Monday, May 31, 2010

Outing to Tower Hill

As sober a time as Memorial Day can be, I will admit that I have really appreciated having a three-day weekend. It's much more civilized than two days. (When will I buy a lottery ticket?)

Yesterday I trekked far far out, outside 495*, generally reckoned by inside-128* residents as akin to Outer Mongolia, and went to Tower Hill Botanic Garden with friends. And, I know you're shocked, I took a whole bunch of pictures!

*Boston is "ringed", inasmuch as a city on the water can be, by two highways: 128, which is also interstate 95 for much of the circumference, and 495 farther out. Like this:

It was just lovely. There are woods and gardens and views and details all over.

Mount Wachusett in the distance.

Parts of it reminded me a little of the woods around Green Gables, in PEI.

This plant looked like a weed on steroids:

Seriously, look how big!

I like fountains, but the water streaming out of the sheep's mouth was unnerving.

Pan looked up to no good, which fits all the stories.

A peace temple is a nice idea, but it's a bit pretentious-olde-style for something from 2002, I think.

The urn was pretty, though.

And the flowers! Isn't nature amazing?

It was a nice day and an overall nice time. Today I've been puttering, dishes and vacuuming and paying the bills, all highly exciting. Well, no, not at all, but satisfying, at least. I do love a clean kitchen. When I win the lottery, one item on my shopping list is a housekeeper.

Happy Memorial Day from Boston

For Memorial Day*, there are flags on Boston Common. Twenty thousand flags. It's an awe-inspiring sight.

*If you're not American, or want to brush up on your history, read about Memorial Day here. I like that they chose the date "because it was not the anniversary of a battle."

The video clip shows the breadth. (Sound isn't important: just kids playing nearby and other people looking at the exhibit.) Fluttering in the breeze...

A good reminder that it's more than a three-day weekend. Enjoy the cookout, enjoy the day off, but remember why.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Boston me encanta

Week two was another good one for walking around Boston, though it got me thinking about a couple of fliers on the office bulletin board.

On the left, encouragement to "start walking for 30 minutes today." In fact, with commute walking and lunch walking, I'm walking 60 minutes a day!

And on the right, "Your body has a story to tell. How well are you listening?" Well, in response to the first item, the second is, "It's saying ow, and it's tired." Cause, meet effect.

Still, I can't regret the lunchtime walking, which is voluntary and which I much enjoy in spite of soreness after. The weather's been good overall, and I get to see things like the back of this ice cream truck, a lovely tribute to Make Way For Ducklings:

At the time, I didn't even notice the plate, but it's a perfect touch.

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang...

The buildings all upstanding, the tree leaning wildly away.

Endless juxtapositions of the Hancock building.

Neighbors but not twins.

Glimpse of a swan boat through the trees.

I ate lunch in the Public Garden one day this week. I'd been there a few minutes when I glanced to the right and saw this squirrel. He was oddly flat, and I wondered if he was all right. I was sure he hadn't been there when I sat down, though, so he couldn't be too hurt.

I watched him, and after a bit he moved forward, leapt lightly across the path, and as soon as he came to the grass, sank down again.

Perhaps he was practicing his undercover moves?

Shortly he bounced off in a more typical squirrel way.

This tree fascinated me.

Ah, a camperdown elm. Of course.

Now this is a rooftop garden.

I love the detail everywhere!

And the Hancock again. It's a handy landmark as I wander.

Finally, I may have posted this one before, but can it be seen too often? His mama and his grandmama think not.

Mum, this is kind of what he was doing today when we were on the phone. Asleep in the dive position.

He slept on my lap for an hour today. It was divine. May we all have such moments.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Flowers in Boston

How can I be this tired?

Don't answer that. Look at the pretty flowers I've seen in Boston this week, while I count my blessings that they already announced they're letting us leave work at 2 tomorrow. Early start to the holiday weekend! Must keep eyes on prize. And go to bed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The MBTA owes me an hour of my life

Yes, the honeymoon with taking public transit, such as it was, is over. They had "switching problems" on the Orange Line tonight, they messed with my commute and my head, I missed not one bus but two, and thus I was an hour late getting home.

And by messed with my head, this is what I mean: the subway train leaves Community College, but stops before Sullivan. They announce that there's a problem and we'll have to stop until released. They announce it again. Then they announce we're going back to the last stop (leaving the question of then what unanswered for the moment).

Back at Community, they announce after a few minutes that they're sending the train back into town, so everyone off unless you want to go to North Station. We all get off; the train was pretty full. The train leaves, after a few false starts.

Some minutes later, another train pulls in, announced as the next train going our way. We all pile on, making it one crowded train. There's some of the usual clear-the-doors announcing, before they admit that actually, this train too will be going back, so everyone off again (unless you want to go to North Station).

There are now twice as many of us waiting. When another very full train comes along, only a small portion can fit on, though they say another car is right behind them. The train does actually depart in the right direction, but the next one doesn't come for another 5-10 minutes. It's also really full, and again only some people make it on.

By the time the third (or fifth) train comes along, everyone remaining is able to get on, though it is very crowded. And hot (80s today). And not pleasantly scented, shall we say. But the train does move, eventually, slowly, with stops between stations, and finally gets to the end 5 minutes after that second bus left. Which meant a 25-minute wait for the next one.

It sucked, basically. I could have written just that, but you know you have to get the splinter out or the wound will fester. If you're still reading, thank you. I'll try to be entertaining tomorrow (though there are no guarantees here!).

Let's have a better tomorrow, shall we?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random Enough For You?

With reluctance, I have switched to an earlier bus. The one I was taking got me to work on time (though breathless and sweaty), but only just, and only if everything else went well. By taking an earlier bus, I arrive before time, in better shape mentally and physically, and if the bus is late or a train pulls out just as I get to the subway, I'm not screwed.

It all makes great sense, but the painful part is that the bus goes half an hour before the one I was taking. This is not a major bus line, and this is rush-hour frequency for it. I really only need another ten minutes for comfort, 15 would be fine, but 30, ow. Was it hard to get out of bed this morning!

Today I also learned to cut back on my lunchtime walking when it's over 80 degrees. I actually thought I had cut back, but by the time I got back to my desk I was seriously hot. I do love not being cold, don't get me wrong, but it was hard to settle back down to work.

The Flyers made it into the Stanley Cup Finals, which start Saturday. Along with other Bruins, Devils, and Canadiens fans, I will be rooting for Chicago. They did me the favor of sweeping the always-under-motivated Jumbo Joe and the Sharks out of the playoffs, here's hoping they can do it one more round. (Sorry, Kate. Your happiness in the outcome will be my only silver lining should it come to that.)

Let's call this "I Did Not Need To Know This."

Seriously. Want. But want to lose weight just a tiny bit more.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oh, the weekend goes so much too fast

I just checked the 10-day weather forecast to see if I'd be eating lunch outside every day, and boy does this week look weird. They're forecasting high temperatures, Monday through Saturday, thusly:
77, 91, 71, 78, 85, 67
That's just odd. Up, down, up, down.

This weekend was a mix of pleasant and get-it-done. The weather was really nice, which I was grateful for. And driving my car after taking public transit all week was kind of funny. Not having an opportunity to run errands on the way home after work is going to take getting used to, though, and I went out yesterday and made about eight stops. At least it was a nice day for it. And I got the car inspected before the eleventh hour, so cross that off the list. (I didn't get to the laundry, though. It's always something.)

I arranged the damn car insurance (stupid Progressive and their 27% rate hike, I'm going to be bitter toward them for a long time), and sent off the payment for my health insurance through COBRA, and tried to grab Miri to trim her claws only to be foiled by her super-feline grab-resistant strength. She looks like a powder puff, but the power of her desperation is impressive. I'll have to try again, but I'm not up to it tonight. Anyway, I think tranquilizer darts would have a better chance of succeeding.

The pumpkin says Meow.

And so do I. Good-night!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The First of Many Working-in-Boston Photos

I know I haven't being doing it long, and that there are worse times of year, but so far at least I have been enjoying being in Boston during the week. There's something quite pleasant about eating lunch here:

This was Thursday, in Copley Square. As you can see in the first photo, the central area there was empty (except for a guy practicing his moves with a soccer ball). Yesterday, the fountain was on, and it was full of water instead.

I also enjoy walking around Boston and checking out the architecture. I think I've said it here before: if you come to Boston, don't forget to look up. Some of the details are astounding.

And such a mixture of styles.

Even the fire escapes can be attractive.

I also like the little alleys that run between the major streets. It's fun to see behind the facades.

And in the unlikely event that I am ever the subject of a statue, I want one like this. Sitting down...

...with books under the chair.

On the other hand, the thought that there are people in that window-washing rig gives me the shivers.

I saw a lot of these around. Ooh, movie parking!

The Globe was able to tell me that it was for filming a movie I never heard of, featuring an actress and several actors I never heard of. Not quite so exciting. Oh well.

That's life. And so is this, but in a better way. At the farmer's market on Friday, I was unable to resist the lure of the expensive, organic, first-of-the-season strawberries.

And I'm glad I didn't resist. They were as good as they looked.

And of course eating them while admiring Trinity was very pleasant.

I wonder if the glow will wear off. I think not. We'll see!