Our “historic” Massachusetts snow report

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We haven’t been here at the blog much – we’re still in the B bus all the time, but now that the girls are in middle school, our use of social media has changed dramatically. While I still love the WordPress platform, blogs are actually becoming sort of old school. I’m experimenting with Twitter (@theotherpamela and @pamelaJCHS), and GHB and LHB are very active Instagrammers. Also, they are operating in a comprehensive online Google-world that is fully integrated with their school curriculum and assignments. But once in a while it’s nice to use the blog format to post a bunch of pictures or tell a particular story.

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This month, the story is EPIC SNOW.  The kind of snow that is commonplace in Canada and parts of the Midwest, but that, over a short span of weeks, is literally paralyzing the high-density metro region in which we live. I loved it when my favorite local weather guy blogged about the snow stats and history, and took us back to the journals of Cotton Mather, to find so much snow falling on Boston in so little time!

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looking outside during the beginning of the first blizzard, January 24

I have worked at Harvard for over 20 years and this past week was the first time ever in that time that the university was closed/classes cancelled for two days in a row. Our beloved “T” system has been laid low. Travel and parking bans and many many days of missed school.  My commute time is more than doubled, with traffic into and out of Cambridge forced to inch and crawl along the narrowed streets.

Claustrophobic driving: can you find the parking meter?

Claustrophobic driving: can you find the parking meter?

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Sidewalk in front of the house, looking towards crosswalk

 

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a screen shot from my Instagram on Wednesday

Everyone constantly comparing notes about the state of their driveways, ice dams on their roofs, and salt snakes.  We’ve been taking lots of photos, and thought we’d share some as we hunker down for what is, I think, the 4th major storm in 3 weeks, set to begin this afternoon. We’ve been outside every day trying to hack away at the frozen drifts to widen our driveway access enough to keep using it even if/when we get more snow.

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GHB out with the shovel

Good news for today is that the sun is shining this morning and the girls will spend a couple of hours outdoors on a snowshoe walk with the girl scouts, before we get snowbound again.

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In between storms, at the beginning of the week I had to go to Washington, DC for work. I took some pictures of our epic snow from the air, as we made the approach to Logan. It was dramatic how heavy the blanket of snow looked from the air, erasing all color from the landscape so that the photos look black and white even though they’re not.

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Oh, it’s also Valentine’s Day – happy heart day!!

– PHB

dreaming of summer: let’s go for a RIDE

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above: Hershey Park / Hershey, PA

2013 Summer Roadtrip Recap: Picturing Thrills and Chills

We didn’t end up blogging from the road as much as we thought we might. This was partly because we had to rely on inconsistent wi fi access at various stops along the way, and partly because we typically spent our evenings finding a local eatery, swimming in a hotel pool, and trying to get to sleep early so we could get an early start in the morning!  Days were spent driving (of course!), and cramming in as much scenic wonder, historic sites, and fun pit stops as we could manage. Months have gone by and summer seems both a distant memory and a longed-for mirage on the other side of this bitterly cold winter. We thought it’d be fun to do some more roadtrip recaps, to capture more of the highlights from our amazing 3,600-mile journey, and other images from Summer 2013. 

Before and during our big road trip the girls and I enjoyed rides that are faster, louder, steeper, twistier, and a heck of a lot more thrilling than driving around in the B Bus!

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Last summer we spent more time than we usually do at amusement parks. I took lots of pictures while they went on LOTS of rides! These are some of our favorite old-time carnival-inspired amusement park photos, from Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire, Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, and a few other tourist spots.IMG_0988

Our favorite ride at Canobie Lake Park: Da Vinci’s Dream. Always best at sunset.IMG_0987 IMG_0991

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Old-timey Over the Rainbow.IMG_4663

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PHB, GHB, & LHB all contributed to this post

nyc: final 2013 stop for the B bus

We didn’t actually drive the B bus to NY, but it was our last big family adventure of the year — a now-annual holiday visit with many cousins in and around Manhattan and Westchester. Festive meals, busy museum visits, Central Park and the city itself, watching the Pats game, fun movies, plus the New York City Ballet’s gorgeous Nutcracker! Also extra special to see GAP who lives all the way in Oregon!

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Lincoln Center

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Metropolitan Museum

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Heading home on the GO bus – looking back from the Bronx

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LHB brings you a brand new sister blog for The B Bus

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Like books? LHB is excited to invite B Bus fans over to The Reading Penguin, her new book blog. (Click the blue words linking directly to other blog content).

Her first post tells a little bit about what kinds of books she likes, and she’s got a new review up today!

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LHB has been very busy this fall; she made and sold PUFFLES at the school craft fair, and she had a great soccer season, playing well in all positions, especially goalkeeper!

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Plus she is tap dancing, rehearsing for our dance studio’s spectacular Nutcracker show, singing with the Arlington Treble Chorus, and having fun with her Girl Scout troop (ack! cookie sales are coming….).

soccer girls in treeAfter the final game of the season, in which LHB had a big goal, GHB showed the team her treetop vantage point where she’d been watching the game from afar.

– PHB & LHB

growing up red sox

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Watching Game 6 of the ALCS after a busy Saturday here of soccer, dance, and assembling gear for Science Camp next week. The girls are intensely focused on the game, calling out the pitch count to each other if someone has to leave the room for a minute. Maybe it’s GHB’s softball experience, maybe just growing up, but they can really follow the game now, and it’s much more fun to watch with them! We dug around to find some “historic” photos of LHB and GHB showing their colors as Red Sox believers.

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GHB first game @ Fenway 2009

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LHB first game @ Fenway, 2009

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Welcoming cousins O & P to Boston, ca. 2007.

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Grade 3 with special guest

Grade 3 with special guest Tim Wakefield, 2012

GO SOX!

– PHB, GHB, LHB

misty morning in maggie valley

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Summer Roadtrip Recap: Maggie Valley, NC

We didn’t end up blogging from the road as much as we thought we might. This was partly because we had to rely on inconsistent wi fi access at various stops along the way, and partly because we typically spent our evenings finding a local eatery, swimming in a hotel pool, and trying to get to sleep early so we could get an early start in the morning!  Days were spent driving (of course!), and cramming in as much scenic wonder, historic sites, and fun pit stops as we could manage. Now that we’re home, we want to recap some of the highlights from our amazing 3,600-mile journey, in both words and images, and not necessarily in chronological order.

Maggie Valley is in the heart of the Smokies about an hour west of Asheville, and close to the Oconaluftee entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It also boasts the added attraction of Tom’s Stand, a magical mountaintop home on Bear Stump Gap where we were fortunate enough to have a beautiful visit with dear friends I hadn’t seen in literally decades.

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The girls were meeting Jane for the first time, and we got to sleep in her incredible art-filled log house, surrounded by flowers, horses, cattle, hummingbirds, friendly Jay Jay the Jack Russell guard dog and — perhaps in the middle of the night — a roving bear or two.

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The road to the house was shrouded in mist when we headed up off the highway in Maggie Valley near the pancake house, past the family’s Cataloochee Ranch. mail.google

The curving dirt road simply disappeared into the clouds in front of our eyes.

The Odyssey doesn’t have 4WD and this driver was modestly freaked out by the fog-shrouded drop-off at the edge of the steep road. So the B Bus had to spend the night at the ranch.  And Jane picked us up in her intrepid Subaru for our overnight in the clouds. When we pulled up at the big hand-hewn log house with its elven guest cottage across the lawn, LHB’s reaction was priceless: “She lives in a fairy house!”

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And so it proved.  The cottage kept appearing and disappearing into and out of the mist like something from Brigadoon.

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In spite of the rain that obscured the views, our visit was a joyful highlight of the trip, an evening of wonderful conversation and catching up with Jane, who was one of Emmy’s dearest friends back in NYC days, and son Ames, last seen by me sometime before either of us learned to read. The girls marveled at Jane’s multi-textured rooms brimming with art, photographs, ceramics, and curious objects. LHB took many photographs, including some of these.

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When we awoke the next morning steady rain had set in, and we still couldn’t see over to the driveway.

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IMG_0626We said goodbye to the hummingbirds and headed down to see the ranch and meet some of the other residents, including cows, horses, turkeys, and the staff and dudes (guests) at the ranch.

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LHB hopped in and out of the car to take these great livestock and landscape photos.

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We left a quahog from the Cape for Jane’s garden pond — a little piece of New England for her beautiful haven in the Smokies.

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It was tempting to stay longer and we could have spent at least a week exploring these beautiful mountains, but we had to pull ourselves away from Cataloochee, bound for Chattanooga!

– PHB

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a day of wonderful animals

posted by LHB

Almost ready to turn around and go head back Northeast  on our road trip, the B Bus took a stop in Chatanooga, TN. While there we went to a very exciting place full of fuzzy, adorable creatures, scaly, slimy creatures, and much, much more. I bet you’re thinking we went to a zoo, huh? Well guess again my friend. This stop was at the Tennessee Aquarium. an aquarium with not only fish , rays, sharks, jellyfish and other typical aquarium residents, but this aquarium also housed butterflies, macaws, alligators, turtles,snakes, and other seemingly out of place animals.

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This picture is of a bridge that crossed a river called the tennessee river right out side the aquarium’s ocean journey building. The brige was the market street bridge and it was apparently important in the civil war as david’s crossing. It was also a pretty  important location for the Cherokee trade.

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Here is a picture of a funky colored ray from the aquarium’s ocean building. The aquarium has two buildings, one full of ocean animals (plus macaws and snakes) and one River building full of river animals, but it would take forever to list all the animals in this building!

My favorite animal in the Ocean building which was named Ocean Journey, would have had to be a tie between the blue macaws, the funky rays and the bonnethead shark.

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This is my favorite animal in the entire aquarium. He is the River Otter and his name is Dale. I loved this guy so much that I visited him twice and I took tons of pictures and video but this was the best still shot. He looks better in the videos! I loved this otter before I found out his name is Dale. I called him Riggy. I bought a stuffed otter in the gift shop and also named him Riggy.

I started the day yesterday with ranch animals such as horses, cows, and turkeys (!?!) up at Catalooche Ranch in North Carolina and ended the day with a bunch of awesome ocean and river animals in Chattanooga, Tennessee. What a day of animals!

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– LHB

horses leaving the barn

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LHB photographing the Cataloochee Ranch horses going up to pasture in the misty rain this morning. A truly memorable visit with Jane A – more to come about her beautiful mountaintop home above Maggie Valley, NC.

the legend of the B Bus

posted by LHB

On august eleventh 2013 the B Bus took a stop for Brunch on the first day of our road trip on our way to Hershey PA. That stop happened to be in a very historical and superstitious town – do you have an idea of what town it may have been? Well that stop was in the town of Sleepy Hollow right next to Tarrytown, on the Hudson River in New York. I bet you did not guess that huh?? Once we got there we ate brunch at a restaraunt called the Horseman. It’s slogan picture is the headless horseman carrying a dinner platter as shown below.

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After we ate lunch we drove up the road and walked around the Old Dutch Church Graveyard, the one in the story and where Washington Irving was buried. In fact there was a whole Irving plot and it was ginormous!! It was fenced in  though, and Washington Irving was at the center of the plot, so we could not get very close. After we found our way out of the cemetery, we walked over to the spot where the Headless Horseman’s bridge used to be. It did not get torn down but it got lost to time. The replacement they built sounds like horse hooves when driven on!!!

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After that we got back in the car and drove out of Sleepy Hollow, but this story shall be known forever as the legend of the B Bus.

posted by  LHB      ^_^

Not Just Flowers and Trees

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posted by LHB

I took a Nature Photography class for SummerFun camp at Ottoson last week. The class was 3 hours every day, and we were walking around Arlington most of the time. we were walking about three miles everyday except Friday that week!! my feet were sore every day when I went home that week. this picture is of some overgrown Daisies in some ones garden, they were sticking out between two fence posts. This was one of my favorite flower pictures.

Here are some of my other favorite pictures from Menotomy Rocks Park, the lake part of the Res, and the overall neighborhood around the Ottoson!

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this is a picture of a turtle we found sitting on the edge of a concrete wall at the Res. we could only get about ten feet away, and my camera only zoomed to about three feet away, so we cropped the photo, and found out that he had green stripes on his neck, and red stripes on his legs!!

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I took this photo after a friend threw a rock into the water, and I took a photo of the ripples it made, with some reeds, a tree the ground, and a bush as the backround, on the computer we altered the lighting a little, and gave it some contrasts and highlights, and this is how it turned out!!

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This picture is of some mushrooms that were sitting on the side of the bike path we were walking on, practically begging to have their picture taken. I got my camera to the side and under them, and took the shot. on  the computer we cropped it a little.

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The picture above is one out of many pictures I took while just taking random pictures with my camera pointing up. it has no digital editing. “I like the pattern of leaves,” says PHB.

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This photo is of a frog/toad we saw with his head poking out of the water at Menotomy Rocks Park. We didn’t go in the water, so I actually had to take the shot from pretty far away. But we cropped it on the computer and the toad got bigger!

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This one tree stands by the baseball diamond next to the Trader Joe’s, also near the Rez.  It is hollow, so I thought it would make a good picture. This photo has no digital editing.

IMG_2276This is some water peeking out from between two trees, at the Res. On the computer we altered the lighting and used shadows to make it darker on the edges.

“I think it ended up looking more mysterious and magical than the Res usually does,” said PHB.

This class was great, and these pictures are not just flowers and trees!

– LHB