Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Buried House

I took this picture walking through the dunes on our way to pick cranberries. That rectangular shape a little left of the middle of the photo is a chimney.  The entire house has been covered by sand, but it's still there underneath the dunes.  On the way back from picking, we walked up to the chimney from the other side. You can look down into the house. It was completely black, so we couldn't see much, but next year I'm taking a flashlight so I can see better.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to Pick Cranberries


On Thanksgiving morning we picked cranberries in a bog quite far off the beaten path. This involves walking a couple of miles in on the dunes - what looks like snow, here, is really sand. It was cold, but lovely. There is something so satisfying about picking wild berries.

The COG and Son of walking on the sand.
A glimpse of ocean and shore en route.

The picture below shows what a cranberry bog looks like.  It's the green area fringed with a touch of red. This is not the Top Secret Location, off the beaten path where we picked.  This one is right next to the path.

The COG 'picking' cranberries.  He probably thought I wouldn't notice his lovely new little camera.  I didn't really mind because he took some nice photos.

The Son of actually picking cranberries.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Morning - more Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Here's another version. I keep listening to these because I love all the intermingling tunes. This one has 7 voices, if you count the Handel in the background. Does anyone recognize the Handel piece, I can't quite place it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Music for a November Saturday

I don't know what to call this, but it's incredible. Click twice on the screen to watch it on You Tube,  for some reason it only shows part of the screen.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pet Peeves: one more thing

We did have a banker suggest to us that the best thing to do with security questions (and what he did) is to have a strong password that you always use, regardless of the question.

What was the name of your favorite school teacher -  A37_beAr&

What was the name of the city you grew up in - A37_beAr&

What is your favorite restaurant - A37_beAr&


Probably a good idea, but we've never implemented it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pet Peeves: Ridiculous Security Questions

The COG is filling out a banking thing online and he has to choose four security questions from a list.  We hate hate HATE these security questions, which are required by many online sites we use.  A security question should have one unique, clear and singular response.  These do not. Plus, they must have been written by someone raised in a two-parent family in the suburbs, who never moved, who went to one elementary school and one high school etc and who has not lived more than 3 decades.

These are the choices on the list from which the COG must choose four questions, plus a few of my objections to each one:

In what city was your high school?  The COG didn't attend high school because he was educated in a different country and, thus, attended grammar school. Also, city names are a little more complex and non-singular in that country because it is so old. My family moved, so I attended high schools in two different cities.  

What is your mother’s middle name? What if your mother had more than one middle name, or used her maiden name as a middle name?  Which one do you choose?   What if you were adopted? How would the Jolie-Pitts answer this question?

In what year were you married?  What if you were married more than once, or never married?

What is the name of your best friend from high school? Please, was this list written by a 12 year old?

What's the name of your favorite restaurant?  There are people who have a favorite restaurant? 

What was the name of your favorite school teacher? The 12 year old writing again? I can barely remember the names of my school teachers, much less pick a favorite.

What's the name of your first pet? Which one -  the one my Grandparents had when we lived with them? Then there were two cats, how would I remember which one was the 'first'?   The COG never had a pet growing up, his parents had animals only after he left home. 

What model was your first car?  Why would I remember this?  I'm not sure I know the model of the car I'm driving now. Also, strange by true, there are people who have never owned a car.

What was the zip code of the town you grew up in?  Zip codes were first used in 1963.  There are many of us who grew up before then, in zip-code-less towns. Second, others of us grew up in countries that do not have zip codes at all.

What was the name of the street you grew up on?  Which time? We moved a lot and I've done a lot of growing up.

The COG once had trouble with this one on a different site.  When they asked him at a later time for the answer to this 'security question' he kept getting it wrong. Why?  Because he grew up on 'Brick Yard Lane,' so that's what he answered. It turned out that it would only accept 'Brick,' a single word response.

We have had security questions on other sites which asked for your favorite film, your favorite song, your favorite book,  and your favorite color - these are just plain stupid questions. Actual adults do not have only one 'favorite' anything and, thus, cannot answer these questions.

I know security is supposedly for our protection, but  so often, and in so many ways,  I feel much more harrassed by 'security precautions'  than I feel endangered by the problem they say they are preventing.

I send this plea to the universe... there must be someone out there who can think of a different way to do this.  Please, please do it. You'll make a fortune, while making me happy. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween in Salem

Halloween is Big Business in Salem.  Despite the fact that the whole point of the Salem Witch Trials is that the accused people weren't witches; despite the fact that every single person who was actually tortured and hanged for witchcraft maintained their innocence until the end (And the fact that none of the few people who confessed- under torture- to being witches were hanged.), Salem seems to be the world epicenter of modern witches. Or at least witches whose knowledge of history is a bit vague.

Today, Salem delights in the nickname 'Witch City.' The town is full of Goths, Wiccans and costumed role-players who stroll the streets waiting for tourists to take their pictures.  It's also full of businesses who make a living off 'witchcraft,' psychic readings, tarot readings, spell shops etc.  Halloween is, naturally, the focus of the Salem witch year, when Haunted Happenings... ummmm... happens. You are probably asking yourself- 'What is (or are) Haunted Happenings.'  Well, it is (or are) 5 weeks of various events, culminating in Halloween Hell.  Locals avoid Salem like the plague during these weeks.  On the night itself, you could not pay me to go there.  However,  we did go to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem a week before Halloween and  here are some pictures taken outside the museum.

They are pretty self-explanatory except that the tall brown witch is a 'living statue'.  She just stands there perfectly still,  making you think she is a statue, then she moves slowly and it's a little creepy. The first time I walked by her she winked at me.  It is kind of cool.

Autumn in Ipswich

It has been so beautiful here these past few weeks. Everywhere I go - the simplest errand - I am just stuck by how beautiful it is. It's not just the colors, but the low golden light through the colored trees and the texture and variety of the undergrowth now that there are fewer leaves. It's also the way the houses, and bridges, and rivers etc. look next to the trees. And the sound of dry leaves underfoot and the kind of peppery/smoky smell of autumn.

None of these pictures really capture it - the COG has done a much better job, but it's really just impossible.