On the Wellesley Trails Again

The nail that ended my ride!

The nail that ended my ride!

Today I went for another bike ride on the Wellesley Trails, only this time it didn’t go so well.  I got through about 5.5 miles on the Aqueduct Trail, then to the Fuller Brook Trail.  They are doing a lot of work on that trail.  When I got to the Senior High/Hunnewell Field Area, I took a turn onto a closed trail.  Then I ran over the nail in the image to the right.

I didn’t realize it right away.  The trail is partially closed, but there’s no warning when you approach the closure.  I got to a gate, then turned around, just as a couple of runners came down the same path, so I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know about the closure.

When I started riding again, I heard a clanking as my wheels turned.  I stopped and this was sticking out of my back tire.  I pulled it out but the tire was already flat .

So my ride became a walk back home, but fortunately it was only about 2 miles.  Here’s a gallery.

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Happy Holidays

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Master of the Trebon Altarpiece [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Once again conservative media is outraged over people who say “Happy Holidays, and once again I am disturbed by the vitriolic reaction against what is, to my mind, a magnanimous, generous, all encompassing gesture.  Wishing someone Happy Holidays seems rather Jesus-like to me.  I’m not sure if that makes it Christian, though.  An awful lot of Christians today seem to have a real chip on their shoulder, and don’t behave at all like the Jesus whose story is told in the gospels.

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Bikes of The French Quarter and Marigny, New Orleans

Just some bikes.  I realized I had a lot of pictures of them, and thought I’d share some in their element.

 

Unequal Clashes on the Roads: Bikes, Pedestrians and Motor Vehicles

The Overpass

The Overpass

I biked to the Green Line today from my home in MetroWest.  For most of the way to the Woodland stop I ride along Route 16 feeling relatively safe. Sometimes the vehicles come a little close for comfort and I worry I might get run off the road.  But I’m usually riding down the edge of the road, wearing a helmet, and not at risk of getting pushed into ongoing traffic, so I feel fairly safe.  But then I get to that giant clusterf–k of roads surrounding the 95/128 overpass.  In rapid succession you have Wales St., Quinobequin Road, the On and Off Ramps for the interstate, Neshobe Road, and finally Beacon Street.Every time I get there I feel like I take my life in my hands!

I obey the rules of traffic as much as possible when I commute by bike.  It seems like the safest way.   Today I tried to go straight through a green light while oncoming traffic was turning left.  I had the right of way, yet they started and just kept going.  If I wanted to get through, I would have had to insist.  I started forward and whistled as loud as a could.  An oncoming utility van with open windows slowed down, yelled at me, “You’re supposed to act like a car,” and then kept going.  It was a nerve-racking situation.  I was, in fact, behaving like a car, obeying the rules of traffic and I had the right of way.  I made it through safely, but I was flustered, and a bit breathless.

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For My Mother, Born August 7th 1935, Support the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace

Mom’s 70th Birthday with my niece and nephew


There is so much about my work at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace and my life in West Virginia that makes me think of my mother.  She would have hated the snakes and loved the birds!  She would have loved the country homes, but hated the widespread poverty.  I often find myself taking pictures of things in the Pearl Buck Birthplace, brightly colored birds, or unabashed wildlife staring at me defiantly from my yard and thinking, I can’t wait to show this to Mom!

She would have been very proud of my work here, though like my father is now, she would have been concerned about me getting by on the modest stipend of an Americorps Volunteer.  Still she would have approved.
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What Makes a Family?

I was researching something I was writing today when I came across a compelling article by Pearl S. Buck  “The Children Waiting: The Shocking Scandal of Adoption,” published in the September 1955 issue of Woman’s Home Companion.  1955 was after World War II and the Korean War.  During both those conflicts there had been many American troops stationed in Asia who, as the euphemism put it, “had needs.”  The needs of the Asian women who satisfied them mattered less, and many were left behind with child.

At that time adoptions were handled largely by sectarian religious institutions and the children were placed into families that “matched” them in terms of race, religion, and other characteristics.  This meant a lot of children, especially those of mixed race parents, were simply not adoptable.  They spent their lives in institutions until they could fend for themselves.

Buck saw the injustice of this.  Moreover, having adopted several children herself, she new that not all potential parents shopped for children as if they were furniture or shoes.

Two babies came [to me] from adoption agencies, where they were considered unadoptable because it was difficult to find adoptive parents to “match” them. I was sure that there must be good families, matching or not, who could love these babies and indeed there were. . . .

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5th Anniversary of Her Passing

My mother's grave. My father will be buried alongside her.

Today is the fifth anniversary of my mother’s passing. There’s not much else to say that I didn’t already in a previous blog post except that I miss her immensely. There are times when I feel rudderless or lack confidence that I wish she were here. Mom never really told me what to do with my life, but she was always my strongest supporter and she just always made me feel like I could do anything.  My ego and self-confidence have never been strong.  I think she knew that and did here best to cultivate them.  Everyone should have someone like that in their lives.

I am closer than every to my father now, and I am grateful for that.  It’s kind of a cliche to say, but my parents are my heroes, more so than any celebrity, public official, intellectual or anyone I know.  So I welcome this chance to get to know on a deeper level the man who inspires me  so much

In fact, all of my family have been drawn closer by missing mom!  She was a woman who gave so much for others, and perhaps this was her last gift to us, forcing us all to realize how much we matter to one another.  Thanks Mom!

 

Help Me with a Concert List: My Memory Doesn’t Serve Me Well

Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses in Boston MA. Always a great show!

If you have ever been to a concert with me, I need your help! I’ve been trying to come up with complete list of every musical act I’ve seen in concert, from the cradle to now. Well, not every act.  They have to be nationally or internationally known, because if I list every band I’ve seen at a local event, I’d never stop listing.  I’d also never be able to do it.  I’m also not including choruses, orchestras, musicals or theatrical events.  Let’s take Harry Connick Jr. or Bernadette Peters for example.  Both of these people have done concerts on Broadway and been in shows.  Harry Connick Jr. I list because I have seen him in concert.  I have not seen him in a musical, but even if I had, I wouldn’t list him unless I had also seen him in concert.  I have seen Bernadette Peters in musicals, but I have yet to see her in concert, except recorded.  So she is not on my list.

Anyway, I can’t remember them all.  I know I am missing some.  One act came back to me today since I originally developed this list and posted in on Facebook last night.  Something brought them to mind.  It was a good show, too!  It’s just hard to bring all acts to mind in a list like this.

So if you’ve been to a show or festival with me, could you look at this list and make sure all the artists we saw are included here. The band has to have made enough of an impression on my that I remember seeing them of course.  If I don;t remember them, I’m not going to add them, but I know the list should be longer than this.  Plus I keep finding duplicates, so it isn’t even really this long!

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • James Morrison
  • The Gaslight Anthem
  • Suzanne Vega
  • Idir
  • Najat Attabou
  • Cheb Mami
  • Khaled
  • Cesaria Evora
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • Prince
  • Foreigner
  • Bryan Adams
  • Tinariwen
  • Ashley MacIsaac
  • Tina Turner
  • Midnight Oil

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Tell Congress Not To Double Interest on Student Loans

Prepare yourself: on July 1, as many as 8 million college students will see their interest rates on federally subsidized student loans double, from 3.4% to 6.8%. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, that increase amounts to the average Stafford loan borrower’s paying $2,800 more over a standard 10-year repayment term for loans made after June 30.

It’s worse for those students who take out the most money. Those who borrow the maximum $23,000 in subsidized student loans will see their debt load upped by $5,000 over a 10-year repayment plan and $11,000 over a 20-year repayment plan.  – Kayla Webley, TIME Magazine.

Fortunately this doesn’t affect those of us already carrying such loans and in repayment, though I never stop waiting for that shoe to drop.  I still remember far too well the interest on my supplemental loans being raised to 8% when Republicans controlled Congress under the Reagan administration.  It’s part of the reason my burden is so high now.  Fortunately I no longer have that kind of loan, thanks to consolidation.

The issue with the rate is, of course, budgetary.  Well, budgetary and political, as the article goes on to explain.

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