Monthly Archives: October 2009


We had our Halloween party last night since the bar we go to has their party on the Friday before the holiday. There were a lot of interesting costumes, but we were able to take 2nd and 3rd place in the costume contest with these:
Michael was some local, but American Gothic took second place (50 bucks!) and Macho Man Randy Savage took third (20 bucks). Overall a good night.

We also had other people hopping into the picture frame through the night:

While I did not place, I liked my costume a lot. I was Amelia Earhart and my boyfriend was Ernest Hemingway:
I could totally see Amelia wearing striped socks.

Tonight, we have already bottled beer and I am going to go have dinner soon. After that, pumpkin carving!! I love Halloween


And not in the good way. I have been flat out running for the last few weeks. Not only did we have a housewarming party, we participated in a snow covered charity walk that didn’t go as well as we wanted it to. Because of the weather, half the members of our team were not able to walk…which really annoyed my Dad as it was in his honor that we were walking. However, if he had gotten sicker at the event, I would never forgive myself.

I have also had a presentation, 8 page paper (which turned out to be 7), 3-5 page paper (which is at 4 right now), 1 page response paper, lit review, children’s program, registering for my last semester of school and a few other things hanging over my head. People at work have been getting hurt (falling off of a stage, fake appendicitis, staph infection) and others have had family members die.

And I haven’t been able to spend any time on my costume 😦 I ran into Salvation Army today to pick up a “bomber jacket”, really just a red faux-leather jacket (for 6.99) and a Halloween store for a pilots hat and goggles and gun. I have my brown shoes, zip pants, and I might try to make a scarf out of an old t-shirt tomorrow quickly…not sure. I’m slightly annoyed that I’ve tossed out certain things and can’t find other things but whatever.

Paper is done, computer will be plugged in for school tomorrow, costume is mostly together. I didn’t get to make my Guinness cupcakes, but that is fine. I’ll make them on Saturday to eat with our pot roast.


Last week, just in time for the cold weather of this week, we were able to get our asbestos covered hot oil heater from possibly the 1920s removed and replaced with an energy star gas heat system. This took many many many phone calls and discussion amongst different groups of people.

One of the biggest drawbacks that we could come up with of doing this type of conversion is the cost. However, it was a lot less than what we thought it was to get the asbestos out, as well as the oil tank and oil in the tank.

Snowman Replacement

We used two different companies to take care of this job over two days. The asbestos removal took from 7 AM to about 2 PM and made the heater go from white to black as shown in the 2nd picture. Thankfully the weather held up and stayed in the 60s since we had no heat.

The next day at 7AM the gas guys came in very pleased with the condition of the heater. Loud banging, drilling, and thumping commenced for hours later and when I left for my parent’s house at 5, the electrician was still working. He did not leave until about 6 or 6:30. The result of that was the third picture: an energy efficient gas heater that takes up about 80% less space and will not leave oil puddles or cause us to need to contact Jim Sokolove.

The heat has been working fairly well…we still need to find our programmable thermostat so we can be more accurate in our heating levels. Only a few more major projects to do on the house for now…painting two rooms and possibly the hallway, putting up new molding in the kitchen, and then figuring out what to do in the deck area.

One year ago…

One year ago today, I got some of the worst news in my life.  My father had thought he was suffering from shingles and was instead diagnosed with leukemia and our lives have never been the same since.

I have seen and heard lots of things I wish I could take away from my head…Dad without hair, Dad shaking from the medicine, my mother sobbing on the phone to me, hearing that my father’s heart had stopped, that my 7 year old nephew asked “Why did you have to get cancer?”

I have to start looking at the positive side, though. My dad is still alive and cancer free…we are well on our way to Dad’s first birthday year, we have raised over $3000 for leukemia research, and I have discovered that I am much tougher than I thought I was.

Today is when I start changing my attitude…I need to stop being so depressed and actually get things done. Life could be much worse…last year this time was horrible, but today is better than yesterday so far and that is a start.

Please consider donating to my Light the Night team mate and help to further cancer research!

Saugus Iron Works

Another National Park here in Massachusetts is Saugus Iron Works. Located in Saugus, MA it encompasses one of the first Iron works in the colonies and created some of the best iron outside of Spain.


There is a collection of buildings that can be visited including a nail forge as demonstrated by Ranger Brandon here:

One of my favorite pieces of this park was the small map of the original site. Reminded me of a similar map I saw in Munich…


There is also a project to get the river cleaned up by taking out the phragmites that are choking the river. By taking them out, the river will flow quicker and take out the sediment that has settled on the bottom. It will make the river healthier and bring back even more animals. When I was there, they had orioles, frogs, eels, little fishes, and signs of groundhogs. So well on their way.


Saugus Iron Works is open until the end of the month and is free.

A Scottish Tramp

John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt

Perhaps the most significant event in the history of the National Park Service was the early friendship and influence of John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt.  It is because of him that we have Yellowstone National Park, as well as Rocky Mountain and other areas preserved by people influenced by him.

I think, though, that the best thing about John Muir was his writing. It is very accessible and entertaining; he was not writing to impress people with his knowledge…he was writing to impress people about the importance of nature.  Some of my favorite quotes follow:

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — from Our National Parks (1901)

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” — from Our National Parks (1901)

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” — from The Journals of John Muir

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

New Bedford National Park

I’m sure by now that everyone has heard something about the Ken Burns/Dayton Duncan documentary: “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”. It is really big here in the Northeast because KB lives in New Hampshire and has been doing a lot of promoting in the area. But also because there are a lot more parks in the Massachusetts area than people know of. They can all be seen here.

Today, I got down to a park that I have never been to before: New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park located in New Bedford, MA. While Boston’s tagline is “Cradle of Liberty”, New Bedford’s is “The City that Lit the World” and can be seen through the various historic structures from their fishing and whaling industry that still exist today.

Visitors can walk through the Visitor Center, the Seaman’s Bethel, and around a few historic buildings (the Customs House looked lovely) as well as go into the New Bedford Whaling Museum for a fee ($10 for adults). The museum was really the draw of going there because they have all these skeletons and tools and history of the whaling industry in New England, as well as some items from Alaska.

It is totally worth a visit to NEBE…especially since it is one of the National Parks in Massachusetts that is opened year round.
Trip to New Bedford