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.

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.

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.

Tragic Day in Boston — April 16, 2013

Tragic Day in Boston

As you may know, yesterday during the Boston Marathon, two bombs detonated and killed three people, including an eight year old boy.  Well over a hundred more are injured, many in serious and critical condition.  This was a horrific act during a celebrated and peaceful event, that honors athletes from all over the world.

I live and practice mental health therapy in Massachusetts, and am currently awaiting a call back from the Red Cross as to how I can volunteer these services in need.

Right now, many parents may be wondering how they can talk to their children about this tragedy, especially when dealing with their own feelings of shock and dismay.  This even takes me back to September 11th and the months that followed, when explaining to my then 3 year old son that “something very bad happened,” and that Daddy needed to go fight war on the other side of the world.  Since then, other tragedies have struck our nation, such as hurricanes and mass shootings.  Online resources have become readily available to help with these difficult conversations:

How to Talk With Children About Boston Marathon Bombs.
Even though we may want to keep up with the latest news of the bombings, the images we see are terrifying to us, then think of the impact they will have on children. So check out this site, about Media Coverage of Traumatic Events:

Here are 5 Tips on Talking to Kids about Scary News.

As we adults may be wary of traveling to a city these next few days, children may also be frightened of crowded places or cities.  Here is an article about Helping Children Cope With Tragedy Related Anxiety.

Children may present other hard questions such as “Why do bad things happen?” Or from religious standpoints, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” As we know, there is no one true answer for these questions, yet faith, family values, and your own personal ethics can help you talk with your children about these subjects.

I hope these resources are of help to you. Other sources that can help are the support of friends and family, church members, and school counselors.

’13 Blizzard — February 11, 2013

’13 Blizzard


That be my green VW Beetle blanketed by over 1 foot of snow!  Behind her is the Mister’s Jeep Cherokee.  This was the scene before we attacked the powder with shovels.  Our neighbor strolled through with the snow blower, which was a great help.  In all my gracefulness, I toppled into the knee-deep snow at least twice while trying to walk around.

When hearing that Massachusetts may break its snow accumulation record, accompanied by hurricane force winds, I took Friday off and schools were cancelled. On Thursday, I ventured to the grocery store for a few items to get us through the weekend, including batteries  The bread aisle was bare at Market Basket.  I prepared the fireplace for some burning and filled the bathtub with water.  Because major storms in Massachusetts usually means power outages.

But I believe the good Lord saw fit to spare us again, as our lights, heat, and water remained on during the blizzard.  I guess He thinks four years of losing power was enough for us.  Snow fell steadily for about twelve hours in our part of the woods.  White-out conditions hit on Saturday morning.  A travel ban was enforced on Mass highways; we were to be off the roads by 4 pm on Friday and remain off during Saturday as plows cleared our roads.  Although some may have griped about the ban, I’d rather be banned than deal with 350 car wrecks like Ontario did.

Now on Monday, many schools remain closed.  We now brace for one or two inches of rain/sleet/snow.  Argh.

Snow banks are about 5 feet high, y’all.  So actually stop at stop signs and ease into intersections, people.

Urban Adventure Time! The Mass MoCA. — February 7, 2013

Urban Adventure Time! The Mass MoCA.

The Mister had a great college homework assignment: view art on the internet, then view it at a museum and write a comparison paper on the subject.  Having been to more than one museum in Boston, he declared we would take a day trip to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a.k.a the Mass MoCA, nestled in mill buildings in North Adams.  The Mister’s choice of internet pics/real life view of art:  the spectacular Phoenix, by Chinese artist, Xu Bing. 

Spending at least two years constructing the magnificent beasts out of items found at construction sites around Beijing, Xu created one 95-foot and a 100-foot long phoenix. Let me tell you, that our images do not bring justice to the breath-taking creatures.

Head, neck and feet of one Phoenix.
Head, neck and feet of one Phoenix.


Yours truly under the tailfeathers.
Yours truly under the tail feathers.


When taking a closer, real life look at the Phoenix project, you can make out wrenches, welding masks, hard hats, shovels, wheels, 50-gallon drums, and other metals intricately pieced together.  But my mind viewed them as wonderous living beings, and I half expected them to take flight.

We then had a fun time taking family shots throughout other exhibits, such as the Sol Lewitt wall paintings:

Plays with the eyes a bit...
Plays with the eyes a bit…

Then we ran into a familiar face at the Curiosity, a children’s exhibit:

Han Solo trapped in carbonite..made entirely out of Legos!
Han Solo trapped in carbonite..made entirely out of Legos!



All of us facing Gisele Amantea's "Democracy."
All of us facing Gisele Amantea’s “Democracy.”

The Mass MoCA is definitely worth the drive out to North Adams.  Paintings and sculptures aren’t the only art on display, as they host concerts there also.  The museum is spread out among spacious mill buildings, after all.  We will most certainly visit again.