Monthly Archives: May 2012

Memorial Day Thanks from Boston Common

If, like me, you’re privileged enough to have a day off today, it’s because of the sacrifices of members of our Armed Forces who died serving their country.

May their service and sacrifice never be forgotten.

We have a beautiful Memorial Day tribute in Boston right now. For the 2nd year running, a garden of flags blankets the ground in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Flagstaff Hill on the Common.

33,000 flags are currently planted, in honor of Massachusetts’ servicemembers who’ve died in conflicts dating back to the Civil War.

It’s simply breathtaking to see.

The flags were planted last Wednesday and will remain there until tonight.

I also paid a visit to our local Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery to say a small thanks to those who rest there.

Be sure to thank a servicemember today.


Weekend in Vermont

I’m privileged enough to be in the middle of a 3-day weekend, thanks to those selfless people who’ve served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Given how busy I’ve been lately, I was determined to try and have all 3 days fully work-free. I’d decided the destination for the weekend was going to be Vermont – having lived in New England for 7 years now, I’ve done a fair bit of traveling around here, but I have to admit that Vermont is the state that I’ve seen least of.

So, wanting to make the most of every minute of free time, yesterday was an early start for us, and it was off up north.

First stop for the day was the town Woodstock. The whole area aroundabout was delightful, and the fact that the weather was so beautiful, although a tad too hot for me, just added to the loveliness of the region.

My favorite bit was visiting Billings Farm & Museum in the town.

It’s not only a farm museum , dedicated to preserve Vermont’s rural heritage, but remains a fully operational dairy farm.

They have some beautiful Jersey cows!

As well as a bunch of other wonderful animals.

It was a real treat wandering around the farm.

All around, a fabulous day was had by all!



Lights Out

Last week was very trying in work. I felt like I was running a kindergarten instead of a university lab……it’s become increasingly that way over the past 18 months or so, and drives me insane. In the middle of the week I also had to attend a 3 hour poster presentation meeting. It was useless to me – not even CE-worthy – and I had bucket-loads of work piling up in my office. But it’s an annual thing that my boss always wants me to attend so that I can stand at our division’s poster that advertises our services. This is the 4th year that I’ve attended. And the 4th year that nobody has shown any interest in our poster. It’s completely out of place because it’s not a research presentation per se – it’s worth having it there amongst the rest of our research posters so that people know how to contact us if they need our services, but it’s not worth having me stand there for 3 hours when I could be getting work done. But it’s what the boss wants, so I just grit my teeth and get on with it. I choose my battles.

I did, however, come across some cool DNA Lego on display while I was there! So I had a bit of fun at least……

But all in all, Friday evening couldn’t come quickly enough. I celebrated at the gym, and followed that up with a beer on the couch, but by about 9pm I was ready for bed! Must be getting old…..

Yesterday was just beautiful here though. Bright sunny skies and temperatures over 70 degrees. So I took a day trip to my favorite location, Newport, RI. No surprise there. I’m predictable if nothing else.

I’d decided to head to the Middletown region for much of the day. Just in case you’re interested, Newport is on Aquidneck Island in RI. Being a coastal state, RI comprises a bunch of islands on Narragansett Bay. Aquidneck is one of them in the south, is about 44 square miles, and is made up of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. Newport is inevitably the region where most tourists flock to, but the other 2 towns also have much to offer.

So yesterday I visited a couple of places in Middletown for the first time.

I started off at Prescott Farm. It’s situated right off a main road, but once you get in there, it’s very hard to believe you’re on a main highway!

It’s a historic preservation of a colonial farm – founded back in the 18th century, and occupied by British General Richard Prescott before the Battle of Rhode Island. Some colonists kidnapped him from the farm on July 9th, 1777 and took him to Providence, and he was later exchanged for US General Charles Lee.

Back to current day, and the land was eventually bought by the Newport Restoration Foundation and opened to the public.

It’s so beautiful there, and I just love their windmill.

It’s the Robert Sherman Windmill – first built back in 1812 and used in Warren, RI where it was connected to a distillery. It’s been relocated a bunch of times over the years, and eventually went into a state of disrepair, so was bought and restored by the NRF and now lives here in all its glory.

I also visited Aquidneck island’s other surviving windmill! It’s amazing to find a bunch of these things kicking around down there, I love them. There’s one in nearby Jamestown too, although that’s not on Aquidneck. Anyway this next one was at Paradise Valley Park. This is a little gem of a place – tucked away on a quiet road. It would be a happy accident if you just randomly came upon this place, and it’s so easy to just drive by without even seeing the place.


It was amazingly quiet here – I saw a couple of folk walking dogs while I was there, but otherwise, it was like having the place to myself. I visited around sunset since I wanted to see what the lighting was like at that time. I think I’d also like to head there for sunrise some day too, since the sun should rise from behind the mill, so that might be a nice project one day when I’ve stayed overnight in the area – I’m an hour and a half drive away, so otherwise it would be a very early start to get photos!

This is Boyd’s Wind Grist Mill anyway – built in 1810 in nearby Portsmouth. Middletown Historial Society eventually acquired it as a donation and restored it here in the park.

It was very peaceful just sitting there watching the light change as the sun went down for the evening.

A lovely end to a lovely day!


The Week in Review

Another week seems to have flown by. Last weekend I had the luxury of being “mostly free”, work-wise. I did some work on Saturday, but took Sunday completely off, and that was great.

I drove down to Newport, RI for the day, and although we started off with a grey, overcast morning, things progressed to full sunshine later in the afternoon, although it was a tad cool even in the sun. But what the heck, it wasn’t raining, and I wasn’t working!

I wandered around Fort Adams State Park. One of my most favorite locations. I never tire of it. or anywhere in Newport, for that matter.

Once the sun was out later in the afternoon, I took a spin along Ocean Drive. Scenery (and real estate) doesn’t get much better than this!

Tuesday brought along my usual USO shift. It was quiet most of the night, and I managed to get quite a bit of work done while I was there. We’d also received a shipment of Girl Scout Cookies, and an adorable letter to accompany them.

Brought a wee tear to my eye!

Otherwise, not too much going on. Lots of chaos at work. And usually when there’s chaos at work, that means someone is going to make their chaos my problem. Had a fair bit of that this past week. Friday came around just in the nick of time.

One piece of hopefully good news – you may recall the problem I’ve been having with my downstairs neighbors since they moved here in the fall last year. Horrendously noisy. Obnoxiously so. Anyway, I give our apartment complex lots of points – they took the matter seriously, and gave them an eviction notice. They were due to leave May 5th, but that didn’t happen, they kept coming up with excuses. So the apartment complex took them to court this past week. Initially they asked me if I’d appear too, and I said yes, of course. But then they told me I wasn’t needed. Anyway, they contacted me after the appearance on Thursday to let me know that it all went well and that the neighbors will be gone by the end of the month.  It’s been a very long few months. I’ve honestly never experienced neighbors so horrific, and I’ve been renting for the past 25 years. (I really need to buy….)

And on that note, I’m going to head off to bed!

How Did We Get To May?

Unbelievable, we’re a third of the year in! Feels like only yesterday I was in Yosemite…..and that was Christmas.

Well I finally laid the long, stressful project to rest, a few days after my last post. That was a huge relief, and it certainly reduced my stress levels no end. I stopped feeling like I was owned by the company. And I gradually began to get my usual routine back again. Over the 4 weeks that I worked on their project, I pretty much gave up my most-days gym routine. That was suicidal, exercise is a big stress reliever for me, so not having that release certainly affected my mental well-being. But I really just couldn’t afford the hour and a half away from the computer each night.

So it’s been nice getting back into my routine again, and I even decided to change gyms. I’d previously used the local YMCA. It’s a lovely center, but I tire of fighting my way through there each night with the ridiculous number of kids kicking around. So I switched to another nearby gym that is owned by a physical therapy office that I used a few years ago. they’ve recently relocated their gym to a huge new center, and it’s fabulous. They gave me a free 7-day pass to start with, so I got to test drive it out, and I love it. So that’s it, final decision, I’m switching. And it’s quiet too – no screaming kids to battle with like at the YMCA!

The past couple of weeks have been quite rainy here – nothing unusual for New England though! I decided to go for a walk one evening the week before last, after the gym, and just as I got to the park, it started raining again. That’s when I saw the rainbow.

I’m not kidding, I’ve never seen such a perfect rainbow, it was mesmerizing. And then as the sun went down a little more, the sky just looked lovely!

Last weekend was busy for me. I’d been contracted by a medical news company to attend a medical conference in Boston and write 10 news articles for them, on some interesting studies that were being presented there. It was a pediatric medical conference – the first time I’d ever attended this particular conference – and I gained some insight into how claustrophobia feels for folk affected by it! There were over 8,000 attendees, it was ridiculous! People everywhere. And on Saturday when I arrived, I’d only just sat down and was enjoying a coffee and a cookie while I went through my abstracts book to get my bearings on what room I needed to be in first, and an alarm started sounding, telling us to evacuate. It peeped loudly for over an hour, on and off, but they did keep using a loud-speaker in addition, telling us not to evacuate. Not a very peaceful first hour though….

But anyway, all in all, it went well over Saturday and Sunday. And thankfully we had beautiful weather on those 2 days at least, so that made my commute into town a lot easier. But I did feel a little exhausted on Monday, I must admit, since I didn’t have any time off at all.

I did start up another project on Monday, but finished it today, and am now officially off until Monday. I was determined to have a day and a half off this weekend, especially since we’re due sunshine tomorrow!

So now it’s time to get back to the sofa.

And maybe a glass of wine and some ice cream.