Author: Trish

Mom, wife, Christian, Aspie, bookworm - these are just a few of my labels. Of course, a person is more than her labels.

Boston Trip Wrap-Up

As much as we enjoyed the historical sites we visited in Boston, we also enjoyed some other aspects of our trip.

On Wednesday, we went to the New England Aquarium and then went on a whale watching cruise.  We arrived at the aquarium just as it was opening and got to watch the feeding of the penguins.  They also had fur seals and sea lions as well as a variety of other exhibits.  It wasn’t a large place but it was interesting and I got some good pictures.

20180627_132950The whale watching cruise was pretty neat.  We went about 90 minutes away from Boston, out to a plateau where the whales like to feed.  I wish we had gone up to the deck a little bit earlier to get a better spot, as it was kind of hard to see for a lot of the time.  Later on, some people moved around and we were able to get to the front, although a lot of the activity was still off to one side of the boat so we didn’t see as much as we would have liked.  We did have several sightings of a mom and her calf as they surfaced several times.  I’m sharing the best picture we got; it’s just of a tail unfortunately.

20180628_172535On Thursday afternoon, we went to a chocolate factory in Somerville, the town where we were staying.  It was called Taza Chocolate, and they produce stone ground chocolate.  They have a tour which includes a video and a peek into the factory where they make the chocolate, as well as all the samples you could want.  Their original product is a Mexican style chocolate disc which has a somewhat gritty texture due to the way the sugar is ground, but they also make chocolate bars which are ground more finely and are closer to what we are used to.  We enjoyed visiting the factory and sampling the various chocolates.

The other fun part of our trip was the food.  We went to two pubs, as well as a seafood restaurant and an Italian restaurant.  I had seafood at one of the the pubs and a burger at the other; both were good.  The seafood restaurant had good fish but the lobster topping was very chewy – either it was badly prepared or I just don’t like lobster, I’m not sure which!  The Italian restaurant was my favorite; it was also in Somerville and was called Vinny’s. Perhaps I was just really hungry after walking around in the rain all morning, but I quite enjoyed my pasta and meatball, and they had excellent bread.

All in all, our trip to Boston was a really good one and I’m glad we went there.  I’m looking forward to our next adventure, wherever that will be!

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Boston Trip Historical Sites

Our main purpose in going to Boston was to experience as much of the history of the town as we could.  We started out on Tuesday by taking guided tours of the Freedom Trail, which is a collection of various American Revolutionary historical sites.  We did the first part in the morning and the North End in the afternoon.  The guides were costumed in period clothes and were both quite good.  I enjoyed the afternoon tour a little more because that guide talked a lot about the daily life of people around the time of the Revolution – what they wore and what they ate, stuff like that.

Our favorite part of the morning tour was the Granary Burying Ground.  It was a peaceful spot in the midst of a busy city.  The highlights of the North End tour were the Old North Church and the Paul Revere House.  Both of these sites were also available to tour inside.  By the time we finished the North End tour, I needed a little break so I rested while Joe toured the Old North Church.  Then we walked back to the Paul Revere House and toured that.  I found it interesting that they chose to restore the Paul Revere House to the original condition rather than the way it was while Paul Revere’s family lived there, given that he was the one who made it famous.

We weren’t planning to visit any historical sites on Wednesday, but the people we met on the whale watching tour recommended the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.  We had time after the cruise, so we headed over there and went through the tour.  I had two thoughts during the experience – cheesy and hokey.  It was the most expensive historical thing we did and it was seriously overrated.  Definitely not recommended!

On Thursday, we headed over to the Charlestown area and visited the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill.  The USS Constitution has a nice little museum and then you can walk around the ship itself.  It was raining so we mainly saw the area below decks.  Bunker Hill also had a small museum as well as the monument that you could climb up inside.  It was almost 300 steps so I let Joe do it while I waited in the museum.

I would highly recommend Boston as a good destination for history lovers.  It was very walkable and offered a lot of interesting sites to see.  As I mentioned in my first Boston post, it was also easy to get around using the subway and buses, which is good because no one I talked to recommended driving or trying to find parking in the city.

Orchard HouseBefore we headed home on Friday, we decided to make our way over to Concord to visit Orchard House.  This is where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.  It was a fascinating tour.  We saw a short video about Louisa and then walked through the house and saw how it was set up while their family lived there.  All of the paintings in the house except for the portraits were done by her sister May (Amy in the book) so we got to see a lot of her work as well as seeing the Civil War era furnishings and decorations.

If you’re interested in this time period or in Louisa May Alcott, there are several other sites in the Concord area to see.  We needed to get on the road, so we just went to the Orchard House and then headed home.

We did a few other things in Boston that were not historical, so I plan to write another post about those places.  Look for that in a couple of days!

Boston Trip Overview

Joe and I recently went to Boston for a few days for our summer vacation. Michael went and stayed with his dad during our trip since we didn’t think he would appreciate all the walking and the historical sites we were planning to visit.

20180624_1354098674857650037859414.jpgIt was a really nice trip despite the fact that my car got totaled the day before we left. Throughout the week, I was on the phone with different people to get that taken care of, including the police to follow up on the insurance card the other driver provided that turned out to be fake.

We stayed in a room in a house in a close suburb of Boston and got around via the subway and bus. I was quite nervous ahead of time wondering how this would go, but it turned out to be pretty easy.  It was about a ten minute walk from the place we stayed to the nearest station, and we were able to find stops close to the places we wanted to go as well.

img_20180628_142639_1777193417146913380400.jpgThe weather was beautiful most of the week, although we did have rain on Thursday. We still went ahead with our plans though. Luckily we had bought sweatshirts the day before for our whale watching tour, so we wore those to deal with the rain. I made a note to bring ponchos on our next vacation!

I plan to write a couple more posts about our trip, one covering the historical sites we saw and another for the other stuff we did, so those will be coming up in the next few days.

Asperger’s and Girls

girls

Asperger’s and Girls is a book with nine chapters from different autism experts, some of whom are autistic themselves, about various aspects of Asperger’s as it relates to females.  It was published in 2006 and I’m sure was groundbreaking at the time, as we are still seeing the need for education about the incidence and experience of females with Asperger’s today.

The first few chapters deal with the issue of under-diagnosis of Asperger’s in females and discuss the need for programming and services designed specifically for this population.  Tony Attwood, a clinical psychologist from Australia and prominent author and speaker about autism, starts off the book by talking about the ways that females can present differently from males.  I appreciate him speaking out about this so much; in fact, it was at a conference where he spoke about autism in females that I first suspected I was autistic.  He is followed by Catherine Faherty talking about starting a women’s group in her area and by Sheila Wagner talking about the needs of girls in the educational system.

Chapter Four is about fitting in and having friends, as well as bullying, primarily during the teenage years.  While there is a lot of good information about typical peer structures, the focus is exclusively on how a girl can adapt to fit in with typical peers, rather than accepting herself as she is and finding friends who can accept her as well.

There is a chapter on puberty that has some good information and advice to parents and educators on how to help girls prepare for that time in their life, as well as a chapter about the transition from high school to adulthood which stresses the needs for parents to guide without being overprotective.

By far my favorite chapter is the one on dating, relationships, and marriage.  Written by Jennifer McIlwee Myers, who has Asperger’s, it promotes being comfortable with yourself and looking for a partner who will accept you for who you are.  As she puts it,

You don’t find your one true love by being fake; you find him by living your life and being the best version of you that you can achieve.  A girl or woman with AS isn’t going to find her best life by trying to be neurotypical, but rather by striving to the the best darn Aspie she is able to be.

This is one of the longer chapters in the book and is full of great advice and encouragement.

Chapter Eight is the story of an autistic woman detailing her experiences with motherhood.  She has a total of four children, two of whom are autistic.  Her story is one of gradual discovery and understanding as she learns to support and advocate for her children.

The book ends somewhat abruptly with a short chapter by Temple Grandin talking about her choice to focus on her career and not pursue any sort of dating or romantic relationships.  She explains that this is because of the way she is wired and that other people may wish for different things in their lives, but says she is happy and fulfilled by her solitary life.

All in all, this was a good read with some valuable information about Asperger’s in girls and women.  I would definitely recommend it.

Top Reads This Spring

My reading life goes through cycles where I read a lot and where I rarely pick up a book. Lately I have been reading quite a bit, even going to the library regularly to get more books. Here are a few that I have really enjoyed over the last couple of months.

A French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe – I was mesmerized when I read her first novel, The Color of Tea, and have eagerly read her other books as well. This novel centers on Juliette, a chef who has recently lost her restaurant in Paris and returned to her hometown to be a personal chef to Max. Max is a washed-up rock star who decides to host his group of college friends for his birthday weekend. As the friends navigate their various relationship issues, Juliette is drawn out of her shell and into their circle. This was a well-paced, enjoyable read.

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg – Berg is one of my favorite authors, and this book does not disappoint! On one of his daily outings to the cemetery where his wife is buried, Arthur meets Maddy, a high school girl avoiding school by hiding out there. Their relationship with each other as well as Arthur’s neighbor Lucille forms the basis for the story. I enjoyed the characters and plot equally and highly recommend it.

Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt – This is an engaging novel about two sisters, Lucy and Juliet, and how their relationship evolves when Lucy comes to stay with Juliet after her life in Boston comes apart at the seams. Set in a small town in England’s Lake District, this charming novel offers hope that even strained relationships can be mended. I loved both the setting and the characters. A side note of interest, I found out after posting that I had read the book on Goodreads that the author is my friend’s husband’s sister – talk about a small world!

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn – I didn’t realize before I started this book that it was a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, but it became very obvious even within the first chapter. I was delighted because that is my favorite novel of all time! In this adaptation, Anne Corey is an English professor at a small college in California who finds her ex-fiance Adam Martinez has just become the president of her school. It was a charming take on the story and a fun read.

A Few Good Sci Fi Shows

I have always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy. When I was younger, I had an extensive book collection and would reread favorites over and over. I no longer have the books but I still enjoy the genre. Recently I have been watching a few good sci fi shows that I wanted to share.

travelersTravelers – this is a time travel show. Travelers come from the future to our time to try to change events to make the future better. I absolutely loved this show and binged watched it in one weekend. It has two seasons and is on Netflix.

extantExtant – led by Halle Berry, this is a show set in the future that involves both humanoid robots and alien life. I really enjoyed the futuristic setting and the different ethical dilemmas that came up. It is also two seasons and is on Amazon Prime as well as CBS All-Access.

lost in spaceLost in Space – this is a remake of an old show which I have surprisingly not seen. It is also set in the future and centers on a group of people who have set out to colonize another planet. Something goes wrong and they end up stranded somewhere else. This is on Netflix and there is one season so far. Joe and I watched it together and both liked it.

crossingThe Crossing – this is another time travel show. A group of people appear in the water off the coast of an American town and say they have come from the future to escape a war. The US government gets involved and the mystery deepens as the show goes on. It’s quite good! It’s a current show on ABC and all seven episodes that have come out so far are available on their app at the time of this post.

Have you seen any of these and, if so, what did you think of them?  Do you have any recommendations of other shows I might like?

Thinking About Getting a Dog

animal dog pet cute

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

So, we are thinking about getting a dog.  Specifically, we would be adopting a boxer from a rescue.  Joe had two different boxers growing up and is very partial to the breed, plus from everything I have read, they can be great family dogs.  They do generally need a lot of exercise, but Joe would be able to walk it twice a day, and I could take it out during the day as needed to run around the backyard.  There are also a number of dog parks around the area that we could take it to.

The biggest concern I have is how the dog would get along with our five year old cat, Peanut Butter.  Since the dog we would be getting would not be a puppy, we would be able to request one that is good with cats, so that should be a help.  I have not owned a dog as an adult, and my mom did most of the training for the dogs I had when I was growing up, so this is a whole new area for me.  But I’m thinking I will have to train our cat to eat at certain times of the day instead of leaving his food out all the time.

I’m also trying to think of all the expenses that will come out so we can be prepared budget-wise.  The dog will come already spayed or neutered and microchipped.  Here’s what I have so far:

    • Adoption fee
    • Dog license
    • Food bowls & food
    • Crate & dog bed
    • Leash & brush
    • Toys & treats
    • Flea/tick and heartworm prevention
    • Vet checkups and vaccinations
    • Pet insurance

 

Let me know if there’s anything else you can think of that should be on the list.

I’m not sure when this will be happening, but hopefully sometime this year.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress!