretty good read. It’s up for a Pulitzer.

Typical Tuesday in Springtime

Yesterday was a busy day for me. In started off with me doing my weekly rounds around the town and having to deal with people. You need a somewhat tough skin for the job but also to keep being nice as the public face. I think I’ve found a pretty good balance of that.

Since it was so nice yesterday but supposed to rain the rest of the week I decided to tackle mowing the back yard, first time this year. The grass was starting to get a bit long back there. I ran out of gas for the mower halfway through so I had to take a quick jaunt to the station to refill up the can but after that I finished it up nicely.. As in years prior I did not mow this patch of wild buttercups that grow in the middle of the lawn as part of helping out the back yard ecology. I do mow that down after they’re finished blooming.

As evening neared, I prepared dinner: beef bolognaise with zucchini slices. I felt it turned out fairly well. We ended the evening by finishing all of the NYPD Blue episodes available on streaming, which totaled over 200. Admittedly, I did fall asleep during some of them throughout the course of the weeks we were viewing.

Carson has been “camping” in the sun room, refusing to go to bed. The last time he did this, baby bunnies were born in the flowerpot on the terrace. The fact that he’s starting to do this again has me wondering if Mommy Bunny is returning for another round. I went out there this morning to check the pot and see if anything had changed. I did observe that the hole was covered in thatch, and when I pushed it up, I noticed what appeared to be new fur lining, but it was otherwise empty, so I believe another round will be arriving soon.

Speaking of babies, a robin has been resting in the nest above the neighbor’s garage next door, where the morning doves had all of their offspring last year. I suppose she chose to use what they had previously constructed for her eggs. Smart little lady!

My mom is having her second cataract operation this morning, this time in her other eye. The first op was quite the success so after this one her eyesight should be pretty good. I’m going over there later this afternoon.

Lunching with Alpacas and Baby Goats

Yesterday was quite a hectic day for us. We met with a friend at LD’s office first since we needed to assemble a new office chair, which we did quickly, as well as bring back items that I’d need to take care of, such as repairing the dollhouses’ grandfather clock and getting rid of some old stuff. It was then out to the wilds of Northborough for lunch with alpacas. Now, the lunch consisted of little sandwiches and salad, but that wasn’t the point. It was actually lunchtime with alpacas.

So you eat, and then they bring down the alpacas, who you can feed, touch, hang out with, and photograph. That was really great, but then the proprietors decided to let the baby goats out to run wild, and you could feed and cuddle them as well. It was mayhem, but it was a lot of fun! Would recommend ten times out of ten! We must have taken hundreds of photos between the three of us, but I’ll leave this brief sampling for now.

Like I said, it was a pretty busy weekend all in all, but surely a fun one.

When we finally got home we arrived to see that LD’s old landlady left more containers and ingredients for us to make more lemon orzo chicken soup! It’s getting a little ridiculous that this lady likes the soup so much and wants nobody other then us to make it for her. Anyways, as tired as we were we decided to bang out two huge pots of the stuff. Amazingly we were able to get in all done under and hour and a half. We even added some kale this time, mostly because we had to use up the bag. I’ll be dropping off the various containers filled with this soup to her later today. Where does she put it all?

The wrought iron railing guy is supposed to show up this afternoon to go over some options to finish off the front stairs that was completed last month. Apparently there’s a separate guy from the mason that does that work (at least the folks that we know).

Oh! And we finally got back the workout template of all the exercises we did last Saturday. We’re supposed to these I think 2 or 3 times a week. I’m posting it here if you want to play along with us.

Circuit 1: 

  • Squat to Box 3 x 10 
  • Single Arm Bent over Row 3 x 8-10 each side 
  • Single Arm Overhead Press 3 x 10 each side
  • Lateral Lunge 3 x 10 each side 
  • Bicep Curls 3 x 10 

Circuit 2:

  • Romanian Deadlift 3 x 10 
  • Tricep Kickback 3 x 10 each side