all that remains

all that remains

This year’s January thaw has been quite dramatic. Just a week or so ago I posted the pics of our arctic adventure and we had well over a foot of snow on the ground. I got the flu, and New England got a crazy warm spell, with temperatures nearly reaching 60 degrees yesterday, and accompanied by torrential downpours and even some thunder.

Today was seasonably chilly, windy and sunny. The Christmas trees littering the curbs all over Arlington started to blow over and into the road. Weird, ungainly tumbleweeds. We pulled ours back away from the street to wait for the pickup (delayed by the storm, they are supposed to be picked up for chipping/mulching this week). The last patch of snow out there where the B bus lives is filthy and grimy. When most of it melted, we also found Halloween remnants: the pumpkins I meant to chop up for foraging wildlife. I actually don’t know if that’s a good idea or not (would be nice if a bunny wants a nibble, but we wouldn’t want to make a buffet for raccoons…), so I suppose it’s just as well they’re just sitting there thawing.

xmas endThe light in January feels a bit harsh at times. It’s not that I’m not refreshed by seeing a little more daylight every day. But it can shed a daunting glare on all the undone post-holiday chores. The tree is out but the Ghost of Christmas past is still haunting the house with bits and pieces and bins. I rather like not having to primp or decorate our space for anything at the moment – we’re just living in it, taking 2014 one day at a time.

– PHB

have a seat while we look at some art

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The B bus stopped by the Dallin House in the Center this evening just in time to catch Chairful Where You Sit, Arlington’s new-ish annual public art happening. An artful end to a fun afternoon with pal Livia, and the 3 girls danced briefly on the tracks when we discovered all the chairs.

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Two of our good friends had submitted seats (chair or stool), along with 70 or so other local artists and craftsfolk. We were sad we didn’t get to see Amy and Allison’s winning chairs, but thrilled for both of them that they did so well and had already been sold — to benefit Arlington Public Art, of course!

IMG_0104Loved the juxtaposition of the vintage chairs “tied to the tracks” along the commemorative short stretch of RR tracks, the rest of which is now the Minuteman Bikeway.

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This photo is by GHB, who especially liked this chair’s playful giant squid menacing a schooner.

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Who knows what Sam Whittemore would have thought of all this? The Tumblr site has pictures of all the chairs — some are quite magnificent!

– PHB

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

spring sky

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Still light in the sky after 6:00pm.  In spite of the persistent piles of frozen snow, we can feel the turn of the year towards spring.  Evening traffic on Summer Street, heading out in the B bus to pick up the dance team gals.  Took this through the windshield. Not the most spring-y image, but something about the light gave me that first gut-level sense that change is in the air.

-PHB

delightfully unexpected bully

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Today’s headline in the Boston Globe made us smile.  It’s true that yesterday’s huge and un-forecasted snowfall interfered with commutes and jobs and caused consternation throughout Arlington and all of metro Boston.  Due to a super-tricky forecast and tough decision about road conditions and snowfall rates, schools in our town had to open for the day even as families and teachers struggled to get out of their own driveways and sidewalks were impassable, buried under 15″ of snow that fell rapidly between 5am and midafternoon.  But look at this gorgeous snow creation taking shape in the yard today! 

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Even though they had to climb over drifts to get to school yesterday, for the most part this significant late-season snowfall has been nothing but fun for GHB and LHB.  Although I could not get the B bus out of the driveway until late afternoon yesterday, because I was stuck working from home I was able to keep up with shoveling the sidewalks and saw neighbors I haven’t seen in months.

When released from school, kids were thrilled to get out and play even though it was still coming down, and the wind was pretty fierce. LHB and pal Megan crafted a sphinx-like snow tiger, about to pounce on Summer Street passersby.

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Today, routine errands turned into a mountaineering expedition as LHB and GHB attempted a diagonal ascent of this humongous parking lot pile!

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snow1 Victory!

It was so sunny and beautiful, this pile is melting fast.  Fortunately, we got the errands done in time to spend the balance of the afternoon working on the molded-brick fort.

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We’re a little anxious about the warm temps and how long the fort will last, but as the sun is now setting and we’re headed back below freezing for tonight, I’m feeling pretty confident we’ll be able to enjoy it again tomorrow morning, before the sun warms things up again.

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I think we’re pretty ready to Spring Forward (!) anyway.  Time to change the clocks….

– PHB

today

january thaw

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It was over 60 degrees here yesterday!  GHB and LHB are now fretting every morning on the walk to school, about the Missing Snow.  You can overhear kids on the playground holding forth about climate change.  After about 10 days of barely-adequate, incrementally-melting-every-day snow cover, the recent warm-up spelled The End of sledding.  This morning I found what may be the last patches of snow in Arlington, hidden on the back of the hillside at McLennen Park.

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Will the B bus see any more sledding or other outdoor winter fun this year?!

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The ice in the pond turning to slush.

We are all a little sad about the lack of snow, though I suspect I am more conflicted about it than the girls.  I am happy not to be shoveling the driveway every other morning to get the B bus up our treacherous incline!  Just as I was having that thought we heard the forecast which is for snow and sleet tomorrow.  Once again we live the New England cliche about what to do if you don’t like the weather here (just wait 5 minutes, etc.).

– PHB

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carpool into the sunset

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This afternoon I was on the road in the B bus for a couple of hours. First, the drive from my office, through Harvard Square and over into Arlington.  Seemed to take forever to get up to Peirce, where the girls were fresh from digging snow tunnels on the field.  LHB was headed to dance team with 3 Dance Place buddies, and it was our turn to drive.  Carpool time! We scooted around McLennen, then up over Gilboa and across Mass Ave to the other side of the Heights, gathering passengers until we had a carful.  Then across A-town to the Dance Place, where everyone got out except GHB, who is back to being a hip hop-only girl, post-Nutcracker.

All of this was entirely unremarkable, except that it seemed like I was in the car a long time.  But you never know when an in-town adventure, or an extravagant sunset, may be waiting around the corner, even during a simple carpool drive.  As we turned away from Broadway to head back west towards home, we saw the twilight sky was turning an incredible mix of purple, pink and orange.   We both had the same thought:  where can we get a better view, and see past the Mass Ave buildings?  The nearest open space was Spy Pond.

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The light was fading quickly as we drove, and we wanted to see if we could get a picture. We stopped in the middle of the road on Pond Lane to take this one through the windshield.

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And then we were down at the park by the playground.  Epic! Continue reading

The B Bus needs a new B

The Red Sox ‘B’ magnet on the back of the Odyssey has been there since 2008 or so, I’m guessing.  It definitely dates back to a happier time in Red Sox Nation.  I started putting the B on the back of the car in the heady days of 2004 and 2007.  Over the past few years we’ve been less fervent — not exactly fickle, but I just don’t know the new team all that well and we have a lot less time to watch baseball.  Still, we like the B that says we’re from Boston and also stands for our family name!  It helps us find our ride in the sea of minivans at the Market Basket parking lot and we enjoy carpooling friends around Arlington in the car we’ve christened the B Bus.

Sadly, the current magnet (B 3.0 — my third magnet) is in rough shape.  No longer Sox red, it is a faded crusty charcoal gray, the plastic magnetic material fused to the paint on the car, and no longer all that easy to spot from afar.

We’re getting ready to hit the road for our first  Really Big road trip, and we have been looking for a shiny new B.  The sports swag store at the mall didn’t have one, but best neighbor Krissie gave us some awesome window decals, including a B that will approximate the location and look of the bus number spot on the back of the car.  She rocks!  Plus, I won’t have to squeeze in 45 minutes alternately pouring boiling water over it and using non-scratching implements to coax and scrape the fused magnet away in pieces.  I don’t have time to do that in the two days left before we hit the road for Chicago… but we’re doing lots of other things to make the car ready for two driving days there and two days back.

It’s so exciting – the first big driving trip AND a big end-of-summer visit with the cousins in Evanston!  Can’t wait!

– PHB