Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Town Where We Live

Having lived in our Western Massachusetts town for about 10 years now, it’s hard to believe we had never hiked Mt. Skinner before.  The Summit House, a beautiful white building that used to be a hotel sits atop the mountain, visible for miles and miles around.  You can drive up, of course, but this fall we decided to hike up – now that everyone is old enough to do it with a minimum of complaining.

The elevation is about 1000 feet, and you’re climbing the whole way.  I found it challenging, but the kids were total troopers.  Luckily, we brought snacks and water.  The view from the top was absolutely worth it!

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Our little town at the height of fall colors.

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The Connecticut River winding it’s way up toward Mt. Sugarloaf.

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We decided once we were hanging out at the top that we should make this a yearly ritual, and we also came up with other potential area hikes that are more advanced than we’ve attempted before.  We’ve got a list going for the Spring!

 

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Tanks

 

What is it about boys and tanks?  I don’t know about the men in your life, but my men are all about the tanks.  And military weaponry in general, I guess.  Before we went to Washington DC last summer, Aaron said that his top priority there was seeing a tank.  And, if possible, he’d like to get in one.  Well, we researched and couldn’t find any tanks in any of the Smithsonian Museums.

But I did find the Military Museum of Southern New England.  It’s in Danbury Connecticut, a few hours south of here, but totally do-able for a day trip.  The best part, once a month, they have what they call “Open Turret Day”, where they open all the tanks and let you get inside them!  In fact, you can climb all over and through them.

The museum itself is a little kitschy, and the tanks are all crammed into a tiny parking lot (somehow I had pictured them spread out in a field in mock battle).  But none of that mattered because Aaron could GET IN THEM.

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That’s one happy boy.

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It’s hard to take a picture of the inside of a tank.  It’s dark, and your seven year old is shoving you out of the way.  Let me describe it – first off, it’s tiny in there.  I have no idea how they crammed so many people in.  Secondly, it was a hot day, and it was sweltering inside there!  Again, what?  No air-conditioning?  And third, there is nothing really there – just a couple of uncomfortable seats, some levers, and a steering wheel.  I guess I wasn’t really expecting a mini-bar and bucket seats, but come on.

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I did a lot of this.

If you’re going to go, make it on an Open Turret Day – you won’t be disappointed!

 

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Mix Tapes

Nate and I have an on-going, years long project cleaning out the cellar.  It’s so on-going, in fact, that it never gets any more cleaned out, because by the time we get around to getting rid of a batch of stuff, more stuff has accumulated to take its place.  Yet we persevere.

A couple of weeks ago, we finally unpacked the very last box from our move, (ahem) 10 years ago.  It was full of old picture frames and a Tape/CD player combo stereo unit.  And… a little box full of my old mix tapes.

When I was in high school, before I could afford a CD player, I taped songs off the radio.  I would have my little radio/tape deck on record-pause, and I would hear a favorite song come on the radio, and I’d leap across the bed and un-pause the record as soon as the DJ stopped talking.  The worst was when he talked over the first bit of the song and I had to wait for them to play it again!  I listened to KYUU, KMEL, K101, and there was also an oldies station that for the life of me I can’t remember.  Anyway, I would flip back and forth across the dial, waiting for my favorite songs to play.

Unbelievably, we still have a working tape player in the house.  It hasn’t been used in who knows how many years, but I loaded up “Radio Songs #1” and was instantly transported back to what must have been the first few months of 1987.  Age – 13.

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Please notice, first of all, that heaven is spelled “Heavan,” and that at least a quarter of the song titles are completely wrong.  “Madeline Rain” is actually Bruce Hornsby’s “Mandolin Rain.”  Some of these songs are great, enduring songs.  Some of them I didn’t remember until I heard them again.  It was like going back in time.  Here is a complete track listing, just in case you want to visit 1987 for yourself:

Side A:

Respect Yourself – Bruce Willis

Better Than Heaven – Stacey Q

That’s Just the Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby

Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles

Johnny – El Debarge

Will You Still Love Me – Chicago

Rumors – Timex Social Club

Land of Confusion – Phil Collins

Suburbia – Pet Shop Boys

Shout – Tears For Fears

Lean on Me – Club Nouveau

Control – Janet Jackson

Sheila – Ready for the World

Side B:

True Colors – Cindy Lauper

Mandolin Rain – Bruce Hornsby

Peter Gunn – The Art of Noise

Coming Around Again – Carly Simon

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens

Wot’s It To Ya? – Robbie Nevil

La Isla Bonita – Madonna

(I Just) Died In Your Arms – Cutting Crew

The Finer Things – Steve Winwood

Let’s Hear It For the Boy – Deniece Williams

Sign o’ the Times – Prince

Human – Human League

You’re welcome, world.

 

 

 

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Chaos and Upheaval

So things have gone a little crazy around here.  What with job changes, and starting my own business, the blog has fallen through the cracks.  But I am determined to keep it up, though maybe a little sporadically…  While we’ve been having all this upheaval and uncertainty, we’ve also been trying to keep things “normal” for the kids.  I may feel like crawling into a ball under the covers and not coming out, but that would be bad.  Bad for me, bad for the family.  So we’ve been busy.  We had a great end to our summer, and have been chugging along this fall with school, music lessons, day trips, etc.  Here’s a summary of what we’ve been doing while I have been AWOL.

We went to California and saw this:

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And hung out with these guys and their family:

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And visited here:

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We saw one of our favorite people perform at the Charlemont Reggae Fest:

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And this happened to Aaron while we were there, compliments of Cousin Tony:

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We took a surprise birthday bike ride to celebrate Nate’s birthday.  What happened to your knee, Nate?

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It wasn’t all bad – because we saw this amazing Great Blue Heron just 15 feet away from us:

IMG_5635 Our annual trip to Maine was one of our best ever!IMG_5698 IMG_5704 IMG_5736 IMG_5746 IMG_5787 Look who got on a bike!IMG_5807 IMG_5818All in all, we had a nice end to our summer.  The fall was a bit of a wash – we did no apple picking, we barely got our pumpkins in time for Halloween!  But we’re making it.  Look for some more posts to come soon… if I can manage it.

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