Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I originally started this blog to keep family and friends updated on my travels in and around Boston but I've decided that I might try to keep it going. Of course time constraints may leave the entries few and far between. We'll see!

I have already planned my next trip. I will be going to Spain in the spring. I am so excited about it. I've always wanted to go to Spain. I have just started reading James Michener's Iberia. I think it will be fun to read about his travels in Spain. It will give me ideas for things to look for and do.

Today I have been contemplating possible new year's resolutions. So far I know for sure that I need to lose the 6 pounds that I picked up over the holidays. As for the others I think I will just keep them to myself for now. It is important to set goals. I highly recommend it.

I read a very interesting article today that was sent to me. It is very interesting and I highly recommend everyone read it. Here is the link:

Please read his article from Tuesday, December 3o.

I watched CNN today. They said they were going to get to the heart of who began the whole Israeli/Gaza rocket attacks that are going on right now. They talked to a Palestinian in Gaza and an American in Israel but they never really go to the point of who really started it. I think you will find this article very interesting and enlightening. There are always two side to every story but how often do we ever hear both sides? Be informed and start checking into the things that interest you.

Have a great new year!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Goodbye Boston!

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
My car is waiting outside my door
It's time for me to tell Boston goodbye.
I'm leaving on a jet plane (aka my Honda),
Don't know when I'll be back again.
Oh how I hate to go!

(These are not the real lyrics for "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by Peter, Paul, and Mary, but my version appropriate for the moment. Kind of weird and nerdy but oh well, that's me)

Why do the lyrics of "Leaving on a Jet Plane" always run through my head when I have to leave a place, especially when I am pretty sure I'll never be back? I can't believe that two months have passed by so quickly. I did have a few final adventures this 4th of July weekend to tell you about.

On the 4th, I went to Old Sturbridge Village and saw how the settlers of Massachusetts lived during the early 1800s. It was very interesting for a history geek like me. Because it was the 4th of July they had some special things going on as well. You could sign the Declaration of Independence and you could listen to it being read on the Common. The whole expeience was very quaint and enjoyable. I recommend a visit there and especially if you have kids. There are a lot of things that are kid oriented. Be sure to have a cookie too. I had the cranberry nut oatmeal cookie and the sugar cookie (without sprinkles) and they were both fabulous!

In the evening I took the T down to the Charles river to watch the Boston Fireworks show accompanied by the Boston Pops and Rascal Flatts. Sarah and I watched from the Cambridge side of the river. We could hear the music but we were not close enough to the speakers for a great listen. The fireworks, however, more than made up for not getting to listen to Rascal Flatts very well or see them in person. It was awesome. I will post my video of the portion of the fireworks that went off during the 1812 overture. (I can't get the website to upload my video, sorry! If you know me personally and want to see it, just send me an email.)

It was a great experience and well worth the bother of trying to get home with a million other people using Boston's public transportation. Where we watched the fireworks from was not very far from the Kendall MIT subway station but the lines to just get inside the station and then on the train were packed. The fireworks ended at 11:00 and I got home at 12:10. I guess really that's not too bad. It could have been much worse.

I am really going to miss city life. I don't think I'll miss the traffic and the crazy roads but I am going to miss all the people watching on the T and while walking down the streets of Boston. I will also miss my morning walks through the Boston Common and the Public Garden. Even the homeless black man who hounded me for a dollar did not deter me from taking that walk every morning.

I am looking forward to getting back to my family and starting a new phase in my life. I plan to make some changes and it could be interesting. I am also very excited to prepare for the arrival of my grandson. I'm not sure I will have another post any time soon. Thanks for sharing the adventures with me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Beware of cranky bus drivers!

Today when I got off the train and went to the bus stop it was really crowded. Apparently the bus was running late and so that allowed the number of people waiting to get huge. While people were loading on the bus, it got pretty full. After the bus was so full that the driver didn't think it would hold any more people, she shut the door. Somebody outside complained about being hit by the door but she said she really didn't care. (I know from experience that the bus could have held a few more people. It did the night before.) Because we were so full, she didn't really stop much to pick up other passengers until after some had got off. She also drove like a woman possessed. I had given up my seat to a pregnant woman and I was glad I did for her sake. I really got jostled around standing up. I was very happy when some people got off and I could take a seat.

Tomorrow is the last day of my internship. I am sad. I have had a great time and learned a lot. I feel like I am just getting to know the people there. This afternoon Sarah and I had a lesson in book repair from the book conservator at the NEHGS. It was fascinating. I actually got to do some of the work. The woman who does it was so nice and did an excellent job of explaining every step of the process and about the materials that are used. What a great day!!

PS I found a great mystery that involves family history, slavery, and quilts. What a perfect fit for me? I think I read 60 pages today (in my free time).

Monday, June 30, 2008

I got to drive a Duck!!

Today was a good day but it had a rather uncertain start. I went down to wait for the bus only to have the bus driver go right past me waiting in the correct bus stop location without stopping!! Fortunately for me there was someone waiting at the next stop down the road and she stopped there and I ran. She waited for me. I think she felt bad for having not picked me up.

Once I got downtown, I took the famous Boston Duck Tour. The tour is done in amphibious vehicles with drivers who are hilarious. They must have five different licenses in order to drive a Duck vehicle. One for driving on land, one for driving in the Charles River, and three for operating tour vehicles in each of the three cities through which the Duck passes.

Our driver was Sergeant Meatball. He told some very corny jokes and puns as well as a few truly funny ones. When we got out to the Charles River, he let all the kids in the Duck who wanted to, drive it for a while. After the kids had their turn, he asked if any adults wanted to drive the Duck. Heck yea! I want to drive a Duck. I eagerly volunteered and got to drive our Duck around in the Charles River. The driver took my picture while I was driving. I will post it here for you to see.

After the Duck tour, I had lunch in the Prudential Center and then headed out for Charlestown. When I first arrived in Boston, I walked the Freedom Trail but didn't walk the part goes in and around Charlestown. Today was the day to finish it. I loved Charlestown. It was so quiet and peaceful. I think if I were going to move to Boston, I would want to live there. The only bad part was the distance from the subway. That could be a problem. I ended up taking the ferry back into Boston and then getting the subway from there. My feet weren't up to walking back across the bridge and into Boston.

After Charlestown and the ferry back into Boston, I headed out to Harvard and Cambridge. I enjoyed walking around the campus although I will admit that I took quite a few wrong turns. It is a beautiful place. From there I took the bus home.

It was a beautiful, hot day but I really enjoyed seeing the sights and driving a Duck!! I am going to be sad to leave here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Old North Church

On Friday a group of us were able to go down to the Old North Church for a private tour. The NEHGS has some kind of joint project going on with the group that manages the Old North Church and so we had an "in" to see some things most people don't get to see when they visit there.

To begin with we started our adventure as usual on the "T". Every adventure around here pretty much starts that way. We arrived at the stop where we needed to get off and began the walk over to the church. It was about 5 blocks or so. You can never really tell about the blocks in the North End of Boston because they are laid out so unusually. As we were walking, it started to rain. By the time we got to the church, it was coming down in buckets along with thunder and lightning. We got a little soaked. No one thought to bring an umbrella. I left mine at the office.

When we got to the church, we began our tour in the basement looking at the old crypts. That's a great place to be on a stormy, thundering afternoon. It just added to the ambiance. From the crypt we went up to the main chapel and were told about the different changes it had gone through since its creation. One of the things one of my colleagues was interested in were the various owners of the pews. This made me think of church today. Even though they don't have our names on them, doesn't each family still have their own special pew. What's the reaction in your church when someone sits where you and your family always sit??

Back to the tour. After the chapel, we went up to the archive room which is no longer in use. All the important papers that used to be there have now been moved to the Massachusetts Historical Society. From there we went up some narrow wooden stairs to the bell ringers' room. There were 8 cords hanging from the ceiling that are attached to the bells. We were given a short lesson on how the bell ringers play their melodies. There were even song charts on the wall to follow along. Each bell has a number and you would use the chart to indicate which bell is rung in which sequence. It was quite impressive. According to our guide, Paul Revere was a bell ringer at the church in his teen years. She had a copy of a signed agreement that a group of bell ringers had signed which include Paul Rever. This would explain how he knew all about the church tower. He undoubtedly remembered his experiences there and the view from the top of the tower and knew it would be the perfect place for a signal light. (Please remember that Paul Revere was not the one who put the lanterns in the tower. He only gave the instructions as to the signal process and then saw the lanterns and set out to warn the countryside).

Our next destination was up the stairs and ladders (about 4 or 5 flights of them in all) to the tower. It was quite the climb. The ladders were dusty, narrow, and all made of wood. Don't look down on your way up. The view was definitely the reward for having made the climb, however, because the view from the tower was spectacular. We could see all of Boston and the surrounding area. The perfect place for a signal for all to see.

We lingered in the tower for several minutes. I took several pictures and then sadly we had to come back down. What a great day! I don't know why I get to have all these wonderful experiences but I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yesterday I finished John Adams and now that I'm done it feels like I have said goodbye to a friend I won't see again. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I have a lot of respect and admiration for the man, John Adams, and even more so for David McCullough, the historian who wrote it. To compile such a rich biography using so many wonderful documents makes this book like a fine, pieced quilt. Each piece, large or small, adds to its overall beauty. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it.

I have been trying to plan my return home tonight and I have decided that I'm really not looking forward to leaving here. I have had such a great time. I have learned a lot and spent a lot of time out and about seeing the sights of New England. I have met some great people. I feel so blessed for having had this opportunity. I don't know why I should be so blessed but I am truly thankful.

I am looking forward to getting home to see my kids and my kitties and go back to my real job, if it's still mine. I have so many things I want and need to do when I get home before the semester starts again in the fall. I am anxious to get started getting my house in order. I am definitely not looking forward to loading up my car for the long drive. I brought too much stuff with me to Boston and since I've been here I've added a lot more stuff. What was I thinking??

I also have some thinking to do about the future. Do I want to go on to get a Master's degree (I'm considering Library Science) or do I just want to be done with school and try to find a job in family history. This is a big decision that is going to require a lot of pondering, fasting, and prayer. If you're reading this, leave me a comment with your opinion.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The latest

I haven't had a post for ten days. That is a long time. I have been quite lazy to tell the truth. I have rediscovered Mahjong. Bad idea. Stay away! Very addicting.

Since I last wrote I have been out to Quincy to see the three homes where John Adams and his family lived. It was only natural for me to go out there because I am currently reading John Adams by David McCullough. It is a great book. I am fascinated by the life of John Adams. The letters between John and Abigail Adams are wonderful. It was so cool to be in the very spot where many of Abigail's letters were written. It was also awesome to see the huge library that has just a portion of John Adams' and John Quincy Adams' over 12,000 books (and I thought I had a lot of books). I learned so much about John Adams' role in the American Revolution and the early years of this country's government. I highly recommend it. I have even gone so far as to buy a copy of the HBO miniseries based on this same book. I can't wait to watch it.

Being the history nerd that I am, I also went out to Lexington and Concord to see where the American Revolution began. About a year or so ago I had read Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer and so it was thrilling to see where it all took place. Another book and place to visit that I recommend. I would recommend that you read the books or at least a good portion of them before you go to get a true feel for what took place at the historic sites and the people who lived there.

Last Saturday we drove out to Cape Cod and drove around to several lighthouses. It is so pretty out there. I was surprised at how big the place was. I had imagined it as a much smaller area. It took a lot longer to drive to all the locations we wanted to. Of course you have to bear in mind that on many of the roads we were lucky to go over 30 mph. Yes, life is much slower out there. The roads are narrow and there are not many roads with more than one lane each way. I would love to go back. I was disappointed that we didn't get to spend anytime just kicking back on the beach. Our list of things to do was too long.

This Monday I stayed home and did laundry. I was expecting to do some work from my real job but it didn't happen. I'm not surprised it didn't but I was hoping to be of help.

This Tuesday as well as last Tuesday, I spent part of the day at the Boston Temple. The spirit there was awesome. It just helps my week go better by having some spiritual experiences there.

Today on the bus I made a short list of things I wanted to write about. Most of them had to do with more adventures using Boston public transportation. The bus that I ride to and from the subway station is actually a sort of cable car. It runs on electricity and is hooked up to cables that run over the road. Yesterday on the way home the bus just stopped and went silent except for some kind of warning signal up on the driver's panel. It sounded like the bus might have ran over something but I couldnt tell from inside. The bus driver got off the bus and after a few minutes he got back on and we were up and running. I suspect I know what he was doing. About a month ago I was following a bus and the driver stopped, got off, and had to hook the electric cables back up to the bus. I imagine that is what happened yesterday. He never said a word but it seems likely.

I would like to introduce you to some of the people that I have seen on the bus. The first people are two girls who ride the bus regularly in the morning. They are in an English class together trying to learn English. It is fun to watch them study and talk on their way. I call them the English girls and I always look forward to watching them on the bus. I haven't ever talked to them but I enjoy watching them from a distance. I remember the good old days of trying to learn the language of the foreign country I was living in. I wish them well.

Today on the bus there was a cute Chinese family. Before they got on the bus, the mom had snapped a quick picture of the dad and their son getting on the bus. If it wasn't the end of the school year, I would say it was a first day of school picture. The son looked like he was about 5. School ends here this week and so maybe it was his last day of school picture. Who knows? They were cute. Mom continued to snap a few pictures of dad and son on the bus. I have seen some other strange characters but I won't get into any details. Let's just say that it always makes the ride interesting.

One evening last week I was waiting for the train in the Park Street station. In that station the train opens its doors on both sides rather than the usual one side. I was standing with a few other people waiting for the train. When it arrived, the doors opened on the far side, and so we waited for them to open on our side. And we waited, and we waited, and we waited. Next thing you know the doors were now closed on the other side of the train and it was pulling away. Even though the train wasn't that full, apparently we weren't getting on that one. The next one was not too far behind but I have never seen that happen and will be perfectly content if I don't ever see it again.

The Celtics won the NBA championship last night. There is going to be a big parade downtown tomorrow. I hope that I can get away from work to go see it. I think it would be fascinating to watch this city congratulate their sports heroes. I forgot to ask at work today about what would happen during the parade. I guess we'll find out tomorrow. The parade is going to end at Copley Square which is just a block away from work.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

He's back!

I stepped outside my house this morning to head off to church and my friend, the skunk, had been by. All around the outside of the house smelled like skunk. Fortunately, it did not smell like skunk inside the house. I'm glad that I didn't see him face to face this time. I was assuming that he might be the same one from the bus stop a few weeks ago, but who knows this might be a relative.

Yesterday, we went down to Salem. Salem as you may recall is famous for its witch trials in the 1600s. Everywhere you go there are shops selling witch paraphernalia. You can also have your future read by palm or tarot cards. We opted, however, not to go to any of the three witch museums or partake in any witch silliness. We went to the Peabody Essex Museum instead. It was wonderful. There were a lot of things to see. Inside the museum they have a chinese house that was taken apart in China and transported to Salem and then put back together. It was filled with authentic articles from the area and time period. It was fascinating to see how they lived. The stories about the house traced the generations and lives of one particular Chinese family who owned and lived in the house. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

We also did some walking around the historic town. I am fascinated with architecture and old houses and so I took lots of pictures. We also had a wonderful seafood lunch on Pickering Wharf at Finz. I highly recommend it. I had the lobster roll. It was very yummy.

Tomorrow I am headed out to Quincy to see the Adams home. I have been reading John Adams by David McCullough and I am very excited to see where it took place. It should be an easy trip down the Red Line. The mini-series comes out on DVD this Tuesday and I hear it is really good and so I plan to purchase it. What a history nerd I am!

I almost forgot to mention this fabulous, crazy bookstore we went into in Salem. It was very tiny but loaded with books stacked from the floor to about the height of six feet. There were so many that there was only enough space for one person to walk comfortably down the aisles. The owner had the books organized by genre and if you told him what you were looking for he would help you find it and even pull it out for you. I was afraid that if I pulled out a book the whole pile would come tumbling down and I would buried in a ton of books. Please see the picture posted on this blog. You have to see it to believe it. The best part almost every book was 50% off list price!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thoughts of the day

I have noticed when riding the T (Boston's public transportation) that people here read a lot. So I began to wonder. Are lots of people here college educated and know the value of continually reading and learning? Some of them are reading school texts which look very intimidating. There is no doubt that there are lots of smart people here. There are so many well-known and prestigious colleges and universities around. Just on my transportation route alone are Harvard and MIT. And we can't go without mentioning Massachusetts General Hospital, also on my transportation route, which is so good that Ted Kennedy goes there and he could afford to go anywhere.

Maybe people just read a lot to escape the doldrums of city life. A lot of people don't own cars here. It is just too expensive to park them in most places and there is also the hassle of even finding a place to park them. The other hassle is the narrow streets. It's not a lot of fun driving around some places in the city.

Finally I decided that people must read on the T because they are bored and it helps pass the time more quickly. I was thinking about all the time I spend on the T and I am literally wasting anywhere from 8 to 10 percent of my day riding around on the T. It's usually a one hour trip-one way. I would read more on the T if I could always have a seat but that usually only happens on the bus part of the trip. It is the first segment on the way into work and the last segment on the way home. On the way into work sometimes I read because I don't really have to pay attention to where to get off. The bus stops at the subway station and that's where I get off and shift into subway mode. On the way home I usually get a seat as well but by that time I'm pretty tired and I really don't feel like reading plus I have to watch for my stop.

I have also noticed that most people like to listen to an I-pod or some sort of music player on the T. It seems to me like a way to tune out the world. It seems like just another way modern electronic means are teaching us to not to socialize. Computers, cell phones, and I-pods are all dragging us away from opportunities to interact with people. What a shame!

Moving on to today's happenings. Today was graduation for Harvard. That made my T ride a little more crowded. According to the bus driver, the bus was running late this morning because of it. Once the bus got full, the bus driver refused to pick up any more passengers. This is the first time I've seen that happen. In the morning the Green line was so packed that I was literally squeezed up against the door. I decided to bail out one stop early so I could escape. It turns out that the stop is the same distance to work as from my usual stop. I may bail out early every time. Today there was also a baseball game at Fenway. Whenever there is a game, the Green line T gets really crowded. It was a crowded trip today coming and going.

I'm starting to miss the wide open spaces of Utah and the quick 10-15 minute drive to work.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Moving day!

I had a great working vacation in DC the past several days. I went there to help my daughter move into her new home. Much of our time was spent lifting and carrying boxes and cleaning. I was so glad to be able to help her.

I got the chance to refresh my truck driving skills. Amy rented a 10 foot U-Haul truck and we used it to take her things out to VA from MD. For those of you who have never been to the Eastern US. It was not a very far move. She is now in the lovely city of Alexandria which is also the home of Mount Vernon. Anyways, back to the truck driving adventures. Back in 2004 when we first moved to Utah I drove a 26 foot truck to central Utah from southern New Mexico. It took us about 15 hours and was quite the adventure. It had no ability to climb hills but could go quite rapidly down hills. It was an automatic which made life a little easier. It also had a radio and AC. I never got a picture of me driving it and I forgot to do likewise this weekend with the smaller truck.

The truck I drove Saturday was about half the size and was fairly easy to maneuver through traffic. I noticed that people give you a little more space and don't cut you off when you are driving a big truck. On the way to take the truck back to the U-Haul place, it was pouring down rain. We had already had lightning, thunder, torrents of rain and some hail. It was just raining moderately while I was driving down the beltway back to Maryland. I noticed that people don't like to follow you very closely if you are in a big truck and the roads are wet. Trucks can spray up a lot of water off the road making visibility difficult.

On one of my earlier blogs, I wrote about watching rowers out on the Charles River here in Boston. While I was in DC, Amy took me kayaking on the Potomac. It was a lot of fun. I wasn't as apprehensive as I thought I would be. It was a beautiful sunny day. Not too hot and not too cold. A gentle breeze kept the temperature nice. We rowed around for about an hour. It was a lot of fun.

On Friday, Amy and I went out to Theodore Roosevelt Island. It is a beautiful nature preserve in the heart of DC on the Potomac. You can walk on trails through the forest and over some swampy areas. It is gorgeous. We saw a squirrel that was posing nicely for a picture until I took out the camera. We also saw a little girl holding a snake. The interesting about her was that she was surrounded by about five little boys none of whom seem very interested in holding the snake. They were enjoying looking from a short distance.

Monday was spent kayaking and then doing some mad shopping. Amy needed a ton of things for her new home. We had a lot of fun picking out bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen things. Amy purchased a TV stand for the new 50 inch plasma TV that she bought on Saturday after all the moving was done. I spent Monday night until 1:30 am trying to put the thing together. That was a fun experience. I have now introduced Amy to the wonderful world of home repair. I bought her a cordless drill and she had a lot of un trying it out. What a woman!

I don't remember if I mentioned it previously but I had lost my cell phone on Memorial Day. I am happy to report that some kind soul turned it into a store near where I had been shopping and today I drove out to get it. Yes! There are still good, honest people on the planet and especially in Massachusetts.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Working vacation

Tonight after work I flew to DC to help my daughter get moved into her new home. She is closing on the sale tomorrow. I am very excited for her. Today is also her birthday!

To get to the Logan airport, I took the train from downtown which involved bringing my bag with me to work and then hauling it around with me on all my bus and train connections. Fortunately I packed light and so it wasn't too bad. The only down side was that the trains were running a little slower today because of a serious accident yesterday in which a train conductor was killed when her train slammed into the back of another train. I guess the train conductors were being a little extra cautious. Anyways, that caused the trains to fill up more than usual. It is very awkward being crammed in a train with a backpack and a small duffel bag.

My daughter says we are going to go kayaking on the Potomac on Monday! I'm excited and a little nervous. She assures me that the kayaks are more like canoes and I won't have to keep my legs trapped inside it so that might not be too bad. It will be something to look forward to.

My camera broke! I will have to get a new one. Hopefully I will be able to pick one up while I am in DC.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where there's smoke, I guess there's fire

Yesterday, Sarah and I went out to the Premium Outlet mall in Wrentham. While there I lost my cell phone. We retraced our steps but we just didn't find it. I ended up suspending my service and today I went to get a replacement phone after work. I found a relatively cheap replacement in a prepaid phone. I figured I would use that until I could have the kids send my old phone. Once I got that done I headed over to the T station. I got on as usual, everything was going along normally. The train wasn't even very crowded. That is always pleasant.

When we got to the Park Street Station, I went further down into the belly of the city to catch my Red Line train. I got down there and I noticed a little bit of haziness. It doesn't seem too bad. There are fire department people down there and there is no sense of panic anywhere and so I proceeded to wait. Gradually the smoke got thicker and thicker and thicker. I decided to go stand a few steps up on the stairs because there was a little bit of a draft there and it wasn't as smoky. The next thing you know, the firemen are asking us to evacuate. The train is not going anywhere!!

I walked up out of the station and started to ponder my option. I can just wait around and see if the train will be running soon; I can take a taxi home; or I've got it, I can walk down to the next Red Line station. It's a little ways but not too far and I actually know the way. It's probably a 25-30 minute walk. My thinking was that the Red Line will be running down there and I can get on and head back home.

On my walk over I called Sarah because her apartment is on the way. I thought I would let her know what was going on in case I needed to a place to hang out while waiting. She lives relatively close, a 5-10 minute walk, to the station where I was headed. I met and visited with her for a few minutes and continued on my way.

As I got closer to the station, I saw lots and lots of people waiting and standing around. When I get there, I find out that the train wasn't running there either. Someone from the MBTA (Mass Bay Transit Authority) said that there would be shuttle buses along to take us out to Harvard Station. Ha Ha! I thought. There were several hundred people waiting there. That's going to take a long time. After waiting a good 20 minutes or so, I decided to head over to Sarah's to explore other options.

Sarah graciously offered me a snack to tide me over till I could get home. We looked at other possible routes by bus on the Internet but they were going to take a really long time. I called a taxi company and they said it was going to be $35. Wow! That's too much. So I waited a little longer and then walked back to the station.

At the station I waited another 5 or 10 minutes before a shuttle bus came along. There was a group of three buses. One of those really long, bend-in-the-middle kind, and two regular buses. I decided to try to get on the last bus because it didn't look quite as cram-packed. I almost got on! I was waiting outside the doors for some small space to open up at the door but it didn't. I got left out.

Fortunately the next bus came along within about 5 minutes or so. I got on that one with 80 or 90 of my closest (proximity) friends. We took the 20-25 minute drive to the Harvard Station. At the Harvard Station I caught my usual bus to head home. I got home at 8:15. It only took me 2 hours and 45 minutes! What a day! Oh yes, I forgot to mention that it was raining pretty good for part of my walk and wait. I did remember my umbrella though :-)

I found out during my stay at Sarah's that the smoke was from a small electrical fire. See <> for more details. The small article doesn't give any indication of the magnitude of the effect it had on the hundreds or thousands of people who take the train.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I had a very interesting adventure today. Once again it involved some aspect of public transportation. I was waiting peacefully for the bus this morning when I heard a rustling noise in the bushes behind me. I turned around to see what it was, hoping to catch a glimpse of some cat or dog from the neighborhood. Imagine my shock when I saw that it was a skunk! Yes! Pepe LePew lives in Watertown, Mass!

I was easily within spraying range and so I decided to just stand quietly and keep an eye on him. If he started to come my way, I would just walk away from him quietly and slowly so as not to frighten him. I wanted to be the only one who was worried. Fortunately for me he decided to head off in the other direction and so I just continued my wait for the bus.

Who would have thought you could have skunks in the middle of the city. They must come along the river I guess. Who knows! I hope I don't see him again.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More adventures on the "T"

I had an interesting afternoon on the subway aka "the T". I was walking confidently to my Red line train and managed to squeeze on with the other sardines who were all crammed inside. We went one station and when we stopped, although no one got off, several people wanted to get on. There was even an argument at the doors. One rather large, African-American woman wanted to get on with her equally large boyfriend but there was just no room. She and a lady close to the door argued over whether or not they could fit. In the background another woman was yelling at her to just get off. The doors were not closing and we wanted to move on. The large woman ended up backing off and the train left the station.

As we were pulling out, I realized that we hadn't gone up out of the deep, dark underground to cross the river at the stop for Massachusetts General Hospital. It was then that I realized that I must have boarded the wrong train! I felt stupid. I got off happily at the next stop because I wasn't really enjoying being a sardine anyways. After I got off I took the next train back in the right direction. When I got back to Park Station, which is where I got on the wrong train, they had everyone get off. Apparently there were two trains disabled down in the Harvard Station which was my destination. That train was not going to be going towards Harvard Station but it was turning around to go the other direction. They said the next one would be going in the right direction but I had my doubts. As it turned out, I really hadn't boarded the wrong train. The trains were running the wrong direction because they had to turn around at Park Street because they couldn't proceed on. I felt a little better but it made my commute really long. It ended up taking me and hour and a half to get home.

I love taking public transportation because it is so cheap. I can ride all I want for only $15 a week. If I wanted to take my car not only would it require money for gas, apparently it costs about $200 a month to park downtown where I work. Yes, it takes a little while but I see interesting people and I get some exercise. (It is a 5 minute walk to the bus stop and a 5 minute walk to work from the T station plus any extra walking I get to do in the morning because I get there way too early.)

This is what happens when I start to feel like I know what I'm doing. I am reminded that I am still human and I need to shrink my head back down to size!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Country music!!

I have tried several times while in the car to find a Country Music radio station here in Boston. Do they not listen to country music here? I am disappointed. I hope one day to find out I'm wrong and so I will keep searching every time I'm in the car.

Walking home in the rain and other fun things

I started my internship yesterday. There was so much to learn the first day. Thankfully, my supervisor realizes that I am there to learn and he knows that I am human and he will be patient with me. The research assignments have been very interesting. I spent time at the reference desk today. I felt a little out of place because I can't really refer patrons to sources because I still don't know where they are. I am learning though and that is good.

Today is the first time I took the bus and the subway to work and back without taking a least one wrong train. Yay!! Normally the whole commute takes at least an hour including walking time. Today I made it in 50 minutes!! Yesterday it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes. Today I had to walk around a while because I was half an hour early. It was a pretty morning. The sun was shining and there was no wind like we experienced yesterday.

Tonight on the commute home I saw a couple of rowing teams practicing on the Charles River. It was awesome. I want to walk down that way sometime and just walk along the river. I wondered if they were teams from Harvard.

As I got closer to home it started to rain. I had checked the weather before I left this morning and saw a 30% chance of rain and packed my umbrella. It came in handy. There is supposed to be a 50% chance of rain tomorrow.

Boston is such a fascinating place. You see so many interesting people and hear so many different languages. It is fun to try and guess what they might be. I think I heard a lady speaking Italian on the bus tonight but I can't be sure.

Do you remember when you were a kid and you make a flip cartoon on the edge of the pages of a book? As you flipped the pages it made a sort of moving cartoon. Well there is something like that between a couple of the stops on the Red line. It is an ad for ovaltine. It is just a series of pictures with each one having a slight variation to give the appearance of movement as you past swiftly by.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Down to the Back Bay

Today's plan was to take the bus and the subway on a practice run to get to the NEHGS where I am going to be working. I was a little apprehensive about doing it all on my own but I had over-studied the maps and routes and decided to give it a shot. The bus that takes me to the subway station passes by the end of my street. It is not a very long walk. I would be surprised if it was more than a quarter of a mile. (I wished I had remembered to wear my pedometer after I had walked around all day. By the end of the day I am sure I walked several miles. My feet are so sore!)

The bus I take to get to the subway ends at the Harvard Square subway station. That went smoothly. Harvard Square is on the red line and so I would need to change lines to the green line to get down to Copley Square, my ultimate destination. Changing lines was no big deal. You just have to remember that there are multi-levels to the Boston subway and so you might need to go upstairs or downstairs to get to the right station.

Copley Square is a beautiful park. The Boston Public Library is at one end and the Trinity Church is on the other end. The best news is that it is only one block down and one block over to get to the NEHGS. After roaming a bit, I got out my map and figured exactly where it was. I should be able to go right there next time. (The next practice run will be on Monday morning to make sure I can get there on time)

While downtown, I took a ton of pictures. I think the total count was 80 but I ended up deleted some because I had the camera settings wrong.

I walked around and followed the Freedom Trail to see many of the sights in and around the Back Bay and in the North End. The North End is a Little Italy. There are many Italian restaurants and stores. I kept expecting to see old men sitting on the sidewalk talking. I had a strawberry gelato down there. Yum!!

Among the sights I got to see were the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house. I just love all the history that's here. I was going to take a Duck tour which goes on land and water but they were sold out today. Maybe I'll do that on Monday after I complete my practice run to the NEHGS.

There were lots of people wandering around today. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised since it was Saturday. Apparently there are a lot of people in town for graduations. Several of the colleges and universities in the area are having graduations this weekend.

I met the cutest little squirrel in Boston Common. He was so friendly. He came right up to me. I think if I had food he would have eaten it out of my hand. I think I will go back and visit him again because that was where the camera was set wrong and so I don't have any pictures of him. He was so cute!!

I finally heard the famous Boston accent today too. Most people don't have it but if you talk to a subway cop or some other confirmed local, there it is. I met a crazy lady while waiting for the bus to come back home. She is Italian but has always lived in Boston. She talked about a mile a minute about anything and everything. She was about my age. She told me all about shopping and her life and her extended family and the grandson of her godparents who was graduating from Suffolk University. She just went on and on. When she found out I was from Utah, she asked me if I knew the Osmonds. Ha Ha Ha!! She also talked to a young couple from Turkey and agreed to show them how to get to the Arsenal Mall. (It's not far from my house!!). I talked to the couple as well. They are at Boston University for three months to learn English but their English is already pretty good.

One thing that I found very interesting was the number of people who went to see the many graveyards. They are all over the place down in the Back Bay and the North End. I find them fascinating but I wouldn't have thought that non-family historians/genealogists would share that fascination. There were lots of people in some of them. The old headstones were very interesting. I took several pictures. Some of the headstones date back to the 1700s.

I had a very enjoyable day despite the fact that my feet are so sore tonight. Hopefully they will feel fine tomorrow. The soreness reminds me of vacations where we would walk around all day. I was reminded of last summer when Amy and I went to Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg.

Stay tuned tomorrow to find out if I can make it the chapel without any extra detours!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Boston driving

I had my first adventures in driving the streets of Boston today. I felt like I was prepared. I had my trusty GPS system to guide me on my way. I felt like it was going to be a fairly easy proposition.

The plan was to make a simple run to the local supermarket. After looking up the address on the Internet, I entered it into my GPS and went merrily on my way. I managed to arrive safely without incident. The supermarket is located alongside the Massachusetts turnpike. Part of the store actually extends out over the turnpike. It was an interesting looking building.

After I bought my groceries, which cost quite a bit more than what they cost in Utah, I headed out to the car. My groceries were loaded into the trunk at a drive-through service. I never had to leave the car and they insist that there be no tipping. What a concept! I had done this once at Harmon's in Orem but it didn't involve driving down under the store through a drive-through tunnel.

Well I had programmed my GPS to return me safely back to my apartment. My trusty companion, she's female, with a British accent, was giving out directions but sadly she doesn't know which lanes to tell me to use. She simply says "stay right" or "stay left". I got off the freeway at the right exit and stayed to the left as instructed but unfortunately I was too far left and ended up missing my turn. (The sad thing is that I did the exact same thing yesterday when I arrived and ended up having to make a few detours) I then had to get new instructions from my GPS companion. I was motoring along and once again I was not in the right lane at the right time. I ended up back on the turnpike but this time I was past my exit. Now not only was I heading in a totally wrong direction, I had entered the toll portion of the road. It cost me $1.25 to get off the toll road and get turned back around. I finally got going in the right direction and made it home! What an adventure!

The drivers in Boston remind me of the drivers in Lima. They are only slightly more courteous. When you come up to a toll booth, there are usually 4 or 5 booths for two lanes of traffic. The problem happens when you leave the toll booth and there are 4 or 5 cars headed for two lanes of traffic. It is a free-for-all. You have to be aggressive to get your spot.

Boston drivers like to use their horns. The streets are fairly narrow and the lanes are not always well-marked. There are also some places where there is a stoplight and then not more than 25 yards away there is another stoplight. One reason I discovered for this was intersections that don't exactly intersect properly. Driving in Boston can be interesting.

I have decided that unless my trial run on the bus/subway to my job goes totally bad, I will be sticking to public transportation for my most of my inner-city travels.

Happy motoring!!

PS Later in the day I made it to Staples and back, and to a convenience store, where they sell bus passes, and back without incident.