Some of you aren’t drinking enough coffee

When I was a kid, I’d get off the school bus and go next door to have coffee and kahvileipä (coffee bread, often called nisu or pulla, depending on the region of Finland). It wasn’t my first cup of the day. From as long as I can remember, I drank coffee with my parents in the morning and pretty much any other time of the day. Of course, I started off with plenty of milk and sugar. Mine is now black, Tanzanian Peaberry from Indigo Coffee.

In spite of the apparent ubiquity of Dunkins and Starbucks, the rest of you aren’t consuming as much as did your grandparents, sez the Guardian: Americans are drinking half the coffee they did in the 40s. One theory that they put forward is that we are working fewer hours than we did 70 or 80 years ago and hence need less caffeine to keep us going.

But, don’t ever think that I’ll consume any of this stuff.

Wachusett Earthday newsletter – April 16, 2024

Wachusett Watershed Regional Recycling Center

131 Raymond Huntington Highway
West Boylston, MA 01583

News from the Executive

Did you see us in The Landmark on March 14?

If you’re not a subscriber, you can read a copy of the article that one of our volunteers has provided at the Center.

Volunteer Spotlight

Tonya and Bill Cronin –
You’ll recognize these two hardworking people who are often stationed at
our Reuse Dropoff location to accept your (up to two) packed cardboard
or plastic boxes.

Tonya and Bill offer a welcome, packing tips, and help. They’ll let
you know where you can find extra boxes, and help you find a place for
stuff that doesn’t fit into a box. Repacking as necessary, these two
then stack your boxes in covered storage areas nearby, so your donated
goods are ready for unpacking and shelving at the reuse center. Bill
also is the vintage electronics master repairman and Tonya helps in the
Store when she can.

Thank you, Tonya and Bill!

Looking ahead

April 27 9am to 1pm is our first Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.

See the website for details about Latex Paint Collection.,

What’s new on the floor?

What to do on a Monday when we  weren’t open on Saturday? Organize the Annex! Here are pictures of the Left side of the Annex where Baby and Home Medical items are stored.

There are more pictures on our Facebook page.

Special discoveries

A local resident asked us if we’d help him give away his baby grand piano from the 1950s. It’s best kept at home vs. our furniture pavilion so here are pictures. If you are interested, message us and we’ll pass along your contact information to him. Transportation will be needed but it’s on the first floor.

Where do things go?

Worcester Earn A Bike and Funky Phoenix each paid us a visit recently and took some bikes and parts they could use but we have plenty more as well as bike racks – FREE.

News from the North 40

More changes! One MIBOX has gone back home and the other moved nearer the Furniture Pavilion in the N40 so we can unload it and send it home soon. Thank you MIBOX for being so great to work with.

One quick tip of the beanie to me

It was 20 years ago today that RoastBoy burst upon the scene.

This blog started after I was laid off from IBM. In April 2003, Big Blue had acquired Rational Software, where I’d been employed for five years. I started writing as a way to chronicle my time while looking for work. I picked up some contract work with EMC in early summer which led to a great full-time gig. That ran for a year or so until health issues put me out of work for five years. (This occurred before ObamaCare prohibited insurance companies from denying claims for pre-existing conditions.)

Anyway, 20 years is a long time for anything. I wasn’t thinking 20 years ahead then and certainly am not now. Let’s enjoy the day. Except for some clumps in the woods, the snow is gone. It’s spring.

“I’m running for re-election.” The party sez, “No, you’re not.”

Teuvo Hakkarainen, who hails from the same Finnish town where my grandfather was born, is not a known relation. He was a member of the Finnish Parliament and, most recently, one of Finland’s representatives to the European Parliament.

Hakkarainen announced that he is a candidate for re-election. His party, the Finns Party (formerly True Finns), had told him that he was not on its list of candidates. He wants it in writing. “I get so many calls…,” he said.
Finns Party and Hakkarainen at odds over European election candidacy

Although Hakkarainen claims that he has served Finland well, particularly on forestry issues, he has not always acquitted himself well in the past. He showed up drunk on his first day in the Finnish Parliament, was reprimanded for being too racist in his racist party, and, well, more.

It appears that he’ll seek re-election without his party’s support. The elections take place in June.


Friend and tech-writing colleague Tom Parmenter used to say, “We write our manuals for the one person in the office who’ll read them.”

Crime in suburbia – December 28

From The Landmark – December 28

There were 10 animal-related calls, nine suspicious incidents, and several additional incidents that suspiciously weren’t deemed suspicious.


November 28

5:51 p.m.: Phone, assist Rutland, East Country & Pommogussett roads. Rutland advises they have a stolen Ashburnham ambulance and request assistance. Ambulance was returned to Heywood Hospital.

December 2

10:15 a.m.: Phone, disturbance, Wheeler Road. Caller requesting officer to her residence she is selling. Reports she is having an open house and her neighbor has come and is causing a disturbance. He is putting up signs and causing an issue with her realtor.


November 22

10:17 a.m.: Suspicious activity, area of Overlook Road, Wachusett Street. Caller reporting a party in a tan-colored Malibu trying to shoot a deer from their car. 202 check the area, nothing found.

5:34 p.m.: Motor vehicle, at Holden, Main Street. Caller requested an officer after hitting a deer in Rutland and now parked over the town line, no injuries or fluid, deer no longer on scene.

Nov. 25
12:18 p.m.: Threats, Pommogussett Road. Party receiving threats from a user she met on tiktok after she received a tarot card reading. User threatened to kill her and her entire family if she did not pay hm $400.

Hakkarainens in 2023

Our 2019 letter signed off with this:

Little did we know what was coming at us for 2020.

Four years later, we’re older. It’s too soon to tell if we’re wiser.

January took us to the studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in preparation for a course that Karl would teach on studio musicians.

On our way back, we were 20 minutes behind a tornado that overturned a truck and wrecked buildings. That afternoon, a bigger storm hit Selma on its 100-mile deadly path.

The rest of the year was quieter. Our long-time friends, the Credes, visited in May. Sandra’s cousin, Phyllis, joined us at the lake in July, joining in our annual summer gathering.

As you can tell, the tribe continues to expand. Jade Adora, daughter of grandson Michael and his wife, Quillah, was born in September. That’s seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. The great-grand team will gain one more; grandson Joe and his wife, Molly, are expecting their third child in June.

Sandra continues to volunteer with Wachusett Earthday, a reuse and recycling center that serves seven towns north of Worcester. Karl finished teaching a course on the Luddites for our senior education program and will take a break from all that in the new year.

Leading to the hopeful uncertainty that awaits us in 2024. We’ve accepted an offer to sell our condo and will move someplace sometime next year. Where and when we know not.

These are scary times. We have war and rumors of war overseas and at home. A neighbor’s front yard features an inflatable Santa Claus arresting Biden and Obama.

Sending wishes and courage in the new year.

Karl and Sandra

Crime in Suburbia – Trouble on the loose


December 14, 2023


Nov. 15

3:26 p.m.: Animal call, Greene Road. Caller reporting a large white long-haired dog chasing at the tires of the school bus.

November 16 4:12 p.m.: Animal call, Wheeler Road. Caller reporting an older female, little black mix (35 lbs.) brindle dog missing. Dog’s name is Troubles. Animal located.

November 19
12:08 p.m.: Phone, animal mutual aid, East Princeton Road. Caller reporting two stray dogs that wandered into his yard. A shorthared dog and a blackand- white long-haired dog. ACO notified. The dogs have moved along.


Nov. 5
6:42 a.m.: Road hazard, area of Princeton line, Wachusett Street. Caller reporting traffic cones in the roadway have been hit by numerous vehicles. Hazard removed.

9:17 p.m.: Fire-motor vehicle collision, Pommogussett Road. Caller reports large beaver in roadway with a car bumper, unsure if there is a vehicle over the guardrail. 208 advised appears vehicle struck beaver and lost its bumper. No vehicles in water.

Nov. 7
5:47 p.m.: Road hazard, Barre Paxton Road. Party in the lobby to report a deceased deer in the road. 208: It was grass clippings wrapped in a tarp.

Nov. 11

2:17 p.m.: Disturbance, Maple Avenue. Party reports he hears screaming and banging coming from the upstairs apartment. Peace restored.

Prescription Saga

I’ve had a prescription for a particular medication at Walgreens for years. Last month, they only had enough for a partial refill.

A few days before that partial ran out, I requested a refill. The product was not available, but they’d reorder. Three days later, I stopped in to inquire. The clerk said that the shipment was due that evening, and they would call me when it was ready.

Three days passed. I was on my last doses. I went to the store. The clerk told me that the manufacturer would accept re-orders until the end of the month.

I went to my car and called my doctor’s office. The nurse said I should call CVS or Walmart to see if they any.


I called the local CVS store. They had none, but said that a store in Worcester had some. I tried calling the Worcester store and waited on hold for 15 minutes before I had to hang up to go do something else. An hour later, I called again, but the pharmacy was on its lunch break. At 2 PM I called Worcester again, waited 15 minutes on hold, and gave up.

“I’m going to Worcester,” I told my wife.

I went to the Worcester store and learned that they didn’t have any, but the inventory system indicated that Auburn had some. I called Auburn. They confirmed that they had a supply. I drove to Auburn, waited in line, and learned that, while the inventory system said that they had some, the shelf was empty. The clerk said that there was some in Oxford.

I drove to Oxford and ran into a twist. The Oxford clerk took my insurance card, recorded the information in their computer, and then stared at what I guessed was an error message. After a few retries, she called my insurance company and chatted with an agent who worked some magic to let the prescription order be submitted. Of course, as we know, Oxford didn’t have any of the medication.

The Oxford CVS clerk called Webster CVS, on the Connecticut border. Webster confirmed that they had two months’ worth on the shelf. I drove to Webster.

The clerk in Webster acknowledged my order and hollered to the crew in back, “Expedite QL,” or some other code. A half hour later, a pharmacist called my name.

“We know that the prescription is for a 90-day supply. We only have enough for 60 days. Is that ok?” I said that it was. “Alright, we’ll get that ready for you shortly.”

I was back in my car and on my way home 15 minutes later. It had taken four hours at four different CVS stores, not counting the trips to Walgreens and the various phone calls.

I don’t know what will happen after this. CVS holds the prescription for which I have two-thirds of an order. I’ll check in with CVS somewhere, somehow, next month. Let’s get through the holidays first.

There’s no question that we have a crisis in our pharmaceutical industry. The medication that I’m on was approved for use in the early 1960s. It’s not commonly prescribed. As a result, there is not a lot of money to be made. Shortages of other meds have been covered extensively in the news. Each person who takes each of the medications has a personal story about their condition, their healthcare options, and their finances. These are private instances of public events.