Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mothers day weekend; Roadtrips, plumbing, and gardening.


04 & 05-May-13


For Mother’s day weekend, I was a bit selfish.  See, instead of just spending the weekend in Mass with my Mom, I took the change to take a nice roadtrip out to New York to visit my Grandma.  That’s the danger of having a car that I love; I’m much more willing to take long drives now.

And that’s awesome, because I hadn’t seen my Grandma Hutt in ages at that point, and getting the chance to finally drive out and see her was something that I’d been meaning to do for months.



  • The day started out very nice: I relaxed in the semi-early morning with a good breakfast out on the veranda – eating the usual bacon and eggs and fruits while sipping coffee.  I took a bit longer than intended, but was still out on the road before the noon bell struck.
  • The drive out to New York was amazing – if a bit boring.  See, the route I took was just straight out on the Mass Pike, down the spine of the state.  I did crank the music and drop the top down, of course, and even got myself a nice early season sunburn for my effort (or lack of sunscreen effort)
  • Once I do arrive out in New York it’s early afternoon still – so Grandma and I just sit back and relax for a while, catching up on how everyone in the family’s been doing.
    • It’s a bit scary, how well we remember the little things from our childhood… and how strange it is when they’re gone.  I hadn’t visited my Grandma at her house since my Grandpa passed away… and while nearly everything about the house was just as I remembered it, there was still something obviously missing.
    • After spending some time catching up we set to work – My Grandma Hutt isn’t someone to just sit around all day you know, and she had a few projects set up for us to work on while I was there.  Turns out I’m not half-bad at gardening and plumbing!  That leaky showerhead never saw it coming…
    • Dinner was excellent and relaxed – I bet everyone says this, but I’ll still consider myself a successful chef if I can someday equal her cooking.
    • After dinner, we stayed at the table and chatted some more as the news droned on in the background.  I don’t think I’ve stayed up that late with a family member in years… it must have been the early hours of the morning before we finally gave up chatting and I headed to bed.


  • Mothers Day
  • After having breakfast and spending some more time visiting with my Grandma, I packed up the car again and head out, back toward the demon-state of Massachusetts.  The plan was to meet up with a friend of mine for an early lunch, and then stop in Medway to do some Mother’s Day gardening with my mom before I drove back to Cambridge for the work week.
  • And the plan went nearly perfectly – Lunch took a bit longer than I expected, but it was nice to see Erin again since she’d moved to New York for her PHD program.   And the drive out to Medway was just as quick and fun/boring as the drive out to New York had been… possibly better thanks to some interesting traffic
    • Seriously… some people just don’t know how to drive… or just enjoy screwing with me.  I can’t count the number of times someone started to pass me on the left (while I had cruise control on), only to stop half a carlength in front of me… just in the right place that I had to either hit the brakes or slam the gas to get ahead of them.  I’ll give you one guess as to what I did.
    • Once I got to Medway though, I realized the error of my plan: It was barely after 15:30, but my Mom had already finished all the gardening work that we’d planned on doing – all that was left was a bit of edging and stone-work.
    • But thankfully I’m quite good at stonework and arranging, so I jumped right into it.
    • After gardening came British Beer Company for dinner, and after dinner came the drive all the way back into Cambridge.  Just in time to get everything ready for the week ahead.

A chill weekend at the end of April


27 & 28 APR-13


Steak and eggs make an excellent breakfast, and after a long and boring week there’s nothing quite like a relaxed weekend where I don’t try to get anything crazy done.  Just relax and let the river take me where it will…

Saturday, 27-Apr-13

  • The morning that starts with Steak and Eggs is a good morning.  I’d tried to make ribeye the night before on the small grill, and unfortunately it didn’t really work out so much – the grill got hot, but didn’t really have enough thermal energy to heat the steak all the way through.  Raw steak isn’t delicious… but re-cooked ribeye with eggs definitely is.
  • After relaxing on the verana, Marla and I get up on the bikes and go out exploring.  See… we’d been hearing music all morning, and I was curious where it was coming from.  So we set off to find out.
    • We never did find it.  Instead, we found a nice long bike ride.  Through Davis, around Porter, and out past Alewife.  We didn’t go for efficiency, or even sane pathing.  Instead, we just biked where we could, sometimes stopping to hear in which direction the music was loudest.
    • On the ride, we talked about what to do with the afternoon.  Kayaking came up once or twice, so when we found ourselves back home we looked at each other, winked, and ran off to get changed into boating clothes.
    • Having a convertible really helps adventures… there’s nothing quite like ripping down a highway with the top down, wearing only swim gear and trying to figure out the quickest way to the rental place.
      • To rent Kayaks here, you need to take a quiz.  It asks when you’re supposed to ram other boats (never), under what circumstances you can attack police (again, never), and who gets the right of way on the water (the really big boats, turns out).  It was fun.
      • We finally get on the water, and make our way downstream toward Boston itself.  We didn’t make it particularly far, to be honest, but it was quite fun either way.  The bridges were nice, and I even got to explore that pretty footbridge that I’d always wanted to walk over.  Seriously, that’s a goal of mine – walk over that bridge, at midnight, on a date.  So picturesque!
      • We realize that it’s getting dark, so back to the car we paddle.  Boats returned, it’s dinner time; so with a throw of the stick shift we head back to the old ranch.

Sunday, 28-Apr-13

  • Another relaxed day, honestly nearly nothing happens here.  Just chilling and having a good breakfast before heading out for another day of exploring
  • This time I hit up Fresh Pond – Marla takes me around at first, but then her and Minor leave to go to a party down the road.  I stay on to relax in the woods and do a bit of writing.  Afterward, I take the long walk home.  It’s excellent – I really like Cambridge right around dusk.
  • Day turns to afternoon, and afternoon blends into evening.  Which blends down into League of Legends, dinner, cartoons, and my bed.

Crow Hill Climbing Catastrophy




Ok, so it wasn’t really a “catastrophy”… but it wasn’t particularly fun either.  At all.  I’d been looking forward to getting some Crow Hill action in for ages, and when we finally got there, all it turned into was a day of fighting with the ropes…


  • I didn’t wake up crazy-early… later than normal for the week, but earlier than I’d normally want to be awake on the weekends.  But it was worth it – Marla and I had all the ingredients ready to make Omlettes by the time Daniel and Brian arrived at the house.
  • My first omlette ends in abject failure, and I’m banned from making any more
  • Daniel’s first omlette… no one knows how it turns out.  Because he, literally, welded the cover onto my frypan.  Seriously.  It was fused on, and no one could get it off.  We gave up, left it in the sink, and moved on to another pan.
  • Food isn’t too bad, in the end.  Eating out on the Veranda helps, but I still would’ve preferred an omlette without mushrooms, or a fry pan that wasn’t welded to a random cover.  But hey, food is food.  We ate up quick, and then packed into the cars and onto Route 2.
  • This is the first attempt at a playlist that Marla had made for me.  The title, appropriately, was “Ben’s driving way too fast”.  I kept to the title, and we made it there a good 10min before Daniel and Brian arrived.
  • After chatting with a park ranger, we start the walk in.  The path leads us right to the bottom of a two-pitch climb called “Green Goblin”, which Daniel and I rack up for.
    • He takes the first lead, followed by Brian, then Marla, and then myself.  Not so bad, to start.
    • Daniel takes the second pitch as well… which is where everything starts to break apart.  The rope drag is insane, X goes wrong, Y happens, etc etc etc…
    • After I follow Daniel up, we realize the problem with our plan – we can’t get the rope back to Brian and Marla.  We try, but it keeps getting jammed into the crack.  Daniel descends to try and help them out from below.
    • I end up hanging out up top for an hour or so, until we finally give up and bail on the route.  I send a rappel rope down, clean the anchor, and walk off
    • All I want to do is climb, at this point, so I convince Daniel and Co to let me set a toprope down at the eastern end of the cliffs.  We climb, and it’s rather nice.  Don’t get to lead or anything, but it’s still enough to make me feel a bit better
    • We walk off just as darkness settles in over the cliffs.  The drive home is nice, relaxing, and clean.  Especially with an excellent soundtrack to back it up!