Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Today, Chris and I drove up Highway 95 through a sliver of New Hampshire to Maine. We wound our way along the coast and randomly stopped in Kennenbunkport to walk along the beach and test the water temperature (61 degrees). Chris also stopped along the rode for his mandatory bowl of clam chowder. Antique shops settle very thickly along the rode, and the roads in the small towns were clogged for vacation season. We stopped in Portland, the capital city of Maine, and walked through a street art festival. Greta growled at a couple terriers but was otherwise good. Portland was really neat - no skyscrapers or remotely tall building, but it was crammed with unique shops and restaurants. We're back in Belmont now, watching a little TV, and just heard that President Bush is in Kennenbunkport today. Too bad we missed him. I guess now it makes sense why there were signs in the small town protesting the war or proclaiming support for the troops.
Tonight we're having dinner with Tom and Diane (upstairs neighbors). Greta is not invited.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Greta's Rampage

Last night, I woke up to the sound of a bang in the kitchen. I jumped out of bed to find Greta shredding a cardboard box she had just swiped off the counter. Previously, she had perused the trash and pulled out and shredded as many paper items as she could find. I threw her in the kennel and went back to sleep. This morning I woke up and walked into the bathroom onto a mess of torn Klennex. After that, I walked into the living room to find a puddle of pee and piles of poop. I guess she finally got us back for moving... and after all the love she gets...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Before we left Minnesota, my brother Jamie was the best man in his friend Adrian's wedding. Varsana and Malia were the flower girls (they're getting a lot of experience).

On Sunday, Chris and I spontaneously decided to buy bicycles. We got a couple relatively cheap, but nice, Schwinn's. We also bought a child carrier to pull behind Chris' bike in order for Greta to be able to explore Boston, too. We assembled the carrier, which looks like a stroller/tent and clipped the belts onto Greta's collar. She was terrible. At one point, she even got her front legs out of the carrier and was pulled down a hill for a little ways. She's fine, but we turned around and dropped her off. We biked all the way into Boston on Sunday. There's a great path along the Charles River that winds past Harvard.

Chris has been offered a position at Putnam Investments as a Portfolio Analyst, but he has a few more interviews before he makes a final decision. I think he's leaning toward a Financial Advisor position at Northwest Mutual. He's also interviewing for a sales representative position at a small medical device company in Marlborough, the city where I work.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Hope your weekend is going well! Chris and I drilled for the first time with our new National Guard unit in Massachusetts. We will normally be helping with physicals at Hanscom Air Force Base which is close to our house, but yesterday and today we were at Camp Edwards which is on Cape Cod. We were assigned to support sick call for troops training at Camp Edwards, but everyone was pulling out so we were able to leave really early today and visit Plymouth (where the Pilgrims landed, Plymouth Rock, Mayflower replica, etc.)
Chris is continuing to interview (second and third interviews at this point). I'm settling into my new job - not too much to discuss there.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alma Avenue

Alma Avenue is a narrow, pocked road entrenched within Belmont's residential neighborhoods. Our home city of Belmont is only 5 miles from downtown Boston. The town is subdued, mostly families and retired couples and boasts the reputation of having no bars. The houses off the strip are tall and narrow, folded back into mature trees - most of the houses have been renovated and sold or rented out as condos, first floor and second floor. If you visit, you can tell which houses accommodate two households by the number of doors on the front of the house.

Our immediate neighbors have all been at least somewhat friendly. The man next door stopped Chris on the way home from one of his interviews to talk international finance, and a woman across the street enthusiastically informed us she was raised in Winona, MN. Greta has also made friends. Across the street is a burly chow mix and pretty, little collie.

The couple renting the top floor of our house is another story. Tom works for an environmental consulting agency, and Diane is a project manager for a software company. They are engaged and have been renting the top level for 3 months, giving them a proprietary edge to our interactions. (They took the good garage spot and plopped a birdfeeder in the backyard.) We share a common backyard, driveway and front door. They've both been very nice, helpful in many cases...but here's the issue: Diane is scared of dogs. She's so scared that when she looks into the backyard from the second story balcony (where she attempts to calm her nerves with a cigarette), she works herself into a panic attack just seeing Greta sniffing the dirt.

Tom asked us to move Greta to the side of the house and again further away from the stairs - we're trying to accomodate them, but any more requests and Greta will be barking at the birds in the backyard again.

Attached above are some pictures of our house and neighborhood. I also attached a picture of our new kitchen hutch (pre-1940's). Chris and I found it on craigslist and bought it from a lady in Attleboro which is very near Rhode Island.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Hi Everyone,
I am sitting at our kitchen table writing to you from Massachusetts! Last Wednesday, one week ago, we stuffed the U-Haul absolutely full (doubts about whether we'd get all our stuff into the 27 foot truck). Thanks to my brothers and my parents, we wedged everything into the truck and quickly slammed the door shut! We drove all day Thursday and most of the day Friday through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and finally Massachusetts. Our good friends, Audra and JP Charlebois, made the trip with us, and we all alternated driving the truck which was pulling my car and Chris' car. We paid about $200 in tolls for the U-haul and Chris' cute, little, red Saturn and also paid several hundred dollars in gas. But we're here!

Chris and I signed a one year lease in Belmont, which is about five miles from downtown Boston. We are the proud (???) renters of the first floor of a renovated house complete with hardwood floors and a brand new kitchen. I'll attach some pictures just as soon as we get all the boxes stuffed into the cellar. Even though we're only five miles from downtown, it will take at least 40 minutes via bus and subway to arrive downtown.

Boston has a lot to offer, including history, authentic food, sailboat-dotted ocean, hilly streets with leafy maple trees and a teeny backyard for the puppy. Our street has several dogs (collies, poodles, mutts, etc.) who Greta is straining at the leash to meet.

Chris is currently interviewing for financial and business positions in the area. I should have an update for you next week. I started my new position as a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) today. My job is in Marlborough, 30 miles from Belmont and a 45 minutes commute each way. I will be looking for as many shortcuts as possible; however, I got lost on the way home today and was in the car for over an hour.

Thanks to everyone who is praying for us. We miss everyone terribly.