First Half, 2016

The first half of 2016 (the pieces not in separate newsletters at least) has been more settling of the foundation; getting use to the routine of Alison, four dogs and a cat living in the Acton house.  Will came and went in a flash; as a launch, you couldn’t ask for anything better.  He spent a grand total of a little over a month in the house before he was on his own in his Seaport apartment.  Alison was in Cali for part of it, spending time with Maddy and Noah, who wanted to be in the South Pasadena house for winter break from Whitman College. 

Seaport is the yuppie capital of Boston (except I guess the term is now Yo-Po, Young Professional, because “urban” sounds so passé it had to be eliminated from the phrase, or maybe because now the expression rhymes with yo-yo).  Seaport is a ten minute walk from the financial district and features an ever increasing number of trendy bars and restaurants, along with the Convention Center and World Trade Center.  Will has a fourth floor studio at the Watermark looking out over the harbor, one of the new residences along the waterfront.  He’s pretty much on his own, except when he needs a car; the Mustang was more of a burden than a necessity in his new life, so we sold it and he travels out to borrow the Avalon occasionally.  Although we do see him regularly; we did the birthday dinner with him, along with a number of other eating adventures during the past few months… an opportunity to try out different places in Boston, and a chance for him to go out with someone besides his office mates until he settles in and gets to know more people in the Watermark. 

Below, from upper left clockwise, The Oceanaire, Will's Birthday at Ruth Chris Steak House, Yvonne's, and Will taking Alison and I to the Top of the Hub for mother's day.

One activity we doubled up on were "escape puzzles."  You pay to get locked in a room with a bunch of other people... in one case, handcuffed to one of them.  Then you struggle to find clues and puzzles that let you escape.  You have an hour, so the clock is ticking.  It's part treasure hunt (things like keys are hidden in the room), part exploration (the first one had two secret doors you had to find, with locks to which you needed to find the keys), part puzzle solving, and all fun.  We lost the first one (couldn't quite figure out the very last puzzle), won the second one.  Alison actually likes these more than I do!


The only big snowstorm we had was an opportunity to see how much bear liked the snow.  He was built for New England, it appears.

We went to the Harvard Management Company Winter Gala, a formal affair held at Annenberg Hall at Harvard.  The building is the freshman dining hall, which makes the general feeling of having entered Hogwarts even more appropriate.  The cathedral ceiling, ancient wooden beams and floors, rows of grand candelabras, and ornate scrollwork gave it a magical air of enchantment and otherworldliness. 

Just after that, Alison went in for minor nasal surgery to correct a deviated septum, which ended up being more invasive than we were expecting, but went fine. 

February brought L’Morey, a Valentine’s day event at the Aquarium for members (Alison tends to get memberships at any local museum or similar attraction we go on the general principle that they should be supported, so we are both members).  Elizabeth, Alison’s friend from California, was out visiting Rick Morris; we introduced the two at our wedding and they have been going strong ever since.  So we invited them to join us and made an evening of it.  It was dinner and drinks and a chance to visit the Aquarium after hours with a smaller crowd than usual.  Alison exhibited a childlike delight playing with the rays and skates, usually impossible because the pool is swarming with kids during normal aquarium open hours.  That’s one of the things I love about her; she hasn’t lost that innocent happiness around simple things that a lot of people would hide because for fear of looking immature.    

Alison paid extra to have a message in the big tank!

We did another Aquarium event in April, “Fin and Tonic,” which was the same basic layout; this time, we brought Eric and Cathy Haines.  We’d had an opportunity to see Cathy in a larger vocal group late last year, and had another opportunity this year to see her in a smaller, more intimate group that was a lot of fun, singing a variety of ethnic songs  at the First Church in Cambridge.

  FIn and Tonic ^                                           v Cathy in the choir

On a different note, Alison was accepted to the Massachusetts Bar and can practice law in the State now.  It turned out there is a process for transferring your credentials from another state, like Cali, for a fee and a six month wait. 

We did a couple of Irish dancing shows, one that was a little amateurish, the other Riverdance (now running for it’s 20th year).  Riverdance was by far the better show, and played to pretty much the exact same script as it did eighteen years ago, when I had first seen it, down to the “face off” between the more formal Irish step dancing and a black tap dancer.  It was a little off form from what I remembered, but still a great show.

To the right, we are waiting for The Trinity Irish Dance Company at the Majestic Cutler Theater

Above and below, we have shots from Riverdance at the Wang (now the Citi Performing Arts Center); The Wang was spectacular, as was the show.

Then there was the Boston Anime convention.  Alison’s niece Meredith, who’s a Sophomore at MIT, is a big cosplay aficionado and had lined up a “Last Air Bender” (an American anime series that was critically acclaimed) with a crew about twenty strong.  The convention wasn’t quite as good as the one we went to in LA, but it was fun, and Meredith’s team were worth seeing by themselves. 

When we were coming back from RPI one time I told Alison about the Higgin’s Armor Museum, the largest collection of medieval armor in the world, that was housed in a castle-like building in Worchester.  It turned out that it closed in 2015 due to lack of funds, but a significant portion of the collection ended up in the Worchester Art Museum.  So we took the one weekend in the last six months where we were not doing something and went (becoming members, of course).  Which turned out to be fun not just because of the armor, but because they have a number of artifacts from a joint venture with Harvard to excavate ancient city ruins in Italy, including a giant tile mosaic floor that had been reconstructed on site.  Plus they had added batman weapons and “body armor” to the display.  Plus they had a giant pink horse and some modern art to mock.  A win all round.

After the weather changed to something a little warmer, Alison got her “Dirty Harry” on and went to the range with me to try out a few of the pistols and one rifle (the “hello kitty” .22LR rifle that’s made to look like a AR-15).  She not only liked it, she was a natural with the Smith and Wesson Model 41, my .22 LR target pistol. 

There was a trip to Brimfield for Antiquing (there is a large show there three times a year) while Elizabeth was out visiting.  I drove Alison out for dinner with Rick, Elizabeth, and Rick's parents but she did the shopping bit while I came back to take care of the dogs and go to work the next day.

There were, of course, many board gaming nights, and Jim Hlavity, who lives in Vermont but is working a job in Massachusetts not far from Acton, is a regular guest for dinner (which is serendipitous because he’s a vegetarian and we’re doing the Purple Carrot Vegan meal service). There was a demand that Rick wear Dobie like a hat one evening, which he did, but we were not drinking heavily. 

At the end of May, Patric moved in with Will, and while it's a "try before you buy" kind of deal, it seems likely that we are down to three dogs (and a cat). 

And, finishing up, a few shots of the other pets, and of Noah and Alicia at her graduation (which we did not make but enjoyed seeing photos from).