Category Archives: transportation

The Boston Obstacle Course

It’s like our very own Winter Olympics! And the prize is More Snow.

Obstacle #1: Walk without tripping or slipping.

caution loose bricks in sidewalk

missing bricks from sidewalk

Obstacle #2: Figure out when other obstacle course participants (walking, biking, or driving) are on the other side of a snowbank from you. Dodge them to avoid a collision, without tripping and falling.

roadside snowbank

Obstacle #3: Avoid deadly icicles.

very big icicles

Obstacle #4: Guess the object under the snow. Be specific; what kind of car is it?

cars under snow

Obstacle #5: Get to work on time via public transit. (To my knowledge no one has yet achieved this final and most difficult obstacle, but the efforts put forth to accomplish it have been, may I say, Olympian.)



Filed under city, rants, signage, transportation, unusual, weather

Our trip to Portland

This morning, we got in the car and headed to Portland, Maine, for a day trip. There can only be so many beautiful summer days left in the year, and we wanted to take advantage of this one. We planned to have brunch, go to the art museum, maybe Longfellow’s house; a meadery and a chocolate bar were also on the agenda, and perhaps some time sitting by the ocean; maybe a visit to the Maine potters market, and a peek into the impressive public library. Our friends had agreed to take care of the dog’s evening walk and dinner so we didn’t have to cut the day short. It was going to be great!

Let’s let the pictures tell the story.

Ben staring at his car, minus one functioning ball joint.

11:10am: Ben staring at his car, minus one functioning ball joint.

The lovely Adopt A Visibility Site, Georgetown, MA

The lovely Adopt A Visibility Site, Georgetown, MA. Who knew there was a Georgetown, MA? Or a Rowley?

Ben making friends with a caterpillar on a pine needle.

Ben making friends with a caterpillar on a pine needle while waiting for a tow truck to come.

A whole lot of pretty sky, and no tow truck.

A whole lot of pretty sky, and no tow truck.

Finally! After a mere three hours of waiting. Thanks, Liberty Mutual! Hate to think how long it would have been if it'd been snowing.

Finally! After a mere three hours of waiting. Thanks, Liberty Mutual! Hate to think how long it would have been if it’d been snowing.

The Independent in Union Square, Somerville, MA.

4:02pm: The Independent in Union Square, Somerville, MA.

So no, we didn’t get to Portland today. But on the plus side, if the car had to break down at all, this was pretty good timing: we had nowhere to be, no one to meet, the weather was as conducive as it could possibly be for spending three hours on a highway overpass. We had a frisbee and at least one of us had a book; I learned a lot about ball joints. And we got to have lunch (dinner?) in Union Square, where we never go because it’s inconvenient to get to, but it’s where our trusted auto mechanic is located (Mike!), and we were very hungry by four o’clock. (Thank you to the fine, fine folks at The Independent, who brought us tasty food speedily. Much appreciated.)

Maybe another time, Portland.

My day was great, thanks for asking.

My day was great, thanks for asking.


Filed under adventure, animals, elsewhere, food, transportation

Charles Riverboat Tour

Last weekend we took advantage of the beautiful weather to use our Groupon for a riverboat tour of the Charles.


The MIT dome, site of many pranks (hacks).


The CITGO sign, we learned, is a historical landmark, and when the Red Sox hit a home run, it lights up: C IT GO (see it go). Fun fact!

A nod to the Vikings.

The tour took about an hour; not a bad way to spend a pretty day. (I’d advise calling, though; their website isn’t the most functional/up-to-date.)

What I’ve been reading: The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson; Pretties, Scott Westerfeld

What I’ve been listening to: Passion Leaves a Trace, Black Lab; Pay Attention, Mighty Mighty Bosstones


Filed under adventure, transportation

Happy New Year, y’all!

A day late, but happy 2011! I’ll be putting up another post shortly detailing the New Year’s Eve feast I made, with the help of three different cookbooks. But for now…

Thanks to the MBTA for keeping the T running past 12:30am – it ran free between 8pm and 2am Dec. 31-Jan. 1. You helped us get home from a lovely evening of board games and champagne. And you helped all the drunk girls in ridiculously high heels as well. (Memo to drunk girls in high heels: alcohol + high heels + cobblestones = bad idea.)

Happy 2011!

What I’m reading: Love Begins in Winter, Simon Van Booy
What I’m listening to: Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words

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Filed under events, holiday, transportation

This is when a smartphone would come in handy

Oh, Monday. You slinking dog. Always creeping up on Sunday’s heels and biting its ankles. And creating public transportation snarls when people are trying to get to the library to do some work.

The morning started out fine; I saw one of my best friends off (she was driving back to Canada), saw the boy off to his first day at the new job, took care of some housecleaning and did some schoolwork from home. Then I set off into the (admittedly bright, sunny, and cold-but-not-windy-and-thus-rather-enjoyable) day; I walked to the public library to return some books, then went down into the T station.

Alas. There were a lot of people on the platform and no train in sight. I waited longer than usual and finally there was an announcement…that was, of course, completely unintelligible. One person out of dozens on the platform managed to parse it out, so there was a crowd around him trying to figure out what to do with this newly acquired information. Apparently, train service was being replaced with shuttle (bus) service between Harvard and Broadway on the Red Line. But we were at Davis, so theoretically there would still be a train coming to take us as far as Harvard.

However. No train appeared. Some people were focused on devising Plan B, i.e., How To Get Where One Is Going Without the Single Train Line in the Area. Some were focused – in that ghoulishness-masked-as-concern way – on the fact that someone had been struck by a train, and that that was the cause of the delay. (Turns out this was true.) There did not seem to be any clear information about buses from the area where we were, and my hopes for a train to take us even as far as Harvard were dimming.

So I gave up; realized that even driving in Boston was less of a hassle than public transportation was going to be today, walked fifteen minutes back home, and drove to school. It took half the time it usually takes to commute on the train.

What I’ve been reading: Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin; Shadow Tag, Louise Erdrich

What I’ve been listening to: August 2010 EP, Jason Nichols; The Hour of the Bewilderbeast, Badly Drawn Boy; Deja Entendu, Brand New; The Art of Drowning, AFI

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Filed under city, transportation

Caught up to yesterday

I am not normally a sun-loving creature, but THANK GOODNESS the sun has finally come out. After days and days of gray and rain it’s really nice to see some daylight.

Yesterday morning a lot of little things were going wrong and piling up and I was feeling behind on schoolwork and I decided that going to the gym would get all the happy chemicals going again, so I packed everything up and headed to the train. When I got to the platform I was about to put my wet umbrella on the bench next to me, but then I thought someone might sit there later and get all wet, so I put it on the ground between my feet instead. Then the train came, and naturally I walked off without my umbrella. I got a seat, but then, through my headphones, I heard a man shouting, and the woman sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder; the man was standing on the platform right in front of the doors, holding my umbrella. I looked up from my book and stood up and nodded and he literally threw it through the doors, and I caught it and sat back down. I thanked the woman who had alerted me, and generally felt much, much better about humanity and things in general. It was like a reset button on my day, a “people are good” moment that wiped out all the little annoyances that had piled up earlier.

So thanks, people of Cambridge, and thanks to the student group who stocks the student lounge with free hot chocolate. Y’all are awesome.

(Also, after spending the better part of today reading, researching, and writing, I’m just about caught up to where I should have been yesterday. Going to use the next few days to get ahead…and maybe enjoy some of this sunshine.)

What I’m reading: Eva Moves the Furniture, Margot Livesey
What I’m listening to: Be OK, Ingrid Michaelson; El Momento Descuidado, The Church; #1 Record/Radio City, Big Star

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Filed under city, school, transportation, weather