Sunday, August 28, 2011

Well Thank Goodness That's Over!

A not-as-quick-as-it-could-be-but-semi-quick update about Hurricane Irene as that's about all I have the energy for following a night with very (and I do mean very!) little sleep and then a long day behind the dispatch console.  It's going to be an early bedtime for me and as lousy as my mattress is, it's probably going to feel like sleeping on a cloud after the slab cot I slept on in the Conference Room at work last night ... or more accurately tried to sleep on but failed miserably!

As the weather gurus were predicting hurricane force winds in the area at the time I normally would have been going to work and not really wanting to drive in those winds if I didn't have to, I voluntarily went in to work last night at about 8:30 after Amanda had gone to stay with a friend.  I joined the other folks who had decided that Tent City sounded like a better idea than driving in during a hurricane; there were five women and seven or eight men with the gals upstairs in the Conference Room and the guys downstairs in the Main Lobby.

Suffice it to say I slept quite poorly - I don't know if I was keyed up about the storm, I don't know if it was because I didn't have my beloved white noise to lull me to sleep like I do at home, I don't know if it was because I'd had too much iced tea earlier in the day.  Whatever it was, I gave up trying at 5:30 and took over for the midnight dispatcher so that he could go home before the winds picked up even more.  I'm going to guess I had maybe an hour of sleep, more or less, at that point.

Even though we got some pretty good rain and some pretty good wind, things could have been a lot worse.  There were reports of a lot of trees down on wires, a lot of trees down on cars, a lot of wires on fire, a lot of wires on trees on fire ... I'm sure you get the idea!  Fortunately the medical emergencies were few and Irene blew out of the area a lot sooner than was originally predicted.

The only pictures I got were crappy ones from the dispatch center overlooking the marina and the only reason I'm posting them at all is so that you can see how high the water rose during the height of the storm.  In the first picture look to the bottom and find the railroad tracks.  In the second picture try to do that again.

For the water to get over the top of the tracks means it's pretty darned high as those tracks sit on a pretty good embankment next to the river. I apologize for the blurriness but the window was covered with a lot of rain! The marina was quite full with boats that had come upriver to avoid the storm and I know that Sandee would love to see more of the boats and less of the water but alas, there were no good pictures to be taken in this mess!

Anyhow, we lost power twice at work but had a back-up generator and it eventually came back up and stayed.  Amanda's friend's house lost power at about 1:30 a.m. and it still hadn't come back on when I went to pick her up around 7:00 p.m. tonight.  Rumor has it that they may be without it for a week. I'm not surprised as there were trees and branches down all over the roadway when I drove out to get her. Hundreds of thousands of people in Connecticut are without power but I was very happy to get home and find out that we had only lost it here for maybe 4-1/2 hours before it was restored and Tesla was good about not opening the refrigerator door while we were gone so everything was fine!

I thank you all for your messages of concern and care on Facebook - as does Amanda.  I feel very fortunate that Irene didn't pack the punch through here that she could have and now just hope and pray that the people whom I have come to know and care about a lot in Vermont are okay.  That poor state really got slammed and there may continue to be flooding tonight.

Between the beating we took during the winter, the rains we've had most of the spring and summer and now this I think we've all just about had enough. I'm hoping Old Man Winter will take pity this year but I don't know, if he's of the same mindset as Mother Nature lately I may need to invest in snowshoes!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Caption This

While we're waiting for Hurricane Irene to blow up the coast and wreak all kinds of havoc and destruction, I thought I'd take just a moment out of preparations and plans to post one of the pictures from my July trip to Canada and see if you guys can come up with a good caption or two for it as a laugh and a smile is going to be greatly appreciated as things get progressively worse around here. My own caption obviously appears below!

So I says to the guy I was dancing with ... 
And on a more serious thought, I send out best wishes and good thoughts to all who are in the path of Irene.  If this thing goes as they fear, there's a good chance I'm not going to have power for at least several days once she makes landfall here in Connecticut but I will do my best to try to stay updated via cell phone if possible.  Luckily there's a generator at work so I should at least be able to keep my phone charged but who knows if AT&T cell service will stay up and running or not. Hopefully it does but if not, I'll update when I can.

See you on the other side and now, let's see who's funny bone is working!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stormy Thoughts

NASA Infrared Satellite Imagery Shows the Power in Hurricane Irene,
 image taken at 2:39 a.m. on August 26th, 2011
After I had stumbled out of bed this morning and grabbed a cup of coffee, I plunked myself down on the couch in the living room and turned on the TV to see if I could get the latest forecast on Hurricane Irene. I was rather hoping that I'd hear that Irene had jogged to the east and wouldn't be the catastrophic event that they had been talking about when I'd last heard a forecast last night.

Turns out that Irene had indeed shifted to the east but only enough to miss hitting the Jersey Shore directly on a path that now has her pointed dead center towards Connecticut.  Oh dear. According to the weather gurus at The Weather Channel, "Hurricane Irene is set to become one of the more destructive hurricanes to hit the East Coast in at least several decades." You guys know that I love history but I'm not exactly too thrilled about the idea of living through history being made - especially in the form of one of those most historically damaging storms to hit the East Coast since either Hurricane Gloria in 1985 or the big Hurricane of 1938.

Obviously I wasn't around during the Hurricane of 1938 and when Hurricane Gloria hit Connecticut in late September of 1985, I was living clear across the country in Stockton, California so I wasn't here when Connecticut received the worst of the hurricane and tree and structural damage was massive. Along the coastline, storm surge and strong waves washed away several fishing piers and some roadways were underwater during the storm's passage. In other words, it was a mess and I remember that my parents were without power for almost two weeks in their small town of Canterbury.

The last hurricane to hit the East Coast was in August of 1991 when Hurricane Bob blew in from the tropics and made landfall twice in Rhode Island as a Category 2 hurricane. On August 19th, Bob first hit Block Island and then Newport before he continued north where the storm made landfall in Maine as a strong tropical storm early on August 20th. Turns out I wasn't around for that storm either as I was in New Hampshire on my honeymoon where we experienced a lot of rain and some wind but nothing like what the folks back home in Connecticut went through.

So I've been lucky and dodged a few bullets but it doesn't look like I'm going to be dodging this one.  As a matter of fact, it looks like I'll be riding this one out at work and keeping my fingers crossed that people don't feel the need to call 911 for non-emergencies like they do every other day of the week. Of course, I know in my heart that they will and then I'll have to worry about sending men and women that I care about out into a storm of epic proportions to take someone with a swollen finger that they've had for two weeks (or some such nonsense) to an emergency room that's going to be just as frustrated as we are.

This worries me.  As much as I might be worried about whether or not the big tree on the side of the house that the landlord should have taken down already is going to blow over or the tree in the back of the house near the garage that's already leaning dangerously to the right is going to finally topple into the driveway, I worry about having to send regular men and women out in regular vehicles into a storm with winds that could easily blow that vehicle and the crew inside of it off the road.

As much as the EMTs and Paramedics that I work with might sometimes want to think that they're superheroes driving around in rolling fortresses, they aren't and to put them in danger for something non-life-threatening causes me grave apprehension. It is my hope that the State Office of Emergency Management puts some sort of plan into effect that will keep us from having to do something like that but too many people have come to think that 911 is a magical number that summons magical beings to their door regardless of what the weather outside may be doing.  They forget that police, fire, and EMS personnel are just as human as they are and that heavy winds and rain are just as threatening to them as they are to the people calling 911 for help.

It is my hope that no matter what does or doesn't hit us in the next coming days that people use some common sense.  Unless there's a darned good reason for you to be out and about - stay home.  I don't care if the local bar is having a "Hurricane Party" and offering cheap food and drink - stay home.  I don't care if you think this is a good time to go to the casino because maybe it won't be crowded - stay home.  I don't care if you really want to drive to the coast and see the storm surge - stay home.  I don't care if you really need a cup of coffee and the local Dunkin Donuts was foolish enough to open and put their employees in potential danger - stay home.  And if WalMart feels the need to be open like they always are just in case someone needs snacks during the storm - stay home.

Please think twice about the fact that when you decide to ignore the warnings of the Emergency Management Centers and everyone else that has been monitoring the storm, not only do you put yourself in danger but you put the lives of everyone else who now has to go out to try to save you in danger also. It's not like there hasn't been plenty of warning that this storm is coming up the coast; there has been plenty of time to "hope for the best but prepare for the worst" and I sincerely hope that's what everyone has been doing.

Stay safe and please, stay home - unless of course you've been told to evacuate but that's a completely different story!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Distracted Wanderer Climbs Clifton Hill

Continuing my travel posts from my July trip to Niagara Falls in Ontario, click over to read Clifton Hill - "The Most Fun By the Falls" at The Distracted Wanderer. The dinosaurs would appreciate it and so would I!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

♫♫ ... It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Autumn ... ♪♪♪

It's almost that time of year again. The time of year when those of us who love autumn start to get all excited about mums in their pretty fall colors, plump pumpkins, cozy sweaters, fresh-picked apples, and beautifully-colored foliage.

It's also when the consummate guide of where to find that beautiful foliage hits the newstands - Yankee Magazine!  Their Foliage Issue came out yesterday and I got my copy today and am ready to start turning pages, reading articles, and planning where to head to this year to give my Nikon a good workout!

As some of you may remember, I plotted out a trip last October using the 2010 Foliage Issue of Yankee Magazine which took myself, Jamie, and my mother to both New Hampshire and Maine to visit some of the towns that Yankee had listed as their Top 25 Foliage Towns in New England.

From Jackson, New Hampshire to Camden, Maine along with a lot of wonderful places in between, we had a fantastic trip seeing plenty of places I'd never been to.  I honestly think it was one of the nicest vacations I've had in a long time and I really enjoyed sharing our travels via blog post after we returned home. One of those blog posts garnered the following comment that tickled me to no end and still makes me smile every time I read it:
Yankee Magazine has left a new comment on your post "Venturing Out on Vacation, Part Eight: Moseying O...":

I am glad Yankee's article inspired you to take a foliage trip in New England. I really enjoyed reading about your adventures!
Communications Manager
Yankee Magazine
Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to take a multi-day foliage trip again this year like we did last year but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try to fit in some shorter jaunts on my days off.  After all, there isn't a single state in New England that's too far away for a nice day-trip and I do like to drive!  Now I just need to dive into the magazine and plot out some trips.  Anyone care to join me?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

♪♪♪ ... And You Light Up My Life ... ♫♫

Lighting up the falls

I'm shedding some light on how they brighten up the night at Niagara Falls at The Distracted Wanderer ... click on over and read the what/where/when/why/how of a really great show!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Distracted Teaser

For those of you who read my travel posts over at The Distracted Wanderer there are two new posts up:

For those of you who don't read my posts at The Distracted Wanderer, here are some pictures of what you're missing:

View to the northwest from the Whirlpool Aero Car

The Niagara Whirlpool Aero Car
King George VI

The New York Side of the Canadian Falls

Come on, click on the links - you know you'd love to go to Canada even if it's just virtually! Oh, and for those of you who do already read and leave a comment or two - thank you very much; I appreciate every single one of you and your support of my latest endeavour!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday's Wanderings

Having been hit with a small case of wanderlust being that I had been a good girl and stayed home my last batch of days off and knowing that Wednesday was going to be the best day out of the week, I decided that Amanda and I needed to take a drive somewhere yesterday. My initial thought had been to go up to Tewksbury Hospital, a former insane asylum and still active mental health facility, that Barb had written about in a recent blog post. Turns out that there's also a Public Health Museum there that is located in the former Administration Building which is only open on Wednesdays so it sounded like a great place to go but alas, neither Amanda nor I were able to get out of our own way and out of the house at an early hour.  We weren't ready to go until almost 11:00 and with Tewksbury being almost two hours away and the museum only open until 2:00, it just made more sense to save that trip for another day.

So ... what to do? What to do? As we were heading north on the interstate the thought occurred to me that perhaps a jaunt over to Rhode Island for some clamcakes and chowdah might be nice so after running the idea by the kid, we turned east and made our way over to Warwick in search of Iggy's Doughboys & Chowder House.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I've been to the location in Narragansett near Point Judith a time or two but this time I thought we'd try something different and hit up the original location on Oakland Beach overlooking Narragansett Bay. For those of you not familiar with Iggy's - I'm sorry, you have no idea what you're missing!

Thanks to my handy-dandy GPS unit, Amanda and I had no problems finding our lunch location and we were able to get there before the real lunch crowds arrived.  Granted, I still had to wait in line a little while before ordering and then had to stand in the hot sun awhile longer while the food was being cooked while Amanda went in to snag a booth but having chowed down on clamcakes and doughboys from Iggy's before, I knew that it was going to be well worth the wait.  Plus that gave me time to take some pictures!

Once we got our food, Amanda and I shared a cup of chowder, a small order of fries, a dozen clamcakes (a few made the ride home), and half-dozen doughboys (most of them made the ride home) along with a couple bottles of Iggy's own root beer - the perfect lunch!  As the only other time I had taken Amanda to Iggy's in Narragansett she had chosen to stay in the car while Jamie and I feasted, this was her first time enjoying the dining delight that Iggy's is. Whereas she quite liked the food, she thought that Iggy's mascot was just a little creepy ...

I dunno about that, I'd say that for a doughboy he's a'ight.  Definitely no Poppin' Fresh but a'ight! 

As you can see, by the time we left, the place was definitely starting to pick up business so it was good that we got there when we did!  I can only imagine what the line looks like on weekends!

After finishing our lunch, I decided to take a little drive around the area in an attempt to locate the old Rocky Point Amusement Park grounds.  Back when I was a kid, Rocky Point used to be the place to go if you wanted to hit up a roller coaster or funhouse or log flume ride.  It was at Rocky Point that my father first called me a chicken for not wanting to go on the rollercoaster (I later grew up to love them) and it was also where I was with my oldest brother and several cousins on the day that Elvis died (the anniversary of his death was just two days ago as a matter of fact).  Even though she really doesn't remember it, Amanda also went to Rocky Point as a toddler but sadly, the park closed in 1995 shortly after that visit and has since been torn down completely as the City of Warwick attempts to build a park where the rides used to stand.

As we drove around the area that looked "vaguely" familiar to me, I thought I more or less found the spot where the park used to be but there really wasn't anything to see or indicate that was the spot where thousands and thousands of families had spent many a happy summer day. However, at the end of a road ... and I do mean the end of a road ...

The end of the road on Warwick Neck.

I did find something that made me quite happy!

As we rolled up on it and I broke out into a big smile, Amanda groaned a little bit and no doubt rolled her eyes too but as you and she all know, I just love me a lighthouse!  

The lighthouse that currently stands at the southern end of Warwick Neck isn't the original lighthouse that first graced the grounds in July of 1826 but instead is a pretty little steel tower that was completed in June of 1932 after erosion had put the Warwick Lighthouse in danger of falling into the sea. Ironically, only six years after the new lighthouse was built the Hurricane of 1938 tore a big chunk of land off the spot where the lighthouse had been placed which put the new light in danger of toppling into the bay. In 1939, in a move that only took one day and allowed the light to continue to shine throughout the entire process, the tower was jacked up and relocated to its present spot where it was placed on top of an 8-foot tall concrete base so that ships could see its beacon over the top of the keeper's house - which didn't have to be moved.

No doubt the lighthouse is much prettier as seen from the water but I didn't exactly have access to a boat so did my best just to shoot a picture or two through the fencing while Amanda sat in the car and waited for Homeland Security or the a representative of the Coast Guard to come out and tell me to move it along.  Sometimes I think she worries too much!

All in all even though it was no creepy former insane asylum, we had a nice little jaunt over to The Ocean State and should I get a craving for clamcakes and chowdah in the middle of winter I know now exactly where to go as Oakland Beach's Iggy's is open year-round - and I bet there are a lot shorter lines then, too!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Tale of Two Anniversaries

When I looked at the date this morning it dawned on me that today used to be an anniversary for me and then it morphed into another type of anniversary for me so I guess that really makes it two anniversaries for me.

It was twenty years ago today that I got married for the second time to a Navy guy that I had met through my cousin Becky (he was her husband's brother - something that I don't hold against her!)  In retrospect there should have been warning flags flying all over the place but I had reached the point in time where I thought I was ready to share my life with someone else and also hoped that someone else would be a good dad to my son Michael whose own father had turned out to be less than stellar in the Parenting Department.

On what wasn't too bad of a day in August for New England (in other words both the temperature and humidity level were moderate) I rode down in a limo from my home in Canterbury to the Shepard By the Sea Chapel at the Submarine Base in Groton along with my bridesmaids and a stomach churning something awful.  At one point along the ride, the limo driver jokingly asked if I'd like to go to New York or Boston instead and I seem to remember saying that "anywhere other than Groton" would be fine but I don't think he believed me as we arrived at the church on time.

I don't remember too much about the wedding ceremony other than my Dad telling me as we walked down the aisle that there was still time to change my mind and then feeling like I wanted to just sit down on the steps at the front of the church and be sick.  Great wedding remembrances, huh?  Yea .. not so much.

Unfortunately the rest of the marriage never really seemed to get much better than the wedding day itself which I think I always knew in the back of my mind was a major mistake. At the time I chalked it up to a case of the nerves and blah, blah, blah but since then I've learned to listen to my gut and that little voice that tells me when I'm about to do something really exceptionally stupid.

Ten years to the day later on August 17th, 2001 I finally put an end to the charade that was my marriage and told my husband that I wanted a divorce and there would be no going back this time.  We had flitted around the possibility of a break-up before but he believed that God expected us to stay together forever regardless of how miserable we made each other and our children and I didn't have the guts to say otherwise for quite some time.  Finally my level of misery had reached the point where it was impossible to ignore the fact that in addition to being horribly unhappy myself, I was making those around me the same way so I finally said that was it, the end, no more.

I have never once regretted that decision.  I have sometimes wondered if it would have been better for the girls if I had sucked it up and continued to live with a man that I didn't love or respect but I'd like to think that I made the right choice.  It hasn't always been the easy choice but I think it was the right choice.

So today marks a dual anniversary - the day I lost myself twenty years ago and the day I reclaimed myself ten years later.  With no offense to my ex who isn't a horrible monster, I like the second anniversary better.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Musings

Look!  More sunflowers!  What with the two days of solid rain that we've had recently I thought it would be nice to post another picture from last Thursday when the sun was shining brightly on the few sunflowers that were remaining at Buttonwood Farm in Griswold.  I always forget to go out there when the fields are full before their annual Sunflower for Wishes sale so I usually only end up with partial fields of flowers.  Of course, when the fields are full the area is also full of people taking pictures and you guys know me, I'm not much on crowds regardless of where they are.  Sometimes I really think I'm beginning to suffer from demophobia but then I remember that it's not that I have a fear of crowds, I just don't like them!

Speaking of phobias, did you know that there's a rather comprehensive list of them available just by clicking here?  I bet you could find a phobia for just about everything including 'Allodoxaphobia' - fear of opinions, 'Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia' - fear of long words, and 'Ponophobia' - fear of overworking or of pain.  I'm pretty sure I don't have that last one being that I have spent the last few days putting in more overtime at work with more coming up later this week - which might mean that I suffer from 'Peniaphobia' - the fear of poverty!  Either that or I'm just a glutton for punishment!

The extra hours at work coupled with the rain made it a good day to come home and take a short nap which is exactly what I did; I tell ya, naps are wasted on the young!  I knew I definitely needed one today as the Dispatch Center floor was starting to look really good to me right around noon-time so I wasted no time in curling up with  my pillow when I got home at 3:00.  Now I just hope I don't have any problems falling asleep later tonight being that I'll be back at work for 16 more hours tomorrow.

I'm happy to report that I've been reading an honest-to-goodness book the past few days!  I know that may not seem like much of an accomplishment to some but sadly, my love of reading has definitely taken a back seat to the rest of life lately and it's rare that I pick up something substantial to read anymore. There's a reason behind the book I'm reading right now though as I'll be going to Nashville with my cousin the last week in September and I figured it was about time I read "The Widow of the South" that Lois had sent to me last year when I was thinking of making a trip to Nashville with the same cousin.

While cousin Amy is taking some seminars at the International Bluegrass Music Association Conference that she goes to annually, I'm hoping to hop on a Gray Line tour and visit the plantation where the book is set as well as visit the Town of Franklin where one of the most horrifying battles of the Civil War took place - also a major part of the book.  I'm halfway through but still not quite sure if I like the book though as sometimes the author takes too many turns with a phrase and I just keep wishing he'd have written in regular old English.  I do like the basic premise of the story and the history woven through it so I'll definitely finish it though I may not have as much of a glowing opinion as those who wrote on the back cover!

Speaking of writing, I've still got plenty to write about my trip to Canada in July so keep an eye open for a post or two on The Distracted Wanderer before hopefully too much longer!  With any luck I shall be able to dedicate some time on this next batch of days off to getting those posts written before my addled brain forgets where I went and what I saw.

One last thing before I go rummage through the refrigerator - it has occurred to me that fall is fast-approaching and I wanted to try to make some sort of plan for foliage pictures this year - or as much of a plan as one can make when you're at the whim of Mother Nature and the changing colors of the leaves!  I'm open to suggestions as to where to search for the reds, oranges, and yellows of autumn so if there's anywhere in particular you'd like to see a photo of, let me know and I'll see what I can do about getting a few pictures with you in mind.  I know, I know - any excuse to travel around and take pictures, right?!?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

As Summer Fades Away

You can always tell when summer is coming to a close - there's a certain look to the sky, a certain feel to the air; night comes quicker and the cicadas stir up quite the racket in the process.  It just feels different than it did in July and it looks different too. It looks and feels almost like summer is packing up and getting ready to go having enjoyed its visit but knowing that it's time to move on and let another season take its place.

Not that I mind one iota as I'm just not a summer kinda gal.  I much prefer the crispness of autumn and the fantastic foliage of fall.  Granted, I wish that autumn stuck around longer before it got rudely shouldered out of the way by Old Man Winter but still, it's my very favorite time of the year and it's fast-approaching.

With it, though, comes the big question of what to do about Amanda not being able to return to Montserrat this year?  It was our hope that she get the first year behind her and hopefully things would fall into place after that but alas, that didn't turn out to be the case at all.  Still, it just doesn't seem right that she not pursue her love and study of art in some way, shape, or form as the kid has talent but her options are pretty limited at the moment.

That said, I'd like to ask  you all to keep your fingers crossed that perhaps she'll be able to at least take a few courses at the local community college.  I got in touch with the FAFSA people yesterday and had her information sent to Three Rivers Community College which does offer a few Fine Arts classes though not as many as a regular art college does.  Still, something would be better than nothing and if we can work out the financing, I'd rather see her go there then not go anywhere at all.  It's not cheap - at almost $500 per 3 credit course plus the cost of materials the State of Connecticut won't really be cutting her any breaks but with any luck maybe she'll qualify for enough to at least get her into a few classes while she also tries to find a part-time job.

It might not be ideal and it sure wouldn't be the same as going to Montserrat but I refuse to give up hope completely that she can't do what she loves and what she's good at.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just Popping In to Say ...

... Wow have I ever fallen off of the blogging wagon lately!  It's been HOW long since my last post??  Ah well, that's what happens when you get greedy with the overtime at work and then have zip, zero, and zilch ambition on your days off no matter how many of them you have.    Honestly, I'm afraid to even open my Google Reader for fear of the number of unread posts that are going to pop out at me!

While washing my hair yesterday morning the thought dawned on me that I even missed my blog's seven-year anniversary this past July 25th.  Seven years - wow. In child years this blog should be starting second grade, in dog years it's ready for retirement!  Not that I plan on retiring it, mind you, but boy it sure has slowed down.

Anyhow, just wanted to clear out the tumbleweeds and say 'hey'!  Now to go face that Google Reader ...  Oh, and just because I don't want to do a post without a picture and shock everyone again, here's one that my cousin Amy took on our trip up to Salem, Massachusetts a couple weeks ago when I had stopped to take a picture of the figurehead of the Friendship - note that she caught my "good" side!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In Loving Memory of Grandma Edith

"Life is eternal; and love is immortal;
And death is only a horizon;
And a horizon is nothing
Save the limit of our sight."

                                     - Rossiter Worthington Raymond

Friday, August 5, 2011

Back to Boston But Not For Baseball!

For the second week in a row on what ended up being an absolutely beautiful August day here in New England, I set out for a trip to Boston yesterday not to see a Red Sox game like last week but this time to take Amanda to the Museum of Fine Arts so that we could catch Chihuly's "Through the Looking Glass" Exhibition before it was all carefully packed up and removed after Saturday's final showing. My friend Juli at the Hawthorne Hotel had highly recommended that we go and even though Amanda will no longer be an art student due to that whole disappointing lack of funding to go back to Montserrat thing, that doesn't mean she still doesn't enjoy a trip to a museum. Add on the fact that one of her friends that lived in the Boston area was going to meet us there and she was all for it.

Not being a big fan of driving in Boston I opted to park in Newton at Woodland Station and we hopped on the 'T' for our ride into the city.  I rather had to laugh as Amanda gave me instructions as to what to do like it was my first time on the Boston subway system.  I think she was just trying to show off her own expertise at getting around in the city but regardless, we found our way to the MFA without incident and pretty soon her friend Kait joined us for the afternoon. As you can see, they were more than happy to pose for the camera and ham it up a little bit in the process!

Due to it being the last few days for the Chihuly Exhibit, it was naturally a bit of a mob scene - but a well-behaved mob of course! - and it was very easy to see why once we entered the gallery at our ticketed time of 3:00 p.m.  To say that it was amazing would truly be an understatement - to say that it was magical would be much closer to the truth.  As I took well over 50 pictures of just the Chihuly Exhibit alone, I'm going to post just a few here but if you'd like to see the rest feel free to click over to my SmugMug page to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Gallery.  Trust me, I think you'll be glad you did!

Pictures alone do not do this exhibit justice as it's really hard to grasp the enormity and brilliance of the works but it was really great that the MFA allowed visitors to take as many pictures as they'd like provided they didn't use a flash.  Of course there are always one or two people who don't think the rules apply to them ...

Prior to and following our tour of the Chihuly Exhibit, the girls and I explored some more of what is an absolutely gorgeous museum that contains all sorts of wonderful works of art (some of which you can find in the photo gallery link above). I'm pretty sure that we missed a lot of it but what we did see was pretty wonderful.

Claude Monet's "Morning on the Seine near Giverny"
Amanda's favorite artist - Vincent van Gogh's "The Ravine"
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Seine at Chatou
One of the Art of Europe Galleries
Part of the Maritime Exhibit in one of the Art of Americas Galleries
Abstract Art - something that I will never ever "get"
Thomas Sully’s masterpiece “The Passage of the Delaware’’
Not exactly art but ... ! 

After posing nicely on the third floor landing overlooking the Shapiro Family Courtyard and Chihuly's Lime Green Icicle Tower that the MFA hopes will become a permanent display, Amanda and Kait decided to get just a little bit silly for future pictures ...

With John Singleton Copley's 1760 painting "Henry Pelham"
Another Copley painting, the 1776 "Paul Revere" 
And once again with whoever this guy is! 
Leaving the museum, Kait posed with a really big baby's head!
Antonio Lopez Garcia's "Day"

After spending several hours walking around the museum everyone was getting hungry so we hopped back on the Green Line and rode down to the Prudential Center to hit up the food court where I was assured by both girls that they had "the best bacon cheese fries" anywhere. Errr ... okay ... sure.  I'd never been to "the Pru" as it's known by the locals and sitting down somewhere to get something to eat sounded darned good to me right about then so why not?  Turns out that the Pru really does have a very good food court and the prices were quite reasonable while the bacon cheese fries were obviously not healthy but quite tasty!

Following dinner we walked around a little bit to work off the bacon cheese fries while Amanda and Kait relived memories from their last time at the Pru for Anime Boston back in April. Reliving memories also involved posing for a few more pictures including this one:

While the girls went to check out Barnes & Noble, I went outside to the South Garden and took a few pictures of the Prudential Tower and the Huntington Building as well as a pretty fountain.  It really was a gorgeous night with a nice breeze, moderate temperatures, and NO humidity - we couldn't have asked for better!

Done with pictures, I sat and did some people watching for awhile - something that Lois would have loved I'm sure as there were all sorts of folks who walked by - and while doing so I couldn't help but think about what it would be like to live in a city like Boston where there was so much available right there at your fingertips - shops, museums, parks, restaurants galore ... Made me wish that I was younger and maybe had the opportunity to do things over again like live in such a place but alas, I'm way too old to be thinking about moving to Boston even though it would be really interesting!

After awhile I got to wondering what on earth had happened to Amanda and Kait so I took a walk in to Barnes & Noble where it appeared that Amanda was having a reunion of some sort.  Turns out that she had spotted two of her friends who in turn called over several of their friends and before you knew it, there was a hug-fest going on in the Arts & Architecture section of the store! Leave it to my kid to be in a big city like Boston and run into friends!

Unfortunately I had to break up the happy reunion as it was starting to get late and we had a bit of a journey to get back home including a 'T' ride back out to Woodland followed by a good 1-1/2 hour ride from there so everyone gave each other a big hug with promises to stay in touch on Tumblr and MSN and whatever other social media service they all use then we went to catch the subway home.

All in all it was a fun day and even though I was totally worn out by the time we got home sometime after 11:00 p.m. it was well worth it for both the chance to see some beautiful art and the chance for Amanda to see some of her friends.

As for making it three weeks in a row, to the best of my knowledge there shall be NO trips to Boston on my next batch of days off but you just never know!