Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lantern Festival

Now that Jaimee and I are both working full-time, it's amazing how quickly the week flies by. I suppose it's a good sign that the week goes by quickly - it must mean work isn't too terrible - but it does mean that we don't have a whole lot of time mid-week to do "fun" things. But, this weekend we took advantage of being in Boston and went to the Jamaica Pond Lantern Festival. Every year the weekend before Halloween, thousands gather around  the Pond right after sunset and walk the one-mile path with homemade lanterns. It was mostly full of families, but Jaimee donned her grand-mother's square-dancing cape and we enjoyed the full moon and relatively mild night:

Otherwise, not a whole lot else to report. Our apartment is taking shape and is really starting to feel like home. In fact, I will go so far as to say I really like it there! It's super bright, and we've adjusted to climbing three flights of stairs everyday. Although to remind us of Seattle, we framed a poster of a map of Seattle and put it next to the Boston version:

We're also planning a weekend trip to Vermont next weekend with my sister, her wife and my lovely little nephew. We'll be sure to bring our camera and get some pictures of our weekend away.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

90 years

So, our weekend plans of visiting with my aunt and uncle from Vermont didn't pan out. Because we're sad to report, Jaimee's 90-year-old grandfather George E. Leroux, (whom she called Pepe), passed away last Wednesday. You can read his obituary in the Worcester newspaper. (Which incidentally marks the second time in the last two months that Jaimee and I have appeared in the Worcester Telegram. I never blogged about it, but Jaimee and I were interviewed at the Shrewsbury Public Library one Tuesday when we attended the bi-monthly Scrabble club. You can read about it, and see a terrible picture of me along with some ridiculous quotes.)

Jaimee's pepe struggled the last few months with a bout of shingles which had him bouncing between his apartment, the hospital, including a couple of stays in intensive care, and a few different rehabilitation centers. We were happy to be local and see him on several occasions during this time. I've only know pepe for about five or six years, but I've always know him to be smart, funny and a joy to be around. He took a great interest in our trip around the world and followed along by reading our blog. He was quite computer savvy for a 90 year old; he even had a facebook account and knew how to skype. A few times on our trip when there were family gatherings at his apartment, we'd skype with him and Jaimee's meme.

All of Saturday was taken up with funeral and visiting hours. There was a lovely service at the funeral home in Shrewsbury, then a touching mausoleum-side service in Worcester, including a flag-folding ceremony and the playing of taps to commemorate his service in the Army Air Corps (now Air Force) during World War II. He served in North Africa, where he told me when I asked him about it one time, "I played a lot of cards." He was extremely well-loved by his family and friends, and he will be missed dearly.

Interestingly, many of Jaimee's relatives are entombed at the mausoleum where Pepe rests now, including her grandmother and grandfather on her mother's side. After the service we took a short stroll to look at the gravesides of some of Jaimee's other relatives. It's a beautiful spot on top of a hill, and walking amongst the different sites, we remarked at how many people were well into their 80s and 90s when they died. It's a hearty bunch, those in and around Worcester!
Ninety years is a long time, and for 62 of those years he was married to Jaimee's grandmother. That is an incredible accomplishment and I am proud to have know him. Jaimee and I will miss him very much.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A weekend at home

We spent this past weekend without ever leaving the city of Boston (well, we drove through Brookline at one point, which technically isn't Boston, but I won't nitpick here). This marks the first weekend in a long, long time where we haven't traveled anywhere. Even last weekend, when we had out of town visitors, we traveled out to Northboro in central Mass to go apple picking. This weekend, however, was an all Boston weekend, and more or less all in our neighborhood too. We even saw two Boston themed movies on Saturday. First we saw, The Town, which one reviewer called "aggressively regional" with all its myriad outdoor shots of Boston (she was one of the few reviewers who didn't like the movie). Second, we saw The Social Network, where part of the story takes place at Harvard so there were numerous scenes in and around Cambridge. (Both movies are highly recommended by the way, and they make a nice double-feature, albeit with each one clocking in at over two hours, that's a lot of movie watching in one go.)

Instead of us traveling this weekend, people came to visit us in our new, bright apartment. First, we hung out with my sister and nephew on Saturday, going to the Farmer's Market in Roslindale. Then on Sunday, Jaimee's dad and step-mom came over for lunch and a walk. We strolled through Arnold Arboretum, and admired the view of the Boston skyline from Peters Hill, which at 240 feet is the highpoint of the park. (But not the highest in Boston; that belongs to Bellevue Hill, which is actually quite close to us so expect to see a report of our adventures there soon).
Later on Sunday my sister and her wife brought little Jonah over again for another visit, and we all hung out in our apartment. We took a family picture where we all had to huddle around Suzanne who was holding Jonah because once he falls asleep you don't want to stir him. Apparently he sometimes doesn't like to take a nap, worrying he'll miss out on something. It's good to see he's got the adventure spirit in him already!
Overall, it was a wonderful weekend, and next weekend we expect even more local fun as my Aunt and Uncle are coming to visit. Don't know if the weather will be as nice as it was last weekend, but stay tuned for details.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our first guests, and a perfect Fall weekend

We'd been in our new apartment for less than a week before we entertained our first visitors. Our friends Kate and Kyle from Seattle came to visit us last weekend. They are the same Kate and Kyle whose wedding we went to over Labor Day in Seattle. It was great to see them, and the weather in Boston turned out to be just perfect, especially Saturday. It was one of those perfect Fall days; crisp and sunny, warm in the sun, yet cool in the shade. If only we had more days like that, Boston weather would be great. As it was, the previous week was rainy, muggy and steamy warm (temperatures reaching into the 80s) with Friday being a real "soaker" as they say around here.

However, Saturday was perfect. We visited the very cute Roslindale Farmer's Market (is anyone not on Facebook?) in the morning and then embarked on a major walking tour of Boston. We didn't calculate it, but we must have walked over 10 miles, covering just about all parts of the city. Boston is a very pretty city, with great architecture and between the Charles River and the Bay, you're never very far from the water or boats.
Sunday, the weather wasn't quite as nice, but we ventured out of town to go apple picking at Tougas Farm in Northboro, Mass. It was pretty much peak apple season, with over 20 varieties to choose from. We especially enjoyed the "under appreciated" Empire variety, a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious. I don't usually like Red Delicious, but Empires were quite tasty. In addition to over 20 pounds of apples, we also got apple cider donuts, and together with the apple cider we'd picked up at the farmer's market at Saturday, we had our fill of apples!
As an aside, we paid $25 for 20 pounds of apples (1/2 a bushel), which seemed like a good deal until we stopped at the grocery store on the way back to get ingredients to make an apple crisp, and discovered that Empire apples were on sale for $0.99 a pound! So, in other words, we paid extra money for the privilege of picking our own apples. Although, the apples we got looked better and we got a bunch of different varieties. And we had fun, so there is that.

Our apartment, thanks to lots of diligent work by Jaimee in searching out cheap furniture, is coming together quite nicely. We've uploaded more pictures to Our Apartment album. Despite not being there for long, it's starting to feel like home. I'm also getting into a groove at work (starting week three!), although I can't say I've contributed too much to the team just yet. But, so far I like the work and my co-workers, and I've already been paid, which of course is the real reason I got the job in the first place.
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