Saturday, March 31, 2012

Just cute

i have posted more often pics of this sculpture in the public garden (like here, here and here). i guess every time i go by there i take a picture. i think every single kid loves it and it is so cute to see!
sometimes people (who? just anyone? i dont know!) dress the ducks up a bit. sometimes for some sports game, for christmas, etc. or just to dress them up. but i dont think they need any of that. they are wonderful just as they are!
we went for some shopping today. a store was moving to another location and had huge discounts. i was very content with everything i bought, it was amazingly cheap (one of the blouses i got was just 75 cents! and a pair of hiking boots for 8 dollars (they were 150 or so? tim wanted them, but they didnt fit him, so he was very happy, but jealous at the same time, when they did fit me). but... somehow i walked out of that shop with a huge bag of stuff for a total of 60 dollars! yep, huge discounts, but had everything been priced normally i wouldnt have spent anything.... smart, those sales people....

Street wisdom

somewhere in boston.... 
awesome is a very american word, i think. its much used by the americans around me, but i never use it as i feel i cannot say it casually enough. my accent is wrong, too. here you can listen to the pronunciation, but it sounds a little off to me. the guy saying it defenitely forgot to be awesome..
(the shadow is of course the one and only awesome tim...!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Virtual pinboard

the above picture was taken somewhere in new york, i think in the visitor center on times square. i mostly liked the colors and different shapes.
it also is a reason to write about my newest addiction; a virtual pinboard. ever since i use the internet, i never bothered to bookmark sites. so whenever i find an interesting site that i dont want to forget,i just leave the tab open. and then another tab, and another. and suddenly i have 3 or 4 windows each with too many tabs to count.... until my computer crashes and i loose them all. this week i joined "pinterest", a virtual pinboard where i hope to store all sites i find interesting (currently mostly recipe-blogs). it all looks so pretty with the pictures (as you can see here)! you can sign up "by invitation", or without, as i did, but then you have to wait a day or so before you can start pinning, because you are on some "waiting list" (which i found very annoying).
of course, there is a wikipedia about pinterest. the site launched in 2010, and is growing pretty fast recently. apparently, in the us, 83% of the users are female, and around 35-44 years old. probably posting recipes, just like me.... ;) they have some trouble with copyright, i believe, and some sites wont allow "pinning", like for example flickr. ah well. i hope it will be useful to me, and not a mere distraction from more important things.... (and i hope to stop those endless numbers of open tabs).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Every time...

... i see this pic i have to laugh. i had to laugh when i saw it for real too. this statue is next to a church in the south end, in boston. in combination with the bush, his head with the weird expression just sticking out from behind it... weird! (i also took a pic with tim next to it. somehow this statue looks really tiny, but when i placed tim next to it, it turned out to be slightly taller. hahahha)
no clue which holy person this is.... :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Servant Frank

there are 2 very touristy graveyards in boston, very close to each other. although we live here now almost 2 years, we had not been to either one, yet we have passed them many, many times. the sheer number of tourists made us just walk past them, every time. even though i have always liked to visit cemeteries. i guess i just like to be the only tourist, instead of being surrounded by many others...
but this st patrick's day we finally went to both! the above marker is at the granary burying ground, close to the boston common. it is the final resting place of many important americans (thats why it is a tourist hotspot); paul revere, benjamin franklin's family (he himself is in philadelphia), samuel adams, and john hancock. to be honest. i know all these names, but i couldnt tell you exactly what they all did/why they are important. is that bad? perhaps so... do i want to know? yes! but not tonight... :)
anyways.. to me the most striking grave was the one above. frank. servant to john hancock. only that. googling just that gives you many hits, and similar photos as mine, as well as many questions about frank. who was he? was he married? was he happy? what did he do? but no answers... :( one thing i did not realize when i saw this grave; the fact that he is there at all is a sign that john hancock probably held him in high esteem (this was 1771!!). franks grave is right underneath the big obelisk for john hancock (as you can see here), which was erected 100 years after his death. moreover, john hancocks tomb does not say anything about him either. no "first signer of the declaration of independence", just this: "No. 16 tomb of hancock" (unfortunately i have no picture of that).
some other time more about the graveyard itself, perhaps. now its time for bed and tomorrow some history lessons through wikipedia for me.. ;)
more taphophile stories? go here!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Boston skyscrapers

march is not yet going into april and i already took almost 1000 pictures... i was just going through them, and hoped to find one to post. some were dismissed because they were ok, but not ok enough. some because i am too lazy to write something about the pic, but i dont want to post it without writing that something. some because it takes too much time to find info about it at this very moment. some because i cannot choose between several shots. some because my computer is too slow and does not listen to me.
i settled for this one. i liked the bare trees in front of the hancock tower (left) and prudential (right). to the left is the entrance to the park street subway station, and to the right is the boston common. the green fence is there because they are doing some major (re)construction to the park. since months already.... theres always a hotdog stand, and often other (fried) food as well, a stand that has boston t shirts, and there are quite some homeless people sitting around here, usually. i never bought a hotdog at a stand, and i think i never will. somehow i dont trust food from such stands, not even in new york! (or especially not in new york... ?)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One photo

actually... i took quite some more than one photo. either it turned out crooked, or a car came by, or tim was not posing the way i wanted.. 
now i see hes standing next to a patched up window or something...? hadnt seen that while taking the pics! ah, and another blossom tree. we drove around a little for those. but it was really cold (from 30 degrees C on thursday to 8 C or so today... ), and some rain too!

Blossom trees!

all around, and in, boston blossom trees are in full bloom, or about to.... its very pretty! this is at the cemetery behind our house..
perhaps tomorrow we should walk around boston, before they loose all their pretty flowers again. surely they are blooming earlier than last year, but if i remember correctly, april 1st it was still snowing...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cemetery ghosts

as mentioned in my previous post, the forest hills cemetery has quite a lot of art! not only resting benches, but also these ghosts above. isnt it amazing?! i really thought it was beautiful, and it fitted so well there. not scary at all.... just amazing... :)
i took i dont know how many pictures, and just kept telling tim how great this was (he took quite some pics too!). they are right above a 19th century family plot (but i did not really look at that, as you can imagine). it is called "nightshirts" installed in 2002, by artist leslie wilcox, who lives and works in boston. this is what she herself said about this piece: "to me, this cemetery is a place full of people. i want to celebrate generations of extended families and friends that have shared these hallowed grounds for over 150 years. i choose these particular trees for their slender, life-size girth and random placement near an extended family plot, where several paths cross. it seems as if this group of figures almost flies above the fray, looking down at us as we look up at them."
i think the idea in itself is so simple, but it is sooo original. i really, really like it.... now i wonder how it would look like on a brighter day.. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Third day....

.... of spring!! and it was almost 30 degrees C!! (above 80 F). so yes.. we worked hard in the morning and hardly in the afternoon (tims legs and my foot are the proof!). it was too good to be true. and actually the very first time we went to a beach around boston (good harbor beach, close to gloucester), spread a blanket and took in some sun. i guess we never did that because in summer its too hot and crowded, and we have a pool at our apartment complex! 
today, some people (very few) even went into the water, but we didnt try. it was really crowded, the parking lot was almost full... (and still without charge as its not yet paid-parking-at-the-beach-season). tomorrow it will be less warm and then we are headed towards colder weather again. hmmpf. im hoping for rain on saturday so we are forced to stay inside and finally file our taxes (beeeeghh).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First blossoms

i saw the first tree coming to blossom this saturday in the public garden! that day wasnt so sunny yet, but sunday was. and so was monday, and tuesday, and today.... it is well above 22 degrees celsius! today it even was 25 C and we had dinner outside. it feels like summer, can you believe it, in march? it is so warm that i wake up during the nights... the blankets are still for winter temperatures. tomorrow its supposed to be even 28 degrees! 
this night it seems there is something else to distract me besides the warm weather; a car alarm is going off since at least one hour... buuuuhhh. i hope that stops, but the weather can stay as it is! (i read somewhere that in the state of california cars will be towed if the alarm goes off for more than a minute, to spare people the noise. here there isnt such a law.. but it is illegal, and you can be ticketed after the alarm goes off for more than 5 minutes. the fine is then 50 dollars.. perhaps i can file a complaint to the city?)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Resting bench

2 weeks back we went to the forst hills cemetery in boston. it is not too far from the very last subway stop on the orange line (forest hills), 18 stops from the very first subway stop (oak grove), where we live. luckily, we went by car. this cemetery is huge! there were big fields with graves, surrounded by paths of which most were accessible by car (this time we drove around a bit by car, it simply was too big). there were small and big graves, ugly and beautiful. a beautiful landscape, hilly terrain, many trees, a lake and a pond with waterfall, and several sculptures.
this cemetery was established in 1848. apparently inspired by the mount auburn cemetery, of which i showed you pictures earlier. this cemetery seemed so very different to me. even more spacious, and many beautiful graves. many angel sculptures, too. something i havent seen much around here in boston! not just the boring grey stones of which i have seen so many by now. each grave was different. only the weather was very grey and that made it hard for me to take good pictures. this was also the first cemetery that invited you to have a picnick (they even suggested the lake as one of the best spots), or to walk your dog, or just bike around. provided you are respectful, of course. i really liked that, as most cemeteries list those things as "forbidden".
i was very much impressed with the grave above. there were actually 3 of these tiny beds. there were 2 right next to each other, and one a little further away. however, there were no names, info or anything. i assumed they were as old as the surrounding graves, given their weathered look, and i was very touched by them. the little pillow on the ground, the young boy or girl their parents lost...  wrong! ....its contemporary art.. :( i just found out these 3 beds were placed in 2001, by artists lisa osborn and danielle krcmar. they are supposed to be functional benches. i dont know what they mean by functional. am i supposed to sit on them? they chose the bed for its central role in the life cycle, as it is the place of conception, birth, marriage, rest and death. hmpff... (thats all i have to say about it now, i still dont know what to think).
there was more art in this cemetery, something i had never seen before. and some i really liked! maybe i will show it to you tomorrow, or next week... :) surely it was a special cemetery and we saw only a small part of it, so we will go back, when the sun is shining. here a few more pics, and here are the other taphophiles!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Green mass

as you can see, there were quite some people watching the st patricks day parade yesterday (it was 3 miles long. some places were more crowded than others. the crowded ones were quite annoying to get through, but at some point we really just wanted to leave..)
this was the damage; 8 arrests and 244 citations for drinking in public... why dont they just allow public drinking?! i dont really get that. many were drinking anyways... if they catch you carrying an open can/bottle of alcohol, thats sufficient proof that you were drinking in public and you can get a ticket (so the police does not have to see you doing it... (the actual drinking)). only sometimes drinking in public is allowed, or only when its in a bag (like the brown paper bag you always see in the movies, haha). there are actually a few places in the us where drinking in public is allowed (here you can see where).
the police blogged about their arrests, if curious, you can look at that here. they describe the situation, as well as the full name, age and hometown of the arrested person. i especially like the title of their blog post: "if you got arrested at this year's st patricks day parade, you probably did something to warrant it." 
probably you did....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saint Patrick

i guess saint patrick lost some weight and grew his hair, as compared to last year...
reading wikipedia, im not sure that the early years of his life were that great. when he was 16, he was captured from wales and brought as a slave to ireland, where he lived for 6 years, and then managed to escape to go back to his family.
today the weather was amazing! it was so warm i did not need a jacket and i regretted wearing stockings. i even got a little sunburn! we walked along the shore in dorchester, and then went to the parade for a bit. tim initially did not want to go, as we saw it last year already. and well, yes, it was basically the same. lots of parents with kids, and then many many young people walking around with lots of beers. pretending not to drink them, of course, since thats not allowed in the streets. it all reminded me a bit of queensday in the netherlands, but instead of green, everyone wears orange on that day (after the last name of our queen "van oranje", i.e. "from orange"). also, drinking is allowed and nobody cares about their trash; when the day ends you walk on streets newly paved by plastic cups (i dont really like that day.... and usually just went to do some work in the lab although its a national holiday).
ah well, we had our dose of real irish culture and boston tradition and so on..... and a lot of sun as a very pleasant bonus!

Irish culture

today its st patricks day. according to wikipedia, it is a cultural and religious holiday, celebrated on march 17, commemorating saint patrick (AD 387-461; he died on march 17). in the early 17th century, it became an official feast day, and gradually became a celebration of irish culture in general. on this day, you goto church, you wear something green, and the lenten restrictions on eating and alcohol are lifted.
now... if you just look around in boston during st patricks day..... you see more of the above. im so frustrated this pic not sharp, but well... you get the idea. im not sure those 2 went to church, or were celebrating irish culture that much.... it seems to me its just a day spent in the pub (or waiting in a long line to get into one), and getting drunk in a weird (or weirder) green outfit...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Free speech

i still dont get what the above message has to do with the particular company, i.e. storage, but.... the message is very true. and i guess, taken broadly, it represents one of the things dutch people value very much; do whatever you want to do, as long as it doesnt bother me. which leads me to another dutch trait i like; they are far more direct than for example americans. no "excuse me" in the netherlands; if you block someone's way, they will just say "i need to pass" ("ik wil erlangs"), or even "get out of my way" ("opzij"), and thats not necessarily meant rude, while the american "excuse me" is intended to be polite, but almost always sounds very rude to me (but that could very well just be me! i so far have never managed to say "excuse me" even in situations where it would be the only way to get someone out of my way. i just cant get these words out of my mouth).
anyways, i actually wanted to write about something else! we just found out that rick santorum, still in the race to become the republican presidential candidate, has made up some disturbing "facts" about the netherlands. according to him, 10% of all deaths in the netherlands are due to euthanasia, and 5% of these are involuntarily. because of that, he has said, dutch elderly generally wear a bracelet to let health care workers know that they do not wish to be euthanized, and many of them seek health care outside the netherlands as they are afraid to never leave the hospital again, but in a coffin. here you can watch what a more sane american has to say about this (she also invited a dutch reporter). and here you can see what rick santorum's press secretary has to say to the (same) dutch reporter when asked about his ridiculous and untrue claims (it also shows what santorum said in 2009 about this).
sometimes this country and some of their people really freak me out. once again, this man, or should i say lunatic, is in the race to become a presidential candidate, and thus intends to rule this country! how is it possible that a man with very twisted ideas and values has come this far? or can repeatedly say flat out lies about a country i doubt he ever visited? what else does he make up? america, the land of the free and home to the brave... are you kidding me..?
perhaps santorum should get the above sign in his office, so that every now and then he can ponder about it. maybe one day it would make him realize that just because he doesnt like something, he should forbid others to do so.... ?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boston houseboat

somehow i thought houseboats are only something that you will see in the netherlands... then i saw one in/on the charles river in boston! i was really surprised.... then i found out through wikipedia that houseboats are seen in many countries (they describe them country by country here). yet i doubt they are as omnipresent as they are in for example the canals in amsterdam. and the above one is really tiny. you can also move it, which is usually no really the case with houseboats in the netherlands. yes, they are floating, but thats about it... i also doubt that houseboats here are used the way they are in utrecht, close to where i used to live; there was an entire strip of houseboats, all with a red light behind the window.... for each houseboat more or less 4; a total of 143 windows or "workspaces" as they call them! i guess you know what i am talking about.... they also have a website, but its in dutch (here). and guess what, those are not in some backward part of town. right next to the "workboats" are normal boats for families. when i finally (but when?!) visit home again, i should take some pictures there... :)
for more interesting wikifacts about red windows and so on in the netherlands, go here!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Female driver

sorry! one day too late. but finally, one more grave from the sleepy hollow cemetery. right next to a bush, are walter and anne bush buried (did they plant the bush on purpose? i thought it very funny, i hope it was on purpose.. :) ). anne was the first woman in the united states to receive a driver's license! i had no clue someone had this honorable title, and i also did not know she was buried in concord, but it was on the cemetery-overview of notable people buried there. of course we had to check out her grave when we saw "mrs walter bush, first woman with a drivers license". when walking to her grave we were joking a little; ah, probably she got her license because they thought she was a man,which woman is called walter bush?! but then we realized that this is how married women are called "mrs. theirbusband'sfirstandlastname". beeghh! she was the first woman with a drivers license, can she please be addressed by her own name?! we also wondered what her grave would look like. would the stone be in the form of a car? would it somewhere say she was the first (auto)mobile lady? i didnt expect that, but indeed it did, perhaps its not very legible on this pic, but here you can clearly see it! (im just wondering who put it there? her family? upon her request.. or?). 
anyways. anne french grew up in washington. her father, a physician, had a steam drive car that he maintained himself. he promised his daughter she got to drive it if she knew how to maintain it as well. and so she did. in 1900 she obtained her license, allowing her to operate a "four-wheeled vehicle powered by steam or gas." then she married walter bush and he took over the wheel. nope, no more driving for her. she later mentioned in an interview that he found that "driving is man’s business. women shouldn’t get soiled by machinery.” and even though she now and then reminded him she was the first woman with a license.. she remained in the passenger's seat. i myself still cannot drive. and tim is very annoyed about that. by now i cannot count the lectures anymore when he tells me how beneficial it would be, for the both of us, but especially for me, if i knew how to drive (i do prefer that over walter bush's view...)
one more cute thing i found: in 1952, the american automobile association (AAA) celebrated their 50th birthday. they tracked down anne and invited her to the celebrations. she had tea with the then-president's wife and did something she apparently always had wanted to do; she got to drive a fire engine!! all that just surprises me that she just let her husband do all the driving once she was married. perhaps she was afraid of what her mother once said to her, before marriage; “no gentleman would be interested in any lady who didn’t stay where she belonged and act like one", in reaction to her daughter driving a car....
theres so much more i wanted to write, regarding cars and women and what-not. but i leave it at this. maybe some other time! here some more photos from the sleepy hollow cemetery.
and go here for all the other taphophiles!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring day!

above was in miami, last december during our holiday. it was so weird to be in a place where it was really warm at that time of the year. but i liked it a lot... (and would love another holiday!).
and now, today... it was 22 degrees celsius (71 F) in boston!! everyone was walking around without jackets and some even had found their flip flops... interesting how quickly people dress right for a drastic change in the weather (im not that fast). i hope it will stay like this, if i cant have my snow, this is a very nice alternative!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Summer time

this was last week, a view of the brick desert, about which i wrote before. to the left is the city hall (behind the 2 people in white). this is only part of the brick desert, its perhaps twice as big as you can see here... ? i like the 2 buildings further back, which are both round, like the road (what was there first? the road or the buildings? i guess the road). if you take that street, you will eventually reach the boston common and park street. when i took this photo, it was a little chilly, but today it was very sunny and rather warm again. i was very much in the mood for an ice cream, but the closest provider (mc donalds in this case; i like their sundaes with caramel!), did not have any! buuuhhh. then we went to the lab where they have an ice cream vending machine (never saw that before), but it only took dollar bills, which we did not have. i was very disappointed. perhaps the universe was trying to tell me that i should not eat unhealthy stuff... hmppf.
summertime started here. that was kind of a surprise, an hour less! actually, they dont call it summertime in america. in proper english they do, and in dutch ("zomertijd"), but in american english they call it "daylight saving time". whatever, i like summertime so much better! now if i only could have had that ice cream...

Boston laundromat

a laundromat somewhere in boston. i dared to take only one picture... isnt this what you always see in movies? people waiting in the laudromat, or folding their freshly washed clothes. here, many apartments dont have their own washer or dryer. some complexes do have them in the basement (then you usually have to bring your own detergent and a lot of quarters to make the machines do their job), but the most unfortunate ones have to bring all their clothes to a laundromat. such a weird thing for dutch people that all have their own washer! i was one of the few weirdos who didnt, and brought my clothes home every weekend for a very long time (also, i was afraid of washing machines, they spin so fast and i thought one day the spinning would get out of control. so even when i had a washer, i took a while before i dared using it). there are hardly laudromats in the netherlands, but here they are on every corner, more or less. in our first apartment we had a coin-op washer in the basement, but clothes came out dirtier than when they went in.... luckily, we now have our own washer/dryer... (which makes an apartment immediately considerably more expensive). unfortunately, it looks similar like this one. not much fits in, and somehow the lint that comes off the clothes is later nicely distributed on the black clothes again, making them look... dirty... :( the machine is also much harsher than the dutch ones, even though (or perhaps because) it takes only 30 minutes or so, against 2 hours in a dutch one! so... clothes get worn out much much faster and several shirts already have tiny holes... :( but at least i can do my laundry whenever i feel like...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Newly decorated

i took this pic in new york, when we were there in october. i guess once this building was newly decorated indeed, but now its merely a ghost sign... it was around the time we had to decide if we would renew our lease at our current apartment complex or not. it was expiring at the end of december, so we had to decide 2 months in advance whether to stay or not. as opposed to the netherlands, here you have to rent an apartment by the year or more (you can rent it with a "flexible lease" but then the rent is even higher than it already is...). so.. once you decide, youre stuck for at least another year. the other great thing is that other apartment complexes do not know 2 months in advance whether they will have something available for you or not. so its kind of a gamble; you terminate your lease, yet are not entirely sure whether the new place will have something available (ofcourse, you can always pay double rent for a few months! they do know whats available right NOW!). we did look for some new apartments, but they were all more expensive (and ours is already too expensive)/were less nice & expensive/ not close to a subway station. the worst experience we had at a similar complex as ours. we had an appointment at 10 in the morning. it was cold and windy, and there was nobody. we had to wait outside as we could not enter the complex. when the "leasing officer" showed up nearly 10 minutes late, she said "well yes, it was 10-ish". no apology, nothing. then we were in her office, she had only introduced herself to tim, and then.. while i was next to him ALL the time, she asked him, and only him: "so... what are you looking for? is it for one person?" i was so surprised i did not say anything..... it was one of those moments where you really should have said something, but just nothing came out. grrrrr...
ah well, in the end we decided to stay where we are. boston is only the third most expensive city to rent an apartment (after new york and san francisco), with rents of 1- and 2-bedroom apartments being 51% higher than the national average in 2011. (1-bedroom being $1665 dollars on average, in boston. i can only say we pay more... and we dont even live in boston, but another small town!! beeegh. it does hurt..). 3-bedroom apartments are even 70% higher than the national average!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Winter shoes

i was so happy when i found those! then i had to decide, get them in red, black or blue.... black was too boring. blue too blue. so it was red. and then there was hardly any snow... :( i was really looking forward to the mountains and mountains of snow we surely would get, just like last year. but this time i would be really prepared with a nice set of snow boots...
today it was 20 degrees celsius!! (above 65 F, i guess). and yesterday it was warm too. 
now i just hope we dont get a cold crappy summer..

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hershey kisses

ooh, hershey kisses, how beautiful are they! their form, the silver wrapping, and the cute piece of paper sticking out saying hersheys... in 2004, i was in the usa for the very first time. when going back, i brought 2 big bags of hershey kisses. they were so pretty, and i was sure my parents would love them. months later most of them were still lying around. from the outside still pretty... but now i knew how they were tasting; literally disgusting!! this wasnt chocolate!!
but when i saw them a few weeks back on a grave on the hull village cemetery, next to this adorable angel, i almost wanted to run to the store and buy me a bag... then i remembered their taste again...
so.... i googled "why is hershey chocolate so disgusting?" i was not expecting any answer, but i often google weird questions to be surprised by the (sometimes very useful) answers google gives me. to me, hershey kisses taste ok at first, but then suddenly it tastes like something is not quite right... going to downright disgusting. apparently, im not the only one.... and now i know why; the hershey recipe uses milk that has gone sour (i.e. has gone bad (instead of using buttermilk or cocoa butter)) in their recipe, making it taste.. well yes... like vomit...
i guess most real americans might not taste the vomit, as they are used to eating this chocolate (its like feeding someone something with a weird/distinct flavor from a very early age... you do get used to that..). but no more hershey kisses for me! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sleepy hollow

last week sunday we were indecisive of what to do. i cannot remember a day off that we stayed home, but sometimes it takes some time to decide on where to go/what to do. museum? beach? mall? eeehhhmm... cemetery? i guess tim was convinced when i mentioned this cemetery is named "sleepy hollow" (sleepy hollow is famous because of the tale by washington irving, "the legend of sleepy hollow", after which tim burton made a movie, which we both like a lot and watched again this weekend (also because its with johnny depp...). the original sleepy hollow is in the state new york).
this cemetery is in concord, massachusetts, a 30 minute drive from boston. it was pretty chilly, but very sunny, and before we knew it, we spent nearly 3 hours on this cemetery! there were many interesting graves, old and new, it was rather big, but mostly, it was just so beautiful. it was named sleepy hollow before it was a cemetery, and locals often picknicked there. among those were nathaniel hawthorne and his fiancee (later wife), who actually dreamed of building a castle there. but...  in 1855, with a speech of waldo emerson, it opened as a cemetery (both hawthorne and emerson were later buried on this cemetery).
perhaps you agree with me that the above picture is more a lovely place in the woods, with some graves. and this is how this cemetery was "designed". or rather, not designed. much of the original vegetation has been left in place, and the graves were more or less just placed in the natural landscape, in line with the transcendentalism movement that developed in new england between 1830 and 1840 (that wikilink is actually a quite interesting read!). many of the major figures in this movement are buried in sleepy hollow. we saw the graves of hawthorne, emerson, thoreau, alcott and channing, among others. some you can see here on my flickr page. but there were more interesting graves, which i will show you next week!
for other taphophiles, go here...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Forgotten drinks

to me, it seems that americans cannot go anywhere without holding some sort of beverage or another in their hands. im not sure how much they drink of it, however. they always seem pretty full, is it more of an accessory than a drink? americans tend to forget it everywhere, as soon as they put it down, somehere, anywhere really, they forget all about it. and thus you see cups with all sorts of drinks standing around everywhere. literally. on the street, in the subway, on some shelf in a shop... one time a guy even forgot his in the overhead compartment in the airplane. until i told him to please take it...
just this sunday we had lunch at some tiny tiny bakery in boston, there were only 6 seats or so. but we managed to get 2. the sandwich and croissant were sooooo good! on top of that, the coffee was yum too. but it came in..... paper cups. my delicious macchiato, and only a horrible wooden stirrer to enjoy the milk foam... :( buuuuhhh! why do even the nicest of places serve coffee in paper cups? (the bread at least was on a real plate).
ah well... above you see a bubble tea, somewhere in chinatown. i tried a sip of bubble tea only once, and thought it was disgusting... so i do understand someone left that behind... :) (just click the link if you want to know what wikipedia has to say about bubble tea!)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Topless goddess

saw this car when driving into boston. i so expected a man in this car.... but... it was a woman, and she was very angry with everyone else on the road, judging from her gestures...

Falling ice

last year i noticed that when it snows a lot, a lot of snow builds up on the roofs, and every now and then quite large chunks can suddenly fall down due to melting, refreezing etc.. so many buildings have signs around their entrances warning you for falling ice. this year these signs have not been necessary, or hardly. but last week we saw one somewhere in downtown boston. on a very sunny, almost springlike day. someone put a bag of ice next to it, still half full with ice cubes, which i found very funny..... but why? and what was there first? the sign or the bag? and when it was melted... did they remove the sign.. ?
thursday night we actually had a little more snow than wednesday night. but still very little. perhaps an inch (a few centimeters)? yet the management of our apartment complex apparently thought we do need snowfree walkways. and thus the maintenance team woke me up with their shovels scraping the paths around our apartment, removing the tiny bit of snow.... at 4.30 in the morning! i was quite annoyed, especially because it was sooo not necessary.... (or did someone place bags of ice everywhere..?)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Brutalist style

here im standing in the brick desert, or officially known as city hall plaza. in the back you see the city hall of boston. i didnt know the surrounding plaza was nicknamed brick desert, but its a very apt term... and im a little sad i never came up with that myself! i was trying to picture the ugly city hall, but in my pic the clouds were all wrong, so im taking tims... with me in it. apparently this building is built in the brutalist style. i would just call it ugly (and a little scary)... its massive, grey, overwhelming, and reminds me of some communist-style building in eastern europe. it was one of the first things we saw the very first time we were in boston. a saturday morning, rainy and cold, no people on the street... that certainly left us wondering where that great, lovely, amazing boston city was where so many people had told us about.
this is one of these pics that i see and think; oh, is that really me? i didnt know i looked like that! (i dont know whether im just weird or other people somtimes think that of themselves as well?) and ow, is my hair really that extremely, ridiculously long? i have never been to a hairdresser since im here... tim has cut it a few times, but the last time was really quite a while ago...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Low clearance

its snowing a bit again, so another pic with some snow in it..
this is memorial drive, a road that runs along the charles river. according to google maps, its called memorial drive on the cambridge side, and storrow drive on the boston side (as you can see here), and as you can see above, its only for cars. trucks, buses, anything not a car is not allowed on it. i dont really like this road, its often crowded and everyone drives so fast and masshole style (but you do get a great view of boston)! besides, especially the first few times the signs that you can see above really freaked me out. we have a real big american pickup truck, and every time i was afraid we were not really allowed on this road, and surely would hit this "cars only" sign. if not, then we would get stuck under the low bridge (for which the sign is actually warning..). because thats what this sign is for; trucks and buses do not fit under the bridge and will get stuck. ofcourse, we never got stuck... but every now and then, despite the many, many warning signs, a truck enters this road and gets stuck. as you can imagine, this generates a mess and long traffic jams. we were once watching a free movie at the hatch shell, right next to storrow drive, and suddenly there was this awful, loud shrieking noise... yep, a truck that barely made it, perhaps shaved off a bit of the bridge while just driving on with great speed. on september 1st, when all the new students move into town, often rented moving trucks get stuck, as people tend to forget they are driving something huge..
but the most funny incident i just read on wikipedia... once... a truck got stuck transporting.... scissors! they got spilled all over the road and 30 cars ended up with flat tires. detailed as wikipedia is, 2 cars even got 4 flat tires. the road was closed for hours....