Urban (mis)Advantures

Urban Adventure with Arthur — July 4, 2014

Urban Adventure with Arthur

Due to the Mother Nature celebrating her immense freedom of slamming the Eastern Seaboard with Hurricane Arthur, the Boston Firework Spectacular was moved to July 3rd. Seeing that it was a quick decision and being on a business day, we guessed that it might not be as crowded as our first adventure to the show a few years ago. So we parked at Alewife, took the subway into Cambridge and found a spot right in front of the barge on the Charles River.

The Boy and I playing Trash while waiting for the big show.  Good to see him not glued to his phone.
The Boy and I playing Trash while waiting for the big show. Good to see him not glued to his phone.

The Boston Pops performed, a children’s choir sang that “Frozen” song, and the Beach Boys played three songs.  Everything needed to be slightly rushed as the skies grew darker.  For some reason, right before the fireworks began, Fenway’s lights came on and illuminated the entire river.

Yes, the firework show was indeed dazzling, even though the Pops did not get a chance to play the 1812 Overture. And no, I do NOT have any pictures or videos of the spectacle, as I am NOT a dee-oosh who blocks everyone’s view of the fireworks with their stupid phones!!!  You know who you are dee-ooshes!  Yeah! You show up at the last minute, standing in any crack you can find, totally in the way of spectators who claimed their spots an hour ago and aren’t jerks who set up camp on the sidewalk!  Seriously, does the show look better through your tiny damn phone screen?!

Deep breath. But the fireworks aren’t the story we will be telling our family at Christmas or our future grandchildren.

With smoke still lingering in the indigo Boston sky, everyone packed up chairs. We froze when hearing a commentator over the loudspeaker thanking everyone for attendance, but we needed to

E V A C U A T E.

Like cattle, hundreds or thousands of people herded across away from the river and towards the Kendall train station. First, the sky lit up again.  But the fireworks were over.  Lightening illuminated Boston’s cloudy, churning sky.  Thunder rumbled.  We reached the outbound train station and within a couple of minutes, people began screaming like a tidal wave was spilling into the streets of Cambridge, Mass.  We could then hear rain pellets pounding the buildings.  Then, WOOSH!

As Arthur’s edge collided with fronts from the north, huge rain drops pelted us poor souls.  More screams of unnecessary panic rang through the wet streets as people dashed to the Mariott hotel, towards the Chipotle, or under whatever covering they could find.  We crowded the entrance to Kendall Station, and my heart beat raced as I feared the impact of panicked humans, and the Mister voiced that someone may get hurt. Umbrellas fanned out, but quickly folded backwards as Arthur’s winds gusted.  Raincoats began wearing people instead of the other way around as the water fell relentlessly.  The Boy, frustrated by drunk or rude spectators during the show, donned his Ramones sunglasses in the blackness of the storm and stood defiantly out in the downpour until the crowd slowly piled into the safety of the train stop.  When the wind died down, he opened the umbrella.  As the weather and people calmed a bit, the Mister got out the camera.

Caught in the storm! As you can see, the Boy was not amused at first.
Caught in the storm! As you can see, the Boy was not amused at first.
Soaked to the bone while waiting for the train!
Soaked to the bone while waiting for the train!

My husband and I laughed loudly as our wet clothes clung to our skin.  My Chuck Taylor shoes turned into puddles that splashed with each step.  Finally the crowd started moving under the direction of the T’s security.  I was bumped and shoved as we inched towards the steps and called out politely for people to remain calm and not trample me.  It worked, as others scooted away from me. Hanging on to the Mister’s hand so not lose him, we carefully took each slippery step down. The Boy predicted the ride on the subway to be “soggy human soup.” And he was right. Soaking people sat in chairs and hung on to rails, but all were in good spirits, at least on our car.

Four stops later, we reached Alewife where the Beetle was parked. While waiting 45 minutes in line to exit the parking garage, I took off my shoes and rung out my sopping socks.  Not many radio stations came in under the garage, so I slid in my Ramones collection CD and we rocked out to American punk to make the wait easier.

Although I will always have the fireworks beautifully exploding in my memories, Arthur’s July 3rd storm will was the moments that brought on the most laughs and memorable moments.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, America!

Adventure Time in Maudslay State Park!! — May 28, 2014

Adventure Time in Maudslay State Park!!

This Memorial Day, my mountain bike finally tasted the dirt it so missed since Massachusetts likes to keep paving my paths!  I stuffed the bike into the Beetle and drove to the absolutely beautiful Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MA. It only costs $2.00 to park, and the area is open from dawn until dusk.  This gorgeous land has open fields for picnics, kite flying, or relaxing.  Hiking, horse back riding, and biking trails meander along the Merrimack River.  Flowers are blooming everywhere and old houses, vineyards, and gardens loom quietly in secret corners of the grounds.  Next time, I’m hiking because I kept getting off my bike to take pictures and explore!

Gasp! A gateway to where??
Gasp! A gateway to where??
To the Italian Garden! Where I dreamed of fairies, hobbits, and dragons....
To the Italian Garden! Where I dreamed of fairies, hobbits, and dragons….
By this time, my writer's mind was running wild with wonderful stories!
By this time, my writer’s mind was running wild with wonderful stories!
Watch out for trolls!
Watch out for trolls!

But, alas, most of my adventures are not lacking a bit of frustration. After cycling around for quite some time and asking for directions to the main river bike trail, I was informed that


Oops. So after going in circles for a while, I finally received the best directions of the day.  Head back out to the main road towards the I-95 intersection, and the bike trails would be on my left.

I finally found the bike trails!
I finally found the bike trails!

The cycling trails are far better marked, meaning they actually have the names posted with clear directions back to the parking or to other trails. It was an incredibly peaceful ride, yet I was quite tired by the time I reached them. Oh, well.  Next time I take the bike, I know exactly where to go.

“Skin, Skin, Let Me In” Published via Sirens Call Publications! — November 27, 2013

“Skin, Skin, Let Me In” Published via Sirens Call Publications!

Woo-Hoo! It is a happy day despite the rain and fighting traffic after grocery shopping just before Turkey Day.  Why, you ask?

After dreaming of being a writer for decades, I got over my neurotic fears and submitted a short horror story of a modernized Southern folklore.  The people I’ve read the story to have never heard of such an antagonist.  So, I’m celebrating Sirens Call Publications anthology

vftg_vol1_final_front_coverFeaturing “Skin, Skin, Let Me In”
written under my pen name
Kameryn James

Synopsis from Sirens Call:
“Voices from the Gloom is an eclectic collection of tales that echo in your mind, making you question what is real and what isn’t.
Whether it’s a mail delivery system with terrifying consequences, a sucker bet with an indelible foe, or a cellar full of family secrets – each of twelve stories contained within will leave you breathless and begging for more.
Let yourself get lost in the different voices. Let their horrific nature speak to you from the shadows. Let them pull you in and wring the morrow from your soul…
Contributing Authors:
Brent Abell, Shaun Avery, Kevin Bannigan Jr., Donna Cuttress, Trevor Firetog, Kameryn James, Katie Jones, Jon Olson, Elaine Pascale, Katerina Russell, Justin M. Ryan, and Tim Wellman

Purchase a Kindle version of the book on this link at Amazon or Smashwords.

Or if you’re like me, and prefer to curl up in bed with an actual book, visit the link on Createspace!

Thanks so much to the Chelmsford Writers Group who greatly helped me edit this story by removing unnecessary characters and cutting out a lot of words.  And thank you very much to Sirens Call Publications!

Spooky Urban Adventure in Salem, Mass — November 2, 2013

Spooky Urban Adventure in Salem, Mass

We’ve watched the July 4th fireworks in Boston.  We have peeped at the leaves on the Kancamangus. We’ve even spent a couple of Thanksgivings at the Macy’s Parade in NYC.  This year, the Mister and I decided to try something new, resulting in the wickedly cook urban adventure of visiting the Halloween capital Salem, Massachusetts one Saturday night.

Festivities such as parades, celebrity guest appearances, and haunted attractions begin at the start of the month. So if you’re like me, and really not interested in shows and tours about women being judged and hung for witchcraft, there is still plenty of adventure. Downtown Salem is very walkable, with restaurants, pubs, and attractions all within walking distance from each other. Parking can be an issue, but I am blessed with a friend/co-worker that lives there and offered us a spot.  I was not prepared for people asking to take pictures with us.  But then again, I was wearing a pretty cool costume.

Here's me as Edward Scissorhands, posing with another famous Johnny Depp character.
Here’s me as Edward Scissorhands, posing with another famous Johnny Depp character.

Passerbys commented “Edward Scissorhands!” or called me “Edwina Scissorhands” with big smiles. One little boy in quite the menacing skull mask asked if he could have one of my “swords.”  That’s when I stepped into character, explaining that they are my hands and that “I’m not finished.” So cute.  People also enjoyed the Mister’s Pumpkin Head costume, which will make an appearance later.  Here are a few more costume photos before we danced for a bit Oneill’s. (where I encountered the scary adventure of a flooded bathroom, and an unfortunate woman dropped her cell phone in the muck.  Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!)

DSCN0497 DSCN0506 DSCN0509

This is why the Easter Bunny creeped me out as a kid....
This is why the Easter Bunny creeped me out as a kid….

With the night growing frigid cold, we decided to partake in an indoor haunted attraction close to Pickering Wharf. Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery is a reasonably priced trek through parts of an open wax museum.  During the day, it displays amazing wax figures of our favorite horror movie monsters and characters.  But at night in October, it morphs into a haunted house with screams.  I was chosen as our group’s leader and given a token (penny).  I was to pay a ghoul inside the museum in exchange for our group’s safe return to the outside world.  I was begged not to lose the token, but I assured our group that I had another one in my back pack.  While waiting in line, we met the Cat in the Hat, a freakish clown that I did not want a picture of, and these guys….

Gandalf and Frodo
Gandalf and Frodo


Vampires, zombies, werewolves, oh my!
Vampires, zombies, werewolves, oh my!

DSCN0518We ended the spooky fun night with a moonlit stroll through Salem’s oldest graveyard. I think we’ll visit here again one Halloween and will definitely visit the wax museum during the day.

Not-So-Urban Adventures on the Island of Saint Martin — August 30, 2013

Not-So-Urban Adventures on the Island of Saint Martin

The Mister and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on the French and Dutch governed island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean.  The first full day was Saturday, where we simply lounged on the Kakoa Beach. The adventures began on Sunday:

At the Butterfly Farm, I held a newly hatched beauty that licked the salt off my skin.
At the Butterfly Farm, I held a newly hatched beauty that licked the salt off my skin.
The boy held an Atlas Moth, the largest moth in the world. I was a bit scared of this fella.
s The boy held an Atlas Moth, the largest moth in the world. I was a bit scared of this fella.

The Butterfly Farm is very close to the Hotel La Plantation where we stayed.  The Mister surprised me with this activity in the early afternoon.  The enclosed sanctuary for these lovely creatures provides a safe refuge from birds, lizards, and other predators as butterflies are at the bottom of the food chain in nature.  Strange fact: the Atlas Moth shown above only lives for 5 days, as it lacks all organs that allow it to eat.

On Monday, the Mister really yearned to go hiking in the low mountains of the island.  There are supposedly 17 trails on the island, but the well maintained ones were closed to the public on Mondays, as they are located on a farm that is closed on Mondays.  Doh!  But we did drive the treacherous, windy roads to the top of a hill and found a couple of single track trails.  This hike did not last very long, as our skin is not accustomed to the vegetation here and soon began to itch like crazy.

Getting a little too adventurous on an narrow train in Saint Martin. I believe we went bushwhacking instead of hiking....
Getting a little too adventurous on an narrow train in Saint Martin. I believe we went bushwhacking instead of hiking….

It was time to hit the beach again after this adventure….

Here's the lovely wrap I got at the Butterfly Farm.
Here’s the lovely wrap I got at the Butterfly Farm.

Tuesday went much smoother, as we booked a snorkeling trip through Eco Snorkeling off Pinel Island. Here, I got over myself and faced one of my major fears: open waters and what swims in them.  No sharks, but plenty of brain coral and sergeant major fish.


Our guide, Isabelle, said that if you don't see sergeant major fish, you have your eyes closed.
Our guide, Isabelle, said that if you don’t see sergeant major fish, you have your eyes closed.
Look, look, look! A hawk-nosed sea turtle (the only marine animal I really wanted to spot on this adventure).
Look, look, look! A hawk-nosed sea turtle (the only marine animal I really wanted to spot on this adventure).

Doh! During my first draft of this blog, I completely omitted a perhaps once in a lifetime adventure: Maho Beach.  It’s a small strip of white sand at one end of the Princess Julianna International Airport runway.  So visitors can watch and feel planes landing and departing.   We hung out there just before returning the rental car and boarding the plane ourselves.



Click here to see perhaps the very incident that prompted the construction of this sign.  *WARNING* “Severe physical harm” does happen in this video.  You’ll recognize the fall as a “scorpion” if you watch MTV’s Ridiculousness.  Notice the smart people head towards the water during take-off.  By the way, we did not catch ultra-cool videos of the planes coming, as it was mostly smaller ones.  We missed the massive jet taking off by about 15 minutes, as we had to return the car to Hertz, located along the runway.  Even being beside the planes was a jolting experience.

I did learn a few things about traveling on Saint Martin:

-Bring U.S. dollars.  It’s just easier that way instead of converting to Euros. Most restaurants and activities accepted dollars anyway.  Dollars are preferred on the Dutch Side of the island.

-French or French Caribbean chefs are extremely offended if a dish is returned to them, even if the expensive dish is not up to par with the customer’s desires or not what the customer ordered.  So offended was this chef that she stepped out of the kitchen to glare at us after we dined.

-The city of Phillipsburg is a ghost town on Sunday.  Don’t even bother going, unless you want to dine on great food at Pineapple Pete.  Seriously, these were some of the best ribs we’ve ever enjoyed, and we Americans know ribs.  Our waiter explained that Phillipsburg, which is known for shopping is mostly closed on Sundays, but also mostly caters to the cruise ships.

-Speaking of cruise ships, if you want to relax quietly on the beach or during your outings, make sure you visit Saint Martin/Sint Maarten during the weekend.  Otherwise, the beaches become crowded with cruise ship passengers.  As did the Butterfly Farm during our second visit there.  Most passengers are fine and also want to relax instead of being herded onto buses.  But some overdo things, like having their hair ironed/curled and make-up perfect to venture onto an extremely humid island.  I wanted to rip one woman’s fake eye lashes off her face, especially since her kid crippled a butterfly when she grabbed it incorrectly.  Me, I wanted a vacation from make-up and hair ironing.

Overall, Saint Martin was amazing.  A few frustrations driving around the island, but there is a lot to do.  And dining out can be costly.  I agree with Trip Advisor writers who say to visit a market/grocery store to buy lunch and snack items.  The La Plantation is a beautiful place to stay.  The beaches boast warm waters and refreshing waters and velvety sand.

Yet with all this said, I’m thankful and glad to be back home with my cat.

Abby Wambach, You Are the Woman!! — June 21, 2013

Abby Wambach, You Are the Woman!!

Last night, in New Jersey, history was kicked and head-butted into a Women’s Soccer Game.  In one of the most amazing first halves (45 minutes)  of football I’ve ever seen, Abby Wambach scored the most career goals at the international level. Dubbed the Goal Queen, she is now soccer’s leading scorer. 


At the start of the match of U.S. verses South Korea, she had 156 goals under her soccer shorts, two shy of the previous goal champion (another woman) Mia Hamm.  Within thirty minutes of the game, Abby tied, then beat the world record. She went on to score yet another goal within the first half, putting the score at 4-0, with many assists from Alex Morgan. The final score was 5-0.

I was screaming  in the living room.

Mia Hamm sacked 158 goals in 275 games during her career.  Abby has scored 160 goals in 207 games.  With the Women’s World Cup heading to Canada in 2015, she is not done yet.


Now, I know what the gentlemen are saying, because I’ve heard it:
“It’s because she’s a woman competing against other women.”
“It’s women’s sports.”
“It’s not the same caliber as the men’s league.”

Just keep telling yourself that, gents.  But for the past three Women’s FIFA World Cup tournaments, the United States has been a P O W E R H O U S E.  Our ladies are in the ranks with other countries like Germany.  Athletes like Abby, Mia, Briana Scury, and Hope Solo  are legendary like Landon Donovan and David Beckham.

As an American woman, I greatly anticipate watching Abby’s career grow only stronger on the road to 2015.  Congrats, Abby!

Urban Adventure with Fine Arts! — May 26, 2013

Urban Adventure with Fine Arts!

This Memorial Day weekend, admission to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts is free. So naturally, we spent a rainy Saturday in Boston, mostly exploring this massive place.  Like most Boston day trips, our adventure began on the subway, where I was bummed because the Mister did not want to share a car with people dressed up for the Anime Boston convention.  Darn.  I really wanted to sit next to the people wearing cloaks and orange and black horns.

Anywho, back to the museum.  We visited the MFA about five years ago when first moving to Mass.  We did not see the entire museum that day, nor did we yesterday.  But we were primarily there to see the Samurai! exhibit.  Taking up the expanse of the basement, this display holds full samurai armor, including full body armor, dozens of helmets, weapons, and even some war drums.  On Saturdays, children can make their own warrior “armor.”

This exhibit left me breathless.  The suits were boldly amazing, woven with beautiful colors.  Here are some pictures taken from my cheap cell phone:

Here is my favorite helmet. The rabbit ears are for longevity.  I could so rock this helm...
Here is my favorite helmet. The rabbit ears are for longevity. I could so rock this helm…
Samurai on parade.
Samurai on parade.
See the detail in the mask?
See the detail in the mask?
Even some of the horses wore armor!
Even some of the horses wore armor!


Awesome! Of course, the MFA website I have a link to at the top of this post has way better pictures.  When reading facts about the weapons on display, I learned that wives of samurai often defended their homes with spears tipped in curved blades while the menfolk were out fighting. Can you imagine that, ladies?  Putting the smack down and disemboweling a burglar with a spear?  If you check out these warriors on display, make sure you see the armor made for a boy, located towards the back of the exhibit.  Warning! If you go on a crowded day and venture into the samurai gift shop, they won’t let you re-enter the exhibit.  You’ll have to climb the stairs back up to the courtyard and possibly wait in line again.  Drat.

The Samurai! exhibit will be on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until early August.

PS: After visiting the MFA, we ran into other Boston Anime adventurers, including Aang the Avatar and some Sailor Moon chicks.