Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coming Attractions

It's been a couple of amazing weeks! The things we've seen and the people we've met. Boston, Plymouth, Portsmouth. I need to get home and some time. I will be doing a lot of posting real soon, folks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Evening in Mystic

We headed north out of town. We were careful to avoid NYC and all that traffic. What we did was head up the west side of the Hudson River to the famous Tappan Zee bridge.

Crossing the longest bridge in New York, it leads to Tarrytown, NY. Tarrytown was a nice community that includes Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow was fun, but there isn't much there. The town was dressed for Halloween including a spooky Jack 'o' lantern creature lurking on the town clock. The scenery was stunning as we crossed along the southern border of Connecticut. The entire trip was marked by the brilliant colors of fall. Finally, almost to Rhode Island, we arrived at Mystic.

First, we saw a scenic overlook. We stopped for a look and some pictures. Then we proceeded down the road and hill to our destination. Mystic Seaport is a maritime museum. They exhibit many different sailing ships and restore vessels. We walked around and took many pictures. It was very interesting to board the ships and walk through the exhibits of shops from the 19th century. It was really a lot of fun and very educational.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Busy Day

Trying to get caught up posting pictures on facebook. Have a set of pictures from around Jersey that were taken just before we went back to NYC. Then pictures from that trip, and finally pictures from yesterday when we went to Sleepy Hollow, NY and Mystic, CT for the day. Two down and one to go.

Monday, October 14, 2013

NYC - The Return part 2

Our Bus tour basically lasted all day. It was in three parts. The Downtown tour started with us full of excitement. The Grey Line is the most well-known tour, and had headphones to listen to the speaker who was there with us. The guy was a bit too negative about everything, but not unpleasant. Funny, was that the traffic lights passed right over our heads. In fact, we were not supposed to stand because we would have been hit in the face as our bus went under them. Great view of great sights. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and many other historic structures. Most of the morning we meandered through the more modern part of Manhattan. By close to afternoon, we had made it to Washington Square Park, hosting the Washington Square Arch. We got off our bus there, knowing we could catch the next one and continue our tour. We took a lot of pictures there as we crossed the square and went under the Arch to the street on the other side, (scene of where Billy Crystal got dropped off by Melanie Griffith in "When Harry Met Sally") I was reminded of a line in Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust" talking about a room in a crummy hotel overlooking Washington Square. We passed a colorful mushroom on the street advertising a new television show. Then walked back through the park and met a man covered in pigeons who got Laurie to take some feed and host a couple of flappers on her. We went out another side of the park past an area where people were playing or waiting for opponents to play chess. I've seen this place in many movies, including "Independence Day". We found ourselves in Greenwich Village, where there is so much musical history as the starting point for Dylan, Lenny Bruce, and many others. Walked around checked out a few shops and Had a beer at "The Slaughtered Lamb". Made it back to the bus and continued on towards the southern tip of the city. This bus had a different host, who sounded like he was from Kenya, or maybe the Caribbean. He sounded so happy to be in America and thrilled at the stories of this country and the city. He was a joy. China Town, Little Italy, The UN building, down to the Battery. We could have gotten off there and one to where we could look out to the Statue of Liberty. We could also have caught a ferry that would have circled Ellis Island. Could not visit the Statue due to it's being closed by the shutdown. We passed up the East side by the East River to see Brooklyn across the way. At the finish of the tour, we were once again in Times Square. We walked a bit and had a slice of New York pizza. Then we found and boarded the night tour bus. This but took us down the south side again, but then across the Manhattan bridge to Brooklyn. We drove around Brooklyn and it was nice at night. We returned across the Williamsburg bridge. We trekked a few blocks back to the Port Authority station and caught our bus back to Jersey, to our car, and ultimately, our own bed in Union.

This is a test...

I'm wondering how well I can blog from my S4. I guess I'll find out. I need to get back on here and finish my NYC post. It was a great day. This week we'll be heading up to the Boston area. A couple of days and we're taking Rocky the travel cat.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Return - Preface

We started on our return trip to NYC. We had found that we could catch a New Jersey bus that would take us to the city basically non-stop. Better, even was that we could catch that bus on the street outside the hospital in Newark where Laurie works. With her hospital ID, we could park for free in the hospital parking structure. We drove down, parked the car, and headed down to the street for the bus. It was a pleasant enough ride, through the streets and down the Lincoln tunnel. Our bus stopped at the Port Authority bus terminal and we disembarked. We walked a couple of blocks to where all the tour bus company hucksters congregate and were "attacked" by pushy salesmen trying to sell their tour. We had already spoken to a couple of less pushy types and knew which line we were interested in. These guys from another one accosted us and tried to sell their cheaper ride. They were so insistant, they pulled a guy from another tour (actually the one we wanted) over to confirm theirs was less expensive ($10.00). The gentleman didn't take the bait, but allowed us to walk away from the others to speak privately. I thought it was all funny. Soon, we were ontop of our double-decker open air bus, headphones plugged in, and beginning our tour. MORE TO COME

Monday, October 7, 2013

Orange is the New Anarchy. Unjustified.

Black is the New Orange. I know I'm not as funny as I think. I kept hearing about this new show, "Orange is the New Black". So we started to watch it. It's okay as far as basically uneventful soaps go. There is more drama than actual violence or real excitement. Some of the characters grow on you, but I didn't really care about them too much. Face it, these are people who, due to good reasons in their own minds, made really bad decisions and ended up paying for them. You hope they grow to understand what they've done, and the ones who didn't kill anybody get out and become productive, but these are train wrecks walking around as people, and if they go on to become successful people, the show will become boring. Let's face it, if scarface had become successful as a human being he would have lived, but the movie would not have been as interesting. I do like watching Kate Mulgrew, though and considered continuing watching for that reason, but it's not enough. Sons of Anarchy. Before Orange, was Sons of Anarchy. I really enjoyed this show when it started. I started watching it on Amazon, so once I hit the end of the second season, I had to wait until I could get another season for free. I became attached to many of the characters, but here's the thing. The bikers are probably the worst criminals I've ever heard of. Everything they do fails on some monumental scale as they leave a trail of dead bodies and broken lives in their wake. A biker contracts to have another member killed because he thinks he's been betrayed. The psycho who pulls the job, screws up and kills the biker's innocent wife. As it all shakes out, the head biker learns and accepts that the one was not betraying him. the one who had his wife killed forgives, it was just one of those silly misunderstandings, forgives the head biker, the assassin, etc and moves on and begins a relationship with one of the biker whores who hang out. These guys can't even pull off a drug deal with a shady hospital administrator at a clinic out in the middle of nowhere without being seen by probably the one character who could do them the most harm. It wasn't the violence or wholesale bad behavior that got me to stop watching, but just the silliness of these grown bad asses not being any good at the one thing they should be good at. Justified. This is a more tolerable show. Only because the lead character is a law enforcement office. He makes some bad decisions, but always has morality and justice behind his actions. He is from and is surrounded by appalachian Kentuckyans. These people are portrayed as backwoods but not as unintellectuals. uneducated sure, but not all of them are stupid. I am enjoying this show and nearly through three seasons. Go Raylan!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Everybody Watchung, tonight!

Took a trip today. No real destination. Drove through part of Union looking for some store, and came across an older Catholic Church, St. Michael's. Church and school. So many nice brick buildings around here. Funny, we were talking about going towards Connecticut (Northeast), but ended up going Southwest down Hwy 22. Passed into the town of Watchung. We stopped at a shopping center to go into Michael's craft store, and it is surrounded by short forested hills. The trees all around us were in the beginning stages of changing colors. They were beautiful and I spent time taking pictures of them. As we cruised on down 22, we got a glimpse of an old building on a hill in the middle of a forest. Literally just like a clock tower barely rose above the trees. We almost missed it. We turned around and went back and took a road up to see. We found Mount St. Mary's, a private four-year high school for girls. Fantastic grounds and stately early 20th century buildings. I walked around and took photos. At one point we saw deer on a lawn. White tailed New England deer. My eye was struck by a short outside hallway with thin window openings. Thought I'd get some good pictures in there. I started taking pictures, (it was getting later, so it was darkish inside the hallway, and turned and there on a structure, was a great old bell. The school had had a fire in 1911 and the main building burned down. When they rebuilt it the next year, it included a tower with the 1000 pound bell in it. I had to rap it with my knuckles to hear the tone. What great workmanship! The school has a football and track field, and a garden. Just a chance glimpse and we were able to see something beautiful and historically significant that we would normally have never seen. Pictures will be posted on Facebook. Perusing the history of the school, you find a businessman donated the land to the Sisters of Mercy asking them to build a school to educate women. A great example of American history with a private businessman helping to educate women in a period of time when it was practically unheard of.