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Violent Wine and Angry Snow


5/11/09 Sorry to have slacked off on the blogging. I guess that's what happens. When the social life picks up, something's got to give. The house warming party was more successful than I ever hoped. Everything was perfect, the food was great, the weather fine, and everyone had a great time. Rob brought his guitar and he and Jean belted out some fantastic tunes. The best of which, I thought, was Bobby McGhee. The next day the weather was sunny and 60 and Jean and I meandered along The Freedom Trail, a self guided walking tour of Boston. We ended up at The Belle in Hand Tavern which purports to be the oldest tavern in America. I even had a pint in honor of being in the oldest tavern in America. The weather has finally warmed up some, at least during the day. It’s still pretty chilly at night and I am still using my down comforter. The last snow of the season came during work, the sky was gray and from my sixth floor window angry snow was blowing and swirling high above the street. Now that I no longer risk frostbite being outside I am able to take some time once again to observe my surroundings and have seen my falcon (hawk, whatever) building his nest on the same ledge as last year. I see him flying through the artificial canyon formed by the tall buildings. Speaking of wildlife, I had to move to the city proper to see my first coyote. There was more wildlife at the Phantom Gourmet Food and Wine Phestival but it was of the human kind. For thirty dollars you got all you could eat and drink sample sizes of local food and wine. The only wine that I didn't like was the vanilla wine. It was so bad that no one in our little group even finished theirs. It got so loud at one point that when Rob leaned over to talk to me I could have sworn he said he thought a particular wine was quite "violent". After a little verbal back and forth I determined that he actually thought the wine was quite vibrant. Well, I have slogging through this blog for a few days now and can't seem to get into it. I still have a lot to talk about but will wait until next time. I'm looking forward to a trip to Blacksburg next week Yea!.. .. .. ... ... ... ... Survey Says: Coke far more popular than Pepsi.

A Brief Blog


3/1/09 Just a couple things: I'm frantically cleaning the house and unpacking the last few boxes in preparation for my house warming party next weekend. The place isn't quite finished yet. It could use some more pictures and nick knacks but all in all it feels homey and nice. Hopefully I'll have some party pictures posted next weekend. I am particularly impressed that putting shrink wrap on the windows lowered my heating bill $40 last month! Yesterday, as I was driving around town picking up supplies for the party I noticed the city of Boston's streets were showing exceptional wear and tear from the long winter. The potholes were so severe that my no-skip CD player was practically playing hopscotch. Speaking of music, on my last trip home I was listening to some college station playing "Feelin' Alright". After a while I thought that it was a particularly long version, perhaps live. Then I realized that they had played two versions in a row and when all was said and done they had played five different versions including Joe Cocker's which was the only one I could identify. I thought it was kind of cool. I can't remember what the next song was but was waiting to hear if they were going to play multiple versions of that also but lost the signal before the first one ended. That's just about it until next time..........Survey Says: Coming Ice Age over Global Warming.

Cold Cold Cold


1-25-09 It's cold here. I know it's cold almost everywhere but when I see that it's 20 degrees here and 40 degrees in Blacksburg it makes me wonder....I think it has snowed almost three feet since I moved in and almost none of it has melted. I'm pretty tired of wearing snow boots all the time. It's a good thing I have two dogs because we have been having lots of two dog nights lately. The first heating bill was $100 more than I had budgeted for. Ouch, but I shrink wrapped the windows about a week ago and it seemed warmer almost immediately so we'll see what next month's bill looks like. Hopefully less, but it has only been above 30 degrees once since I put up the plastic. The new apartment is coming along nicely. I have put down several area rugs and, after a trip to the local IKEA now have a bed frame and matching night stand. After my next trip to IKEA I should have a couch too. Rob and Arden have graciously offered to help schlep it up the stairs and are willing to do it for a mere payment of dinner at Doyles. I'll put up pictures once we get the couch set up. ...........................Survey Says! 100% that government bailouts are stupid.........Until next time...Stay Warm!

The Move Is Complete


12/15/2008 I have moved. It is done and I am happy. Briefly, Saturday was the big day and I was sick as a dog but we had everything done in three hours including U-Haul pick up and return. Thank goodness for being well prepared. Well, I am still sick and need to clean the new place. The former tenant is a guy and the place is only "man clean" so I have a lot of work ahead of me. I promise to post pictures soon.

Odds & Ends


11-23-08 Just thought I'd put down some random thoughts I have been saving. They didn't fit into the theme of any of my blogs. Keeping that in mind, the theme of today's blog is loose ends. Of course I have to start with The Decemberists concert on Nov. 6th. It was pouring down rain all day and didn't have the decency to stop in time for the show. The theater was just across from the T stop and I got drenched just crossing the street. As I was waiting in the lobby for Daniel, quite the kerfuffle broke out among the security staff and the ticket takers. It seems as though they were trying to usher out a cockroach the size of which I haven't seen since I lived in Virginia Beach. After they got him (her?) outside with the door firmly shut, he (she?) promptly found an open door and scurried up the ramp to the balcony seats. Now that's what I call a devoted Decemberists fan! Daniel made it, a little bit soggy, but all in all in one piece. He certainly was a trooper and even bought the beer. A good time was had by all. The show the following evening was broadcast from Philidelphia on NPR and as of today can be heard by visiting: In other news we had another fire alarm a few days ago. This time it was not in the dead of night so I decided to evac since the dogs were going nuts from the alarm. I saw all manner of people in all states of dress. There was a little girl with a princess costume on and a group of young women all in PJ's and all holding glasses of wine. A pajama party for sure. Someone asked me if I had been in bed. I didn't realize I looked that bad...Several fire department vehicles arrived including a ladder truck and after thirty minutes of getting to know the neighbors they let us back in. Next time I stay inside again. Looking back to last summer, one Saturday I was at work and ran into Anjali and we decided to head down to the Prudential Center and check out what was going on. While we were shopping we kept seeing couples wearing numbers like they were in a race of some kind. It turns out they were participating in City Chase. It's like the Amazing Race but it's only one day and only one city. I have decided that I'm going to do it next year. Unfortunately, Anjali has moved to Chicago so I'll have to find another partner. I will finish with two pond tales. The first nice the second not so nice. As you know I walk the dogs at the pond across the street and one afternoon was treated to the sight of a most perfect double rainbow the likes of which was reflected perfectly on the surface of the pond. It was quite a sight. On a sad note, lately I had been seeing a bedraggled looking heron hanging around the pond. I had a feeling that he was too old or sick to leave for the winter like all of the other water birds had done. Thursday night I saw him standing in the frozen water in the dark. I wish I could have done something. Friday morning I saw him in the dark from the bus stop. He was still standing frozen into the water. When I got home Friday he was gone. I can only hope that the water thawed during the day and he got away but I fear that he had died and went under when the ice thawed. Sad. On to the survey.....................There was a three way tie. Funny since there were only two options for answers. The tie was between dog, cat, and both. I hadn't put that as an option but you, the reader have decided. As the site administrator I threw out the response of "cat since they cook up nice". The question was for "pet" not "pate"!

Belated Blacksburg Blog


11-2-08 My trip to Blacksburg in September was fantastic starting with dinner in Roanoke at the Red Dragon. As usual the food was great and I had very good company. Ok it was really a romantic and sumptuous Chinese all you dare to eat rendezvous in Roanoke with Bill. I can't say as I liked drinks at the Flat Rock Grill much but it was still romantic and sumptuous :) My first morning in Blacksburg I was able to hook up with Slacker Dave and have coffee at the Easy Chair. After that it was lunch at El Rodeo with Kristin where I ran into three other people I know. I miss that small town thing. I spent a little time at the house with the contractor and got a better idea of the work that needs to be done. The house looks great. The tenants are taking good care of it. Mark and I hung out later in the afternoon then we both had a great dinner with Kent. That was all the first day! After getting up at 4:30am Friday, the rafting crew met behind Hardee's at about 5:00am and headed out for West Virginia with me at the wheel. You couldn't have asked for a better day or a better trip. We stopped at Cracker Barrel on the way home and chowed down. I can honestly say it was one of the best trips we have had in the last fifteen years. We are already planning next year's trip. Saturday morning it was up early again to head for Salem and the fifth mud run for me. I think it was the sixth for Cheryl and Anna (who hasn't been able to run all six due to "this and that"). Adam and his son came from Blacksburg to cheer us on. Even though we had a small turn out it was also one of the best mud runs ever. The weather was perfect and I think we had our best times to date. Afterwards we went to Denny's and had huge Grand Slam breakfasts. After getting back to Blacksburg I had an early dinner with Mark and ran in to yet another two people I knew. Sunday it was back to Connecticut, but not until after breakfast at the Easy Chair with Jean, Cheryl, and Tim, which would have been fantastic in and of itself but we ran into Jim and that made the morning complete. All in all looking back at my trip I can't see how I didn't gain five pounds doing all that eating!!...............OK as for the burning question I guess red wine won out over white but most of your responses just indicated alcohol of any kind was fine as long as it was plentiful..

Sad Day


I was planning to blog about what a great time I had in Blacksburg but got some sad news today so I will post the following:

Richard Gray Newhart January 8, 1960 - September 4, 2008


Rick Newhart - Good friend. Warm and gentle, a vibrant creative and artistic person. Always fun loving. I hope the pain is gone now. My heart goes out to his family, especially his mother, Earlene Newhart and his grandmother, Earlene Swanson..



The Blog is currently on sabbatical. I suspect it has run off with the survey. Hopefully they will return soon.

The Wildlife


7-24-08 "And now for something completely different". I'm going to say nice things for a change. Of course it's easy to talk nice when it comes to animals. At least it is for me since all of you know I like animals better than people. Surprisingly, there is a lot of wildlife here mainly birds but that's OK since they count too. I'll start across the street at the marsh. I walk the dogs over there whenever the weather permits. There are several resident killdeer in the field by the pond and they had a nest with 4 eggs in it. Now, for those of you who don't know, killdeer make their nests on the ground. I personally think this is not an evolutionarily sound way to ensure the continuation of a species. But who am I to say? So, back to the killdeer; one of the ways that they keep predators away from the nest is to give a distress call and lure the offender away by sticking out a wing, dragging it along the ground pretending to be injured hoping that they will seem like easy prey. I love to see this. They do it every time I get close to the nest and if my dogs' reactions are any indicator it would be pretty successful since they always want to go after the bird. It must work because when the eggs hatched there were four little baby killdeer running around. If you have never seen a baby killdeer you are really missing out. As far as I can tell, since they hatch on the ground and have no protection, they spring ready to go from the nest looking for all the world like little cotton balls with toothpick legs. Also at the pond one day I spotted what I originally thought was a ground hog but it had a really long tail. Turns out it was a muskrat. Instantly in my mind I started singing Muskrat Love. Fortunately the years, and advancing age, have been kind to me and I can't remember very many of the words. It turns out there is a pair of these muskrats living in the pond and I look for them every day on my walk. Once I apparently got too close to where one was resting along the edge of the water. As I walked by I heard a startled "yop" and then a watery splash. It emerged about 20 feet away like a small whale emitting a tiny whosh of air as it surfaced. Sometimes the little guy imitates the Loch Ness monster by rolling onto his back and anchoring in some underwater vegetation his head, belly, and tail forming the 3 humps seen in the famous 1972 picture of Nessie. I have seen him/her do this several times. I'll try to get some pictures up soon. Now downtown, I have been seeing a hawk of some sort. The first time I spotted it I was walking across the glass bridge on the 7th floor that connects my building with the one next door. It swooped down from the hospital building roof and flew under me. What an amazing sight! I have seen it several times in the past few months but the other day I saw it land on a ledge way up high and then saw a piece of straw flutter to the ground. As I was looking at the straw on the sidewalk I caught another hawk out of the corner of my eye headed for the same ledge. After a scrutinizing the ledge from the ground I saw several pieces of straw poking out over the edge. Naturally I'm assuming there is a nest there so I will keep an eye on it and keep you posted. My friend who lives about three blocks from there saw a hawk on his porch and we wondered if it was the same one? But enough. I see I have written quite a lot here. I have many more animal stories and might post some more later........Survey results tell me that you all like, or should I say, "Y'all" like sweet tea more than unsweet tea. But I have it on pretty good authority that one of you has been stuffing the ballot box. You know who you are!

Hot Town Summer in the City


6-24-08 This isn't what I signed up for. Nobody told me it got hot here! I'm in New England; I expected lots of snow and cold weather and I'm OK with that. Heat however wasn't part of the bargain. Last week the sidewalk was so hot poor little Suzie wouldn't put her feet down on it. Then of course there is the joy of commuting when it's hot. In addition to the olfactory delight of being packed stem to stern on a cross town bus, there is also the slight aroma of urine wafting up from the subway as I descend to the station. From my window today I watched a cute little excavator moving a big pile of dirt. As I watched it looked like it just moving dirt from in front of it to behind it and at that rate it would end up "painting itself in" so to speak. When I looked out later the excavator had been replaced by a big orange Caterpillar front end loader whose bucket had almost three times the capacity. I still couldn't figure out what it was trying to accomplish though. It was just rearranging the pile from a short wide one to a long skinny one. This was all happening at the NEIDL site. Earlier, getting back to the heat, they were paving the road that will run behind the NEIDL and there was a brief cloudburst. When it was over a four foot tall cloud of steam hovered over the entire road. It was pretty cool...........You have voted....Blacksburg wins over Boston, but I can't help but wonder if the people in Blacksburg voted for Boston and visa versa :-o There were also two votes for Washington DC. I have told both Obama and McCain that I wouldn't run for VP so I wish they would quit hounding me.

108th Annual ASM June 1- June 5, 2008


ASM was really great fun. I ran into lots of people both from CMMID and also from here in Boston. On Sunday, we all blew off the opening session and had a CMMID reunion cook out at Simge and Erkan's house. As it turns out they only live eight miles from me. That's closer than we were in Blacksburg! Their two little girls are beautiful and charming. Chris' new puppy Jett added some life to the party all on his own. After eating way too much food Erkan made Chris and I some Turkish coffee and Simge read our fortunes in the residue. Chris had a fairly decent one. I, on the other hand, had a slightly dark and disturbing one. Oh well, I guess it just matches my personality ;-) The next ASM is in Philly. We are already planning to descend on Chris. Maybe I'll take my dogs to teach Jett some bad manners. Speaking of dogs, Suzie is not feeling well and we are meeting the new Vet tomorrow. Hopefully she will get better soon and I won't have to sell my soul to the devil to pay for it. Survey says: Mountains are the vacation destination of choice with 100% of the votes.

Memorial Day Weekend: Mission Mattress 2008


5/27/08 I hope everybody had a great Memorial Day weekend. I drove my new Rover to Connecticut for what started as just a regular weekend visit and ended up as Mission Mattress 2008. I was able to convince Mom that it would be safe for me to strap my box spring and mattress on top of the car and drive it back to Boston. Oh trusting Mom.....not only that but I was also able to convince her to ride along with me and take the train back to Connecticut the next day. She could take the bus in with me in the morning and I could take her to Back Bay to hop the Amtrack. Oh trusting Mom...It actually went quite well. It took us 1 1/2 to lash it to the top of the car. First I tied the mattress to the box spring, then tied both to the roof horizontally across the car using the roof rack to secure it. Finally I tied it down to the car front to back from brush guard in front to spare tire in back. I couldn't budge it even an inch. We hit the road and about 5 miles up there was a rope flapping in the breeze. After a brief inspection it turned out to be just a loose end which I re-secured and we were on our way again. We made the entire rest of the trip without a hitch. Upon our arrival the whole set up hadn't moved at all. I'm actully quite proud and I saved a lot of money over renting a trailer. Mom got to sleep in it last night but I get to sleep in it tonight. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed for the first time in 7 months!!! No more air mattress for me. --------P.S------- PC's beat out Mac's in the most recent survey. Go PC!

Back In Boston 5/12/08


I'm back in Boston after a wonder-licious visit to Blacksburg. I will spare you the details. So, I don't know if it's just Monday or a "welcome back day" but first off the bus broke down on the Tobin bridge this morning. The woman sitting next to me leaned over and whispered "maybe we should get out and push". The bus got under way again and we crept into town at about 30 mph. Back at work my internet wasn't working. Come to find out that about half the people ing the lab were affected, me being in the unlucky half. After that I found out that some very important research stuff had been delivered to the wrong lab while I was gone. Of course I need it tomorrow. I also tried to put some new pictures up here from my trip but "the site" is not co-operating.......I wish I were back in Blacksburg ;-)

Patriot's Day 4/20/08


Today is Patriot's Day, also known as Marathon Day, and it is a holiday here in Boston. It was a perfect day for a race and I saw several runners on my way to work. I can only guess that they were headed to a shuttle bus that would take them to the start. Work was pretty dead so a friend and I walked down to the finish line during lunch. We got there just in time to see Lance Armstrong run by. I got a picture on my camera phone which turned out to be a bunch of blurs, but I can tell which blur is Lance. I won't be posting it here however. I saw several more runners on the Blue Line going home. They all got off at the airport stop. I can't help but wonder if they were all flying right home or perhaps they were staying at a hotel near the airport. I want to thank all of you who answered my current question. I got close to the answer I was looking for with "Pilgrims", "June bugs" was good also (was that you Mary?). However "restraining orders" was just one of those answers that make you go "hmmm". There are a couple more weeks left in April so keep those answers coming in! Also, if you have suggestions for my next burning question e-mail me at Looking forward to Blacksburg next month !!!



3-18-08 I'm home sick today which is just as well since it is snowing and sleeting. So much for me saying that I had survived a New England winter since winter is obviously not over. Yesterday I was urged several times to go home since I have a nasty cold. It was also suggested to me that I might want to stay home today if I wasn't feeling better. People in infectious diseases labs are soooo picky. To tell the truth I am the last one to have gotten this particular bug that was going around so I guess that's not too bad. Still waiting for things to warm up enough to start running outside again. Some days the temperature is pretty good but the wind is too fierce. This is the windiest place I have ever been. Downtown I am almost swept away some days.

I just typed for ten minutes and lost it. Other than that I don't have anything to complain about. I guess I have finally acclaimated to the big city. I have also survived my first New England winter. We have had 50" of snow so far and they say you can't consider winter over until the end of March. I can say that it wasn't that bad. I have also gotten used to getting up at 5:45 every morning to catch the 6:50 bus. There is this microcosim at every turn. At the first bus there are the people from the apartments. About four of us who are regulars and chat. As much as anyone wants to chat that early in the morning. Then it's into the city. I also see several of the same people downtown. Most of them are just regular working people heading off to the job. A few are students going to the Catholic high school. You know who they are because they all wear khaki's and polo shirts. Obviously the school uniform, but they all manage to keep their individuality with hair-do's and jewelry. They seem to be nice kids. Downtown there also are the homeless and indigent who you wish you could help. Most of them seem to be harmless and are just trying to keep warm. So, as the warm weather comes I hope to explore the city more and will keep you posted.

Apartment Life


11-27-07 Not to mention the fact that I can no longer just let the dogs out to do their business. I have to take them out at 5:30 in the morning, to leave the house by 6:40, to make the 6:50 bus, so I can get to work at 7:40 AM. If I wait until the next bus I run into traffic both in the morning and by default in the afternoon too. That's the short version why I have to get up so early. Fortunately, the people who run up and down the halls at all hours during the weekend are polite enough to not do it on "school nights". But Sunday night I didn't sleep very well because Sunday morning I slept in then when it came time for bed I just lay there wishing I were asleep. You know the drill. Monday night I decide to go to bed all the earlier to make up for it. Then at 3AM I am jolted out of bed by the most horrible buzzing sound accompanied by a synchronous flashing halogen strobe. This is the same sound an alien spacecraft makes just before it implodes. The dogs are both shaking and cowering in the corner of the bedroom. Unbelievably I am not yet fully awake. I stumble to the window and look out. It is rainy and foggy out. I see my neighbors peering out of their window. Not sure what to do I clumsily put on some sweats and try to calm down the dogs. I look out the peep hole and see nothing in the hall. I look out the window and again see my neighbors looking out also. What I don't see is any smoke or fire. This is a huge building with about 200-250 units. I figure if it is a fire it is on the other side of the building. More than likely it is some moron sneaking a cigarette in the bathroom because this is a no smoking building and he can't be bothered to go outside in this weather. After what seems a half an hour (most likely 10 min) the fire trucks and police show up and shut off the alarm. I try to go back to sleep but find it difficult since both of the traumatized dogs want to sleep under the covers. Also it appears that the fire department was having a hard time resetting the alarm since it went off several times over the next 20 minutes in short blasts. Until next time, Sweet Dreams....

The Bus


11-13-07 OK- So, my new daily commute has been quite an experience. I get to be closer to humanity than I ever hoped I would. Boarding the bus brings me back to middle school. Looking down the center aisle scanning from side to side for seating options I see an open seat on which someone has their bag. They briefly make eye contact and look away, a gesture which says "not this seat". A few rows back there is another empty seat, this one next to the window. Unfortunately the person sitting on the aisle won't even make eye contact, a non-gesture which says "not this seat either babe". Then there are the people who overflow their allotted seat space. For someone like me with personal space issues this is a very bad thing. The other day a very fat woman plopped down next to me pinning my leg to the seat with her oversized thigh. Ugh! At least I know I will be getting some respite when I travel through Chinatown. The denizens of this particular neighborhood all fit into their seats