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

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midsummer night’s catch-up

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We haven’t made a post in so long, we have contemplated putting the B Bus on hiatus — the blog, that is, not the actual B Bus, which is still rolling on, taking us to camp, to the beach, to softball games and street fairs.  Summer is in full swing. The girls have graduated from 5th grade, said goodbye to our neighborhood elementary school, and embraced the middle school reading list along with their new cell phones.

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While at overnight camp at beautiful Ferry Beach in southern Maine, they made these stunning fairy houses. Perfect for teeny tiny magical woodland beings on a midsummer eve.

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And I’ve been puttering around in the garden a lot. Last summer’s epic road trip was so incredible. But in some ways it’s a relief to be staying close to home this year. I can never truly keep up with the weeds, but at least this year I have a fighting chance.

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We did lose some plants to the bitter winter, but it truly astounds me every single year when we see what has survived to push forth into the sun and heat and steamy green of summer.

– 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

winter coat

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Everyone’s talking about the cold. We’ve had some snow this winter but the weather headline is the freezing temps. After a temporary thaw and some rain, we are headed back into the deep freeze tonight. I took this photo of the creek at Whipple Hill yesterday.

It’s not the super extreme school-canceling Midwestern freeze, but it’s bitter and sharp, especially without pretty blankets of snow. What’s left is actually pretty gray. The girls and I have really noticed how hoary and ancient the B bus is looking, in its winter coat of salty grime.

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Definitely looking less spiffy than on the summer road trip! But the B bus is hardy, as are we.

– PHB

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

rites of spring

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Recitals, Softball Games, 4th Grade State Projects, Chorus Concerts, Birthday Parties, Garden Planting, Fez Wearing, and Watching Things Bloom…. this is what we’ve been up to in the slightly madcap month of May…!

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– PHB

april showers

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Rained overnight, so everything was wet, and rainwater is pooling in these shells that stayed out in the garden under the snow all winter.  The quahogs look their best when wet, especially the gorgeous purple insides.  We painted the outsides, down on the Cape last summer — they are not in their natural state! It’s easy to see why the Wampanoags and other tribes used this material for jewelry or wampum.  I just like seeing the shells and knowing that spring will soon give way to the delights of summer.

GHB and LHB usually go clamming at least once while we’re vacationing in Brewster with our friends; I think these shells may actually be from one of the batches that ended up being boiled into a chowder!

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Here are a couple of other shots from the just-coming-back-to-life April garden.

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– PHB

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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