Happy Weekend

I made it to Saratoga, NY last weekend where I caught up with my Mom and my sister. It was about a 4 hour drive both ways but it was worth it. I’m not allowed to say how old my Mom is but she is holding strong in her 9th decade so I think every year older deserves a celebration.

The drive was pretty uneventful driving  up. I always watch for wildlife but mostly I saw the usual carnage of dead animal carcasses along the sides of the road. The exception was the gang of turkeys that grazed by the side of the highway.

After an enjoyable lunch at the 99 Restaurant I headed back to Taunton, MA. It was now later in the day so there was a bit more animal life. I saw 3 deer, several turkey vultures, more turkeys and a rabbit. Too bad you can’t stop on the interstate for pictures.

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This weekend I did get out briefly so I made a return trip to the sanctuary where I saw the fox a few weeks ago. It was later in the day so I hoped he’d be out and about if indeed he had a den nearby.

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I lugged 2 lenses with me a zoom 24-300 and my big telephoto 300-500, in case he was farther away. I’m thrilled to announce that I was successful, at least in part. He is a fast little bugger so I only got a glimpse of him.

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Things Keep Changing

Hi Everyone.

There have been a lot of changes at work and more on the way. What makes it hard is that a lot is just speculation right now. Makes for a very uneasy feeling. The biggest change is that we all have to work in the office. No More working from home. Its back to the daily commute. Eventually they were planning to morph my job (listing coordinator) into more of a hybrid where I handled both listings and buy side. Now they are re-thinking that. At the moment there are only 2 of us in the Boston Office that do my current job.

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I think a lot will depend on how they can cover vacations. Right now my co-worker is on vacation so I’m holding down the fort. It isn’t too bad. The exception is she has one very high maintenance agent. The first day I was covering I had 18 emails and 3 calls from that 1 person. Ugh! Thankfully none of the others were that bad.

On the home front Rocky seems to be adjusting to being an only cat. He is eating well and playing. He is becoming very attached to his “baby” a toy he has had forever. He carries it around crying at the same time, a very mournful meow. I wake up with it tucked next to me in the bed.Rocky 001 copy

He’s also turning into a lap cat. We have quality time every evening for 30 minutes to an hour. I just love that. For 15 years he wouldn’t set foot on my lap, now as soon as I sit down he’s right there.

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The last thing on my mind is Hawaii. I keep meeting people that have been or want to go. I love comparing notes. The most recent conversation centered on the Island of Kauai. That is the island of choice for the  friend I just spoke with. I don’t think my time share has a resort on Kauai. I still love the Big Island but we’ll see how Maui stacks up after this coming vacation.

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Well busy day today with errands and chores…laundry, grocery shopping, eye doctor (annual exam), hair cut etc. Tomorrow I’m driving to New York to take my Mom to lunch for her birthday so I don’t know if I’ll have much chance to get back for another update this weekend. We’ll just have to see how the time goes.

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Fifteen Years Later

It’s been 15 years since the planes hit the World Trade Center, 15 years since the plane slammed into the Pentagon, 15 years since flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

Are we any safer today that on 9/11? That is a question for another day. Today we remember.

I still remember the images as if I am just seeing them. I remember the feelings. It was surreal. It can’t be happening. This is America, my home. Wars don’t come to our shores and yet there was the black smoke billowing from the tower, there was the plane, seeming to be in slow motion, crashing into the 2nd tower.  For me it is like yesterday. I will never forget.

So it came as another shock to realize that there are children that have no memory of the events that day. Children that were born after that tragic event. Of course when I stop and think about it logically, there will be young people that read about 911 as history like I studied Pearl Harbor.

And as we remember Pearl Harbor we must remember 911. Never Forget!

NEVER FORGET!

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Labor Day Weekend

Saturday was nice but Sunday out did itself. Temps in the mid 70’s and a breeze that bordered on wind as it gusted throughout the afternoon. The sky was sunny and the day bright. If it weren’t for those occasional wind gusts one would never know a hurricane/tropical storm was working its way up the coast toward my neck of the woods.

Labor Day marks the end of summer and I was sad to see this marker arrive. I haven’t done even half of the things I wanted to do.

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No trip to New Hampshire, just the puffin trip to Maine and very little camera time in the woods anywhere!

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I seem to move slower each year and I am much more of a klutz!

To avoid tripping over Buddy when he was so sick, I ended up stubbing my little toe and it appears that I broke it.

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Of course they don’t do anything except possibly tape it. I let it get almost healed and then over do it and am back to square one. But I was determined I was not going to let this last weekend of the summer get away from me completely so I headed out with camera in hand to run through some of my favorite wildlife spots. Although I won’t share where I went ( I made several stops) I will tell you that most are Mass Audubon locations.

My goal was to spot some ducks but I didn’t find any, not one. Most places were very dry. The summer long drought was clearly taking it’s toll. Ponds were little more than mud holes, brooks almost completely dry with a few mud puddles.

I was lucky enough at the bog behind the Bass Pro Shop to see both the large and the small. Tiny turtles that were small enough to sit on the lily pads were sunning in abundance when a huge snapping turtle rose from the dark brown waters. His nose broke the surface water and you could faintly see the outline of his shell. I had no idea such a big turtle lived in this bog! No photo of the big guy. The water was just too dark and brackish.

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At a more remote location I was thrilled to see a red fox stretched out on a rock enjoying the sun. I watched for about 30 minutes but he never looked my way. Occasionally he’d lift his head and look away from me or flick an ear so I knew he was alive but that was about it. I wanted to stay longer but I didn’t want to disturb him either so I thought it best to slip away, thrilled with the rare sight.

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I ended my day at the Trailside Museum in the Blue Hills of Milton, MA. I was hoping to get a photo of a snowy owl. Turns out they have a pair, a male and a female but they were in an outdoor pen and there was no place to get a clear shot because of the fencing on the cage.

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I didn’t linger as all of their displays are like that, red tail hawk, turkey vulture, bald eagle and white tail deer. All had “obstructed view” as far as the camera is concerned. One display did lend itself to photos and that was the river otter. I have to admit I wish I could say these photos were true wildlife photos but no such luck. I’ll have to settle for captive otter photos. (He was having a great time playing with his tail)

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It was a beautiful day but as I headed home I became aware of a dull throb coming from my little toe. Guess I overdid it again. Darn!

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A Return to Hidden Nook Farm

I have written about this little place in the past and it is still as cute and quaint as the first time back in 2013.

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Again in 2014 when we met the adorable Thumbelina.

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I had been following their posts on Facebook and knew they had a new addition to their little Alpaca family so I was pleased when I got a call asking if I would be interested in taking some pictures for them.

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They are going to start selling end products from their alpaca wool, scarves, gloves, hats, etc and they wanted photos for a display.

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I jumped at the chance, of course.

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At first I was in the enclosure with the females and the newbies. Fiona is the smallest, just a few days old.

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From there I moved to another enclosure where to my surprise the black alpaca came right up. Usually they are very timid and shy so this one was a bit unusual. I snapped pictures as he approached and then let him sniff the camera. Once he’d checked both me and the camera out he wandered back with the rest.

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It wasn’t a long visit but it was fun. I can’t wait until they have some finished products for me to see and try out!

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Mystic Aquarium Part 2

Yes, I know this has taken me awhile but here it is. How we spent the 2nd half of our trip.

Lunch was at the Penguin Cafe.

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Although there were a few tables inside in the air conditioning they were all taken. Most seating was outside under the big umbrellas. Lunch was simple fast food, hot dogs, fries or onion rings, hamburgers, chicken fingers etc. I think we filled up on drinks because we were all sweating so bad.

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After lunch we headed inside the Aquarium. Here the lighting was subdued. It was crowded. There was a shark/ray touch tank, a jellies display, a large variety of different tanks showcasing the various environments such as river, pond, rain forest etc. All enjoyable and all pretty much the usual fare.

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The Sea Lion Show was  a bit different from the ones I’ve usually seen. It started with a seal being paraded around right in front of the audience and then the show itself seemed to concentrate more on natural behaviors than the contrived tricks you normally see. It was both educational and fun.

From there we went back outside to cross to another building where there was a special display about Frogs and the theater. We watched the Angry Birds short movie (15 minutes) in 4 D so yes, we felt the wind blow and water sprinkled over us while the action on the screen seemed to jump out at us.

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After the movie we exited into the special exhibit area where a shark cage was predominantly displayed so you could take pictures. There was a reptile section with american alligators and the special frogs exhibit. Getting photos of the frogs was hard because of the crowds around each display. I tried to get a picture of the poison tree frogs , both tiny and brightly colored, but it was very difficult through the glass of their terrariums.

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Following the Frog Exhibit we headed back outside, through the marsh again. The frogs and turtles were still hanging out but we didn’t linger. We were headed for the penguin display.

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I made the mistake of going into the air conditioned lower level to see the penguins as they swam underwater. When I came back out the heat and humidity fogged the camera lens. As far as I know there is nothing to do but wait when that happens. Wiping it off doesn’t seem to work.

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Sadly it was still fogged when we went past the Northern Fur Seal exhibit and Mr. Seal was posing and grooming on a rock.

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It made it impossible to get  clear photos. I was surprised how big Mr. Fur Seal is. For some reason I always thought they were smaller animals.

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One last stop at the Beluga exhibit and it was time to leave. I think everyone was tired from the heat but it was a good, relaxing day. Well worth the drive.

 

 

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Mystic Aquarium

Its still, as the weathermen say, HHH. High Pressure, Hot, Humid, 3 H’s. I like the heat but I will admit the humidity is starting to wear me out.  The forecast was for a break in the humidity if not the heat so Nancy and I decided to take the kids to the Mystic Aquarium. I was thinking it would be inside so we’d avoid the oppressive outdoors anyway. I’ve never been to Mystic Aquarium so what did I know. I based my opinion on Boston’s Aquarium.

Anyway, quite a bit of Mystic Aquarium is outside and to my way of thinking some of the most unique and best exhibits.

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It’s not a bad drive to Connecticut and we made it right on time according to the On Star  directions and that was with several minor traffic back ups.

The Beluga exhibit is right there when you first go through the entrance.

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I could have spent the whole visit there even though it was hot and humid. The whales are sometimes called the Canaries of the Sea because of the multiple vocalizations they can make. They did not disappoint us. They blew and chirped and stuck their heads out of the water.

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At the observation windows they seemed as fascinated by the humans as we were of them.

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Following the path toward the Penguin exhibit we passed the seals & Sea lions.

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Then it was decision time, right took us through the “Marsh” on a boardwalk and left took us to the Penguins. The kids made a bee line for the boardwalk and eagerly inspected the duckweed and plants for turtles and frogs.

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I really liked the boardwalk. We spotted quite a few creatures once we adjusted our eyes to finding them in the weeds.

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We had an audience of 3 little ducks too that added comic relief.

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Next up was the Budgie Tent.

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Those birds are always fun.

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There were cockatoos and other small birds native to Australia as well as the Budgies.

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By then It was time for a break and we hadn’t even gotten inside yet!

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