Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Scary T news

A. Fuss. has been talking about the L in Chicago. So I thought I would write a short post about our "beloved" T. Today, there was a news report that it may not be safe to watch the July 4th Fireworks on the Longfellow Bridge because it might not be able to hold all the people.

In particular, they are worried that all the people on the bridge could cause the sidewalks to fall into the Charles River. This is an interesting study, because all red line trains cross to and from Cambridge via the Longfellow Bridge. Sometimes, there are two trains on the bridge, in addition to all the cars and trucks that also cross over it, all at the same time. But as usual, Boston is more concerned about pedestrians than anyone else. :) Anyone who drives in Boston understands that. The real question, of course, is: why aren't they fixing the bridge??? It's 100 years old. Time to do some maintenance beyond the usual graffiti scrubbing, I think.

And while I will admit that it is scary to wait for the L on those tiny ledges, no subway train shakes and rattles like the T trains.

(The red line was packed again tonight due to a "police action" in Cambridge, whatever that means. So I'm not feeling too warm and fuzzy about the T at the moment)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A wonderful Comercial

I saw this commercial today, it's beautiful:

Stick To It!

Some advice for those of you who are "big boned." Yes, you know who you are, you are any old American who needs to lose a few pounds. It's me, it's you, get over it. I would like to impart some good advice to you, so listen closely.

We all know how to loose weight, and we all know why we have those extra pounds: It has nothing to do with the size of your bones. You eat too much, we eat too much, I eat too much. Not only do we eat too much but we don't exercise enough. That isn't the advice, you know it, we know it, I know it. We eat too much because we love food; it tastes good, really good and there is a lot of good food out there.

So, the advice: Don't blow it when you get a chance to get some food, only eat good stuff. Any time spent eating bad food is not only a waste of time, but it is a waste of a waist. To help you accomplish this goal, and not waste your waist, live by these words: Order the same thing every time you go to the same establishment.

When you go to a restaurant for the first time, order anything, it's a crap shot anyhow. But, once you have a good meal at a specific establishment, stick with it. If you don't you risk getting a bad meal when you know you could have had a good meal.

I always follow this advice; I should, it's my advice. It's never let me down. However, recently I let myself down when I fell off the band wagon. Yes, after years and years of only eating Chocolate Ice Cream I tried a new flavor. I didn't try the new flavor at an old establishment, I tried it at a friends house (who had bought the ice cream from a specific establishment). See, there was no other choice, Chocolate Ice Cream just wasn't on the menu. I tried the new stuff and it was great. It was love at first taste, good by Chocolate Ice Cream, hello cake batter. It was SO good that I broke my rule, flaunted perfectly good advice. That was the beginning of the end.

A few weeks ago I was in providence and stopped at Ben & Jerry's, a great place with good Chocolate Ice Cream. I rejected my usual and tried the cake batter. It was horrible; I was abysmal. What a let down. An opportunity I can never repeat. I ate the ice cream, the miserable ice cream.

I will never forget the moment and the Chocolate Ice Cream that could have been mine. Let this be a warning to you all, don't waste an opportunity for good food: Always, Always, Always Order The Same Thing Every Time You Go To The Same Establishment!

Trip plans, home developments, etc.

We have made some more concrete plans for our big road trip. Today, Jim made arrangements to rent a car in Wenatchee, Washington on May 25. So we have to be there by then. Actually, it would be nice to get there before then, so we have some time to see Laurie. So here are the plans so far:
Friday May 16: Leave after work and drive to Buffalo.
Saturday May 17: Drive to Chicago, stopping in Cleveland briefly to see Grandma and Jidy and maybe have lunch if the timing works out. Stay with Alex and Rob.
Sunday May 18: Leave for "the west."
Sunday May 25: Pick up rental car in Wenatchee.
Sunday June 1: Leave San Diego.

The beauty of the trip is that it is up in the air. We can take time to see random things. Like, for example, the Corn Palace, which apparently everyone knows about except me. Or Wal-drug. Ditto. We also have time to see not-so-random things, like Mt. Rushmore. Although seriously? Someone deciding to carve a bunch of presidents into the mountains is pretty random.

On the home development front, we are getting the floors refinished a week from Tuesday. So we're still on target to get almost everything done before Mom arrives on May 9. This does not include the stairs. We are still waiting on a quote for those. Looks like we're going to have to at least get the treads replaced, and we'll have to caulk and putty and paint the risers.

And on a final note, I just want to add that I really love Quincy sometimes. Tonight, our friends who live in Quincy called us up and asked us if we wanted to get dinner in an hour. Of course we were up for it! We had dinner at a new place called the Fat Cat, or something like that (had something to do with a cat). The food was great, the company was even better, and at the end, we got to get ice cream cones at Frozen Freddie's. Jim has even found a flavor of ice cream that he likes better than chocolate: cake batter. But only Frozen Freddie's cake batter. He is not a fan of Ben & Jerry's cake batter ice cream. But it's cool to have friends who live close, and nice new restaurants to try out, and our homey ice cream parlor just a few blocks away.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our house should be painted yellow.

We have white siding on our house right now. But we're thinking that maybe it needs to be painted yellow, so that the house will look like the lemon that it is!

The latest chapter in our home improvement saga occurred today. We are redoing our living room, foyer, and stairway. We hired a contractor to tear down the walls and ceiling, put up insulation and new blue board, and redo most of the moulding. The walls and ceiling and woodwork came out beautifully and we are almost done painting everything (after several weekends dedicated to sanding, putty, priming and painting). You can look at photos from these events here:

Today, we went with step 2 of our plan, which is to rip up the carpeting on the stairs so that we can get all the floors refinished. Ha. We first knew that something was wrong when I pulled up a piece of carpeting and part of the wood came with it. The stairs have huge gouges in them, cracks, holes, and are extremely worn. We realize now why they were carpeted.

We also realized more fully that most of the spindles on our banister are not original. The previous owners decided to replace the spindles with ones that did not reach fully to the floor - only to the carpet. So they're completely uneven now and clearly don't match with the rest of the spindles. In fact, it looks like there are only 4 original spindles left.

Our friend Jen happened to be over while we had this epiphany. She had come over to help us paint. Ironically, she is thinking of purchasing a condo in about a year. She got an eye-opening lesson in home improvement: when something is covered up, it's usually for a good reason.

So it looks like we have to have our carpenter come back and rebuild our stairs. (Jim mentioned today that maybe he should just arrange to have his paycheck deposited directly into our carpenter's bank account). Did I mention that all of our of furniture is either in the basement or piled high in our dining room? Did I mention that it's been that way since early February? I want my house back!!!

Here is an abbreviated list of things that we've done with our house since we bought it in May 2000:
  • New support beams in basement
  • New electrical wiring throughout entire house
  • Garage: termite extermination, new roof, windows, siding, wood underneath, side door, garage door (basically rebuilding it one wall at a time)
  • New windows in house (1/2 finished)
  • New roof on house
  • Floors refinished in upstairs
  • New main drain in basement (old one was held together with duct tape)
  • New furnace
  • New installation of air conditioning
  • New walls in kitchen
  • Chimney: pointed, liner installed, capped
  • New front stairs and walkway
  • New air duct returns on 2nd floor
  • New fence
  • Garbage disposal from behind and next to the garage (the prior owners used to throw or bury their trash back there).
These are just the things I can think of at the moment. The problem is that it doesn't even feel like we've made a dent in the work sometimes. I am so exhausted, and wish we owned a restored Victorian in Cambridge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today would've been my grandmother's 100th birthday. So, happy birthday, Grammy! I still find it amazing that I now have known people who were born 100 years ago. I mean, my great-aunt was born in 1896, but I didn't know her well like my grandma.

I think that if my grandma were alive, I'd like to take her out to Anderson's and get an ice cream cone. She loved ice cream, and I don't think she minded the company either.

In honor of my grandma, Bernice Grace Rech Kain, I present you with a few of my favorite photos of her.

As a baby:

At Crystal Beach in 1932 when she was dating my grandfather:

At the Hotel Riverside in Cambridge Springs, PA (the original "Lake George") with my grandfather in 1938:

At the Hotel Riverside again in 1957:

This is how I remember her the best, from 1990:

And on my dad's 50th birthday, in 1996:

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Hello out there - this is the other half of JK squared. We are finally planning our vacation: a cross-country drive. We'll be traveling during the last 2 weeks of May and will try to blog about it here as much as we can. We plan on looking for attractions such as the largest ball of twine and the Corn Palace, and well as the obvious, like Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone. We are doing the northern route: Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, then north through Wisconsin, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana. After we drop the car off with my sister in Twisp, WA, then we'll head south, ultimately arriving in San Diego, where we fly back to Boston. (Maybe we'll have dinner in Tijuana on our last night!) The goal is to have a relaxing trip, and to see stuff that we wouldn't independently buy an airplane ticket and travel to see.