Summer Saturday and a New Look

First really warm day in a while here. It was a rather low-key day. I experimented with the website’s design a little bit, but I’m not sure how much I like it. I may go back, it depends. What do you folks think? This afternoon, I actually watched the 21 Jump Street movie on TV. It was awful. That’s how Hanson and Penhall to end up?! Only the original premise is similar to the television show, but like I noted, it was awful. It was an uneventful day, as I previously stated. I did eventually watch some WNBA basketball because one of the players on the team playing is the kid of LD’s swim trainer. It was quite cool to see! Moreover, I found the game to be really entertaining. I was impressed with these young women.

Tomorrow afternoon the Boston Pops is going to be in town down on the local common here putting on a show. Not sure how crowd control is going to work on that on. Needless to say, I plan on pretty much staying away from the area.

Dudley and Other Updates Finally!

Dudley is seven!

Yesterday we went to celebrate a cow’s birthday, of all things! Dudley is one heck of a beautiful cow though, there’s no denying that. It was hosted at a sanctuary in Sherborn and we also got to see a bunch of other animals, and some vegan vendors. The highlights were Dudley, of course, and a llama that kissed LD and I!

Some other quick news, as you can no doubt tell, I’m finally doing an update, and that’s because I set up my new laptop today. I decided to go with an Asus Vivobook. Not the top of the line but it’ll get done what I need to. I decided to not go with Acer again. Some of the plusses are that this machine is way faster since it’s newer. I’ve been slowly getting all my stuff back up. So far it’s going pretty well.

Finally some other small updates over the last week or so. I had my CPR training so I’m certified in that for another year. I’ve adjusted to my new glasses pretty well. We cleaned out the basement pretty much entirely and got rid of a lot of things. The great part is that a lot of the items were taken by some folks that they could use them, instead of them ending up in the trash. There were some items that needed to get scrapped and for those we had these two teenagers who are trying to run their own company come and get the stuff. They were wonderful to work with. We picked out the vinyl flooring and that will hopefully be getting installed soon. Speaking of installing, we finally got the new blinds up all over the rest of the house, the ones that can open from the top or bottom. They look great! With all that stuff gone I was able to rearrange and get all the shelving in to where it needed to be. Things are getting done! Still need to figure out what to tell the mason about the front steps but that’ll be coming forthwith as well.

Back in business!

Site Software and Other Updates

Bearded Iris makes an appearance.

The site was updated this morning with the latest version of the software that I use. At first I was a little nervous because the update actually failed but when I reran it, it went fine. Although I don’t anticipate any problems as with anything new, you never know. Most of the changes are under the hood so you guys shouldn’t notice anything different. Still, if something looks really whack, I’d appreciate a note letting me know so I can take a look at it.

I got to work on the lawns after my early morning shift, mowing them and, yep, cutting down the buttercups. I wanted to rescue them, but it didn’t look nice in the yard, so they went. I then started edging the various places, including our ‘prairie,’ which sounded like a nice ecological idea at the time, but in actuality just brought around too many bugs, according to LD, so it was cut down. I also cleaned up the patio area, as well as the tables and chairs, because the pollen was everywhere. Yes, I know it’s ‘No Mow May‘ but I decided to not bag the clippings and and it needed to be done. So there. Heb the baby bunny and some robins even came out after to check out the new scenery.

After that was mostly done I finally made it down to the propane business and filled up one of our propane tanks.. That had been on my to-do list for a while so it was good to get that out of the way. Interestingly there was a bit of a line when I got there. I guess people are getting everything ready for Memorial Day weekend. That maintained my physical parts in shape, and as for my brain parts, well, I’ve maddeningly gotten to level 8 in Nyctoban. Is anyone else interested in this? The challenges are what keep me going. The way my brain is lately these days, I need these sorts of stimulants to keep it fresh. At least, I hope it’s keeping it fresh. Sometimes I misplace things I had in my hand literally seconds ago, or can’t remember certain things that I should. Scary to me at times.

As for school shootings, I said after Sandy Hook, that if that didn’t get them to do anything then nothing would. Sadly, I’ve been right again and again. This really needs to stop and be addressed now. It’s a travesty that things like this are still happening in this country.

Testing Out a Lightbox

Incorporating a new feature into the website whenever I have multiple images in a post. Moving forward I’ll be implementing what is called a lightbox. When you click on any of the images above it’ll open up in a new window and from that window you can close or move through the gallery with your keyboard.


Looks like the bike ride is on for Saturday. The forecast says the temperature is supposed to get around 92 degrees which makes me a little hesitant to go but as of now, I think I’m going to go for it. Just have to make sure I have plenty of hydration on hand. I’ll check out which bike I want to use tomorrow, maybe give it a little test run beforehand since it’s been quite a while. Also, I’m still wracking my brain on that Nyctoban game I linked to the other day. I’ve progressed to level 4 so far.

First Day of May

Love (not a recent picture though).

May. more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.

Fennel hudson

Another somewhat productive day I’d say. I finally took to task of getting the storm door glass panes out and putting in the screens for summer. My fingertips are hurting because these particular panes are somewhat difficult to get in out and there’s no real room to get your fingers underneath the mechanism in order to remove them. But with some brute strength and some sore fingertips I was finally able to get them out and get the screens in. Needless to say, Carson would appear to be quite pleased with this latest development as now he can see and smell the air to his heart’s content. And that’s really why I did anyway in the first place.

In between getting the two screens out I also mowed the lawn in front of the house as it was starting to look like it really needed it. This also marks the first mow of the season for me. After that I went ahead and manually pulled out all the dandelions that I could see. It’s a never ending battle but it’s done for now, until they rear their little yellow heads again, of which I am sure they will.

In the afternoon we took a quick jaunt over to Volante farms and got a few more plants. I still need to buy some hanging plants for our various hanger setups but it’s still just a tad too early. I assume by next weekend they’ll be good to go and be outside without danger of being too cold in the evenings. We spent a bunch of time landscaping another area, removing a bunch of ground ivy and putting in hostas, a really cool looking two-toned phlox that I’d never seen before, some other red flowering things, and then mulched it all. It looks five thousand times better if you ask me. LD’s had some great ideas this spring and they are really starting to show. We also redid part of the rock garden in the back, which is surrounded by the blue Adirondack chairs because I moved them from the patio to there. Gardening is not easy work, no one ever really tells you that part. Our backs are sore, my knee is what it is, my neck is crinkly. What the heck is happening to us?

I spent some time playing around with some different logos for the site. Not sure if I’ll ever use any of them but it helped pass some time. What do you think of any of these choices? I think I’m becoming partial to the second one, but like I said, might not use any of them.

A possible logo I’ve been playing around with.
A better option? Personal favorite so far.
A bold choice?

Playing with Overlapping Columns

A Description of Me:

“In every real man, a child is hidden who wants to play.”

I think that quote describes me pretty well. Also I’ve been playing around with some CSS code to produce that column overlapping effect where the text box crosses over into the other column that contains the photo. Pretty cool. On mobile it just kind of stacks them but in tablet and the computer it produces the effect I desire. Let me know if you agree that this is a cool effect! Also let me know if you think this is a good picture of me!

Spring Tasks, Glass Like Effect and Ankle Twisting

This is a photo I took a little while back inside the Boston Public Gardens during springtime. I’m also learning some CSS code in order to make this text look with a frosted glass-like effect of a background. What do you think?

We awoke to the city preparing to install temporary water plumbing in front of all of the houses so that they could work on repairing the water main around the corner. It’s very aggravating. Pipes on the roadway abound, and you have to drive over them to get into the driveways; granted, there are rubber ramps on either side of the pipe, but it’s still inconvenient. I had to go to Whole Foods in Dedham for a pickup, so I’ve already driven over it a few times.

I was able to get the dolly from Earth-1 and use it to move a filing cabinet into the basement. I’ll return the dolly when I head back there tomorrow as I have to assist in getting my mom’s cat to the vet over there. Yearly exam, shots and all.

Later we planted some canna lilies that we got from a friend and planted them in honor of today being 4/20. Get it? Canna? Unfortunely while I was putting some soil in the shed and had started to clean off the patio for a deep clean we’re doing on Friday I fell and twisted my ankle. Hopefully it’s nothing major. Of course it’s on the leg where I have the foot and knee problems. Oy! I think I got lucky with this one though. So while I was resting my ankle I decided to try to learn and play around with some CSS for the site. I spent about a half hour playing around with trying to make a frosted glass-like effect behind text on my photos. Might still need to play around with it but I have the gist of it created. What do you think? Is it cool? It’s not part of the picture, it’s literally text that hovers above it, which I can change easily.

I also spent about an hour before lunch catching some of the Johnny Depp trial live. I find it somewhat fascinating to watch for some reason, I’m not a particular fan of JD but it sounds like it was pretty crazy town.

Beating the Boot Up Blues

My PC gave me a scare yesterday when it wouldn’t boot up. After repairing several faulty hard disk sectors, it eventually booted. Fortunately, most of my data is backed up. It would just be remembering all of my passwords and logins to all of the many websites I visit and having to re-set everything up again. Blah blah blah. Actually, it seems to be running a little better now? Fingers crossed!

What Better Things to Do?

On a day like today, really nasty, icy sleety freeing rain what’s a better thing to do than come up with another website redesign for the ol’ Hatchetation? We’ll see how long I stay with this one. If you have any particular thoughts on this deign please feel free to share them with me. I would be interested in your input. I also went ahead and purchased my resident parking sticker online. Unbelievable that they charge 40 bucks for that nowadays. I can remember when it was a dollar, then it went to 5 (it was at that cost for a while), then 10, then 20, and now 40. I can also remember when you could get them over at a building in Powderhouse Park, but those days are long gone now. I’ve also been starting to get all my tax documents together little by little. Planning to go over that probably by the end of the month. I don’t like to wait too long on things like that, just one part of a somewhat rigid personality trait that I possess. I was feeling pretty accomplished last night as I made this amazing chicken and gnocchi parmesan which actually came out really stellar. It even looked amazing but sadly I neglected to photograph it. Just the way the mozzarella cheese was bubbling was browned ever so slightly on top. Mmmhmmm.

Some Quick Updates

Couple of quick updates. Speaking of updates, I just updated this site to the latest version of the software and everything seems to be going without a hitch, so that’s good. Also my phone is ready for the Android 12/UI 4.0 update so I’m off to do that.

In honor of Meatloaf we obtained one of his hit singles for the jukebox and I’m in the process of making the label and placing it into the machine. It will occupy space #119/219. Try to guess what song you think it might be in the comments section, if you’d be so inclined to try.

Been starting to make some minor preparations for the snowstorm we are expected to get on Saturday. Still a bit early to see how impactful it will end up being, but it looks like we are bound to get something significant, so there’s that.

Sore But(t) All is Good

Happy days are here again!

Things are starting to get back to normal around here which is really good and provides me with a sigh of relief. LD is finally back and doing well. I did take a tumble down the stairs this morning but thankfully it was my left buttcheek that took the brunt. Thankfully not on my tailbone because that would have been really problematic. I’m alright, maybe just a teeny bit sore in the affected area. The stupid railing finally gave, I had a feeling it would sooner or later and I guess today was the day. Going to have to get new brackets and reinstall since that’s the part that snapped, they’ve been there since forever. None the worse for wear though so no worries. I’m a pretty tough cookie.

On a positive note, the hydroponic garden we’ve started is performing nicely. Real soon I’ll be able to remove the little domes on the sprouts and they can grow freely. I also checked on the pine tree out back that showed signs of distress this summer but I’m pleased to see that it has mostly recovered on it’s own. It even has two pinecones on it now.

I disabled comments on posts that are greater than two weeks old moving forward. Seems spammers just would add stupid comments. It’s really a waste of their time since every comment has to be registered and approved which theirs never would be but I got sick of seeing the notifications about it, so that ought to curb that.

Thanks for the Repost!

You may notice that I’ve moved this site over to a https URL instead of the less secure http that I’ve been using. So you may need to update your bookmarks but probably not. I’m not collecting any information from visitors, not doing e-commerce or anything like that, it’s just a prudent thing to do.

I just heard my New Years Eve skating photo from a few days ago was featured on NECN. Pretty cool. For some reason they don’t seem to be notifying anymore, just showing on tv. I wouldn’t have known about it but a woman I used to work with back in my AutoCAD drafting days saw it and commented the news to me.

I just picked up and finished reading Fauci: Expect the Unexpected. Easy read. That’s my first book on 2022. Hopefully I’ll be able to do more reading this year. I was horrified to learn that according to my Goodreads I had only read 5 books in 2021. Is that right? My average is around 25-30 books a year.

Weeding It All Out

Yes, I’ve gone back to the previous design. Maybe I’ll change it again if the mood strikes but I really like to show off my photos and this design I think does that pretty well. So for the moment, we’re back to this view.

I spent a little part of the afternoon weeding out the raised boxes. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I pretty much let that go this year, but in my defense the weather we’ve had all summer was not that conductive to our plantings. Still, I have been a bit remiss with the gardening. Getting ready for fall cleanup soon anyhow.

In the early evening we went and got some Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and watched the last four episodes of Chicago PD which had been sitting on the DVR since the early summer.

I Goat You Babe

Goats are my therapy. Eustis and I goat this.

I was looking over some new dehumidifiers to replace the old one we had that finally went to it’s grave. Did you know they have ones now that even include WIFI and will alert you to their status? The Internet of Things (IoT) really is everywhere these days.

I’ve been playing around with the website design again, just for a change. If you’re viewing the page on computer you’ll see a bunch of stuff on the right – a sidebar if you will, otherwise that stuff shows up and the very bottom of the page. I might go back to the previous design but for now I just felt like changing things a bit.

What a wonderfully pleasant day today, with cool breezes. Thinking of doing a fire tonight. But for this afternoon, we felt a trip to the sanctuary was in order, plus LD had some produce she wanted to donate to the animals. As we got there we met the owner who mentioned that she was thinking of LD and had “summoned” her and missed her and called us family. That was really sweet. We got goat time which is our favorite part (see photo of Eustis and I!) Eustis is one of my all time favorites (even though it’s a girl’s name the goat is actually a male) but we heard that he’s been having a harder time lately – arthritis and all, the animals are getting up in age sadly and Eustis has been there a long time. Still, just sitting in the sun and the sand seems to make us all pretty happy.

I did end up making a fire around 4:30. We were out there til about 6:50. The fire was nice because it actually felt somewhat cold outside by the late afternoon.

Currently watching: Behind Her Eyes on Netflix.

Vote for Me!

thanks in advance!

If you like this picture I would appreciate a vote! You have to scroll to the bottom of the page, which is dumb. If I win, I promise to make good on your contribution to me in some way!

https://www.visitma.com/state-of-wonder-contest/#g1899161

Also I may go ahead and convert this site from http to https. Stay tuned on that one.

The Weeping Willow Represents Balance, Harmony and Growth

The House with the old Weeping Willow.

The story behind the photo: Kinda bummed about the recycling bin in this shot but as the kids used to say, ‘whatevs.’ I grew up down the street from this house and was always enthralled by the large weeping willow that has been there for as long as I can remember. The house seems somewhat out of place as it’s surroundings don’t really match the décor of any of the surrounding triple deckers. Also the fence out front seems to have some kind of pagoda motif to me. I always wondered if some artist of some sort lives here or not. Seems like the place would lend itself to that. Strangely out of all the million times I’ve passed by this place, I’ve never seen who actually lives there. I just looked at Zillow and although the place isn’t for sale, it’s listed at close to a million and was built in 1900. The house I grew up in and is still in the family was built in 1856, and let me tell, sometimes it feels like it as nothing is to any proper or standard dimensions.


Yesterday Mom made it through her surgery A-OK! She’s due for another one on the other hand in a couple of weeks but now having gone through the process once, we know what to expect. I’d like to give a shoutout to Cambridge City Hospital for their good work. I guess it’s just called Cambridge Hospital now, just outside of Inman Square. Trivia bit: it’s the hospital were I was born! I’ve been spending the last two days over there helping out a bit so that’s why I haven’t updated much. I got a strange email from my webhost saying they needed to delete some giant file that was on the server under my account. I think it might have been some old backup of my previous site although I’ve no recall of ever backing that up. Anyways, I don’t think it matters or that I’d ever need whatever it was.

I found an old picture of me today frequenting the Egyptian artworks over at the MFA. Makes me want to go back there and visit the museum and the Gardner one too. I have a deeper appreciation of the artwork nowadays than I did back then and would like to see them again in my enlightened thoughts.

Happiness is a Way of Travel, not a Destination

Stud.

Ok, the website has been updated to PHP 7.4.15 and all appears to be running fine! PHP is the web language that the site is based upon, if this site was a car then you could think of PHP as the engine, so it’s pretty important for the functioning of the site. So that’s a relief. It should provide better security and maybe even be a bit faster. Here’s a pic from yesterday while I was cruising around in Malden running some errands, taken in a parking lot before heading off to my next adventure. (I always wear my seatbelt). I’m rocking a shirt from PA that LD was kind enough to get me when she visited the area a few years back that honors my grandfather as he worked in a Bethlehem Steel mill for decades until he retired. Ironically I believe the plant was formally at the location that the office that I worked in currently resides. The city removed all the old industrial buildings and railways and replaced them with office buildings at some point, probably in the 1980s I’m thinking, and nowadays more and more luxury apartment complexes. Also under my cap, I got a pretty short haircut yesterday, I feel a whole hell of a lot lighter!

In other news, LD started repainting the coffee table the other day with the legs a darkish grey and the top an eggshell grey chalk color that can actually be written on with chalk. It may need another coat or two but it’s basically looking good and is a good use of repurposing an old piece of furniture that we found on the side of a road for free for the sunroom a few years ago. (sort of like this but in grey colors). While that was going on we also planted some more things, moved around some planting hangers so they’re more visible and could get more sun during the day than where it was and trying to get this place looking good for spring and summer. We are discovering more and more that you have to do things that make you happy, especially these days that we’re living in and the circumstances that befall us. The rain coming over the next day or two should do them all a world of good. Toward sundown I grilled some chicken and salmon last night on the grill for dinner as well, which we ate while continuing to get through a bunch of 21 Jump Street reruns. We’re almost done with the whole series at this point, and so was Johnny Depp considering that he shows up less and less in the episodes. I also want to watch that documentary on lighthouses over the next day or so.

I’ll be adding more to this post later…Never mind, I feel asleep, which sucks because it means I missed the Lowe’s final registration for next weeks butterfly house kit, and I’m really mad at myself for allowing that. I’m making amends to myself by taking on a project to make my own, I’ll just buy all the parts. Tomorrow I’ll be picking up my tree sapling for Earth Day. I’m interested to see what that is going to be.

Wednesday Vibes On

Rockport Motif No.1

Tried Wendy’s $5 Biggie Bag for lunch yesterday. It wasn’t bad. I would get it again. LD also set me up for a vac appointment for this coming Saturday but it was for the J&J and soon after booking they announced a halt on those. I would prefer to get an mRNA vaccine anyway, preferably Pfizer but Moderna as a second choice. Even though the chance of a problem with the J&J would be most likely rare for me, I’m not going to get that one. If they don’t switch it out I’ll just cancel and try to find another opportunity. LD did find me another appointment for Pfizer but its up in Amesbury, I’ll probably just do that.

Fun little article on Little Libraries in the latest edition of the Somerville Times. I’ve been to a few of these in the past. I need to go revisit them, since I haven’t really read anything since the end of last year. Jonesin’ a little bit for something good to get into.

Today was the first day of the year that I mowed the front lawn! Might have a guest or two over the weekend outside so it would be good to make it look nice and neat. Took a little longer than usual because I had to charge up the edger, but it’s done so we should be good to go!

The site is being upgraded to PHP 7.4 on 4/21 so hopefully everything will still work. It should, but we all know how computers can be, Keep your fingers crossed!

Can’t Stop the Spring Loving

Happy Spring!

It was a pleasant surprise to receive some telescoping Marshmallow Roasting Sticks from our friends that we visited last weekend, since we mentioned how great theirs were and we wanted to get some. That was SO nice and now makes me want to fire up the pit and start getting some S’mores action going (even though I’m not a huge fan of marshmallows in general but it’s the experience). Also, if the weather trends warmer next week I may pull the grill out early. I also finally got around the hanging up the glass print of Carson that I got done for free a few weeks back. Now I just need to try out the new vacuum and hook up the Smart TV still. By the end of this weekend for sure!

I looked into those Timber Stoves that the Chocolate Sparrow had. As I suspected they are on the pricey side, but they’re so cool. If anyone would like to gift one to me, I wouldn’t complain!

Just updated the website to the latest version of the blog software – most of the changes should be imperceptible to you all – mostly administrative “under the hood” stuff… hopefully, although I may play around with some of the newer features in my posts moving forward.

Wonky Cell Phone Status

Guess where? Another photo from the archives.

Just updated the site to the latest version of the CMS. You shouldn’t notice any differences, it’s more just stuff I can use to configure my site better or in different ways if I so choose.

My phone started doing some weird crap today. While I was trying to make a call I could never get a dial tone. I swear this thing is on the way out. I still haven’t popped on the new cell yet but it’s becoming more and more apparent that I probably can’t wait too much longer. Hopefully just enough to last throughout the rest of this awful year. It’s not even worth a trade in anymore as they only give five bucks for it.

Work on our holiday card for the year has been completed and will be going out shortly, so if you’re on our mailing list expect to see it in your mailbox within the next couple of weeks.

Puffin Love

A puffin soars over the water.
Puffin fly!

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”

The Puffin is by far my favorite bird. I just find them fascinating. They are so small and they live in such a harsh environment for most of their lives up in the cold arctic waters. Little fighters.

Just updated the site to the latest version of the software. Most of the changes won’t be noticeable to viewers except one. Images will now wait to load until they’re just about to scroll into view. The technical term is ‘lazy loading.’ Seems legit so far, if anything seems wonky please let me know.

Powerful Ladies

A painted lady butterfly probing some white flowers.
Painted Lady decides to visit

Just spent the morning with a hatchet hewing down all the fallen tree limbs and bagged them up for disposal tomorrow. Good little workout! (must have been how Carrie Nation felt back in the day – the inspiration for this blog name!) I’m not against alcohol (in moderation of course), I had just happened to be reading a biography of the woman at the time I decided to start the website and I couldn’t think of any other name at the time. Plus the thought of a bible-thumping, 6 foot tall old lady all dressed in black coming in with a hatchet smashing things must have been quite a sight. Anyways everything’s back to the way it was pre-storm.

Spring and Teacher Parade

Spring came just the same.

“I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.”

Anne Lamott

Just updated the site to the newest version of WordPress. This entry is just more or less to make sure nothing “broke” in the process. Seems to be alright. I’ll try using some of the new features in posts over time as I feel they warrant it.

I braved going to the grocery store last night. Looked like everyone was practicing social distancing and all. In and out. Work for me has been really slow lately – been watching some training videos but will probably have to take some personal time (PTO) to help with utilization. Kinda sucks and is concerning regarding my possible future but keeping the chin up, it all could be worse.

At lunch today we went for a walk around a block and discovered that all the teachers in town drove around in a parade with balloons and honking horns while waving from their cars said hello to the students around town. It was a nice thing to see today. So great to see them spreading positivity their students. What are you doing to spread positivity?

Testing PHP 7.2

Autumn Trees.

Just upgraded the PHP version on the site – this is only a test for myself to make sure nothing broke. So far seems legit. Main benefits are its faster processing and better security – the usual stuff. In my spare time I’ve been watching how to repair jukeboxes of all things. i believe I can change the needle, adjust the tome arm, and some other various fixes, should they ever be needed! There’s just something cool about watching the mechanisms do their things – I don;t know – maybe I’m just old school. Here’s another pic from the cemetery from last week before more rain and wind really made them bare.