Happy First Day of Spring

Springtime in Boston

Today was spent filing my taxes, which is always enjoyable to do. While I generally finish it by mid-February, this year was probably the latest I’ve ever started. However, I wanted to be sure I had all the necessary paperwork.

Spring Crocuses

I went down to the post office this morning to get some mailing materials. LD plans on shipping out a couple of things so I had to make sure all the required packaging is ready.

Yesterday we tried looking for some of those bunny planters but came up empty at the Trader Joe’s at Gillette Stadium. I plan on going to Somerville toward the end of the week, so if I have time I might try to hit the one down there at Assembly Square and see if they have them in yet. While I’m there I might also try to pick up some Union Square Donuts because the ads they’ve been showing me lately have got me wanting to try some of their more interesting creations.

I’ve started to place some of the plants outside that I’d been trying to keep alive inside during the winter. I think the weather will be warm enough now for them to be out there. I’ll probably head down to the Home Depot later today and pick up some leaf bags because there’s a bunch of leave detritus I want to get rid of and trim some of the foliage in the front of the house. Spring cleaning time.

Speaking of spring cleaning, we did clean out a couple of closets and some of the stuff in the basement, making progress on those tasks. In the evening we made a lot of meatballs.

Currently Reading: Born To Run, by Bruce Springsteen, and The Icepick Surgeon, a book about scientists who did things that weren’t all that ethical. And also The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math from One to Infinity. So I guess you could say I’m on quite a reading tear so far this year.

A Saturday in the Life

Have a seat at the Nubble
  1. First thing this am, went to grab a pickup order over at the local Stop & Shop.
  2. Picked up a hope chest someone was giving away on FB so we went to their apartment and grabbed it. Will probably be used for LD’s future office.
  3. Cleaned out a closet that’s been on the to-do list for a long time
  4. Also got an awesome coffee table for the office off of FB marketplace in Canton this afternoon
  5. Went jewelry shopping today and got the process started for a special creation.
  6. Corned Beef dinner at the old landlords.
  7. Trader Joe’s visit to get a bunny pot but they didn’t have it, maybe try a different location next.
  8. My shoulder is still bothering me, like, wtf? Feels really bad like something is out of whack. Sharp pain at times, wtf??

Harbingers of Spring

I was so happy this morning when I saw a bunch of robins frollicking all around the grass in the driveway. I always see this as a sign of spring.

Today being St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to wear something green, until I realized that I really don’t own any green clothing, except for maybe a Celtics hoodie. Green’s just not my color. We did get some corned beef dinner though and also LD was able to procure some Irish soda bread from a gym friend as well. The one time all year that I actually eat corned beef.

Confessions of Love from My Younger Self

I confess I love the clouds in the summer blanketed against an ocean of light blue sky.
I confess I love the ocean and the soft cool sea breezes and the things that live beneath it.
I confess I love the snow softly falling on Christmas Eve masking everything in white.
I confess I love the moonlight lighting up the summer night.
I confess I like the look of innocence in a baby's eyes.
But the only thing I'll ever miss
 is you.

I wrote those words something like over twenty years ago. They were about no-one in particular, just a moment of creativity. Maybe they’re more applicable today than ever. I still like them.

Although I’m not really sure what I did, I seem to have tweaked my back just between the shoulder blades. It’s not too awful, but it bothers me enough to make me aware that it’s there. Joys of joys.

Had some things to get down over in Wellesley this afternoon and after we got that done, LD treated me to some Captain Marden’s for lunch and herself, and she also got an orange tea and some cookies from Tatte. Isn’t she the best?

On some even better news, got some excursions coming up that I’m getting all hyped up about. A visit to the Catskills, a tea party ritual, baby goat cuddles at sunset, a summer trip to the Cape, and more! I’m very excited to see and do these adventures! I’m hoping to take some good pictures on these outings as well, perhaps on par with the one I’ve included in this post from a visit to the Nubble a while back.

So Slopping Wet Right Now

Well, I went outside today and did my job in the punishing rain and snow. I could have chosen an alternate day, but I thought today would serve as a good illustration of the various weather conditions I may encounter in the future. As I continue to conduct this kind of work, it helped me see what I will need to change in how I manage my activities. Chalk it up as a worthwhile learning exercise. Naturally, after a long day of feeling like a drowned rat, I arrived home and jumped into a hot, steamy shower. But I’m glad I did it. Builds character, Amirite?

In the early evening I finally finished my latest book read. Fascinating DNA stuff coming down the pike in the future, from creating bioweapons, to designing babies with particular traits you’d want and select, and could be all created in a lab, no man or woman needed (just the DNA cells from the parents, whether man/woman or any other combination), to GMO foods and future cures (how did you think the vaccine was created so quick?), to bringing back extinct species. Naturally it’s also scary if controls aren’t put on some of these things, but these things are coming, probably by within the next 50 years. You’ve been warned!

Learned Something New Today

My looking forward to snow look

Maybe other folks know of this trick, but I just learned of it today. Did you know that you can send a text message to an email address, so that the message shows up in someone’s email instead of to their messaging program? All you have to do is use the recipient’s email address instead of their phone number.

Like I said, I never knew this could be done, or actually ever thought about why you would do this, perhaps as another way to get a message to someone? It’s still good to know though. Never know when it could come in handy.

My Acorn Street Boston pic was just recently shared on the Roundtrip New England Instagram page where it’s getting a bunch of love there. Little did I know that that photo would resonate with so many people. Maybe I’ll make that one for sale sometime.

While I’m out on my beat tomorrow I hope the weather cooperates somewhat!

Plenty of Cooking, Consumption, and Contemplation

We had guests come over yesterday so we baked a bunch of things, plus we had a bunch of ingredients and things we needed to use up so why not cook them up and eat them?

The “mousse”

First up, Blondie brownies and after that butternut squash using the Instant Pot which was then created to be used in a mousse (using a recipe we obtained from the waitress from the Capital Grille that we visited last week), although we did order takeout for dinner and had salads and burgers from a place I hadn’t been to in years and went to only once in town, called Colonial House. It’s sort of tucked away in a residential neighborhood on a side street. The kitchen is literally right there by the entrance when you go in, which I find odd compared to most restaurants where the kitchen is in the back, but it’s okay. Surely a location the locals would be familiar with, as I think most people not from the area would have trouble finding it or even learning of it. We devoured delectable cupcakes for dessert after the main courses, but I believe we overindulged because by the end of the evening we felt a little stuffed. I hadn’t consumed so much food in a while.

Today we also roasted some Delacota squash (I don’t think I’ve ever had this type pf squash before, come to find out, I felt it tasted like butternut squash, with the added benefit of that you can eat the skin which made prep so much easier) , and LD and I also made some cashew based vegan-ish cheddar broccoli soup! A new recipe, one we’ve never tried before, first time! Result? It’s actually not bad. If you’re interested you can find the recipe we used here. (We actually ended up using the Instant Pot because we felt it was easier, you can find details about that preperation further down the page in the comments section.)

It’s nice seeing the daffodils and tulips leaves starting to bust up through the soil. Spring is so close now I can feel it! It makes me so happy I’m wetting my plants!

Have you noticed how recently it seems like everything in our nation is failing? The supply chain is horrible, certain financial institutions are struggling, the medical system is in disarray, the airlines are all in trouble, trains are derailing, the mail sucks, etc. I simply have the impression that things are becoming worse over time when they ought to be getting better, but I don’t really see anything noteworthy being done to address the problems. Is it only me? Am I overreacting?

Boston Love

Looks like the utility guys are out front again this week, digging up the middle of the street and replacing the pipes. Pretty annoying to get around but I suppose it’s a necessary evil. Looks like they might done with it all by the end of the week so all in all, not too bad.

I’ve updated the site to the latest version of PHP and everything appears to working as it should, so that’s good. I always get a little bit anxious when there’s a big underlying thing going on under the hood of the site but I’m not doing anything too crazy and keep all the subroutines up to date, so it’s all good.

I’ve had some love for this Boston photo I took and have been getting quite the likes and purchase interest in my work, so that’s always good to see. I’ve made a couple of sales so far this week, which is great.

Spent some time at Earth-1 yesterday, One of the cats had to get his nails cut and then we needed to get some business done over at City Hall. You know, what’s wild, is that a couple has purchased or will be purchasing a top floor unit on the condo right next door to my mom’s house, but the crazy part is that it’s actually the niece of one of LD’s most trusted and long lasting friends. I mean, what are the odds!? That’s pretty whack, actually. I’m waiting to run into them and introduce myself. So far, only my sister has seen them. Other than that, and all the walking of the beat I did on Tuesday (perhaps I was a bit overzealous but I feel I did a damn good job), it’s been a pretty low key week so far.

There’s a great article in the latest issue of Smithsonian Magazine that talks about how this little island off the coast of Iceland is trying to save baby puffins, which as any readers to this blog must know, is my favorite bird. Worth the read if you can find it and have the time.

Another book came through from my library app, so currently reading: The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology.

Animal Hang and Shamrock Shakes

Early in the afternoon we decided to take a trip to the Sanctuary to drop off some food for the animals and we ended up staying there for a bit. Had to get in some goat brushing time after all. After hanging there for about an hour or so we headed down to Rhode Island, since it was only a half hour away from where we were, to get some vegan shamrock shakes that I place that we like was having as a March special. Minty green soft serve topped with shopmade whipped cream and gold glitter, and it was delicious!

A Wish for the Ladydoc



Sometimes I wish that we had met sooner,
that the detours along the way could have been fewer.
But then something tells me we found eachother
at just the right place in our lives.
I love being with you,
You're the best thing to ever happen to me,
You're my favorite person in the world.

In you I have found: the perfect partner, the best friend, and the sweetest love that I ever imagined. I’m so happy that life has brought me to you. 

Best birthday wishes to the perfect woman in the world who chose to love an imperfect man like me.

Happy Birthday "Ladydoc!"

We ended up having a lovely dinner at The Capital Grille.. Currently reading: Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks. After that I want to see if I can find the book about Ada Blackjack. Another amazing character from history that time seems to have forgotten about.

Do You Remember Your First Encounter?

First Encounter Beach

I slept much better last night, thank goodness. It was pretty warm out today, you wouldn’t realize it’s supposed to snow tonight and into tomorrow. Hoping it’s not going to be a big deal. We gots things to do!

This picture is from a place called First Encounter Beach. It’s named that because it marks the location of the first encounter between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. While the Mayflower remained in Provincetown, Captain Myles Standish and his party explored along Cape Cod Bay. While camped here they were surprised by a group of Nausets; arrows flew and shots were fired, but no harm resulted. The history made it sound like the Native Americans were the aggressors but you can’t really blame them. Well, you can read all about it here and why they might have wanted to protect themselves. Anyways, this a beach that we don’t visit all that often when we are done there but maybe we should. I’ve always gotten great shots there. This shot was actually from my first time there if you can believe that! Probably won’t be back in the area until late July but one never knows. There’s a trip or two coming up soon which will also be a first encounter experience for me.

Tired Boy

Man am I tired today. For whatever reason I didn’t sleep very well last night, which is unlike me. It was just one of those nights where I just could not fall asleep no matter what I did. I guess I eventually did for asleep for 5 hours or so according to my smartwatch but I don’t feel very rested. Thankfully I have a massage this afternoon and I think that’ll really relax me. After that my plan is to come home, turn on the heating pad, and fall asleep on the couch. That’s the goal anyway.

Words of Wisdom

Winter on the beach (I think this is one of my best shots ever)
Be present and enjoy the small things, seize every opportunity, and live completely unapologetically authentic to who you are. Life is so short, and we aren't promised tomorrow, so don't wait, but choose to live every single day!

Well, today was my training day, and next week is my start date! I anticipate it will be one of those things that becomes simpler the more I do it. I have to read through a lot of documents and get familiar with basic procedures, but it’s not too terrible. I have my login information and am ready to start. Also, I get to have a portable radio that I may use to call the station if necessary (hopefully it never would be). For communication, such as when one of us has a question or is having an issue, our team has set up a group text for communication. I realize I’m being a little vague here about all this but as of now it’s just an eight week trial. If it’s successful (which it should be) it would continue indefinitely. I just need to figure out how I’m going to go about my shift. Our bosses gave us leeway to pretty much design it however we want to work it, I’m just afraid I might miss something but I don’t think they’re going to be too hard-core about it.

Next week sometime I’m going to upgrade this site to be using PHP v8.1. I hope and do not anticipate any problems but just giving you guys a heads up if something does go wrong and the page disappears. But like I said, it should be ok.

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