Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

Chris and I celebrated Mother's Day with only phone calls to our mothers, although we've been thinking about them all day. Happy Mother's Day! Instead of enjoying a family dinner, we ran five-and-a-half miles along the Charles River from Boston to Cambridge. The wind picked up enough to fill the white sails of the sailboats and send the kayackers on a good clip. Yesterday, we grilled hamburgers with my cousin Matt and Aunt Kathy - it's been a relaxing weekend.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

15 M.P.H

Yesterday, I left work early at about 3:30, excited for a relaxing weekend. I had driven our little, ever-reliable red Saturn to work Friday, and Chris took the Saab since he needed to provide transportation for a couple co-workers.

About three miles from work and just on the outskirts of Marlborough, I accelerated from a full stop at a red light and tried to shift into second gear (manual transmission car). The shifter went slack somewhere between first, second and neutral. I pumped the clutch and tugged at the shifter but with no improvement. I coasted into a nearby industrial parking lot to stop and re-start the car - the clutch seemed permanently stuck in first gear. I couldn't even reverse. Knowing little about cars, I immediately assumed the worst: the whole clutch had given out. I called Chris who works north of Boston, over an hour away from me, and he immediately left work. Meanwhile, a couple guys in the parking lot offered to help and jacked up the car. One of them knew quite a bit of cars and diagnosed the problem: torn shifter cable.

I walked to a Mazda dealership, but they didn't have the part and neither did a local mechanic. Chris was stuck in heavy traffic on the freeway, so I decided to drive as far as I could in first gear. I clicked on the hazard lights and took backroads home, driving on the shoulder whenever possible. My 45 minute commute ended up taking about two-and-a-half hours since I couldn't go above 15 mph. In the beginning, I drove white-knuckled but after twenty minutes or so, I popped in a CD, turned on the air-conditioning and ignored the honks behind me. Chris met me part-way, and we switched cars so he could enjoy the relaxing first-gear ride.

The car's at a local shop right now - we picked up the part at a Saturn dealership nearby. All in all, it could have been a lot worse: a torn shifter cable is a lot less expensive than a new clutch!

Friday, May 04, 2007


My parents flew into Boston a week ago and flew back to Minnesota this past Tuesday. It was wonderful to have them visit - Greta especially benefited from the extra attention and sneaked treats. We packed a ton sightseeing into those short days, visiting several sites Chris and I had yet to see.
Friday, we toured the John and Abigail Adams house in Quincy. John Quincy Adams (I think) built a separate library on his property to house his books. Maybe someday I can be so lucky. Saturday, the weather cleared in the afternoon for a beautiful afternoon in Plymouth. After a quick peek at the famous 1620 rock and the re-creation Mayflower, we drove a couple miles to a re-creation of Plymouth Plantation. The set-up was very well done, and included period actors steeped in historical knowledge. In fact, the actors portrayed specific characters and answered questions from their perspective.

Sunday, we drove about twenty minutes to Lexington and Concord, stopping at the visitor center for an excellent presentation on the battle and events leading up to it. Below is a picture at the bridge. (Quick fact: the statue at the bridge is also the national symbol for the Army National Guard.) We also drove to Salem to see a show at the Witch Museum about the witch trials.

Monday, we walked the Freedom Trail and climbed the Bunker Hill Monument, which has been closed the last several months for grounds renovation. Below, my parents stand in front of the Paul Revere House.
While my parents visited, I finished classes for the semester. I holed up a couple nights with the computer to finish my portfolios, but I'm all done - such a relief. I'm taking a summer class from May 21 through the end of June but will have off July, August and part of September.