Monday, June 25, 2007

Weird Plant

Yesterday, when we got home from Massachusetts, we saw that our weird plant that shot up out of nowhere (well actually it shot up out of one of our spikey plants) has blossomed.

We don't know what the heck it is. Even with flowers, we're not sure we like it!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


My daddy is about a billion times better at making pretty lawns and gardens than I am. This morning before we left, I took some pictures of the gardens he planted in their yard. This one is front of the house, in the spot where there was a big old spruce tree that used to be there when I was growing up.

This little garden is next to the driveway:

There's another pretty garden that is now in the place where our vegetable garden used to be. I decided not to take a picture of it this morning because the lighting wasn't so good and would have looked strange in a photograph. Maybe next time!

What Lies Beneath

After leaving my folks' house and before heading back to New Jersey, Mommy, Daddy, Kenji and I all went to visit the southern side of the Quabbin Reservoir.

Quabbin Reservoir is a large man-made body of water in central Massachusetts that was created in the early part of the 20th century to provide a source of clean drinking water for the city of Boston and various other communities. In order to build the reservoir, four Swift River Valley towns had to be dismantled, with the residents, buildings trees and everything moved elsewhere or dismantled. This meant moving the cemeteries too. Most of the deceased that had been buried in those four towns were moved to Quabbin Park Cemetery, which is just across the street from the three main entrances for visiting the Windsor Dam and Goodnough Dike. The cemetery is also the site of the letterbox we found today, entitled What Lies Beneath. Dig that creepy hand reaching up from the grave!

Windsor Dam

After finding our letterbox, we all drove over to the visitor's center on the west side of the Windsor Dam. It used to be that you could enter any of the three main entrances that lead to the Windsor Dam and Goodnough Dike, and you would be able to drive through to any of the other entrances by way of driving over the dams. But since 9/11, driving over the dams is no longer allowed.Above is looking across the half-mile long Windsor Dam.

And Kenji and me sitting on the side of the dam, with just a tiny bit of the reservoir in the background.

Quabbin Summit

After visiting the Windsor Dam and the visitors center, we all headed over to the Quabbin Summit, where there is a tower and a lookout that offers a 360° view of the area. In the distant background of this photo, you can see Mt. Monadnock all the way in New Hampshire.

This little bench is a nice place to sit to take in the scenery.

It was from that little bench that I spotted these little wildflowers:

After taking pictures of the wildflowers, I took a picture of Mommy, Daddy and Kenji sitting on the bench, with the Quabbin Summit tower in the background.

Enfield Overlook

Our final stop in our visit to the Quabbin Reservoir was the Enfield Lookout. From here you have a view of what used to be the town of Enfield. The sign next to Kenji illustrates this very well, with the top picturing Enfield prior to 1939 when it was dismantled, and the bottom picturing what used to be the town after it was dismantled, but before the floodwaters rose to create the view you see in the background today.

The Common Italian

At Enfield Overlook we said farewell to Mommy and Daddy and headed on our merry way back to New Jersey. We were hungry, so we stopped in Belchertown for some lunch at a place called the Common Italian, which is located on, well, the town common.

Inside the Common Italian is a picture of the same building, lath art style.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Things you find in an unplugged freezer

Shortly after Kenji and I rode away for our bike ride today, my mom went downstairs to the cellar to get some blueberries out of the freezer to make blueberry cake.

Well the blueberries seemed rather soft and unfrozen. Turns out my dad had unplugged the freezer a few days ago and forgot to plug it back in!

So it turns out the majority of the food had thawed and was no good. My folks carted five large bags of soggy wet no good food to the dump. Good thing the dump was open today, or the food might also have been smelly and moldy by the time they could dispose of it.

I'm sorry that I missed all the excitement though - my dad said he came across a package of meat - a package that was dated 1977! I would have liked to take a picture of that!


Tonight for dinner, Mommy and Daddy took us out to a new restaurant in town, Picasso. Picasso is in the building that used to be the post office, and is located right on the town green.

I was impressed - finally a restaurant in town that doesn't serve either pizza, grinders, spaghetti or burgers! Kenji had salmon, Mommy had shrimp scampi, Daddy had the Picasso (chicken with mashed potatoes and other yummy stuff) and I had pesto sacchettini with grilled shrimp. It was all very yummy.

Wild Turkey!

Wild turkeys are not an unusual sight in my parents' yard. Yet seeing them is still impressive. This one we spotted when we arrived home after dinner this evening. He was in the front yard, and began to run away when he saw us pull into the driveway. I stopped the car before pulling all the way in, and managed to snap this distant, blurry shot before he wandered off into the woods.

A few minutes later we saw that Mr. Turkey had flown way up into a tree. I didn't even know turkeys could fly, since the only turkeys I've ever seen were either waddling around in my parents' back yard or in the woods, or on a large platter on the Thanksgiving dinner table. I did take some pictures of the turkey in the tree... but he was so far away that you can barely make him out in the photos. So instead here's a picture of one of the day lilies growing in the garden.

Bike ride in Massachusetts

This weekend, Kenji and I are visiting my mommy and daddy in Massachusetts. Now that we have a Honda Fit, we can fit all kinds of stuff in it. We crammed a big iMac box (with iMac inside), Kenji's suitcase, my weekend bag, letterboxing stuff, my laptop and our two bikes along with our helmets, Camel Backs, etc. into the Fit.

The bike ride we took was along a dirt road and defunct railroad track bed that follows alongside the Burnshirt River. Along the way we came across a little cemetery, which is aptly named Riverside Cemetery. It's a pretty little cemetery in the middle of nowhere, accessible only by dirt roads. The oldest grave marker we saw was from 1804; the latest I noticed was 1998.

Mommy's Work

When we finished riding the old railroad track bed, we made our way back through town on asphalt to go find someplace to have lunch. Along the way, we passed by my mommy's work, where they are building a new facility for them to move into. We stopped to check it out. I especially liked the orange spray paint sign that reads "Sorry not open yet!" I thought that was classy. ;)

Cook's Canyon

After having lunch, Kenji and I wandered over to a place called Cook's Canyon. I hadn't been to Cook's Canyon in probably a couple of decades, maybe even three! I have vague memories of a week-long 5th grade camping trip. Also I seem to remember people dancing around a May pole, maybe for Brownies or Girl Scouts or something like that. And if I'm not mistaken, I think they used to have other little celebrations or festivals there about which I simply can't remember any details.

Now Cook's Canyon is controlled by the Audubon Society, and is protected as a nature preserve. We went and visited the canyon, which is quite a bit smaller than the Grand Canyon. :) The canyon is rather overgrown, and therefore difficult to photograph in a grand scale. So instead I just took this picture of the waterfall inside the canyon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tulip Bartex

A few weeks ago, we received a citation from our town saying that we need to replace a portion of the sidewalk in front of our house. Apparently in this town, residents are responsible for sidewalk maintenance, and not just for making sure it's shoveled in the wintertime. A few slabs of our sidewalk is all broken up because the roots of a tree owned by the town is pushing up on them. So we have to fix the sidewalk, and the town has to grind out the tree roots so that they won't break the sidewalk again.

While we are at it fixing the sidewalk, we thought it made sense to also go ahead and get our front steps replaced, as well as the walkway leading to our steps. The contractor we hired for the job asked us to go to a local lumber and masonry yard and select which type of brick we want. We did that this morning before heading off to NYC, and the type of brick we picked out is called Tulip Bartex.

Jim Benton at Licensing 2007

Today Kenji and I took the train into NYC to spend the day. The first reason we planned to do that today was to walk the exhibit hall at the Licensing International 2007 trade show. Then it just so happened that our friends Vivian and Kai were visiting from Hawaii, so we also made plans to meet them for dinner.

Almost immediately after entering the exhibit hall we came across Jim Benton's booth. Jim Benton is the creator of Happy Bunny - a cute little bunny who basically says everything sucks or is stupid. Jim was actually in his booth, drawing pictures for whoever was interested. So I hopped in line, and got us our very own personalized Happy Bunny original. My only regret is I forgot to tell him to write that we suck or are stupid or something like that. D'oh!

Spammobile! (TM)

Another favorite thing we came across at Licensing International 2007 was the Spammobile (TM)... Guess what the the Spammobile (TM) was serving up??? That's right! Spam Musubi!!! :)

Why don't we do it in the road?

After we finished walking the floor at Licensing International 2007, Kenji and I wandered up 8th Ave to the Port Authority bus terminal, where there is a Jamba Juice. There is no Jamba Juice in New Jersey, at least not anywhere we've come across. Anyway, I was excited to get an Orange Dream Machine. Yummy. But we couldn't have done it without Tiff's help - during one of my many phone calls to her today, she provided us with Map Quest support from her computer at work.

Since we weren't planning to meet Viv and Kai until 5:30, we killed some time by going to see the Fantastic Four movie at the AMC Theater on 42nd Street. Then we wandered through Times Square, where I was simultaneously surprised and not surprised to see a yoga class taking place in the middle of the road.

Somehow this doesn't seem to be the most relaxing setting for yoga, but who am I to judge?

Squished Canadian M&M Penny

Just before dinner, Kenji and I stopped at the M&M store near Times Square. The M&M Store had a penny squisher machine, and Kenji had a Canadian penny, so we decided to squish it.

It turns out that Canadian pennies don't squish as well as American Pennies. At least they don't in American penny squishing machines. Our M&M design got cut off a bit, so perhaps Canadian pennies don't contain as much metal...

Dinner with Vivian and Kai...

...and Matthew and Tiffany and Eleanor and Eleanor's fiance and Viv's mom and dad and cousin.

Originally, I thought Kenji and I were going to have dinner with just Viv, Kai and Tiffany. But then I found out that we were to meet up with her friend Matthew, and then also Eleanor and her fiance, and then also Viv's mom and dad and cousin. I never caught Eleanor's fiance's name because they sat so far away from us, and it was pretty noisy at the restaurant. We ate at Uncle Nick's Greek Cuisine. The food there was extra yummy.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Site of Washington's Crossing

Yesterday, Kenji and I went for another bike ride, once again starting in Lambertville, but this time heading south to Washington's Crossing.

Transcribed from the sign (not the one pictured here!) we saw at the crossing:

General George Washington and 2400 Continental soldiers crossed the icy Delaware River from Pennsylvania and landed at this spot on Christmas night 1776 on their way to attack the British mercenary force of Hessian soldiers at Trenton.

The last of the rebel soldiers, horses and 18 cannon landed from the Durham and ferry boats in the pre-dawn hours of December 26 and assembled in a snowcovered field next to the nearby Ferry House. They made a surprise attack on Trenton at dawn, killing or wounding over 100 Hessians and capturing 900 along with their arms, ammunition, and artillery.

That afternoon the victorious but exhausted Continentals marched their prisoners back through the snow and re-crossed into Pennsylvania. The captured Hessians were marched through Philadelphia on New Years Day 1777. This victory, after so many defeats, renewed the spirits of the rebellious colonies and is recognized as "The Turning Point of the American Revolution."

Not the smelly dam

Between Lambertville and Washington's Crossing is somewhere around six miles of bike path that is part of the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park. The picture here is of the first dam just south of Lambertville. It's no wonder we did not stop to take pictures at the second one, as judging by the smell, it appeared to be the site of Lambertville's sewage treatment station. Yuck!

On a completely different topic, I'm trying out a new method of breaking up my longer posts into a bunch of smaller posts. This was suggested by Tiffany to Joe, who is now the caretaker of the Gas House Gorillas' blog. Joe noticed that people haven't been posting comments as much as they used to when Dan was taking care of it. Tiff suggested that maybe it's because Joe posts an entire evening of pictures all at once instead of breaking them up into individual posts. Anyway we'll see how this goes. :)

Turning Around

After checking out Washtington's Crossing, we continued to ride south for another couple miles. We turned around where we saw a sign for Scudder Falls. First of all, we didn't see any waterfalls. Second, when I look for Scudder Falls on the map, Google says it's still another 2 or 3 mile south of where we saw the sign. However I did detect a louder rushing of water in this particular spot on the otherwise calm Delaware River, and I suppose it's likely that the town of Scudder Falls doesn't have to be immediately next to where the falls are supposed to be one the river.

The picture above was taken from a little patch of grass alongside the Delaware, and far away in the background (near Kenji's elbow) you can see the bridge (left) that is now used to cross the Delaware River at Washington's Crossing. I wonder if General Washington would have enjoyed having that bridge there on Christmas night of 1776? ;)


I'm sorry to say I did not manage to take any photos of one of my favorite parts of our bike ride - the little town of Titusville. It was here that we strayed from the D&R Canal path and rode through town to get down to Washington's Crossing. The houses are all super-cute, especially along River Road. On River Road, the houses are on the far side of the street from the river. On the river side of the street, there is a narrow strip of nicely manicured private lawns with pretty benches or Adirondack chairs positioned to overlook the river. It was very pretty and quite peaceful.

Back to Lambertville

So here we are, almost back to Lambertville. You can see the steeple to one of the churches just to the right of me. This is actually the same bridge where I took the picture of Kenji looking at the water rushing over the dam, except this was taken at the very end of our bike ride.

All in all, I think we rode about 16 miles round trip, which isn't a whole lot for people who ride bikes all the time. But we were hot, tired and hungry. For lunch, we went to the Full Moon Cafe on Bridge Street. Full Moon is normally only open for breakfast and lunch, but opens for dinner as well only on those nights when there is a full moon. This is half of the yummy A.B.L.T. sandwich that I had for lunch.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nature's Little Sanitation Engineer

This morning, we were sitting in the dining room eating breakfast, when I noticed a little critter in our back yard. At first I thought it was a tiny squirrel. But the little critter revealed himself a little more, and he turned out to be an opossum! He waddled through our back yard, then boogied across our patio right up to our house, around the side of the house, and then across into our neighbor's front yard. That's where I took this picture of him. He didn't seem to be frightened of me, so I wonder if he was blind and could not see me. Maybe that explains why he just walked right into our house before walking around it. Poor li'l guy.

Opossums have cute feet. I also learned from the Opossum Society of the United States (who knew there was such an organization?) that opossums are also know as "Nature's Little Sanitation Engineers" because they do a good job of eating up bugs and cockroaches and stuff.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Simone's Gorilla Dance

Last night was the first Simone dance I've been to in over a year. I haven't been going to her dances for several reasons. Those of her dances that are DJ'd, I haven't really cared much for the music selection. The dances she hires bands for generally cost too much. But this week Simone hired the Gas House Gorillas, so this time it was worth it. :)

Simone has changed venues since the last time I went to one of her dances. She now holds them at the Women's Club in Montclair. It's a nice space for a dance, but the floor is extra fast. I didn't even need to change into my dance shoes, which is just as well, because they would have looked extra silly with the dress I was wearing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Offices

Today was supposed to be the first day of business operations in my workplace's new offices. 

Last Thursday we finally began our move - which was happening about a month and a half after our original move date. Then we found out that the town stopped by the day before, looking for the permits for all the renovations that had been going on for months. In short, neither the landlord nor the contractor obtained them, and now we can't open for business in our new offices!

At least the town allowed us to move most of our stuff in. However they are requiring that we not operate our business out of the new offices until all the permits and inspections have been completed to the town's satisfaction.

Who knows how long that will take. Fortunately our current landlord is allowing us to stay until we can move. The only things we didn't move were the network and the phone system. We all brought in folding tables to work on now that we don't have any desks. Heh.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dashboard Widget

Cool! I just downloaded Blogger's Mac OS X dashboard widget. It's cute!

Too bad I can't post pictures using the widget...

(Yes I had to update this post using Firefox to add the screen shot!)

Monday, June 04, 2007

No Good Reason

I don't really have anything to blog about right now. Kenji had to leave for work early today, so I got up to move the car for him. I'm very sleepy, but it doesn't make sense to go back to sleep now for such a short time.

So anyway, I just noticed today that I had only one more post to go to make it to #200. And that seemed like reason enough to post this morning. Looks like post #100 was a little over a year ago. Also looks like I didn't have anything interesting to say then, either!

Oh, and my friend, Thad, saw that I had lost the picture of me holding the shark that Daniel caught, so he emailed it to me. I added it to the sidebar (you have to scroll down to find it).

The End.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Riding on the D&R

This morning, Kenji and I got up sort of early and drove down to Lambertville to take a little bike ride along the Delaware & Raritan Canal. This was where we had planned to go riding last weekend, but we did not get our butts in gear in time.

The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park is a very long park that extends all the way from north of Frenchtown, down nearly all the way to Trenton, and then back up to New Brunswick, NJ. We, however, did not ride anywhere near that far today. :) We started in Lambertville and rode about 7.5 miles north to Bull's Island. We walked our bikes across the Delaware River footbridge at Bull's Island, took a picture of ourselves with the bridge behind us from the Pennsylvania side, then turned around and rode back to Lambertville.

On our way back to Lambertville, we stopped at the Prallsville Mill and Lock, which is just north (and west) of Stockton, and had a hard time taking a good picture of the two of us with the tall red barn in the background.

As you can see, we ended up taking pictures separately. :)

There was an art show going on in one of the buildings. It wasn't that much of a show - just one artist displaying his paintings. I forget his name. I think it was Ty something-or-other. He did impressionistic looking oil paintings. I liked his paintings because the colors were vibrant. I would have bought one, but they were going for $500 apiece, plus it would be difficult to carry a painting back with me on a bicycle. ;) I found this doggy standing in the doorway of the building where the art show was.

Just a few other pictures from our ride...