Looking Ahead

Looking ahead.

2019 wasn’t the worst year ever, but certainly wasn’t the best for me either. I think 2020 is probably going to be a bit of a test as well, especially at the beginning, but hopefully over time things will improve.

Anyways let’s look at the bright spots. Here are some of the highlights that I can remember from 2019, in no particular order:

Losing Oreo but gaining Carson.

Visiting Blue in Newburyport in a snowstorm.

Nice beach views!

Seeing Damone perform live again. Kris Kristofferson too with/for my mom.

Baby Robins! It was a thrill every day to see how they would progress, from eggs, too little alien looking things, to growing feather, and finally saying goodbye. Their mother was amazing in her care of them.

Scoring free tickets to see Jack Nicholson in the Shining at the Somerville Theatre.

Mother’s Day Cruise aboard the Beauport Liner in Gloucester.

Scenes along the Gloucester harbor.

Remodeling the bedroom, scoring a free bike on one of the Buy Nothing Facebook groups.

Large Condo apartments being built on either side of Earth-1 property, squeezing a rose between two thorns. Ridiculous!

Michelle coming to visit and doing Alpaca Yoga with her.

Gardening game going strong, and growing “Sean”, our first pumpkin.

Going away to the Cape for a week, getting some good photos, but having to be in a different unit than usual next to the “murderers.” Not really – they were just really quiet and not sure where the rest of their party disappeared to.

Cape sunsets are the best.

Having a short stay on the Jersey shore, in an historic BnB but narrowly avoiding what could have been a massive storm!

The storm moving in!

Trying another bout of baby goat yoga at a place in Georgetown. Will definitely visit again but also will probably hit our go to place in NH as it seems their babies are really small and cute.

Waquesset Inn overnight stay.

the patio.

New website design after the old system could no longer be supported.

Boston views as always:

Finally some books I read thus far in 2019:

Books I read in 2019. Bad Blood, Maybe you should talk to Someone, and Still Alice being favorites.

MOS

Looking toward the Longfellow Bridge through the glass panes.

Spent yesterday at the Museum of Science in Boston. It’s a lot more interactive than I remember it being – I guess they redid a lot of it over. I was pretty impressed actually. Lots of stuff to do there. We took in a 4D movie as well. I didn’t really know what that meant. You wear the glasses so the screen is 3D but then there are environmental effects as well. When a snake goes by on screen you can feel something slithering along your legs, when a blast of wind comes through, you can feel that to, your seat shakes and vibrates with loud noises, and you even get wet with a mist of water during rain and rapid flowing water shots. Something different for sure!

Also played a lot of Air Hockey this weekend, saw some animals at the Sanctuary, watched Home Alone and ate a ginormous pizza. I think all had a good time! I also joined a new group of fellow jukebox owners. Pretty friendly community of folks to chat with!

UnCut Gems

Spent the afternoon down in Dartmouth with friends and then decided to see the new movie “Uncut Gems” with Adam Sandler. Not quite the movie I was expecting – pretty tense – and not the ending I expected either. Was it good? Yeah, I’d say it was good but not one of my all time favorites.

Been setting up my new Fitbit watch. Pretty cool. My version of Android is too old (I really need to get the S10 in the spring/summer, but for now I can use the iPad to set things up. Overall, I’m really digging the smartwatch features.

Got some very special guests coming for the weekend, so updates might be light until I can back to the computer.

Merry Xmas All

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

Merry Xmas all!

Had a wonderful Xmas eve and Xmas day hang out with my sister being over. Think she had a fun time too. We had an eggplant ricotta bake on Xmas eve, and then for Xmas day we made some ham, cauliflower au gratin, and a bunch of other fixings.

We created a festive milk chocolate Christmas tree kit using a kit with icing for the tinsel that you stuck the ornaments to – came out pretty good! Ended the night playing some Scattergories and watching A Christmas Story (again).

Christmas day we ate, played some air hockey, and chatted about lots of stuff. After driving her home we visited my mom and hung there for a little bit also visiting Laurel and Hardy (my mom’s crazy cats).

Returning back, we opened our gifts, and Carson played with all his new gifts too. I hope this was his best Christmas yet. He especially likes his little mouse string toy. We’ve been trying to get a good picture of him for a possible upcoming holiday card to send out. He’s so fast and active though!

I got some cool stuff too – clothes I could use and some fun stuff that I wanted – three books to read that was on my Goodreads list (The Power Broker, Highway of Tears and The Big Nine) as well a new Fitbit Versa 2! Thanks Santa!

May you have the spirit of Christmas which is Peace, the gladness of Christmas which is Hope, and the heart of Christmas which is Love!

Christmas Eve Eve

Birds at the feeder

I read this interesting article in the paper yesterday that a bunch of states were re-instituting the teaching of writing cursive. I mostly always wrote out everything in printed letters and still do so a while back I retaught myself cursive because I had found that I had actually forgotten how to form some of the letters like capital Q. The article said kids these days can’t even sign their signature, bad as I was I never forgot how to do that.

My sister is coming over for an overnight! So planning on having some nice meals and chat and games and downtime. Think it might be fun.

Sunday Status

Holiday scene on some property in Waltham. We dug the spinning carousel.

Transplanted my little ‘Ellwoodii’ European Tree into a bigger pot. It’s amazing how fast it dries out so I have to keep making sure the soil is moist. Also just bought an amaryllis that is almost ready to bloom. I also checked up on the bird feeder out back and noticed the usual collection of cardinals, blue jays, wrens, sparrows, woodpeckers, chickadees, finches and juncos all grabbing a snack or two.

Looked over a few little libraries in the afternoon in Waltham, since we happened to be in the area doing other stuff. Picked up a book called Status Update from inside one of them. Might be a good read although probably a little dated by this point. Also cooked up some homemade chicken soup and chili using the Instant Pot. That thing really is a wonder.

In the downtime I ended up binge watching the last few episodes of Watchmen and I’ve since changed my mind on it – it was pretty mind blowing.

Carson Kitty Adventures

Carson Kitty

Went out for a nice dinner with friends last night over in Dedham. I just wish I could shale this annoying cough I seem to have developed. I know it’s all part of the process of this cold working it’s way through my system, but annoying nonetheless. I think I’ve drunk more tea this week than I ever have in my entire life.

Carson is settling in really nice now. This new addition is making us all very happy, and I think the feeling is mutual!

On the Mend

A heron waits for some geese to pass by, just like I’ve been feeling.

I started the week feeling a little under the weather, so that’s why it’s been a little quiet around here. I am starting to feel better though so I’ll start updating again. Carson is adjusting quite well, he is really such a love and cute. The little guy has quite a personality. He loves the brush and to be groomed so if he runs away you just show him the brush and he runs right back to you. He can also be coaxed out of hiding by luring him out with his toys. I’ve noticed he also has this thing where when he wants a drink of water he scoops out 4 or 5 pawfuls and drinks it out of his paw before placing his face in the bowl. Never saw anything like that before! Now I just need to get over this cold and I’ll be golden!

Carson First Look

“I’m Batman.”

Well, here he is. The newest member of the family. He was apparently already done with the room he was in and wanted to explore the rest of the house already, at least he did at 3 am last night by keeping up us banging on the door. So this morning I let him out and he’s slowly checking things out but overall I think he’s adjusting pretty quickly!

Carson Comes Home

Rocks that have nothing to do with Carson, I just like the shot.

Today was the day that we were to meet Carson, the cat that had been living in a shelter in Millis for two months. I don’t know what is was about him when we saw his picture on the website but his big round eyes, dashing grey coat with white paws, and heart-shaped nose cuteness just spoke to us like he could be the one. Around noontime was the appointment and we arrived a little early. When we were finally introduced he looked a little scared at first, but not too bad. He allowed us to brush and pet him and play with him and it was almost like an instant connection. Yes, he is a bit shy and skittish at first, because it’s all new to him, but I could tell he will adjust really fast. I could tell he would be a gentle and friendly cat. Plus, he apparently loves face-scratches which is something LD had become an expert at with Oreo, so right there is a connection that could work for us. He’s shy (but I found not overly so) and he didn’t hiss or scratch, he seemed like a real catch. I knew we could love this cat and that he also has the capability to return the favor.

It was pretty much a done deal after spending some time with the little guy. Carson was getting an all expenses paid trip to his new forever home. After all the paperwork was signed, he got placed in the carrier and I let him say goodbye to his other cat friends at the shelter, who in their own way, probably felt bittersweet. Sad that he was leaving them, but happy that he could find a loving home to be in. I’m sure the volunteers who help out at the shelter felt the same way. Also, I have to say this shelter was amazing so I’m giving a plug to Purr-fect Cat Shelter. They are really a wonderful folks doing good work there so if you’re looking for cat, check them out.

So with that, I’m happy to say that Carson is now a member of the family! I’ll get some nice pictures of him up after he gets a little more adjusted to his new home, that grey and white handsome bundle of joy. Interestingly I had found a Xmas tree ornament while shopping at Target last night with his exact name on it. What are the odds of that? I don’t think that’s an everyday name but it does seem to suit him, so we’ll be keeping that. Naturally we ended up buying it, so I guess it was fate that he would be coming home with us today. The shelter folks told us to keep him in a room for the time being to adjust to his new surroundings and slowly let him acclimate to the rest of the house over time, so for the time being he’s hanging upstairs in the home office room. So far, I think he seems to be adjusting quite well – it being fairly quiet here and no other cat shenanigans to worry about.

Welcome home, Carson!

Anticipation

After going to some doctor appointment visits, I went ahead over to the pet store to get some new gravel, some treats, a blanket, and some pet-safe ice melt in preparation for any newcomers to the family that might hopefully find a new home here tomorrow! I had forgotten how heavy those 40 pound gravel containers can be – it’s been a while since I had to lug those around, but to be honest, I do feel it’s time to welcome a new pet into our lives. I also brought up some stuff from storage that will be getting re-used.

In my spare time I’ve been playing Ninja Rian, which has me pulling my hair out every time I perish, but it is a fun platformer. As for TV shows I had been watching, I caught the 5-episode Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover on CW, which deals with all their DC superheroes and merging all the different universes into one. If you’re familiar with the comic from the 1980s you’ll understand, (hmmm I actually have all those original issues in storage – wonder if they have any good value? At least a few hundred dollars at this point) and I’m liking it so far – part 2 being the best of the first three to me. That was also the inspiration for me way back to designate my two main places of habitation as Earth-1 and Earth-2! 🙂

I had to order some Panasonic rechargeable batteries for my home phone back at Earth-1. I had forgot that you can’t just swap in regular AAAs into the phone as it requires these kinds of batteries. I do have to say, the ones I have in there lasted a hell of a long time. Meanwhile, over at Earth-2 I had noticed one of the lighted reindeers out front wasn’t turning his head anymore. I went out there and investigated. Somehow the connection rod from the motor to the link on the neck had gotten free. Just putting it back together was all it took to make it work again. I went ahead and pulled to trigger on those Mathis tickets for my mom – early xmas gift – 5th row!

Xmas Wish List

Holiday scene from Kennebunkport, Maine

It’s officially 2 weeks away from Christmas! People ask me, “What do you want for Christmas?” and I have no ideas.  Truth is I don’t really want or need anything, maybe some books on my Goodreads “to-read” list and maybe a Fitbit Versa 2 and a sweater or two, but honesty not really much if anything (!!) When I was a kid, I would like to receive presents but nowadays I get more joy from getting other folks things. I have stuff for LD all lined up (although I always want to get more – especially stocking stuffers) and I think I might get tickets to Johnny Mathis for my Mom (he’s coming to Medford in May – also Damone is doing another show in May, might get those for myself).

Four Seasons

In the late afternoon, I walked down and grabbed the commuter rail train down to South Station to meet up with LD and attend the holiday party that her workplace was having at the Four Seasons. I had a good time, I’m glad that I was able to go, and I met some nice people that LD works with. Interestingly, we found the food wasn’t all that spectacular – previous years when it was held a the Intercontinental, we thought it was better. Also it was kinda a strange setup spread throughout multiple rooms but it was a lot of people in attendance. I got to hold a tiny bunny all swaddled up too. I may update this entry with more observations later so check back if you want to.

Have an appointment over the weekend to meet ‘Carson.’ A shelter cat we’ve had our eye on and we’ll see if he comes home with us!

Pumpkin Treat

The other day we decided to put the pumpkins that Squibbs had starting boring into out in the back yard. This morning this is what we saw!

Later on went to the Xmas Tree store and got some red bows and then ties them to the lighted reindeers out front. Really brings them out more I think – looks pretty good. Unfortunately I had forgotten that the Patriots were playing at home today so getting through Patriot Place was a bit of a nightmare. After that spent a little bit of time at the Sanctuary – it was really quiet but did get to hang with a few animals for a while.

I’m sweating right now helping out the cooking of salmon, tofu, chicken soup, and chili. Yes, four different dishes so we’ll be all set for the week.

I bought a tiny Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwoodii‘ (Lawson Cypress). Basically a little tiny Christmas-like tree in a pot. Says you can plant it outside at some point as it can grow to 20′ tall and 8’ wide. But right now he’s just a little tiny guy living on the windowsill.

Circle of Hope 2019

We braved the elements last night to attend the annual Circle of Hope ceremony. Every year we go and create a luminary to honor a loved one. It’s actually a really nice event, and all the money generated is used to help folks in need due to a catastrophic medical occurrence. The final two images are the light up reindeers I installed out in front a week ago. Looks like they’ve had some tiny visitors check them out.

Bully Schoolpit

When I was little and going to school, I was what you would call tiny. I was shorter than all the other kids and that sometimes made me the scapegoat of their jokes and teasing. I can remember in kindergarten, there was this kid, Basil was his name, and he would always push me up against the fence and cause me grief. At first I complained to my mom and not my teachers, because that’s not what you do (at least back in those times you didn’t), plus I was super shy and unassertive in myself. Eventually, though I’m not sure how, I figured out that maybe cracking a joke, or being self-deprecating, seemed to lessen the blows. It’s then I figured out, at that early age, that humor could be a useful tool to me.

Around that time the town had decided to close to school that I was going to and so I had to go to another school, a little further away but not really and that’s where I met Keith. Keith was another bully. I didn’t know why then that they focused on me. Now I now it’s probably because they felt powerless in their own homes and such but back when I was in first grade I had no concept of that. I just knew that they were really being a pain. Keith was more malicious than Basil and my humor didn’t really seem to work on him all that much. I lucked out in this case due to another kid in class, who I remember was into the Boy Scouts, his name was Chris, and he stood up for me – when no one else in class did. In fact, he took it upon himself to sort of be my bodyguard. I’m not sure why he did this, but was glad he did. I learned later that he had an older brother who was special needs so maybe that played into it. I sometimes wonder what happened to Chris. He was always looking out for me, even up through high school. I tried looking for him a while back but came up empty. I had heard he had fallen on some hard times though so I hope he came through alright. I would easily return the favor if I could.

I’ll never forget what he did for me.

Speaking of high school, it was more of the same, although by this time I pretty much had my routine down, and there were other nerdier kids than me that were easier targets. Again, there was this one kid on the first day of probably being a freshmen that would give me a hard time. Actually made me move to a different table than the one I had originally chosen, but I ended up hanging out with kids that were more in my clique eventually and it was all good. I don’t remember that particular kids name but I do recall he had been held back more than once. Sort of like he’d been in High School for seven years already (I’m exaggerating, but it probably was something like that). Looking back now, I feel pity for the kid – probably had a rough time of it all. But like I said, back then, you had to look out for yourself. Some of the kids in my clique had come to call me “Cookies” because they thought I was so small that when I went to the counter to get a cookie, the lady would have to reach across the front of the counter and look down to see what was going on down there (me). Of course, this was a gross exaggeration – I could reach the counter just fine, but I learned to roll with it and just laugh it off. I’m not sure if I found it hurtful at the time. It was more of a playful teasing than a biting remark, but those things do stick with you. Thankfully I think I’ve learned to look past those events, although who knows, maybe deep down there’s still some insecurities. We all have them, right?

I hear it’s not like that there nowadays. I even learned when I visited the old stomping grounds last year as they were knocking down the old place to build a new state-of-the-art school, that they have a mediation room, where if two kids have a problem with each other, they go to this room, with an arbiter or some such, and work out the problem! Come a long way since fist fighting after school in the parking lot. Luckily I never got into any of those. I had learned to keep my nose clean and use humor to get me out of scrapes. Now I’m not saying I was a laugh a minute comedian, or class clown, but I had used self-deprecating humor enough to know how to navigate through life at that time. I’m proud of myself that that little 5 year old kid that I was had learned and used that lesson to help himself, and on his own.