2012 in the Rear View Mirror...

Photo by Tom Rettig
2012 was a year wasn't it?
It didn't bring the world to an end as promised but it sure seemed to come close.  The horrific shootings in Colorodo, Connecticutt, Oregon and Michigan, the Democrats wiping the mat with the Republicans who absolutely deserved every beating they took thanks to aligning themselves with the loud mouthed idiots who make the extreme right of the party every bit as unappealing as the extreme left of the Dems.

George Washington warned us that a two party system would not work-- take a look at your average marriage statistics to back that up.  Either we adopt a 14 party system like Japan or we at least get a legitimate third party up and running or we face the continued collapse of the American government who spends like drunken sailors and continue to ask us to either face giant cuts or increased taxes, neither of which is palatable.

Here in the Woo things are looking up.  The powers that be have really transformed downtown nearly into a place one might want to go to-- the Common Oval is really nice and the opening of the Front Street portion of Citysquare creates a connection to the east side of the city and removes the goliath like structure of the Galleria which was always something of an eyesore in my opinion.

For New Years Eve we almost always keep it low key and this year wasn't much different, but we had fun anyway-- to be honest spending time with Veronica is always fun-- we are literally best friends, which is something you hear a lot of married people say but in our case its completely true.

We started the night at 1pm and headed over to Old Tyme Stuffe Auctions to check out the preview of the auction that's running today.  They had the usual combination of bizarre, vintage and truly neat stuff.  Might swing by today but I'm a bit behind on deadline.

From there we shot over to WAM to park, then walked up to WPI for the cultural event they were hosting, only we were two hours early.  We'd hoped the Dunkin Donuts in the student center might be open but no luck so we walked back down to Highland Street and grabbed a bit of lunch at The Boynton.

The Boynton is almost always my fifth choice in the lineup of restaurants in a one block radius-- because its loud even when there's no one there and the hostess and the waitstaff can be some of the most curmudgeonous folks anywhere.   This was no exception-- the hostess walked us to a table between three TVs and pretty much tossed our menus on the table and headed back.

Our waitress reminded me of my fourth grade teacher, but the food was good as it almost always is.  Only once did I get a bad Pilgrim Pride (Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce on a roll) and they have french fries that are worth putting up with the attitude.

We had another 45 minutes to kill so I decided to pop into the ATM to check our joint checking account which we've been neglecting with regularity and discovered we had .36 in it-- so I withdrew some cash from my personal account and headed back to the car so we could drive over to our local branch and make a deposit.  We got back to WAM and our spot was still available so we decided to go in and see who of our friends was working.

We chatted it up with Cory Shepherd, who is the "new" outreach co ordinator-- I say "new" because he's been there for probably two years now.  He is responsible for taking the message of museum classes out to the masses and he does an incredible job.  He is an accomplished painter as well and we talked some process work for a bit before visiting with Christopher Whitehead-- the excellent head of youth education, Kristi Oliver the big cheese of Art All State and an award winning art teacher in Marlboro and we got to see the wacky hats Jamie Buckmaster was making with folks heading out to first night.

We had extra tickets so we spent a few minutes outside trying to give them away, but apparently I came across as the WAM Bouncer so each time I would ask "Do you have First Night Buttons?" the people I was speaking to would nervously produce them.  Veronica was coaching me on how to say it in a nicer way but each time I got the same reaction no matter how I tempered it-- we finally found a family walking down Lancaster Street so we were able to pass the tickets along and we refused their generous offer of payment.

Walking down Main Street through the slush and avoiding some really dangerous ice and found our way to the new PARIS OF THE EIGHTIES Cafe which is adjoined with the Paladium.  This is a really great place with a little fireplace nook area and comfortable seats-- the Cafe Au Lait I had was spectacular although I passed on the great looking sandwiches since I was still full from lunch-- I made a note to come back and try them sometime.  I wish them well, I'm not sure how its going to work when the Paladium is having one of their Insane Clown Posse shows-- they seem to be the mecca of trash rock shows and lines often form right in front of this space, which the last time I checked was a hot dog shoppe.

When we first went in there were two fanboys at the counter getting a hot chocolate and spilling the remnants of potato chips all over the floor who had such crazy body odor they were certainly either roadies for CLUTCH (who were playing that night) or unwashed fans of the heavy metal band.

We made it to Bunny Price and the Bluescians at Mechanics Hall which is an annual thing for us, I love Bunny and his band-- which is an infusion of Jazz and Blues but it kind of all sounds the same to me.  Highlight there is horn man Ken Sawyer who played two saxophones at the same time!

Wrapping up the night by walking to LUCKY'S CAFE where we had eight o'clock reservations we managed the seven blocks 12 degree weather but our feet were much too cold to stay outside and watch the fireworks.  We met son's Joe and Adam and their girlfriends Abbie and Zoe and had a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant.  Lucky's at New Years Eve is jumping-- they fill the place (which isn't very big to begin with) twice over and add a few tables and wait staff-- Lucky's isn't fast--it's not the kind of place you go to in a hurry-- but that's one of the reasons I love it (that and the African Peanut Soup).  Of all the restaurants I've eaten at all over the world Lucky's is my favorite-- and that's saying something.

We stopped by the in-laws on the way home to wish them a Merry New Year and then were home with the Stooges by 11.

2012 was a crazy year and I'm glad we're through it.
Here's to 2013~!