The Kind of Snowstorm I Love

So we had some snow today. By the way all the news programs we’re describing it you’d think it was going to be something special. It clearly was not. We did a couple of inches of snow, but it was the nice fluffy stuff that is easy to deal with and it was no big deal. Everything got delayed by about an hour and I’d say that was the correct call. It’s snowed more of less throughout the day but it’s really only sticking to grassy surfaces. Tomorrow is our training meeting at HQ to go over the new “beat” as I’ll call it which should keep me busy in the mornings with three other folks on the team all year round as I go about the town center performing a certain required task. I’m a little apprehensive about it, but I applied for the job and got it and it’s pretty good money so I’m hoping I’ll get over it, I’m sure that I will once I get it going. I probably just feel that way because it’s something new to me.

My store is having a sale for the week, so if you ever wanted to pop on something in there, now could be a good time.

Currently reading: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. A couple of years old by now and I pretty much know most of the stuff in the book already, but it looks like an easy read plus it’s cool to see what tricks social media and games use to suck you in to their platform time-sucks. I’m really on a reading kick so far this month!

Cold Couple of Days on the Cape

On the way to Coast Guard Beach (available for purchase)

We had an opportunity to spend a couple of days out on the Cape and recharge. Although it was partly cloudy for most of the time, the only really sunny day was extremely windy which it made it feel really cold, so I didn’t go crazy getting photos, but I was pleased with I was able to capture of which a small sampling is here on this post.

We had some great food and hot chocolates and spent a bunch of time just hanging out, relaxing and reading. Speaking of which my current read is The Urge: Our History of Addiction. This book is about deeply humane history of addiction–a phenomenon that remains baffling and deeply misunderstood despite having touched countless lives–by an addiction psychiatrist striving to understand his own family and himself. Another find on Libby that was available immediately so I figured I’d give it a shot. We also drove around to a bunch of beaches and breakfast places for early noshes.

Update: I had some interest in some of the cape photos from this trip so I’ve made them available on the store page. Check it out if you like my work.

Ready to Roll Onto the Beach This Season

We finally got a beach cart for the new season! I’d been eyeing this Beau Jardin wagon for a while but it was always so expensive, but this President’s Day LD noticed that it’s price was the lowest I’d ever seen it so we popped! I think this folding cart is going to work out great for us! Probably won’t ever max out it’s 300 pound capacity but it’s nice to have the option!

The Beach Cart for 2023!

Been getting some little tasks out of the way today. Glue repairing a bunch of frames that needed to be reattached, including this Ms. Pacman hand beaded frame I got from Etsy years back that contains one of our favorite pictures of us in Spring lake, NJ and some frames from our time down in Florida that just came apart due to age.

Vignette Fragments of a Family Tree

Headed over to my mechanic finally to get my headlight replaced. Sad to hear that the main mechanic is retiring and heading back to his home country of Lebanon, but he’s definitely deserves to enjoy his retirement. The guy is an amazing mechanic and they’re really good there. If you’re really interested in who it his hit me up and I can get you the details. Anyways I thought it would be a bit pricey but actually it ended up being quite affordable. They took me right away (I like to get there early in the mornings) and was done within the half hour. Glad I was finally able to get that headlight fixed.

Reading this book on DNA had really got me thinking about my own ancestral origins, although I myself would never personally do one of those DNA test things. On my mom’s side, I know her parents, and somewhat of their parents but that’s about it up the tree on that side. My grandmother had many sisters and brothers – my grandfather was an only child. On my dad’s side I know even less. There’s him and I’ve heard of his parents, but that’s it up that tree. No idea about siblings that far up either. The branch that is me will probably end with me since I don’t plan on having any progeny. I guess my tree is a little sad snippet, just a couple of branches up and no dangling limbs after me. I wonder if a century from now if anyone would ever wonder who I was?

Harborwalk New Bedford

Walking along the Harborwalk

Morning started out making some Pasta Faggioli soup to be delivered to a friend who was feeling under the weather. After dropping it off took a little side trip, first to check out the sights at Round Hill Beach, and then second to check out the Harborwalk in New Bedford. The New Bedford Harbor Walk sits atop the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier on East Rodney French Boulevard. The hurricane barrier is said to be the longest in the world – and now folks enjoy its spectacular panorama while walking, jogging, and biking along this paved, elevated path. I chose a quick walk around a bit to see what the hoopla was. It is a nice little walk with a view, the sun through the clouds hitting just right to light the sparkling waters of Buzzards Bay. On the way back took some take out from Pa Raffas, great pizza and Italian sandwiches – definitely worth the trip.

Hospital Waiting Makes Me Sleepy AF

Yesterday we spent a good chunk of the day at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. LD had to have a procedure done and I went with for support. I was surprised initially at how busy it was down there in the heart of Longwood on a Friday morning. Trying to find parking was, well, trying to say the least. After driving around in a garage for a while which literally had no parking, we tried to valet. The first time around the attendant says there was no valet parking available. Uhmm, what? Time for the appointment was starting to draw near. We went around one more time and somehow the valet parking became available again. Not really sure how that worked but glad it did. Almost got hit by some woman who was ahead of us who obviously in my opinion could not drive the giant vehicle she was trying to park over to the side. She kind of made a big deal out of it saying she wasn’t going to hit us, but to me it sure felt like she would. I guess she felt slighted that we had to honk to get her attention. Anyways, most of the day was mostly just waiting which I guess really took a toll out of me because I ended up feeling very tired by the time we got back home in the afternoon. I had planned to maybe order a pizza for delivery for dinner but I ended up just falling asleep. I slept for over ten hours, which for me is a lot since I think I average around six or seven a night. Perhaps I’ll make good on that pizza thought by ordering one tonight.

Currently reading: I did end up reading that last book mostly in the waiting room of the hospital yesterday so I am on to my next read. The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Uncovering Secrets, Reuniting Relatives, and Upending Who We Are. Hoping this one will be interesting to me. Have you begun to notice a pattern in the types of material I like to read yet?

Remembering the Sleepwalker

Hanging with the Sleepwalker

Who remembers this gem of a photo from a few years back? In honor of a Throwback Thursday I plucked this picture out from my archives. This scene was on the campus grounds of Wellesley College. It was part of some art installation. The statue had amazingly realistic skin texture. I’m not really sure why the artist thought having a naked guy in his underwear would make much sense on a college campus where the population is female, but there you go.

In other news for some reason my knee has started to be acting up again. Not sure why as it hasn’t bothered me in months, but last night while lounging on the couch I really started to feel it.

I finished the book I mentioned in the previous entry. Pretty crazy story and really sad about how that Indian tribe was treated, basically all being murdered for their money, and most everyone was in on it, right up the line, and the story pretty much lost to history. Wikipedia has a quick write up on some of it, but for the full story you should read the book. Interestingly, a movie directed by Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro is in the works. Next up on my reading docket is Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses. Not sure if I’m going to like this one but I’ll give it a try. If it doesn’t grab me by the second or third chapter I might drop it. I’ve been reading these books on my phone with the Libby app, which I thought at first might not be ideal, but I’m finding that I actually don’t mind reading books on the phone.

A Valentine’s Day Message for You

Valentine’s Day. I used to hate Valentines Day or at least be ambivalent towards it growing up. I was like Charlie Brown in that I would never get a valentine from anyone unless it was that thing you used to do as a kid in elementary school, but that wasn’t real. It took a while, but somewhere along the way, after much time, a couple of failed relationships, and a lot of just learning to love myself and maturing, that Valentines Day became something I could enjoy.

It was all about finally finding that right person, and it took a long time, and I mean a really long time, but like they say, the wait really is worth it. When you find someone that “just fits” it’s pretty incredible. Is it always perfection and sunshine? Of course not. But when it’s right, you learn to work with it, compromise at times (most times), and maybe better yourself and your partner in your thoughts , your views and your feelings. Someone who thinks more or less the same way that you do, but in a healthy, conductive and sharable way. At least that’s what I believed happened in my particular case. The heart that is meant to love you finds beauty in all of your flaws.

So whether you like this holiday or not, whether you’re in a healthy relationship or single, just remember your own worth and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We all seek connection and the desire to be loved. Although it is present, it only becomes apparent when you aren’t really looking, as the cliché goes. The truth is, it’s been inside yourself all along. And once you can find it within yourself, then the person looking for the same will find you. I’m living proof.

Currently Reading: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. I’m on a reading binge right now!

The Saver Versus the Tosser

I imagine you could say that after considering the two alternatives, I’m a saver. I have a tendency to keep things, even if I know I won’t use them, because I’m constantly plagued by the question, “What if I ever need this someday, maybe as a backup?” Saving a worn-out pair of sneakers despite the fact that I doubt I’ll ever wear them again. Perhaps some of it is a result of how I was raised. We never had much, so we were taught to save. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression, and people of that generation really ingrained in themselves the value of holding on to what you can. Things don’t come easily. And growing up with a single parent on Welfare just instilled that feeling even more. We weren’t cheap though. I learned a lesson that if you really wanted something, you should get it, the opportunity might never arise again and then you’ll be banging your head against the wall about what could have-beens. Just do it within reason, and my family always got me anything I ever wanted, somehow, someway, through hard work and the love they had for me.

I lot of my “Knick knacks” are little souvenirs that I picked up on trips, or have some kind of remembrance for me, like the gold coin I got from the DoD for my work on the Yucca Mountain reports, or the giant Dunkin Donuts sign I picked up from the newscasters from Fox25 a few years back when I was on television, or all the various tickets stubs from concerts and Broadway plays I’ve attended. There’s a bunch of Pac Man memorabilia just because I like that, and a bust of Xena Warrior princess back from the days I was into the show (don’t ask, that’s a whole story for another time). There’s various lighthouse statuettes from all the ones I’ve visited, and pressed pennies bent into the shapes of other places that I’ve been.

I have what I call a “tchotchke” shelf where I’ve laid many of these treasures. My idea is for one day to actually photograph and catalog all these various items, sort of like what a museum would do when it curates all its items. A veritable treasure trove ala King Tut. Will I ever do that? Probably not, although I do like the idea, overkill though it may be.

I didn’t watch the Super bowl last night, I could care less. We did watch the Puppy Bowl however, something that’s become somewhat of a yearly tradition now. I find it quite entertaining this year, going into overtime and all, although the halftime show was really weak.

Currently reading: Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World’s Most Notorious Diaries. So far not bad. I’ve never read the original book “Go Ask Alice” but basically it was all a fraud is what I’m learning from reading this.

Finally I’ll leave you with a little joke, “What did the janitor say when he jumped out of the closet?”


That Time That My Life Passed Before My Eyes

I must have been around 19 or 20 at the time. So young now looking back. It could have all ended right there and then. I’m glad it did not, of course. I would have missed out on some of the best experiences and meetings of my life. So much would lay ahead of me that I was completely unaware of. Anyway, back to the moment at hand. The moment where I learned that life passing before someone’s eyes is a real thing. I know because I experienced it firsthand.

It started out as any other typical day I believe, as far as I can remember. It’s been quite a while. I was being given a ride to school in Boston. My grandfather had decided to offer me a lift since I might have been running a little late that day. It was a day I would become intimately familiar with a street named Huntington Avenue. I had taken the subway a bunch of times, but truth be told, I didn’t like it. The particular times of my schedule back then meant that I needed to ride it during the busiest times, the rush hours. It was hard to ever get a seat, and when I did I learned that I could not sit in a backwards facing one because it would tend to make me dizzy, get motion sickness, maybe a touch of vertigo. I still suffer from that to this day.

We were travelling down Huntington heading to the Ruggles stop, which is where my school was. However the way that street is set up, they have the trolley in the middle of the road so to cross over to the other side from where we were would require crossing over the train tracks at various gaps along the route.

I could see the Green line trolley in the distance, just what seemed like a little blob against the blue sky. I recall it being a clear spring day, no rain or snow or maybe even cold, although I can’t remember that last point truthfully. At that moment my grandfather decided he didn’t want to wait for the train and figured he could beat it. I’m not sure back then if they had gates that would block traffic from the trains when they passed by, but I don’t think they had those then, although thinking back now how could they not?

He swerved to “bang-a-Uey” as we say in the Boston vernacular and started the cross the tracks. Since he was turning left and I was on the passenger side I had quite the view. I happened to look out the window and there as plain as day was the trolley barreling down at us. At me. What was a moment ago just a green blip was now as large as a house and what seemed only feet from my face. The front of the trolley taking up my entire view. What chance would a little scrawny 130 pound boy, really, have against that behemoth of steel mechanisms and iron wheels. None. The only thing protecting me, if you could call it that, would be the door to my grandfather’s white Chrysler K-Car.

The moment. It seems like it was a lot longer that it was but scientifically it could not have been. As I saw the two headlights of the train coming toward me, and I stared at it like a deer caught by surprise in stunned silence , it happened. What little of my life I had experienced by then literally did flash before my eyes. It’s funny what pops up. Sure there were images of my family, of unscrewing the bars from my younger sister’s crib so she could crawl out over the frustration of my mom trying to keep her in, of trying to stay up on Christmas Eve to catch a glimpse of Santa but my eyes got to heavy and I never made it, of my grandmother teaching me how to skip in her kitchen because for some reason I had a hard time grasping the concept at first. But also some experiences you wouldn’t think of, like me riding my big wheel in the back yard, and eating pizza at the local Papa Gino’s. Maybe that was just me.

My grandfather cleared the tracks as the train honked away, but he kept going, now in the other direction toward the school. The day could now resume as it would normally play out. I’m not sure if I yelled at him for that moment. Probably not, just too stunned or scared or just pleased to be so lucky to able to grab another breath of air. To think of all that might not have been if things played out differently. It made a memory in me that I never forgot, so there’s that.

Actually recalling this story now makes me think of another close call I had when I was even younger, probably around 11 or 12 or so, when me and a buddy who grew up on Murdoch Street would ride our bikes around town. One day we barreled out of a side street and I didn’t see the car that was coming down the road. Somehow or other I lifted my Team Murray bicycle off the air, and literally bounced off the guy’s front bumper. It was a Volkswagen Beetle if I remember, a blue one at that. Must have gave ourselves and the driver a scare of a lifetime. I’m not sure how the hell I didn’t lose my balance or toppled over but I landed on the two bike wheels just fine. I just kept peddling away as fast as I could from the scene. Not really sure how I escaped that one. If there is such a thing as a Guardian angel mine was there that day. And on spring day along Huntington Avenue.

I seldom often pass by that region these days. When LD and I do occasionally pass there, I mention to her the place where my life, as I knew it at that time, almost came to an possible end, thankful that it never came to that.

How I Learned Humor Was a Useful Tool

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.

Back then, you had to look out for yourself… “

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 a while back 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. I mean, I can even remember a teacher being beat up outside after class in the parking lot. Those were the days. Luckily I never got into any of those altercations. I suppose nowadays its all about cyber-bullying which I thankfully never had to experience. 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

Warm February Friday

What a beautiful day today for a Friday. Actually 60 degrees in February, can you believe it? And to think just a week ago it was -10. A 70 degree turnaround in just under a week I think would qualify as being truly amazing. I opened up all the windows to let the sun and breeze circulate. I think Carson really appreciates it as well. Otherwise today was pretty unremarkable. I’d had a bunch of days like that lately it seems. I did go purchase some more firewood for the pit which we’re planning to use tomorrow as we have a guest coming over for a few, but other than it, it’s been pretty quiet.

All Smiles

This book on the Sackler’s that I’m reading I am finding really fascinating. So interesting to see how the marketing of a drug and getting out to doctors to prescribe has been such a big part of the process and these guys pretty much wrote the book on it. And I’m still just in the 1960s era of the family. I would definitely recommend reading it if you want to see the dark underbelly of the pharma industry.

Anyways, today I had a dentist appointment at their new office in Medford. They moved out of the Somerville place in Winter Hill and supposedly that building is to be demolished and probably replaced with more condos, but when I drove by it was still standing. The new office looks really nice inside, with a spacious lobby and neat treatment rooms and everything looks new, but the outside of the building in my opinion could use a lot of work. It looks like some sort of warehouse. I got a clean bill of health and will return in 6 months.

An ad popped up on my Insta that Holly Madison had some new show on ID called The Playboy Murders so I went looking for it and saw that the first three episodes were airing on Saturday so I cued those up on the DVR. Might be good, might suck, I don’t know but I’ll be checking it out to see. Hopefully it will be interesting.

Gametime: eseveR. I found this game rather enjoyable and beat it in about an hour. Fun little puzzle game.

Playing with Black and White

Playing with Black and white photography

I was a little out of action this last weekend as I seemed to have some stomach problem that pretty much kept me laying low on Sunday but I feel much better today. Strange gastro things happening I guess. I was able to get some things down today including getting some mail out, reapplying for my parking permit, things like that.

Currently Reading: Empire of Pain, The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. You know, the folks behind Oxycontin. When I saw it was available for borrowing on my Libby app I jumped on it. I didn’t realize it was over 1,000 pages though!

Playing Around Again

Stay warm this weekend, Boston!

Have you noticed that I have made a few changes here? I might go back to the earlier design, but for the time being I thought I’d try this look and see what people liked.

We intend to make more soup this weekend, and I was able to pick up a lot of the materials I needed today. Due to the cold, it appears that the rest of this week will be spent staying home, eating comfort food, catching up on work, and watching television. However, by Sunday, everything will be back to normal, so everything will be fine. Just need to get through this little period of cold weather. -30 degree wind chills is enough to make me hibernate for the day.

Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter, while Ms. G (Mass.’ official groundhog) says spring will come early. Honestly, if the winter this year stays as it has been, the extra time wouldn’t be all that bad.